"...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

Jul 31, 2010

The Priesthood of Lies

Confronted with the harsh reality of an imperial world order on a dumpster run to annihilation:

Some people retreat into fantasy:

"...If time is an illusion, can consciousness ever truly be extinguished? The fear of death is a universal concern, yet once we abandon the random, physical-centered cosmos and start to see things biocentrically, the verisimilitude of a finite life loosens its grip. The contemplation of time and the discoveries of modern science suggest that the mind is the ultimate reality, paramount and limitless...

...Physics tells us that energy is never lost, and that our brains -- and hence the feeling of life -- operates by electrical energy, and this energy simply can't vanish. The biocentric view of the timeless, spaceless world allows for no true death in any real sense. Immortality resides outside of time altogether. Eastern religions have argued for millennia that birth and death are equally illusory. Since consciousness transcends the body -− "external" is a distinction of language alone −- we're left with consciousness as the bedrock of existence. Death has always meant only one thing: an end with no reprieve. If we're just our body, then we must die. But if we're our consciousness, the sense of experience, then we can't die for the simple reason that consciousness is expressed in manifold fashion and is ultimately unconfined..."

Note to the stupid doctor:

While you play footsie with hope, that most vicious of perennial afflictions, telling your middle and upper class cosmopolitaines that their greedy, acquisitive, bourgeois existences will survive even death, actual death reaps a whirlwind of flesh and life all around you.

You eat and drink it every day, doctor. Your comfortable gold plated, HuffPo celebrated existence depends upon the death and squalor you refuse to admit.

Some of us have faced this reality and chosen a real culture of life. One that premises itself on the truth of death. We see with our eyes that people die. We see that people murder, rape and destroy. We see them get away with it. And we have decided - we've judged, Doc - that this will not stand.

Something has to give.

It ain't gonna be us, anymore, doctor.

So, peddle your swill while you can. Some of us dirty, lousy tramps have given up on hope. Looking for the palaces of the rich, instead. And you court jesters don't get immunity from the blowback. You might have a more esoteric version of the stupid, to sell. But what difference between you and Krugman, Yglesias or Klein, really?


You all need the drones to keep on keeping on. The priesthood always does, nu? Your very lives depend on it. But while you, doctor, prefer the older con, the one where the rubes get to believe they'll never ever die, Ezra transfers all the glory onto his imperial daddy:

"President Obama's remarks at various Michigan automobile plants today get to the heart of the task facing the administration as we enter the 2010 election. The White House doesn't lack for accomplishments. What it lacks is popular accomplishments.

The auto bailout is a perfect example. By and large, it worked. The automobile sector stabilized. GM, Chrysler and Ford are all posting profits. Millions of workers who would've gone down with the car companies still have their jobs. America retains an automotive industry that's both competitive in developing markets like China and starting to scrap with the Japanese and German automakers in the high-tech, green-car market...

...Obama doesn't have to invent accomplishments for Democrats to tout in the 2010 election. Rather, he has to convince the public to also consider those policies accomplishments."

See, doc. You may come out better by comparison. Sure, body parts and broken lives follow in the wake of the war machine, feeding the existence that makes you possible. Sure, never ever actually dying seems pretty nifty in the face of all that. You must have a blast believing you create reality with your "consciousness."

Some kind of priest has had that market cornered for the better part of twenty centuries.

Your kind of priest, though, always had a whiff of independence about you. I don't know if you have it, personally, doc. But Becket paid for Henry II's sins. Romero took a bullet for speaking truth to power. Max Kolbe died in Hitler's bureaucratic charnel house. And Bonhoeffer matched his words and his deeds, taking the wire garrote around the neck before he'd ever submit to tyranny.

Not so, the other kind of priest, the Ezra, Yggie and Krugman kind. They know what side of the bread gets their butter. And which big daddy gives them the butter, in the first.

They wouldn't dream of letting the reality of death and imperial destruction sully the image of their devotion. They labor mightily towards the same sort of disconnect that you peddle, doc. The one where belief and reality never meet. They too dream of a better world. One where the lies they tell take on a conscious reality. One where the drones might get a pay raise and the franchise, but where the priesthood gets to improve upon them, free to save the rest of us from ourselves, from our refusal to believe...

Jul 30, 2010

The Man

My father in law turns 92 in December. Rugged, Yankee, curmudgeonly. Raised by a one armed grandfather after his twin brother died of appendicitis. After his own father died. After the wicked stepmother (she apparently provided the template for the role, itself) killed herself.

Lacks social graces. A right bastard, when he gets it in his head to to do something. He has regressive notions; sometimes embarrassingly so.

He shoots groundhogs on sight, which provides no small measure of public anti-safety. I applaud this fact, out of my wife's hearing. Old men discharging firearms insides city limits pleases me beyond all reason.

He lives at home with my sister-in-law, whom he does not like. I don't like her, either. She also has Down Syndrome, which makes not liking her feel wrong. She talks to the wall. The three tenors, or something, sing to her from a knot in the pine paneling. She possesses a freakish strength, and a remarkably admirable stubbornness, to boot. I once removed her television from her telly room. Well, just because. An hour later, I gave up. Every time I carried it out, she followed me into the next room. Waited until I put it down. Picked it up, again. And put it back.

I gave up. (Secretly, I have a great deal of respect for her. But I refuse to like her. Much.)

My wife doesn't like her, either - but they have history. My wife, the youngest, had to do a lot of care taking for her older sister. During the sixties and seventies, which despite having a reputation for open-mindedness, really just continued the long record of actual cruelty and intolerance, with a hippie veneer, and the stink of patchouli and pot. Miserable job, that, I gather.

My father in law, despite not liking his third child much, and having silly notions about the constitution of society, routinely climbed the great lady mountain into his eighties. With a group of friends who brought a great deal of respect to their mutual regard. They adored him. He adored them back, probably with more openness of emotion than he ever showed his children. My wife, even on her bad days, tends to forgive him anyway. He might make for poor company in polite society, but the man could take a mountain and become its old man.

Some shit you just can't change.

A hard bit, what follows. On the day we found out that my wife carried our future child (her first, my second), we hopped into the car to drive over and tell her parents.We stopped for a celebratory meal.

Whilst we ate, she fell. Hard. From a height, while watering her plants. Onto concrete. Broke her head. I mean, really actually broke it. She suffered massive brain trauma.. My wife's father - remember, a Yankee - tried to lift her. Too old, hands too arthritic, he failed. She lay there, bleeding from her ears, while we ate.

I don't think my wife has yet forgiven herself. It breaks my heart. It really does.

Her mother's body continues on, but her mother died that day. Lost whole eras of memory. Doesn't know her own daughter (my wife). Doesn't know that the boy who gazes at her from behind his parents, in the nursing home, descends from her, carries her family forward into the unknown future. Our oldest knew her when. I think it makes it easier for him to relate. Our youngest has only ever know his grandmother for the shell of a wisp of a ghost who stares into the empty, picking at her food mush.

My father-in-law died a lot that day, too. Never the most open man, he sits by her side and weeps now that she's gone. He kept her too long in the house, trying desperately to give her love and care he probably didn't know how to show her in an earlier age of their life together.

It didn't work. Too old, too frail now - it wore him to a visible thinness. It wore my wife down, too. I still worked the long hours; she took care of him, her mother, her sister, our kids. A rough time. Family doesn't always come with rewards. I love my wife more for it. She owned those days. She owned them well and good. What a woman. A fucking excellent woman. I know it. One day, she'll really know it, too.

Eventually, his children overrode his need, and took her away. For her good. For his.

He died a little more. He started to show his age. The robustness seeped from him.

Once, when trimming back a tree he'd eventually uproot stump and all, he electrocuted himself. On the power lines. Leaned a ladder into an open current and burned a shadow of his watch right into his arm. Picked himself up, adjusted the ladder, beat the tree.

Now, that sort of thing would kill him.

Or so we thought.

He had a stroke on Wednesday. Crumpled to his porch. My sister-in-law (yes, the retarded one) didn't notice. She never does. Immovable, implacable. I once tapped on her window for an hour, trying to check up on them. She looked at me from her comfy chair, smiled, and returned to her drawing. When she'd finished her task, she let me in. I cannot always bring myself to like her, but I respect the hell out of that.

He had a stroke. I came back from my run, to find a note from my wife. Off to "make decisions," with her oldest sister It didn't look good. Consent forms and teleconferences. Shades of her mother.

He - the Yankee - just wanted to go home, sleep in his own bed.

They signed the forms. He got a new medicine (I don't know what). Responded very well to it. Paralysis cleared up, and quickly. Ninety-two, and not ready to die, it seems.

Which made him even antsier to get out of there. Can't blame him for wanting to flee the hospital. Fucking death wards, those joints.

Which brings us to the kicker.

He sported a number of scrapes and bruises. Effects of his fall, or so they all thought. We found out the real story today. Originally, my wife and her sister thought he'd fallen outside. He has a mild burn on the exposed side of his face. He'd lain there for a while, on the ground, in the heat and the sun, in almost the identical spot where his wife had broken her head and most of her memories so many years ago.

But he did not fall there.


He fell inside the house.

But he hadn't shut off his water hose yet. This apparently irked him immensely, lying there half paralyzed. As he explained today - the Yankee - he had no need to give the city more than its due, which in his estimation didn't add up to much at all. As in, nothing. So he dragged his strokey ninety-two year old ass out of the house on his good hand, down the back steps, across the yard, and there collapsed, trying to turn off the water so the city couldn't take any more of his hard earned time and money.

This explains the cuts, scrapes, sun burn and bruises. Not the stroke itself.

Like old men discharging fire arms inside city limits, that tickles me to no end.

The man...

Jul 29, 2010

Quotes and Summations of the Summer


"I've been saying what Yglesias said - that as shitty as the economy is, our overlords believe (or pretend) it would truly crater without permanent war - I just haven't been saying it approvingly."

Commenting upon:

"...But there's something wrong -- something sick, really -- with Ygelsias' war-as-stimulus argument that strikes me as far more offensive than the fact that some fiscal conservatives are hypocrites when it comes to the National Security State. If you believe the war in Afghanistan is vital to protecting America, well, go ahead and make your case. Explain why pushing the couple dozen or so members of al-Qaeda allegedly still in the country over to Pakistan, while creating new enemies with each errant air strike, actually makes us safer.

What you
shouldn't do in a debate over war, at least if you want to maintain your status as a Non-Despicable Person, is argue that bombing and occupying a foreign nation makes good economic sense. Even if it were true as an academic point, it's grotesquely out of place in a discussion of matters of life and death. War, if it can ever be justified -- and I have my doubts -- can only be so on the grounds that it is absolutely necessary to protecting human life: there is no other choice, it's a last resort. Yet Yglesias discusses the continuation of a major, bloody armed conflict as if it were just another jobs program; perhaps not the most effective one to his mind, but hey, it's better that the federal government spend money on a pointless war than do nothing at all (like actually save money by ending said pointless war). Read the line again: "I believe that with the economy depressed it’s better to spend the money in Afghanistan than not to spend it." Sorry, but someone truly familiar with all the horrors of war, someone who could actually empathize with an Afghan mother or father losing their child to an American smart bomb -- or a child watching their parents die in a botched night raid by U.S. marines -- could never write that...."

From Charles Davis.

Again, Yggie provides the really low hanging fruit. But that doesn't change the observable data. A monster, that twit. An actual monster. Not on par with his beloved Imperial Barack, or with the man he loved to hate, George Junior. But, the sort of court sycophant who spends the entirety of his existence trying to pretty up the ignoble and heinous choices of his betters, his face covered in lickspittle, his mind long colonized by devotion to power.

Had I Calvinist bone in my body, I'd rest assured that Yggie had an eternity of torment awaiting him. Alas, no religion in me. So, perhaps the non-existent fates and Furies can settle that score.

Jul 27, 2010

Required Reading

I read fast. Catholic school, in the seventies. A local generation of middle and lower class speed readers. With no upper class prospects.

But some books require a slow, methodical read. Ethan, over at 6th or 7th, has recently offered comments  on one such book.

I have another.

Halfway through Shlomo Sand's The Invention of the Jewish People.

What a book. Despite the singularity of the subject, Sand deconstructs ethnicity and nationalism in general, on his way to the specifics of the top at hand.

It may seem like a simple idea, but the effect (for me at least) rockets into the profound:

Ethnicity resides in ideas. Not in the blood.

Hot damn...

Jul 25, 2010

Where rights disappear, and we look into the void where they used to hold our fancy...

This discussion (here) got me thinking. I don't usually find any cause to agree with the bulk of what Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon) writes. My hedonist-agonist brand of anarchism doesn't really mesh with project liberalism*, and like most liberals, the Pandagon folks seem to believe in the project of progress.

I don't. I don't conceptualize time as a teleology, as a purpose driven unfolding of revealed events. As Utah Phillips once mused (and in an odd syzygy, the often contemptible Robert Kaplan once summarized), "the past doesn't go any where." Time doesn't improve on prior events. It doesn't erase them. We just remember and forget according to a host of contingencies, competing perspectives, needs, desires, weaknesses, frailties, strengths and whatever else mucks with the human view of the things. Memories might allow us to construct the fiction of a forward moving progress, but time itself (if it even has a demonstrable reality) lays out events according to a quantum indeterminacy and a Newtonian super-determinism.

Shit happens, no meaning. Get over it.

All the same, the original article and the subsequent comment chain did provide some measure of inspiration, especially here:

"...Look, I will defend to my death the right of Buttman to say whatever horrible things he wants to about women and black men in his movies.  Freedom of speech is meaningless if it’s not extended even to the ugliest elements in our society.  But I would have a lot more respect for Lee if she was honest about what’s going on and said something like, “Look, we make movies for the same dudes that you probably encounter most as ‘anonymous internet commenters’. We feed them a steady stream of hateful bile, sure, but if we didn’t do it, someone else would be doing it and making the money.  I’m just getting paid.  It’s not like those clothes you’re wearing weren’t made in a sweat shop.” I’d have a ton more respect for her if she said something like that, due to it being the god’s honest truth.  

Let me reiterate this one more time, because there are always, always, always people who will swear up and down that any feminist is demanding censorship if she suggest that some porn somewhere might be anything less than gracious towards all members of humanity, including those that aren’t straight white dudes.  I don’t think the government should censor Buttman’s movies.  In fact, I think they’re an argument for the value of free speech.  They can, in the right light, play a valuable role.  For instance, they make an excellent red flag for single straight women on the dating market---if the guy you’re seeing is into them, it’s almost surely time to move on.  They also play a clarifying role in our society.  If you see some dude spewing sexist bile in a comment thread, remind yourself that he probably beats off to “Milk Nymphos”, and you will suddenly feel less inclined to give a shit what he thinks.  

I just wish people could stick to defending the right of this stuff to exist instead of feeling like they have to justify it as something it’s not..."

Apparently, this Buttman feller produces milk enema porn that incorporates some racist bullshit and the usual stock in trade degradation of women.

I don't really care for porn. I don't have a prurience-prudery hang up, so I don't need to seek out allegedly transgressive sexual acts performed by bored assclowns who won the genetic shlong lottery, in various artificial poses which make a mockery of actual sexual congress, with the girl parts played by cut and paste kewpie dolls who do a good job of looking coerced, debased, flopped out on GHB, bewildered, ashamed and otherwise put upon all at the same time.

Porn makes sex look stupid, dull, banal and worst of all, coercively contrived. It makes sex look like drudgery, as in taylorized factory or office work, because the people doing it in porn do it as a job. Fuck that. 

So, when I happened across the quoted passage above, I found myself nodding my head in agreement. While I don't really care for free speech ideology, I think I get what most people mean when they bandy about the term. I don't believe anyone has a legal right to speech. I don't believe anyone, anywhere possesses inherent or natural rights. Which probably explains why I couldn't keep up the conservative thing past my discovery that Ayn Rand sucks both as a writer and a thinker, that the Bible encodes a set of prescriptions for human sacrifice and self-destruction, and that the state neither gives or takes away rights.

And it definitely explains why I never really made for a decent liberal. I don't believe in rights, at all.

We don't possess these imaginary qualities, called rights. We don't walk around with a list of these virtues tacked to our unseen souls, which someone else might abridge or protect. Or which we can sell or take, as we please.

But, I think, what most people mean by the term "rights"  boils down to this: "No, motherfucker, you cannot tell me to do/not do this, this, that and this." It also includes a list of behaviors you'd give up, in order to preserve the ones you want to retain. As in, you keep your "protected free speech" and you give up your ability to solve your disputes without the cops, the judges, the jails and constant threat of punishment. Or, elsewhere, the nasty brute with the acid or the machete, armed with divine writ and a will to fuck you up over it.

The problem, as I see it, lies with the oft unspoken counterpart to the concept, rights. Namely, enforcement. In order to have or possess rights, even as a shared fiction, you have to have an apparatus for defining them, have to pay people to enforce the definition, and then spend a whole lot of time, treasure and energy competing with others who don't agree with your definitions, or at the minimum, your interpretation of them.

 In other words, a right has a whole lot less to do with a quality you possess (as in, nothing), and a whole hell of a lot more (as in, everything) to do with how much power you have and hold, how many people you can force or persuade to agree with you, and how much loot you can pool in order to defend the list of things you want to do, as well as stave off the efforts of those who want to stop you. If you face off against poor incompetents, your list of "rights" will probably stay fairly long. If you find yourself up against well financed tactical and strategic geniuses, especially those who need you and yours to do some obedience, your list of "rights" will probably approach zero, or a manageable minimum.

Suffice it say, I'll take Amanda Marcotte's argument over that of the Grundy, the do-gooder, the various types and ilks of salvationist and the purity obsessed fascist.

Up to a point, but more on that later...

* - perhaps more on this concept later, but for the short of it, call it improvement oriented historicity:

"...Liberals generally fix a period of time, somewhere in the recorded past, as a frame of reference by which they might judge progress made since that range in time. Liberals seek to improve reality by judging the present according to the errors of the past. The apparent distance between present conditions and past conditions provides liberals with the means to evaluate their progress away from the negative reference, in the past. Since the arc of time seems always to recede, backward, the further from the fixed frame of reference, the better - for liberals. The more comprehensive the list of so-called improvements, the more likely the liberal will remain in adherence to the program of whatever party or faction best represents this interest...."

Fruit so low it scrapes the ground, collecting mud and worms, and the fecal remains of a tired ignorance...

You can count on Matthew Yglesias, for the really low hanging fruit.

I can't tell you why, at one in the morning, with the full knowledge that my kids'll wake after I've only had three or four hours of sleep, I decided to check up on Yggie. Especially since I already have the delightful Lord of War (one of those rare films, where Nick Cage decides to leave behind the hammy schlep half of his divided stage persona) playing background, on the telly.

Probably what I get for reading the latest Donkalot cheerleading, here.

Anyway, the smarmster making it easy:

"...At some point conservatives need to ask themselves about the larger meaning of this kind of conduct—and Andrew Breitbart’s—for their movement. Beyond the ethics of lying and smear one’s opponents, I would think conservatives would worry about the fact that a large portion of conservative media is dedicated to lying to conservatives. They regard their audience as marks to be misled and exploited, not as customers to be served with useful information."

I get playing the scold. Really, I do. It takes no effort. The horse you ride in on has a bright, shiny new saddle. You have a ready made audience, and clearly defined Others to play the MacBeth and Richard III roles. And you get to consign all the naysayers to Gehenna, or somesuch.

But, whatthefuck, Yggie? I mean, really now...

The guy you take money to shill for (1) promised to close Gitmo, (2) promised to take on the banks, (3) promised to deliver health care and health insurance reform, (4) promised to end the Bush Era torture, (5) promised to deliver on financial regulation, (6) promised meaningful environmental protections.

He reneged on all his campaign promises. No surprise here. But, then he went for the extra shivving , and expanded upon everything Bush started.  He pulled a fast one with Bagram. Defended (in the courts) Bush era torturers. Refused and obstructed (again, in the courts) investigations into the same. He and a compliant Congress (which rubber stamped his back room deals) handed the insurance and pharmaceutical industries captive customers and captive markets, as well as legal cover for their pillaging of the tax rolls. He simply abandoned environmental protection. Gave the banks the keys to the treasury. Gave BP control over its own toxic catastrophe. And turned financial and jobs legislation into a sideshow which still managed to help banks and low wage employers financially gang rape the working class and the working poor.

(Yes, yes - I think the word "rape" has a legitimate creative use, in this case.)

Slipped that knife right between the ribs of the commonweal, that wily Imperial Barack.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with expanding government to take on big business, the war machine and corporate polluters, Barack Obama hasn't actually done it. And whether or not (like me) you doubt that any reasonable or realistic separation does or can exist between government and big business, Barack Obama will never play the role of defender of the commonweal, against corporations.

But don't tell Yggie. He has far too much on his plate, worrying about dirty Republican and conservative liars. And scolding them on the intertubewebz.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think anyone should hold Yggie personally responsible. Yggie might play the court jester, but he didn't actually pick the king. Guilt by association sucks. Really, it does.

Just because Matthew Yglesias does it to every conservative, by lumping them in under the broad and general category, doesn't mean we should hold him to that account.

He can't help himself, the dear. Really, he can't.

He has to expend almost all his effort pretending that he's not a "[mark] to be misled and exploited." Or more to the point, that he doesn't daily play the part of just another one of the shameless shills who fails to give his "customers...useful information," what with doing the opposite with almost every word he writes...

Jul 22, 2010


"An Israeli man of Arab descent has been convicted of rape after allegedly duping a Jewish woman into having consensual sex with him. 

30-year-old Sabbar Kashur was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday after a Jerusalem court ruled he was guilty of rape by deception. According to the complaint filed by the woman, Kashur, an Arab living in East Jerusalem, introduced himself in September 2008 as a Jewish bachelor seeking a serious relationship. 

After the two met outside of a local grocery store, they had consensual sex shortly thereafter in a nearby building. When she found out that Kashur was Arab and not Jewish, the woman filed a criminal complaint for rape and indecent assault. Those claims were later changed to a formal charge of rape by deception as the result of a plea bargain arrangement. 

Judge Zvi Segal ruled that although not 'a classical rape by force,' Kashur had pursued the relationship through deception and under false pretenses -- and the woman would not have consented otherwise. 'If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated,' Segal wrote in the ruling."



Do you call this rape?

Does a lie about one's "race" make one a rapist? Nationality doesn't even apply, here. The convicted party possesses Israeli citizenship. He just doesn't get to call himself a Jew, under Israeli law. His guilt therefore depends, according to the alleged victim and the law, upon his failure to properly disclose his socially constructed...


Does that mean he raped her?


OT - still thinking on replies for some of the comments in prior posts, below.

Jul 20, 2010

Wherein I type it all over again...

Apparently, I have failed to state a simple premise simply enough.


The purpose of power preserves its shape. Power doesn't exist in an imaginary space, where the possession of it remains separate from the purpose.  A person obtains power by subordinating the needs of others to his or her own. One broad half of that equation involves the act(s) of dominance. The other, obedience.

Those who don't submit may suffer the consequences (because others continue to take and obey orders, including the enactment of punishment), but if they don't serve, they don't obey, and the power relation breaks, at least at those circuits. In its simplest manifestation, power requires one who dominates, and one who submits.

No position, rule, rank or office of power exists where this does not obtain. To have power one must have power over someone else. You cannot separate power from obedience.

This bears repeating: power always means power over.

If a person holds a position of power, that person must have those who submit and obey. Without the submission and obedience of others (willful or against the will), no power.

Any doctrine, creed, belief, -ism, faith, ideology, political movement, faction, party or group which preserves the purpose of power will preserve the logic and shape of it. Any group which uses the hierarchy will follow the purpose, because the preservation of the hierarchy depends upon its purpose.

When some give orders and others obey, inequity follows. From this inequity, an uneven distribution of ranks within the hierarchy develops. Those who rule use their power. They accumulate resources, which strengthen their position. Competition for an office, role or position within the hierarchy requires the accumulation of resources, and subservient instruments, which provide the competitor with a better position from which to reach his or her goal. And the means by which he retains his position, once he obtains it. Those who fail to seek or accept it do not obtain it. Those who fail keep and often expand their position, lose it. Position confers benefit, and the number who would have it far exceeds the number available.

These material conditions attract the type of persons who can and will give orders to others. They shape the methods and worldviews of those in competition for power, as well as those who already have it and use it.

Seeking power shapes one to accept the logic and form of power.

Power replicates itself within the competition* for the benefits having it provides.

Because power has a function, a stable form and a logic which remains consistent, and contrary to the wishful thinking of those who do not observe the record of the past, it does not disperse.

To have power, one must reinforce it. To use power, one must preserve it. To preserve the use of power, one must force or convince others to obey.**

And so long as people obey, power does not disperse; as long as power exists, people will obey - except in the phantasmagorias and fairy tales of those who ought to know better, but cannot or will not begin to try.

* - this includes education and culture

** - you cannot campaign for a position of elected office in order to degrade or disperse power, because to achieve that end, you must first cultivate a power base which allows you to compete for the office

Jul 16, 2010

Feminism Cannot Address Sexism?

I probably find this provocative because I agree with the central analysis (though not with the hopefulness about what communism can or will accomplish). And because I seem to inspire angsty condemnation from the 1.14 feminists who have ever read this blegh, which tickles me a bit.

Also, because my wife really doesn't like feminists, which strikes me as odd on even numbered days, since she's no wilting lily and hardly deferential to men or power. I certainly advocate more feminists positions than she.


"...The problems started occuring[sic] when private property came about through the increased production of farming and subsequently slavery. The man thus started owning more and more property (the tools of his trade) while the woman kept owning the same. And because mostly the tools of the man could be used in trade, he started owning the wealth. Thus the role of the woman was marginalized as she was not creating any wealth, and after enough generations, she ended up being treated as inferior.

This is all simplified but it is a historic fact that male sexism and the mistreating of women appeared as soon as private property became the norm. The only reason why women have now started to reclaim some of their equality is because Capitalism has forced them to enter the workforce, and like all exploited people, this exploitation is what is raising the awareness of their inequality.

This inequality is not because of some innate feeling of men to be sexist. It is because men have been the only ones until now who have been creating wealth. And the ones with the wealth wield the power. Thus the women, who were not wielding any power, ended up being considered inferior organically, just because it looked that way. Now that this is changing with more women becoming workers, feminism is becoming more powerful.

But Feminism is not going to remove the strain of sexism from the world, for the Capitalist system demands it. Women will always need to give birth and many of them still give up their careers once they get married. This means that there are more men working, creating wealth and thus wielding the power. And as long as the manhood wields on average more power than womanhood, sexism will exist..."


I think the Shirky Principle could cast some light on the subject, as well:

"Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution." -- Clay Shirky

And for the record, "wielding power" doesn't appear to solve the problems created by other people "wielding power." Revolutions fail, in part on account of this fact. The shape of the society doesn't matter to those who rule it, when it comes to how they constitute their power. Only how they interact with it. Perhaps this may also explain why values, ethnicity, race, religiosity, gender, morals and social function matter more to the governed than the governors. Failing to ameliorate the form of the power which rules them, they come to obsess over the form of society to which they belong.

If 75% of the positions of power devolve to women, tomorrow, the shape of power will not change, because the purpose of power will not change. The ruling hierarchy resembles itself, not the society over which it rules.

Mayhap some day we'll realize that efforts to get [insert preferred identity grouping] into power never results in less abusive power, on account of the above.

Time, History and Power (a sketch of an outline)

Conservatism and liberalism* belong to the same mode of thought.

Divergences between the two larger camps, and the various factions - in ideology, practice, membership and politics - serve to mask a rather comprehensive and frankly startling unity of focus.

A unity which binds them all in the continuing project of power.

The differences between a selection of conservatives and a selection of liberals can span the entire known spectrum of policy, belief and adherence. The differences within those selections can vary just as widely, allowing for the competition of factional interests which share a common goal, but varying methods of achieving that end, or a similarity of methods, but a difference in intended outcome.

Ceteris paribus, a common - almost absolute and unified - view of time binds them all, though.

Both conservatives and liberals absolutely require, for the continued functioning of their projects, the rationalization of their goals, and the durability of their programs for maintaining adherence, a past-referent view of the progress of time.

Conservatives generally fix a period of time, somewhere in the recorded past, as a signature frame of reference which serves as a standard of judgment for all contemporary or modern decisions, events and possibilities. Since time appears always to recede, this frame of reference requires updating by subsequent generations of conservative thinkers and believers. The past, fixed now by reverence, becomes a ghost in the machine by which present errors and decisions fall short of the acceptable model, or conform to it. The further from the past that the present travels, the more the conservative must endeavor to correct the imbalance, and the more likely she will remain in adherence to the leaders who best articulate the restorative policies which will bring the present into accord with the past.

Liberals generally fix a period of time, somewhere in the recorded past, as a frame of reference by which they might judge progress made since that range in time. Liberals seek to improve reality by judging the present according to the errors of the past. The apparent distance between present conditions and past conditions provides liberals with the means to evaluate their progress away from the negative reference, in the past. Since the arc of time seems always to recede, backward, the further from the fixed frame of reference, the better - for liberals. The more comprehensive the list of so-called improvements, the more likely the liberal will remain in adherence to the program of whatever party or faction best represents this interest.

Whereas conservatives seek to improve reality by restoring it to a period of past glory, liberals seek to improve reality by redeeming it from a period of past sinfulness.

But both broad tendencies absolutely depend upon the fixity of the narrative of the past, the agreement about the frame of reference, and the valuations of progress/regress from that period of reference.

Since the past seems always to recede, both liberals and conservatives must continuously update their frame of reference. They require, then, a continuity of history.

History - that post-Enlightenment recreation of the past according to a narrative arc which allegedly embodies moral principles in the flow of human decisions, as well as "natural" patterns of determined conduct - binds liberals and conservatives to power.

A reverence for the past - either as a period of grace which one must best mimic, or as a starting point for a series of improvements - serves as the common ground between conservatives and liberals.

That which preserves the model of the past preserves the goals of the party which uses it. History, like any other conceptual map of the phenomena of reality, edits the available data into a set of agreements (or impositions) about how events unfold. Since no history can account for all of the data, available or unknown, no history actually models reality.

History does not reveal truths. It edits memory, sometimes with accuracy, but rather often within a determined perspective. It fixes the past as a confirmation of the present, and often enough, of the form of power which endures across generations and place.

Those who use history do so to improve upon reality, to give it a purpose in the minds of their adherents which has no basis in the material conditions of the world, or the cosmos.

History - that which binds liberals and conservatives in a common view of time and continuity, despite a difference in application - imposes upon its believers the fiction of purpose, of teleology, of an embedded narrative plan in the unfolding of events.

Those who use history, then, attempt to escape material conditions and actual contingency, in favor of a storyline which places them in a position to arbitrate the purpose of human events, decisions and communities.

It justifies power by providing its believers with a frame of reference, to which others must adhere, or in failing to do so violate the purpose of human existence. Those who rule, those who punish, those who believe, those who have some program of amelioration or social construction, absolutely require a common view of the past - of history.

Deviation from belief in the fixed frame of reference (on any number of grounds, from religious to the less predictably nihilist, to the penetratingly apathetic) provides the believers in history with their justification for the continuation of the forms of power.**

This may distinguish them, in part, from more vulgar authoritarians, who employ power to enjoy the fruits of it - but almost without fail, where you find power, you find someone who justifies it by way of history, by way of the attempt to make the present conform to the past, or alternatively, to drive the present as far from the past as possible.

Those who use, create and believe in the historical imposition of a narrative onto human events almost invariably recreate the stable form of power, because the stable form of power (the hierarchy outlined in essays below) provides the best guarantee of continuity, the best control of resources, and the most enduring skill set by which those who rule can instruct others in adherence to power.

This material set of conditions provides the historical believer with the means to impose his history on events. History justifies power by placing it in the center of the scheme of purpose. And power relies on history to rationalize its methods as necessary, natural and determined, as flowing naturally and inexorably from the past.

Where you find power, you have history. Where historians edit the past, power lurks close by.

* - rather broadly descriptive categories, which encompass the whole liberal project starting with the Enlightenment, as well as traditionalist reaction and Catholic/Evangelical maximalism. A social conservative can share the core Enlightenment perspective, with regard to science, the constitution of consent, natural law and rights, and still reject the progressive expansion of rights which characterizes the liberal project, in general. A political liberal can reject the expansion of rights beyond the scope of the nationalist myth, or the State guarantee of the same, but still disagree with conservatives regarding that scope within national borders, or the application of law with regard to civil liberties. Et cetera ad infinitum.

** - a person who does not adhere to history, to the teleological outline of the purpose of events, either from demonstrable error or from a willful rejection, provides a rather unruly subject. Those who don't accept the validity of the storyline tend to deviate from the script. Acts which, even in small numbers, call the whole of the drama into question. Punishment usually follows, and swiftly.

The Fall of Obama

Read the whole thing, please.

Jul 13, 2010

Where upon realizing that I've reached the terminus of a delightful nihilism, I just lean over the ledge a wee bit and say it...

I feel like an anarchist.

I won't state explicitly that I am an anarchist, well, because I just cannot stand the verb form "to be." The liar's verb, that little two syllable infinitive.

Take, "It is raining."

I get, blah blah blah, that a person staking this claim in ordinary English means, "Raining outside," which is a shorthand for "water falling from the sky, of which I take note."

But the niggling little "it" which precedes the nasty fucking "is" changes everything. It really does. What "it" rains? What being behind the event of water falling from the sky actually precipitates that aero-aquatic wonder?

Obviously, no "it" orders the rain. But the sentence creates a deception, once which (if you care to see it) you can find in almost any grammatical equation hinging on the verb form "to be," even in its merely copulative arrangement.

Take, "I am Jack Crow."

Seems simple enough, right?

Nothing more slippery and deceptive than that little "am." It establishes - ex nihilo - an equation of identity between a "me-as-subject" and a "me-as-object."

It divides the naming of names into two arbitrary parts, one which does and which "is done, or done to."

It engenders the passive, the tone of the victim, and all other manner of nefarious and hateful grammatical constructions. It allows some men to state, "we are the State" and get away with the obvious fiction, since "the State" doesn't exist outside of the description of it. In all seriousness. Examine the alleged thing (a filthy being, no less), the State. Stripped of the grammatical magic of being ("the State is"), what you find never exceeds the parts.

And those parts look a whole lot like people.

And claiming that the "State is just people" still preserves the magic of grammatical being. That dastardly "is" does all the work. It transforms people working together and competing, so that they might rule others and derive considerable benefit,  into a separate entity, a thing unto itself.

A thing which does not actually exist. Like the corporation. Or the congregation.

The verb form "to be" transforms the actions of individuals into a belief about those actions, a belief that those various persons constitute a single thing.

And these beliefs in the being inherent in human choices, in the so-called organizations which people magically create by working together, bind men to them.

If Mark claimed that his breathing meditatively on Mondays, plus Julie's eating of pork on Thursdays, plus John taking a shit outside on Sundays "is the People's Living Council" and that such and such an entity could achieve things on its own, as an entity, you would rightly conclude that Mark had just tried to sell you a tall tale, probably in order to deprive you of some portion of your life and labor.

You'd rightly conclude that you could not trust Mark, and if you had your wits about you, would chase him off, preferably with wickedly hefty blunt objects brandished in poses of menacing intent.

But, if Mark, Julie, John and their friends told you that they "were the duly elected government of the Great State of Vermont," and "were entitled to obedience, a portion of your labor, in the form of promissory notes" and other claims on your time and person, you would (if you resembled most any other person on the planet) very likely believe that this thing, "government," possessed a separate and tangible being. Whether or not you thought that Mark and company had any right to order others around. Even if you'd spent the bulk of your adult years acting in opposition to them.

But why?

Because, quite simply, you believed in groups of people as "things." You believed - as do almost all of us - that people who act towards some goal, or share resources, comprise the lesser parts of a greater whole.

It starts in the family, which most of us experience as The Family, growing up. You get that belief reinforced in church, masjid, ashram or temple. Later, buttressed by guys with guns in uniforms, or guys in uniforms riding red trucks, or guys in khaki going off to kill guys in olive drab, you very likely come to believe that the world has a whole lot of these supra-personal and magical entities in it. A legion of them. Legions of legions.

Later, you join others to do some work you probably detest, or come to loathe in short order, and most of what you do gets taken from you, because the organizational entity to which you belong has an owner, with a legal title to your labor.

That fiction has some real consequences. And perhaps you learn to believe the lie because the consequences show up all around you. Others can own a fiction and take stuff from you, on account of owning it. They can control a set of beliefs, and order people to their deaths. And others to do the killing.

Powerful shit, these fixed ideas.

And yet, every single one of these imagined entities vanishes upon unbiased observation.

They just don't exist.

Because people working together don't form new beings, new entities.

People working together just work together. And then, they don't. And maybe after the earth spins on its axis once, they do again.

The labor they do actually happens. They do it. But, the doing of labor does not shape the laborers into a new entity.

That entity, in truth, resides entirely in the head. A fiction. A fixed idea. A belief resident entirely in...

...language and memory.

Which others have endeavored mightily - a project spanning generations and ages - to culture into us.

A successful one.

Until you stop believing it.

And end up feeling like a person who just doesn't believe the word magic any more.

Perhaps, upon discovering your own disbelief, you decide that you'd like to actively live without all these ghosts in your head.

Let's call that anarchism.

Or not.

I'll call it anarchism all on my lonesome, and feel happy with the result.

But it comes with some consequences, this refusal to believe in the word djinn and grammar angels.

It means that - let us take this as our leaping off point - whatever people do ends with the doing of it. The doing alone suffices. And so long as they chose to do it freely - even the stuff we don't personally enjoy - they do so on their own terms. We don't have a say. Not you. Not me. Not anyone. Even if it looks ugly and mean and low brow and full of sexual decisions you would never make.

Of course, it doesn't always play out so neatly. Food and water, shelter and lovers, resources and materials - none lasts forever, comes in an infinite supply, or shows up evenly distributed across the planet.

But, we have to start somewhere, no?

I say, let's start with killing the fucking fixed ideas...

Jul 12, 2010


La condition humaine, edition Amerique:

Person lives in box, or accumulation of boxes. Person works in a box, or a box within a box. Or an open topped box within a box. Next to other boxes. Or works at cleaning the boxes in which other people live and work. Or in repairing various appliance boxes. Or in cleaning and maintaining the travel-boxes. Or making them. Person commutes from living-box to work-box in a box-on-wheels. Pretends not to notice all the other people going from box to box inside a box. When not working, person stares at a box, of varying widths depending on income, while sitting a soft box. Or listens to sounds coming from a box, of varying sizes. Or sits on a cushioned box top, staring at a box with "windows" shaped like boxes, powered by a box. Eats food out of boxes. Cooks food in an electric box with heating coils or an electric box with microwave radiation. Occasionally uses bags, which other box dwellers manufacture inside factory boxes, and then ship to store-boxes inside shipping-boxes. Which person disposes of in a box. Dies. Buried in a box. Perhaps stays in a hospital-box, accumulating debt marked down in information boxes, before dying.

Calls this "freedom" and "liberty" and "civilization." Kills those who disagree, or locks them up in boxes with bars. Or votes for those who will do the actual killing and box-locking, by checking a box next to a list of potential box-living enforcers.


Boxes found without the interference of box-people?



"Furthermore, it is not at all clear that a more relaxed workplace -- including for members of Congress -- would benefit society."

Well, why the fuck not?

Wherein I don't care by making a point about that which I don't care, to reinforce a point about which I do care, very much...

I don't care about or for Mel Gibson. He utters [insert contemptible whatever] crap all the time. He owns his own production company. He loves a very angry God. He likes making babies and he doesn't feel the need to apologize for his opinions.

I don't care for his opinions, but I do respect the refusal to apologize for them, especially when he says, "'I don't think there's an apology necessary, and I'm certainly not giving one. [Those remarks were a response] to a direct question. If someone wants my opinion, I'll give it. What, am I supposed to lie to them?'"

So - a former sex symbol who likes to produce, direct and star in violent revenge films, doesn't like Jews, women or homosexuals, apparently has regressive notions about black folks, and belongs to the most traditional and borderline heretical wing of the RCC, also has the balls to just say it. 

A lot.

Good. I prefer that kind of honesty - just like I prefer vocal and public White Nationers, openly anti-homosexual bigots, militianos who think Jeebus will return any day now, Farrakhanist black exceptionalists and regressive idgits like Sean Connery* and Adam Baldwin (and much I can forgive, for Jayne).

Because, if you have a opinion, mean it.

Sure, some of them might pose an actual threat. I don't doubt that. Mel Gibson seems to pose a real threat to the women who get close to him. So does Charlie Sheen.

I'll take any one of these assholes over a sneering, sedate, psychopathically calm, methodically murderous cruise missile liberal, say like:

And I'll take the same set of asshole shitwits, any day, over the faux sympathetic, lying, opportunistic, shameless, pandering fecal salesman of world historic hypocrisy, such as:

And if I have to chose between an openly racist, woman hating homophobe and the two of these shits together:

I'll take the regressive dick munch with his honestly contemptible opinions over the two towering masters of deceit, murder and inhuman expansion of imperial warfare - each and every time.


This man:

...has no known murders to his name.

This man:

...has hundreds, if not thousands.

Whose legion of offenses dominates the news cycle, again? Hmmm.

* - one must have standards. I draw the line at career motherfucker and the Compleat Asshole™, John Malkovich. No soup for him.

Jul 11, 2010

Corexit Rain

 Can't wait until it starts to rain this stuff. Oh. Wait. Already raining cell rupturing death:

"...Speaking to CNN on Friday, her message was a bit more dire.

'It ruptures red blood cells, causes internal bleeding and liver and kidney damage,' Dr. Shaw said. 'This stuff is so toxic -- combined, it's not the oil alone, it's not the dispersant -- the dispersed oil that still contains this stuff, it's very, very toxic and it goes right through skin.'

The claims would seem to echo a fellow toxicologist who described the effects of Corexit as the disruption of oil bilipid layers, which he called 'the very basis of life.'

'Each of us is made out of cells,' Dr. Chris Pincetich explained in a recent interview. 'Those cells are nothing more than an oil layer surrounding our proteins and RNA and all the other molecules talking to each other. You put in a chemical that disrupts that basic biological structure and you are putting yourself at risk from umpteen effects.'

Mixed with toxic compounds leached from crude oil, said "umpteen effects" are completely unknown at this point, with Dr. Shaw's statements being among the first reports on the dire health effects of dispersed oil exposure.

None of the most recent news bodes well for U.S. residents anywhere near the Gulf dcoast. Some reports have suggested that new chemical compounds formed in the Gulf's hot, salty summer waters are evaporating and potentially returning in rains across the south-eastern U.S. There's also the case of an amateur video shot in Louisiana after a heavy rain, in which the videographer claims to be witnessing an oil sheen on almost all surfaces touched by the condensation..."


BP dumps this Corexit  (a BP produced toxin) on the "spill" in order to force the floating oil below the surface of the Gulf. To hide it.

Because, you know, nothing in the natural world interacts with anything else...

...we should simply not worry these cell rupturing Corexit Rains.

No offense to the comrades talking orange jump suits for these bastards, but prison just doesn't cut it.

h/t Singularity

Jul 10, 2010

Because they can't just come out and say, "well, really now...forever..."

"General George Casey, the Chief of Staff of the Army, said today the United States could face another 'decade or so' of persistent conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan..."

Translation: Until we really, really need to invade Venezuela, and put the Colombian affair under direct US operational management. Or maybe we'll just run all that shit at once and trade "citizenship" for "armed service." Worked for the Union, didn't it?

"In two months, the U.S. will have been at war in Afghanistan for nine years."

Translation: "Hah hah hah, fuckers. You really thought we meant 'no more nation building,' dintcha?"

"The four-star general said the U.S. military moved beyond conventional warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan 'long ago,' and that the focus is now on the people. Casey highlighted job, education and economic growth as essential to success in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Translation: "Stupid fuckwit voters. We meant perpetual war. We've said it dozens of times. And if you don't like it, shitwits, starve for all we care. And we don't care. We'll cut you off and let you starve anyway. Especially you sycophantic Tea Party and New Progressive types. Unless you can write code or keep workers in line. Then, we'll talk, fuckers."

"When asked if enemies of the U.S. have to be a part of the reconciliation process for it to be considered a success, Casey said that is a 'matter of debate,' but that enemies have to be convinced they will lose..." 

Translation: If the raggies don't get on board soon and take their piece of the petrodollar and mineral pie, we have other options. Trust us. Who'll really yelp about it? The Chinese? They need us to buy stuff or they're more fucked than we are. The Russians? And to whom will they sell all that natgas and oil, hmmm? That's right, fuckers. We own this bitch..."


h/t SwoonyPlace

Jul 9, 2010

Or, why I'll never embrace the wily arguments of the Reverends Ludd...

My argument lies with royal science, not scientific inquiry and observation. Natch, this pleases to no end:


The Replication of the Stable Form of Power

I'd wager on at least one hundred scholarly and academic definitions of "culture," and ten times as many outside of academia.

Considering "culture," I find mostly a term about which everyone can disagree, a term much used and rarely so well defined as to provide a working model of exosomatic* human beliefs, knowledge and symbols.

And then, we have "culture" as subculture, as an attempt to understand a subset of belief which remains part of the larger or broader culture. For example - the so-called "culture of life" which has emerged within the context of the much larger capitalist consumer culture.

All this in mind, I'll add my own working definition to the background noise, and leave it at that.

The human mind generates symbols. Far from existing as mere abstractions, these symbols in fact represent actual, physical electrochemical processes which occur in the human brain, as response to and creations of stimuli. A symbol, understood as a repeated and repeatable pattern, communicates.

When persons communicate, especially with words, sounds and gestures, they do so symbolically. The brain does not experience phenomena directly, but always through the mediation of the senses. That mediation creates symbols (patterns) which (a) the brain can interpret and (b) the brain can communicate.

But, as means of communication, symbols limit. They alter the scope of the possible, by shaping the means of understanding according to repeating and repeatable patterns.

Symbols reduce chaos to chaos-plus-order.

The use of a symbol literally edits reality, for the brain.

The brain, in attempting to convert stimuli into comprehensible data, edits reality.

In this, we find culture.

Culture, in short: the creation, acceptance, use, manipulation and rejection (vital, this) of the saidsame symbols which the brain generates in order to edit the phenomena of reality into a manageable set of concepts, percepts and precepts. Memory. Memory, which alters and edits realtime stimuli to create a partial picture of an ineffable "whole."

Perhaps, seen this way, the replication of the stable form of power takes on a clarity neglected below. By giving shape to phenomena, by defining events as communicable patterns of meaning, the brain both generates an overlay of concepts (a conceptual map) which provide its fundamental experience of reality and shapes how the human person interacts with it.

Power replicates itself within this set of networks of symbols, within culture. Since the brain cannot directly apprehend phenomena, but must instead translate electrochemical stimuli into electrochemical and relatively stable patterns, the brain imposes order on those same phenomena. Or, it creates it out of perceived chaos.

The brain, in other words, learns to believe that events have a repeatable shape, because it believes its own creation of patterns. The brain generates its world (awareness) by the creation, recognition of and faith in patterns.

But, not willy-nilly.

Milk pup mammal beasts, we.

We don't simply learn and generate ourselves, causa sui.

Other persons, born before us, inheriting their stable patterns of memory, adding their layer of experiences to shared belief and shared symbolism, instruct us.

They do so by persuasion, but also by force, by abuse, by the sheer authority that comes from providing us food we cannot even conceive as such.

These big brains come with a price - we must depend on those who came before us to generate and provide useful enough sets of patterns of recognition, to allow us to live out and survive our own childhoods.

Others shape how we see the world, because we do not come with a ready made version.

And in this exchance of data, one generation to the next (and so on) does the stable form of power replicate. Not only do those who come before teach us how to hold a spoon, how to identify a cloud, and how to name a tree, and how to wipe our asses - they also instruct us in how to obey, often unwillingly.

The stable form of power replicates across generations and place because people instructed in obedience instruct their young in it as well, either to run it, or to submit to it.

The brain learns its worldview, and the most enduring one yet looks a lot like the stable form of power.

* - stored outside the body

Jul 8, 2010

Random Accolades

To Herr Neetch, with his arms around the beaten horse, a Dionysus in chains...

To Diogenes, lantern cast aside, warning the Basileos to get out of his light...

To Omar Khayyam, for untangling a few of the puppet strings...

To Red Emma, and her lovely whip...

And to every immoderate and ungovernable hetaera, anywhere or everywhere, who refuses the tax which governs the principle of her liberty...

A Vulgar Rejection, but Jimmy cracked his corn, and I don't care...

So long as any community conceives of itself, by way of culture, enforcement, education, religion, entertainment and history, as the chosen community, as a body august and messianic, that community can only present itself as my enemy.

Not adversary. Enemy.

An enmity unto death.

Roman Catholic Church, the allegedly holy Nation of Eretz Yisroel, Southern Baptist Convention, Restored Russian Rodina, glorious Marxist Party of Ubiquitous Liberation, the various churches universal and triumphant, the Reformed Industrial Welfare State, the People's Republic of China or whatever jihadist group du jour has a monopoly on the mediated fears of the corporate entertainment complex...

...all enemies.

Not contestants. Not competitors.


And anyone who adheres to one of these salvationist regimes, I must treat in the same way.

And before some do-gooder shit bum wanders in to throw props for pacifism, forgiveness and free love my way - fuck you and the high fucking horse you tricked into giving you a ride down the path of holy self regard.

Like Hazlitt, I'll take my pleasure in hating as much as I take it in loving those friends and kin with whom I break bread and keep faith.

Hatred has its virtues, not the least of which looks a whole lot like self-preservation in the face of salvationist assclowns, traditional power gluttons and the new New Model Army of volunteerist self-flagellation.

I get one life. No one else will ever die my death.

And anyone - eh nee won - who has even as a fragment of a wisp of a shred of a portion of his doctrine or creed - that others must sacrifice this life for the greater glory of another life to come (material or immaterial, inevitable or dependent on human will), that mother fucker puts himself squarely in opposition to me and mine.

If you cannot die my death, you do not get to live my life...


...And I'll extend the same courtesy to you.

Jul 7, 2010

Raimondo on Manning and Versaille hypocrisy...

Raimondo, setting aside the "true patriot" lens, hits exactly the right notes. Just going to steno this one, because the original has more weight than any merely add-on commentary:

"...Particularly disgusting, even in this depraved era, is the journalistic contingent that echoes the government’s case like a Greek chorus. Aside from Wired‘s contemptible collaboration with the snitch Adrian Lamo, we have one Gabriel Schoenfeld, described by AP as “an author who supports cracking down on leakers,” whose support for prosecuting Manning is reported as follows: 

“Schoenfeld, author of ‘Necessary Secrets’ and a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, said leaks of military information during wartime run counter to America’s interests. ‘We’re serious about trying to win, and it’s extremely damaging to the morale of our troops,’ he said. ‘It inflames the local opinion, where we have a real battle for hearts and minds.’”
The inflammation of American opinion is what our the War Party is concerned about: the real battle for hearts and minds is taking place right here in the good ol’ US of A, where it counts. Because if the Obama administration fails to mobilize public opinion around support for the war – or, at least, fails to keep popular antiwar sentiment from penetrating the Beltway bubble – then the President might as well have replaced Gen. Stanley McChrystal with nobody, for all the difference it will make. 

Schoenfeld, you’ll recall, was one of the loudest defenders of accused spies Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, two top employees of AIPAC, Israel’s powerful Washington lobby, who recruited Larry Franklin, the Pentagon’s top Iran analyst, to pass sensitive secrets to Israeli government officials. A friendly judge, and a public outcry – led in part by Schoenfeld – got them off once the Obama administration took the reins at the Justice Department. Rosen and Weissman, despite having stolen reams of important intelligence [.pdf] from us, were basically pardoned by the Obama-ites – thanks to Schoenfeld & Co. – while Manning is having the book thrown at him (to the applause of the Schoenfelds of this world). 

In defending Rosen and Weissman, Schoenfeld averred that these two innocents were just “journalists,” doing what “everyone” in Washington does – trading on inside information. The AIPAC duo, who had been sneaking around Washington meeting with their quarry in darkened restaurants and on crowded street corners, were just exercising their “First Amendment rights,” Schoenfeld protested. The affair was “misbegotten,” he says in his book. – but it’s okay to prosecute and jail Manning. Because, after all, instead of stealing on behalf of a foreign power – Israel, our “friend” and “ally” – he did it to get the truth out to the American people, and we can’t have that! 

The Manning revelations – not only the two videos, but those 260,000 diplomatic cables the accused soldier reportedly downloaded and sent off to Wikileaks – have already delivered a body blow to the War Party’s efforts, with the promise of much more to come. That’s why the powers-that-be and their media sock puppets are going into overdrive, pushing back as hard as they can: they apparently think a preemptive strike will somehow ameliorate the growing crisis. With public support for the war plummeting, and a rebellion brewing in the Democratic party’s base, the administration can ill afford to sustain any more damage to their position before it becomes completely untenable. Their fondest hope is that they can railroad him quickly, and douse public interest in the case..."

Jul 6, 2010

Minor Random Observation

Cell phones, and other portable digital communication devices, make pets of their owners. A person carrying a cell phone pays a very large corporation for the dubious privilege of wearing that combine's digital leash and tracking device, consuming its content-exclusive digital mush, and guaranteeing that all the minor meows and growls of daily existence retain a nearly permanent documentary form, which the corporation also owns exclusively, and sells to pet maintenance facilities, otherwise known as data mining operations...

Jul 4, 2010

Looking back down the stack, a spell...

To understand, then, what I snarkingly called the Totempwog (et al) below, perhaps we best see the entire process as a method of stabilizing adherence in a system which encodes routine periods of managed chaos (elections, bubbles, economic contractions, mediated crises), as a means of releasing the built up of social pressures and social toxins, and breaking social resistance to authority.

As Al Schumann wrote (and far, far better than I),

"Every relatively healthy adult experiences cognitive dissonance as a severely distressing condition. In the face of overwhelming refutation, supplied by people and world around them, they sooner or later back away from the insupportable belief. It's not easy, sometimes, and it can take ages to make headway. But it does happen. The defensive constructs of wilder and wilder dissonance pall and finally gall so much that it's a relief to give up on them. What comes after, of course, varies. 

[snipped reference back to this blog, which seems gauche and unseemly to duplicate, on my part]...takes a hard look at the serial imputation of idealized qualities to public figures who invariably fail to live up to them. The qualities, if they existed, would be sufficient to impart vast integrity in the face of totalizing systemic obstacles to their exercise. As the systemic obstacles are indeed totalizing, effectively so at that, the vast integrity remains forever out of reach. But there's no shortage of new faces to which it can be assigned. And that's a lot easier than taking a step into what looks like chaos. The dissonance, then, is a comfort. Not distressing except in the moments between new faces."

The Constitution of the Stable Form of Power

Below, about a dozen folks have kindly added comment to and criticism of my most recent entries. Humbly, you have my gratitude. 

Instead of attempting to answer each in my now usual linear and verbose fashion, where I take a small idea and waste a thousand words making it smaller, I thought instead to answer the lot of them collectively, using those comments and critiques as a sound board for the expansion of the premise I have attempted to develop.

First, a recapitulation:

Societies change, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly - but, inexorably. How human persons live together remains relatively fluid, beyond a certain threshold. Some sort of family unit - a mammalian trait, I imagine - defines the interior of that threshold. Beyond the family, which social group itself shows remarkable flexibility, and especially since the development of agriculture, human societies demonstrate an enormous range of potential forms, hybrids and rising and declining types.

Time seems an unforgiving milieu, and the human memory itself variable in the face of the pressures of time. We forget. We rethink memories. We recast old beliefs about our memories - personal and shared, encased in the individual brain, and stored exosomatically - according to new successes, innovations, failures and traumas.

We do not share a common perspective. The same event, seen from different vantages and different epochs, provides a variety of meanings, dependent upon the observers, and the way those observers understand their material conditions.

Human social groupings show every indication of constant flux.

The human power structure does not. The form of power remains almost exclusively stable. Since the parts of the form of power - persons - do not remain stable over time, and in fact live exceedingly brief existences, the form of power does not derive from an external imposition on human behavior, or from some innate tendency to organize thusly. It arises from the material conditions of human and extra-human interaction. And more importantly, it replicates.

People make the form of power, and they continuously remake it according to a surprisingly enduring structure, regardless of place or time.

Persons shape others to assume power. And we cannot really understand power without understanding, at a fundamental level, that it invariably means power over.

The form of power constitutes a way of living which allows a very small number of persons, proportionally, to rule over the larger bodies of their constituent and governed populations. Those governed populations groups present a tremendous range of potential forms, and yet the stable form of power does not tend to vary.

Let us, then, restate this form of power: a small order of ranks, with several adjutants answerable to a primary authority, assisted by a body of councilors and a lesser organ which interacts with the ruled parts symbolically, with enforcement done by members drawn from the population group itself and trained to identify further with power.

And let's remember that persons replicate this form towards a very specific and durable end, namely to force others to labor, converting raw materials into luxury, weapons and controllable territory.

Power has a function. I humbly submit that we cannot understand this stable form of power unless we understand its very material function.

Therefore, when Andromeda writes,

"Until the current (and historical) form or structure of what we call 'power' falls away---or is destroyed from the bottom up by the oppressed---nothing will ever change. As you said, 'You don't get the job unless you want to do the job.'

The very idea of 'power" requires that one or some individuals be elevated over the 'masses.'

I think the only thing that can save us from this endless cycle of 'power' is a shift in paradigms to rule 'power' obsolete in favor or something called 'willful servitude.' "

I can both agree and disagree. I again humbly submit that the constitution of the masses, as masses, misses the point. The shape of the ruled population does not matter, in relation to the form of power. And in societies without the very specific national form of the the masses, a late and modern invention, opposition to power would fail because it would follow from a tactical misunderstanding of the strategic environment. And although I agree, without reservation, that those who live beneath power must first reconceive power in the negative, primarily as a mode of existence which they must reject, in order to oppose it - I imagine that any attempt to instruct those raised to obey power in "willful servitude" will end up reinforcing the replication of power.

Power retains this stable form through replication, towards a clear end.

When fwoan writes that "spreading power dilutes it," and soon on amends the statement to ask, "But this, I think, only includes forms of power commonly seen today whether electoral or dictatorial. What about forms of Demarchy where those who are given power are not given it by campaigning, capturing, or inheritance?"

I must reply by restating the premise that power does not have a solubility in human populations, because the form of power does not require a specific constitution to the governed population. In order to have power, one must do power - and we must remember, towards a very clear end.

We cannot separate the form of power from its material purpose, or from the material conditions over which it repeatedly replicates. If some ruling group of persons wants to get others to labor, and ensure that those who labor derive little or the lesser part of the benefit of that labor, the ruling faction will assume a very specific and stable form of power, since that structure works, has almost always worked, and will continue to work so long as the goal remains the same.

Therefore, when drip writes,

"...In the previous post you ended with [y]ou don't get the job unless you want to do the job. That is true if the job or behavior is inside the realm controlled by power. It is not true outside that realm. There are some real life examples of this. Some of the radical religions that survived the Reformation, operate solely by collective activity relying on dispersed authority. AA, the most successful social therapy of the 20th century operates without leaders or outside assistance. The civil rights movement in India and for a short time here had leaders who lasted only as long as they articulated the needs of the movement...."

I would suggest, with great humility, that the point of our disagreement lies in the use of the word "power." Which brings me almost immediately to accounts of Native American social structure (specifically, Shawnee), as well - where a chief's influence did not exist beyond the willingness of those persons who agreed with him, to continue to agree.

If we discuss the agreement to cooperate, using the terms of power, we have every right to forgive ourselves the confusion. Raised to obey, and to understand the ordering of the world as a natural system of ranks and hierarchies, we ought have no surprise that we often confuse the terms we use, when discussing those ways of living which do not require the stable form of power, because they do not require or preserve its purpose.

In that light, perhaps it might follow that we better understand the stable form of power precisely when comparing it with those human social shapes which do not depend upon the extraction of labor, resources and information from a governed population and territory, by a proportionally smaller class or faction which derives its benefit and enjoyment from the submission of the extracting population.

We ought perhaps describe positions of respect and expertise, in those alternative arrangements, without using the terms of power and authority.

With continuing respect to you each and all,

~ Jack

Jul 2, 2010

So we come to the first juncture, and pausing to catch our breaths, note that...

...if the form and purpose of power do remain consistent, despite the passage of time, and across a wide number of topographies, because power replicates itself, then it follows that the replication of power depends largely on how those who rule draw their replacements.

Obviously, in some societies, this remains largely hereditary, with the ruling class self-replicating rather literally, so that membership in the ruling authority precedes the instruction in the methods of power.

But, in those communities where the hierarchy does not pass strictly along familial lines, or only within some of the competing factions of the larger ruling class, the instruction in the methods of government and power must serve as a function of power itself.

The recruitment and replacement process must inhabit, at some or several loci, the physical territory which the ruling power controls. Since power replicates in order that those who hold it might enjoy the fruits of others' labor, to train for some portion of power a person must train to deprive others of their own work, as well as to persuade or force them to accept this fact as just, natural and right.

Any attempt to capture power, then, results in an effort to capture the authority to deprive others of the results of their own effort, to rule over them so that they cannot create lives for themselves, since, if they create their own conditions of labor and enjoyment, they cannot serve the preservation of power.

In a society where power does not replicate exclusively within hereditary lines, the ruling factions must recruit from their own exclusive subject populations, or from the larger population group.

Those subject populations might appear as religious, lingual, ethnic, national, gender or ideological groupings*, among others. They might hybridize one or more categories of identity, but what unites them all first and foremost - let us call this adherence.

In the simplest form, those who adhere to power accept that some must rule, and that they merit the better sorts of existences. Lacking any cultural, social, electrochemical, biological or evolutionary evidence for the necessity of adherence, we might consider it reasonable to conclude that those who rule raise those they rule, and their own replacements, in the belief in adherence.

Seen this way, those who train to rule others train also to instruct them in the belief that they must, should or ought to obey.

Adherence, then, provides the ruling power with the capacity to rule varying forms of populations, in divergent periods, across a diverse range of terrains. Since the form of power seems to remain stable, while the governed populations do not, adherence describes the methods by which the stable form of power governs the varying and unstable groups over which it rules, and does so with their participation. And also, how it consistently replicates the form of itself.

Those who rule must therefore train, educate and persuade those whom they rule to not only accept the arrangement, but believe in it, obey it and actively participate in it.

From this, we can understand that a person who argues that the capture of power will change the shape of society will very likely have already received an education in ruling others, or that a person who defends or defines the terms of adherence (in our own time, see Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman, as well as any number of analogs in conservative, ethnic, feminist or ideological circles) will predictably come from one of the recruitment centers of power.**

* - which, under any sort of scrutiny, seem rather obviously imaginary, in so much as the claims about them, like the claims about money, disappear the moment anyone checks up on them

** - a mere sample

And the lesson which follows, or the insight which you might please yourself to have...

If the form of power remains stable over time, then capturing power does not alter the relation of the governing faction to the governed population.

In other words, we can call the following claim, that "if only [insert preferred identity group] had power, it would all change" a big, fat lie. Or, with a nod to human affection and charity, a giant motherfucking mistake. Or a misunderstanding of history, itself an infective replicator in the various bodies politic with its own remarkable longevity.

Admission to the ranks of power, even by violence and conflict, requires first and foremost an adherence to the form and logic of power.

You don't get the job unless you want to do the job.

...and the the results of this contest so far...

The form of hierarchy has remained relatively stable over the five millenniums of recorded civilization. The population groups over which hierarchy has ruled, and the manner by which persons engage in and determine membership in a ruling faction have not.

The human structure of power has a consistency which seems to indicate some enduring constant in the process of developing a society, community or group over which a smaller party rules.

The governed human population groups have such a variability - ranging from bands to tribes to tribal affiliations to tribunal republics to linguistic nations to horsemen kingdoms, to feudal and religious fiefs to nations and nation states, to companies, networks and associations, to industrial and information corporations - that one might reasonably suggest that the population group itself matters little, when determining the shape or form of the faction which governs it, except perhaps in the management of who belongs in that governing power.

Power remains stable. The project of power has not changed in any fundamental way since people first realized they could force others to labor, converting raw materials into luxury, weapons and controllable territory. The governed body, and how members of that body conceive of themselves, does not.

Changed identity, changed group membership - ranging, again, from tribe to international party to transnational corporation, and all the variations in between, and conceivable - has not altered the human shape of power, nor the relative stability of the dominant hierarchical forms.

Adherence to power, then, should occupy our attention, we who resist authority. Not the manner of group ruled. The shape of ruling factions, and the stability of that form, provide an insight into how to oppose power.

Not by changing the relations between ruled parts, but by changing the relation between ruled and rulers.

Sever the connection.

Encourage disobedience.

And wherever possible, make it exceedingly difficult for the ruling factions to recruit their replacements from whatever form of population over which they rule.

The form of power - a small order of ranks, with several adjutants answerable to a primary authority, assisted by a body of councilors and a lesser organ which interacts with the ruled parts symbolically, with enforcement done by members drawn from the population group itself and trained to identify further with power - has a stability which provides us also with its primary liability.

It replicates itself, and the replication does not depend on the shape of the ruled population.

Stop the replication process.

Again, encourage disobedience.

Or, how to win this long and bloody contest of the ages...

Let the Boni rule. Then, give them nothing to govern. Nothing. Not a drop of sweat, piss or blood. Not a flake of flesh. In due time, they will turn one on the other, making their game of thrones into a contest for oblivion.

Or I went sideways, following two different modes, and broke even with myself

Some days, words sort of just fail to grasp the fullness of emotion. Both sons soon off to their own lives away from us, the first taste of real distance for our youngest, an unpredictable routine for our oldest. One to his once yearly visitation (I have custody), the other to his first summer camp. I hate when they leave. A strong word, but I mean it.

The significantly more evolved one and I, though, enjoy the time to each other.

Blessings with the curses, an older generation might call it.

In that vein, sometimes the randomness of the cosmos presents you with an opportunity to enjoy two or more simultaneous states of existence, two ways of standing out.

We left the house early today, my head on doom and politics, lingering from before I drifted off to sleep, but my eyes resting on the wonder of the twin mountains to the west of us, limpid clouds above them casting darker green shadows, filtering the illumination from the east, so that the gleam of the cell and radio towers atop the nearest faded into a muted forest umber, and the mountain showed, almost, its pre-American face.

It still bears its Algonquin name, and the scars of a late 19th, early 20th century hotel, a trolley line and the present electro-industrial configuration.

Enough, said. Encapsulating both modes of the day:

"...Cowled in the utter grief
I am the priest of a new disorder
Whose flag unfurled
Bears a hatred for the western world

There is no compromise
No piped lament
To stay the blind
Just a shrike cacophony of war

Ashes ember, fires rise
No longer am I paralyzed
Now I drown in a loss worth fighting for

Black is my heart
Black is my heart
Black is my heart
I am nemesis..."


"I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world."