Q & A: Why Trumpism?

19 January, 2021
By: Bill Whaley

From a Reader: "Why Trump? How did he make “those guys” become political?"We’ve known those guys all our lives. We grew up with them. ( The guy chasing the Capitol policeman up the stairs is from Des Moines.) “Those guys” hated all politicians. They grumbled in their beer down at the tavern, but then went out to their duck blind or went ice fishing and on to the next day. "Is it just the perceived loss of white privilege and the ...

In Real Time: the Revolution Continues.

18 January, 2021
By: Bill Whaley

Contrary to Gil Scott-Heron, the effects of the revolution are being televised even as the propaganda passes via word of mouth from one conspiratorial whisperer to the next.If you want to see real time video of the recent revolution on the Capitol steps and inside the chambers, watch the clips that accompany undercover reporter war correspondent Luke Mogelson’s Among the Insurrectionists (New Yorker, Jan. 25,2021). Fantastic piece of writing, reporting, and chronicle of the revolt.Apologists for Trump voters might watch ...

Uncommon Decency: a brief history

20 January, 2021
By: Bill Whaley

“At long last, have you no sense of decency, sir?” Joseph Welch, during the Army-McCarthy Hearings.Frequently, during the Trump years, as the President ridiculed both opponents and one-time loyalists, I thought of his 50s era heritage as product of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House on Un-American activities. McCarthy accused one and all of guilt by association as cold war fellow travelers of communists. Hollywood screenwriters and directors particularly suffered the slings and arrows of this travesty. While Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, a Catholic and virulent anti-communist exercised the prerogatives of the puppet master from above, attorney Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s devil from below whispered in the Senator’s ear. (At the time and later, actor Ronald Reagan took advantage of cold war hysteria to advance his career at the expense of the accused commies in Hollywood and from Sacramento he ...

The Enemy and the Antidote

17 January, 2021
By: Bill Whaley

“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” —William Butler YeatsPlato might say the presumed values of democratic citizens, regarding self-government, fail because born of the desire for money to satisfy unbridled freedom of appetite. The passion unleashed aligns itself with power, an end, like art, in itself. Hence the citizenry degenerates into chaos and the mind detaches from the moral imagination and/ or the virtues (Courage, temperance, justice, wisdom, hope, faith, charity) and surrenders to idolatry, chimeras, and magical thinking. When the exhausted psyche re-focuses on reason, he or she sees the tyrant as symbol, who will serve as god of order and rule (or not) by fiat. The tyrant’s failure to govern points toward individual human weakness and error; the collective rises up, overthrows the tyrant in the name ...

The Outhouse Chronicles Continued

12 January, 2021
By: Bill Whaley

The first two installments, a brief mention, followed by a column on the Town of Taos’s failure to accommodate locals and visitors, who undergo periodic “calls of nature” has generated a great deal of interest and eyewitness testimony from regular folks, who are not “Ranee Malanga,” the town’s favorite scapegoat. (I withhold names below due to the retaliatory tone and actions of the town manager and his evil typewriter, witness yesterday's 1800-word screed. At least Donald Trump "was" limited to 140 characters.) To wit:1. A prominent and successful downtown merchant referred to the “anger” expressed by both locals and merchants, who go in search of privacy, a place to exercise bowel movements and relieve the bladder pressure. Indeed, this merchant spied a “white” middle class (Anglo) tourista and her three children all squatting and peeing in the alley behind the ...

Laughter is the Best Medicine (Apologies to Reader’s Digest)

9 January, 2021
By: Bill Whaley

In my own lifetime, the January 6 attempted coup on America reminded me of 9//11, the multifarious complexities of the Vietnam era, President Kennedy’s assassination, and newsreels of the Holocaust shown in local movie theatres during the late 40s and early 50s. When I was a kid, I read the column mentioned above for fun and realized how humor serves as therapy, a lesson embodied by living among Taosenos, who practice the arts of resistance despite the tragic character of El Norte. The recent attack on the Congress in the Capitol in Washington D.C. by costumed White Supremacists represents, apparently, the advance guard of the autocratic republican party. Today’s polls say 78% of the GOP support the Orange-haired leader of the pack. Here’s my five-point emergency antidote.First, public and private education has obviously failed the American citizens, given the resistance ...

Elegy for American Exceptionalism

3 December, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Practice “Saying Goodbye”The American government has been exposed, currently, as a socio-cultural feckless giant when it comes to health, safety, and the public welfare. The self-inflicted death toll of the pandemic accelerates. Statewide, we’re usually neck and neck when it comes to the bottom in terms of education and child health so it comes as no surprise, as a reader points out, that Nevada (29%) and New Mexico (27%) are vying for first place in the race for first place at the bottom of the barrel in the competition for the highest rates of Covid hospitalization.Last spring I was too smug by half when I suggested a nineteen year old’s decision to drop out of college and light out for the territory was fortuitous. After all, my friends and I in the Taos Valley live downwind from LANL’s cancerous breezes ...

Biden: Emergency Responder

13 November, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Death Dealers V. Lucky LifersTo My Friends:We have escaped the autocrat, thanks to a majority of voters who represent the multicultural demos and decency of America and voted for “Biden Knows Best.” The hard right, however, Republican Senators, Trumpists, and the collective if resentful worshippers of conspiracy and the reality TV avatar, voted for the Cult of Covid. Though he escaped the box only to take up residence in the White House, now he’s been rejected. But like Freddie in “The Nightmare on Mainstreet,” Trump threatens in the sequel to return.The right wing “resenttiment” embodied by the hoi polloi (who express indignation at having been treated unfairly), a characteristic of the “herd” per Nietzsche, continues. Proscriptions against racism, secularization, science, the elevation of diverse ethnic groups, who are replacing the white majority as the enfranchised citizens threaten the bitterly ...

“Outraged by the Outrageous”

31 October, 2020
By: Contributor

byMatt WolhbergAs a military veteran, I can no longer contain my outrage at the behavior of our President and his enablers and apologists. I’ve always believed that In a democractic republic, one has a near sacred civic responsibility to serve when called. Some years ago I felt compelled to volunteer to answer that call. At the time, the draft was in full swing, and all young men were subject to it. I waited patiently for my draft notice, but it never seemed to arrive. So, feeling a strong drive to serve my country, I stepped up, joined the military, and served as a combat medic. Let's contrast the behavior of many like me with that of the current President of these United States, who reportedly faked a minor physical ailment to avoid military service. He then went on to establish a ...

Searching for the Perfect

27 October, 2020
By: Contributor

By Robert J. Silver As with many of you, my politically progressive friends, Joe Biden was not my first choice to be our national standard bearer. I’d hoped for someone younger, female, a person of color, one with less political baggage, more predictably and passionately progressive, more inspiring, someone quite apart from the unbroken chain of politically center and center-right older men. That said, I am increasingly dismayed by some of my kindred-spirit progressive allies. Purists among them seem bent on allowing their search for the perfect to become the enemy of the good. But as we all know, there are no perfect candidates, just as there are no perfect human beings. Such a quest is clearly doomed. We also know that our’s is a two-party system. The only choice this November will be between another four years of the ...

The Elan Vital of Jean Mayer: (1935-2020)

16 October, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Allez, à l’attaque!A Personal Note On a cool, clear day in November of1966, not unlike today, a bedraggled and depressed college drop-out slipped into the St Bernard, interrupting Jean Mayer, who was busily preparing his hotel for the upcoming ski season. Jean said he didn’t have any openings but “I think we need somebody in the parking lot.” He called up Ernie Blake and discussed hiring an attendant to keep holiday and weekend skiers from invading the environs around base camp at the Hondo, St. Bernard, TSV. So Jean, Ernie, and Ed Pratt agreed to hire this ski bum: free lift ticket from Ernie, lunch from Jean, and Ed Pratt said he’d match Jean’s cost and contribute “Two-dollars a day.” Before I left, Jean told me about an adobe in Valdez that rented for fifteen dollars a month. Though ...

A Comedy of Errors

5 October, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Magical Thinking: Sean Connery, Sean Conley, Peter SellersWhat once was considered “Good Conscience and Bad Faith” or “Cognitive Dissonance,” the syndromes or concepts that describe the paradox of holding contradictory thoughts and acting contrary to an interest in civility or survival or your own beliefs, has been severely challenged by the transcendent conversion to “Magical Thinking,” which ignores commonsensical notions based on a modicum of rationality. As Republican pols and their political progeny celebrated at a Super spreader Rose Garden event that “demonstrates” the “Blind Ambition” of an unmasked Amy Coney Barrett, the judge and mother of seven children, nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court, we saw the lie that bespeaks the GOP commitment to life.However inadvertently (?) Barrett jeopardized some of her children at the Rose garden event as several high profile supporters, including President Trump, subsequently came down ...

Karma visits the Hard Edges of the White House.

2 October, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Last night and this morning we hear Nemesis (outbreak), “El Viro,” invades el viro. It’s like a shell game in the West Wing: who’s got the viro? From the oval office to the Capitol in the Capital, the ancient ghosts of Greek Tragedy—Oedipus, Antigone, and Creon—rise up and remind us how Hybris (false pride) is punished by the earth’s natural limits. So the climate erupts inside and expresses outside the effects of obesity and reminds the children of excess and Q that conspiratorial madness is no match for biology. The President and First Lady et al tested positive for Corona, according to a midnight tweet. Who's next?The soft sides of the Briar Patch Prevail as Maye Resists with LoveBill...Still a die-hard on the Plaza....holding what’s left...Stillness Watching the vatos locos still cruising the Plaza, scaring the new ...

Two Points of View: Reason and Unreason

25 September, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Below, these few lines represent the way the left and right (by whatever definition), whether liberal, conservative, or conspirator, view the “other” American in our polis today. Unreason today, nourished primarily by FACEBOOK, has mesmerized and turned part of the electorate into “cultists” or "conspirators" who disbelieve their own participation in the science-techno world ,wherein they spread the rumors of their own existence.The Voters and THE propaganda modelEdward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky formulated a propaganda model hypothesis for analyzing the media which: “attempts to explain the performances of the U.S. media in terms of the basic institutional structures and relationships within which they operate…the media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful society interests that control and finance them. The representatives of these interests have important agendas and principles that they want to advance, and they are well positioned to shape and constrain media ...

Intimations of an American Elegy

20 September, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

SCOTUS Converts Law to “Banana Power”RBG passes: Autocrats GleefulToday, the Demo Pundits wring their hands, RBG RIP: Civil Rights activists lament her passing. Once, conservatives lamented the passing of Anthony Scalia, the court’s bull-dog right wing deconstructionist. For Scalia and Chief Roberts liberated serial killers, and promoted deregulation, which helped the GOP repress voters, and gave the fire and flood season a boost, while also executing a coup aimed at acquiring power for the right wing war mongers under Bush II. Meanwhile the lives of the poor and, especially children, are sacrificed to Moloch while hundreds and thousands of American die under the Trump regime’s inoperative health, safety, and welfare clause aimed at red states, while fires and floods engulf the earth. (The lady in white sings her scales behind the curtain.) To wit:1. In Bush v. ...

White Jacobins Riot over Race

6 September, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Carson Valley (Minden and Gardnerville), Nevada As a black sheep Taoseno, I am compelled to share the following story from my home town, Gardnerville, Nevada, located in Carson Valley, northern Nevada. The valley was named for Taoseno Kit Carson. In Carson Valley the Sierra Nevada mountains tower over the verdant valley floor, mostly white-faced Hereford Cattle and Horses grazing adjacent to the West and East Forks of the Carson River. The artesian wells flourish, and each evening at six p.m. the six-o’clock dinner whistle blows. This whistle doubles during emergencies as a wake-up call for the volunteer fire department. But the signal was set up originally in the late forties or early fifties to send the local Washo Indians, vamoose out of town. When I was a kid, the Indians were only allowed to drink in bars owned by the Chinese ...

Q & A: Why Trumpism?

19 January, 2021
By: Bill Whaley

From a Reader: "Why Trump? How did he make “those guys” become political?"We’ve known those guys all our lives. We grew up with them. ( The guy chasing the Capitol policeman up the stairs is from Des Moines.) “Those guys” hated all politicians. They grumbled in their beer down at the tavern, but then went out to their duck blind or went ice fishing and on to the next day. "Is it just the perceived loss of white privilege and the fact that Trump made overt racism acceptable? Is that why they glommed on to him as a savior? "Is there any more than that? Is it decline in standard of living? Is it rage at bicoastal elitism? (Even I can see how Nancy Pelosi could make one grind his teeth!). "How could an obvious fraud, a faux strong man, a ...

In Real Time: the Revolution Continues.

18 January, 2021
By: Bill Whaley

Contrary to Gil Scott-Heron, the effects of the revolution are being televised even as the propaganda passes via word of mouth from one conspiratorial whisperer to the next.If you want to see real time video of the recent revolution on the Capitol steps and inside the chambers, watch the clips that accompany undercover reporter war correspondent Luke Mogelson’s Among the Insurrectionists (New Yorker, Jan. 25,2021). Fantastic piece of writing, reporting, and chronicle of the revolt.Apologists for Trump voters might watch UNM Business-law professor, David Clements’ slick defense of Trumpian ideology understood as the good conscience-bad faith expression of sophistry or triumph of rhetoric over fact. Clements uses half-truths, red herrings, strawmen, unsound premises, corrupt grounds and all the logical fallacies to support an untenable defense at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CreVpaDZgOYHysteria among the pundits on MSNBC continues a mix of sense and non-sense. ...

Whom shall we send?

27 October, 2020
By: Contributor

by Robert J Silver Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” —-Isaiah 6:8 Amid the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, an economy in crisis, social unrest unseen in decades, and more, in whom shall our nation now place its trust? The contrast between our two major political parties’ nominees for President of these United States could not be more dramatic. On the one hand, we have Donald Trump, a malignant narcissistic sociopath, who has persistently lied, cheated, stolen and bullied his way into and through the years of a self-serving presidency. He ran for office declaring that he would drain the “swamp.” Yet, he has done the opposite of what he promised. He has not only enlarged and deeprend that swamp, he has ...

Hiding in Plain Sight

19 October, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Caveat: Don’t Read, Listen to, or Watch…the news I just finished reading the Nov. 2020 issue of Harper’s and now the Atlantic lies open in front of me with more of the same forbidden subheads about the threat to civil life posed by the U.S. government and its corporate masters as well as the Autocrat in Orange. The last two sentences of Andrew Cockburn’s Washington Letter in Harper's says about the president’s secret powers, “The enemies briefcase still holds its list. Who knows whose names will be on it.” Cockburn presents a historical list of constitutional violations by presidents from Lincoln to Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump. The expansion of secret briefs, passed by Congress re: executive emergency declarations, remains on the books despite expiration dates. The Church Committee in the 70s barely lifted the veil on the intelligence community ...

Eulogy for a Disappeared Neighborhood!

26 September, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

I. Like many news observers, I’ve been caught up by the drama of the slo-mo Trump coup and transformation of North America’s most powerful country and democratic republic into an authoritarian state, subject to the whims of a reality TV star, who hoped for and stumbled into the opportunity to kill the most successful of experiments in self-governing. Well, it upsets me. But unlike middle class Americans, who don’t like controversy, I was born into the checkerboard conundrum, alternately experiencing the pleasure and pain of the briar patch of Taos. But before I was a Taoseno, I believed that shit in the Declaration and U.S. Constitution. My mother didn’t tell me they were lying. Though my history and almost religious belief in America as a possibility inspired me, once the illusion or folly had been confirmed, I lost interest in ...

Reality Check: Gangsters in the White House.

20 August, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Mail Machines in Junk Yards Dead Men Walking Statesman Caveat: Mr. Obama, now out of office, has grown in stature, perhaps in response to that “Angel” on his shoulder, John Lewis, the civil rights leader who marched across the Edmund  Pettus Bridge in Selma and got whacked in the head for causing “good trouble.” At Congressman Lewis’s funeral, former President Obama delivered the eulogy but turned that eulogy into a plea for folks to vote and listed all the ways the feds and the republicans are repressing the historic franchise from which American democracy derives its authority.  It was the first time I heard him speak to specifics in a statesmanlike manner. Perhaps the example of Georgia peanut farmer Jimmy Carter, who also grew immensely after serving as president, as well as John Lewis, inspired Obama.  Further, last night President Obama, like Michelle on the first ...