Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Palestinian Loss Of Land 1946-2000

Click on image for entire photo.

Shock, Awe and Lies: The Truth Behind the Israeli Attack on Gaza

From Chris Floyd:

Here is a simple, stone cold fact. You cannot read or hear the truth about what is happening in Gaza from any corporate media in the United States. The only thing you will find there are regurgitations of Israeli spin, which are themselves only regurgitations of the kind of spin that American militarists have put on their own depredations -- for centuries now. Up and down the American media and political establishments, you will find nothing but bleatings about Israel being "forced" to launch its vicious blunderbuss attacks against heavily populated Gaza because of the "recent spate of Hamas bombings" since the end of a six-month ceasefire.

This is of course a damnable and deliberate lie. Papers in Israel -- in Israel, but not the United States -- are reporting the truth: the murderous assault on Gaza was planned not only before the six-month ceasefire ended -- it was planned before the cease-fire even took effect. Indeed, the cease-fire was part of the military plan to decimate the civilian areas of Gaza; it was a hoax, a scam, a deliberate feint to buy time for military preparations -- precisely the same strategy followed by the Bush Regime (and its bipartisan Establishment supporters) in "going to the UN" to seek a "peaceful solution" to the "Iraqi crisis" -- when the invasion was already in the works.

Haaretz reports on the Israel's deceit in the latest outrage, in the aptly titled piece, "Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about":

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning. he disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well..

The story also notes that the recent racheting of tension was sparked, deliberately, by a heavy-handed Israeli incursion into Gaza:

The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops....

While Barak was working out the final details with the officers responsible for the operation, Livni went to Cairo to inform Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, that Israel had decided to strike at Hamas. In parallel, Israel continued to send out disinformation in announcing it would open the crossings to the Gaza Strip and that Olmert would decide whether to launch the strike following three more deliberations on Sunday - one day after the actual order to launch the operation was issued.

"Hamas evacuated all its headquarter personnel after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday," one defense official said, "but the organization sent its people back in when they heard that everything was put on hold until Sunday."

Not only did this deception lead Hamas to send its officials back to work -- it also meant that there was no general warning to the masses of civilians packed like sardines into Gaza's hellish confines. It meant that civilian casualties would be maximized -- especially when the initial assault was launched in the middle of the day, with thousands of schoolchildren out at their lesson.

As Glenn Greenwald notes, Israel's massive bombing of civilian areas -- even if couched in terms of "retaliation" for scattershot strikes on Israeli territory by a political faction -- constitutes "a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions." Greenwald also adroitly turns Barack Obama's campaign kowtowing to Israeli militarism on its head:

[Obama on the campaign trail]: "The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if -- I don't even care if I was a politician -- if somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."

Can't the exact same mentality be deployed to justify everything Hamas has done and is doing, to wit: "if a foreign power were brutally occupying my country for four decades -- or blockading my country and denying my children medical needs and nutrition and the ability even to exit -- I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Palestinians to do the same thing"? But the last thing that our political class ever extends is reciprocal, two-sided analysis to this dispute.

What is the ultimate context of this carnage? The fact that the Arab inhabitants of Palestine had their land taken away from them by force -- not in some ancient, historic era, but within the lifetime of many thousands of Palestinians still living. I hold no brief for Hamas; like the Angry Arab, whose coverage of the conflict has been relentless and penetrating, I don't care for any party based on religious extremism. But as Greenwald notes, every action taken by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups could be characterized as "retaliation" for the theft of their land, not to mention the war crime of collective punishment and genocidal blockades visited upon the Occupied Territories for years.

But there is not a single peep of this perspective from America's ruling class and its media courtiers. Of course, it is a bit much to expect a nation which itself was built on land theft, repression and slaughter to see anything wrong or "disproportionate" in Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. What else are you supposed to do when those dang heathen savages come around with their war parties and tomahawks, trying to get back the land that God Almighty has granted to good white folk?

Meanwhile, here's what Israel's "Manifest Destiny" looks like on the ground in Gaza. From the Maan News Agency (via the Angry Arab, as was the photo above):

Death shrouds the hallways of Gaza City's Ash-Shifa medical compound Saturday, its smell creeping in from all corners. mputated bodies are strewn throughout hallways because morgues in the city can no longer accommodate the dead. In one corner a man stands with his seven year old son in a cardboard box because the hospital ran out of sheets to cover the dead with. This is how he will carry him home and bury him. Another man stands dazed, in shock after watching his son Mohammed killed during his graduation ceremony at the de facto police headquarters. The father of one of Mohammed's classmates stood next to his son as he was decapitated. The man is still screaming.

In the packed hospital waiting room a mother sits silently staring into the distance; her son was pronounced dead shortly after she brought him in... Forty-year-old mother Nawal Al-Lad'a did not find the bodies of her two sons in the medical compound, so she left to look amid the rubble.

Husam Farajallah, a university student, was at the hospital collecting the body of his relative. He called what happened in Gaza a "black day" in the lives of all Palestinians, and wondered how the world could watch and do nothing.

Medics in Gaza confirmed that the majority of those killed in the day's attacks were civilians, including men, women and children. Most were cut to pieces, making the job of doctors and medics difficult, and the task of giving bodies back to families painful and gruesome. The medics working in the field continue to dig up bodies from the densely populated urban areas of Gaza City.

The scenes remind many Palestinians of the images that came out of the Sabra and Shatila massacres from Beirut in 1982, when thousands of Palestinians were killed by the Lebanese Phalangist militia.

As the death toll climbs and no word on a halt to the attacks has come from Israel, Gazans fear for their lives and loved ones.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wait and see...?

Pretty much everything related to corporate control of the regulatory and trade policies of the U.S. government... ?

Secretary of Defense?

Secretary of Interior?

Secretary of Energy? Home of "clean coal" propaganda efforts and nuclear weapons contracting. Gives lip service to "clean energy" by which they mean nuclear and coal.

Secretary of Agriculture? Works closely with trade and commerce to open foreign markets in Asia and Africa and Central America to U.S. exports.

Here are the rest. You'll get a much better idea of what Obama's policies will really be by looking at his choice of appointments to these posts, then you will by listening to any speech:

Secretary of Commerce.

Chairman of Federal Reserve.

Secretary of Housing and Human Development

Secretary of Homeland Security

Secretary of Health and Human Services (FDA)

EPA Administrator

Secretary of Labor

Secretary of Education

Secretary of Veteran's Affairs

National Intelligence Director

US Trade Representative

Director of National Drug Policy

Office of Management and Budget

For example, this was a record year for U.S. overseas weapons sales. Will that continue under an Obama Administration? Will our foreign policy continue to rotate around efforts to gain access to oil reserves? Will we see more undemocratic trade agreements like NAFTA? Will Obama pursue a NAFTA with Colombia, say? Will the FDA head be an ex-pharmaceutical CEO?

Nobody knows much about any of this, because our godawful media didn't cover the core issues very well during this election. Everyone knows about Bill Ayers, but no one has any idea who Obama will pick as Secretary of Energy. If he picks a corporate insider linked to the fossil fuel or nuclear industry, then that will mean one thing. If he doesn't - say he picks the head of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory instead - then that will mean something else.

Wait and see... ?

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Here comes the common refrain:

"If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the outcome."

The opposite is true. By playing the game, voters agree to the rules. Only those who don’t play and withhold their consent have a right to complain about the outcome, especially since the winner will have his hand in the non-voter’s pocket.

Voting is not an act of political freedom. It is an act of political conformity. Those who refuse to vote are not expressing silence. They are screaming in the politician’s ear: "You do not represent me. This is not a process in which my voice matters. I do not believe you."

Non-voting has a rich and long history through which the dissenting electorate has expressed everything from religious convictions to political cynicism.

Who makes the decisions in our society?

Who writes public policy?

Years of social engineering has caused people to be deluded on this matter.

The White House and Congress don’t really make the decisions, Wall Street and the Pentagon do.

Who wins the election makes no difference because all politicians must do what the elite want. Elections are a scam whose function is to neutralize resistance movements and dupe ordinary citizens into thinking they have a say in matters of the state.

Elections do not secure popular control over the state, they do help secure state control over the populace. Voting is a ritual that reinforces obedience to state authority. It creates the illusion that “the people” control the state, thereby masking elite rule. That illusion makes rebellion against the state less likely because it is seen as a legitimate institution and as an instrument of popular rule rather than the oligarchy it really is. This is why even totalitarian states like Russia under Stalin had elections. Embedded within all electoral campaigns is the myth that “the people” control the state through voting.

There's far more potential in 80% of the political drones staying home or burning tires in the street on election night but neither of these things will happen here in Never-Never Land. Instead the usual 50% will show up to keep the facade in place and validate the system that beats on their heads every day. Then the folk can swell with a moment of civic pride and think that "Democracy", if imperfect, has once again triumphed. "Well at least we got the vote"- and other such dripping bathos will resonate through the corridors of America.

We have no say, or very little, in what even gets voted on be it issue or candidate let alone considering if the vote gets counted.

But as long as the vote charade goes on the appearance of "having a say" remains intact. And you must admit this is part of the genius of the system. It really does give you a few minor openings and the appearance that you are playing the game. LTTE's, three minutes at city council, online petitions and call in radio and hey, "Let's call it Democracy! Let's vote!"

“If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.” - Emma Goldman

No matter who is nominated & elected, the policy will be endless war & military spending, further upward transfers of wealth, with the corporate elite controlling news coverage & essentially writing all legislation.

But this policy can be cloaked under 2 different costumes. If a Democrat is elected, as seems likely, the foregoing will take place with more smiles, and more pseudo-liberal rationales. Obama will claim to be introducing "health care for the people," or "protecting the environment," or some such BS. The militarism will be presented in milder tones, emphasizing themes like "stabilization" rather than "killing our enemies."

On the other hand, if the president is McCain, there will be no smiley face. There will be more in-your-face militarism, with overtly blood-thirsty rhetoric. There will be more blatant pandering to the Religious Right.

That's the only "choice" the system will permit.

What do I want to see changed in the political landscape? Well, on a daydream basis, I'd like to see the US government overthrown by the people of the United States, with the society reorganized to function on a socialist basis. I'd like to see all the war criminals & war profiteers put behind bars for life, with all their personal assets confiscated. The Supreme Court should be replaced, being an illegitmate body that has egregiously betrayed its mission. The corporate media should be replaced, reorganized from the ground up. Many large businesses should be nationalized, starting with the oil companies & Wall St. The military should be downsized by about 90%, with virtually all overseas bases dismantled. The CIA should be abolished. That would be on the first day. Give me a few minutes to think about the second day.

"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on lunch"

What we have is the continuation of a duopoly in which the differences between the two sides of the duopoly are far less important than their similarities. There is a largely successful establishment effort to control the political process so that the range of options is severely limited. We have the outward semblance of democracy without the reality of it.

For example, studies show that a large majority of Americans, including majorities who identify with each major party, believe our national priorities are screwed up and we shouldn't be spending most of our resources on the military. But the Presidential candidates of both major parties, and probably at least 95% of the Congressional candidates, support the screwed up priorities. Obama and McCain have virtually identical positions calling for greater increases in the military budget and an increase in the active duty forces.

And despite rhetoric making it sound as if their positions are very different, when you look closely at the real positions of the candidates, there's very little difference on Iraq either. And both have consistently supported Bush's requests for funding the war.

AFAIK, in his entire political career, Obama has never once taken a position for anything that could be called meaningful change. And he's been backtracking on previous positions for even marginal change.

The establishment relies for their continued power on the people assuming you have to choose between the duopoly candidates. This guarantees that the establishment wins and the people lose.

We must stop trying to figure a lesser evil, and take a position of not voting for evil. We should be measuring them against our understanding of what this country needs, not against what another wing of the establishment is presenting.

Any vote, no matter who you vote for, is a vote in favor of the status quo. When you vote you are saying you support a system whose deck is stacked in favor of the criminals. The only way we will ever have real change is if everyone stops supporting that system en masse.

Making a conscious decision to not vote is not apathetic, nor does it mean you do not care, it is a political statement in and of itself that says very clearly that you do not support the system as it is and you will not take part in it accordingly. More people need to consider making that statement instead of going to the polls every 2 years and voting for criminal thug A or criminal scumbag B, Tweedledee or Tweedledum. You might argue that voting for choice C, in this case perhaps someone like Ralph Nader, can make a difference, but sadly it will not, you must face the reality of this and come to terms with it. Even a vote for Ralph Nader is a vote in favor of the current system in which is the deck is clearly stacked in favor of the enemies of this nation by way of Diebold Incorporated.

Bad "leaders" or bad system?

Better to place this action in an institutional context. The forces placed on the elected person by the state machinery and pressures from big business dictate the outcome. Your vote is meaningless. You can argue all you want that "We need to keep up the pressure to demand Politician______ needs to listen to ordinary citizens, not to business" and you will rot on the vine as your words disappear into the indifferent air.

There is a difference between the state and government. The state is the permanent collection of institutions that have entrenched power structures and interests. The government is made up of various politicians. It is the institutions that have power in the state due to their permanence, not the representatives who come and go. We cannot expect different politicians to act in different ways to the same pressures. However, this is all ignored by the voting political consumer who wishes Politician______ was more a socialist, green, populist etc. and could ignore the demands of the dominant class in society while in charge of one part of its protector and creature, the state.

Is Voting an Act of Violence?

Now what connection is there between electoral voting and those who act violently in the name of the State? Why does the State want large numbers of people to participate in electoral voting? There are two primary reasons for this. First, those who act in the name of the State can use the fact that many people vote as evidence that they are acting in the name of "the people." Widespread voting is cited as evidence of "consent." State agents, such as legislators, presidents, and judges need an aura of legitimacy if their actions are to be viewed as right and proper by a large majority of the population. Second, governments - especially democratic ones - have discovered that as the proportion of the citizenry which holds the government in esteem increases, the less force the government requires to keep the balance of the population (those who view the government as illegitimate) under control. In other words, the more legitimacy that a government attains the less it needs to exercise outright violence against it opponents. A government which continually had to resort to violence to achieve its ends would soon be seen for exactly what it was: a criminal gang.

So, given that a successful State requires legitimacy and that one of the easiest ways to achieve legitimacy is through widespread voter participation, what is the responsibility of the voters for the actions of its government?

Voting in the United States isn't about "democracy"—it's about perpetuating the illusion of democracy.

I am told I should vote Democrat, simply to get rid of the Republicans. Or I should vote for whatever candidate is opposing the incumbent, simply to throw the bums out. All of this, of course, is simply a well-oiled shell game, for as the historian Carroll Quigley wrote, there is no difference between the parties, they are essentially cut from the same cloth. According to the elite who run things behind the scenes, “the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy… It should be possible, to replace one party with the other party which will pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policy.”

"What is the ballot? It is neither more nor less than a paper representative of the bayonet, the billy, and the bullet. It is a labor-saving device for ascertaining on which side force lies and bowing to the inevitable. The voice of the majority saves bloodshed, but it is no less the arbitrament of force than is the decree of the most absolute of despots backed by the most powerful of armies."

~ Benjamin R. Tucker

We need to remind ourselves of Albert Einstein’s admonition: “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Trying to reform the political process makes no more sense than trying to reform the carnivorous appetites of jungle beasts. If it is your desire to put an end to the violent, destructive, corrupt, and dysfunctional nature of government, stop wasting your time by focusing on the current management of the system.

As physicians have learned from the study of the body , a disease often indicates, not a permanent deterioration, but an attempt to restore an equilibrium that has been disturbed, and to recover natural functions that have been thwarted or suppressed. Without some overt manifestation of pathological symptoms, permanent damages might result before the disease could be detected and adequate measures taken to overcome it.

The voting ritual serves to disguise the symptoms. The patient is gasping for air. A face lift won't help.

Now consider two "what if" scenarios:

1) 90% of the people refused to vote. I think there is great potential in that. Tremendous acknowledgment that the machine is broken and a refusal to play in a rigged contest. Opportunity for galvanizing folks I'd say.

2) The controllers pulled the curtain back and said "Hey folks you knew this was a game anyways didn't you, no more voting." Report to work as you normally would and shut up. No more pretense.

As in every election we’re now being bombarded with propaganda about how “your vote makes a difference” and associated nonsense. According to the official version ordinary citizens control the state by voting for candidates in elections. The President and other politicians are supposedly servants of “the people” and the government an instrument of the general populace. This version is a myth. It does not matter who is elected because the way the system is set up all elected representatives must do what big business and the state bureaucracy want, not what “the people” want. Elected representatives are figureheads. Politicians’ rhetoric may change depending on who is elected, but they all have to implement the same policies given the same situation. Elections are a scam whose function is to create the illusion that “the people” control the government, not the elite, and to neutralize resistance movements. All voting does is strengthen the state & ruling class, it is not an effective means to change government policy.

By regarding society from a class perspective, one can see through the machinations of the rich. Marx explained that "in any epoch, the ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas..." The ruling class insists on control. Hence it demands unchallenged domination of the political system. It acts to mold all social institutions -- including schools, media, & political parties -- to serve its own interests. Any group that might oppose it (such as militant labor unions, leftist intellectuals, antiwar types, consumer & environmental advocates, etc) it tries to marginalize, coopt or destroy.

The political system that best serves the interests of the rich is the one that A) obediently does their bidding, while B) posing theatrically as a "democracy," in a convincing enough way so that most people don't catch on that they're simply being played. Objective "B" serves to greatly reduce resistance.

The illusion of "choice" and "free elections" is very important to the ruling class. They recognize that this pretty illusion makes their job much easier, so they want to preserve it. The rituals of campaigns & elections function to con most of the population into believing that "they're free." Most people will never clearly recognize that the choice they're being offered is a highly contrived one. They're being forced to choose between 2 parties which are united against them, rigged to serve the interests of their oppressors.

In today's US, especially at the national level, elections are worse than worthless -- they simply perpetuate illusions & waste time. They are degrading & repulsive exercises in Madison Avenue PR techniques, where "the truth" is off limits from the get-go. Effort should be directed not at participating in this system, but at bringing it down, exposing its corrupt essence, & building genuinely constructive alternatives.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008



a. there is a lexicon that stratifies everyone politically
b. there are people wholly versed in said lexicon
c. there are (presumably, likely) elaborate tracts and justifications for each strata
d. one should know precisely where one fits on this topological map
e. if you find the whole thing mysterious you are probably in over your head
f. those who "get it" should probably be deferred to since they get it and you don't
g. rhetorical skills are the method of conveying that you grok all of the above
h. anyone incapable of articulating -- at great length -- exactly where they stand in relation to all of the above points is probably a lightweight
i. ad infinitum

CONCLUSION: Let the smart people who drafted the above About Us page do the thinking and planning and talking..they are way more involved and adept than I could ever be.

Liberalism is tied closely to avoidance of political ideas and quickly distracts us towards personal idiosyncrasies ("Choices", "Lifestyles" etc.) in order to avoid substantive challenges to it's vapid discourse.

The trouble all started way, way back, we are to believe, and the solution is psychoanalysis, "being the change we wish to see" and "taking a different spiritual stance" and making "better personal choices." Those are the only solutions – personal, mystical, spiritual, within the unexamined context of consumerist corporate capitalism.

This thinking is highly Eurocentric and arrogant, although in the usual kindly paternalistic liberal fashion. As with so much of modern liberal thinking, collective action is not considered, and personal development is seen as the path to social change. Capitalism is not even mentioned, nor is class warfare. As with much liberal thinking, "we" are seen as quite different and special when compared to "them," although we are not feeling the appropriate guilt for what we have done to those poor inferiors of ours, though we are now wondering as we muse in our parlors if perhaps they did not know something that we have lost.

B'wana in the jungle. The great fucking white hope.

What to DO about the Hottentots?

I think that the biggest part of the challenge is the difficulty we have seeing the social context we are living in. You have to know where you are before you can discuss where to go. You need to accurately identify what is wrong before you start proposing solutions.

I remember watching a show about Indymedia on Free Speech TV. Hundreds of poor young uneducated people were talking passionately, intelligently, and seriously about culture and politics. What a contrast to what we have here. I realized that it is not so much a matter of the wrong discussions happening here in the states, or the wrong politics winning, it is that there are virtually no serious intelligent discussions going on here. It is not a matter of how to promote the Left, or how to configure the Left, rather that there is no Left - there is really no serious politics of any kind at all happening here. I noticed that in Sicko, too. Something is really fucked up here, and it isn't being talked about. The social context is really odd and different than elsewhere and else when. People are seriously traumatized here. Something is really fucked up with everyday modern society here. Almost everyone knows that, that is why they are apathetic about politics, because politics does not scratch that itch, does not get to what is really wrong. That means that cracking open that subject is a powerful lever to move people, to get some momentum, some energy, some thinking, some passion back into people's lives.

We are trapped in a social, cultural and political nightmare. (10...9...8...7...)

It permeates everything.

You can see it in the faces and hear it in the voices of people, and see the stark contrast between the way that everyday Americans act and speak and the way people in Europe and South America act and speak. So long as we speak and act without examining that context, everything is perverted and corrupted.

People are not turned off to the politics of the Left because those politics are too radical, rather because the politics are not radical enough and because the politicians and activists ignore the context and take modern American society as the given - the base line, standard normal.

It is no accident, it isn't arbitrary or insignificant or unimportant the way that the discussions are arranged at the various so-called Liberal outlets.

It reflects a point of view, not so much about politics, but about the existing conditions.

"Modern American society is pretty much OK (although fundamental human nature needs a serious overhaul, and we are working on that) but we enlightened folks do need to fix a few things; like eliminate guns, get people to stop smoking, get rid of bad chemicals, get rid of cars and ride bikes, promote 'green' options, give consumers better choices, recycle, get legislation to allow same sex marriage, find and support tech solutions to problems, get corporations to be socially responsible" and on and on and on and on.

The problem with the liberal activists groups is not so much that they model their organizations on capitalist free market sales and marketing models - it is that they try to disguise that as something else.

So I say that either we don't disguise the fact that we are running the place on capitalist market principles - or we run the place as a worker's cooperative.

If we run the place as a worker's cooperative, there is no need to re-invent the wheel and no need for anyone to be "analyzed, psychoanalyzed, Rolfed, est-ed, altered, gelded, neutered, spayed, fixed, acupunctured, Zenned, Yogied, New Aged, astrocharted, computerized, megatrended, androgynized, evangelized, converted, or even, last and least, to be reborn" in order to participate.

Liberal, thy name is hypocrisy. What's new?


We are trained against solidarity our whole lives.

Maybe not in our families or certain personal influences, but on a societal/cultural level we are never taught that one person's suffering belongs to everyone, and that we are all responsible for alleviating anyone's suffering in our society.

Even further, we are taught that other struggling people are our competition, our enemy.

So we have a tendency to compartmentalize our political picture, as if all of these 'issues' are separate - war, immigrants' rights, environment, corporate welfare, unemployment, globalism, outsourcing, healthcare... But in reality, these are all part of the same overarching problem. The biggest fear of the ruling class is that all the people will figure that out and turn against their true enemy.

For any movement to become successful we need to learn how to overcome those obstacles, we need to learn why/how we are alienating potential allies.

I think it is all or nothing right now, and 'nothing' is winning...How do we harness the 'all'?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Liberals like to talk about changing people - sort of a hearts and minds program - and see that as a prerequisite to political success. People are to be converted - educated or whatever - to become like-minded people. The problem is that this conversion program is not political. Converting people to be more like liberals - in sentiment, preferences, likes and dislikes - is a big job, and a useless one, as well, politically. The idea there is that social problems are caused by individual people being bad - violent, bigoted, wasteful, stupid - and that social problems can be solved by converting individual people to be good, as”we” are - loving, kind, caring, peaceful.

Almost everyone in the general public has already heard it all, and things get worse, not better. Now what?

At the same time, you can't go an hour without hearing some apology for "success" usually accompanied by a "what can you do" shrug, or encouragement and admiration for any "clever" or "realistic" moves you have made...

This "success" mentality will tolerate no serious discussion of social or political problems. Let's say someone wants to talk about this or that happening in their life, whatever - his career, his life (which is all anyone ever wants to talk about) - and you want to talk about public transit. Not the personal "green" choice of riding a bike or public transit to work - that would be about the person's individual life again - but actually have an intelligent and serious conversation about public transportation for all the people.

Good luck, right?

People immediately get impatient - why would anyone want to talk about that?

If it was a special interest of yours, like a hobby, well then fine except "I am not really into that." It is OK to have hobbies, and people are free to ignore you because they are "not into that" as a hobby activity or interest.

People will ask "what good does it do for you to be interested in public transit?" They don't mean to question the social value of discussing that, they mean how does it advance you personally?

Are you planning a career in "the field?"

Are you an "expert?" Is it making you money, is it increasing your social status?

The pressure to socially conform is pressure to do two things - be clever, and be realistic. "Be realistic" means stop worrying about the problems in the world, you can't do anything about those anyway, and who are you to think you "have any answers," and worrying about other people or the community is taking time and energy away from looking after number one.

"Be realistic" means give up all of those ideas you may have about intellectual, creative or political pursuits. "Be clever" means make the right choices - feather your nest, don't take any risks, find the angles, get with the program.

This is not a situation of "oh well what can you do," it is not a "well people are just that way." It is caused by commercial interests being given higher priority at all times and in all things than is given to the creative, intellectual or the social.

It is not happening off there somewhere in policy decisions in Washington, it is an ongoing battle every minute of every day in everyone's life. Nor is it some deep dark flaw in human nature that we need to reform one person at a time.

Unlike liberal activism, which calls for a tremendous amount of time and energy in the hopes of reforming people's sinful (apathetic) nature, and that brings very small and useless results in return, confronting the commodification of our daily lives is much more productive - a small amount of effort can cause enormous effects because everyone is caught in this trap, and it is miserable and people want out of it. The more resistant people are to confronting this, the more in love with their own role and status in the system they are. It is a relatively small number of people, but they dominate the Democratic party and liberalism.

It has to do with some fucked-up middle class liberal-elite culture of fucked-up white people striving and succeeding and living a fucked-up so-called lifestyle and being complete assholes wasting all of our time and making everyone around them miserable.

It doesn't take years of study, or deep understanding, or special knowledge, or the right guru, or the right theories.

Just look around everyday, all day, everywhere you go. And it doesn't take baby steps, we aren't on the path to anything, we aren't getting there, we aren't improving and all of the rest of that drama.

It isn't difficult, it isn't hard to understand, it isn't arcane or esoteric. The hard, miserable work, the really difficult, soul-smashing thing to do, is to keep participating in this ongoing and omnipresent and insane discussion going on all the time by the upwardly mobile good people. It takes a huge amount of thought, time, and energy; it is immensely unpleasant and stressful, to play along and keep propping up an insane world view..... It only sounds weird, or difficult to fathom or grasp, because we are embedded in an ongoing insane set of social interactions.

Modern liberalism is occupying the space where the Left should be, confusing and misleading people, steering people away from accurate perceptions and clouding their minds, preventing them from asking the right questions because they think they already have the answers. That is dead wood that needs clearing. If we are willing to kick over the beehive of modern liberalism you will see the true face and the true nature of the ruling class war against the people with crystal clarity. As it is, we can't even see the enemy now. We are looking out the tent flap watching for the approach of those dreaded right wingers, and the enemy is behind us right in our own tent.

“For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire society...a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Saturday, July 12, 2008


The ruling class doesn't fear any ideology, any alternative lifestyle choices, any theories. Elite clubs of intellectual snobs refining radical theories pose no threat to them, either. Intelligent people who have an inflated sense of their own self worth are very easy to buy off and neutralize.

Narcissistic Code Pink style antics and guerrilla theater are useful to the ruling class and are welcomed and encouraged by them. Speaking truth to power? You might as well throw marshmallows at a charging rhino. We need to speak truth about power to the powerless.

It is broad participation by the people in politics that the ruling class most fears and works hardest to prevent. That is why saying in essence to millions of people that "you aren't smart enough (or pure enough in the case of the New Agers) to join our elite club" is the kiss of death for any serious political movement that claims to be in any sort of opposition to the ruling class.

This is a chronic problem and blocks or cripples any attempts at mobilizing the working people. I believe that a relatively small group of people control all discussion and all power on what passes for the Left in this country, and that they would sooner surrender anything else - including selling all of us down the river - before they would let go of their sense of exceptionalism, superiority and entitlement.

"Liberal" has come to mean "a superior sort of individual," while "progressive" has come to mean "an individual traveling the path to enlightenment and transcending above their inferiors." No matter how many radical theories or what ideology or superior personal spiritual beliefs you set out as window dressing, the cult of the enhanced and actualized individual will always be contradictory to and destructive of efforts to build the working class solidarity that is essential to any serious political change.

Why are there so many arguments, so much bitter antagonism, such paralysis and confusion on much ballyhooed “Progressive-Liberal-Left”?

Because people fight for their positions as though their personal identity depended upon them, as though their existence depended upon their political position or theory. That is because their personal identity does depend upon their political positions. They are one and the same - "be the change you want to see." People actually mean "seek the change that suits who you are as an actualized individual" since it never involves self-sacrifice or focus on the needs of others, but always on individual personal choices and self-expression. In fact, their political positions are not political positions at all, but narcissistic expressions of their personalities.

Now I recognize that many people here define themselves as "independents" and therefore, may reject whatever came before... but it is still important to know what that was.

It is also true that "liberals" and "leftists" may find themselves allied on many issues or tactics and may well need each other under those circumstances.

Finally, it is true that "liberal" or "leftist" may refer to "political labels", applied by "the right", by others, or even by oneself, and have no particular relevance to the actual issues which divide "liberals" and "leftists".

Nonetheless... historically, liberals and leftists are not merely different points in a common spectrum but, in the end, they are implacable enemies. And the issue is precisely joined on the issue of class, as has been mentioned before but now seems to have disappeared from the general lexicon.

If the term "left" has any meaning other than a purely relative one, it is as that group of political ideas, parties, movements, and organizations which believes that politics is driven less by ideas than by interests and that those interests are based on economic class. Radical republicans (Civil War variety), revolutionary democrats, social democrats (including even a sizable chunk of the British Labor Party and the German SDs of today), socialists, utopian socialists, agrarian socialists, communists, anarchists, anarco-syndicalists, and nihilists - if these do not agree on anything else, they agree on the centrality of social classes even before they divide on what to do about them.

In contrast, "Liberals" explicitly reject the centrality of social classes. If such exist at all, they are assumed to be trumped by a common interest (national or otherwise) and any division is based only on transitory political opinion or policy. They are united with "Conservatives" in their agreement on the fundamental norms of society and on their long-term objectives (most importantly in the defense of private property and the projection of "national interest"). Indeed, for them, the current organization of society is the only one conceivable.

To the Liberals, the Left is a competitor for the same political constituency they claim to represent. The Left fosters "national division" and "class hatred" where moderation and "cooler heads" might otherwise prevail. They are often hand-cuffed by the "extreme demands" and "lack of reform mindedness" of the Left. If things come to a head, they can even justify arresting the Left... in the interest of "the greater good", of course (see Palmer, McCarthy, many more...).

The Left returns this attitude with interest... They regard the Liberals as the reform party of the ruling class. From this standpoint, the Liberals most assuredly need the Left. We are the monsters-beneath-the-bed that they invariably point to as a reason for the Conservatives to negotiate "reform"... "If you don't deal with us you may have to tackle the great unwashed". That is what "playing the class card" or "race card" means.

What exactly do we need the Liberals for? If there turns out to have been a misunderstanding of biblical prophesy and all Liberals are suddenly captured by the Rapture and disappear from the face of the earth how much worse off would we be? Would Rove suddenly be "turned loose" ‘cause Joe Biden was no longer there to protect us?
A little political haiku:

They ask:
"Why can't we just get along?"
We ask:
"Which side are you on?"

It is rare to find anything that is not dominated by capitalism, it is the rare person for whom the system is working, the rare industry that is not being ravaged and destroyed by corporate power, the rare neighborhood that is not being destroyed, it is rare to find a public resource of any kind that is not at risk.

The United States is being transformed into a banana republic. A class of people is starting to form, apologizing for and defending the oligarchy in exchange for a certain amount of privilege and comfort, and beating down the peasants or anyone who speaks for them. Educated, mostly white, "liberal," they have infiltrated all through the Democratic party and liberal organizations. It is remarkable to me to hear them, since they sound exactly like the upper class mouthpieces in Latin America have sounded all these years and use almost precisely the same arguments. They are singing a bittersweet, syrupy, seductive song - the sing song lullaby of the oligarchy.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Is it a coincidence that liberalism has become dominated by the relatively well-off, and that simultaneously economics are no longer front and center for the Democratic party but are merely a minor side issue?

All of the liberal causes are important, once you already have a certain degree of economic freedom. None of the causes are very important to the rest of the population. This is the built in bias of the liberal community that leads to an inability to stand strong against the ruling class or to connect with the average person, and has now led to people who are supposed opponents to the right wing taking anti-immigration and pro-free trade and free market positions, and support the war on drugs and the war on terror. The Democratic party and liberal organizations have become the biggest supporters of the new aristocracy, while dominating all political discourse that is not overtly right wing and suppressing any true politics of opposition from emerging.

The rest of the people in the world suffer, in order to support the conditions that allow about 10% of our population to enjoy the luxury of living in the realm of political musing and theorizing. The lives and outlook of that 10% are seen as the standard, as the given, as the norm. It is not the norm even within any metropolitan area, unless you ignore minorities, ignore the elderly and infirm, ignore the working poor and single mothers, and ignore the millions of people working blue collar jobs.

All day long in the media, that 10% - white, upwardly mobile, educated, tolling around in new cars, climbing the corporate management ladder, buying expensive homes, having full access to health care, having access to excellent public education and municipal services, taking fun and exotic vacations, buying the latest gadgetry and trinkets - is presented as being representative of "us" - who we are as a people.


“I sit on a man's back choking him and making him carry me. And yet assure myself and others, that I am very sorry for him and wish to lighten his burden by all possible means. Except, by getting off his back.”

- Leo Tolstoy

Those of us on the Left have heard for decades now sentiments such as "what will ever make you happy?" and "you are a purist" and "no one agrees with you" and "that may be what YOU want, but you need to be practical" and "OK if you reject them, who do YOU think would be the right person? What is YOUR choice then?" and "it is easy to criticize, but do you have any positive suggestions or do you just like to whine and complain?" and other similar statements.

"Not revolution, but evolution" people said when Clinton was elected, and we were harangued to see Clinton as some sort of wonderful new direction from the Reagan years. “We” got NAFTA.

"Now “weeeeeeeeee” have control of the House, and you have to be patient." Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. We don't have jack. Nothing. Ashes. A big sick cruel joke is what we have, and the joke is on us.

But “We” have "Dennis" - finally a man who "matches my personal spiritual values so that I can vote my conscience."

WTF??? Are we picking a guy for a high school prom date???

Have “We” fucking lost our minds??

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee - second only to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee meeeeeeeeeeeee a candidate for meeeeeeeeeeeeee and IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII.

I don't give a damned what any fucking liberal's personal little choice is, and I am sick of hearing about their latest knight in fucking shining armor. (e.g. Obama- The Audacity of Hype)

There are a number of implied assumptions behind this "not perfect enough for you" line of assault - and make no mistake, it is an assault, designed to silence people and terminate consideration and discussion. "Are you happy NOW??? Will you stop bothering us with your gloom and doom NOW???? Can we stop listening to you NOW????"

To say that the “latest-greatest” Obama (for example) is being rejected because he is not quite perfect is to imply that he is kinda sorta there, or “in the right direction” or presumed to be an ally. What is being pointed out here is not that Obama and The Dems fail some perfection test – an imaginary test that suggests that he/they are mostly OK but has a few flaws that only perfectionists would notice, and a test that the people being accused of using it are not using - but rather that these people are not at all, in any way, remotely, or vaguely aligned any of the working people and that the notion that they are aligned with us is all a carefully created and totally false illusion. What are presumed to be "flaws" – which a few of us are supposedly unwilling to overlook in our stubbornness and obtuseness – are actually accurate glimpses through the camouflage at the whole picture, not minor peripheral and insignificant flaws.

They aren't minor flaws in an otherwise perfect gem – they are indicators as to the true nature of this chunk of manure painted up to look like a gem so as to fool people. Looking through the holes in the fancy paint job at the interior of the object, and saying it is not a flawed diamond, it is a chunk of manure with a coat of paint hastily slopped on to make it look like a diamond is merely pointing out the hypocrisy and unreality of the liberal fetish.

On another level this assault is wrong-headed and destructive, and that is in the implied assumption that politics is a matter of personal taste - “well that is what YOU want but not very many people agree with you.” FUCK THAT. Politics is about the greatest good for the greatest number, not about “what I want.” The narcissistic belly button lint gazing is completely antithetical to working class solidarity, and is nothing more than an amusing little hobby for the pampered and spoiled and selfish latte' liberal.

Beyond the question of whether or not this particular person is perfect, I also reject the assumption that we are all looking for a person to begin with, and that looking for a person is the essence of politics.

Barack Obama is the enemy. Looking for a person is the problem, not the solution. Insulting, frustrating, and silencing the most perceptive among us is what is destroying the possibility of a strong Left emerging, and is the tawdry and amoral House Negro work that keeps the ruling class in place. THAT is the fucking problem, and that is a LONG way from the snide and demeaning accusations that critics of Obama and others are being a prissy little perfectionists, carping and fault finding for the sake of irritating people or being a party spoiler.

This “you are being a perfectionist” propaganda is infinitely more destructive to the Left than anything that ever comes from the right wingers, and is one of the most important bulwarks of ruling class power.

This is not nit-picking. It is not "being negative." It is not being a "purist."

This is the whole battle.

We have tried being polite, reasoning with people, documenting the truth, respecting and considering people's complaints that we are being too harsh, too radical, that we are making attacks, that we are alienating allies, that we are hurting "the cause."

None of that has worked.

The years slip by. Conditions grow worse and worse, The danger grows and grows. The ruling class gets stronger and stringer. Polite nicey-nice "can't we all get along children and play nice?" is bringing no positive returns and there is nothing to lose by speaking the truth as harshly as needs be to get the message across.

Maybe the bottom line is whether or not we all seek the same depth of changes in our society. There is no doubt in my mind that whether under the control of Democrats or the Republicans, the number one beneficiary of political decisions, be they foreign policy or domestic, will be large industries/the extremely wealthy - that is, the general protection of the status quo, and the continuation of a capital-before-people mentality, the right of the US to impose its will on nations for the benefit of its corporations.

Sunday, May 18, 2008



I offer this a starting point.

A Leftist says that the fundamental organization of our society is intolerable because it leads directly to war, poverty, oppression, and environmental destruction. The Leftist argues that a new and different framework is necessary.

A Liberal says that the basic organization of our society is reasonably good, and should therefore be accepted, and that any efforts at further improving society should come from working within the already-established framework. IOW, the liberal wants slight modifications to what already exists, believing that its basic structure is reasonably sound.

Liberal- will blithely be assimilated.

Leftist- will likely be assassinated.

Liberal- possesses a quaint notion that one can reform hierarchical power structures.

Leftist- desires to completely unravel and eliminate the functions and forms of hierarchy.

Liberal- wishes to reform The Bank into The People's Credit Union.

Leftist- sees the need to turn the tables of the moneychangers and smash the marketplace.

Liberal- says "Living Wage".

Leftist- says "Solidarity".

Liberal- willingly shells out $4 for a glass of carrot juice.

Leftist- sees Root Vegetables as sustenance and metaphor.

Liberal- outside the coffee shop talks about the need for the Cappuccino Revolution but balks at acting out for fear this would endanger his/her daily cappuccino.

Leftist- reuses the same coffee filter, paper towels or odd socks when all other options have been exhausted in an attempt to squeeze one more cup from yesterday's grounds.

Liberal- wants to 'get out the vote'.

Leftist- recognizes voting as a nominal form of political activity meant to validate the Democratic State and convince the political consumer that they are a participant in governance.

Liberal- can often be seen mouthing the "education is the answer" mantra particularly in the rarified atmosphere of the Citadels of Expertise. Revels in being near theory or people 'doing theory' in the academy.

Leftist- sees education as social engineering and cultural imperialism. Education Academies seen as the proving grounds for the future ruling class.

Liberal- users of 'all natural' deodorant. The armpits are fresh particularly during commercial breaks.

Leftists- recognize deodorant as one of the essential pillars of Empire. Will often raise their armpits in tight quarters due to quixotic impulses.

Liberal- writes lengthy position papers on the plusses of developing more efficient killing machines (See Amory Lovins for more details).

Leftist- sees the Techno Warfare State as one of the great life destroying mechanisms in the history of Mankind and understands the relationship between war and oppression. The "Health of the State" being that which kills everything else.

Liberal- true believers in the New Economy and Seattle (the city) home of Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks.

Leftist- acknowledge a different Seattle (the Amerindian prophet)

Liberals- have recently been experiencing a population explosion which seems to have been caused by a grey form of technocratic inbreeding. Liberalism is now a major growth industry much like Cancer. Much of this exponential proliferation of this well-groomed disease seems to emanate directly from Academia.

Leftists- an endangered species. Said to be only 723 remaining in the contiguous 48 states of the United States of America. For years they have been scooped up and exiled to the Periphery. To date all efforts to exhume the spirit of Eugene Debs have fallen on deaf ears.


Both liberals and socialists empathize with the suffering of society's weaker members, and are sensitive to "man's inhumanity to man." However, the liberal is basically at peace with the socioeconomic system that produces this suffering, while the socialist recognizes that the system itself is a core cause of the suffering.

A liberal might get upset by militarism, but happily invests in Martin Marietta Corp, and rejoices when it increases its dividend. Liberals are also often susceptible to nationalist propaganda appeals, & thus can easily be persuaded to support wars like the NATO war in Kosovo, simply because it was cleverly marketed as a "humanitarian intervention." A socialist would never fall for this sort of ploy.

A liberal might be properly horrified by pollution, waste, hyper commercialism, and many of the ills of modern society, but pays little conscious attention to the underlying issue of corporate power that allows such things to dominate our lives. A liberal will vote for Democrats, despite the obvious fact that these contemptible worms are nothing but bought servants of corporate monopolies or oligopolies. The liberal sleeps easily, figuring, "Well, at least the Dems are better than Bush!" as though this really implies some sort of resistance to rampant corporatism.

Basically, the liberal tut-tuts disapprovingly at some of the blatantly horrible end-effects of policies, politicians, and economic philosophies that, for the most part, he accepts. A socialist, on the other hand, is conscious of where the roots of these disasters lie....


Now is a good time to cue up some Phil Ochs:

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I'm glad the commies were thrown out
of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
as long as they don't move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can't understand how their minds work
What's the matter don't they watch Les Crain?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I read New republic and Nation
I've learned to take every view
You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I'm almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There's no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I vote for the democratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I'll send all the money you ask for
But don't ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Saturday, May 10, 2008



There is much pretending throughout the progressive and liberal community.

Success and the good life, credentials and status, position and privilege must be protected, at least for people like "us." At the same time, this position and privilege is dependent upon playing a certain role. As Liberals we must pretend that we are not defending privilege and position and must pretend that we are for the downtrodden. We must pretend that privilege and position is all earned, and that anyone could have anything that we have. We must defend the system of dog-eat-dog competition without allowing that to be too obvious. So we pretend that introducing "fairness" rules and regimens into our personal life nullifies all of the things we do to attain and preserve the spot we have clawed our way to in society.

Sometimes this balancing act is fairly easy, since there are so many people willing to help us keep up the facade and since reality doesn't intrude into our "reality based" fantasy world, but once in a while something arises and calls our bluff.

When our bluff is called, there is no amount of time and energy we will spare in internecine warfare arguing fine points of what a liberal is, or what our position should be on each and every minute issue and sub-issue and variations on every issue. These arguments can never be resolved, because there is no basis of consensus.

Actually there is a consensus, but an important component of the consensus is that we never talk about it and we must pretend that it isn't there.

The consensus from which liberals and Democrats operate:

We are the better people. We are smarter, we are humane, we are more compassionate, we are better informed. We are better citizens, we are more cooperative and realistic. we are winners- not losers, and we deserve everything we get. We are spiritually superior. We are centered and balanced, calm and insightful. We are on the right side of history. We are building a better world.

The general public does not realize that we are the better people, and the ones who should be making the decisions. Of course the only logical reason for this public oversight is because- “Republicans are able to take advantage of the people's stupidity and ignorance and turn them against us.”

As Liberals we understand that most of the problems in the world are the result of stupid people running things. If “We the smart people” were in charge, all of the problems could be solved with science and technology and rational social planning.

Class analysis, and the struggles of working class people against tyranny have no place in modern society. They are obsolete and passé, and only something that we read about or see in movies. Romantic as those stories are, they are no substitute for hardheaded practical reality, whether we like it or not. This is a matter of being a mentally healthy, modern, well-adjusted adult in society. None of the lessons from history apply, because things are different now. Only strange maladjusted people are attracted to obsolete political ideas. They are all obviously losers, and are a great danger, almost as much of a danger as the Republicans are.

Since politics and economics in the traditional sense are dead, we embrace a new paradigm of self improvement and self-actualization. Anything that interferes with our focus on ourselves and our pursuit of creating ourselves as an actualized being is to be rejected. The way to achieve the perfect society is first to create a perfect self. Meanwhile, so long as the authorities do not interfere with our self-actualization, we must comply in all ways with that authority. This allows us perfect self-expression within perfect social conformity. Anyone who attacks our personal choices is the enemy, and anyone who attacks the social system based on personal choice is also the enemy.

As fully-realized liberal-progressives we understand that our enlightened self-interest is the ultimate engine of social progress.

Others, however, who do not share our values are not to be given personal choice, when and as we can prove that their personal choices are wrong, often with our righteous claims that their choice impacts us somehow. We support the police state and massive incarceration of people, so long as they are being harassed and imprisoned for the right reasons. Any variance from our idea as to how people should be is quite naturally the right reason, by definition.

We believe that we must “be the change we wish to see,” and the change we wish to see is more people like us: polite, talented, beautiful, intelligent, calm, successful, clever, enlightened.

So we merely need to be ourselves, focus on ourselves, and serve ourselves. Those who cannot or will not become like us need to back down and get out of the way.

We fully support aristocracy, capitalism, corporate domination, and consumerism, provided that they support our self-actualization and afford us the personal lifestyle choices we prefer.

When I was growing up, the term "liberal" fell somewhere into the spectrum between "moderate" and "opportunist liar" depending on whom you spoke to. It always carried with it an "establishment" veneer, however. People weren't "liberal"... political leaders and elected officials were.

Part of the reason was that it was clear that liberal politics was something different from the very real movements and forces in the society that were demanding something far greater. When the civil rights movement demanded racial equality, the liberals came up with affirmative action and measures against "racism". When the peace movement demanded an end to the war and "interventionism", the liberals advocated a merely “less adventurist" foreign policy. When there was an outcry against poverty in "the richest country in the world", the liberals proposed "job training programs" and food stamps. In a phrase, they not only served the ruling class by validating moderated reform but they also "de-classed" (some might say, "de-clawed") the demands that were being made by social-justice and antiwar movements.

Then came the backlash. While what the liberals legislated wasn't much, it was way over the top for the Right... and this Right was in no way the "populist" Right that we recognize today. This was the established Right... the so-called "Goldwater Republicans". And it came on with a tactic as American as apple pie: coalition politics.

Ask any 10th grade Civics class to list the 10 things that make America unique and you will get perhaps 20 discrete claims that together make up the American catechism. The Republicans figured out that you can build a political coalition out of "interest groups" which individually oppose ALL of them:

"Equality before the Law? ...We've always been against that!" (Nixon's Southern Strategy). "Purple Mountains Majesty? ... entire states are against that!" (Reagan's Western Strategy). "Freedom of the Press? ...that's what cooked our goose in Vietnam!". "Separation of Church and State? ...hell, there's a whole boatload of people against that!" "Nation of immigrants? ...almost everybody is against that!".... and so on.

We kept waiting for the Liberals to fight back... not for our sake but for their own. "This is downright silly! The REPUBLICANs running against the (afterthought -> add "big") GOVERNMENT for chrisakes... gimme a break. They were in on ALL of it!". Instead, not a peep...

At the very best, you got a speech at a political convention from a tired Cuomo or Kennedy... and even then in nostalgic rather than fightin' words: "Ah, for the heady days when we came up with the absolute minimum concessions that we possibly could, claimed credit for all of it and then promised a new 'social contract' that would last 1000 years..."

The Right was actually scared shitless for the entire journey. They were dug in deeper than Saddam. They would pop up to whisper a "new idea": "Affirmative Action is quotas, you know...", and then pop down to survive the inevitable firestorm that never came.

Finally came the Reagan "landslide" that "changed everything". The Republicans were claiming (wrongly, it turns out) that they had cracked the code for appealing to Democratic working class constituencies OVER THE HEADS of the Liberals... "we appeal to them as racists or 'taxpayers' or christians, you see..". A friend of mine, listening to this, said at the time, "The idiot liberals have just eliminated their own jobs...". Turned out to be true.

The demonization of the "liberals" inevitably came next... and the revision of history. "Liberals" were guilty of everything that they had, falsely, claimed credit for. THEY had lost the war in Vietnam (wholesale desertions, mutinies, fraggings, war crimes and general deterioration to the point where entire Army Divisions were "deactivated" , notwithstanding). THEY had committed the "real" war crimes by not being nice to the Army and returning veterans (3 million dead notwithstanding). THEY had lied to various constituencies when they had told them that "government" was a "solution" to their "problems".

And not a "liberal" to be found... anywhere...

But then, a miracle happened. The "liberals" started to come back, "from below" (an oxymoron if ever there was one). Bumper stickers, disgruntled "activists", ordinary people... claiming the label without knowing anything about the baggage... becoming "liberal" because that was the worst thing the Right could call them and, if that was the worst, then that was them. They adopted the terms "proud liberal", etc. in the same way that we were proud to be "commie pinkos" when we were kids… without the slightest idea of what that meant (I am much more accurately one, now).

I kept my mouth shut... It will not do to annotate the symbols of resistance at the very moment when they are being displayed.

The problem, of course, was that the "real" liberals had never gone away. They had merely been in rehab… waiting for the Republicans to commit suicide. And, they were emerging to reclaim their birthright...

I heard this on the floor of the house one day in the midst of a debate on a Republican sponsored resolution on a "windfall profits" tax on the oil companies: "Finally... finally... finally... after years of pleading and effort, we have gotten the Republican leadership to see the benefits of our approach... we have many more proposals that we hope will eventually win bipartisan support."

Congratulations, Congresswoman! You have certainly shown the wisdom of moderate proposals and thankless, persistent, debate no matter how many decades it may take (ignore that gun pointed at your opponents head). But, let me ask you…. If it is shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that oil company profits are not “excessive”, a “windfall”, or “evidence of price-gouging” (it is a relative thing, after all), what then? Does nothing happen? Do you patiently explain to us, “how our system works”. Do we freeze next winter? Or do we win an election for you in 2008 or 2012 so that you have the power to “really” do something… maybe “oil stamps”?

But, let me not sound bitter… At least the job market for “Liberals” seems finally to be booming again. There is so much work now to do… it has to be explained to the Right what the people “really” want and what they will settle for. It has to be explained to us what is “prudent”, what is “practical”, and what is in the “common interest”. It is time to reformulate “policy” so that it represents “all” the people. Hell, maybe we can even have the old language again:

Port Security …for the benefit of the working class.

Lobbying Reform …for the benefit of the working class.

Co-Payments …for the benefit of the working class.

Yup, the Liberals are back
…for the benefit of the working class.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jen Buys A Prius!

Is it a coincidence that liberalism has become dominated by the relatively well off, and that simultaneously economics are no longer front and center for the Democratic party but are merely a minor side issue?

All of the liberal causes are important, once you already have a certain degree of economic freedom. None of the causes are very important to the rest of the population. This is the built in bias of the liberal community that leads to an inability to stand strong against the ruling class or to connect with the average person, and has now led to people who are supposed opponents to the right wing taking anti-immigration and pro-free trade and free market positions, and support the war on drugs and the war on terror. The Democratic party and liberal organizations have become the biggest supporters of the new aristocracy, while dominating all political discourse that is not overtly right wing and suppressing any true politics of opposition from emerging.

The rest of the people in the world suffer, in order to support the conditions that allow about 10% of our population to enjoy the luxury of living in the realm of political musing and theorizing. The lives and outlook of that 10% are seen as the standard, as the given, as the norm. It is not the norm even within any metropolitan area, unless you ignore minorities, ignore the elderly and infirm, ignore the working poor and single mothers, and ignore the millions of people working blue collar jobs.

All day long in the media, that 10% - white, upwardly mobile, educated, tolling around in new cars, climbing the corporate management ladder, buying expensive homes, having full access to health care, having access to excellent public education and municipal services, taking fun and exotic vacations, buying the latest gadgetry and trinkets - is presented as being representative of "us" - who we are as a people.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Story About A Leading Democratic Party Liberal: The Year 1917

Most everyone has heard of the Palmer Raids which occurred immediately after WWI. They were directed specifically against immigrants, radicals, and union types and together made up one of the greatest wholesale suspensions of "the Rule of Law" in American history.

The raids started at the behest of the great liberal and Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, who warned as early as 1915 of, "hyphenated Americans who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty and anarchy must be crushed out."

As the labor movement, draft resistance, and opposition to the war deepened with U.S. entry into WWI, Wilson ordered Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer to "put a stop to it". Palmer, in turn, raised the little tyrant J. Edgar Hoover from obscurity to lead the effort. What follows is a short excerpt of a mostly reactionary Wikipedia write-up on the subject:

Palmer Raids

Pressure to take action intensified after anarchists, communists and other radical groups called on draft-age males to refuse conscription and/or registration for the army, and for troops already serving to desert the armed forces. President Wilson ordered Attorney General Palmer to take action...

...Attorney General Palmer requested and promptly received a massive supplementary increase in Congressional appropriations in order to put a stop to the violence. Palmer then ordered the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Investigation to prepare for what would become known as the Palmer Raids, with the aim of collecting evidence on violent radical groups and arresting those in violation of federal criminal codes.

In 1919, J. Edgar Hoover was put in charge of a new division of the Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation, the General Intelligence Division. By October 1919, Hoover's division had collected 150,000 names in a rapidly expanding database. Using the database information, starting on November 7, 1919, BOI agents, together with local police, orchestrated a series of well-publicized raids against apparent radicals and leftists, using the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Palmer and his agents were accused of using various controversial methods of obtaining intelligence and collecting evidence on radicals, including harsh interrogation methods, informers, and wiretaps...

...In December 1919, Palmer's agents gathered 249 radicals of Russian origin, including well-known radical leaders such as Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, and placed them on a ship bound for the Soviet Union (The Buford, called the Soviet Ark by the press). In January 1920, another 6,000 were arrested, mostly members of the Industrial Workers of the World union. During one of the raids, more than 4,000 radicals were rounded up in a single night. All foreign aliens caught were deported, under the provisions of the Anarchist Act. All in all, by January 1920, Palmer and Hoover had organized the largest mass arrests in U.S. history, rounding up at least 10,000 individuals.

The public reaction to these raids was favorable, and, in fact, may have forestalled reactionary violence by the public in the form of vigilantes. A group of young men in Centralia, Washington, lynched Wesley Everest, an IWW member, from a railway bridge. The coroner's report stated that the man "jumped off with a rope around his neck and then shot himself full of holes."

The related outrages were endless and extended well beyond the legal lynching of Sacco and Vanzetti. A Connecticut clothing salesmen was sentenced to sixth months in jail simply for saying Lenin was smart. The Washington Post noted with approval how in Chicago, a sailor shot another man merely for failing to rise during the national anthem. The stories are endless.

All this is pretty well known, but one question remains: Who was Alexander Mitchell Palmer?

The answer is that Palmer was a leading Democratic Party liberal, a leader of the Progressive wing of the party, a Quaker, and a pacifist. In 1917, he had turned down the offer of appointment as Secretary of War because of his pacifism. It was then that he was appointed attorney general. His nickname, "The Fighting Quaker", was "earned" for arresting people in the middle of the night. For his labors, Palmer almost became the Democratic nominee for President in 1920... only a hung convention because of a minor candidate prevented it.

Palmer himself justified his change of heart by commenting that "communism was eating its way into the homes of the American workman... "

In other words, "they hate our freedoms".

Palmer wrote:
In this brief review of the work which the Department of Justice has undertaken, to tear out the radical seeds that have entangled American ideas in their poisonous theories, I desire not merely to explain what the real menace of communism is, but also to tell how we have been compelled to clean up the country almost unaided by any virile legislation. Though I have not been embarrassed by political opposition, I have been materially delayed because the present sweeping processes of arrests and deportation of seditious aliens should have been vigorously pushed by Congress last spring. The failure of this is a matter of record in the Congressional files.

The anxiety of that period in our responsibility when Congress, ignoring the seriousness of these vast organizations that were plotting to overthrow the Government, failed to act, has passed. The time came when it was obviously hopeless to expect the hearty cooperation of Congress in the only way to stamp out these seditious societies in their open defiance of law by various forms of propaganda.

Like a prairie-fire, the blaze of revolution was sweeping over every American institution of law and order a year ago. It was eating its way into the homes of the American workmen, its sharp tongues of revolutionary heat were licking the altars of the churches, leaping into the belfry of the school bell, crawling into the sacred corners of American homes, seeking to replace marriage vows with libertine laws, burning up the foundations of society.

Robbery, not war, is the ideal of communism. This has been demonstrated in Russia, Germany, and in America. As a foe, the anarchist is fearless of his own life, for his creed is a fanaticism that admits no respect of any other creed. Obviously it is the creed of any criminal mind, which reasons always from motives impossible to clean thought. Crime is the degenerate factor in society.

Upon these two basic certainties, first that the "Reds" were criminal aliens and secondly that the American Government must prevent crime, it was decided that there could be no nice distinctions drawn between the theoretical ideals of the radicals and their actual violations of our national laws. An assassin may have brilliant intellectuality, he may be able to excuse his murder or robbery with fine oratory, but any theory which excuses crime is not wanted in America. This is no place for the criminal to flourish, nor will he do so so long as the rights of common citizenship can be exerted to prevent him.


It has always been plain to me that when American citizens unite upon any national issue they are generally right, but it is sometimes difficult to make the issue clear to them. If the Department of Justice could succeed in attracting the attention of our optimistic citizens to the issue of internal revolution in this country, we felt sure there would be no revolution. The Government was in jeopardy; our private information of what was being done by the organization known as the Communist Party of America, with headquarters in Chicago, of what was being done by the Communist Internationale under their manifesto planned at Moscow last March by Trotzky, Lenin and others addressed "To the Proletariats of All Countries," of what strides the Communist Labor Party was making, removed all doubt. In this conclusion we did not ignore the definite standards of personal liberty, of free speech, which is the very temperament and heart of the people. The evidence was examined with the utmost care, with a personal leaning toward freedom of thought and word on all questions.

The whole mass of evidence, accumulated from all parts of the country, was scrupulously scanned, not merely for the written or spoken differences of viewpoint as to the Government of the United States, but, in spite of these things, to see if the hostile declarations might not be sincere in their announced motive to improve our social order. There was no hope of such a thing.

Radicals seek to take our property, therefore radicalism is the simple crime of theft. Freedom of "thought and word" extends only to those ideas which "improve our social order".

Liberals, Democrats, Progressives, Pacifists?

Those are the people who want to arrest us, aren't they?

Let any "leftist" of any persuasion who wants to engage in the 2008 elections explain why they think that "Al", or "Hil", or "Barack" or "John" are not capable of exactly the same transformation as is recorded above... and at precisely this moment in time, sitting on the three legged stool of "terrorism", "immigration", and craven opportunism.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Unwarranted Assumptions


Unwarranted assumption: Bush/FEMA really WANTED to deliver water, food and emergency supplies to the Katrina victims.

You perhaps make this assumption because (a) it was their official and moral duty to do so, and (b) any sane human being would have tried their best to do so. But none of this means that Bush and FEMA actually set out to do things you think they should have done. The assumption is unwarranted, because you are extrapolating from yourself, and the general population of sane human beings, to Bush and his cronies.

The exact same assumptions are made left and right about Iraq: that Bush, in his heart of hearts, wanted to bring US-style democracy and freedom to Iraq, only he failed. That Bush wanted to keep the price of oil down to ensure the continuation of the American Way of Life(tm), only he failed. The facts suggest the precise reverse: that the chaos, the bloodshed, the skyrocketing oil prices are not unfortunate side-effects of a botched (but well-intentioned) job, but rather, that they have always been the goal. Until this simple point is well understood, there will be no effective opposition to what this administration has done, and no holding them to account.

Another example: the FISA law debacle and Bush's fight for telecom immunity. It is mistaken to argue that hey, Mr President, you don't really need this to fight terrorism effectively, since the FISA law already gives you all you need to eavesdrop now and get it OK'ed later. As if he didn't know that! As if Bush really, honestly, was just doing his best to "fight terrorism" effectively.

See the real purpose behind what Bush is doing, and you will see that he and his people have in fact been amazingly competent. Almost eight years, and they nearly ALWAYS get what they want, most often with a little help from the Democratic party.

Getting exactly what you want every time all the time is NOT incompetence.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

"By the way, I would reach out to the first George Bush. You know, one of the things that I think George H.W. Bush doesn't get enough credit for was his foreign policy team and the way that he helped negotiate the end of the Cold War and prosecuted the Gulf War. That cost us 20 billion dollars. That's all it cost. It was extremely successful. I think there were a lot of very wise people. So I want a bipartisan team that can help to provide me good advice and counsel when I'm president of the United States."

- Barack Obama on LARRY KING LIVE: March 20, 2008

There it is.

Obama lauding the way GHW Bush "prosecuted" the Iraq War. Incredible huh? Not really.

"Iraqi army massed on the Saudi border" when we had a treaty to protect the Saudis. Only, many years later, declassified satellite pics show nothing but endless miles of empty desert on the border. Saddam stopped in Kuwait and never for a minute threatened the Sauds.

In the war itself, the massed column of the defeated Iraqi army was retreating toward Bagdhad. We bombed and napalmed the essentially undefended column to charred wreckage. 100-200 thousand died on that road, apparently.

After the war we incited the Shiites to rebel, then looked the other way as Saddam ruthlessly reestablished "proceeded to victory" in the brief civil war.

If anyone doesn't like these examples, there are sufficient others to prosecute GHWB, if such things were ever done anymore.

Maybe Obama can keep Dick Cheney on board the bi-partisan team as Cheney was Sec. of Defense during those heady days of Desert Storm.

Oh wait and by the way Obama is praising a war criminal.

Can't wait to hear the rationalizations not that substance is of import here but hey it's election time in The Empire kids, get on board the crazy train.