Thursday, November 30, 2006

News o' the World

Mad as Hell-CNN’s Lou Dobbs’ Populist Crusade
(The New Yorker)

Republicans Lost on Nov.7, Not Conservatives by Pat Buchanan
(The American Conservative)

When the American Empire Falls: How Anarchists Can Lead the 2nd American Revolution
by Keith Preston (American Revolutionary Vanguard website)

How Seattle Slew the Raid on Its Treasury
No more corporate welfare for sports stadia. Cool.
(Tech Central Station)

Web Surfing USA!


Why the West needs Ahmadinejad (Al Jazeera)

Polonium for Sale (MSNBC) The stuff used to fatally poison the exiled Putin critic is common and easily available.

Why So Many Police Shootings with So Many Rounds Fired?
(San Jose Mercury News) "The truth is, bad police shootings and instances of police brutality do not take place in a vacuum. They ferment in negative police cultures thriving on overheated rhetoric that describes cops as ‘soldiers’ in ‘wars’ against crime and drugs."

Debut Novelist Iain Hollingshead wins "Bad Sex" Writing Prize: (UK Guardian) "[W]hich aims to skewer ‘the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel’. "

Britney Spears "Upskirt" Pix Takes Web by Storm (LA Times) Picture link here

Why Americans Should Never Be Allowed To Travel (via Actual stories provided by travel agents. Hilarious.

Celebrating Detroit’s "Seediness" (NY Times)

Seattle Mayor Pitches 'Nightlife' Licenses
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Jihadis and Whores: (Asian Times) "A nation is never really beaten until it sells it women."

Barber Framed and Entrapped on Terror Charges gets No Sympathy from Columnist (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"Wrap Rage" Sweeping American Christmas Shoppers (Washington Post) "The Hard Truth About Hated 'Clamshell' Packaging "

Seven Million in U.S. jails, on probation or parole (AP/Yahoo News)"1 in every 32 American adults.." Yikes.

McDonald's to patent . . . THE SANDWICH?! (The Truth will Set You Free blog)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Terrorist Event that We Should Celebrate

Instead of the sappy and maudlin remembrances of the Oklahoma City or 9/11 attacks which only make one sadder and venerate the state. The same fookin' state that provoked the attacks in the first place and then was totally unable to prevent or deter them, too. And these remembrances have become rather crass and commercial anymore as well. Have you seen those "commemorative coins" for sale on cable TV? Made with genuine silver reclaimed from the WTC wreckage too! Celebrate American history (and Al-Qaeda's biggest victory!) by buying some? I don't think so.

I saw this post at the From Reason to Freedom blog posted by Malinda.

"On August 14, 1765 a small group of colonists came together to form a secret society in furtherance of independence. They first met in Boston under a tree located at the corner of Essex and Orange Streets near Hanover Square. They had gathered to protest the Stamp Act. When they left they had founded a secret society that would promote independence for the colonies, a front line for action. Effigies of two tax collectors had been hanged from what was ever after known as the Tree of Liberty."

And then,

"The Boston Tea Party took place on December 16, 1773, the culmination of that campaign by Parliament to coax colonists into establishing the right to tax. The previous Stamp and Townsend Acts has been rescinded, leaving only that small tax on tea. The Crown put the first part of the agenda, raising money, on the back burner to establish the principle that they could impose control without representation. The colonial leadership in Boston was determined that their plan be thwarted. American freedom was not to be purchased for the cost of cheap tea." [my emphasis]

And so,

"This December 16th many of us will gather to read the account of ["Terrorist Leader" George] Hewes, toast the Sons of Liberty in whatever beverage most pleases us, and hold a moment of silence for those who took the actions that lead to Lexington, Concord and finally to the Declaration of Independence, establishing for the first time in human history the principles that each of us possesses our rights directly from God and through no king or government."

True enough Malinda. And direct action is the best action!

That's a national day of remembrance that I could actually get behind. So of course the history of it is suppressed and goes deeper and deeper down the memory hole. But not this year. I'm gonna roll up a spliff of my favorite un-taxed substance, have a nice meal with my friends and family, and then drink some of Mr. S' home made AppleJack (also un-taxed). And if I can find a way to get my lips around a Cuban cigar, (and therefore illegal to import, just like the colonists' tea) the day will be perfect

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Surfing the Web...


A short list of stuff I found interesting on the web today.

Like I Care
"The first person I knew who had a Web site of his own was a fellow Washington journalist. This was when many journalists were still just getting into e-mail, but the URL for this Web site quickly circulated around town and around the world. Why? Well, we were all impressed by the technological savvy. But we were absolutely astounded by the solipsism. What on earth had gotten into Joe (not his real name)? This was a modest, soft-spoken and self-effacing fellow, yet his Web site portrayed him as an egotistical monster. Or so it seemed at the time. All of the elements that struck us as obnoxious maybe eight years ago no longer seem that way. In fact, they are now virtually required for any writer's Web site. The Web address, of course, was his name: It's hard to recapture why even that seemed pretentious. But it did. Then there was his deadpan list of books he'd written and awards he'd won. And quotes from other journalists about how wonderful he is. It all seemed totally out of character and terribly immodest. Poor Joe! Had the World Wide Web driven him crazy?" By Michael Kinsley (Washington Post)

The Attack of the Name-Calling Columnist of the New York Times
"By my count, Thomas Edsall found the need to use the word 'protectionist' 5 times in his attack (NY Times Select, so no link. Sorry.) on the populist appeal of many of the Democrats who won seats in Congress this month. It's too bad that he couldn't refrain from name-calling long enough to think about the underlying issues. The basic point is very simple: recent trade deals have been designed to put less educated workers in competition with low-paid workers in the developing world. This drives down the wages of less-educated workers (people without college degrees) in the United States. Lower wages for less educated workers benefits higher paid workers like Thomas Edsall because it means that they can buy their manufactured goods for less and pay less when they have work done on their home or garden or hire a nanny. We did not have to design our trade deals this way." By economist Dean Baker

Spam Never Dies
"Three years ago, intentionally answered spam advertisements for cheap mortgage loans to see what would happen. Very soon, we received offers from a host of mortgage brokers, including household brands like Ameriquest and Quicken Loans, proving that spam is big business. Now, we’ve proven something else: Spam never dies." By the Red Tape Chronicles blogger.

Fiji PM to Meet Army Chief to Avoid Coup
"Laisenia Qarase, Fiji's prime minister, is to hold a last-ditch summit with the Pacific island nation's military commander amid fears of a coup." (Al-Jazeera) Another good reason, perhaps the best one, why standing professional armies are dangerous. What does a little island nation-state like Fiji even need an army for, anyhow? A great question that never gets asked or answered by the statists.

Michigan City Library Yanks Web Access Over Porn
If you wanna look at that stuff then go to a cyber cafe. Why should taxpayers pay for these guys' porn addiction? Leave the puters for the kids to do their homework on you pervs.(Detroit News)

Massachusetts' Senator Kerry Ranks Last in Likeability Poll for Politicians
No surprise here.(MSNBC)

US Dollar is Play Money to Foreign Tourists
"A depressed dollar is turning Fifth Avenue into a virtual flea market for global travelers as strong currencies like the British pound and the euro create a glut of great deals on fashions, electronics and hot status brands." (NY Post)

Jeff Cooper Dies at 86: We'll miss you, Col. Cooper.
"The great Jeff Cooper, a.k.a. 'father of modern pistolcraft' has died. According to Ed Head, Operations Manager at the Gunsite Academy, Inc., Col. Cooper passed away peacefully at his home on the afternoon of September 25 (2006)."(

Patriot 2: A Celebration of Liberty
A pretty good CD (or as mp3 downloads) of the libertarian/paleo-con oriented music of Matthew Fitzgibbons. Good stuff. Not at all hokey or maudlin, like I had expected it to be. I first heard Fitzgibbon's music on a Radio Free podcast. Worth a listen IMHO.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Marx Still Matters and the Question of Privilege

Why Marx Still Matters by Paul D'Amato

"A uniquely fluid class system [exists in America] that allows for significant upward mobility is “the promise that lies at the heart of the American dream,' according to a New York Times study on class in the United States. The ability of the poor and the working class to climb the social ladder has always been exaggerated. But in the early phases of industrial development it had a certain amount of validity. The abundance of cheap land in the West for a time offered workers the opportunity to 'retire' from wage labor and become farmers. Each new wave of immigrants would start at the bottom, but might dream of improving their lot by moving up and out of the working class. This provided a safety valve preventing the formation of what Engels called a 'permanent proletariat.' Once westward expansion had completed its course by the end of the 1890s, however, the safety valve was closed.

But the 'dream' never disappeared. Being your own boss-starting up a small business where there aren't any foremen or managers bossing you around-continues to be seen as a way out of the working class. The dream is a backhanded acknowledgement of the alienating, tedious, and unrewarding quality of wage labor. But the dream also has an ideological purpose-to promote the idea that individuals can make something of themselves, not through collective struggle, but by dint of individual spunk and hard work. Conversely, it reinforces the idea that those who are stuck in the working class or in poverty deserve it because they haven't tried hard enough to get out.”

Good points. That last one reminds me of a Rush Limbaugh riff (remember those “homeless updates”). I was chatting with a Russian anarchist and disgruntled ex-CP member recently and she said she thought that: “Everything Lenin told us about the state [withering away] was a lie, and everything Marx said a about [state] capitalism was true.”

I am not a Marxist or a communist. But it’s hard to deny many of the points Marx made about state-capitalism and the ability of the ruling class to dominate, consolidate, and maintain their hold on the political apparatus of the state, still holds true.

Privilege: Its Role in Oppression by Punkerslut

“What is the alternative to privilege? If a citizen in this society does not wish to obey the orders of the masters of the system, they will lose their privilege. They would still enjoy some of the fruits of society, but they would be among the class of the majority with little privilege. That is the only punishment given to those who do not accept the offers of the system to become more productive members. The offer of privilege reads as follows: ‘Adhere to these special orders and you will be rewarded.’ On the other end, there is a threat: ‘Violate our laws, or the orders to the many, and you will be punished with imprisonment -- the complete inability to gain or enjoy any privilege.’ The use of privilege is two-fold, in that it is used as a method of reward as well as a method of punishment. The social system in place then has interests, desires, wants, goals. Its natural role is to force people to comply with orders. The privileged classes enjoy a higher quality of living, because the framers of the social system gave them more consideration. By having these privileged classes, the ruling class gains a tighter and firmer control of the majority. For instance, kings in Europe would assign nobles who in turn controlled knights, the class honored with the duty of force. Today, privilege is granted to all members of society that produce more, because the fruit of their produce is taxed to feed runaway military and police budgets. By granting a small amount of privilege to doctors, the whole of society can produce more wealth to feed more troops. In that respect, the system gains more protective strength, in order to maintain the present order. The citizen possesses the option to reject the offers of privilege for special duties, such as enrolling in the military or becoming a more productive member of society. One might even theoretically say that he possesses the option to reject even the law, only if they are willing to accept the penalty of losing all privilege. And though it is not difficult for us to use the phrase ‘losing all privilege,’ we cannot forget that waking everyday in a prison cell is a very stark and brutal reality for many.”

You can go your own way in American society, says punkerslut, but only if you’re willing to suffer a decline in your privilege level. And even that option has its limits.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How Rent Makes Poverty

"Henry George got into things. Because of the simple points that rent has to be paid in advance and that rents always rise while wages do not, he said labor takes home less and less. He makes his general principle that 'as land increases in value, poverty deepens.' Classically, Adam Smith claimed that all the efforts of people seeking self-interest lift a society up, acting as a giant wedge driven under the society. Henry George said that rents actually tend to force the poor further down; the wedge is driven through the society. Rent is the culprit, he said, it is the thing that prevents a free market society benefiting everyone. It is eviscerating. It accounted for the widening inequality of his day, and he had powerful descriptions of American cities in which widespread destitution could be found in the midst of the greatest abundance. Since the law supports the haves, rent is legal robbery '..not like the robbery of a horse or a sum of money, that ceases with the act. It is a fresh and continuous robbery, that goes on every day and every hour... a toll levied constantly and debases, and embrutes, and embitters. "

I found this essay kinda of interesting. I hope you do to, but I'd recommend you read the entire article before you make up your mind. I got out of the landlord business myself about six years ago, and I don't think I'd like to go back to it. Morals cannot be removed from politics and economics if you expect to end up with a free and just society. That's what I think anyhow.

I found this little bit of cultural analysis from Keith Preston at FreedomSLUT (posted by Brad Spangler) which explains why the political left seldom makes much headway in American culture or politics. While the author uses a lot of Marxist references and jargon, it is still a pretty good essay and makes some excellent points.

The paleo-left in America is deeply ensconced in the heart of academia’s elite universities and colleges, and so they tend to reflect their ruling class cultural prejudices and biases.

These type of academic revolutionaries are well represented by Noam Chomsky the famous “anarchist” philosopher-king who is himself a decades long tenured professor at a tax supported state institution (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and a multi-millionaire author of anti-state and anti-authoritarian books and articles. Yet Dr. Chomsky himself lives in a very nice upper class suburb of Boston far away from the ignorant and unwashed toiling class that he supposedly venerates. Go figure.

“It is not merely coincidental that the two population groups most ignored or even despised by the Left establishment are poor and working class rural whites (whom they view as bigoted, racist, religiously fanatical, xenophobic, jingoistic, uncultured dullards) and the urban lumpenproletariat (whom they regard simply as criminals). The Left establishment is the party of cultural Marxism, eternally obsessed with left-wing identity politics ("racism, sexism and homophobia" and all that), the purpose of which is the advancement of the bourgeoise elements within the traditional minority groups. Nothing could be more subversive to the class struggle. This should be obvious enough as each of the left-identitarian factions have been severely coopted by the forces of bourgeoise [sic] liberalism. The contemporary strategy of the ruling class is to wage war against its authentic class enemies under the cover ideology of totalitarian humanism, with its triple banners of Equality, Health and Consumerism. Within this framework, poor and working class whites are attacked (along with other traditional cultural groups) for their alleged opposition to ‘equality’, meaning the program of state-managed multiculturalism and coercive integration relentlessly pursued by the left-wing of capital whose power is now almost fully consolidated (whether in its left-liberal or neo-conservative variations). Similarly, and in a very overlapping manner, smokers, drug users, gun owners and others are attacked for their alleged threat to ‘health’, ‘public safety’ and other liberal-bourgeiose [sic] therapeutic statist pieties that evoke images of both the Jacobins and the Nazis. Lastly, class war in waged against both the rural and urban poor in the name of ‘urban renewal’, ‘development’, ‘property values’, ‘gentrification’ and other manifestations of consumerist totalitarianism.”

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Response to Cato

Cato wrote a comment about my Thanksgiving Day post about the line-up and frisk routine I experienced at the county courthouse this past week. Cato thought it might be a good opportunity to use people's distress and annoyance to agitate for greater liberty. Well, maybe, but it got me to thinking.

Here is my condensed hypothetical notions of what really would happen if people started to bitch about long lines and such at government buildings:

Democratic Party politicians:
"We need to hire lots more clerks to serve the people! And we're sure people won't object to a small tax increase to pay for it , either. After all, there ain't no free lunch, eh? (The vulgar libertarian argumentation most often used by politicians.)

Republican Party politicians:
"We need to outsource this whole process to India, or hire temps, or part-timers to provide more convenient service at lower prices. An extra fee could be added onto licenses, permits, fines, or fees to pay for it if need be. After all, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, eh? And God bless America!

Green Party politicians:
All licenses will be issued on organically grown, solar-powered, recyclable fair-trade paper and.. (ad nausem). And if it costs more, well tough. It costs money to be eco-friendly, so shut-up and pay it folks! There ain't no.."

Libertarian Party politicians:
"We'll make jail inmates or welfare-receipients work as "volunteer" clerks for no-pay. After all, there ain't no...&tc.

" Licenses? We don't need any stinkin' licenses or state entities to make us have 'em either. Phooey on this whole business anyhow."

Cynical? You bet. But that's been my bitter experience when dealing with real issues through what passes for politics in this society.

So Cato, if you got any ideas that wouldn't result in any of the above catagories, please, I'd like to hear them.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Marxist Critique of Anarchism Doesn't Hold Up

(From Bryan Caplan’s Anarchist Theory FAQ website)

The Marxist Critique of Left-Anarchist

“[The] most famous attacks on anarchism was launched by Karl Marx during his battles with Proudhon and Bakunin. The ultimate result of this protracted battle of words was to split the 19th-century workers' movement into two distinct factions. In the 20th century, the war of words ended in blows: while Marxist-Leninists sometimes cooperated with anarchists during the early stages of the Russian and Spanish revolutions, violent struggle between them was the rule rather than the exception.”

Boy howdy! Was Marx ever wrong about that aspect of things. The authoritarian-left suppressed and killed off the anarcho-syndicalists in both the Russian Revolution (1917-1919) and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) just soon as they possibly could. The intoxication of having power is just too much for some people. All people really, so why bother with fighting the urge? Suppress the state and statism and you need not worry (as much) about tyrannies and ruling classes forming. Drain the swamp and you don’t need to worry about mosquitoes and the other pestilence that breed there.

Marx criticized the anarchists on three major points. From Caplan’s FAQ.

1.) “The development of socialism had to follow a particular historical course, whereas the anarchists mistakenly believed that it could be created by force of will alone. ‘A radical social revolution’ said Marx, “is connected with certain historical conditions of economic development; the latter are its presupposition. Therefore it is possible only where the industrial proletariat, together with capitalist production, occupies at least a substantial place in the mass of the people.’ Marx continues: ‘He [Mikhail Bakunin] understands absolutely nothing about social revolution ... For him economic requisites do not exist...He wants a European social revolution, resting on the economic foundation of capitalist production, to take place on the level of the Russian or Slavic agricultural and pastoral peoples ... Will power and not economic conditions is the basis for his social revolution.’ Proudhon, according to Marx, suffered from the same ignorance of history and its laws: 'M. Proudhon, incapable of following the real movement of history, produces a phantasmagoria which presumptuously claims to be dialectical ... From his point of view man is only the instrument of which the idea or the eternal reason makes use in order to unfold itself.’ “

Yeah, whatever Dr. Marx. When the communists finally did succeed in gaining a position of “dictatorship of the proletariat”, the state didn’t cease to exist or begin to wither away (as Engels predicted). Instead, a new ruling class of bureaucrats and party apparatchiks took up exactly where the previous ruling class left off. As as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, and the rest have shown, Proudhon's and Bukunin's predictions were spot on.

2.) “Marx ridiculed Bakunin's claim that a socialist government would become a new despotism by socialist intellectuals. In light of the prophetic accuracy of Bakunin's prediction in this area, Marx's reply is almost ironic: 'Under collective ownership the so-called people's will disappears to make way for the real will of the cooperative.' It is on this point that most left-anarchists reasonably claim complete vindication; just as Bakunin predicted, the Marxist "dictatorship of the proletariat" swiftly became a ruthless 'dictatorship over the proletariat.'

Yep. See above.

3.) “Marx stated that the anarchists erroneously believed that the government supported the capitalist system rather than the other way around. In consequence, they were attacking the wrong target and diverting the workers' movement from its proper course. Engels delineated the Marxist and left-anarchist positions quite well: ‘Bakunin maintains that it is the state which has created capital, that the capitalist has his capital only by the grace of the state. As, therefore, the state is the chief evil, it is above all the state which must be done away with and then capitalism will go to blazes of itself. We, on the contrary, say: Do away with capital, the concentration of the means of production in the hands of the few, and the state will fall of itself.’ “

Too bad it didn’t work out that way, as history has shown that it doesn’t and hasn’t. Kill the state off and the privileged position of the (“state capitalist”) ruling class dies right along with it. This isn’t faith on our part; it’s a logical necessity. Given the historical evidence this line argumentation from the Marxists even to this day is just amazing, no?

I am not lining up anymore

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I went down to my local courthouse the other day to to take care of some business I “needed” to do. When I got there, I found a long queue of sheep all lined up at the entrance to the building dutifully emptying their pockets, taking off their shoes, belts, cell phones &tc before being frisked and scanned by security guards while under the watchful eye of an armed Deputy Sheriff.

“Screw this,” I thought to myself. I didn’t go in.

I read a news article a while back saying that when the Nazis took over Holland they simply posted a notice telling all the Jews to go their local village squares at a specified time and date and waited for them to show up. And being the fearful and obedient little sheep they were, many of them did. Most in fact too, sad to say.

I am not lining up anymore.