I sprained my wrist

I sprained my wrist . I was walking down the stairs, and slipped on the second to last stair. Losing my balance, I fell backwards. I slipped on the carpeted stairs, and my hand and wrist were twisted beneath me. As a consequence, I sprained my wrist. This has me less than happy. My right wrist and hand are now in an ace bandage and Velcro support. This means I can’t type anything . At least at any reasonable speed. So now I am discovering the wonders of the windows speech recognition system. Right now it is a slow and difficult to use. Right now, it is actually slower that typing. This is very frustrating. It means that I cannot play my keyboards either.  I have a lot of music I have to work on. I also have two books that are in close proximity of finish. I need to finish them. How I’m going to do this using speech recognition is completely beyond me. sigh. I have typed this entry into my blog using speech recognition. And took almost 15 minutes to do this. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

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Scenarios for Trump

edited 24 May.

I realise it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, but I think some visioning could be useful. I think it is time to plan out some logical scenarios, based on different courses of action regarding the Trump Junta. Time is an important dimension in all of this.

Trump stays.
This would be the most suboptimal result for all concerned, including Trump. There was talk early on that Trump never wanted to be president – he saw himself as a protest candidate. When he started winning, his ego – roughly the size of Betelguese, only dark and seething instead of red and pulsating – got in the way, and his vanity campaign turned into his vanity presidency. His disinclination to take the job seriously is evident in his regular flights to Mar a Lago – he’d rather play golf than do his job.  He has no idea what he’s doing and isn’t all that worried about that. He is more worried about the things that threaten to remove him from office.

However, one scenario is that he beats the rap – nothing sticks, the Republicans close ranks around him and prevent his ouster. In this way, he continues the dismantling of the USA in the interests of the Republican Party and their owners. This would result in a few things – the most obvious is the immiseration of millions of people. I’ve been predicting a major economic discontinuity for 2017 / 2018 for a number of years, and this would further exacerbate the problems inflicted on the USA by the ruling elite and their Republican Pawns. However, this could also lead to a Democratic sweep in 2018. If that happens then Trump’s days in office are numbered, possibly in fewer than three digits after the Congress starts in 2019. The results of his impeachment and conviction would be interesting and follows.

Assuming he doesn’t beat the rap then we’re looking at several possibilities:
1. He resigns
2. He is removed by the 25th Amendment
3. He is impeached
4. He and Pence and Ryan are impeached / convicted per RICO charges.

The timing becomes important.

  1. He Resigns
    There is a nonzero probability that he will resign. This would be the scenario most desired by the Republican establishment. This way, Trump is gone, they don’t have to impeach him, and they get Pence and all his right wing dullery as a prize. His resignation may be triggered by the Republicans – they may have a sit-down with him and tell him: “Look, if you don’t quit, we will impeach you and convict you. It would be best for the Republican party if you simply quit and walked away from this. You can make a deal with Pence to have him pardon you as his first act in office. You don’t go to jail, we keep power, and all is well for our owners.” He’d probably take that deal. In terms of timing, sooner would be better for him and the Republican Party. Dragging this past the 2018 elections would still work for them, but if he quit now, they would have more time to prepare for 2018.
  2. He is removed per the 25th Amendment
    This is a bit of a longshot. However, it would work to the Republican advantage to do this, quickly. it’s pretty clear that Trump is a taco short of a combo platter, and his cognitive abilities meager at his best decades ago, are obviously degraded. There is a non-zero probability that he has dementia or early stages of Alzheimers. If so, the Republicans could use the 25th Amendment to remove him. If they did this quickly, Pence would be made president. How quickly could it be done? His mental state would have to deteriorate, or, more precisely, his apparent and reported mental state, would have to be one of deep deterioration. That would be a difficult trick to pull off, for as daft as he is, he isn’t any more insane than half the congress critturs who would seek his ouster.
  3. He is impeached
    If he doesn’t take up the Republican Offer to GET LOST, then there are a number of things to impeach him on – emoluments clause, conflict of interest, nepotism, etc. This would be the Republican’s second choice. It would totally mess up their plans and take a lot of time and energy. They would rather have him simply resign. If he resists all the way to conviction and does not resign, I don’t think the Republican Leadership will be particularly merciful. Very messy. If it does go this way, it would be best for the Republicans if they got it over with in the next several months, to prepare for 2018 and set up deflections should they lose in 2018. Such preparations could also serve them well if they don’t get creamed in 2018.
  4. He and Pence and Ryan are impeached / convicted per RICO charges.
    If this is done quickly, then it results in President Orrin Hatch. A Hatch administration would be an improvement over what presently obtains, however, it would not be an improvement for the better. It would be like jumping out of a burning building, and winding up in the hospital just to find that you have a few broken bones and your burns are superficial, however, you now have stage II bowel cancer. So, while yes, you didn’t die in the fire, it seems your life really completely sucks now. However, a Hatch Admin would be most acceptable to the Republican powerbrokers. This can only happen if Trump and his junta are impeached and removed before 2018. If not, and 2018 goes Democratic, and then the Democrats remove the junta, you could see President Pelosi…

This all puts the Republican Leadership in a deep bind. So far, Trump hasn’t really produced much for them. They’re not getting much back from the Grifter In Chief for their support. They can’t hold onto him much longer, at the same time, they can’t be actively removing him without losing their own base. If they do carry him much longer, the investigations could prove brutal and force him out anyway via RICO. And beyond that, there’s 2018, and if it goes Democratic and Trump is still there, he will be removed shortly thereafter as noted above.

So, I would predict massive pressure to build in the leadership to convince Trump to resign. They’re not going to get much more out of him. He’s an imbecile and incompetent.

I would also predict that in the next month or two they will realise that standing in the way of the investigations won’t help them, and they will become more amenable to investigative hearings and a committee or commission to investigate impeachment.

As long as the Republicans control Congress, they can’t really lose in most of these scenarios. So a swift removal of Trump will serve them well. If the Democrats take Congress in 2018, Trump is gone anyway. They need to figure out who is better for them: Hatch or Pence or Ryan? If Pence goes, Ryan goes with him, so it effectively boils down to Pence and Hatch. The window for that is not closed, but it does have a time limit.

Matrix Theory Is Nonsense

I read an interview of Peter Woit by John Horgan. You can read it HERE.

Peter Woit has an excellent blog, “Not Even Wrong”, and posted about his interview with Horgan, HERE. I posted my reply and support of Woit’s position on his blog, and I reprint the reply here:

I liked your interview with John Horgan. I would add that there is another critique of Bostrum et al and the Matrix theory, and that is one of infinite regress. If we are in a simulation, then there is no reason to think that the creatures controlling us in our simulation are not themselves simulations, etc. ad infinitum. Obviously, there has to be a stopping point – there has to be someone who is not a simulation running the simulation for the simulation to exist in the first place. However, given the formulation as one of computability in the Matrix theory, where any entity who can simulate can also be simulated, there is no logical reason why it can’t be ad infinitum – it’s turtles all the way up! Therefore: the Matrix theory is impossible, and thinking about it is a colossal waste of time. Cheers!

 

Allan Holdsworth

The following comes out of a conversation I had with Timothy Morton on his Facebook wall, all in regard to the recent and unexpected passing of the great guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Here, I draw parallels between him, John McLaughlin, and John Coltrane. I’ve edited this for a bit of clarity.

Holdsworth, like McLaughlin, could easily take arpeggios and scales and mix between them. McLaughlin however was more staccato, while Holdsworth was more legato – even when playing 64th notes at some insane tempo. I think this had to do with *how* he played guitar, which brings me to something else that is critical to Holdsworth’s aesthetic, and this links him (on two levels) to Coltrane – and that is his technique and tone. His technique is fascinating. I’ve watched a pile of videos of him playing, and he had a habit of plucking the string closer to the neck. This decreases a certain set of overtones and frequencies, giving him a characteristic TONE. And that is one of the things I admired most about his playing. His tone was flawless. He always had this steady, flowing, warm tone to his guitar – it was readily identifiable. Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I don’t much care for his middle period work playing a Synthaxe. It’s a synthesizer, and it sounds like… a synth. Frankly his synth programming chops were good, but not great. In anycase he gradually went back to electric guitar and his fabulousity continued and grew.
But this is where there is a flow between him and Coltrane. They both had perfect tone and flow. Coltrane had an unmistakable tone and incredible flow, and like Coltrane (which brings me back to a counter point to McLaughlin) Holdsworth would take his incredible tone and timbre and bring it into the flow, and their flows were similar: where melody would work its way through patterns of scales and arpeggios, and have them operate in a very extended way through a variety of different modes. So as you follow the melody, it floats through a chord sequence, which they touch on by pulling in bits of arpeggio based off the chord, and bounce off a scale based in that chord. Both he and Coltrane would then shift through a variety of modes. What makes it stunning is how effortless both he and Coltrane make it sound – the warmth and tone do that – and then do it all at some crazy relativistic velocity. In terms of speed, this can be contrasted with McLaughlin. McLaughlin’s approach in the 70s (and continuing to this day, although although since the 90s, McLaughlin’s been happy to “punch holes” in the sound – his work with Miles Davis finally sank in, perhaps?)  was more like an unrelenting machine gun or a firehose. He plucked the strings closer to the bridge – usually between the two pickups, and often closer to the bridge pickup. There, the string is tighter, and thus more “brittle” or “tighter” sounding when plucked. Also, McLaughlin tended to pluck more, which, combined with his hand position relative to the bridge, gave the staccato mandolin type sound and approach that is so awesome and characteristic of McLaughlin’s playing. Holdsworth’s plucking was often over the neck pick up or between the neck pickup and the neck. He was less concerned about plucking each note, and would let his left hand fluidly travel over the neck. Plucking close to the neck gave him that crazy warm tone, and his fluid touch and fretwork gave him that flow. I also got the impression he would rarely use the bridge pick up alone – he usually ran with the neck pick up or, if he needed more treble, both neck and bridge pick ups. This also gave a great deal of warmth to his sound.
Seventy is not that old, especially in this day and age. Holdsworth was brilliant and he shall be missed.
On a personal note, I knew of and listened to Holdsworth – mostly his work with Gong and UK. I even saw UK with Holdsworth playing in 1978 in Morristown NJ. I was way impressed by his playing. Then I lost track of him. I heard one of his records in the 80s on Synthaxe and was not impressed. When I started hanging out with Timothy Morton, he recommended his solo works and gave me some titles to check out. I did and “discovered” his genius all over again. So I have to thank Timothy for that!

Notes toward another post:
Music is only really alive when people play it. Recorded music is a kind of material hauntological experience. We get to hear ghosts. Not all ghosts are scary. Some are warm and friendly…

Thoughts On A Facebook Meme Flurry

Last night I posted every single meme I had in my Pictures Folder to Facebook. It ran as a continuous collection of single posts, flooding the streams of my friends. This was on purpose. While doing this a few friends messaged me wondering if my Facebook had been hijacked. I replied this was on purpose.

It was.

The purpose was to illustrate and provoke some thought and awareness about a few things regarding Social Media, and Facebook in specific. I was going to write a more extensive reflection on this, but I am not feeling that great today. So this will be shorter.

Facebook has a built in glue: friendship and trust. I have many friends on Facebook, some I’ve known since kindergarten. What my posting flurry did was alarm some friends – friends that were on Facebook at that time and watching their feed flood with memes. To be honest, some of the memes are actually pretty funny and a few are insightful. This gives the posting flurry some value. This also complicated the flurry, as the meme flood became a kind of slide show or film, an event or performance. The downside is that it came unbidden. The upside is that it was chock full of useful memes. One friend reposted one particular part of my flurry which dealt with argument errors. A number of friends emailed me saying they were laughing a lot – it was like a fire hose of humour. I am sure some people were less than amused as their feed is now cluttered with my meme flurry.

As time goes by, the flurry will recede, like a large animal swallowed by a python, it will form a lump that will dissipate with time.

SO, with this flurry, I may have stretched some trust with my friends – if I made you uncomfortable that was a small part of my intention, but not my goal. By doing something annoying in this way on Facebook, I am laying bare the vectors of association around my Facebook account, and allowing people to examine what exactly it is that is in their Feed. For example, a friend’s feed late last night would be dominated by my posts. As one wished to review earlier posts by others, one will have to wallow through the flurry to get to them. As time passes and older posts become less relevant in the next few days, the flurry will simply disappear. What will remain? All the memes will remain in my Timeline Photos for people to see, reference and share.

Posting these became a time-based performance, something for which Facebook is ill-suited. However, it was a way to push Facebook into a place it wasn’t designed for, and experiment with its boundaries and parameters. This is not the first time. Several years ago I worked with Boris Ackerhalt where he would post images and then we would give them captions that were of a specific character, or using specific rules to arrive at captions. There were ideas to make one particular series into a book, but the photographer declined. Boris would post ever more extreme images and his Facebook account was removed more than once. He was pushing boundaries that Facebook didn’t want pushed. Eventually he tired of this and went on to other work, as did I.

This latest action / event / performance had a potential audience of over 1000, however it is likely that only a handful actually experienced it due to the Facebook algorithms of association and notification.

Facebook is a deeply broken system that works extremely well. I expect I will figure out more “things to do with Facebook”. I doubt I will do another Flurry like that.

Clinton was no Progressive

What this article misses is the unifying language that the fundamental interests of the left are the actual, if unacknowledged or ignored, interests of the people who voted for Trump. Most of the Trump voters aren’t necessarily fascist sexist klansmen, although I am fairly certain that every fascist sexist klansman did vote for Trump. Most of them were just typical white middle Americans – fairly clueless, poorly informed, angry, and deeply frustrated. To quote the “liberal redneck” comedian Trae Crowder from a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, “racism and sexism were just the icing on the fuck-you cake they voted for.” I agree with the article in that there is no point in giving Trump or his agenda a hair’s breadth of daylight. I also agree that buying into the notion that Clinton’s some kind of progressive was and is foolish, and saying her voting record was 93% in accord with Bernie’s was stupid. As the article notes: Bleach is 93% water, and no one wants to drink it… Where their records diverge were critical. The other thing that he gets into and I also agree with is that Bernie was not a significant leftist. He is a left wing reformer, and like the author, I was fine with that at this election.However, times are different now, and the political atmosphere has darkened and stiffened. This will require more vigorous effort to rectify….

http://progressivearmy.com/2017/02/11/pretending-clinton-was-progressive-alienated-the-left/

1970 Firesign Theatre Prophecy

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603431/as-goldman-embraces-automation-even-the-masters-of-the-universe-are-threatened/

Using software Goldman Sach’s New York headquarters has replaced 600 traders with 200 programmers. This echoes or rhymes with a record from 1970 by The Firesign Theatre, I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus:

(…JIM…): Mister President – WHERE CAN I GET A JOB?

The President: Many busy executives ask me, “What about the job displacement market program in the city of the future?” Well, count on us to be there, (… JIM…), because, if we’re lucky tomorrow, we won’t have to deal with questions like yours ever again.

That’s from 1970. Stunning.