Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Rule of Law, and Other Fables

I draw your attention to Mr. William Grigg's latest:
What would happen if tax victims, rather than tax-feeders, were to go on strike?
If Madison -- or the capital city of any of Leviathan's other 49 regional administrative units -- were over-run by thousands of productive people who decided that they would no longer consent to be plundered on behalf of unionized government employees, would their revolt be promoted by sympathetic media outlets, and supported by the president and his political machine?

Would self-described populist cable pundit Ed Schultz be there in person to confer an on-camera benediction to the rebels, describing them as people standing in "solidarity to fight for the middle class"? Would the state governor display restraint and forebearance in dealing with a malodorous mob that laid siege to the capitol for a week, if the throng were composed of people who withheld their taxes, rather government employees withholding their tax-subsidized services (such as they are)?

If this were to happen anywhere in the soyuz, every element of the Regime's punitive apparatus would be mobilized to put down the rebellion, hard and fast. Riot police and National Guard units would be deployed to beat and round up the rebels. I suspect that serious consideration would be made to the use of Predator drones to target those identified as "ringleaders" of the uprising.
You say that would never happen here? Hearken to the writings of that star-spangled, red-white-and-blue military hero, General George S. Patton, at the time a mere major, concerned with dealing with the "Bonus Army" in Washington between the world wars:
Patton was enthusiastic about the domestic applications of chemical warfare: "The use of gas is paramount…. While tear gas is effective, it should be backed up with vomiting gas.... Although white phosphorous is incendiary, it is useful in forming a screen for the attack of barricades and defended houses."

“Warn newspapers, theaters, and churches that if they encourage the mob, they are guilty of aiding them and that their leaders will be held personally accountable," Patton continued. "Freedom of the press cannot be construed as `license to encourage’ the armed enemies of the United States of America. An armed mob resisting federal troops is an armed enemy. To aid an enemy is TREASON. This may not be the `law,’ but it is fact. When blood starts running, the law stops.”
Yes, constitutions are all well and good, but it's vital to remember that, when push comes to shove, the people with the guns do what the hell they want to the people without them. Keep that in mind, next time you're watching the History Channel show us all the amazing new weapons that The Troops™ have. You may have your chance to see them -- from the business end -- all too soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roofing Project

So, the mutant leftover chicken pox virus from my youth has staged an insurrection, and I have the shingles. And man, do I look gross ... more so than usual, even. Right-side forehead's all uglied up, and my right eye is about half closed.

Shouldn't complain, I know, because I've had no severe pain or other big side problems with it, so far at least. Sure looking forward to it resolving itself, though. Probably in three to four weeks. We shall see.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It Doesn't Do to Get All Excited

Remember week-before-last, when we were breathlessly informed that some new "tea party" members of the US House had overturned the current order of things by blocking one version of the extension of the so-called "PATRIOT Act?"

As you can see, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Your supervisors are not going to remove the boot from your neck. Nothing of any real significance is ever going to change at the mythical "ballot box." Your supervisors occasionally use the ballot box as a form for something they want to change; it is sometimes useful in tightening our handcuffs. Forget, though, about votin' the cuffs off. Not happening.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Harry What?

I live in Allen County, Indiana, which is dominated by the city of Fort Wayne. In this county, there aren't many growth industries these days. After beef 'n' tallow chain restaurants, payday lenders, pawn shops, military recruiting offices, and deserted strip malls, there isn't much jumpin' ... except -- how could I forget? -- government. Oh yes, there's always a need for more government, and more government needs more space. And the City-County building downtown isn't nearly large or grand enough any more, and besides, somebody well-connected just happened to own another vacant white-elephant building downtown. So, of course, the city paid top dollar, plated the place with gold and encrusted it with gems, and now ... it needs a name.

So they went to The People, and did a little internet give-us-your-input deal. And I appreciate their doing so; I had about ten solid minutes of Friday-night hilarity a few weeks ago, that being how long it took "Big Dick Black" to get himself blocked by our high-minded supervisors. (Yes, I'm completely irresponsible, but I gots to have me a little fun somehow.) And the runaway winner, according to the Voice of the People, was "Harry Baals Government Center."

(For my non-local readers, Fort Wayne once had a mayor named Harry Baals. No, really, it's true.)

Well, needless to say, our supervisors aren't about to name the new gummint sandbox after Harry Baals. The People have spoken, but now The People can just dummy up and listen while their supervisors 'splain how it's gonna be.

I don't know what name the recently-acquired hog trough will sport. Actually, it would be most appropriate to sell the naming rights to the highest acceptable bidder. I'm thinking Citibank would be a natural. Then we could have a Citibank Citihall. Nice and corporate, don't you think?

Not Very Republican of Him

That New York Congresscritter, that is ... trolling the internet for women. Aren't men the usual target for classic family-values GOPpers?

By the way, I'm not going to copy and paste the photo -- you can see it here with no trouble. I wonder, though ... you can see his smartphone in his left hand. What's he doing with the other hand?

Yeah, well, some things it's better not to know, as my old father used to say.

Monday, February 07, 2011


How is Egypt like the United State? Embedded unobtrusively in this NYT story is a similarity:
The crowds demanding the immediate departure of Mr. Mubarak were smaller. But there were enough to form a human chain blocking the entrance to the Mugamma, a huge edifice on Cairo’s central square built in the 1950s to house the city’s labyrinthine bureaucracy — a central part of everyday life.

International financial markets were viewing the country as an increased risk. The Egyptian pound fell 1.6 percent (from 5.84 to 5.95 to the dollar) in global currency trading. The Central Bank, in its first auction of Treasury bills after a weeklong closure because of the revolt, sharply reduced the size of the sale, suggesting that demand by investors for Egyptian government debt was subdued.
Don't you just love the Times's tactful way with words? The demand is "subdued." Come to think of it, though, we're not similar to Egypt in this regard. The demand for Uncle's debt won't ever be subdued, since the Bernanke Reserve is buying it all up in Quantitative Easings #1, 2, 3, and so on, using "dollars" freshly electronically created by ... yes, the Bernanke Reserve! And that can go on forever, or at least until Microsoft's Excel runs out of numbers, which is hard to imagine. Or until people wake up and realize that the Bernanke just isn't worth the paper it's printed on the ones and zeroes it's made of.

Good thing that will never happen, eh?

Friday, February 04, 2011

Divine Omniscience: a Mixed Blessing?

Laurence Vance asked an interesting question yesterday:
I wonder if God even noticed the National Prayer Breakfast today?
I'm sure He did. To me, the more significant question is: Was He amused? Did He enjoy hearing from the Peace Laureate and a gaggle of his thieving, mass-murdering associates? I'm guessing not.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

"The National Interest" and Other Myths

At today, Kevin Carson addresses something that I've often thought about:
Yesterday, while channel-surfing, I saw a pundit on one of the news channels’ talking head shows pontificating on the internal contradictions inherent in U.S. government policy toward the new "Twitter Revolutions" in Tunisia and Egypt.

He said that, no matter how unpopular and authoritarian autocratic regimes like Mubarak’s are at home, the United States unfortunately has an interest in preserving their stability because such regimes "support our interests" in the Middle East.

Note the unintended irony there. When I hear a reference to "our interests," or what "we" are doing in Iraq or Afghanistan, my automatic response is "Are you carrying a friend in your pocket?"

The clear assumption is that there is some commonality of interest between the American people and the state that claims to represent them. But in reality, we’ve got about as many interests in common with "our" government as the Egyptian people have in common with Hosni Mubarak.

The U.S. government may pursue "interests" in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, but they’re the interests of the coalition of class forces that controls the American state. The interests promoted by the U.S. government are those at the commanding heights of the corporate economy.

U.S. copyright policy is written by the RIAA, MPAA, and Microsoft – Joe Biden’s "IP task force" actually operated out of Disney headquarters. Agricultural policy is made by ADM, Cargill, and Monsanto, as indicated by the revolving door through which vice presidents and CEOs of those companies walk to become deputy and assistant secretaries at USDA or vice versa.

If the U.S. government is an executive committee of the corporate ruling class when it comes to domestic affairs, and policy reflects the interests of the corporations that control the state, why would we expect it to be any different when it comes to foreign policy? What — because "politics stops at the water’s edge?" Come on, pull the other one! Show me the special race of angels — so different from the regular mortal ward-heeling hacks who make domestic policy — from which the foreign policy establishment is recruited.
My late mother, a woman given to the use of colorful phrases, would have said of the "our interests" formulation: What, are you pregnant? Got a tapeworm? Got a turd in your pocket? The United States, a welded-together golem encompassing the width of the continent, as well as a decent fraction of its north-to-south size, is supposed to have a common set of interests vis-a-vis the rest of the world? Seems pretty unlikely, even setting aside the obvious class interests that Mr. Carson cites. Like the former USSR, the US is certainly no organic whole; it's a collection of parts held together by fear and force, and those parts don't necessarily like each other all that well.

We're told that America is a great melting pot unified by ideas, represented by the Constitution. Well, the Constitution's long dead; and as for "ideas," well ... how can we even talk about ideas, in a country of "Dancing With the Stars" and "Hoarders" watchers?

The US is many times too large to be a "community," in any meaningful sense. Whoever talks about US interests is selling something -- something that most of us wouldn't buy, if not for deception and raw force.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Blizzard Blogging

Had the tee 'n' vee on a few minutes ago, and the crawler at screen's bottom informed me of a delicious fact: among the things closed tomorrow is the "No Excuses Personal Motivation Center."

Can't make this stuff up!