Tuesday, June 08, 2010

George Carlin Channeling George Orwell

From Napalm & Silly Putty:
The CIA doesn't kill anybody, they "neutralize" people. Or they "depopulate" an area. The government doesn't lie, it engages in "disinformation." The Pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something called "sunshine units." Israeli murderers are called "commandos," Arab commandos are called "terrorists." The contra killers were known as "freedom fighters." Well, if crime fighters fight crime and firefighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Propertarians, Again

It takes a lot of gall to make the argument Murray's making (even though he seems to have a point about fishing quotas) at any time, but considering that the stupidity and carelessness of British Petroleum and Transoceanic has so recently and flagrantly transformed the Gulf of Mexico into a geenormous tar pit, to make the argument now shows he's really committed -- or needs to be committed. But then he is a wingnut propagandist (Lysenkoist and astroturfing division), so QED.

Also, disaster crapitalism and all that.

Not that anyone should particularly care what I think, but I've said before that I prefer religious nutjobs to libertarian nutjobs, and one reason is because the former are at least sometimes honest about their desire to coerce. Propertarians are never honest about it; they totally deny it.

I used to tease digamma and sneer at this sad, pathetic loser to the effect that I knew air would eventually be privatized should their propertarian dream world ever come into being. Then their Randian heroes could charge people to breathe and further, I knew that when the penniless would inevitably suffocate, propertarians would simply say such deaths (actually, murders) were mere products of bad decision-making on the oxygen-deprived's part and no business of the government.

Sure enough, not long after that, I saw a Fraser Institute (Canuckistani wingnutiens, I think) nimrod state his belief that space should be privatized. No, not outer space; just space, area, here on Earth. Once I digested the implications of that... well, I'm sorry, but I saw through bland affectations of glibertarian "principles", through even hidden (but obvious) greed, to the real desired end of the total privatization of everything: gasless* chambers -- guilt-free gasless chambers, because those squeezed into them by property law would be, as Uncle Miltie so cheerily put it, "free to choose" them. The rhetorical exaggeration I used to joke and sneer about was actually true. Eventually, I realized the germ of this mentality was always there in their melons.

One of the reasons Melbourne's government amended the Poor Law in 1834 was because the influential thought economic "law" demanded it; but it was also consciously endorsed by the upper class as a form of self-flattery and as a way to spite their inferiors, the poor, for whom the right to work was deemed too cushy and the law's amenders knew they were placing under the whip of starvation. Freedom, amirite? Dig coal, toil in the prison-like workhouses, or starve; above all, play by our rules! That some of the poor did indeed move up the social ladder rather than perish confirmed and entrenched the belief in social Darwinism; stress applied to the weak had culled the worst of the lot and rewarded the strongest. The greed, ruthlessness, and cruelty of the early industrial revolution is "classical liberalism" and utilitarianism ideology put into practice; the parties responsible were the Whigs and Liberals. That is why glibertarians like Glenn Reynolds call themselves, when they're trying to be cute, Whigs; it's why wingnuts like a certain someone I had a huge blogwar with calls himself a "classical liberal"; it is why neoliberals like Brad DeLong approvingly quote Bentham and Mill and keep pushing free trade even when they acknowledge it hasn't been beneficial, because their fealty to economic law outweighs their desire to alleviate human suffering (and why in my weak moments I want to throw a copy of Hard Times at his head, especially when he falsely advertises himself as a social democrat). What propertarians through the years have meant by "freedom" is actually the (dis)function of a society engineered around economic "laws" discovered by people who think they are scientists. And the lever by which that engineering is facilitated is always -- no matter what they say -- brutal force.

Commodifying something means making that something scarce, which means profit for them and toil or migration or death for everyone else. Incidentally, "privatize" means what is says but in practice -- and propertarians know this, it's a feature not a bug -- it means "to corporatize." Which, in turn means that what was previously communally-owned or owned by an individual human being and therefore managed with at least some degree of accountability, will eventually be owned by a sociopathic "entity" that can bribe its way out of legal or social penalty. And of course (icing on the cake), this is always hailed as progress. What ideological conquistadors like Hernando de Soto have done for land abroad Murray is trying to do for the ocean; air is next.

Some people, not all of them vile, used to larf when I'd call libertarians crypto-fascists. Well, there's not so much larfin any more.

* As in oxygen-free. Also, cf. Whitaker Chambers's opinion of Ayn Rand:
From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: "To a gas chamber — go!"

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Attn, Comrades! Neocon Politburo Proscribes Decadent Western Musik!

From Hendrik Hertzberg's book Politics:

The [neocon panelists'] discussion on Western culture took up the troubling question of why Vaclav Havel has a picture of John Lennon on the wall of his apartment. Hilton Kramer, editor of The New Criterion, bemoaned the fact that the East European dissidents liked Allen Ginsberg and the Beatles. John O'Sullivan, editor of National Review, said this was only because the authorities had censored them, though he didn't trouble to say why they had censored them. "Is rock and roll always bad?" asked a questioner from the floor. Richard John Neuhaus, the Lutheran-turned-Catholic theologian, said he didn't know because he wasn't masochistic enough to listen to the stuff. O'Sullivan said he disliked all popular music after Cole Porter. Kramer suggested that Lennon and his friends "used to sing the praises of Ho Chi Minh." (Untrue, by the way) Oh, well. Western civ may be as decadent as Kramer says, but at least he doesn't blame it on the stones. He blames it on the Beatles.
--Washington Diarist, The New Republic, May 21, 1990

Cultural Commissars

Here is the noble Christopher Hitchens (who died on September 11th, 2001; the neocon now using the same name and more or less the same face is a ghola) demolishing the execrable Norman Podhoretz in a review of the Pod's Ex-Friends:

A melancholy lesson of advancing years is the realisation that you can't make old friends. This is redeemed somewhat by the possibility of making new ones, and in his late maturity -- some might say that like the medlar fruit he went rotten before becoming ripe -- Podhoretz has found companionship and solidarity with some new chums. He mentions them shyly, as if he were back in his lonely childhood and his mother had secretly bribed them to play with him:

Here, in what is for me a rare submission to the principles of affirmative action, which dictate that I should strive to achieve greater name-dropping 'diversity', I will single out Henry Kissinger and William F. Buckley, Jr.

In spite of our failure to form ourselves into a cohesive family, we have managed to join forces as a dissenting minority of 'heretical' intellectuals who are trying to break the virtual monopoly that the worst ideas of my ex-friends hold (even from beyond the grave) over the cultural institutions of this country.

The purpose of recruiting these new chums is clear: to enlist them in the urgent task of pissing on the graves of the old ones. This makes them more like cronies, or accomplices, than actual friends. But perhaps that's better than nothing. Is it Henry and Bill, perhaps, who get together and agree to laugh at Norman's jokes? Whatever the case, the man who can describe this gleesome threesome as a trio of heretical dissenters is certainly eager to please.

For the purposes of comparison, here's what happens when Podhoretz encounters an authentic dissident:

When on a visit of my own to Prague in 1988 I was taken to meet Vaclav Havel,...the first thing that hit my eye upon entering his apartment was a huge poster of John Lennon hanging on the wall. Disconcerted, I tried to persuade Havel that the counterculture in the West was no friend of anti-Communists like himself, but I made even less of a 'dent' on him than Ginsberg had made on me thirty years earlier.

Good of Podhoretz to have spared so much time to put Havel straight. But that's the sort of guy he is -- always willing to oblige. Also, the fact that Havel was under house arrest may have helped both men to concentrate.

The above anecdote occurs in the chapter on Allen Ginsberg[...]


The Russian exile writer Vassily Aksyonov -- another example of the real as opposed to the bogus dissident -- once wrote that Podhoretz reminded him of all the things he had left the Soviet Union to escape. He had, said Aksyonov, the mentality of a cultural commissar. As the Ginsberg essay demonstrates, he has the soul of one as well.

Friday, June 04, 2010

DP For The Bunghole

Above: Schlemiel, schlimazel, schlociopath.

Shorter Daniel Pipes
"My Peace Plan: An Israeli Victory"

  • My totally awesome plan for peace first involves manipulating American and European governments into abandoning all restraints on Israel, then the Righteous State must triumphantly exert its will on its subhuman enemies, annihilating the Palestinians and utterly crushing their souls, grinding them under foot, leaving them bereft, decimated, humiliated.

'Shorter' concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. We are aware of all Internet traditions.™

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

What They (Not Ted) Said


I really hate the annual ritual of writing columns about how people don't behave properly on Memorial Day. People don't get many vacation days in the greatest country on Earth, and sitting around pretending to be sad or watching Spielberg war porn doesn't really honor those who served either.


[W]e’ve actually reached the point where “Every day is Memorial Day.” You pretty much can’t get through a day of radio, TV and internet without multiple messages that so-and-so “honors the sacrifice of those who serve.” The message might come from the station, from a car-dealership, a personality, or a Beltway Bandit, but it’s omnipresent. Yes, these sentiments are vapid and rote and therefore not truly emo. The very ubiquity of pro-military gratitude drains it of even the possibility of meaning. If we wore fright costumes every day, Halloween would seem kind of blah.

To really consider the meaning of all the lives lost in military service to the United States is to grieve at an awful lot of waste and rage at an enormous amount of folly. Few American wars have been both just and necessary. At best, we can imagine the American dead of the other wars saying, “Had this been an actual emergency, I’d have done no less.”

Right on cue is the Nuge with an article whose insanely nationalistic feedback screams with the intensity of ten shitties:

America is at war. Thousands of Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and thousands more have been wounded. Pause to remember them this Memorial Day. Say a prayer for the warriors and their families. They are the world's true freedom fighters.

Never forget them. Make every day Memorial Day.

The totality of his demand for perpetual memorial for perpetual conflict for perpetual peace of course goes hand in Godwin's hand with:

When we commit our troops to war, we must make a commitment to them and their families that we will achieve total victory through the application of total war.

PS - this is good stuff.

This Blogosphere Needs An Enema

There's a lot of sociopathic, not to mention Orwellian, rhetoric flying out there in response to -- in defense of -- Israel's latest brutality. I mean, Pam Geller always has the "kill all the muslooms" theme playing full blast, of course she's gonna use this opportunity to.. keep doing it. Just as predictably, the idiots at Commentary are playing Irgun to Pammy's Stern Gang; being smoother with words and more deft at PR but every bit as much tribalist and bigoted as she, and with exactly the same goals, they're vigorously spewing second-hand the propaganda from AIPAC's and the Israeli government's blastfax. I'm sure Chait and Peretz at TNR are doing much the same thing but I can't be bothered to look. Whatever. And so on. Ugh. If I were a better blogger (or I should say a less lazy, less demoralized one) I'd catalog all the moral obscenity out there -- especially from "my side" -- condemn the culprits, demand some form of accountability, and rage at the lack thereof. But, no; fuck it; what's the point?

Slowly (I've been blogging since '03), I have absorbed the lesson that not only do I, like everyone else, have to watch hypocritical and murderous governments I am partly responsible for as a citizen and taxpayer do stupid and wicked things and totally get away with it, I have to watch demented people endorse these stupid and wicked acts, often with recommendations of even more brutality, and totally get away with it -- hell, get rewarded for it. And, obviously, I'm not just talking about wingnuts. And all this in a medium which both left and right insist is more meritocratic than the em-ess-em.

The Arabs and Turks Israel murdered on those boats will not be restored to life. Israel and its benefactor, my country, will totally get away with the crime. The wingnuts, and so-called leftwingers who think with their blood rather than their brains, who view any American or especially Israeli military action as an invitation to fapstasy, will not only totally get away with it, but their stock, as it were, will rise.

I should quit -- have quit. But I always come back. Dunno why.