Conversation with CM Nadine Ramsey

I was fortunate enough to get a few minutes this morning with Council Member Nadine Ramsey, Council Member for District C and Candidate to hold the seat in the election coming up in just two days.

It was a busy day – a Council Meeting and a special event for breast cancer awareness.

To make it even more exciting, we (NOLAscape, not Ms Ramsey) had every technical problem I can think of, from some of the recording equipment not working to format conversion that I still don’t understand, setting us back about four hours.

I always like discussing issues from the general to the most particular with Ms. Ramsey. She is affable, patient, logical and practical, avoiding slogan politics like “more police!” or “No STRs!” for real-world principles and practical solutions to real-world practical problems. Nadine Ramsey knows thay more police and more weapons alone won’t solve our crime rate – that you have to get stuck into the causes of crime. She knows that you can’t minimize the impact of short-term rental by prohibition and crackdowns for show. You have to deal with it by careful management to get best net benefit and least negative impact.

But that’s enough from me. Our interview was just 16 minutes, so let’s let Nadine Ramsey tell it herself.

If you have friends interested in District C who might not be NOLAscape subscribers, please forward the links. Election’s coming – information is good.

© NOLAscape October 2017

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The NRA is our most deadly terrorist organization

It’s a few days now, but the hypocrisy is still rising.

When death strikes heavy blows in public, Americans, especially politicians in their most unctuous, hypocritical mode, slide easily into the “thoughts and prayers” thing. This will probably offend some of my religious friends, but the idea makes me feel queasy. I imagine thousands of people with sad clown expressions mumbling stuff to an Old Guy in the Sky, asking their imaginary supernatural boss to be especially kind to the newly killed, their mourning friends and relatives, and others like themselves, basking in impotent grief and possibly relief.

Maybe there is an excuse for this kind of behavior when the causes are outside of ourselves – hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides. But when the causes are within human character and social organization – yecch.

I don’t like rogatory prayers. Rituals, okay. Conditionally. Rituals have rhythm. Words, mantras, hymns, psalms and formal compositions called “prayers” as components of rituals, okay, For everyday use, they beat public slaughter of chickens and goats. Maybe prayers as dramatic windows into the thoughts or character of a person, like Tevye talking to God, okay. But sitting still inside your own head, using God not as an image, avatar, idea or mirror for self-awareness, believing that there is an invisible supernatural agent that you ask, as if he or she was real, to do things that you will not do and will not force your elected government to do – that is a sick-making sight.

59 more people killed and over 500 shot by bad law, bad politics, gun manufacturers and their front organization, the NRA, when the assembled supernaturalists of the nation bow their heads and mumble inanities instead of standing up and doing something – I get off of that bus, quick, before I have to throw up in public. I am not standing with the prayers.

If they perform those gestures later, to meditate a moment on the ugly old poisons buried in our limbic brains that sometimes get loose, okay. But first, citizens: do your damn’ job. Defang the disgusting organization that sells the idea that personal freedom, affirmation and power come from holding murder weapons in your hands, weapons manufactured and sold by its paymasters, caressing them, making love to them in your diseased, addicted mind. The NRA is America’s worst terrorist organization. The worst. Its death toll makes ISIS in the west look like a hobby business.

Isis and Al Qaeda must be trying to catch up with the NRA. Al Baghdadi surely studies videos of Wayne La Pierre to learn how he gets the support of millions of Americans and the majority of government hacks while cheerfully simultaneously claiming and denying responsibility for thousands of murders and suicides every year,

Al Baghdadi and his counterparts in Al Qaeda and other operators of death cults see how money does it. Americans are fooled by the NRA’s act. It must make the lords of ISIS smile over their mint tea, watching the corruption of the declining empire. Little different than any “third world” political hustler, Americans are often less expensive. Our imperial minions just need some campaign contributions and maybe a speaking offer and a second-hand velvet glove to cover their rusty hand. Check out John Thune, Republican senator of South Dakota, for the mechanism, or Mitch McConnell, to watch a quiet master of hypocrisy and subservience to the corporate oligarchy at work.

It’s an empire for sale, and the NRA knows its price. When the jihadis negotiate their price, as the NRA has, and work out the right combination of campaign donations, revolving doors and bribes to getting the mental and spiritual giants of our capitols on board, beware. Wayne La Pierre operates the process. how hard can it be?

The NRA and the other misinterpreters of the Second Amendment are going to get you killed. Forget thoughts and prayers. Stand up to them. Put them down. It is offensive that we even have to hear about these homicidal morons. We may lose, but discretion is not called for.

For more on this subject. Jeremy Scahill’s Intercepted for today just rolled in. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/guns-before-country/id1195206601?i=1000393064304&mt=2

© NOLAscape 2017

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Conversations S1E4: Forty Guns

What a film.

I had never seen or even heard of it until Henry and Jonathan put it in the frame for a Conversation.

From one point of view, it can look like a collection of horse opera clichés. A pace or two to the side to let the light hit it from another angle, and it is Sophocles set against the unfinished clapboard fronts of a prairie pioneer town instead of the columns of a Mycenaean palace. Are the two bath scenes just non-sequitur comedy skits with cowboy song musical accompaniment, or are they choral interludes in a play of destiny?

Henry and Jonathan will figure it out.

A few copies of Forty Guns are available on YouTube. If the enigma beneath the obvious catches you as it has me, you may find yourself watching it more than once.

Click the arrowhead on the podcast link below.

 

 

 

 

© NOLAscape October 2017

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Evolution

Film fans! Comrades! Nolascapees!

Another movie Conversation is coming up in a minute. I was away for a couple of weeks and didn’t have the kit to handle the audio files. Next up is Forty Guns, an unusual, even unique cowboy movie by Sam Fuller. If you don’t know it, why not have a watch of it first, before Henry and Jonathan’s podcast comes on line? Forty Guns is available nice and free on YouTube.

Meanwhile, we have to do something about primate evolution. It’s running amuck. Some of our ancestors with very bad table manners may be interfering with our wonderful imperial democracy even more than teenage Russian hackers.

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New data coming in with our daily headlines suggest that evolution may not be working right. We need to take a hard look at biochemistry,

Most of us probably think of evolution as a descriptive, historical science but we probably thought the same about climatology until Al Gore put us straight. Social Darwinism didn’t end well, but maybe there is a Third Way between eugenics and free evolution.

Here’s the problem.

Primate behavior is re-emerging. It must have always been just beneath the surface but stronger norms and institutions kept it covered. Now, our social organization may be just a shredding gossamer veil before the onslaught of DNA, the limbic brain and amygdalas going wild.

Recent political eruptions are making it clear that we can’t let primatology and DNA management languish in the shadows of science.

As I was working on this subject, comparing political groups to primate bands and Alpha Apes, and Washington second stringers to the subordinate chimps who usually passively accept the antics of the boss Alpha, no matter how stupid, the great Jane Goodall stepped in and described Trump’s similarity to an Alpha chimp. I take Ms Goodall’s independent verdict as a positive peer review in advance. And of course she published first, so I can’t take all the credit for this great insight.

But I go further than Ms Goodall. Just seeing and describing the fact that we are electing apes is not enough, nor will the tools of public reason suffice to restore civilization. We have to get in there with our micro-monkey wrenches and retro-fix evolution.

I am still working on a launch plan. A protest movement against free evolution would be premature. We would be infiltrated by prairie Christians thinking it was a protest against “belief in” evolution, not against some disappointing results, and some of the cagier evangelicals might spot they they are included among the disappointing results.

Liberal elites would advocate fair and sensible regulation of evolution. Libertarians would come out strongly for Red in Tooth and Claw. Republicans would say regulation of evolution should be left to the states, who can be more responsive to their communities and will understand that evolution in Alabama and Mississippi is different than in New York, California and countries less exceptional than ours. We can expect some resistance. Sharper Republicans would twig that if evolution had been properly managed, they would not exist. They would need a few years of debate, denial and possibly a bit of violence about how low to set the bar.

There is international precedent for getting a grip on DNA and its unfettered recombination. Several years ago, to combat disorder fomented by runaway Buddhism in Tibet and in exile, the government of China outlawed reincarnation without a license.

“Global warming” is a euphemism for one species of primate pouring huge wallops of energy into the atmosphere, energy stored chemically in substances over megayears burnt and exploded into the air over a few decades, along with gases released by cattle raised for our hamburger and fried chicken diet. Our wiser contemporary savannah primates have figured out that we have to do something about it. There are obstacles, such as industrialized greed, but we know we have to do it. We have to put evolution in a similar frame. We will need a reference term for cable news and parade floats. “Alpha eruptions.” “Primate resurgence.” “Monkey brains.” “DNA or Democracy?” We’ll think of something.

I know what you are thinking, but this is not about Trump. It is too big a subject for just that one victim and example of primate relapse. Nevertheless, we can’t ignore him. He and his Praetorian Punch and Judy Show provide a valuable window into the problem.

Our ancestors were not chimpanzees, of course, but another primate species more adapted to life on the grasslands than in the forest. It is unlikely, though, that our ancestors were all that different than forest apes socially because, as we can now see more clearly than ever before, we’re not.

Trump behaves like an Alpha chimp or a Silverback in a bad mood. Trump supporters generally agree with Ms Goodall about the kind of animal he is, but they like it – as do subordinate chimpanzees, glad to be freed from Alpha duty by the chest-beating buffoon at the edge of the clearing.

A forest Alpha ape screeches, bares his teeth and feint-charges, sometimes at imaginary enemies. A city ape runs a different show. One trick is to keep his jacket open so his long red tie swings back and forth below his expanding belt. He can set up panoramas of enemies, some imaginary, with new ones almost every day to keep his fanboys clapping. This week, African American football and basketball players fed up of being on the wrong end of police abuse and racial injustice are center stage, replacing Kim Jong Un as our greatest threat, and Nambia as our great ally. Weaponizing anthem and Pledge Allegiance protests, President Alpha does not even have to make specifically racist statements. He can just weaponize the flag and the Star Spangled Banner against – all the dog whistles go off at once.

For another close-up on the risks of unfinished evolution, watch and read our Alpha’s crazy stuff about Puerto Rico. (More on that in next chapter.)

The Alpha chimp or Silverback gorilla is not always a wise veteran caring for his clan. Frequently the Alpha is just an apish asshole fomenting friction and discontent. For a while, the primate clan lets it go. The Alpha’s job is to be ferociously territorial and preposterously aggressive so the others can sit back and have a nice day without having to screech and feint-charge themselves.

Chimpanzee watchers have seen and filmed revolts where the Alpha swung too much toward Asshole. The normal chimps who like a life of play, sex and bananas got fed up, ganged up and beat the living daylights, and sometimes the living, out of the Alpha. He thought he was king, his authority was not to be questioned. But his days got numbered.

Climate chaos from irresponsible energy use and factory farming – if we don’t get on top of that, mass death will reduce population until the earth, the cockroaches and the rats put things right again.

But if we want to move on from rule by Alpha Asshole, we have to stop being soft on evolution.

© MOLAscape October 2017

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