Friday, December 31, 2004

BBC NEWS | Americas | Colombia hands Farc leader to US

"The most prominent jailed leader of Colombia's leftist Farc rebels has been handed over to the US to face charges of drug-trafficking and abduction."

Simon Trinidad

Hmm..if the U.S. wanted to apprehend someone who was involved in drug trafficking in Columbia surely they would have had a much easier time apprehending President Uribe, who is widely reported to have gotten into office, and to have had his entire career as a regional politician pre-Presidency, bankrolled by the cocaine producers and dealers.

But, no. Alas, the guerrilla leader whose group taxes coca production but which doesn't actually grow or distribute cocaine gets handed over to America for our own brand of ...revenge and torture? No, silly me, "Justice"!
Yeah.

God dammit...Coulter went to law school in Michigan

There's always some sort of local connection to these people, isn't there? Coulter appears to have gone to U of M law, in Ann Arbor. I grew up in Southeast Lower Michigan....fuck.

God, I hate to think about Michigan conservatives; the thought of Coulter mingling and whooping it up with John Engler makes me wretch, although the thought of John Engler whooping it up with anyone, or even partying, makes me wretch.

I don't know, maybe it was all those tacky new age stores on, what is it, Pioneer St. in Ann Arbor? The one with the Mongolian Barbecue on it, whatever one that is, which turned her against liberals.

Or maybe she just absorbed too much of the charming thoughts about the city of Detroit that people from Northern, Central, and Western Michigan have.

'nuff said.

Or she started hanging out in Grass Lake, where the head of the Michigan Klan lives.

Either way, something happened along the line...hopefully Michigan is innocent in this.

Calling all Coulters: Ted Rall

A link to a Rall blog entry talking about his web challenge to Ann Coulter...

Mentions that Ann has this gem on her website: ""To The People Of Islam: Just think: If we'd invaded your countries, killed your leaders and converted you to Christianity YOU'D ALL BE OPENING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS RIGHT ABOUT NOW! Merry Christmas"

It makes me wonder what kind of person she was in highschool.

You know. Was she a dork? Did she wear glasses?

I'm betting she wasn't the cheerleader type, that she was a social outcast of sorts, although not the cool type, more like the just plain boring social outcast, and got a really bad inferiority complex over it, which she seeks to remedy by being the biggest Republican bitch that she can possibly be, and by wearing leather outfits on her books that she thinks make her sexy.

If Ann can be the biggest Republican out there she'll get that date to the prom she wanted.

Our Indian brothers, the U.S. version of colonial attitudes

While writing the below post the idea of Native Americans being described not as our lost brothers but as a foreign, non-western, culture struck a nerve.

Why?

Because it occurs to me that the idea of brotherhood with subject people's is the United States' version of the English desire to be the parents of the colonial peoples. England regarded the Indians as children, we regard the Native Americans, and other minorities, as younger brothers.

It's a populist version of colonialism but colonialist and patronizing nonetheless.

Why else would there be all of those books purporting to give the secrets of Native American religion to white people, to explain the meaning of life---as if Native American culture were Western Christian culture's secret solution, if it wasn't that Europeans regard Native American culture as just a dimunitive derivative of Western culture and not something to be regarded on it's own terms?

Behind the ideas of brotherhood lie the idea that Native Americans are from a culture which is just a few centuries behind ours but is basically on the same track to civilization.

This will never, ever, ever, be admitted but, logically, if Native American culture is regarded somehow as a less sophisticated version of Western European culture then this must be the case, because sophistication implies a scale of measurement, with us at the top and everyone else distributed along the spectrum.

While England acted as the stern parent to its colonial subjects, we embrace them to death, when we're not killing them in out of the way places where no liberals ever go.

The melting pot is authoritarian and totally oppressive and totally part and parcel of our colonial expansion because, in a phrase, even though it's a melting pot the basic ingrediant, which colors all the rest, has already been added, and it's pure white.



Native Americans as a non-Western culture

The fighting of a war waged by the West on another culture by indigenous here, or people partially indigenous, brings up the question of what exactly Native American culture is.

My opinion is that, simply, Native American culture is a series of non-western cultures just like Indian, Asian, African, Middle Eastern, cultures, which sounds really simple and obvious but really isn't in American discourse on Native America.

The notion was brought home to me a few months ago when I saw a Native American band perform some of their songs, some of which were in the traditional style. They were from cultures in the Southwest. Listening to these guys play their music my mind suddenly switched gears and instead of hearing it as 'Native American music' I heard it like I was listening to a recording of Chinese or Asian music and trying to understand the style. At which point it became extremely clear that the style, which is rigid and formal, was the same sort of formal musical construction that's found in many non-western cultures and that I hadn't been paying attention to the form of the music but just hearing it as something totally other; once the form was recognized the musical content became much clearer. I imagine that it would be clear to people around the globe.

The point of all of this is that in agonizing over understanding Native America we, the non-Natives, have done everything except look at their culture as if it's a series of cultures just like any other non-western culture, with commonalities with them.

Native Americans aren't our long lost brothers, they're people with a distinct culture which has nothing to do with our own.

Indigenous Americans fighting colonizer's wars abroad....

Same article, but here's something I didn't notice from the end..."Fernando Suarez del Solar, whose son Lance Corporal Victor Gonzalez, better known as Jesus, was killed in Iraq on October 13, and his wife Rosa, made a passionate appeal to the US government to end its military involvement in Iraq.

"My son died when he stepped on an illegal (US) cluster bomb. The US government told me he died because Iraqi fire killed him, but this was another lie from the Bush administration," Fernando said.

"My wife and I don't speak Arabic but our grief is the same as the Iraqis. We understand their pain and we don't want others to feel the same pain," said the Mexican-born California resident. "

This guy was born in Mexico...he appears in the picture and is Hispanic, of course, not a northern Spain person, and....sitting with another non-European person, an Iraqi, in the picture, it just reminds me that, you know, Mexican people whose families originally were from a culture which nothing to do with Europe are now fighting for Euro-American interests against another non-European culture halfway around the globe, fighting for specifically American anglo interests, and how cruel and unjust that is.


Relatives of US Servicemen Killed in Iraq to Hold Vigil on Jordan Border, w/Medea Benjamin

Counterpunch is a great website but recently an article on Counterpunch, talking about careerists in the non-profit sector, which is a decent subject, listed Medea Benjamin as one of them. Well, click on the link above and you'll see a picture of Ms. Benjamin on the Jordanian border, with families of people who've died in Iraq and humanitarian aid. Careerist?

Seems pretty decent to me.
I think that her big sin for the author of the article was that she supported voting for Kerry, because Bush was so bad a candidate, instead of throwing support behind Nader. And, she supported the Green Party in 2000, was actually a Green Party candidate in San Francisco, I believe. She qualifies to some stalwarts then as a traitor to something.

But, actions speak louder than words and $600,000 worth of aid, plus traveling there, starting Code Pink, and working with Global Exchange, speaks pretty loudly.

While Global Exchange may not be perfect, it still is good work, mostly.
My problem with Global Exchange has nothing to do with Benjamin, it has to do with another personality involved.

Gregoire has won..and yet Dino Rossi is a sore loser

Because thanks to this recount Gregoire has won by more votes than Rossi would have won by had the second recount been certified. What's more, this was projected. King County is Seattle, basically, and Gregoire won King County, therefore the discovery of several hundred ballots misplaced by pollworkers would have logically only benefitted Gregoire...no conspiracy needed here, the voters were consistant. What's more, if there are verified oversights of ballots in other counties like the one in King County by all means bring them to light and have them counted, but that's not what Rossi is appealing to in his calls for a re-vote. He wants to have another election entirely, and now people in rural counties are filing objections to results based on newly remembered inaccuracies, which will probably turn out to be subjective bullshit.

Against what was just certified as being accurate you have, in other words, a candidate who says justice will only be done either by rerunning the election in it's entirety or pursuing shaky leads about voting inaccuracies suddenly remembered by conservative voters in rural areas. This is far from the most compelling argument for another round of recounting and/or re-voting which could be made. If this is the best that Dino Rossi can come up with to object to the results then he has nothing, no case, and will lose totally and completely.

Keeping with the statistical tendencies of King County voters vs. listening to Republicans who think that they may have seen something they think some time and just doing the whole thing again for no apparant reason...which do you will give us a more accurate rendering of the will of the people?

Every age incarnates its own brand of destruction

It sort of occurs to me that the great, as in major, wars have always incorporated the worst of that society's features...that our destruction of Falloujah and the rest of Iraq may be especially vicious, but that Southeast Asia, Germany, the rest of Europe, saw destruction which was almost as bad but which certainly pushed the limits of what destructive weapons could do.

In Vietnam it was mass destruction as planned by technocrats. Village relocation, Napalm, Agent Orange, bombing.

In World War II it was total war conducted without regard for civilian life because of the seriousness of fighting fascism, although we never once did bomb a railroad to a concentration camp even though we incinerated the civilian population of several heavily populated German cities.

In World War I, of course, the poison was trench warfare, which was the logical extension of the battlefield engineering techniques which were developed in the Civil War, combined with mechanized killing on a mass scale.

The Civil War, too, incarnated the worst for it's time, with the massive killings inflicted by non-automatic yet modern firepower, with no air support of course.

Iraq is no different;

The first Iraq war ushered in mass killing hid behind a screen of denial and the supposed accuracy of computers on the battlefield. Civilian deaths were denied even as they mounted.

Now, we're back to nastiness. In the first Iraq war 'war' wasn't supposed to be 'war' anymore, it was supposed to be surgical, a euphamism to end all euphamisms. We don't care about surgical precision anymore and aren't afraid to show it. Now, instead of being nice and fluffy the war is about attrition and infliction of maximum suffering on people, supposedly because 'they' caused 9/11.

The reality of war stays the same below the surface of the current fashions dictating the sham cover stories that countries give for why they're murdering.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Memories

I remember going to the ceremony which dedicated a stone at the Centro Asturias in Tampa to the veterans of the Spanish Civil War a few years ago; getting there late and then finding that I'd worn a black shirt which people may have thought represented fascism. I thought that's what anarchists wore, but I forgot that the whole black clothing thing didn't get associated with anti-authoritarian people until the '80s when German leftists started wearing black to protest the commodification of culture and life.

But I showed up, saw the veterans there give a speech inside as well as saw a historian, whose last name is Peters, I believe, and who wrote a history of the U.S. called "The Free and the Unfree", give a lecture on Spain and what these people went through to volunteer and fight in the Republican army, going on their own dimes, smuggling themselves into the country, fighting with no support from anyone, then going back, being labelled as traitors for opposing fascism and then---when World War II was declared--being labelled 'premature anti-fascists' for opposing Franco and being put into the least sensitive jobs that the Army could find for them, because they didn't trust them to be loyal fighting in Europe.

Premature anti-fascist. Maybe someday people will label those who opposed the Iraq war before it became the most unpopular war in U.S. history, which it surely will become, as premature something or others. History has a way of being rewritten by the victors once what they fought for becomes no longer the province of a small group of committed activists but something generally accepted as an obvious thing to fight about.

I hope that a) the war becomes totally unpopular and is stopped, and b) that that doesn't happen here, although we've already seen it happen, to a certain extent.

When the Democratic candidates were campaigning they trod a similar path in describing why, after being gung-ho about blowing the shit out of Afghanistan and supporting the Patriot act, they now thought that the Iraq war was wrong. That sort of face-saving was being undertaken by Dean at a record pace.

Someday we'll have to reckon with the fact that everything we did in response to 9/11, collectively as a nation and in the actions of our government, was wrong, that we inflicted great harm on the rest of the world and on our own citizens for no reason, and I think, unfortunately, that instead of taking responsability we'll white wash what happened out and replace it with something which makes how Americans responded to be more just and heroic than what actually happened, something along the lines of "We all joined the French resistance", even though not exactly on that same scale of seriousness.

Ce plus change...

What do you know? Tsunami remix

The Tsunami funding debacle reminds me of a song by KMFDM called "What do you know? (Deutschland)", which is all about the controlling of Europe through Marshall Plan reconstruction funds...the song, which is very funny, is a remix of a speech by...I'm not sure, Eisenhower? Dean Acheson? Not Truman. Maybe by Marshall himself.
Anyways, here are some of the lyrics...

The firmness of American will,
and the effectivenes of American strength..
The Marshall Plan,

This is no fantasy.
The purpose of our common military effort is 'War in Europe.'
'War in Europe.'
The destruction of Nations.
We're proud of that struggle.
Narrow nationalism.
Your nation is in the front-line.
In America's own self-intrest.
America's own self-intrest.
We prefer to see Europe divided and weak.
Allowing the United States to deal with each rebellion individually.
The United States of America, the colossis of fear.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Fuck this shit

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck this fucking shit.

What are we building towards, what are we fighting for? Let's create it now, through living, and not fetishize the struggle. We should struggle, too, but this goddamn process of opposing the administration has turned into one more repressive, 'let's wait for tomorrow so that something new will happen' bullshit waiting game...meanwhile people delay life.
Start life now. And fight, as well. But I'm sick of this, better wait till tomorrow attitude.

The redstaters and Bush and the media will never say:it's allright to start doing what you really want, go ahead, you liberal lefties. We have to start just acting how we want to act right now and saying "Fuck off, enjoy yourself in conservative hell".

Sometimes separatism isn't about wanting to be different but about wanting to live instead of observe a delay in life. Let's make a new society within the shell of the old, a dual structure where people live and exist without making a big fuss about that they've pretty much seceded from the norms and values of the conservative states and, quite frankly, don't care.

We need to live, right now, and struggle while alive rather than choosing living death in order to wait for some fucking sign to show us that now is the time.

I'm not going to let red state politeness get in the way of my happiness.

And I'm still going to push for the U.S. to get out of Iraq and to reform itself politically and socially.

Ted Rall: GWB & FDR: SEPARATED AT BIRTH

All right Ted Rall.

Better you than me to say that.

Thank god there's someone out there that doesn't swallow the purple kool-aid on Roosevelt...

Personally, I think that the sort of Stalinist obeyance to FDR that developed during his time was part of the undoing of liberals in the seventies.

Liberalism was established not as something that had to fight for its existence in the arena of ideas but rather as THE RIGHT THING, which couldn't be questioned or else you were totally wrong and immoral.

This is not the most adaptive form of doing politics...and when the coalition weakened from it's own inertia and then was finally disrupted by an economic crisis which wouldn't respond to the normal New Deal prescriptions the liberal day was over.

So how about a socialist day to replace the liberal one?

Anyways, FDR, not as good as people thought, even though he did help people, and Lincoln, well, longtime readers of this blog will know my thoughts on Lincoln... which was that he was an authoritarian conservative who justified it by the moral rightness of ending slavery, which he didn't fight the civil war for anyways.

And Kennedy. I don't like the style of JFK, although the individual may have come across as a likeable nice guy, either.

That just about covers everyone who's an ideal...oh, and don't even get me started on the elder Roosevelt, who, besides being a Republican, is beneath my contempt.

Jefferson was all right.

Which is one of the reasons why we need socialism....because liberalism ain't been cutting it.






Tsunami

Proof that Bush just doesn't give a shit.

Really.

Yes, we are the hope and beacon of the world, right? The one which is the most just the most compassionate, we want to liberate the oppressed and spread....shit, I can't be ironic . We don't give a shit, let us say that if we really believed in ANY of those high moral ideals that we profess to be spreading everywhere like America's own spawn that we'd be spending a hell of a lot more than $35 Million. And the President wouldn't be vacationing.

But no, it's all a bunch of bullshit, and we don't really care; hell, who among the U.S. population even knows where Sri Lanka is? Right?

So on top of putting starting two genocidal wars against non-involved third parties in response to 9/11, establishing a concentration camp in Cuba, and taking away the civil liberties which they hate so much, put doing nothing to help one of the biggest humanitarian crisis in history, as indicators of America's high, high, morals and values, which we never fail to act on.

Yeah, and you know what the BBC is reporting? That the flu season this year may spread and claim up to 1% of the world's population due to the virulence of it.

I bet we'll help out a lot with that, too, and congratulate ourselves on our morality...when in fact we'll be sitting back watching poor people in third world countries die of the flu while doing nothing.

Feith the Chicken

"Militainment Gone Amok
By Rory O'Connor
Mediachannel.org NEW YORK, December 3, 2004 -- "America is a strange country. All of its best generals are journalists," Defense Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith told the San Francisco Chronicle in recent interview."

Which means that they have roughly the same battlefield experience that you do, Mr. Feith. Unless you count your dad's service in a rightwing, openly pro-fascist, Zionist youth movement, Bettar, as contributing in some way to your knowledge of things military.

"Be Serious, Be Passionate, Wake Up!":Sontag's Life Is Testament To Democratic Meritocracy

Yes, a good one. Read it. Sontag was great.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Why Post-Structuralism has so many adherents

It's a story somewhat dear to my heart since I was once one of these people in what seems like a long off age.

My insight is that people believe in this stuff because they don't have any prior background in philosophy and so can't objectively asess what they're reading in the context of philosophy in general.

It makes sense internally, or at a very low level philosophically, so it is understandable, but it doesn't have any context around it, so people don't really know that what they're reading has little to do with stuff outside of itself. Critical Theory, as it's known, has generated its own self validating universe so that the people who read this stuff can buy and buy and buy, read and read and read, without ever realizing that none of it stands up under the light of day.

Philosophy? It isn't real philosophy, that's boring, (and conservative, probably)! Instead this is the 'hip' philosophy. So you can't judge it by real philosophical standards, which they think are irrrelevant anyways.

Moreover, here's something which people associate with being part of the elite, with being smart, with being sophisticated. Read Foucault, you'll be validated in everything that you try to do. So it provides a draw for people with a lot of self conceit but without much actual book learnin', providing an outlet of instant credibility, instant smartness, without actually having to prove anything.

I'm Pomo, therefore I'm better, and if you can't understand that you don't understand anything, never mind that I can't actually explain the concept to you or justify it in any rigorous discussion.

So I'll just buy my little black glasses, effect irony, and sit back thinking that I'm better than the rest of the world.

That's the thinking.

And what a hip little piece of hell it's created.

Ah luuuv Nietzsche, say the hip hillbillies of the intellectual world, and ah luuv that there Oulipo group.

Ahh am a gean-ee-yus and you'all are suckers.


I mean, that's always been a criticism of Catholic's by WASPs

That Catholic's, at least in the past, obeyed the Pope and didn't have independant thought. Not true, but, the concept stands. Only they call it the Southern Baptist Convention and the Ministry instead of the Pope.

Careful Not to Get Too Much Education...Or You Could Turn Liberal

" The "other half" of the story may not be factual, however, but doctrinal. As the young man in Starbucks said just before he and the incoming freshman got up to leave,

"Even at Lipscomb, you have to be careful what you pay attention to. My professor said that a few faculty members might lead you astray without meaning to, by bringing in ideas that aren't biblical. He said that if you're ever taught anything that sounds questionable, you should talk about it with your minister to see if it's right."

Excuse me, but doesn't that constitute rule by Priests, although you may call them Ministers? And isn't that something that people fled Europe to get away from?

So the Southerners are advocating a society which was widely criticized in the American and English press as being reactionary and offensive to liberty; they called it Popery.

I was raised partially Catholic...long story...but, point being, I have nothing whatsoever against the Catholic church; what the English and American writers of the 18th century were talking about as being Popery was the idea of a theocracy where religious opinion trumped all other liberties.

And now, gee whiz, we have people raising the flag, asserting their patriotism, and smggling support in for concepts which would have shocked the people whose concepts they profess allegiance to.



Ron Jacobs: Iran 2004, the Resistance and the Western Anti-War Movement

Great article, bad that it's old news for me....I read Ali Shariati a long time ago. Well, not that long ago if you think about it, but a long time ago for me.

He was the ideological guy behind the PMOI and a really interesting Islamic Marxist.

I don't think Jacobs actually mentions him in the article, but if you want to find out about this group then look up Shariati's books.

Bush is the best friend Bin Laden has

Why?

Because he gives him credence.

This whole thing with Bin Laden announcing al-Zarqawi as his deputy is just a big blustery show. Bin Laden is just a rich kid who's appointed himself leader of the Sunni islamic world; no one, in my understanding at least, actually thinks that he's some sort of authority. I don't imagine so, anyways. But Bush seems to think that his words actually have weight and meaning, and by paying attention to Bin Laden's declarations as if they were some sort of authentic voice he draws people to Bin Laden.

Bush is helping turn Bin Laden from some obscure nut into some sort of real figure in the Islamic world. And it benefits him, because he can then point to Bin Laden and say to his base "Look, they really do hate us!". He's a conveniant enemy for Bush. And Bush's opposition is a conveniant boost for Bin Laden. Both of them probably know that if this were a world where people actually looked at facts that they would be pumping gas somewhere.

Yes, you have the rich American oilman who didn't do much and the rich Saudi prince who's been enjoying an ego-trip as a guerilla fighter for the last twenty odd years. What a fucking team.

Alles Ist Gut - D.A.F.

Yeah, this is music to groove to, in the hydraulic lubricated way.....

Kind of goes along with what was posted below. DAF, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft was a pioneering techno band, and this album is full of sexual, sweaty, beats. I'm trying to get the cover of it, which features Gaby Delgado shirtless and sweaty, asking, it appears "Alles ist Gut?". Yeah, Alles ist Gut, absolutely.

sla : culture war orgy, proving that I'm not sex negative

OK, I've written some lately about negative porn, porn which is bad and which isn't good for anyone; here's some positive porn.

This is the link to the Sensual Liberation Army, which combines naked pictures of people having a good time fucking and fucking themselves with links to the left and commentary.

And they're based out of Seattle. Yay.

So...this is what we should be shooting for, not Barely Legal:Girls who turned 18 yesterday, are virgins, somewhat naive, and look like they're 12.

Monday, December 27, 2004

No More Mister Nice Blog:Anti-semitism...

No More Mr. Nice Blog actually has some value in it. Regular postings, more than a sentence or two, although not radical enough. But no one's perfect.

Anyways.

Here's the entry: "This, I guess, is acceptable discourse on the right:
...When it comes to pushing the multicultural, anti-Christian agenda, you find Jewish judges, Jewish journalists, and the American Civil Liberties Union, at the forefront....
It is the ACLU, which is overwhelmingly Jewish in terms of membership and funding, that is leading the attack against Christianity in America....
These passages come from a World Net Daily article called "The Jewish Grinch Who Stole Christmas." "

Which prompts me to say, you know, it seems like the only people in the United States who are actually anti-semitic are fundamentalist Christians, or hardcore conservative Christians.

I thought that anti-semitism in the U.S. was pretty much gone, but I guess not.

I just can't picture, though, how isolated and out of touch with American culture you'd have to be to actually dislike people who're, what, of Jewish descent, or practicing Judaism, because of their ethnic or religious status.

It just doesn't compute for me.

But, never underestimate the isolation of a few thousand rednecks in the country.

Which brings me to another point: when did these fuckers decide that they represented America?

Really.

Rural America doesn't even know half of what middle to large size town America, not speak of Urban America, cares about, yet they abrogate to themselves the right to speak for most of the country.

Isn't there a level of isolation from the majority of citizens of the United States where you have to draw a line and say: you know what, you're from the fringe of the country, your opinion on American life doesn't have much weight. You simply have no idea what most of America is like, you don't know much about American history although you trumpet your patriotism, you don't know much about international politics, or even about national politics, so how exactly do you speak for the rest of America?

Honestly.

I think that a lot of these people are whiffle balls just waiting to be called: they look solid but are really just full of nothin' when you look closer.

Whiffle balls shouldn't dictate politics in an arena where people are supposed to play hardball.

And the Klan doesn't count as hardball.


Late Night Thoughts...

Or, how very fucking original.

Late Night Thoughts is a blog, another one from the Cursor.org blog roll.

I'm starting to detect a pattern here: blogs which repeat trite pseudo-lefty ideas that have been floating around the progressive sphere since 9/11 get featured, lefty blogs which don't just tell people what they've already heard a thousand times get ignored.

Look at this: "The phrase that pisses me off the most is that "they hate us for our freedoms". If you mean "fundamentalists hate American freedoms," then we don't need to go outside our borders to find those that would gleefully restrict them. As for the great mass of people around the world, "they" do not hate us for our freedoms."

No shit.

You know when I first heard that? About a day after 9/11, or two days I think it was. And I'm sure I had the same response when I started hearing it be repeated over and over in the media that they 'Hated Us Because of Our Freedom'.

I'm sorry, but haven't people thought up anything new in the past three years about this sort of thing?

Again, the whole blogosphere, we agree with it because we agree with it schtick.

This person might be a very good person, a nice person, but...it's a blog..




I say that in the same spirit which Nietzsche declared "Ecce Homo". Hopefully I aspire to to transcend the limits of the form and go to some sort of higher ideal.

Consider me the blogosphere's Will-to-Power.

American Coprophagia is..

A really unimpressive blog.

I just had to check this out because of the name, which means 'shit eater'.

The GRU, according to a book about them, which was and is, of course, the Soviet Military Intelligence organization paralell to the KGB, reportedly used to call people who collaborated with them after Stalin's secret speech out of ideological zeal "Shit Eaters", so I thought that maybe this site had something to do with that.

Unfortunately it doesn't. It's just a mediocre blog. Which somehow made its way onto Cursor's Blog Roll while mine, which doesn't feature ever so sophisticated reporting on novelty figures pictured taking dumps, isn't.

Interesting priorities there, Cursor.org.

Chief Leschi exonerated

Sort of old news, but it's good to note: an Indian chief, Chief Leschi of the Nisqually people, has been exonerated on the charge of murder in a historical trial put on by the Washington Supreme Court.

This happened in the 19th century.

The Nisqually were a native tribe in the south Puget Sound area who were slaughtered in the battles between whites and settlers. There are very few remaining Nisqually.

But justice has been rendered. The chief was accused of murdering a white soldier during a battle, then captured and hanged.

People ruled that according to the rules of war even if he had actually killed the soldier, which was disputed in and of itself, that he wouldn't have been guilty of murder.


***

The indians of the Northwest are very unique. They form a different cultural and social group than the natives of the rest of the country....paradoxically they may be the most studied but least known, or the most known but least known native group in America. Franz Boas' pioneering studies were done with Northwest Natives, and the entire complex of ideas around the idea of gift exchange based on Potlatch, or "Pot-Luck", comes from Northwest tribes, at least in a good proportion. There's actually a village called Potlatch on the Olympic penninsula.

Yet while the social structure of this non-western group of people's has been studied extensively and shaped the way anthropology views the world the people's culture itself is largely obscure to the rest of the world.

Totem poles. Northwest art. That's about it.

A great place to start looking to find out about Native culture in the Northwest is with the Haida people of the Queen Charlotte islands in Canada, in British Columbia.

The Haida and their home Haida Gwaay, (Haida land, the Queen Charlotte's original name), have just recently won major concessions of sovereignty from the Canadian government, and there's a Haida renaissance of sorts going on in terms of culture.

The Queen Charlotte's are the next set of islands up from Vancouver Island, the Great Britain sized island just north of the Olympic Penninsula across the straight of Juan de Fuco. Vancouver Island, not where Vancouver the city is, is where Victoria, the capital of B.C. lies.

Some people have some very interesting ideas about the origins of the Northwest Indians. One person who I've spoken to has related a legend that they were originally from a larger civilization that included Hawai'i and the Polynesian islands, but was destroyed in a cataclysm. The natives themselves say that they came to the land to escape a flood.

I don't know what to make of it, but it's an interesting story.



Sunday, December 26, 2004

Flaming Lips...

Does anyone know where you can get live Flaming Lips recordings, whether from the 'net or elsewhere?

I saw them on Austin City Limits and they kicked...now I'm smitten with Flaming Lips fever. No pun intended.

"Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me"

Saturday, December 25, 2004

United States a capitalist aristocracy (revised)

Something just clicked in my mind.
Facts that have been floating around in there, without making sense, suddenly have become clear.

Why is political and social reform so hard in the United States? The answer, at least partially, is because our social system is a semi-decentralized capitalist aristocracy.

Every town, every city, in the United States has it's political machine, and that machine is inevitably connected with the more prominent and wealthier members of the community. They're the ones who run for office and get elected.

They compose the power elite, per C. Wright Mills.

Over and over they're the ones who become the rulers, and it's just normal business. One has to either look at this and say that American life is extraordinarily corrupt on all levels, in every town, or say that this corruption is really a normal and intentional part of our social system.

I think the latter.

The social system envisioned by the Federalist Party, who framed the Constitution, was a blend of theories stating that only the better people should rule with ideas about free market economics that were relatively modern for their time, and its ideal was a society where commerce would flourish yet give rise to a stratified society where prominent people in business would rule towns and counties like the aristocracy in England.

Political power on the local level, on the State level, and on the federal level, isn't looked at by the machines as something open and abstract in and of itself, as something that can be fought over in an classical, open political arena. It's looked at as a thing people are entitled to because of their stature. In fact, high schools and colleges are oriented towards integrating young up and comers into the elite social strata. Half of the programs out there in colleges, making up all the business related programs as well as politics, are there to ensure that the right people make their way up the social ladder. We have a formal political system, but it's undermined by the socio-cultural world feeding people into the system.

America hasn't quite had a truly democratic revolution yet. Rather, we did, then we had a counter-revolution that overthrew it. We still exist in a nether world between true democracy and artistocratic rule.

When you start talking about taking on the system, you need to take on the entrenched power that fuels the machines, because this is the level where the real decisions are made...unlike formal politics, which for Americans is largely a fleeting pastime, especially at the local and state levels.

If we want true political reform we'll have to have true social reform as well, or else we'll end up with just another shadow show.

Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate, wonderful radical magazine, could almost be the official favored publication of Lost Highway. Almost, since it isn't quite as Marxist, in my absolutely non-orthodox yet still Marx-related way, as I would like it to be.

I still think that some of socialist ideology has some value to it, while FE is really almost exclusively devoted to the utopian aspects of this general strange current which I'm part of.

That being said, it's wonderful wonderful wonderful.

Especially the current issue. They don't have a website, being luddites, so I can't refer you to it.

But check out all of their articles on alternative economy....the one about Marcel Mauss is really good on its own terms while the one by Peter Lamborn Wilson is eerily familiar....like, this is what I've been trying to construct, albeit without the illegal activity he's talking about.

Check it out.

Alexander Cockburn: Yup, It's Moral Outrage Time

My god, this is brilliant.

Merry Christmas too.

Anyways, this article after you get past the thing about Rupert Murdoch, talks about a conservation effort in Africa which uses jobs creation to protect the environment...by saying that the people involved have to respect the environment, not kill the wild animals or burn the forest, for factory to locate itself there.

This is really, really, good.

The company is called Wildlife Works. http://www.wildlifeworks.com

It makes T-Shirts...Proving that industrialism and the environment can, on a limited scale, work together, but also that pro-worker policies and environmentalism can coexist and that a pro-worker policy can help out the environment.

Why is a factory important for this? Because if you want sustainable jobs that are good that's what you need, in one form or another.

A little more something to brighten the holiday.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Frontier: why the West coast is ultra-liberal while the part of the country east of the mountains isn't.

Frontiers are strange things. On the one hand you have people who are associated with free living, on the other, frontier justice, which isn't so free.

Although the idea we have of the Wild West is people in whore houses living it up and killing each other while doing things with cows, like moving them, the places where cowboys live today are ultra-conservative. On the other hand, the west coast proper, which is more like the east, is really liberal although it doesn't have the sort of frontier mentality or culture of the West.

This is sort of the reverse of what you'd think, right?

I think the reason for it is that while the frontier experience had a lot of freedom associated with it it also had a high degree of discipline in place. This discipline, probably existing at a higher degree than most other places, existed to keep people together and functioning by force: if you're on the plains in a place where no-one except hostile native americans has ever been you can't afford for people to not pull their weight, because it means the whole group is in jeopardy.

So an ethic of ultra-conservatism developed among the frontiers people alongside that of love of nature and along a general love of freedom.

This isn't unique to the wild west: I read the Book of Dede Khorkut a while ago, which is sort of the national mythology of the eastern Turks, and the stories they have about the nomadic life were much the same....freedom, fighting, love of horse riding, raiding parties, love, passion, but also severe, severe, justice, meeted out in this case without any sort of concern whatsoever for the people involved. If someone was suspected of betrayal, that was it---finito. Dead. Just like that. No apologies.

The sort of thing that nomadic groups needed to survive.

On the other hand the west coast represents what can happen when you take the freedom of the frontier, the freedom mentality, and relax the requirements for survival a little bit.

No longer do you have to enforce harsh justice to ensure survival, now survival is much easier...so the freedom still exists, the bonds of society are loosened a little bit, things liberalize themselves, and eventually because of the economic potentials a parallel to the east coast city life begins to develop, albeit one which has a very different foundation and which although superficially similar has a libertarian and freedom loving spirit.

Of course California fights the battle between the reactionary aspects of the frontier and the libertarian aspects. One of the unseen fights is around this. Look at the LAPD. The reason they're a law unto themselves is that they were created by the frontier Anglos who moved in and took over Los Angeles and proceeded to rule it with an iron fist.

If I lived in Los Angeles I would distrust the cops.

Similar tensions like this run up and down California, which has other factors which I won't get into, like the Spanish colonialism, intervening as well.

The Pacific Northwest fares a little better because although a frontier state they didn't come in and seize it from any one excepting the natives.

California was seized from the Spanish and the hard fist of frontier justice there relates to the conquest, in part.

So the PacNW frontier, the western parts of Oregon and Washington, benefit from decent economy, which has made society much more like the east, and less, although by no means no, tension or friction referring to the evolution of frontier culture...but most of the PacNW is libertarian.

Thank goodness.

That's my explanation for the West Coast and why the Pac NW is less insane than California.

Richard Walter: 'Back to the '50s? We'd rather pass'

I wouldn't.

Another article touching on a theme that pops up here on a regular basis....liberals who deny that anything could be bad about the content of television while paying lots of attention to the corporate control of television.

Or more specifically the idea that corporate television dominates us totally with advertizing but that when it comes to seeing things we don't like we can just turn it off and should take all the responsability for the filth which is on the tube.

It doesn't work both ways. Either the TV industry has inordinate power over us, including dictating cultural tastes, or we have control over the media, and I highly doubt the second is the case.

Yes, liberals in general talking about limiting advertizing, not mentioning free speech, will suddenly cry free speech when a corporate conglomerate like Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, which hosts Fox News, which is dedicated to destroying liberalism, decides to program filth.

I happen to think that American life is in a crisis which has cultural, political, and economic aspects.

Free speech aside I think that a heck of a lot of the things which are being put out there are symptomatic of greater problems.

The cultural dysfunction of American life may have economics at its base but that doesn't take away from the fact that it still is dysfunctional, and the fifties, for what it's worth, were indeed times of good jobs and stable employment and opportunity. They may have had a non-interesting culture, but that changed.

Now we have a dysfunctional economy with a dysfunctional culture, which is trying to do two things at once: make itself interesting and fix itself. I don't know if they both can be accomplished at the same time, looks like they might be pulling the country in two different directions.

Maybe interesting should take a backseat to stable for a while.

Because being a bohemian is no fun when the country's falling apart around you.

Rumsfeld lying about Mosul attack?

Not.

I just don't understand this Smirking Chimp article. I fail to understand what would be gained by saying that the attack was committed by a suicide bomber when it wasn't, or why the idea is immediately doubted.

From the media reports it appears that something non-conventional was going on from the start. People were reporting that it might have been a mortar attack or it might have been a bomb, or it might have been something else. There was ambiguity from the beginning suggesting that they just didn't know what exactly happened.

Why pointlessly question things which have no value to be gained in questioning?

It's Christmas music time at Lost Highway

Which means Rolling Thunder Review by Bob Dylan, Western Swing, and maybe some Cajun music later...

Happy Holidays!

In Cold Blood Indeed

This link goes to a Bob Harris post which has a picture of Bush looking strangely like Truman Capote, with a cute white cowboy hat, a cravat, and a black coat, with cowboy boots. And a big 'ole guard standing behind him looking at the camera.

Judging by this, me thinks' that Bush's preferred Christmas present might involve Donald Rumsfeld with his hand dipped in Crisco and a leather sling.

I guess the Crisco makes it 'compassionate' conservatism.

William Loren Katz: Florida 1837, Christmas Eve Resistance to the First US Occupation

Yes, I really don't have anything better to do.

Ok, this article, about the Seminole wars, explains a heck of a lot about why people in North Florida are so reactionary. They're literally the descendants of people who fought to establish the frontiers of white supremacy in the United States.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Freedom of Religion in the U.S.

I have to respond to the claim that O'Reilly made that the framers of the Constitution wanted or intended religion, specifically Christianity, to be part of the life of the nation in order to keep people in line.

Let's leave the 'to keep people in line' bit out of it and instead concentrate on 'they wanted it to be part of the life of the nation'.

What they actually established was a system where states could choose if they wanted institutional religion or not and if they did what kind it should be.

States were not uniform about it; Rhode Island had religious liberty as a founding principle while Massachusets had a state supported church, the Puritan church or Congregational church.

This was actually much more radical than it seems because right off the bat the people who wrote the constitution knew that there were serious differences in opinion about religion and that there was the possibility that people would choose not to have any state supported religion whatsoever---and yet they still gave people the freedom to do it.

Which doesn't make much sense if they wanted Christianity there in order to keep people in line.

All of the states moved to abolish state supported churches and establish religious liberty but since the process was gradual and evolved over time, as our common law system was intended to, there wasn't uniformity and some pieces of religion persisted in places where they probably shouldn't have. For instance the infamous McGuffy's readers, which conservatives make such a fuss about; as well as all those little obscure places where prayer and religious instruction were apparantly continued unbeknownst to the rest of the country.

Democracy is the battle ground where this should be fought out, not over original intent, which, I'd argue, had an awareness of evolution of public opinion built into it.

We evolved to this point in time; do people want to turn back the clock?
If they do they do, and if enough of them do to be able to do it in a democratic way, without appealing to 'silver bullet legal theories' they should be able to, provided they know that they're doing something of their own volition which is unrelated to any sort of imagined history of the issue.

If they want to turn the clock back to the turn of the century because they think things were better than, fine, but it's dishonest to say that turning back the clock is something you want to do because the founding fathers supposedly intended it and not something you want to do because you want that society.




One thing I've learned about the Pacific Northwest, if you're considering to relocate

Is that when local people bitch about you 'not understanding them', whether expressed directly or indirectly, they're full of shit.

Completely and totally.

Don't believe anyone up here who tries to tell you that because you're not from the region that you 'don't understand them' or are 'somehow different'.

They aren't and you aren't.

And what's more they're cowards and chickenshits for suggesting that that's the case.

Exploitation and oppression

Two related words that are thrown around a lot without much explanation.

Here it goes: Exploitation is giving something, labor, money, whatever, in an uneven exchange, someone cheats you out of something, labor, whatever, on a regular basis, and there's not much you can do about it by yourself. It's institutional.

Oppression is related but not the same. Look at it this way: blacks are economically exploited and socially oppressed. Oppression is sort of the executive arm of exploitation.

Women were exploited in the home for centuries with forced housework, meal preparation, etc... and society outside of the home oppressed them to keep them in line.

They aren't contradictory and although not every form of oppression has a component of exploitation to it many do. And it can work the other way as well: oppression can lead to exploitation where there isn't an already existing tendency towards exploitation: another religious group moves into town, everyone hates them, therefore they become second class citizens, others, knowing that they're vulnerable, exploit the situation for their profit by charging them more for housing or giving them lower wages for a job that, done by others, would fetch a higher one.

It goes without saying that if you want to be 'anti-oppression' it's also a good thing to be anti-exploitation.

White working class men...

Ok, provoked by something totally unrelated, the question of privilege and representation in progressive circles of women and minorities.

The call goes out: we want more minorities, we want more women, but class diversity is ignored.

On the surface of it, it seems reasonable, more women, more minorities, of course, but....if you're dealing with a group which is middle or upper class already, and in making a call for diversity you ignore class diversity, you're saying, basically, that the working class doesn't matter as much as minorities and that women of all class backgrounds matter more than the working class.

Let me explain the last. If a woman from an upper class background goes to a conference which is already upper class, does that really consitute diversity?

The argument is that the working class benefits from oppression, but don't the middle and upper classes benefit more directly from oppression?

After all, it's not the white workers who are employing blacks as janitors and hispanics in the fields. They work for the benefit of the middle and upper classes, and although whites who are poor surely do get a lift from their skin color they still aren't the people who benefit the most from the labor of people who are oppressed because of their racial or ethnic background. It's the middle class and upper classes that do.

So to look at a conference, say, and say "Wow, it looks like a bunch of white males, we need to get some females, queers, and minorities in here" without looking at who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the oppression is to empower the oppressor, the upper classes, by including upper class women and upper class queers as part of the 'oppressed', to tokenize the most oppressed by inviting minorities to speak at a conference controlled by people from the oppressing classes, and to demonize other people who are oppressed, white workers, as an excuse for not looking at one's own part in oppression.

Not a good thing.


China taking jobs...

NPR report about China, with a nice and happy smiley faced report on how the idea that China is going to steal jobs in the American garment industry is just totally unreasonable. Ha.

Yes, of course, what a gross prostitution of the liberal idea of tolerance. You'll tolerate China using slave labor to undercut the global economy but you won't extend said tolerance to poor people in your own nation. Selective tolerance, let's call it.

I don't know the particular economics of how China fits into the global economy; I don't know exactly how their internal economy is organized with the balance between planning, on the one hand, and relatively private enterprise on the other, or how decisions are made, but it seems to me very curious that at the end of the globalization race to the bottom we find the final stop to be an authoritarian communist state.

Or at least a state which, in contradistinction to the rest of the pro-globalization countries, rejects the idea of neo-liberalism out of hand and instead prefers to manage itself by extreme control and social intervention in it's own society.

Isn't this, though, what people have been saying globalization is about all along? That in the end you'll have a bunch of third world people being managed as slaves for the benefit of the first?

Yes, but direct management was always excluded from that scenario.
In China you have the slave master, or rather the lieutenant for the master, and the slaves placed together, instead of being separated by thousands of miles of ocean.

Let me qualify what I mean by a white supremacist sticker

It wasn't just a Republican sticker, no no, it was a neo-nazi sticker that combined American flags with German slogans.

Life in the Pacific Northwest...

One of the reasons why I've been talking about the Red Front and linking to ARA has to do with taking my car in for maintenance and seeing that the woman behind the counter had a vaguely White Supremacist sticker on her computer. I kid you not. So, there are people around who want to eat us alive.

Great Book Store

I've been meaning to do this for a while. I don't know if an endorsement by this site is a good thing or a bad thing but, for what it's worth, whenever I'm in Olympia, going through anonymously, I always stop at Orca Books.

Orca is probably the most cutting edge used book retailer out there.

In terms of what they carry in their political section, their section on current events, cultural studies, their philosophy section, the works, they carry things which are extraordinarily innovative and which break through the usual stereotyped sorts of books that some independant book stores carry....into new territory. Conveniantly, territory that I've explored and know well. So I like them a lot.

If you're ever in Olympia...check them out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Race Treason or De-Colonization?

Cool beans. Good, classic article from ARA, anti-racist action, detailing the difference between simply being a person who bitches a lot about racism while being white, on the one hand, and actually understanding how racism came to be and trying to do things to stop it, in a real sense.

Here's a good long quote:

"The odd formulation of the BTR/Race Traitor/New Abolitionist perspective, that whiteness is apparently simultaneously the strongest bulwark and the weakest link of class society in the US, grows out of an essentially topsy-turvy, tail-wagging-the-dog approach to this question. Whiteness and white supremacy are the consequence, not the cause, of colonialism, land theft, genocide, and racial chattel slavery based on the kidnapping of millions of Africans. Whiteness and white supremacy will end as a consequence, not a precondition, of decolonization, indigenous sovereignty, reparations and the destruction of capitalism and imperialism.

The question of colonialism and the idea of decolonization are vital because they help us understand the real nature of this state and of the class relations undergirding it. The Irish did not only become white because they feared competition from Black labor. They became white (in Ireland as well as America) because of the lure of land, and their willingness to participate in a settler colonial project initiated by the British empire, despite their own colonization by that empire and its implantation of settlers within their land and society. Irish settlers in colonial era Pennsylvania, for example, sought to break up the existing agreement between native people and the Quaker regime in order to be free to expel more indigenous people and seize more land for cultivation, and they eventually drove Ben Franklin out over that issue. Such a "safety valve" for the class and national contradictions of Ireland itself had inevitable negative consequences on the consciousness and struggle of the Irish in Ireland as well. And the same process took place throughout European societies, as the American safety valve, the American ability to satisfy the land hunger of European peasants turned-proletarians, defused the revolutionary potential and resistance of European workers (along with the booty of other imperial conquests and holdings in Africa, Asia and Latin America). Far from being merely the US equivalent of European social democracy, whiteness, white supremacy (and the settler colonialism unacknowledged by the RT/BTR position) formed the basis for social democracy and class collaborationism in Europe itself. The European bourgeoisie AND proletariat (and obviously even more so the Euro-American equivalents) owe their existence to conquest, settlement and slavery.


And this is not just ancient history. Talking about this as something that happened in the past is the real white blind spot. The US is a settler colonial society to this very moment. It constantly and continously violates by force of arms the sovereignty of the indigenous people. American identity and white identity are a settler colonial identity in every aspect of current consciousness and social, economic and political relationships. "

Feel free to leave comments

But, ahh, as you can see there's a catch. You have to have given your name and number to a certain group before you can be allowed to leave comments.

Don't think I'd be stupid enough to let just anyone post without having a way of litigating them.

Made some changes

People should like this....

To clarify yet again...

So that I don't get accused of supporting terrorism, the Red Front was the Communist group which went toe to toe with the Storm Troopers in Weimar and early Nazi Germany, fighting it out with their fists, defending their communities from the Nazis.

If O'Reilly and company succeed in getting enough people riled up enough so that they think they can physically harass and intimidate liberals, leftists, gays, anyone who doesn't look right, we'll need to fight back against them, and non-violence isn't going to work.

This is an 'if'. But people should keep it in the back of their head just in case things do start getting really bad.

This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow: December 22, archives

"Osteen: ...you can't change it, I mean, can you change people, not saying stuff bad about you? I don't know.

O'Reilly (smiling): No, I can't, unless I execute them, which would be against everything we both stand for. Pastor, I want to wish you merry Christmas..."


Statements like that make me think that maybe resurrecting the Roter Front Kampfbund, or the Red Front Fighters, for self defense, wouldn't be such a bad idea, rhetorically speaking of course.

Richard Oxman: On the Seventh Column

Hmm... I don't think things are this simple. The article linked to uses the language of 'fifth column' as a metaphor for exploring different attitudes about troops and insurgents in Iraq. He actually isn't suggesting anything concrete, just talking about people who have a sort of 'thought crime', so terra'rist hunters can back down.

His metaphoric sixth column would be people who think the insurgents have a point, but are still sympathetic to the troops, and his seventh column, where he puts himself, is a group of people who think the troops are Storm Troopers and deserve what they get.

Now, this site uses Nazi imagery and metaphors, and makes direct comparisons which aren't metaphorical at all, in relation to the administration, but I'd hasten to point out that the Nazi-esque actions being committed by soldiers in Iraq are being done by a small minority of them. So the comparison of troops as stormtroopers isn't all that valid.

I do support the troops, the troops who don't commit war crimes. And that's quite a few.

I don't suppot the administration and I don't support the officers who are over there giving the orders and planning this thing, and neither do I support the Special Forces, the Delta Force, the CIA, or any other non-regular force which is constituted to do the really bad stuff that the Army doesn't normally do.


But please, there's a difference between personal outrage and real culpability. One might be outraged over the conduct of the Army in Iraq, and outraged too that some people are falling into kne-jerk patriotism over the recent attack, but that doesn't have much to do with the actual event which happened---which was a tradgedy which, in fact, killed people who were stationed in Ft.Lewis, which is an Army base south of Tacoma, so there's local connections---and the event itself has to be respected apart from the emotions about the context surrounding it.

I know that I myself haven't been the best in relation to this in the past, but it's still a right distinction to make.

Bush has a Spielberg complex too,

He surely enjoys playing the role of commander in chief, of being the U.S.' head warrior, of being the 'war president', of seeing himself compared to other people in the past who've lead their country's in big fights, being named Man of the Year by Time, etc...

No doubt he enjoys acting like that and playing that role, too bad there aren't any threats, he's an idiot with no talent, and we're killing Iraqis to control the world's oil.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bush and Torture

Well, das spiel is aus about the connection between Bush and ordering torture with an executive order.

But that's not the worst of it....according to a writer who just published a slim book about Guantanamo bay Bush also signed an order after 9/11 putting the entire country under marshall law, which hasn't been rescinded.

Of course, this gesture was probably more to get the rest of the administration to follow Bush's orders than to actually put the country under marshall law---the book is published by New Press, I believe, and is hardly a conspiracy book---but, yes, in the days after 9/11 Bush declared his allegiance to a principle similar to that enunciated once by Carl Schmitt, legal scholar of the late Weimar Republic, who said that the defining nature of a sovereign was his ability to act against the law in times of crisis.

Schmitt also wrote the legal brief establishing the Third Reich as a legal entity and was the Nazi government's court legal scholar, but, well, that's just a coincidence, right?


I used to live in a college town...

And the people who were the most disgusting perverts were, surprise surprise, not the liberals and radicals but the frat boys who were conservatives and who were going into business after college.

The school alternative paper was a joy of insipid bullshit vulgarized to fit a four-year old's mindset---if all that four year old thought about was screwing, drinking, and getting high. And football.

People who were liberal were more into things like consent.

Yeah, see Midget Porn for an example of this...

Midget Porn, as I understand it, is the way the porn industry has of getting around the restriction saying that you can't show people fucking little girls.

It's the hottest thing around.

Is it normal? No. It's fucking disgusting.

But that's what the porn industry caters to now, and judging from the reports which surface from time to time about Republican officials being accused of child molestation, there seems to be a conservative audience for it.

Interestingly enough, one article online mentions that liberals, who are supposed to be decadent, tend to watch PBS, while the conservatives watch the trash shows.

I have to wonder, leaving the pot shots out of it for a second, if the same thing goes for pornography. Do people who're liberal really rent movies which show people with big cocks fucking small people who look like little girls? I don't think so. And they don't masturbate with dildoes while giving unsolicited sexual fantasies to subordinates either.

But hey, that just might be my bias.

GOP Corporate Donors Cash In on Smut

Good article; people think it's a mystery why people who are Republicans like porn...I don't think so.

While it might not be a really definitive factor, most porn out there these days is basically about exploitation, power, and humiliation, not exactly positive values. However, those are the same values that the Republican Party incarnates in it's treatment of the poor, foreigners, immigrants, minorities, you name it. There's something eerily similar in the treatment of women in hardcore porn where they're fucked in every orifice by enourmous men and made to do humiliating things to them and the sort of blatant disregard for humanity that Republicans feel regarding the poor.

Both are simply objects, without rights, without any regard to feelings or humanity being obligated. The bukkake scene or the 'gang-bang' scene has a lot in common with the sorts of attitudes which say, for instance, that Arabs are parasites that should be exterminated.


And both are disgusting.

Much of modern porn isn't about pleasure whatsoever; no matter what pro-sex shows like "Real Sex" on HBO (if it's still on) say, the porn industry veered from sexual gratification into exploring pathological behavior in every extreme legally possible long ago.

Conservatives tend to be OK with sexism. They like the resurgence of stupidly sexual beer advertisements. They like porn too. And they think torturing people is fine. Any connection there?

Rumsfeld has a Spielberg complex

He's part of this baby boom generation which feels that they were born to late and missed out on all the heroism and meaning of World War Two and now want to experience it.

Named after Steven Spielberg, who pursued this fantasy by making "Saving Private Ryan" and setting off a string of patriotic and idiotic war movies which were predominating the scene, like "Pearl Harbor", in the months before 9/11.

Also applies to anti-war baby boomers from the Vietnam era who have suddenly switched sides and say that "Now they understand".

Too bad people are dying so that you can have your meaningful moment.

An article demanding Rumsfeld's resignation..

OK, you know what? The comment which Rumsfeld made is the sum total of the Bush administration's chicken hawk ideology: tough talk which is complete, insensitive, bullshit. And which has no relationship to reality and which someone should have called them on long ago.

When that whole bullshit on 'gravitas' was going on, someone should have said "You know, you people are so full of yourselves that you can't see a fucking thing in the real world, and are leading us down a path to destruction based solely on your ego tripping, and cute slogans and latin words which sound sophisticated or macho."

But they didn't, and instead we have Mr. bedside manner demonstrating just what lengths his idiocy goes to.


Which include, it seems, telling people getting their asses blown off in Iraq that they should just buck up.


Pennsylvania's School of Creationism

Can I make a suggestion here, to all those red state people who're concerned about the Christian-ness of American culture?
It's this:there's a difference between Christian values and bat shit crazy.

World created in ten days, bat shit crazy. Love your brother, reasonable.

It's not the Christianity that people really object to, when you get right down to it after stripping off the extraneous layers of rhetoric, it's the daily confirmed fact that the brand of Christianity supported has little acknowledgement or relationship to any sort of post-middle ages world.

That's what people don't like.

Creationism? Why? Why is that such a friggin' essential part of your belief system? Doesn't the message of Christianity hold up if there isn't some divinely inspired creation which happened a few thousand years ago? It's like that bumper sticker I see:"If you think you're perfect, try walking on water." If the allegation of Jesus walking on water is what you take as important from the New Testament then you have no idea what Christianity is about.

People say "Christian values, Christian values" but you know what? People don't actually phrase their arguments in terms of values in this debate. People phrase it in terms of pseudo-scientific crap which is supposed to prove that said values are valid; the actual values themselves are not touched on. If Christians would actually talk about what Christian values are then maybe some secular folks would say "Oh, well, that's not so bad after all", but they don't.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I've discovered why Republicans are acting like liberals control everything.

In reference to the Tom Tomorrow cartoon and the incessant blathering about Christmas being threatened, etc..

I've figured it out: if they say that they're imperiled they can conceal the fact that they're actually pushing a very specific agenda.

If it's just simply self defense then, of course, there aren't any ideologues in backrooms calling the shots now, are there.

Marxism and the Psychedelic experience

I've always wanted to write something about these two topics in conjunction.

Now, if you don't think they have anything in common you'd be wrong. Left Marxist theory is somewhat open to ideas coming from non-western cultures and stuff gathered from anthropological investigations about society. Anthropological Marxism, humanist marxism, does the same thing. Now the psychedelic experience can be seen as a resurgence of the types of thinking and approaches to the world which were present in pre-modern non-capitalist culture into the heart of the beast, industrial capitalism in the United States. The experience, and particularly the conclusions that can be drawn from it about the world, society, and the individual's place in it, can definitely be valuable in the quest to create a new society, one that would be socialistic but also free.

Read some Peter Lamborn Wilson books to see what I mean... Wilson was the one where I first got the idea of pursuing Tropicalia from. In an interview he said that he was doing a Middle Eastern version of the Tropicalia strategy, referring to his explorations in alternative culture done through the lens of Middle Eastern cultural and social traditions.

And he talks about the psychedelic experience, even has a book devoted to Irish myth and the psychedelic experience...


Sunday, December 19, 2004

The High Road strategy and Marxian economics

The "High Road" strategy for business is a model developed by University of Wisconisn economist Joel Rogers which bases itself on the idea that by investing in workers and in the infrastructure of the community businesses can make money and prosper to a higher degree than with competition, outsourcing, and globalization.

It's a good concept. Recently, the Seattle Weekly did a story about Costco and its business practices which explicitly mentioned the term "High Road" strategy, although the bigger context wasn't brought up.

Costco it seems has some good business practices. At least the idea of an alternative way of structuring business is getting into play.

How does this relate to Marxian economics? Well, one of Marx's most profound yet extremely simple insights is that the idea of the market mechanism conceals the class struggle which is being raged within every workplace. On the one hand you have the constant apologia for low wages and bad hours, and bad conditions, that the market dictates it, that this is what the market requires of companies in order for them to stay competitave and to survive. Within the economics profession the idea of the unalterability of current conditions because of a supposed market dictate is even stronger: Walrasian economics, which are the foundation of the neo-classical economics used today in the mainstream, makes the theoretical claim that if given the outputs of industry and enough data that it's possible to reconstruct the levels of materials used and the wages which must have existed for those items to be there in that level. Must have. On the other, the idea of a struggle implies the importance of human decision, values, the possibilities of variants, the influence of workers as a factor, in determining what a company does. If it can be proved that in fact behind the facade of 'The Market the Market' lies human agency which doesn't only have to go in any one direction, then the idea of market fundamentalism is shot to hell and the argument that we can't include ethical and moral issues in considerations about wages, conditions, environmental pollution and impact, etc... is totally untenable.
And a high road strategy, although it isn't socialist, is a demonstration that this is in fact the case.

The idea of class struggle on the job is basically that you have two parties involved, labor and management, that have two basically different agendas, one to get good wages and conditions for themselves the other to keep wages and conditions down as well as maintaining power on the job, and that these two agendas meet and fight it out in skirmishes every day, from very minor things on the job on up, which determine where the balance of power lies leading in turn to the final result of those conditions and wages. And also impacting business strategy.

Obviously, with more resources and with the rest of the corporate world behind them as well as the state the business end of the equation tends to win many of the fights.

But the idea, which, of course, I haven't proved in this little article, that there is a fight in itself is proof that things should be different because things can be different. If they couldn't change no one would be fighting over them.

More directly, things on a bigger scale reflect business' initiative to act without any good market reason, indicating that they themselves are the ones who set the tone of the market. Look at NAFTA and WTO, CAFTA, FTAA, and GATS. The North American Free Trade Agreement wasn't done because some market pressure required it to be done, it was done with the promise that this would make the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, richer and raise the quality of life. Globalization isn't justified by a negative ideal, that the market requires us to do it, but by the idea that by liberalizing rules on where companies can move to and what strings are attached to operating in certain countries the third world will actually experience a raise in its standard of living, will experience development and become a collection of first world countries.

That's a positive ideal. Positive ideals tend to be things people would want rather than things they think they're constrained to do. Which implies that no one is forcing globalization.


Back to the local level. How is it that if Costco can make it with high wages Sam's Club can't?

You decide.

The lesson is..

That if you reject the mainstream media you damn sure better have something in place to perform the functions that it did, like a well integrated community of people who can provide the necessary social contact.

Something valuable I've discovered

That in the society we live in the mass media is our adaptation against alienation. I've come back to the media, after being on an anti-media strike for a long time, years, because, quite frankly, without newspapers, news magazines, radio, and PBS, suburbia drives you to a mental breakdown.

Doesn't mean that you have to look at all the crap that's out there, like those frickin' animal shows, but it's a healthy thing to keep in touch with your fellow man.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Nation | Article | Down and Out in Discount America | Liza Featherstone

""I come out with a cart full top and bottom. How great that feels." Lacking a local Wal-Mart, Goree drives over the Wisconsin border to get her fix. She was incensed by an earlier article's lament that some workers make only $15,000 yearly. "Come on!" Goree objected. "Is $15,000 really that bad of a yearly income? I'm a single mom and when working out of my home, I made $12,000 tops and that was with child support. I too work, pay for a mortgage, lights, food, everything to live. Everything in life is a choice.... I am for the little man/woman--I'm one of them. So I say stand up and get a Wal-Mart." "

"Sara Jennings, a disabled Winona reader living on a total of $8,000, heartily concurred. After paying her rent, phone, electric and cable bills, Jennings can barely afford to treat herself to McDonald's. Of a recent trip to the LaCrosse, Wisconsin, Wal-Mart, she raved, "Oh boy, what a great treat. Lower prices and a good quality of clothes to choose from. It was like heaven for me." She, too, strongly defended the workers' $15,000 yearly income: "Boy, now that is a lot of money. I could live with that." She closed with a plea to the readers: "I'm sure you all make a lot more than I. And I'm sure I speak for a lot of seniors and very-low-income people. We need this Wal-Mart. There's nothing downtown." "

***

All of this suits Wal-Mart just fine, of course. Convince workers that poverty isn't poverty and you've got 'em halfway there. Reminds me of the official line against the main Mexican left-wing party in the election when Vincente Fox was voted in. It was reported that the Mexican press labelled the Mexican progressives spoiled brats because they wanted better wages, and basically wanted more from the government than Vincente Fox did.

Fox, in turn, was opposing the PRI, which was the one-party of Mexico's one party system. So the papers thought that neo-liberalism, which throws people out of work and into poverty, was enough compared to the PRI.

You're spoiled brats! Why? Because you want workers to have more money! You're insulting the honest poor folks by saying that having something vaguely approaching a lower, lower, middle class income is something they should be striving for!

Yeah, a disabled woman living on $8,000 a year is hardly an example to give to the rest of the work force in order to say "Hey! Things aren't so bad!"

$8,000 a year is, let's be liberal here: $6,000 for rent. $2,000 for food and other expenses, like utilities, clothes, transportation, medical stuff (i.e. aspirin and tylenol).

Which breaks down to about $166 a month, which means either eating almost nothing or going to ye olde food bank.

So, wow, what a Stakhnovist example, Stakhnov being a model worker in Stalinist Russia who was given a special medal and recognition for being able to work really hard under slave labor conditions. He was later murdered by his fellow co-workers.

They make due in the shanty towns surrounding the maquiladoras, too, just like poor people make due all over the world, but that proves not a thing.




So okay...

Now my writings don't have quite as much of a kick as they used to...I'm glad not to be on a fast spiral towards self-destruction, I think that it's good.

If you don't like my style now you should ask yourself were you reading this blog because the negative style got you off and agreed with your general hatred of things or were you reading it because you actually cared about, and tried to understand, the ideas that I was putting forward.

This has never been about pure venting.

I wonder...

And, stop me, because this concern might be totally out there, but, doesn't a guy have a right to be depressed every once and a while? Doesn't a person sometimes have a valid reason for less than normal behavior, like chemical imbalances for instance, and shouldn't you not judge that from a moral perspective as being a personal failing?

I happen to see reality from a clearer perspective now than I have for a while, so...doesn't that qualify as being a positive thing? Or do all my writings before now just qualify as being pissy little things that some twerp wrote.

Michael Schwartz: 'America's Fallujan dystopia'

Allright, looking at the U.S. plans for post-combat Fallujah, let me quote a little bit from this article. First:

"Fallujans are to wear their universal identity cards in plain sight at all times. The ID cards will, according to Dahr Jamail's information, be made into badges that contain the individual's home address. This sort of system has no purpose except to allow for the monitoring of everyone in the city, so that ongoing American patrols can quickly determine if someone is not a registered citizen or is suspiciously far from their home neighborhood."

Will they be little yellow stars?

Second:"Entry and exit from the city will be restricted. According to General Sattler, only five roads into the city will remain open. The rest will be blocked by "sand berms" – read, mountains of earth that will make them impassible. Checkpoints will be established at each of the five entry points, manned by U.S. troops, and everyone entering will be "photographed, fingerprinted and have iris scans taken before being issued ID cards." "

Which goes along with number three: "Those engaged in reconstruction work – that is, work – in the city may be organized into "work brigades." The best information indicates that these will be military-style battalions commanded by the American or Iraqi armed forces. Here, as in other parts of the plan, the motive is clearly to maintain strict surveillance over males of military age, all of whom will be considered potential insurgents."

Flip a coin: would you call this situation a ghetto like in Poland or a concentration camp?

Fallujahns wearing their Identity Badges will be restricted from entering and exiting their town, and will be pressed into work battalions lorded over by the U.S. military in the reconstruction of their town, and might be considered suspicious if they are found far from their neighborhood in the town of Fallujah itself.

Quoting again from the article: "
It is not much of a reach to see that, at least in their fantasies, U.S. planners would like to set up what sociologists call a "total institution." Like a mental hospital or a prison, Fallujah, at least as reimagined by the Americans, will be a place where constant surveillance equals daily life and the capacity to interdict "suspicious" behavior (however defined) is the norm. But "total institution" might be too sanitized a term to describe activities which so clearly violate international law as well as fundamental morality. Those looking for a descriptor with more emotional bite might consider one of those used by correspondent Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times: either "American gulag" for those who enjoy Stalinist imagery or "concentration camp" for those who prefer the Nazi version of the same. But maybe we should just call it a plain old police (city-)state."


Hearts and minds eh, or, "Gee, we didn't know we were going to end up with a police state, it kind of just happened!"

Actually,

Now that I've thought about it a little more, the idea of resurrecting the Red Front isn't a good idea. It's stupid and dangerous. There should be other ways of solving our problems than to do something like that.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Further clarification...

Of course, don't misunderstand the adding of the phrase "Red Front!" to posts.

All I'm saying is that people shouldn't kid themselves about how the right is. They want to be vicious, and they're viciousness doesn't seem to know any bounds between rhetoric and action, at least, as far as I know, in the international realm, so why act to them like you're cute and fluffy?

I don't want to pretend that I'm nice and fuzzy to a fucking right wing ideologue who knows exactly what he's believing in and wants to believe it. I'd rather see things, if one has to take a stance, as being militants on the opposite side of the fence. He has his beliefs, I have mine, we aren't going to change, and neither are we going to ignore the other's existance, although we probably won't actually act on the animosity.

Just might be useful for people on the right to know that there are people on the left who hold their views as strongly as they do theirs.

So, Red Front!

A Snippet from AM radio

Going through the AM dial trying to find a new station I found something which Tom Tomorrow commented on...out from the radio comes a voice saying "We have to be reasonable, have to listen to reason", and another voice coming on, possibly Michael Savage's, saying "No we don't, we have to be vicious, with the liberals".

So, cooperation? Non, not with these people. Red Front!

And to qualify that...

Just in case it wasn't clear....the Red Front wasn't the Red Army Faction. That was a terrorist group in '70s and '80s Germany, this is something very different.

Why to buy "Out of the Night" by Jan Valtin

This book, published by AK Press, which I've quoted from in a post below and which I've mentioned in others, is about the only book I know of which details the workings of the "Red Front" organizations in Weimar and early Nazi Germany, where they fought for Communism against the Nazis until the bitter end.

Rotfront, Rotfront...

Consequences of the American path, modes of living

Yes, America's bill is coming due in many different ways effecting many different sectors of American life and American behavior abroad. Health, environment, labor, quality of life, social safety net, public health, distribution of goods, work, education, government, democracy, transportation, we're pretty much reaping, or starting to reap, the harvest of decades of going down the wrong path with all of these issues.

But what is it that's happpening to America? Not the judgement of heaven against an infidel state. This isn't a question of good vs. evil or of some state being punished for the sins of its residents, as the fundamentalists sometimes say. Rather, I'd like to explain it by making reference to some historical and sociological models of the world.

Well, one model at least, which is pretty broad, and which I'll call modes of living.

In this conception of things there are several different ways which, given a certain level of development in terms of economics, society can be organized; between the different possibilities there are no inherent value judgements: one did not give rise to another or exist only as a stepping stone for another, they don't relate to each other in those ways. Instead, they're just different possibilities for how society's can exist based on differential social and cultural values.

Value neutrality is important here, because in looking at the world like this consequences follow actions. Consequences which follow actions don't necessarily have inherent judgements within them: like the different ways of organizing society they just are. Yet we can draw judgements about them after the fact.

America has followed one cultural and social path, existing within the framework of late capitalism. Because, over the past fifty years, we've chosen, or, rather, the business community and Americans in general have chosen, in many ways, this path, we've done things to ourselves which now are bearing predictable fruit.

Take away the social safety net and don't be surprised if the prison population goes up.

Make it hard to get a living wage job and poverty will go up.

Pollute the environment and don't be surprised if public health issues and strange diseases pop up.

Promote consumerism and don't be surprised if the evils associated with consumerism, from over-consumption to possesiveness, pop up in increased amounts.

What we're seeing right now are the consequences of choosing this path; but, the upshot of it is that there are other paths out there, paths which don't require the equivalent of some sort of total social crisis to take.

There's a catch, however. We've looked at the world in ways which suggest that collectively we have a sense of ourselves which is equivalent to Sartre's observation that in choosing something for myself I'm choosing it for the whole world, and that therefore my individual choices are of utter and extreme importance.

This needs to be replaced by pragmatism.

If the U.S. approached social issues pragmatically, which means looking at the available options and not be blinded by trying to find a holy grail of social policy which will solve all our problems, and not looking for glamour, we could improve our country very swiftly and very effectively.

What stands in the way is power and ideology.

If we can break through those two things we can move to a better mode of living which will reap better consequences and better effects in relationship to our daily actions.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

WorkingForChange-Pandora's prisoner

Geov Parrish is a good writer, so I'm not picking on him, but, with this column and the mention of Saddam Hussein "The crimes of Saddam, of course, were prodigious."

Yes they were, and a helpful column elsewhere even details the numbers in an attempt, probably, to stave off accusations of being pro-Saddam in criticizing the U.S., but whatever happened to the awareness that while crimes are committed all the time by allies and foes in the third world that what gets reported and talked about in the news serves a political purpose which has nothing to do with the crimes themselves?

Saddam, Saddam, what happened to the awareness that Hussein was only criticized and turned into Mr. Worse Than Hitler (according to the George H.W. Bush administration) because he fell out of line with U.S. policy?

Before that we were peachy keen about him, and it galls one's sense of decency to see the crimes of the person who we deposed expanded in great and gory detail while the ongoing crimes and the crimes on the same scale of countries who we are still friends with, like Burma and Indonesia, get no press whatsoever.

Am I supposed to come forth with boundless praise for the U.S. because in the process of securing a strategic oil reserve and enhancing it's power in the region, and getting in a position to threaten Europe, it liberated some people, who are now of course enjoying the full measure of advanced industrial democracy which we, the careful liberators, were quick to help them out with, right?

No, bullshit. Fucking bulllshit. We guarded the oil ministry while their museums were looted and burned. So don't expect me to come out with praises about the liberated Iraq.

Ted Rall, just got a book he edited named one of the best books of the year by the Guardian newspaper...

"I have a beef with their one gripe, though:

One gripe, though. President Bush is not a simian idiot (see how easily he turned the key caricatural traits associated with him - stumbling over sentences, etc - to his advantage at election time). Rather, he's the guy who has led a neo-conservative revolution. That's the ugly fact of the matter, and 'subversive' humorists had better get used to it.

Isn't it possible that W. is a simian idiot who led a neoconservative (counter)revolution?"

He he. Yes, indeed.

Kerik Gave Us a Rudy Awakening

Good article. A breath of fresh air.

Without belaboring the point

In light of my illness I've found that there's nothing really new under the sun.

The notion that just across the river or in an obscure book or in an unknown ideology there's a radically different way of thinking out there and that all you have to do is to have faith and follow that pathway is a false one.

Sure, there are things which are informative, but the daily living of life exerts a conservative influence far beyond what the marginal scribblings of people like myself exert. Which isn't to say that all of this isn't important, it is, but, on the other hand, it isn't a replacement for the commonplace life which people experience.

There are things of value, but those things do not trump the process of normal life.

Mental health improving...

After a steady deterioration in the past couple of months....blog will be more balanced, writing better.

More in touch with things.

See, it wasn't all the world going to shit, was it? Part of it was a drop in Serotonin levels, coupled with other stuff....but the world still has huge problems. Things aren't nice and fluffy but neither is the world paranoid total evil shit which is going to rear its ugly head and kill us all land.

At least not in the short run.
Long run, different story.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Sandanistas and Zapatistas, an unwritten background of the Latin American left for American readers

Because Latin Americans know what this is about.

Armed guerrila groups in Latin America aren't new or particularly unique; there were civil wars raging all over Central America and elsewhere for a good chunk of the eighties. So why are the Zapatistas, who emerged on the scene in early '94 such a big deal?

The answer, I believe, centers on one concept: the indigenous people.

The Zapatista army is located in a Mayan area which became part of Mexico after being part of the central american confederation in the 19th century. They're indigenous people who are incorporating an indigenous perspective into the revolutionary left.

Sounds good. Nice words. Indigenous perspective, revolutionary left, they should be allies, right, no problems there, no conflicts, right?

Here's where the Sandanistas come in. One of the Sandanista mistakes when they came to power is that they essentially forced the Miskito Indians, who live in Nicaragua, into the Sandanista state and repressed them when they refused to go along with it. The Miskito just wanted to rule themselves. The position of many indigenous people's in central and south America is that Marxism, leftism, revolutionary movements, are the heritage of colonialism. They didn't ask to be involved in Marxist analysis, they didn't ask to fight a war against worldwide imperialism, if the Spanish and the Portugese had never set foot on Central and South America they'd still be living in their indigenous cultures oblivious to the ideological and political battles waging across the Western world. So why should they put their support behind anyone?

Why should they support Marxist rebels if what they want a socialist or Communist country when this whole thing is a bunch of culturally European people running over their land fighting each other about how their land should be divided up and used?

Which isn't to say that they're anti-liberal; the conservatives of South and Central America view them with the utmost contempt, as not even being people. But why should they buy into this struggle, a struggle which because of the ideological factor behind it and the desire for a thorough revolutionary change in society disrespects their rights to live in their own way unaffiliated with the colonialist state?

This is where the uniqueness of the Zapatistas comes in.

The Zapatistas, in their best light, represent something which bridges the gap between the alternatives of either participating in a struggle which may marginalize you or withdrawing altogether and simply being separatists. The ideas of traditional Mayan beliefs are still respected and the idea of the next change being done by an alliance of the indigenous people's of the world, the Fourth World, is being advanced.

It is a confrontation with the West itself, which challenges the West to get beyond being 'the West' and instead come to the table of nations as a representative which understands itself in ways paralell to the non-western ways of viewing things.

More on the wonders of the market in relationship to the profesions and to trades

Yes, in the distribution of trades and essential services in the United States we have an example of the market mechanism at work which should doubtlessly be a beacon for all the world. Much as a lighthouse is a beacon indicating rocks underneath the surface of the water which says "Stay away, your life depends on it!".

What jobs are essential to the continuance of life in the U.S., whether it be mental or physical health care, other social services, are, for the most part, undermanned and underpaid, discounting the people at the top. Why are they underpaid? Because in the scheme of things they aren't desireable jobs. There might be places where hospital workers are in high demand and can set their own prices, but in general, compared to other sections of society, these jobs are looked down on.

They're good jobs. For working class people they're relatively high wage and high prestige; for non-working class people they're low wage and low prestige; but they are working class jobs, for the most part, and if you want to get out of the working class....you don't lock yourself into jobs which are working class.

You go for business.