"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

May 31, 2010

Chutzpah, In Images

These, according to the IDF site, are the weapons which so terrified Israeli commandos, that they had to murder sleeping people:

Kitchen knives, wrenches, what looks like hammer hafts, a standard kitchen blade sharpener and other commonplace items found in any every day tool kit.

Do note, though, how the IDF propagandists menacingly pose the knives over a green flag, with Arabic script:

Nice touch, that.

In other news, I wonder how Bibi and Avidgor will handle the arrival of the MV Rachel Corrie.

It appears as of right now that the Irish ship, the Rachel Corrie, will proceed onward to Gaza in spite of murderous Israeli attacks on sister ships, in a night time raid.

The Rachel Corrie, refusing to stand down. Sometimes Lady Irony plays fair with history.

h/t Mondoweiss

Chutzpah, Or How Lies Get Their Running Legs

"Nice Guys Finish Last  

Noah Pollak - 05.31.2010 - 12:52 PM 
To my mind, the most astonishing thing about the flotilla disaster is that the IDF sent its elite naval commandos into a highly charged potential combat situation that was being closely scrutinized by the world media — armed with paintball guns.

The intent, of course, was to show that Israel wished to avert escalating the confrontation and merely sought to bring the ships to port, transfer their cargo to Gaza, send the “peace activists” home, and bring this mini-drama to a close. But the results were catastrophic.

Instead of proving Israel’s good intentions, the commandos found themselves unable to take control of the terrorist blockade runners, who knew, of course, that any bloodshed and violence that followed the Israeli boarding party would be laid at the feet of the Israelis. Armed with the proper equipment, the naval commandos could have done precisely what they are trained to do — take command of a ship decisively and with great speed. This can only be done when the men boarding the ship are able to immediately neutralize their opponents and establish complete control.

But the Israeli commandos obviously could not establish complete control. They fast-roped into an ambush and were beaten and stabbed. Would this have happened if they had real guns in their hands? Probably not.

Those who sent an elite unit into a hostile confrontation armed with toy weapons made an incredibly stupid decision. And a uniquely Israeli one. In recent memory, Israeli military action has been violent but not decisive, bloody enough to provoke the outrage and condemnation of the world (at this point, a stubbed toe will do), but not enough to actually change facts on the ground (the Hamas and Hezbollah wars being prime examples). These halfhearted wars and battles have earned Israel demerits in world opinion without enough to show in improved strategic position. Exit question: How many new flotillas to Gaza are being planned right now in Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East?"

Read this a few times, this piece of hasbara shite.

The problem with this Israeli act of state terrorism, see, has got nothing to do with the fucking storm trooper raid on a humanitarian convoy. Worry your heads not one bit about goons murdering sleeping women and men.

The problem, according to the venomous ass above, reaches far wider and deeper than all that.

Israel's own Order of the Totemkopf didn't do bloody damned well enough. They failed to bring the requisite amount of brutality, death and suffering to the ships' decks.

Too nice, he suggests. Israeli stormtroopers acted with too much restraint.

And found themselves caught in an ambush.


The whole goy world, right now, has its knickers in knots because they just don't understand how nice and restrained Israel's leadership has so far (halfheartedly) acted, when it really ought to have done worse, and more often, and again and again and again.

You've read it yourself. Right there in English.

And you know what?

This little narrative will spread, will infect the airwaves, playing right into the pre-colonized expectations of Christian Zionists, American "creatives," and the propaganda mill out Los Angeles way.

So that, I imagine, a couple weeks down the road, Israel and the United States will strengthen their "historic friendship," perhaps with a little pushback against...well...you pick. Syria? Hizbollah? Lebanon proper? Iran?

Or perhaps another go at Gaza?

And do not count on much from Imperial Barack or his High Consigliere, Secretary Clinton. They cannot rightly condemn what happened in the Mediterranean, when they sign off on this same ugly business of empire every day and night, in Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

h/t Newshoggers

International Law

"(Cyprus, June 1, 2010, 6:30 am) Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep. According to the live video from the ship, two have been killed, and 31 injured. Al Jazeera has just confirmed the numbers.

Streaming video shows the Israeli soldiers shooting at civilians, and our last SPOT beacon said, “HELP, we are being contacted by the Israelis.”

We know nothing about the other five boats. Israel says they are taking over the boats.

The coalition of Free Gaza Movement (FG), European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), the Perdana Global Peace Organisation , Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza appeal to the international community to demand that Israel stop their brutal attack on civilians delivering vitally needed aid to the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza and permit the ships to continue on their way.

The attack has happened in international waters, 75 miles off the coast of Israel, in direct violation of international law."


Can we dispense with the fiction of "international law" now, please? It serves a very specific purpose: to keep poor peoples, oppressed peoples, occupied peoples, tribal peoples and minor states trapped within a network of obligations; a network which favors the rich comptrollers, the corporate fiefdoms and the elected butchers of Europe, the US and its clients, Coastal China, Japan, the new Russian Rodina and the aristocracy of South America in their plundering, murderous mercantile adventures.

International law means jack damned shit if one of the above violates these obligations.

And thanks to ASP, we have direct confirmation of how this works:


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose: the only "Democracy" in the region...

"Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country's siege on Gaza.

At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: 'This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves.'"


The Israeli-American-NATO continuum: where pre-meditated murder = self-defense.

I have no other words. Intimidation works, which is why assholes continue to kill the innocent.

h/t Lenin's Tomb, Dead Horse, Distant Ocean, Al Jazeera

May 30, 2010

The Carnifex Waves His Bloody Knife At Iran

I owe Rob Payne @ Dead Horse whatever version of crow eating (ew, cannibalism) most appropriately demonstrates my failure to call this one correctly.

Seems that Stanlieus Carnifex and the New MacArthur really, really want more black bag money for the Pentagon's semi-secret terrorism campaign in Iran:

"KABUL, Afghanistan — The commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan said Sunday there is 'clear evidence' that some Taliban fighters have trained in Iran.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal told reporters in the Afghan capital that Iran - Afghanistan's western neighbor - has generally assisted the Afghan government in fighting the insurgent group.

'There is, however, clear evidence of Iranian activity - in some cases providing weaponry and training to the Taliban - that is inappropriate,' he said. McChrystal said NATO forces are working to stop both the training and the weapons trafficking.

Last month, McChrystal said there were indications that Taliban were training in Iran, but not very many and not in a way that it appeared it was part of an Iranian government policy. He did not give details on how many people have trained in Iran at Sunday's news conference."


I really, really would have taken the odds on using North Korea as a distraction from Obama's oil woes in the Gulf of Mexico. But, I guess Imperial Barack and the General Staff need something in Iran.

I wonder what.

See also, this:

"A military strike on Iranian military bases, airports, bridges, railroad stations and other key infrastructure could lead Iran to suspend its nuclear arms program, according to a paper that came out last week in a US Army publication.

Titled 'Can a Nuclear-Armed Iran Be
Deterred?' the article, which appeared in the current edition of Military Review, was written by American-Israeli sociologist and George Washington University professor Amitai Etzioni.

Attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities might not be effective, the Palmach veteran and Hebrew University alumnus writes, since, as opponents of such a strike argue, the location of key facilities may not be known, the facilities are well protected, and some are in heavily populated areas and bombing them would cause a great number of civilian casualties.

As a result, he calls for a 'different military option.'

'The basic approach seeks not to degrade Iran’s nuclear capacities (the aim of bombing) but to compel the regime to change its behavior, by causing ever-higher levels of ‘pain,’ Etzioni writes.

Neither Israel nor the United States has ever publicly spoken about the targets that they would bomb if they decide to attack Iran. Most military thinkers have spoken about only targeting nuclear facilities and military sites that could be used by Teheran to retaliate.

Such a strike would come after Iran fails to live up to its international obligations and open up its nuclear to inspections. The next step, Etzioni recommends, would be to bomb non-nuclear military assets such as the headquarters and encampments of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as air defense installations, radar sites, missile sites and navy vessels that could be used to stop the flow of oil to the West.

If this campaign fails, Etzioni recommends bombing dual-use assets such as bridges and railroad stations. If a further tightening of screws is needed, then the attacker could declare Iran a no-fly zone like part of Iraq was even before Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched in 2003.

(emphasis mine)


Noted "communitarian" Etzioni wants the US and Israel to pound Iran into body parts and DU dust because its leadership might abide by its non-proliferation treaty "[fail] to live up to its...obligations."

h/t Werkshop 

Yay, Western Civilization...

British Petroleum Does Performance Art, Obama Makes Somber Faces

Bmaz (Emptywheel @ FDL) does a solid deconstruction of the attempted "fixes" of the oil eruption, offered up for public consumption, by British Petroleum. The whole entry deserves attention, but for mine own part I'd like to draw your eye to this nugget:

"The well itself has no structural integrity; it has not from the outset. The well was doomed to blow out and all these hair brained fixes BP has hucked to the clueless media and public were doomed to fail as well. This has been an insane ostrich head in the sand process, apparently all to salve a pissed public and angry mother nature because BP and the government have got nothing else and they know it.

The latest greatest pie in the sky dream fix is LMRP, which technically stands for Lower Marine Riser Package. It is the new and improved Top Hat! Here is a diagram of the LMRP plan

Everything BP has so far done, and failed at, has followed from a simple yet unavoidable fact, that the structure of the well itself guaranteed disaster.

And I don't think that "clueless" accurately describes the participation of corporate media conglomerates, which organizations need oil and the liberal capitalist state as much as any others of their size and scope. Clueless, no. Complicit, yes.

Because we have for our scrutiny, yet again, a case of liberal capitalist theater.

Barack fucking Obama, Ken "Cheney Loves Him" Salazar, Transocean, Halliburton and British Petroleum know that this shit won't "fix" the monstrous oil eruption. MSNBC, CNN, Disney, Viacom and FOX know it.

They haven't set themselves the task of self-deception.

So, for whom have they spent hundreds of millions of television ready entertainment dollars?

Oil gluttonous Americans.

You know what?

It might just work.

This sort of Emergency positively begs the state's handlers to chum up a justification for a torturers rack of new powers, you know, because Uncle doesn't have enough yet...

Fisking Lakoff in the service of common truths, commonly ignored, I fan the embers of absurdity, wondering if any of this tempts non-existent History to reconsider to whom it has given influence, wealth and power...

George Lakoff once had a half serviceable idea. He called it framing, and he managed to capture half a truth and two thirds of an insight, in applying it to the lies that politicians tell.

Not content with this thought rattling around inside his own bone bubble, Lakoff started off a shit storm of stupid by telling anyone (and everyone) else about it. These days, to avoid some half wit with a pen or keyboard nattering on and on about "optics" or "framing,' an honest person has to pull a Thoreau and wander off into the green and darkening wood, perhaps taking an epic saunter, or a northbound trip to the company mill lands which chew up the once great woods in the shadow of noble and ennobling Katahdin.

Of course, wandering off into the woods recommends itself on its own terms, to sane people everywhere, regardless of Lakoff, or the Kosnikaut tools who love to mumble and mutter approvingly into their diaries about his contribution to the Unifying Field of Everlasting Stupid called politics.

Let's remember a solid truth, right here at the start.

Lakoff never questions power.

He just barely drums up an idea or two about the state, before leaping off into perfervid condemnations of childlike conservatives and their addiction to the wrong kind of power. Cuz'y'know, they might make das gubmint look bad.

Lakoff loves himself some authority, so long as good liberals have it, and do wonderful things for puppy dogs and public pools with it. And that constitutes the what for and the why of his entire theory of framing - how to tell stories to get ordinarily mistrustful hoi polloi to vote for do-gooder meddlers, the better to save them from themselves.

It should probably surprise no one but Lakoff, then, that Lakoff writes, "Barack Obama may be one of the best communicators of this generation, but he is not living up to his own talents. In a year of disasters, communication failure doubles the disasters."

Of all the possible hack sentences, in all the possible worlds, this may prove the funniest I've read in a long, long time. Of this generation? Barack Obama? The guy who stammers like a drunken frat boy taking his first cap of GHB, if he doesn't have a script?

Unreal gods and imaginary fates, I loves me some George Lakoff.

Does this alleged master of linguistics really want us to accept, blindly and willy-o-nilly, that fucking up the message somehow magically adds another full complement of disaster, ex nihilo?

Why, yes - yes he does.

Speaking of magical thinking, Lakoff continues,"If, as he says, the monster spill was his highest priority from Day 1, he needed to communicate that from Day 1 — or at least Day 3 or 4. It took five weeks for him to tell the nation what he and his administration were doing.

The result was visible in the press conference yesterday. He was on the defensive. He needed to be on the offensive — from early on. The choice is not doing or communicating. It is doing and communicating."

No, grasshoppers, you did not read that wrong. Barack Pendragon Obama, lord of the New Camelot, really ought to have told all we little people that he had the magic power to...er...um...prioritize his supreme distaste for a colossal monster of an oil eruption. One caused by gross negligence, the everyday operation of capitalism and the planned failure of oversight that forms the entire rationale of the liberal capitalist state. An eruption which no attentive observer can or ought to separate from his Presidency, because his Presidency, like all others, depends upon his serving the interest of the ruling class, and very specifically, the oil zaibatsu which shape so much of government policy.

George Lakoff, in other words, wants Obama to lie to us, because if he doesn't - other political vipers might knock him off his seat at the table.

And then do the really bad things that governments tend to do, but more openly. Which might make people question...

...government itself.

We can almost hear Georgie whimpering,"No, not that!"

In case, fellow travelers, you think wayward Jack has made this shit up, Lakoff spins it further:

"His narrative: This is a tough, unprecedented situation, but I’m in charge, and I’ve been very busy, in the Situation Room where I belong, not on tv. I’m fully competent. I’m a good policy wonk — ask me any question about details. I’m honest. I admit my few policy mistakes. I think about the details day and night. Don’t think I’m oblivious.

It’s defensive, trying to overcome criticism that should never have been allowed to accumulate. But worse, it’s weak when it needs to be strong.

The president did do the required minimum. He placed a moratorium on offshore drilling and cancelled oil leases in the Gulf and off Virginia. He appointed a commission to make safety recommendations. And he is reorganizing the Mining Management Service. All to the good, but ..."

Let us be blunt together. Lakoff has typed out and published a bunch of fucking hooey. Lies. And damned lies. Barack Obama didn't do jack shit in front of the telly, except for staged photo ops, because no one in the oil, entertainment and banking oligarchies to which he owes his power will ever actually let him do anything about it.  He didn't send in the Navy, or put FEMA spokes-tools all over the bandwidth, because he will never, ever undermine the foundation of the liberal capitalist state. If the oil doesn't flow, the Marines don't build forward expeditionary bases. If the oil doesn't flow, until such time as the rest of us get our tickets to superfluous existence, the whole thing risks premature collapse.

If Barack Penfuckingdragon Obama actually used the state against oil companies, or banks, or lying telecomms, it might give the hoi polloi dangerous notions. If he seizes oil assets, or frogmarches more than a handful of BP executives in for anything other than a show trial, he runs the real risk of losing his job.

A job he really, really wanted. He spent hundreds of millions of other people's dollars proving that.

Besides, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich might call him a kukka poopy doo-doo head.

Lakoff knows this, of course. Which makes some sense of what follows:

"Crises are opportunities. He has consistently missed them. Today was a grand opportunity to pull together the threads — BP and the spill, Massey and the mine disaster, Wall Street and the economic disaster, Anthem BlueCross and health care, the Arizona Immigration Law, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — even Afghanistan. The press threw him fastballs straight down the middle, and he hit dribblers every time.

It’s not that he said nothing to tie them together.  But there was no home run, no unifying narrative, no patriotic call to the nation on the full gamut of issues. Instead, there were only hints, suggestions, possible implications, notes of concern — as if he had been intimidated by the right-wing message machine.

And yet, Obama of all political leaders, could have done it, because he did before in his campaign."

Yeppers. Possibly the worst environmental disaster in the two hundred plus years history of the imperial project of these United States presents Barack of the Fabled Round Table with an opportunity.  To do what, you ask?

To keep Republicans from putting an electoral target on Barack Galahad Obama's back.

It gets worse. Oh, yes - it really does:

"The central idea is Empathy. Democracy is based on empathy, on people caring about one another and acting to the very best of their ability on that care, for their families, their communities, their nation, and the world. Government must also care and act on that care. Government’s job is to protect and empower its citizens.

That idea is what draws together all the threads. The bottom line for corporations (whether BP, Massey, Anthem or Goldman Sachs) is money, not empathy. The bottom line for those who hate (whether homophobes, the Arizona Legislature, or al Qaeda) is domination and oppression, not empathy. 

Empathy, and acting on it effectively, is the main business of government.

And Obama knows it in his heart.

Yet the right-wing has intimidated Obama into dropping not just the word "empathy," but the idea. Empathy is a positive deep connection with other people in general and with all living things, the ability to see and feel as they do.  The right-wing, which shows little empathy, has confused empathy with a bleeding-heart sympathy for individuals, which they see as a weakness. And though Obama has repeatedly made the distinction clear, he has allowed the right wing to intimidate him into abandoning 'the most important thing my mother taught me.'" 

Digest that shit for a moment, jackrabbits.

Mull it over.

George Lakoff thinks that the monstrous military and market machine which has ground up and destroyed the Haudenosaunee, the Shawnee, the Pequot, the Micmac, the Pennacook, the Huron, the Tsalagi, the Choctaw, the Lakota, the Pawnee, the Cheyenne, the Ute, the Apache, the Crow, the Shoshone, the Blackfoot, the Paiute, the Seminole - which stomped on Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan, Grenada, Cuba- which funded and gave material support to dictators and oligarchies in Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Zaire, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rhodesia, South Africa, Indonesia, Singapore, and across Asia and Africa - which could not have expanded and protected the wealth of its white ruling class without two hundred seventy five years of slavery, nearly a hundred years of Jim Crow, and continuing institutional segregation, which currently spends more of its stolen labor (as wealth) on murdering others through warfare than all other countries combined, which still protects the gendered division of labor that keeps so much of traditionally female work out of consideration for remuneration, or which undervalues it - this beast really just embodies love and ponies and sweet, sweet Empathy, because...well, because George Lakoff says so.

Lakoff thinks the job of government adds up to providing the subjects of its power with good feelings and neighborly thoughts.

Oh, and the word democracy...

Yes, grasshoppers and jackrabbits - George fucking Lakoff really did write, "Empathy, and acting on it effectively, is the main business of government."

No wonder Lakoff thinks the main business of political parties is telling plausible lies about government so that the people getting screwed most by the state (and who breed up the sons and daughters who'll get sent into FUBAR war zones to kill and die for the wealth of those who control the state) will vote in ceremonial elections for those same assholes who rule over them, giving sanction to that monstrous project of rapine, theft and destruction framing.

It goes on and on, but I've used up my reservoir of disgust. I'd rather go back to feeling half-halfheartedly bad for Steve Nash, and to gnashing my teeth and cursing at the unreal fates, for giving Kobe Fucking Rapist Raping Raper Bryant another shot at a hundred million more endorsement dollars

h/t Jane commenting at DGH

May 28, 2010

War in 10 Minutes

Graphic, graphic video. You've been warned.

h/t and credit to Divided by Zero; I'm re-posting it to do my small part. (Minor note: not a fan of the movie trailer musical treatment.)

May 27, 2010

"The Commons As Policed Military Space"

"When the Obama administration unveils its National Security Strategy Thursday, it will be the first time a president explicitly recognizes the threat posed to the country by radicalized individuals at home.

"For the first time since 9/11, the NSS integrates homeland security and national security," according to highlights of the plan given to CNN by a senior administration official said.

The security strategy acts as a blueprint for how the White House intends to protect Americans. In the past, it has focused mostly on international threats. But National Security Adviser John Brennan explained Wednesday that a spate of terror-related plots in the United States recently prompted the Obama administration to include homegrown terrorism in the document. 

'Such a strategy must begin with the recognition that a clear-eyed understanding of our strategic environment -- the world as it is today -- is necessary to shape the world that we seek,
according to a summary of the plan.

Currently, the United States is focused on completing a responsible transition in Iraq, succeeding in Afghanistan, and defeating al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates, while moving our economy from deep recession to enduring recovery. Even as we confront these crises, our national strategy must take a longer view. We must adapt and lead in a rapidly changing, interconnected world in which interests of nations and peoples are increasingly shared.'

Homegrown terrorism represents a new phase of the terrorist threat, officials said..."


Please note the explicit connection made between economic recovery (for a greatly reduced client population) and the police-militarization of the res publica, or what's left of it.

The liberal capitalist state must consolidate its newly defined powers, shedding the excess weight of social amelioration outside of those zones which provide it with donor and subject populations.

It will cover this transformation with the veneer of reformism until such time as surplus populations no longer present a counter-weight of numbers, and as long as it can provide distractions.

The consolidation of the state power in the executive echoes the consolidation of economic mastery within liberated financial-banking-insurance combines. Liberated, as in from the social restraints of the welfare state, which recognized the potential for revolutionary insurrection by ameliorating against it.

It will use these newly arrogated police powers, or it it will serve no use to the capitalist powers which provide it with its leadership, and who benefit most from the cover it provides.

And use those powers it will.

Because cops and soldiers need people at whom they can point their weapons.

Still Relevant

I see the Middle Kingdom between Heaven and Earth
Like the Chinese call the country of their birth
We all figure that our homes are set above
Other people than the ones we know and love
In every place with a name
They play the same territorial game
Hiding behind the lines
Sending up warning signs

The whole wide world
An endless universe
Yet we keep looking through
The eyeglass in reverse
Don't feed the people
But we feed the machines
Can't really feel
What international means
In different circles, we keep holding our ground
In different circles, we keep spinning round and round

We see so many tribes overrun and undermined
While their invaders dream of lands they've left behind
Better people...better food...and better beer...
Why move around the world when Eden was so near?
The bosses get talking so tough
And if that wasn't evil enough
We get the drunken and passionate pride
Of the citizens along for the ride

They shoot without shame
In the name of a piece of dirt
For a change of accent
Or the color of your shirt
Better the pride that resides
In a citizen of the world
Than the pride that divides
When a colorful rag is unfurled

Rush, "Territories,"  Power Windows, 1985

May 26, 2010

The State As Theater

I don't hold any stock in reformism. I see no point in dressing up the windows of the shopkeeper's palace, on the off chance that his workers will feel even momentarily better about their submission, on account of promises of rainbows and a sunny tomorrow.

I see no point in more-better bureaucrats, tasked with saving the rest of us from ourselves while they ignore the ridiculously obvious - that the state does not serve "the people" because it cannot serve "the people." The state makes subjects of persons. It demands first their submission to its violence, or the threat of violence. That coercive order of things premises the entire rationale of the state.

No state exits, or can exist, without armed enforcers.

People who cooperate towards some end, without coercion, without the threat of violence, without the explicit sanction of punishment - these people do the politically economic opposite of forming a state.

Perhaps, as Spartacus suggests, they can retain organizations which don't become consumed in the logic of their own preservation. Perhaps not.

That really doesn't concern me here.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon watching professional liberals stage mock trials of so-called Obama failures, on MSNBC. They set up Obama, BP and various state and local poobahs for criticism, only to drag in "experts" who then exonerated them.

Classic shit.

Synopsis: What can Obama do, really? Make more speeches? Attack BP more vociferously? Prosecute BP, Transocean or Halliburton executives? Get out ahead of the problem? Do the "proactive" thing? Find a scapegoat? Offer up Salazar's title, his proverbial (but never his actual) head?

Yep. They concluded each segment with a demand that Obama do more...


The commentariat, the esteemed political class, thinks that the way to handle rising anger and disaffection, the method which best suits American conditions, works as nothing more than performance art.

They do not err.

The power of the state depends upon violence. No doubt. But its operation, its day to day purpose, follows from a different logic. The liberal capitalist state needs adversaries. It needs the appearance of enemies. And yes, most conservatives fall squarely in the liberal tradition. They may want fewer brown people around, or more talky talky about Jesus, or less authority for uppity women - but we're not talking monarchists and actual falangists.

Not yet, at least.

The liberal state requires illiberal enemies. Caricature Muslims work. Or Chinese politburocrats. Or Russian mobsters. Or a Mexican narcotics principate.

It needs misdirection, it needs the performance to cover its multitude of necessary sins.

And BP, like Exxon before it, does not fit the bill. It cannot fit the bill.

Why, Jack, why?

For the same reason that Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, McDonnell-Douglass-Boeing-Whatever, GE, MSNBC, Viacom, Disney, SAIC and Archer Daniels Midland will never fit the bill.

Because they own the theater itself. Or they pay for the price of admission, as generous sponsors.

So look, over the next week, for a whole lot of redirection towards:

North Korea.

If that happens...aw, hell - when that happens, please remember that Obama will follow up that sideshow with oil related reformism.

And it will resemble exactly that which happened to health insurance reform, financial regulation reform and the current debate about immigration reform. It will look a lot like theater, used to cover more piracy of the commons, more depression of real wages, more consolidation of power in the executive - because theater it goddamned is.

That state needs violence, yes.

But it also needs this sort of theater.

When we stop buying tickets, and stop worrying batons and bullets, well - they'll drop "reform" right quick, and show us clearly the purpose of the liberal capitalist state - to protect liberal capitalist property and liberal capitalist power.

So I say, "fuck it."

Let's up the ante and kick the fuck in.

UPDATE:  Lambert on Booman's demand that Obama do some theater.

May 25, 2010

Imperial Barack and the Scary Bad People Over Thataway

"WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an administration official and an Arizona congresswoman.

Obama will also request $500 million for border protection and law enforcement activities, they said.

The National Guard troops will work on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence and blocking drug trafficking.

The development comes as Republican senators were preparing to push for such measures in Senate legislation."


 Posted earlier, speculatively:

"If disciplinary states cannot retain their hegemony over captive populations their usefulness as delimiting organizations ends, setting into motion a period of intense competition for contested resources, as newly unrestrained actors search for advantages without enduring systems for conflict mediation. No longer assisted in conflict management by nation states, and the application of captured labor receipts to the military gelding of underdeveloped populations who happen to sit on resources, finance and extraction firms lose the capacity to shield their actions under the aegis of national interest and public security, exposing themselves as direct agents of alienation, violence and systematic oppression.

Exposing their operational logic to the immediate pressures of rebellious populations.

The modern nation state, understood in this light, remains vital as a buffer against direct opposition to exploitation, absorbing the violence, outrage and justified anger of laborers and the dwindling classes of petty small holders. For an American example, see the Tea Party. Or liberal political advocacy organizations.

But, for the nation state to serve this function, and with any degree of efficiency, it must shed either its excess populations, its welfare capacity or some of both. In the US, we have a very successful prison industry, as well as the marginalization of foreign and "illegal" workers, to provide a species of population shedding, since institutionally alienated populations (poor blacks, immigrant Asians and Latinos), subject to the control of prisons or deportation, do not immediately threaten the state's field of operation. They instead provide a justification for it, and for the increasing police-militarization of social life. In Israel, see Palestinians. In France, the residents des banlieuses. In Germany, Turks and other immigrants.

Returning to a theme first announced above, the dismantling of the welfare state must either proceed at an increasing pace, so that the state can return to direct management of populations through isolation and violence, thus safeguarding the accumulated assets of the ruling class, or it risks collapsing before those same ruling classes can properly corral subject and captive populations into new zones of control, buffer and instability...


...The ruling class - represented in this age by corporations, military hierarchies, academia and managerial service institutions - has already cast its lot against the Commons as shared public space. It has begun the revaluation of the state, and therefore of social relations, towards the preservation of economic and social advantage in the face of oil contraction, resource scarcity and rising population. Towards this end, deconstructive crisis hastens the project of redefining the Commons as a policed military space, and away from three centuries of construction and agitation for the Commons as commonweal and social amelioration."

Of Women Who Matter

All of them.

I live in a country, and on a planet, where men degrade women, where societies develop to such an extent, using the encoded degradation of women, that many men raised within them fail to identify their parts in it. I know of dozens of theories attempting to explain the why, the how and the what for. Many seem valid; some appear flawed, however earnest.

I cannot really type to that, here and now.

I can only do my own part. I can write of two who matter, for me. One who matters because her strength has nothing to do with me, who loves me but does not carry me, who keeps her self intact; and one from whom I come.

I come from a family* of women, of old world, Southern European matriarchs. They live long, fruitful lives, and they often outlive their husbands. They gather for the seasons, for their holidays, and their holy days. They have buried men who loved them. They have buried daughters and sons. I bring my sons to these feast days, wishing they had the benefit of my history, that they could have heard these stories when the elder women of our tribe had less proximity to death, whom they feel immediately as the Hooded One. They gather, ancient women and their aging daughters, and tell the stories of our kin, our kind.

Womens' stories - the flaws in the men they loved, the quotidian triumphs, the enduring loves. The farm, the long hours walking there and back again, of wars and widows, of building homes (in flesh and wood) alongside their chosen men.

They tell of my grandmother, a story she'll sometimes tell herself. Of my grandfather - and how he waved to her that last day of his life. How she knew it meant his death, that way he turned around, and paused. How he hesitated.

He did die, this man I never knew, so many decades ago.

Leaving her with four daughters, and a son in a house they built with their own hands. My grandmother never remarried. I don't believe she ever took another man to her bed. Not out of piety. Not because he was irreplaceable. Because, as she said, she just still loved him. Her love, outlasting him.

He didn't just die. His medicines killed him. And the company came knocking. Offered her a paper to sign.

And a lot of money. For the time, a whole lot of money.

She did not take it. She refused.

"Blood money," she spat, tell the elder women. "I won't take it. Take your blood money and never, ever come back," she said.

If she took their money, she accepted his death. She did not accept his death. She would never agree to it, never concede it. Taking that money meant giving them license to kill him.

I come from these people. I come from this woman, from these women.

Women who chose their hardship because it meant their dignity.

I had a fighting chance, coming from women such as these. Not luck, that I found this woman who loves me, who "makes me do my best." I had preparation.

Some years ago, now, she gave birth to our second child (her firstborn). She left work, to raise him, to nurture him, to love him. A choice, willingly made. And when that time had ended, when she'd done that well, and long enough, she held nothing from me. "I want to work again," she said.

She did not ask. I had no right to give her permission. And she did not seek it. She wanted to work, to create, to do some thing which mattered to her.

But, we had a pact. An agreement. We'd long decided to live a simpler life, to raise our children on our terms, to raise them in spite of ourselves, to teach them to reach for their own independence.

I made it easy, I guess. Tired, used to twelve, thirteen, fourteen hour days, to the stupidity of management, I yielded my place, confident that home-dad would prove easier. I relented, in my own mind, to salvage my vanity; my sense of self - bound up in employment, in managing others, in handling dozens of problems and delivering in spite of them. Boss man, dependable.

Have I mentioned that I'm an asshole and that I make fools look sage?

She smiled. She did not warn me. She did not ease me into the task at hand.

She loves me, and I know I have no merit in that.

When I finally worked up the humility to apologize for five years of ignorance, for the stupidity of my assumptions about the length and breadth of her each and every day, about the work she did and the time she had at hand, she laid her hand on my forearm, clasped ever so lightly, with those delightful blue eyes slightly widened, and in a low voice said, "Next time, shut up first and listen."

* - on my mother's side


An expanding executive covers the needs of a shrinking ruling class. As the wealthy seize their greater share of the fruit of labor - in extracted materials, finished products and services - they will tend to concentrate their mastery of the political in a smaller, leaner, more efficient, more manageable protection racket. One not encumbered by legislative prerogative. A racket which protects more wealth held by a smaller number of people does not require large public programs or excess populations with their own speakable interests. They must serve only as one way conduits, as receptacles, as consuming spectators and never as active participants:

"President Obama is now asking for a modified version of the line-item veto, called the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010 (PDF). This law would give the President the ability to force the United States Senate to take a guaranteed up-or-down vote on a set of budget cuts without amendments. This request by the President to gain more of the legislative branch’s power is deeply disturbing on many levels."


And they will reduce their liabilities by treating excess laborers as any company treats costs which they can externalize: as costs they will externalize. Wealth concentrates:

 "Obama's 'National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform' plotting to cut Social Security..."


h/t ATR

And Today in Empire

Today's theme:




Love, In An Alien Key

May 23, 2010

Signs from the coming future?

As to my work in progress thesis that the transformation of occidental welfare states into military-police states reflects the awareness of the ruling classes of the oil scarcity induced crisis of late capitalism -  I admit that it remains a rough model.

As to the mounting case for the (at least partial) validity of that model:

"As America's War On Terror morphs into an endless assault on civil and human rights, the technophilic fantasies of our masters, and the corporations whom they lovingly serve, even amidst the doom and gloom of capitalism's global economic collapse, have taken extraordinary steps to ensure that the "state of exception" spawned by the 9/11 provocation remains a permanent feature of daily life here in the heimat.

And with moves by Barack Obama's 'change' regime to strip Americans of their Miranda rights, 'delay' their appearance before a lawful court should they be accused of a national security crime, or even assassinate them if an arm of the secret state fingers them as terrorists (evidence optional), it's a sure bet that as "ideas about security infect virtually all aspects of public policy," as Stephen Graham avers in Cities Under Siege, new silver bullets will be needed to 'keep us safe.'

Deep Learning: A Nerdy Way to Kill People

Long-time readers of Antifascist Calling are well-aware of the host of bizarre projects hatched in darkness by the Pentagon's geek squad, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Working on things like Biologically Inspired Platforms and Systems that investigate the natural world, the better to create "significant new defense capabilities," the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is focused "on understanding, and then emulating, the unique locomotion and chemical, visual, and aural sensing capabilities of animals," in order to hand warfighters neat, new tools to kill people..."



Yep. Those state paid agents of the ruling class - earning their keep, preserving the NatSec state even as Hopey Changey hastens the dismantling of the res publica...

...but, what the hell, right? As long as hipsters, brokers, professionals and banksters can foursquare, tweet, update and robo date, the hoi polloi get what they get.

Shop Game Network New York Times Fail

It won't end until it ends in the oil scarcity induced crash of the Spectacle:

Read the Onion version first:


Then, read the real thing:


Afterwords, scrub your brain with mouthwash, because not even the Onion couldn't spoof the self-spoofing reality of our new reality.

May 22, 2010

Conceptual Maps and the Organization of Power

Some time ago, in an attempt to explain how I understood power, I tried to turn the common idea of authority on its head. I don't know if I succeeded, and I maintain an enduring awareness of my own many limitations, but the image itself has at least stayed useful for me: whereas we have long accustomed ourselves to see power as enacted from a height above us, I thought it better to treat with human power as a sink, a gravity well, as a hole in the everyday ground of our lives.

Perhaps our view of reality has always had this element of royal power. I suspect so, especially since the word "real" often means "réal," or royal. Reality, as that which the royals command, from their curule chairs, their horses, their thrones, the chariots, their parapets, castle walls, high towers, sky scrapers and hill top estates.

Gods on mountaintops, God's word descending, prophets come from on high, and spirit falling like rain or manna from heaven.

Very useful, this, to those who want their subjects to believe that the elect occupy human heights. To have them as they rule believe that power comes down, that it descends.

But what if we instead understand power as the result of accumulation, of gathered slaves and labor, of collected stuff and servants, of associations which bind, which tie, which becoming dense become heavier.

As mass, with its own rotation. As gravity wells, and fields of attraction. Imagining ourselves walking the landscape of our lives, we encounter power not as that which descends from some height, to rule and command us, but as a hole in the ground, as a sink which pulls on our lives and labor, which needs that labor and our lives as additional mass, as fuel for its rotation.

People achieve power, seen this way, not by soaring, by climbing, by ascending to new heights of loftiness. Power, understood as a sink hole, develops from the capture of others, from the stripping away of their labor, their effort, from the accumulation of people and the fruits of their hands.

A metaphorical treatment, I understand, and one with its own limitations. Perhaps, though, the next time you have the misfortune of interacting with a boss, see him not as a man governing from a height, but as a captive creature, buried and descending, constantly feeding on the labor of others, to hold his gravity well together, to keep it from dispersing and sending all he controls spinning out of his hands.

We don't strictly need these conceptual maps. A person can make it from sleep to sleep without these overlays in memory. But we do use them. Our brains seem well fitted to the task. We find uses for them, and a goodly portion of culture follows from the instruction in conceptual mapping. Not for nothing do we learn the boss man's history in the schools his state organizes, history as the domain of the exceptional, who just happen to look like those who rule us. We learn science as the story of great and wondrous men, and rarely learn of the toils of those who kept them fed or dug up the raw materials which they turned into playthings. Not for nothing does the priest teach all the big beliefs to the very young, shaping not only how they process data, but what information they learn to ignore.

We learn how to see the world, and we learn how to see so little of it.

Take "the political." Conceptually, "the political" conceals more than it reveals. A political schematic of human interaction demonstrates more by what it does not map, than by the end state phenomena it manages to show. A political view of the world begins with a refusal to see most of its constituent parts, naming the organizational relationship, and effects, but obscuring by omission most of the effort, labor and persons who constitute the basis of political power and influence. A political view of the world treats with those who act as players, on a stage which has no visible support, which has no backdrop and no immediate relationship to world around it. We do not see, in the acting of the play, those who built the stage, and those who maintain it. We do not see the food, the water, the raw resources or the finished materials necessary to keeping the players in costume and the workers on the job and awake, unless only as props for the play.

The political shows us only the final organizations, and not the raw material and persons used up, captured and captivated by the acting of the play.

As a conceptual map, "the political" serves well the interests of those with the power to put on the performance, because it obscures the physical, material origins of their power.

It conceals the origins of the organization, treating power as a thing in itself, an end result without a visible maker. A fait accompli, with no accomplices.

Let's sidestep for a moment, and look at this from another angle. Let's assume a neighborhood, in a small northern city, at such and such latitude, during a certain period of time. The political map of that neighborhood needs few markers, depending on the sparseness of description to reinforce the point of those making it. Street names, labeled according to the deeds of great men. Named after tribes annihilated. Named after trees torn down to make way for streets which bear their names. This business here, that police station there. Signs, marking power, and influence. Cathedrals and gas stations, planned shopping malls and city hall.

The political maps organizations. It maps the loci of their power, but not how they accomplish it.

Another description of the same neighborhood, in the same city: between the confluence of the River Quog and the River Mac, rising to a small plateau, which descends sharply to a flattened valley between the two rivers. Pine trees and azaleas, red maple and invasive ivy, a small forested plot to the northwest, along a ridge topped by a massive granite escarpment, shadowing on one side a public housing site, peopled mostly by Eastern European and African immigrants, children playing soccer in the field adjacent, spirited, laughing; on the other side, a neighborhood of modest single family homes which blends gradually for a half mile into a small grid of tree lined streets, composed mostly of apartment buildings, coming to an abrupt end along another ridge, a steep wooded bluff, home to chipmunks and a vast murder of crows, which falls rapidly to a bike path and public park, following the River Quog all the way to its merger with the Mac, bordering the lower flattened valley of more apartments and small homes which rises on the other side to another ridge, topped by a church and a Catholic hospital, and then swiftly down again, to the highway and the Mac itself. A wedge between the flow of two rivers, inhabited mostly by workers, the old French quarter of the city, now home to Latinos, the growing West Indian community, a number of Bosnians in their extended families and the last of the Mic Mac in the area - a diverse neighborhood in an otherwise white northern city - working class, too compact, too old to fit the big box stores and the chain outlet parasites, buildings in close proximity, cooking smells and yelps of children. Year round, runners and walkers, children with dogs, the streets populated, unlike elsewhere in they city, where middle class occupants drive from box to box, inside boxes on wheels, boxing their lives in grids of cubicles and subscription entertainments.

Not a complete picture, either - but different, less isolated from the facts of daily existence.

A map that does not serve the interests merely of organizations.


We arrive now at the organization itself. As the Invisible Committee* writes, "Organizations are obstacles to organizing ourselves." An organization separates. It accumulates. Some portion of the labor of the organized maintains the organization, keeps those who run it, well, running it. In order to preserve the social shape of the organization - whatever organization - those in the hierarchy roll out their own conceptual maps, schemata of responsibility, and power - of blame and recognition. They describe their power over the organization as a function of it, as necessary to give it shape, to keep its goals in sight, its mission intact.

So that the mission of those so organized towards some end becomes political, includes always the retention in memory, in loyalty, in the relation with others: the preservation of the organization.

Let us treat with an example. Let's walk along another road, in a different city. Walking thus, discussing our days, or the dreams of children, we come across a burned out shelter, riddled with refuse, a city plot of broken glass and concrete edges.

We can cooperate to clean it up, or we can make an organization. If we agree to work together, discovering skills and strengths, gaps in knowledge and the host of our preferences, we can set upon our task as soon as we have the means to do so, as soon as we make them. We can address the problem, or the opportunity, in its immediacy - sharing and disputing, working out our problems and disagreements, shaping a consensus, a goal, an end and the means by which we arrive at it.

Or we can devote some portion of our effort first to the manufacture - in our minds, in our relations with each other, and in the resources we dedicate - of an organization to fix the ruined plot. If we do it this way, we must always devote some portion of our labor, and our resources, to preserving and maintaining the shape and the knowledge of the organization. Until it becomes, soon enough, the logic of its own existence.

Like an archaic kingdom, or political tribe, or a cult, or a city-state, or a church, or a fiefdom, or an empire, or an army, or a state, or a political party, or a corporation, or a charity - well, you get the picture.

Until it becomes a social, political and economic gravity sink in its own right, coming to dominate the environment, or its niche therein, in the pursuit of its own preservation, shaping labor and resources to the benefit of those who invariably end up ruling it...

* - The Coming Insurrection, Semiotext(e), 2009

May 20, 2010

The Surplus Oil Population In Images

This one's for Ethan.

World Population Growth Chart:

Oil Production Peak, by Nation:

The Energy Plateau (notice how it coincides with population explosion):

Fifty Years of Rising Oil Demand:

Fall Off of New Oil Discoveries:

Summing it All Up:

Final note:

The Age of Oil coincides with the adoption, in Europe and America, of welfare states - and of post-colonial "People's Republics" in Africa, Asia and South America. The dismantling of those same states has proceeded, at pace with oil peak.

May 19, 2010

Consent and the New Military-Police State

From Reuters:

"Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst, said the Obama administration ran with the drone program because, when it came to office, 'it found itself with a real al Qaeda threat and one tool to work with.'

'I don't think he (Obama) had really any alternatives. He seized the tool that was in front of him,' said Riedel, who chaired Obama's strategic review of Afghanistan and Pakistan policy that was completed in March 2009."

Yep. Imperial Barack had no choice. He came into power, riding a wave of amorphous hope and aimless  anger. He had to bail out those big banks. He had to compromise with big pharma and insurance companies, to get himself a political win. He had to send thousands more poor kids into the graveyard of Empires.

He had to use the tools available to him.

Including death robots raining murder from the skies.

Honestly, he did.

I'm not snarking here.

If Barack Obama did not transfer gobs of public wealth into private hands, if he did not hand the insurance conglomerates captive customers, if he did not expand the American gulag system under the cover of "banning torture," if he did not sign off on fiat executions and murder robots - he would not have a job.

He got all that juice from big media, corporate America and the military hierarchies during the campaign season because he gave good face to the project of empire. 

"A former U.S. intelligence official said the strategy was 'politically foolproof" because the mainstream candidates on both sides of the political spectrum 'campaigned on who can kill more of these guys.'"

And he speaks truth. The American people don't elect peaceniks, pacifists, anti-war candidates, socialists, reds or leftists. They totemize Gandhi and MLK, Jr, but they would never give them real access to the political system. They buy images of these men, as commodities. They don't - in any numbers that matter politically - entrust them with the keys to the kingdom.

The American people do elect warmongers who promise them jobs, cheap oil, lower taxes, safety from foreigners, targeted killings, lawn order,  jailed black people and the mandate of Jesus in heaven.

Imperial Barack kills people in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Colombia and around the world (just like his predecessors, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy and Eisenhower) because his job description demands it:

"Under Obama, the program has grown to such an extent that, according to a Reuters tally, the nearly 60 missiles fired from the CIA's drones in Pakistan in the first four months of this year roughly matched the number fired by all of the drones piloted by the U.S. military in neighboring Afghanistan -- the recognized war zone -- during the same time period.

In Pakistan, the pace has jumped to two or three strikes a week, up roughly fourfold from the Bush years.

Of the 500 militants the agency believes the drones have killed since the summer of 2008, about 14 are widely considered to be top tier militant targets, while another 25 are considered mid-to-high-level organizers.

Independent tallies based on news accounts from the region put the death toll from drones since mid-2008 much higher -- at anywhere from nearly 700 to around 1,200."

These deaths don't just tally up in Imperial Barack's ledger. That blood soaks the hands of every single beneficiary of the American imperial project. Everyone who votes. Everyone who pays taxes. Every single person who puts gasoline in her tank, and the credit card through the card scanner.

That state - that Death State, to quote Art Silber - depends upon the passive acquiescence and compliance of those who accept its protection in exchange for obedience, as much as it depends on its active servants, its gunslingers and toy soldiers, its thug cops and workaday jailers.

The article continues a little later on with,

"In a recent speech outlining the Obama administration's position publicly, Harold Hongju Koh, the State Department's legal adviser, said: "The United States is in an armed conflict with al Qaeda, as well as the Taliban and associated forces, in response to the horrific 9/11 attacks, and may use force consistent with its inherent right to self-defense under international law."

Scholars say Obama's targeted killing doctrine appears to be little different from Bush's: Once someone has been deemed a lawful target, the CIA has no obligation to warn or seek to detain that person before attacking, said Kenneth Anderson, professor of law at American University."

Remember, the imperial project demands this justification. When the death state invades, occupies, conquers, murders, imprisons, degrades, builds its Roman roads and lays down its marks on the map it does so to defend the interests of its captive population, a population upon which it still depends. For now.

Your interests. Your oil. Your complicity. Your obedience.

Until it doesn't need you anymore.

Until those who run it and benefit from it reward your compliance and obedience with abandonment, as we near the oil drop off and the collapse of the petroleum fueled economy.

Your obedience paves that road.

It really, really does.

So long as you obey, you give your consent. And you deserve what you get. You get drones over domestic unrest, not so long after the drug warriors get their permission papers, to use them.


As Charles Davis writes just this day:

"...Be an example to to others. Work not on the behalf of a political party, but your community. Put simply, forget the polling booth and head to the soup kitchen. At least then you won't be complicit in a bloodied, immoral system."

Opt out. Give no more labor to this death machine. Give no more obedience, no more compliance, no more support, tacit or explicit. Do not obey.


h/t Emptywheel

May 18, 2010

Compare and Contrast

h/t Mondoweiss, top photo

Flashback Love

The Enormity of It All

The population of the United States (2009): 307 million

Wealth statistics, United States (comprehensive data, at link):

Examples -

Percentage of capital income captured by top 10% of US households? 79.4%.
Percentage of total income (2006) for top 20%? 61.4%
Percentage of total wealth held by top 10% (2000)? 69.8%.
Share of wealth held by top 1%? 34.6%.

Finished domestic oil consumption, United States (2008): 17,500,000 barrels per day, of which 9000 barrels is gasoline. (55 gallons per barrel)

All domestic petroleum products consumed, United States (2008): 19,500,000 barrels per day.

Military expenditures, per year, United States (2009): $711 billion

Oil used by the military, United States (2004): 330,000 to 360,000 barrels, per day.

Total carbon released by the military, United States (2008):  75 million tons, or more than 139 nations, combined.

Percent of the world's population which lives on less than $10 USD, per day: 80%

Median yearly income, USA (2008): $52k, or $142.50 per day

US greenhouse gas emissions:

Global C02 emissions (in thousands of metric tons):

Top Five:

China: 6.1 million
US: 5.75 million
European Union: 3.9 million
Russia: 1.56 million
India: 1.5 million


Why all this?


And this:

"We face a dangerous future when the oil reserves around the world start to dry up. Those that have oil may find themselves faced with an American war machine ready to murder and destroy in order to take it. The myriad of products we depend on that require oil will start to become less and less available. The alternative energy sources that we need now will not be available or strong enough to carry our energy burden. Expanding our dependence, even domestically, only perpetuates a myth we have coaxed ourselves into believing and doesn’t prepare us for this sobering reality.

We can’t expect this to stop our country’s determination to exploit every ounce of oil and push off serious investment into alternative energy sources. The president will make an appearance, maybe wash the oil off a sea turtle or two (photo op!), proclaim that those involved in the clean-up are doing a great job, wait a few weeks for this to recede from the nation’s collective memory, and proceed with pushing for more drilling. After all, he has to if he expects to be able to count on the oil corporations’ donations for his reelection, and that is clearly what is important here."

And this:

(human poverty index, 2002)

(purchasing power, per country, 2002)

What does it all mean?

"...As the primary resource fueling later order capitalism - oil - approaches its revaluation as a luxury commodity, the surviving managing states must look for a new approach to stability; it must look to what populations it will protect, and which ones it will exploit and control. If international currencies can no longer depend on trade in fungible petroleum for their exchange value, then one of the final necessities of the modern nation state, and the international system of loans, debt financing and trade agreement, no longer acts as a pervasive bond between it and subject populations, losing its ability to discipline the citizenry with monetary policy. Without this oil based international order, the ruling factions must re-conceive the disciplinary nation state, configuring it to protect the wealth and welfare of a smaller class of beneficiaries, while retaining the power to police externalized populations.

Oil will not remain a widespread commodity into the next generation. If disciplinary states cannot retain their hegemony over captive populations their usefulness as delimiting organizations ends, setting into motion a period of intense competition for contested resources, as newly unrestrained actors search for advantages
without enduring systems for conflict mediation. No longer assisted in conflict management by nation states, and the application of captured labor receipts to the military gelding of underdeveloped populations who happen to sit on resources, finance and extraction firms lose the capacity to shield their actions under the aegis of national interest and public security, exposing themselves as direct agents of alienation, violence and systematic oppression.

Exposing their operational logic to the immediate pressures of rebellious populations.

The modern nation state, understood in this light, remains vital as a buffer against direct opposition to exploitation, absorbing the violence, outrage and justified anger of laborers and the dwindling classes of petty small holders. For an American example, see the Tea Party. Or liberal political advocacy organizations..."


In other words: the very wealthy in the US have neared the terminal point of their oil based power, and have begun the project of triage, dismantling the welfare state, shifting created wealth out of public systems and into private ones, increasing "national security" and "anti-terrorism" expenditures as a means of consolidating power using the rump of the liberal state. A similar process unfolds in Western Europe, and follows a pattern set in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. These measures, imposed first externally on Argentina, South East Asia and Brazil, as well as Mexico, now threaten Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain with the liberation of the wealthy from the reaches of the remaining poor. China and India will face crisis situations, driven by population and food/fuel consumption, which will precipitate resource conflicts within and beyond their own borders, so that "this disparity between the Euro-American dominions, the territorially expansive but unevenly developed nations such as Russia, Turkey, Brazil, China and Iran, and the 'underdeveloped' peripheries compel the several factions and combinations of capital and control to vie for access to remaining convertible resources, by simultaneously withdrawing public commitments to superfluous domestic populations and extending armed authority over regions ripe for extraction."

This may present a useful way of understanding the seemingly "knee jerk" reaction of American elites, to failed and minor acts of "terrorism," as well as to any protest or provocation which calls into question the means, methods or morality of their power.

As justifications for the militarization of the commons, and the capture of the creative class as dependents of the corporate-state.

As the world approaches a climate tipping point for which no solution present itself, coupled with the collapse of the one hundred year historical anomaly of cheap, reliable energy, the ruling factions approach a final plateau - sacrifice their power, luxury and wealth, or sacrifice the rest of us.

What do you think they'll choose?

h/t today's energy bulletin post: John W. Smart


A common theme today:




h/t BlackDogRed

May 17, 2010

Reason for honoring the most excellent woman who loves me, # 457,395

My superior to me in all ways wife, to a co-worker expressing surprise that we don't use social networking to interact with one another: "We sleep in the same bed. Why would I send him a friend request?"

Coworker: "That's wrong."

The most excellent woman who blesses me with her presence: "Really? We fuck each other. We don't need to send each other friend requests, on Facebook."


Unreal gods and uncaring fates, I adore this woman.

How Stuff Works III


Plus this:

Plus this:

Equals this:



Plus this:

"1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.

2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world."


Plus this:

 Equals this:


See also: http://motherjones.com/military-maps and this.

How Stuff Works II


Plus allegations of this:

Plus this:

Equals this:



Plus This:

 Plus This:

"...Here are a few examples. In Falluja, which was heavily bombarded by the US in 2004, as many as 25% of new- born infants have serious abnormalities, including congenital anomalies, brain tumors, and neural tube defects in the spinal cord.

The cancer rate in the province of Babil, south of Baghdad has risen from 500 diagnosed cases in 2004 to 9,082 in 2009 according to Al Jazeera English.

In Basra there were 1885 diagnosed cases of cancer in 2005. According to Dr. Jawad al Ali, director of the Oncology Center, the number increased to 2,302 in 2006 and 3,071 in 2007. Dr. Ali told Al Jazeera English that about 1,250-1,500 patients visit the Oncology Center every month now.

Not everyone is ready to draw a direct correlation between allied bombing of these areas and tumors, and the Pentagon has been skeptical of any attempts to link the two. But Iraqi doctors and some Western scholars say the massive quantities of depleted uranium used in U.S. and British bombs, and the sharp increase in cancer rates are not unconnected.

Dr Ahmad Hardan, who served as a special scientific adviser to the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, says that there is scientific evidence linking depleted uranium to cancer and birth defects. He told Al Jazeera English, 'Children with congenital anomalies are subjected to karyotyping and chromosomal studies with complete genetic back-grounding and clinical assessment. Family and obstetrical histories are taken too. These international studies have produced ample evidence to show that depleted uranium has disastrous consequences.'"


"DU exposures created "a shift of leukemia incidence rates towards younger children during the recent years," said the doctor. Another inquiry by three professors at the University of Massachusetts and Tufts University concludes: 'In aggregate the human epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth defects in offspring of persons exposed to DU.'" 


Equals this:

“Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this,” Mr. Obama said. “The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.”

(from Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech)

Inspiration:  http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/us-war-plan-talk-about-thermonuclear-bombs/#more-17121

See also:  http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/02/06/iraq-and-depleted-uranium-time-for-transparency-for-iraq-and-our-us-veterans/