"...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

Nov 25, 2010

Pardon Me

Leonard Peltier still rots in prison. Turkey goes free. Need I type more?

Nov 23, 2010

Militarize Everything

"An unusual breed of Asian snakes can glide long distances in the air, and the Department of Defense is funding research at Virginia Tech to find out why...

...As video of the reptiles show, they undulate from side to side, in almost an air-slithering, to create an aerodynamic system. It allows them to travel from the top of the biggest trees in the region (almost 200 feet high) to a spot about 780 feet away from the tree's trunk...

'The snake is very active in the air, and you can kind of envision it as having multiple segments that become multiple wings,' he said. 'The leading edge becomes the trailer and then the trailer become the leading edge.' 

It gets stranger. During a technique not yet understood, some of the snakes can actually turn in air. What's more, they all take a flying leap off their perch to get airborne, then drop for a while to pick up speed before starting the motion that keeps them aloft much longer than they would otherwise. 

Socha's initial research was sponsored by the National Geographic Society, but his most recent work and paper were funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The agency is involved in advanced military technologies of all kinds, and Socha said the physical dynamics of snake flight (and how other creatures stay in the air) is of great interest to the agency
DARPA did not respond to an e-mail asking for more information. However, Socha's upcoming paper on the dynamics of gliding snakes in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics does list DARPA as its financial sponsor..."


  ...everything is a resource to capital, and to its enforcement organs. Everything. When they've militarized snake flight, it will be to militarize more of the human mind. Unless, of course, your mind flowers from a body which happens to have been stupid enough to be born underneath capital's bombs...

My Kind of Grifter

"KABUL, Afghanistan — For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement. 

But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little. 

'It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.'” 


All was right with the world for about 3.68 seconds, today. Grifting impostor takes US money, takes lesson from Israeli negotiators, applies it to Israel's primary benefactor.

The God of War Loves Barack Obama

"(Nov. 23) -- North Korea fired more than 100 artillery shells onto a South Korean border island today, killing two southern marines and wounding 18 others in a brazen attack that prompted the South to return fire and put its military on its highest non-wartime alert."


Smacking North Korea around has the added benefit of letting Iran know what's in store.

Nov 20, 2010

Clustered Sitdowns, Management Has Spoken


"...These clusterfucks, the romantic egoist in me wants to believe them the awesomest clusterfucks ever, but I wonder, doesn't every generation think their time the clusterfuckest ever? Are humans fundamentally shittier than ever or just as shitty with enhanced surveillance capability? Here, let me type anti-Corporate invective into googleblooger and plunge send.

In any case, those patdowns in airports are training whacks on your snout to
sit the fuck down and STFU when told to sit the fuck down and STFU. Our overlords are busy negotiating the terms of our complicity too..."

There is a service we can provide here, if so inclined. Get. This. Message. Out.  

The internet may be going pyramids and skyscrapers, soon - but it still has its back alleys and speakeasies and a lot of us chill on the doorsteps and fire escapes of both. Spread it by way of poor man's balconies; whisper it on the doorsteps. Spread it beneath the street lights. Spread it.

We have other complicities available to us. Ones which the bosses can learn to fear.

Nov 19, 2010

Learn It

Wealthy white dude (starred in a baseball movie, and in a movie about Vietnam), who makes stupid faces in a stupid show about fucking lots of women, goes after wife with knife, gets time in rehab:

Wealthy black guy (starred in the same baseball movie, and in a different movie about Vietnam), who makes movies about a martial arts loner against the world, neglects Uncle's portion of the Empire bill, gets three years in the custody of the federales:

The Devil Swings

He does, he really does. Yep - the great imaginary rebel against a tyrant god has got some groove.

I love a band that combines my two favorite forms of music - swing jazz and metal. Not everyone may appreciate Annlouice's vocal style - but fuck it, right?

Insubstantial Queries

If you argue that men must be governed, do you really have an argument against a kind or type of government?

If you believe that government has a purpose, does that purpose follow from the use of government, or the outcome of governing?

How do you measure the outcome of government? What standards of judgment can you, or would you, use? Can those standard possess any objectivity if the people articulating them developed their morality and conceptual frameworks under government?

How do you compare and define the purpose of government in relation to the intended outcomes? Do you judge government by the disparity of effect between statement of purpose and the reality of outcome? Do you determine the type of government needed according to the purpose, or the intended outcome? How do you know that a social circumstance results from government action, and not instead as a reaction to it?

Catching the Rub

 Justin @ Americana:

"In my view, one of the most damning details in the story of John Tyner, the man who refused to submit to an unlawful search or walk through an x-ray machine, is the civil suit and $10,000 fine. If these measures were solely to do with airport security, then these sorts of legal measures make no sense. Terrorists who are presumably willing to die in a plane hijacking are not cowed by such threats. These measures are all aimed in the same direction, to instill fear, deference to authority, and erode a sense of personal rights as the default position of the citizenry using tools of humiliation and coercion. Partially disrobing, submitting to groping or naked body and throwing away your water scans have nothing to do with security."

(emphasis mine)

Addendum: On the tele right now (7:09am), George Clintonopolous referred to the Israeli airline profiling standards as the "common sense approach" because it weeds out people who "are clearly not" threats.

Nov 17, 2010

A Gender Post (About Coffee)

My wife finishes the last cup of coffee and if the rest of us (yeah, my kids drink coffee) haven't had a share, she makes another pot. She'll make coffee in the morning, to take to work, and then make another pot for me when I get up.

She came into our marriage with this awareness of others. With a social awareness.

I mostly had to learn it, from watching her.

I wasn't raised to see the world this way. She was.

I get the distinct impression that this is common.

Nov 16, 2010

Save the Boss Thousands

Open enrollment time. My wife's annual "wellness benefit" for not smoking is $1.92 a paycheck. By not providing the insurance company and her employer with thousands - if not tens of thousands - of dollars of costs and expenses associated with smoking...

...they will deign to allow her to save $50 a year.

This is a power relation between two parties, in action.

What Liberals, Democratic Centralists, Hegelians and Good Progressives Cannot Admit

The purpose of the State is self-perpetuation.

Priorities Abound

I still have replies to which I must respond, in the post preceding this one - but I thought these three seemingly separate items needed the explicit linking they actually deserve:


"The U.S. is preparing for an expanded campaign against al Qaeda in Yemen, mobilizing military and intelligence resources to enable Yemeni and American strikes and drawing up a longer-term proposal to establish Yemeni bases in remote areas where militants operate.

The developments are part of a U.S. scramble to step up the hunt for members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist organization behind a recent failed attempt to blow up two planes over the U.S. using bombs hidden in cargo. 

Limited U.S. intelligence experience in Yemen has created 'a window of vulnerability' that the U.S. government is 'working fast to address,' a senior Obama administration official said.

For now, the U.S. gets much of its on-the-ground intelligence from a growing partnership with Saudi Arabia, which shares a border with Yemen and has a fruitful informant network in Yemen's tribal areas. 

In the rush to build up capabilities, the Central Intelligence Agency and other agencies are moving in equipment and personnel from other areas, and over the past year have expanded the size of teams in the U.S. analyzing intelligence on AQAP. The emphasis now is on expanding the number of intelligence operatives and analysts in the field.." 



"...And for the Obama administration, which promised not to seek any further construction freezes as a precondition for securing this one, it is unclear what will happen to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process if this freeze, like the last one, comes and goes without a Palestinian commitment to remain in negotiations with Israel on creation of a Palestinian state. 

Under the proposed freeze, negotiated by Mr. Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during nearly eight hours of talks in New York last Thursday, the Israelis would stop most construction on settlements in the West Bank for 90 days to break an impasse in the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Those negotiations began in Washington in early September, but soon faltered over Palestinian anger at resumed settlement construction, when a previous 10-month freeze ended. 

In return, the Israelis would receive 20 advanced American fighter jets and other unspecified military aid, as well as American promises to oppose any Palestinian attempt to obtain international recognition of statehood in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza without Israeli agreement. 

The United States would veto a United Nations Security Council resolution along those lines and actively work against similar resolutions in forums where it does not have a veto.."  


h/t Mister Smith Himself


"...Certain "choices," like cutting back on his wars and his surveillance state, are not going to be involved. But he doesn't mind going after Social Security and Medicare, or raising the federal gasoline tax by 80 percent or so (which is highly regressive -- that is, it will hurt people in lower income brackets more). To counter discrimination against the vulnerable Corporate-Americans (corporations are people too, you know! they have feelings! they can hurt!), the corporate tax rate will be cut by about 25 percent, from 35 to 26 percent. The hike in the gasoline tax is intended to make up for the loss of revenue that will result from that generous gesture...."

Regarding this:

"We're going to have to make some tough choices [tough = bad for poor people, good for the rich]," Obama said. "The only way to make those tough choices historically has been if both parties are willing to move forward together."


The Obama expansion of the Bush continuation of the Clinton extension of the Bush redoubling of the Reagan government must hurry to expand its limitless wars to include permanent bases in dangerous, exotic Yemen, must (after eight hours of jaw-jawing) give its military and UN imprimatur to Eretz Yisreol's starving hunger for lebensraum, must make tough choices about the future of the already laughable social safety net, on a very short schedule...

...but it couldn't keep big pharma and big insurance from writing up the exact health care law those industries needed, has no political capital left to expend on gay marriage or a repeal of DOMA, cannot effectively counter the Republican/media narrative of poor and black people killing the economy with their non-redlined home loans, et cetera ad nauseam ad infinitum.

Get it yet?

Barack Obama's job is to put a hood on the gallow's face while holding the line against an increasingly unlikely and negligible liberal reaction. Barack Obama's task is fairly straightforward. He has to kill the final iteration of the American welfare state. 

He's doing it, right out there in the open...

Nov 15, 2010

Claryifying for Misreaders

Power does not exist on its own. It has no ontological value. A person cannot possess power, because power does not function as an object. Understand this as fully as possible: power is not a thing. Power exists only between persons, as a relation. As an inequity, or a disparity of effect.

If a person has power, he has that power in relation only to another person, who does not have it, or has less. Despite unsubstantiated insistence (which does not follow its own logic far enough) to the contrary, power remains social. Power has no personal component, no singularity.

A man alone in the woods has no power, because power has no context but society.

A person may have strength, skill, intelligence, wit, capability, memory and effect. But these traits do not define power. Power can only operate when one person has it over another.

A person does not to need to experience fear or subjectivity to see this clearly. One must only attend to events as they occur, and attribute no spirit, person, belief or assertion of entity to them.

Observing only, one observes that power exists only as a relation between constituent parts. Power, in human relations, does not exist outside of the context of those relations. It is not a quantum of energy. It is not a thing a person can obtain and use.

Power only describes how a person or persons controls another or others.

[I suspect lingering bourgeois attachment to "empowerment" and "personal power" informs many of the plainly ill considered assertions to contrary. Those who argue thus fail to observe properly the occurences they attempt to describe, because they reify a set of relations, treating the relation described as an object-in-itself, which a single individual can thereafter obtain for his or her (very bourgeois) self. And it is by doing this that they come to treat with power as a thing, or trait. This reification allows them to remove the "over" from "power over" and then act and believe as if the "power" is an independent etheric fluid, that it can or does remain separate from the domination/subjugation the word actually describes. That this then describes a process of mystification ought to become apparent...

...One could also note that the familiar phrase is not "the rich and empowered." It's the "rich and powerful," and with good cause. Men accumulate wealth, resources and influence be subordinating others. By relating to them as a superior, to their inferiors. By dominating them. "Empowerment" is a feeble bourgeois attempt to democratize the possession, and assume the glamor, of a throne, whilst also ignoring how that throne gets its force, in the first. Any attempt to "empower" a person, as if he or she can be injected with a mystical quantum of agency, is the attempt to give that person the majesty of a throne, and its effects, while divorcing her from the actions necessary to achieve it.

It treats with the epiphenomena as if they were a primary cause, and I imagine this is why some people continue to argue as if power is merely a trait a person can express, on his or her own, without any relationship to another person, and without the force and domination that inform all actual instances of observable power.]

Nov 13, 2010

Recapitulating a Recapitulation

"...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."

No Voluntary Hierarchy

 JRB is simply wrong.

This is not a matter of opinion.

If the participants of a game, role or play can walk away at any point, and suffer no consequences, and meet no restraint, you do not have power. If they are not bound by ranks, and forced to conform to the roles and rules of those ranks, you do not have a hierarchy.

If they cannot walk away at any point, or face punishment if they do, you have power. If they are ordered into ranks which are enforceable, you have a hierarchy.

There is no hierarchy anywhere that does not depend upon enforcement. I challenge you to demonstrate even one.

Just one.

The hier-archy has ranks. It it doesn't have ranks, it isn't a hierarchy. If you want to discuss a set of relations where people pretend, play or consent to act out dominance and submission, call it that. Call it what it is: role playing.

But don't call it hierarchy. A hier (sacred) archy (power, ruler) sacralizes an order of rank. Its existence demands the ranking of persons, depending upon the obedience of the below to the orders of the above, on obedience and fidelity to the order of ranks itself.

Nov 11, 2010

On a lighter note, she sings with the circus, she sings the broken refrain...

I'm Sorry, Lambert

 But, Elizabeth Warren is the problem she's allegedly supposed to fix:

"With all that on her plate, you might expect Warren to shy away from tough and slightly controversial questions, but that's just not her style. When asked if she thought we'd be in the financial mess we're in if more women had a seat at the decision-making tables on Wall Street, she didn't hesitate. 'I think if more women had had seats at the table, we just would not have had a crisis like this,' the Harvard law professor told me during an interview inside one of the War Rooms at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across from the White House.

Warren cites two big differences between women and men. Women are 'especially good' at fighting on behalf of others and are often outsiders, she says. "The outsider status was missing," says Warren. "There were a bunch of insiders talking to insiders and that's how they ended up blowing up the economic world.
'So my view on this is I want to see a lot of women get involved, a lot of women,' Warren continues. Amen to that."

It's not that we should abolish Wall Street and chase the bankers and traders into the drink, where they can hang out with Shakespeare's lawyers. It's not that Wall Street is a place and a culture where life and livelihood are traded and degraded, to the emolument of the capitalist class. It's not that Wall Street and market practices are by their very operation predatory...

...It's that if there were more female essences there, bad things would never have happened.

C'mon now...

And before I get the same damned cut and paste replies - pointing out the flaws of liberalism, capitalism, capitalist liberal feminism or feminist essentialism does not mean that I hate the wimmins, think all is well and hunky dory, that women should be content with whatever jobs men don't want - or that leftists, anarchists and Marxists have a wicked good awesome record with regard to the liberation of women, gender roles, bias and/or sexism.

On Austerity

Austerity is not "about the economy." It has nothing to with competition, job creation or fiscal solvency. It's not about efficiency. It's not about the commonweal. Austerity is about changing the function of the State back to an older, more versatile, more enduring stable form. Austerity is about preserving the State as a military-policing instrument, whilst shedding those functions which currently provide a buffer against the mastery of the class which controls the state. Where once the ruling class had to buffer the laboring class from the worst excesses of capitalist accumulation, in order to maintain a sufficiently stable and trained laboring population, this condition no longer obtains. The ruling class can, because of globalization and the "offshoring" of plant capacity to crippled and re-colonized "third world" nations, now return to a more traditional set of relations with labor and the growing lumpenproletariat.

Tripling the rate of tuition, or cutting social security - regardless of your opinion of public education, government schools or social insurance - doesn't make the state any more or less solvent. The ruling class will have the State which serves its interests best. It will always fund the State it needs.

It - especially now that globalization has engendered a compact supranational master class -  no longer needs nationally disciplined industrial working populations. So, from the vantage of the ruling class interest, it makes sense to reduce the size of the managerial education pool by pricing out those competitors for positions who lack the class interest. This has the added benefit of more clearly identifying those persons who are willing and able to pursue management and professional education, as well as those with the drive and self-deceptive skills necessary to rule others and pretend that this means "liberty."

So too, with the now overt intent to reduce the carrying capacity of the already meager American social insurance system. Again, regardless of opinion about government social welfare, the ruling class no longer needs a labor force shielded against the vagaries of the market. Nor does it any longer require the artificial construct of the nuclear family, in any large numbers, to produce the isolated and alienated workers and professionals who formerly staffed and managed large scale industrial concerns, as well as their support, food provision and health maintenance adjuncts. So, it has begun to shed those State functions which encouraged both the disciplining of labor by education and social security, as well as the disciplining of persons by the artificial nuclear family isolated in single family homes, and raised with an insular, parochial morality of "self-determination."

This is what austerity is about. The transformation of the state. We are lucky enough, if our perspectives are sufficiently broad, to be witnesses to a new set of initial conditions.

And to fuck with them hard, if we get our act together...

[h/ts to Dead Horse and slackbastard for the inspiration]

UPDATE, some 8 hours later: Well damn. BDR says it really well, and in less words:

"Corporate (I'd change the metonym to Triskelions if I thought enough people got the allusion) doesn't want more or less gov't, it wants gov't to do what the fuck Corporate wants gov't to do which is to enact regulations that protect private property from Democracy and to dismantle regulation that impedes their amassing capital at such a greedy pace the machine would crash of itself and/or spark a revolution. Call the first the GOP, the second the Democratic Party, in either case the motives are the same.

It's not coordinated - the economy may collapse yet, resource wars are sure to erupt between competing triskelions - but Corporate enforces orthodoxy and orthodoxy says power always wins."

Nov 8, 2010

Finally: Truth in Advertising...

complete and total h/t DoM

Nov 6, 2010

I Wonder Why

I don't trust public statements made by public officeholders. Whole lotta empty grammar. Lies. Half truths. Shit, really.

But I do wonder why Graham would argue in such plain language for the tilting of leviathan towards an attack against Iran:

"...not to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime."

Well, plain for an elected Republican. I don't expect a politician beating the drum for war to actually say or write, umm: "To kill all their eighteen to twenty year old draftees, to poison their waters, to murder their mothers, to slay them where they sleep and where they eat, to drop so many tons of explosives that they finally knuckle under and accept whatever regime we install as a replacement."


Why, Lindsay?

To whom do you signal?

Nov 5, 2010

The Other Way Around

Oscar Grant was sentenced to death, today. 

[how it would have gone, had Grant shot Mehserle]

Nov 3, 2010

In Response to Scolding Breathlessness

I won't type for all anarchists, non-cooperators, opt-outers, Orlovians, dirty hippies and apathetic nihilists. But, I do feel the need to scratch a peculiar itch.

It seems that a representative sample of liberals have a gripe with the rest of us. Let's start with one of the cats who got it going, and then get our grubbies on a few more tasty treats.

Take it away Tbogg:

"Every year in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land all of the sprites and elves and woodland creatures gather together to pick the Rainbow Sunshine Queen. Everyone is there: the Lollipop Guild, the Star-Twinkle Toddlers, the Sparkly Unicorns, the Cookie Baking Apple-cheeked Grandmothers, the Fluffy Bunny Bund, the Rumbly-Tumbly Pupperoos, the Snowflake Princesses, the Baby Duckies All-In-A-Row, the Laughing Babies, and the Dykes on Bikes. They have a big picnic with cupcakes and gumdrops and pudding pops, stopping only to cast their votes by throwing Magic Wishing Rocks into the Well of Laughter, Comity, and Good Intentions. Afterward they spend the rest of the night dancing and singing and waving glow sticks until dawn when they tumble sleepy-eyed into beds made of the purest and whitest goose down where they dream of angels and clouds of spun sugar.

You don’t live there.

Grow the fuck up."

Tell us how you really feel, Anthony McCarthy:

"I'm certainly disappointed at the weakness of Barack Obama's first two years and the disgrace of the Senate. I think we all have ample reason to feel betrayed, to some extent and exasperated at their political ineptitude. But they aren't violently attacking us. I certainly don't want a Republican controlled Senate to be in a position to block the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and any other Supreme Court justices who might leave the bench in the next two years. That's just one of the important reasons to vote against them. There are a multitude of other ones. This election isn't about Barack Obama, it's about us."

Come on now, Landru, don't hold back: 

"If you're not voting for some sophist reasons related to class struggle, fuck you. If you're not voting because you think there's some value in letting curbstompers be elected to teach Democrats a lesson, fuck you. If you're not voting because you're an anarchist, you're too fucking stupid for me to waste my time on. If you think that The Kind will win over curbstompers, you're not only too fucking stupid for me to waste my time on, you should go line up at the nearest House O' Curbstomping for your turn."  

Let it all hang out, Driftglass:

"Grow The Fuck Up.

And get out and vote."

Jesus' General, slap that photo on us:

Tengrain, scare us into submission, please:

There’s plenty of reasons to vote the rascals in Congress out. But, from a strictly left perspective I also suggest that what ever significant progress we’ve made these past 18 months or so has been thanks to Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, not President Carebear’s leadership (which strictly speaking has been lacking from day 1). Pelosi has been very effective at getting votes to pass significant bills and move them into the Senate where they become watered down or killed.

You want someone to blame, start with the Senate.

Here’s the deal, as I see it: any vote for the GOP (literally any) is a vote against yourself and a vote against democracy. If you think that the Huns and the Visigoths were dreamy, then you will love the 2010 GOP. They will sell you out to the highest bidder in a heartbeat; they are wholly-owned by the corporations; in a word, the GOP are fascists."

Texas Betsy, show us your failure to grasp the deliciosity of irony by quoting the official Democratic organ:

Vote a Straight Democratic Ticket:
  • If you don’t want rightwing billionaires to own our government, vote Democratic.
  • If you want billionaires and corporations to pay taxes, vote Democratic.
  • If you want a decent job with decent wages – not corporate slavery – vote Democratic.
  • If you want Social Security, Medicare, public education, and environmental protection to survive, vote Democratic.
  • If you don’t want rightwing thugs to stomp on your head at a political rally, vote Democratic.
  • If you don’t want a woman’s body to become the property of the Republican Paty, vote Democratic.
  • If you want campaign finance reform that gets billionaires and corporations out of politics altogether, vote Democratic.
  • If you want Truth, Justice, and the American Way, don’t wait for Superman – vote Democratic.


So, what gives? Why this breathlessness?

I think a short answer will do.

Seems some folks fail to grasp entirely that political democracy is a sham when all the economic relations are organized, with violence and the threat of violence, into hierarchies, where the end result of an election is still the status quo ante. Without economic democracy (I hate that word, but a thirty paragraph explanation is so not a propos, at this point), political democracy just gives sanction to capitalists. All this scolding mouthbreathing does is betray that ignorance, revealing a failure to comprehend that voting for oligarchs won't get you any actual democracy. 

The Democrats are the fucking oligarchs, too. Get it?

As I typed yon Landru's place - changing the baby's diaper doesn't make it stop shitting.


And in addition: I wouldn't recommend cutting, but I understand why people do it. I had a coworker who cut herself, and she was pretty sure she'd have killed herself if she hadn't had "that phase." I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that she believed it to be true, which was good enough for me. Cutting, whilst rather obviously and literally self-destructive, let her feel herself and her own pain (though she didn't feel it as pain, when she was doing it, she said) in a way that allowed her to overcome her own alienation, for a time.

This is how I see voting. As a kind of cutting. None of the self-harm actually changes the world around you, but it does give you control over your reaction to it. In the short term...

Plus ça change plus c'est la même chose, aussi et aussi et aussi...

So - guys who want to shrink the size of government wherever it mistakenly helps out poor or brown folks, but never when it drops bombs or gives cover to bank predation, who want to get all up in uteri that don't belong to them, who think gays and feminists make too many demands,* who want to find a reason - any reason - to bomb Iran that the American Idol voters will endorse or at least ignore, who want to encircle Russia and string pipelines across the Kush, who want to find "faith based solutions" to the "problem" of humans fucking each other and enjoying it, who want to expand the prison industry and keep drugs super duper profitable for warlord bulk gun purchasers, who want to blame the Wily Chinese for the the shit they used to blame on the Wily Japanese, and who would love to criminalize environmental and labor organizing in the name of national security - these guys just took control of the House of Representatives?

What has changed, again?

Other than the fact that this batch of corporatists sounds more like fascists than the last?

That's what I thought...

* - not an endorsement of liberal "feminist" power worship or the repeal of DADT, just an observation.

Nov 1, 2010

The Smallholder "Revolt"

I'd intended an essay on becoming an earnest leftist by becoming a disillusioned teenage Randian, who then found Jesus, lost him, got himself a red card and finally ended up a cynical and aging anarchist.

But fwoan wrote something concise and eminently more interesting:

"But how else are the Democrats, a party built on sustaining and profiting from the status quo, to convince the cowering masses that their reformative hands are tied by the evil Republicans? In truth neither the Republicans or the Democrats have any interest in helping you. Any change provided by either party in the past has been by organized and fierce demand by the people...

...It’s with this knowledge that we begin to understand why the Democrats are counting on losing this election. Once the Republicans seize control of the House any attempt to further campaign Hope and Change will be neutered. Immigration reform? Blame the racist Republicans. Ending our global war mission? War-mongering Republicans’ fault. True Healthcare Reform? Corporatist Republicans wont have it! The excuse is too good to be true. The inverse is true of Republican voters’ demands."

Having astroturfed into mediated existence a "movement" of  angry crackers and Christian reconstructionists, the GOP is on the verge of giving Barack Obama the opportunity to complete his marching orders under the cover of the bogeyman of "government shut down." You will notice, I hope, that the "small government" Republicans never manage to make useful noises about shutting down the DoD or dismantling the Joint Chiefs proconsular occupation armies, leaving that argument to notably racist friendly gold standard guy, Ron Paul, and his "libertarian" get, the latest Assklown of Kentucky.

I don't want to suggest that there's anything particularly new about this season of febrile White rage. There isn't. Any time the shit gets comparatively shittier for the credit-slurping lawn order Muricans, with their personal Jesus and his legion of corporate prayer warriors, they vote up whatever gaggle of electoral Pinkertons promise to make life even harder for brown people, since the oft-unstated standard for poverty in this country is whatever Jerome Typical Negro has to endure. I say "typical negro," because anyone who has ever lived in a majority black community knows that there's nothing particularly typical about it, except that most of the White folk have moved on. The type is entirely a media invention, hauled out every two years and in nearly every movie produced in a Hollywood Brando understood perfectly well...

So, this is what we have. We have a bunch of smallholders - petit bourgeoisie - pissed off that the gig is coming to an end. They know it, I think. Thirty years of repeated promises of prosperity, and the debt keeps piling up, and the television keeps showing shit getting worse. They also have friends and neighbors who are starting to lose their livelihoods, and their homes.

I imagine the guy with a metal shop and 36% labor costs honestly thinks it's wages which keep him from holding down his fief. He probably really likes most of his guys, and would love to pay them more, but he's got it in his head (in my experience, and recently) that he owns his three bedroom house, fair and square, that his shop was made entirely from the sweat and blood of his effort, and that the schools he pays for (either in property taxes, or in tuition) are really interested in churning out competent adults. He watches the telly and he sees his "country going to hell" on the watch of the first black imperialist corporate running dog President, and he sees how all those places where black and brown people live are full of grifters, welfare queens, and drug addicts. His world is orderly. Or, so he believes. It's not the bank, it's not the very concept of private property, it's not the idea that some should rule and the rest should obey, which comes to his mind. What he sees is his own smallholding, and how soon and how easily he could lose it.

This is his reality. It's his faith - he believes, very sincerely, that all this wealth is made right where it's enjoyed - that he himself has done it. It's a matter of deepest faith that his work and effort and labor always equal some sort of reward, some legacy he'll leave to the world and his children. If he isn't getting the reward he expected (and frankly been raised to expect) and he's put in all the effort, and done what the bank asked, and gone to Church, and hoisted up his flag, then it must be someone else's fault that he feels so insecure.

That reward - let's be clear - is security and the expectation of consumption satisfied. If he cannot feel secure in his possessions, and continue to enjoy them, he rightly believes that something is wrong with the world.

The problem, of course, is that he's wrong about the cause.

Which is the entire political* purpose, at this stage of late order capitalism in the US of A, of the GOP. Their job is to spend millions of dollars (money which represents labor stolen from workers, by corporations, and given to politicians and marketers) blaming the poor and the brown for the all the problems faced by smallholders, middle class professionals and the dependents of the bourgeoisie.

It's an easy sell - because the divide between the smallholder/middle class and the the poor and brown has always been extreme, on the North American continent. It's always been clearly marked by race, geography and culture.

The GOP's purpose, again, is legerdemain. Point to the poor, the brown, the laboring - and blame them for the conditions which first allow the smallholder to exist, and then undo his security, his wealth, and his property. In other words: blame the poor and the non-white for capitalism's discontents.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have only one job themselves - keep the state afloat in any way possible, so long as the capitalists who most benefit from its operation do not have to absorb the costs. And this is why, tomorrow, the GOP's successful rebranding effort will allow them to give Barack Obama what he needs and wants: a Republican cover for the enactment of those measures which will preserve the viability of the State as an enforcer of property, obedience and resource control.

This is what the Tea Party - a smallholder "revolt" against an imaginary State in the service of an actual one, if ever there was - was supposed to do; and this is what it has actually done.

The problem lies not in its failure, or its success - but in the expectations of its rank and file. Because, and I think this is the rub, they aren't going to become leftists if they feel disappointed. They aren't leftists because they aren't proles; they're smallholders. They have no class interest with labor.

And since their expectations for restoration and cultural rebirth cannot be satisfied - this segment of the population (in my estimation) presents the likeliest and most immediate breeding pool for the development of actual, political, militant fascism.

Whether their fake revolt becomes an open one, as capitalism fails them too, and then they fail to understand this, remains to be seen...

UPDATE: * - they serve other functions, of course...