Hey, IOZ, whatabout that dude who shot them kids in Norselvania?
Well, before you pathologize him, consider how readily states turn to violence in order to alter the governments of other nations. He attacked the futureleader summercamp for the country's ruling party; the USBritainFrance are bombing Ghaddafi's children. Is the individual uniquely deranged? Only in his hopes of success? Is it insane to imagine that a lone gunman can overthrow the government of Norway? Um, lemme ask it to yinz comme ça: is it insane to imagine that the United States Military can install a Westward-looking system of state capitalism in Afghanistan? Yo--the objection to the purported utopian vision of anarchy is that all the depredations of the state are merely recapitulations of the inherently brutal and violent nature of man. I say to you it is not so. Many creatures are violent, even among their own kind; but almost none are so meaninglessly, so fruitlessly so. It is not the state which recapitulates the viciousness of man in his state of nature, but man who recapitulates the depredations of the the state.
Friday, August 05, 2011
Hey, IOZ, whatabout that dude who shot them kids in Norselvania?
I mean, on the one hand, there's a lot of good stuff here, especially regarding the use of psychopharmacology as mind control. On the other hand:
Yet despite their lack of confidence in the availability of Social Security for them, few have demanded it be shored up by more fairly payroll-taxing the wealthy; most appear resigned to having more money deducted from their paychecks for Social Security, even though they don’t believe it will be around to benefit them.That's the example? You see, this is where non-institutional leftism runs aground; yes, it rejects the fakery of Democratic party politics; it does not fall for Barack Obama's phony hoperation compain; and yet the ne plus ultra of its egalitarian vision is a little more democratic socialism for the yutes; it demands nothing but institutional access: gaymarriage, socialsecurity, healthinsurance. Its prescription for the future is stirringly . . . bourgeois. Middle-class entitlements . . . or bust! If you can't mobilize a twenty-something with the halcyon cry of unsecured payroll tax deductions, what can you mobilize him with? WHAT'S IT GONNA TAKE WITH YOU PEOPLE?
In like manner, the beginner who has learned a new language always translates it back into his mother tongue, but he assimilates the spirit of the new language and expresses himself freely in it only when he moves in it without recalling the old and when he forgets his native tongue.I am grateful to Charlie Davis for discovering this amazing eruction from the ambassador of our own Le Petit:
-The 18th Brumaire
Today, President Obama directed a thorough review to strengthen our national capacity to prevent mass atrocities. Crucially, the President will establish a new Atrocities Prevention Board with the authority and the policy tools to respond quickly to early warning signs and make recommendations before options narrow and the costs of both action and inaction rise precipitously. The President also expanded grounds to deny visas to serious human rights violators and war criminals and to isolate those who engage in or conspire to commit atrocities.WE MUST BE READY! The whole thing sounds like it was cut from an early-draft script for Transformers 36: The Rise of the Descended. Optimus Prime intones it before turning into a nuclear pine tree. The Dyslexicons attack in pursuit of The Ember of Conflict, which promises its owner unlimited roadside assistance for the life of the vehicle. A model bares her breasts. Michael Bay goes to the bank. My god, "Atrocities Prevention Board"--the abbreviation is even APB!
The United States is deeply committed to ensuring that no individual, now or in the future, sees a path to power in division and death. Moreover, in the enduring fight against mass atrocities, the United States will continue to enlist the contributions of all nations who know that in war, there must be rules; that, in the pursuit of power, there must be limits; that, even in a violent world, there must be rights; and that, when the embers of conflict threaten to ignite, we must be ready.
What is intersting here is how this langauge, although hurled impotently in the vague direction of the ever-springing Arab states, really just recapitulates anti-Soviet Cold War rhetoric. The United States and her allies will support free peoples wherever blah blah. I am a Jelly Donut. Mr. Stroganoff, meet me in the men's room at the mall! Insofar as I am able to tell, the American Empire locked itself into a particular mode of expression sometime around 1950 and has yet to escape it, try though it might to find a new language for its new-ish world: "The French, so long as they were engaged in revolution, could not get rid of the memory of Napoleon"!
Thursday, August 04, 2011
As an atheist I say there is no god, but I do not deny that God is real. He and his swishy kid are the most potent of historical forces; they are central to the whole history of Europe and the North American colonies; God is very real, even though he does not exist. When, as an anarchist, I say that there is no America, there is no government, there is no state, I mean it in almost precisely the same way. Its nonexistence has no bearing on its actuality.
The French contribution to music is often overlooked and undervalued as it was overshadowed first by the Italian, then by the Austro-German and even the Russian traditions; France has produced many composers whose names you recognize, but when you think of French music what comes to mind is mannered and un-profound. The turn of the 20th century was better with Debussy and Ravel, but before that, what could you say? Verdi was vastly greater than Gounod or Massanet; Franck luminous but limited; Berlioz infatuated with gigantism . . . I am not necessarily endorsing these views, but there they are. France produced no Mozart in the classical era, and although Lully and Rameau are lovely, France certainly never produced a Bach. Well, no one produced a Bach, but France may have come closest with François Couperin, whose treatise on Harpsichord deeply affected and influenced the master of Leipzig, and whose most towering compositions are brief, impenetrable, and strange. Now here is the extremely weird but completely excellent Elaine Comparone on her even weirder long-legged harphsichord doing a peerless rendition of Les barricades mystérieuses; notice in particular her fidelity to the lilting rhythm at the end of the melodic line.
First, many Muslims across the world fundamentally doubt the events of the Bin Laden raid. Some believe Bin Laden is still alive. Others believe he died long ago. Others believe that the events of May 2 were staged to allow the Obama administration to make an exit from Afghanistan. As Mr. Schmidle’s is the first (and so far only) account of the drama, these problems cast a pale of doubt upon the events that transpired that evening.Well you can count me as, ahem, not so inclined.
Second is the simple fact of Mr. Schmidle parentage. His father, as noted above, is the deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. Given the conspiratorial propensities of many within and beyond the Muslim world, Schmidle’s ties to this organization by virtue of his father would recast any serious inaccuracy in his report as a U.S. military psychological operation to deliberately misinform the world about the operation.
The reasons for this are at least two-fold. First is the charge of U.S. Cyber Command itself, which in it the lexicon of the U.S. Department of Defense is “pulling together existing cyberspace resources, creating synergy that does not currently exist and synchronizing war-fighting effects to defend the information security environment.” While the organization appears dedicated to protecting cyber infrastructure, others may interpret its role as using cyberspace to spread disinformation. Second, cynics may justifiably wonder what influence if any his father had in the article. Schmidle explains this to Farhi “’He knew I was working on it,’ the younger Schmidle says, ‘but we both decided it was best not to discuss it in advance. We wanted to maintain distinct lines of operation.’” I have no reason to not believe this. However, given that questions that now hover about his report will other readers be so inclined?
Basically, as long as you can pay taxes with the new scrip, then the scrip has some kind of value and people will take it at some price. Issuing said scrip will allow Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc. to reflate their economies. This won’t change the fact that all these countries need to take a real hit to their living standards (part of the point here is precisely that the new currencies won’t be as valuable) but you won’t be in the absurd condition of having 21 percent of the Spanish workforce simply idle and unemployed.Here is neoliberalism in a pork rind: the poverty of the many is preferable to the idleness of the few. His commenters are mocking him because he goes on to make a clumsy joke about Germany conquering the south in order to force the repayment of loans, but that's not fair; the poor dear was just trying to make a funny. This though, is that good, home-cooked psychopathy; it is the global-gulag mentality demonstrated at its uttermost absurdity; it posits the human condition as a work camp; empty toil is better than unemployment insurance; a society universally engaged in moving piles of sand from place to place is preferable to a mere 80% engaged in real work. Of course that 80% is charitable. A lot of the workers are engaged in fake work. The point is that there are more people than available work. The solution? Impoverish the entire society, thereby making its trinkets cheaper to . . . someone? Germany? Anyway, more people will then buy its Sancho Panza plush dolls; the plush-doll sector will boom, putting more people to work in the sweatshops. At least they won't be idle! That would be absurd!
-You Know Who
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
What do you do with the sentiment that the government or Barack Obama or John Boner or the Times editorial board or whatever is/are failing to "do enough" to "create jobs"? We need more jobs! Yeah, um, okay, why? What are these jobs? Are they merely make-work for the purposes of providing people with money whereby they might reenter the cycle of consumption? Well, um, yes. I mean, read any random Krugman column, and that is the takeaway. Now a better Marxist than me might observe that there is what the Washington press would call "a disconnect" when labor is alienated from production; me, I am merely a bad sophist, and so I will ask instead what happens when work is alienated from meaning, when labor is not only unproductive but literally insignificant. Certainly in the white collar professions the problem in America is not an absence of jobs but a surfeit of them; even in these days of high unemployment and slow hiring, the office towers and corporate campuses are crowded with useless jobbers battering endlessly against the need to write more macros. The problem is in fact not that people need jobs but that people need money, and hobbling them to a desk or factory floor is the only moral and legitimate means of funneling currency into their empty jugs. We need to have fuller employment so that more people are getting paid so that the consumer economy expands ad inf. and repeat as necessary. There are, if you consider it even briefly, a half million or so unexamined assumptions underlying all of this. Why not simply provide for people whose employment is extraneous to actual need? Or, why not aim for economic shrinkage and negative population growth? Or . . . Well, look, I will not be the first to point out the near-total spiritual impoverishment of Homo economicus, but it's a point that bears infinite repeating; if the most essential function of each individual human life is that it be employed to do something, anything, for four decades of its existence, if that is the true measure of man, then we should all commit suicide forthwith. There is no reason to go on living. There is naught but despair and untimely death. Better to pick the manner of one's own departure. If the final purpose of your being is to toil for sustenance and then to die, then you are among the lowest orders of animals, a bare step beyond a paramecium. Look, I am tired of telling you that Democrats are ridiculous, that Republicans are ridiculous, that Barack Obama is a murderer, that Thomas Friedman is dumb, that Matthew Yglesias is silly, that teevee rots your brain. Beyond the merely pecuniary and the venial: what does your life mean to you beyond your paystub and your appetites?
If you're anything like me, you probably spend a lot of your time fretting because right wingers have grown incredibly bold about bald-faced lying, and so far it seems there's literally nothing that can be done about it. We have extensive freedom of speech protections, which is a good thing of course, but leaves us with few options to stem the ever-growing tide of lies emanating from a right wing that knows that it can't make an honest argument. The mainstream media has basically abandoned its mission to correct lies with the truth. Some publications continue to fact check claims made by pundits, activists, and politicians, but it's just not enough to counter the endless stream of lies and misinformation coming from the right. That's why Fox News hates Media Matters so much---they have a machine-like approach to the lies, just debunking them in real time.I will propose to you that this is a form of derangement. I fret about my grandfather's health. I fret about who to invite for dinner. I fret about not calling old friends often enough. I think about politics; I write about society; I am even capable of getting angry about it; but it never worries me. I try to stick to human concerns. To spend one's hours consumed by anxiety that no one is rigorously stemming "the endless stream of lies and misinformation coming from the right"; to wonder with slight regret if our "extensive freedom of speech protections" might be the prime vector of pandemic dishonesty; to worry that the organs of state media are insufficiently corrective of state-issued lies; is to consciously choose to live in a state of self-imposed insanity. The state is a lie. Money is a lie. The law is a lie. Basically, as Ms. Marcotte would say, the entire perceptual frame into which these fretful concerns are riveted is an architecture of lies. The problem is not that the right-wing is lying and the media or the Democrats or whomever are failing in their mission from god; the problem is that there is no right-wing or mainstream media or Democrats; all of these taxonomic distinctions describe what are at best mere ephemera. The human society into which these ideas and categories are embedded is itself a colossal falsehood; that it is a widely-shared delusion makes it no less false. Arguing about the nature of left-vs-right-wing perfidy is like crafting a careful scientific explanation of the physics of dreams. Denise Levertov once wrote a poem called "Everything that Acts Is Actual." True. But also: everything that acts is, well, acting.
A popular conceit of science fiction is that humans will at some point create a post-scarcity society in which the costs of production are so infinitely low that we are liberated from labor and need merely speak the words Tea, Earl Grey, Hot, from which command, with the tiniest cell-phone tinkle, appears a steaming cup in an alcove in the wall. And while life on a Culture Orbital sounds real nice an at, as a Pittsburgher would put it, let me propose to you that those who relegate the notion of existence without scarcity either to a nanobot future or to an Arcadian past are accepting the dour Present's bill of goods. For what is scarcity, and what are the costs of production? What necessity of human life and happiness is actually as opposed to artificially scarce? Now opposition to anarchist modes of thought generally falls into one of two camps. On the one side are those who say that in the absence of organized thugs with guns controlling all human life on earth, organized thugs with guns would take over. I like to think of this as crackpot Vicoism--I mean, one man's barbaric era of self-reflection is another man's Kali Yuga; it is true that history, like music, often recapitulates its major themes, but you will forgive me for doubting that the entire human cosmos is stuck on the spin cycle. Anyway, the other major objection holds that the sheer complexity of our material society requires a hierarchical, rule-bound, command-based social organization lest the factories decay, the fields wane fallow, the possibility of booking a transatlantic flight on Kayak for the following day be extinguished in an orgy of wanton travel agency. And while it may indeed be true that certain apparently pleasant aspects of modernity would be less readily available in a world that did not require them . . . well, a better world would not require them. Many of these precious conveniences of modern life are merely symptoms of a gross decadence, and much material progress is in fact evidence of human decay.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
I suppose you would like to know what I think about The Phone Hacking Scandal, an exercise in sound and fury now grown so clamorous that a few Professional-Snore liberal types have begun doping against hope that some pieces of the well-fanned shit will stick to the weird, crayon-colored sets of FOX News. No less than Michael Massing took to the uh-gust (god bless you) pages of The New York Review of Books (in which one struggles more and more to find any reviews of books) to decry this particularly swollen head of the hydra:
Unlike the News of the World, there’s no indication (as of now) that Fox has engaged in illegal activity. What it has done is violate every journalistic and ethical standard. It has promoted preposterous conspiracy theories, peddled blatant falsehoods, and given a soapbox to all sorts of cranks and crackpots.Now aside from the obvious irony of lamenting a soapbox for cranks and crackpots in the online pages of a publication that gives itself over to Charles Simic yarbling about the lost art of the postcard and Harold Bloom blarphing about Jonah as if he were the first Jew since the cowardly prophet himself to notice the ironical undercurrents of his fishy tale, there's the, simply put, preposterous premise: FOX sucks? Put The New York Times on the case! With any luck they will discover that Murdoch himself fluttered through the window of some thrice-divorced, twice-dead, once-crippled, mother of seventeen 9/11 victims and an even gross of Fallen Heroes™, whereupon he promptly set to writing obscene Nazi-party slogans on the walls while sniffing her dirty undies and diddling his dessicated willow-switch penis--AND AT THE DIRECT ORDER OF GEORGE BUSH AND JOHN BONER!
Playing one side against the other, in bed with everyone . . . The hacking scandal itself was merely the sordid entree to the truly shocking, staggering, unprecedented revelation that policians and the media are in bed with one another. In the WEST! Under DEMOCRACY! It is the sort of thing that makes me wish I were Russian, as I might laugh harder at the whole spectacle. One need simply turn on the teevee to see that this is the case; it requires no insight or investigation. Discovering that some thinktanker or teeveetalkinghead was once a politician's hack is like discovering that a pro football coach played a couple of subpar seasons as a benchside defensive back back in the eighties; discovering that some unscrupulous blue journalist is now a politician's mouthjubber mediaminister is like turning on a Pens game and being shocked to discover Phil Bourke the ol' two-niner doing color. The endless angoisse over the various and sundry violations of the sacred bylaws of journalism, which have everything in common with Joe Smith's golden tablets as far as I can tell, and the sacred notion that NPR or whatever is different--it's all self-congratulatory. Eleanor Beardsley may sound more reasonable to your collegeboy ears than Sean Vanity; NPR may appear more civilized than FOX; but they're still worrying that France may not be able to keep up its frantic pace of killing fucking ragheads.
And in any case, the idea that listening to Prince Harry's phone sex messages is a moral demerit on par with, oh, I don't know, bombing Tripoli . . . well, I think you know what I think about that.
Let me explain something to you. "The Social Safety Net" is not a benefit or an entitlement; it is a bribe. It is a package of bribes offered to fictitious, created entity called "The Middle Class" in order to entice them away from any sense of solidarity with the poor. Its origin is anti-Communism. And it has been very effective. Middle-class entitelements, from Social Security to the mortgage deduction, have kept you poor slobs in line for seventy years, toiling away, building the foundations and walls of your own prison. The ongoing "attacks" on those entitelements are not attacks on the middle class by conservatives. There are no conservatives. The mass grave has been dug and it is no longer necessary to offer you rations as you stand at its edge. There never was a middle class; there is an ownership class and there is everyone else. You don't own anything that you own.
Smartypants progressive cockjobbers love to tell the world how the Koch Bros ran a train on Rupert Murdoch and nine months later a little Tea Baby forced its way past his Everest-sized prostate and writhed out of his withered urethra, setting about the gaudy task of duping poor whitetrash idiots in flyoverland to act against their own best interests. Needless to say, the first part of this is actually true, but, as previously observed, the Tea Party wasn't created to dupe Tea Partiers; the Tea Party was created to dupe cretins like George Monbiot.
If the Tea Party did not exist, we would have to invent it. Hey, waidaminute, that's what fucking happened. Fret all you like about a bunch of pasty Midwestern slobs in American-flag underpants overpaying for Goldline coins between ads for the strongest erectile dysfunction herbal remedy this side of true Scandinavian fish oil, these Chinamen are not the issue, man. The difference between tea party yahoos and progressive worriers is the difference between beagles and terriers, and if they just stopped for a moment to sniff each other's asshole, they'd realize that cosmetics aside, they're all just dogs. Poor, abused, unadoptable dogs awaiting the grimly pleasant vet tech and the numbing, pre-euthenasiac sting of the needle. The Tea Party held America hostage during "the debt debate"? No, you fool, you idiot; fucking rich people did it. The Tea Party is just some shit they cooked up to keep you busy, to keep you fuming at each other while they steal your tooth fairy money and grandma's dentures. Every policy that you abhor and mistakenly ascribe to the ersatz conservative revanchism of the so-called tea-party movement is a willful policy of oligarchic centralism with the end goal of extracting every last red cent from every last human being on the earth. You are both the miner and the mine. Strap the gaslight to your forehead, bub, and stick your head right back in where the sun don't shine.
Yea verily, I have returned unto you to put it straight to yinz: there is no tea party; there are no Democrats; there is no America. There is only global capital. There is no keeping American competitive for the future against the Chinese children of the math-science learning gap to win tomorrow today with the power of innovation. There is a single transnational elite whose allegiance is to itself. They would've fucked you on Saturday; they'll fuck you next Wednesday instead. There was no debt crisis. THERE IS NO DEBT CEILING. You are like prisoners in a concentration camp, tearing each other apart over crusts of bread. The guards check their rifles. The kommandant shtups his mistress. The carrion birds circle against the concrete sky.
You must destroy the rich.