Volatility

April 11, 2010

Gravity (a poem)

Filed under: Poetry — Russ @ 3:33 am

 

The first memory is worst for today,
Yet my falling haunts an ancient sky.
My first memory is still in my eyes,
And all the gathered memories of time
Accumulate weight of time itself.
 
The sky is a painting which frames my thoughts,
The clouds resolve to Platonic shapes
Of promises, ideals, dreams, love, hope.
The more I know of this sky which recedes,
The faster I fall into infamy.
 
This force is the course which reminds and denies
My dream of forgetting, and freezing this force.
The weight ages me, not truncated chromosomes.
My increase of speed is dictated by weight,
My hastening weight is time’s mounting count.
Gravity unto ground zero of death,
But not before millions of impacts for me.

April 10, 2010

The Company You Keep

Filed under: Afghanistan, Global War On Terror — Tags: — Russ @ 2:15 am

 

Obama and his chickenhawks have been having quite the little problem lately with their stooge Karzai. Even as the Helmand offensive moves on toward Kandahar, Karzai in a series of speeches has been attacking his imperial masters, threatening uncooperation and even going over to the Taliban.
 
Apparently what set him off is his irritation over the typical US establishment hypocrisy of wanting the forms of good-civics democracy no matter how corrupt the reality. (There’s that process mentality again.) Although the US government wants Karzai to be as corrupt as he has to be, and if necessary to steal elections (in the aftermath of the stolen election Obama contented himself with one of his impotent lectures like he tries to give the banksters; just as with Wall Street, so here too this proves that he approves of the crime but hopes for tidier processes), it also wants to pretend it’s doing something to prevent such fraud in the future. So Karzai’s expected to jump through the hoops of submitting to the oversight of a UN-certified “watchdog”. Karzai, being just a common hood who considers kleptocracy his entitlement, the job he’s being paid for, is chafing at even this fig leaf. So he tried to pass a panel-packing law so his own creatures would staff the panel. Yet his own crony legislature rejected this, I assume because “somebody” paid them more.
 
In his rage Karzai has been lashing out at the US cabal. “I am not a puppet!”, he shouted. He blamed all the fraud on the UN and US. He claimed there won’t be any Kandahar offensive if he doesn’t support it. He accused the US of interfering in areas beyond its competence or authority and broadly hinted that US interests and his own may not always coincide. He invited Ahmadinejad to visit and speak. He said the US military operation was practically an invasion which may lead to “a national resistance”, and threatened the obvious – unless his government is seen to have legitimacy, the Taliban movement becomes synonymous with a Pashtun national movement. The Taliban will in fact be a legitimate resistance movement.
 
Leave me alone, he demanded, or “I swear I am going to join the Taliban.”
 
That’s nice friends you got there, Obama and Bush.
 
He’s right, of course, about the legitimacy issue, while every antiwar analyst has pointed out this fundamental contradiction in the US government premise. The military’s own counterinsurgency doctrine intones that there must be an indigenous government perceived as legitimate by the people. The Karzai government, of course, is not legitimate and is not seen as legitimate. The Pashtuns rightly see Karzai as a kleptocratic American stooge presiding over a Tajik-dominated alien regime, who stole the election. By our own premise we have to admit this war can’t work and get out. But of course the government stays the course anyway. (I’ve written some stuff about this war’s “credibility” before, for example here, here, and here.)
 
One of my favorite passages of war commentary is this gem from McChrystal, who does seem to have the virtue of sometimes speaking the absurd truth rather than making up some slick lie.
 

So many things could scuttle McChrystal’s plans: a Taliban more intractable than imagined, the fractured nature of Afghan society and, no matter what President Obama does, a lack of soldiers and time. But there is something even worse, over which neither McChrystal nor his civilian comrades in the American government exercise much control: the government of Hamid Karzai, already among the most corrupt in the world, appears to have secured its large victory in nationwide elections in August by orchestrating the stealing of votes. A United Nations-backed group is trying to sort through the fraud allegations, and American diplomats are trying to broker some sort of power-sharing agreement with Karzai and his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah.

But increasingly, McChrystal, as well as President Obama and the American people, are being forced to confront the possibility that they will be stuck fighting and dying and paying for a government that is widely viewed as illegitimate.

When I asked McChrystal about this, it was the one issue that he seemed not to have thought through. What if the Afghan people see their own government as illegitimate? How would you fight for something like that?

“Then we are going to have to avoid looking like we are part of the illegitimacy,” the general said. “That is the key thing.”

 
Here’s a stat which puts into perspective the “legitimacy” of this wholesome democratic government:
 

* Believe it or not, for instance, U.S. commanders in our war zones have more than one billion congressionally mandated dollars a year at their disposal to spend on making “friends with local citizens and help[ing] struggling economies.” It’s all socked away in the Commander’s Emergency Response Program. Think of it as a local community-bribery account which, best of all, seems not to require the slightest accountability to Congress for where or how the money is spent.

 
The real comedy has come from the administration’s reaction to Karzai’s misbehavior and the tantrums of its flacks. Hillary called to complain. Meanwhile Obama “disinvited” him from a scheduled White House visit.
 
But this effect was somewhat blunted when Obama personally traveled to Kabul as a supplicant, begging for better behavior. (And now Obama has even sent him a thank-you letter, “for receiving him on such short notice”!) This sure is a posture Obama easily assumes. He’s done it with Karzai before, following the stolen election when Obama begged him not to steal any further elections. While we can understand how meek and spineless he is with his masters Dimon and Blankfein, he’s just as prone to bow and scrape before heirarchical inferiors like Lieberman, Republicans, and Karzai.
 
The jingo flack NYT is trying to cover for his character weaknesses here. In the process it provides a window into its own lack of character. Several pieces try to peddle the line that Obama’s begging expedition was indeed “embarrassing” – but to Karzai. I don’t know – when the President of the United States goes halfway around the world to beg a flunkey to behave himself, it seems to me that’s flattering to the flunkey while shameful for the boss. Strong leaders send other flunkies to deal with flunkies. 
 
Indeed the NYT’s editorials have been downright hysterical:
 

American officials have repeatedly warned Mr. Karzai that unless he truly commits to eradicating corruption (including among his own family members), improving governance and institutionalizing the rule of law, there is no chance of defeating the Taliban. Mr. Karzai has repeatedly shrugged off those warnings.

 
And we have repeatedly warned that by definition such things can never happen in a corrupt war propping up a corrupt stooge.
 

Mr. Obama made the right decision to send another 30,000 troops to help drive the Taliban out of important strongholds. But there is no way to hold those cities and towns without an effective Afghan government (at both the federal and local level) to take over. And after eight years of fighting, more than 1,000 American lives lost and more than $200 billion from American taxpayers spent, Mr. Karzai’s failure to build a credible, honest and even minimally effective government remains the Taliban’s No. 1 recruiting tool.

 
No, as all sane people comprehend, your very presence is the #1 recruiting tool. (Along with your own newsreels proudly displaying your normal way of life.)
 

The rambling speech of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Thursday was alarming. His delusional criticism of the United Nations and governments whose troops are risking their lives by fighting the Taliban complicates the difficult effort to stabilize Afghanistan.

 
“Rambling…alarming…delusional…” At least he got you to open up about what you really are, since nothing seems more unhinged than the chickenhawk NYT’s tone on this. Referring to Karzai’s calling the invaders “invaders”, the NYT responds that this truth is “conceit”. While we’ve gleaned that from their editorial tone throughout (not just on the war, of course, and only starting in the editorial section), it’s funny to see it openly expressed.
 
But the most important takeaway is how, while they repeat the declaration the army made years ago and the admission McC made months ago, that “the effort depends on credible leadership in Kabul”, they still to this day refuse to advocate the one and only action which follows from this. Since it’s by now an established fact that Karzai is not credible and never will be credible, by their own premise they have to renounce their aggression and get out.
 
But incomprehensibly according to any rational measure, they not only refuse to abide by their own stipulation, but they keep stipulating it! It’s insanity.
 
(The Times says “Mr. Karzai is encouraging those who want the US out of Afghanistan”. No, he’s confirming that we were right, and you by your patent derangement are proving we were right. Just as you’re aligned in every other way, so you both prove right everyone who has pointed out the futility of everything you’re doing.)
 
The NYT does indeed become frustrated trying to analyze this:
 

Interviews with diplomats, Afghan analysts and ordinary Afghans suggest that the United States and other Western countries have three options: threaten to withdraw troops or actually withdraw them; use diplomacy, which so far has had little result; and find ways to expand citizen participation in the government, which now has hardly any elected positions at the provincial and district levels.

Threatening to withdraw, which Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, called the “nuclear deterrent” option, would put the United States and other Western countries in the position of potentially having to make good on the promise, risking their strategic interest in a stable Afghanistan. Few experts think the country would remain peaceful without a significant foreign force here. Moreover, withdrawal could open the way for the country to again become a terrorist haven.

Some Western critics of Mr. Karzai believe that the West has no choice but to threaten to leave.

“There is no point in having troops in a mission that cannot be accomplished,” said Peter W. Galbraith, former United Nations deputy special representative for Afghanistan, who was dismissed after a dispute with his superiors over how to handle widespread electoral fraud and what senior U.N. officials later said was his advocacy of Mr. Karzai’s removal. “The mission might be important, but if it can’t be achieved, there is no point in sending these troops into battle. Part of the problem is that counterinsurgency requires a credible local partner.”

Diplomacy has so far failed to achieve substantial changes, although some analysts, like Mr. Biddle, who opposes the so-called nuclear option, believe that the West should demand concessions before spending any more money on development projects like digging wells and building schools.

“We do millions of things in Afghanistan, and any of those things can become a source of leverage,” he said. “Far too much of what we do in Afghanistan we just do without asking for anything explicit in return.”

 
What’s your leverage? What can you do to demand that? You’re the junkie. You’re the fiend. Karzai may depend upon you for his regime’s literal existence, but your regime depends upon him perhaps even more profoundly, given how the very psyche of the power structure is so bound up in the Permanent War. (Also more nonsense about the regime’s “credibility”.)
 
We see how emotionally and psychologically committed the administration and the media are. In that sense their own fear is perhaps even deeper than that of the stooge who’s risking his life, which probably doesn’t mean as much to him. Physical existence isn’t held as dear in a place like Afghanistan, the latest such place where that’s true. That’s why spiritually bloated and enervated Westerners will never be able to win wars in such places.
 
But that passage does contain one hint about a way to extend and pretend with regard to regime “credibility”. Since according to their war premise they need a legitimate regime, and since any sane person knows that regime can’t be Karzai’s, it follows that they can try to prop up their bankrupt war rationale by dumping him and getting another stooge. Nobody buys the crap about “citizen participation in the government”. That’s probably code for, “if Karzai doesn’t fall into line, we can replace him”.
 
(Replace him with whom? I’m sure these idiots have no idea. They’ll need another Pashtun if they want to keep peddling the lie about “good jobs” awaiting all these Taliban fighters who are expected to lay down their weapons and resume civilian life. Not that’s anyone’s any more likely to believe it then than they believe it now.)
 
As is so often the case with Karzai, that question makes me think of Diem. The US cabal did replace Diem when his behavior, identical to Karzai’s, became too annoying, and they thought they had alternatives. It turned out they really didn’t have good alternatives, they went through a fast-changing slew of regimes before finally settling on Thieu, the final South Vietnam stooge. As we know, the whole farce was vain from the start. It was always doomed to fail, and it did fail. It would be a joke if not for the fact of 58,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese murdered, and god knows how many on both sides mutilated, physically and spiritually.
 
Evidently, chickenhawks like Obama and the NYT do think Vietnam was a funny joke, however, since they’re so eager to replay it. There are more parallels here between Diem and Thieu on the one hand and Karzai on the other, which the warmongers really should consider.
 
I really can’t imagine what today’s jingoes are whining about. They know Karzai – he’s the same guy they’ve always had working for them. Throughout America’s imperial history. It’s always that exact same guy – thuggish, corrupt, lying, demanding, and ungrateful. Diem was that guy, and Thieu was that guy. (Have you ever seen interviews with Thieu after he fled Vietnam with the fall of Saigon? He spent the rest of his life badmouthing America, calling Americans liars and cowards for not continuing to prop up his regime the way Nixon and Kissinger had promised him. That’s your guy, imperialists. That’s your Karzai, that’s your Chalabi.)
 
One thing I wonder, in case there really is anyone foolish enough to truly believe in the American government’s wars. Does it ever occur to these people that if time after time they undertake these operations and find that the best people always side against them, and that the only people they can find to work with them and serve as their “clients” are these same thugs and crooks, does it ever occur to them that maybe this is evidence that their cause is not “good”, that it is in fact evil?
 
It always makes me think of the old saying, you can be judged by the company you keep. America has always found itself in the same vile company, for over a hundred years, every time it engages in what we anti-imperialists call imperial wars. Every time the criminals have a new rationale, like today’s “war on terror”, and every time so many people are willing to believe the rationale, but doesn’t anyone ever notice the constant – look at the company you keep.
 
Does that ever make anyone stop and wonder? What would they think if they found that a new pastime had them associating with such thugs in their own life? Or if their kids were running with such a crowd?

April 8, 2010

Constitution and the Process

 

Today we’re mired in the process mentality. It has brought us disasters like the health racketeering bill and a widespread willingness to accept the rogue “supreme” court’s Citizens United decision. Those who are actuated by principles of justice and the love of freedom have always insisted that core principles must guide all politics and judge all policy. The process ideology denies this, sometimes in principle, always in practice. Instead it will toss around the empty names of ideals while accepting any result no matter how offensive to the essence of the real ideals, as long as it can go through the motions of a spurious formality, the established “process”. If this is done by the book, then the book is judged only by whatever exalted word is scrawled on the cover, no matter how pornographic the contents inside.
 
So there’s an abyss between principled activism and fraudulent process-mongering.
 
This divide is not new, however. It goes back to the dawn of this country. In the struggle over the great question of constitution itself, the first time this rift opened up it gaped wide enough that it could bring forth a revolution.
 
As America entered the 1760s, as Britain began its attempt to impose a far more ponderous control over the lives of the colonies than it ever had hitherto, the question, What is the constitution?, loomed large.
 
The conventional view was that the constitution was co-extensive with existing institutions and mechanisms. In particular, the constitution was the body and action of Parliament itself. Principles like the right to life and liberty were considered part of this, but to exist in reality only insofar as they were embodied in institutional action. So in a sense, “liberty” was whatever the law said it was.
 
The loyalist Charles Inglis gave one of the best statements of this concept:
 

What is the constitution, that word so often used – so little understood – so much perverted? It is, as I conceive – that assemblage of laws, customs, and institutions which form the general system according to which the several powers of the state are distributed and their respective rights are secured to the different members of the community.

 
What did he mean by “perverted”? Although this viewpoint was the consensus in 1760, Inglis actually wrote that in 1776, in reply to Paine’s Common Sense, which was a fervent expression of the opposite concept: that the constitution was not the procedures which in theory animated the principles, but the principles in themselves. The procedures, including the very sovereignty of Britain over the colonies, were to be judged valid or invalid according to whether or not they enlivened the principles and enhanced their reality.
 
This idea was an outlier at first. Even aggressive patriots like James Otis tried at first to reconcile greater colonial independence with established constitutional ideas. But as the controversy intensified the evolution of thought accelerated, and the concept of constitution as fixed principle spread along with the other great political innovations of the day.
 
In 1768 Sam Adams wrote, “the constitution is fixed; it is from thence that the supreme legislative as well as the supreme executive derives its authority.” That same year William Hicks denied that statutes were part of the constitution as opposed to tools of it. The next year John Zubly made the strongest assertion yet, that Parliament “derives its authority and power from the constitution, and not the constitution from Parliament.” This was the most forceful direct contradiction of what had been gospel just a few years before (and of course still was to the British). “The constitution is permanent and the same”, while Parliament and its processes are just executors.
 
From then onward the schism became clear. It was the constitutionalism of fundamental principle vs. the constitutionalism of institutions and processes. The innovation was to separate principles and exalt them as the transcendent boundaries of government action, of the “process”. This was the true constitution, while the mechanism, the process, was degraded to a tool of this constitution, only to operate within its bounds.
 
(On a deeper level, this struggle of principle vs. process is a manifestation of one’s view of morality and legality in themselves. Does morality exist, or is it simply coequal with what’s legal? Do you believe the law is to serve man, or man the law? The former means the law must serve the principles which make us human, while the latter degrades the definition of “human” to being a slave of the process.)
 
So what’s our thesis? Just as the first time round constitutionalism and the action which springs from it had to shift from the process mentality in the 1760s to the fixed constitution of principle in the 70s, so today again freedom activists have to reclaim our constitution from the mire of “process”.     
 
Today we’re in a situation where the process mentality has largely engulfed the space previously dedicated to constitutional and public interest action. I’ve written about this before and don’t need to reprise the basics here.
 
I do want to explore this one more case study, however, since where it comes to the Citizens United case even usually good activists like the ACLU and commentators like Glenn Greenwald were capable of taking a radically pro-corporate, anti-public, anti-constitutional stance. That’s how pernicious the process mentality is among those beholden to it.
 
Just like with health care, with the SCOTUS case the dividing line is corporatism vs. constitution and democracy. That’s the defining struggle of our time, all issues are defined in light of it, and all political positions are positioned according to it, whether people are aware of that or not.
 
That’s why looking at anything from any kind of “process” point of view, like so many supposedly rational commentators have with the corporate speech case, is always wrong, and will always put you on the wrong side of things. It’s because the process itself has already been hijacked.
 
Yet when it counted Greenwald, sometimes able to see this big picture, chose to exalt “process” over every other value in shilling for this nonexistent “right” of racket speech.
 
(He also went to great lengths to analyze the decorum of the process.)
 
Shortly after the decision Linda Greenhouse analyzed the contradictions which mix you up when you’re beholden to process instead of principle. Greenwald thought this decision was good constitutional process? But what about jurisprudential processes: activism vs. restraint, and being consistent in how a particular court operates? As Greenhouse highlights here, the Roberts court contradicts itself in both of these process ways. Doesn’t Greenwald care about those processes? (Greenhouse wasn’t actually directly replying to Greenwald in her analysis, but I couldn’t help reading it as such a reply.)
 
Those of us who focus on outcomes, and are guided by principles, and who respect the true underlying constitution and not just the current process constitution, don’t get into such messes.
 
Even corporatist Stanley Fish wrote a good piece focusing on the process vs. the consequentialist legal philosophy, which basically means that equitable, common sense outcomes should be sought within the bounds of the law, and if a law is such that it refuses to allow such outcomes, this in itself compels the strong presumption that the law is unconstitutional.
 
“What is the 1st amendment for?” The process ideology without further ado ignores the question and blithely says, “The 1st amendment is the process of entities speaking, and the process of courts (and pundits) talking about and deciding what it is.” With Citizens United we see how this leads to the same outcome as the law which “majestically proclaims” that rich and poor alike are forbidden to sleep under a bridge. Here ExxonMobil or ADM are the equivalents of a penniless, despised radical. The noble ideal that the 1st amendment must most of all protect fringe, weak, despised speech, is now hijacked to claim that because the people have a well-founded fear that massively wealthy corporations will use this tremendous wealth to buy influence, that this qualifies as lonely, despised speech.
 
The basic ideological motion here is to go from the right to be let alone to the “right” to swing one’s fist anywhere you want, no matter whose face is there.
 
Although Fish didn’t delve into Revolutionary history here, we see how we’re back in the original debate, asking with James Otis whether an odious law passed by Parliament, odious and therefore constitutionally void, must nevertheless be obeyed. In other words, whether the constitution is the water in which the law swims, or whether the constitution is nothing more than the ephemeral current legislature and law itself. The Founding Fathers had no problem answering that on its face such a law need not and must not be obeyed, for it is no law. The constitution is about principle and consequences, not about process as such.
 
So in all this we have the process pseudo-principle and a phony process goal. The bogus “principle” is 1st amendment absolutism. But the 1st amendment has to have value toward something. It’s not sacrosanct in itself, especially when a rogue court decision like this would force us into the mode of “the constitution is a suicide pact”. The phony goal is just making sure that the legislature and courts process terms like “speech” punctiliously, that they hit all the right process notes, without reference to the principle (or lack thereof) underlying it, or the end result.
 
(Just to make a few points on how shabby is their alleged principle, and how incompetent their “process”. If you’re trying to speak with your unassisted voice, while right next to you someone shouts through a 100′ tall speaker he was able to buy (and didn’t even build himself), you’re being censored just as surely as if you were being censored for your content. Besides, if the “market” financed artificial amplification for him and none for you, it must have done that on the basis of content censorship anyway. Indeed, the “market”, and its rigged law, probably let him steal that money.
 
This highlights how, if anti-censorship is the ideal, then the 1st amendment as interpreted by this court and by process liberals like the ACLU and Greenwald does not achieve that ideal, is not sufficient for it, and as a practical measure ends up subverting it.
 
Regarding the rigors of “process” itself. Some defenders of corporate speech as such asked about the free speech rights of non-profit groups. They’re saying “How can a public interest group have free speech rights if Goldman Sachs doesn’t?”  I have to question the competence of anyone who finds it so hard to distinguish non-profit from for-profit organizations. Sure, not every example is 100% clear, but the basic divide is clear enough, and for all the controversies I’ve heard about the IRS, I’ve never heard that they have much of a problem making this distinction. So I have no idea what Greenwald’s talking about when he pretends not to know the difference, or that you can’t figure out the difference, or that it’s somehow unsafe to impose extra restrictions on sociopathic organizations. Or deny them the full protection of public interest protections.
 
Needless to say, a for-profit corporation is an explicit sociopath, operating not in the public interest but at best merely amid it, and in practice always against it once the corporation reaches a certain size. This sociopathy is the explicit concept of its existence. By antithesis, the constitution is explicitly the servant of the public interest. By definition, existentially, corporatism has the goal of dissolving the constitution. So again, to say that the constitution must protect an existential traitor to it proposes to turn it into a suicide pact.
 
By their own congenital basis and their own testimony as to their goal, for-profit corporations are anti-social and anti-constitutional. So clearly, if we’re to tolerate their existence at all, we must allow them to exist only under very tight restrictions and the severe oversight of freedom’s vigilance.)
 
The best we can say of this mindset is that in mustering pseudo-principles it dreams of the good old days. It’s nostalgic for the heyday of the Warren court, for when the amendment procedure functioned sometimes for the public good, for when elections might sometimes offer real choices and not have been subject to outright theft. (Ironically, Citizens United only further tightens the spiral into the abyss. But it sure is punctilious “process”.) But this is no longer our democratic elections, the people’s SCOTUS, the people’s Congress, the people’s executive; all are rogues. But the process mentality is complacent about the names and the formalities. In order to cover up its bankruptcy of principle and moral shame it makes a fetish of the process, and in this way tries to redeem the simulacrum of everything it threw away.
 
The process ideology can only trap us in a vicious circle. Something like Citizens United only further corrupts the election process to keep government in the stranglehold of criminals, who further turn the whole system into kleptocracy, while every step of the way the process liberals support the intensifying vice as they implicitly applaud the results even as they often nominally decry them. They may shed crocodile tears, they may rend themselves in lamentations, but wherever real reformers declare that the berserk process must be arrested, even the best of the process liberals side with the process. Never mind that something like Citizens United promises more war, more torture, more assault on civil liberties, and greater assaults on true free speech. To the process freaks, it’s simply incomprehensible that the name and the form and the process “free speech” could be hijacked away from the real principle and the real essence.
 
[To the extent that these process rogues style themselves “free speech” absolutists, as if they can conjure up a coherent principle there, we see a prime example of how anyone with a special interest is unreliable for the real freedom struggle. I call them myopics. A myopic may sometimes or even usually be able to see the big picture. A generally good principle like free speech may usually lead to the right positions on civil liberties, torture, war, many other things. But it’s a convoluted path, because it derives not from an objective view of the broad anti-corporate struggle, but from the myopic path of some subjective parochial “absolute”.
 
As I said, under optimal conditions this can usually be alright, but under the adverse conditions of a kleptocracy and renegade structures like this SCOTUS, it forces one inexorably into self-corrupting “process” betrayals if one is to be able to hold onto the myopic principle under those conditions at all.
 
Only that can lead a good freedom activist into such a perverse result as supporting the Citizens United decision. In the end any myopic, however upstanding when the weather’s fair, is likely to double-cross any bigger cause, no matter how much he claims to support it. The way the whole menagerie of “progressives” happily sold out single payer and then even the meager “public option” crumb (and got nothing in return) will probably go down as the most complete self-collapse, the most thorough scouring of the deepest abyss of spiritual decrepitude and moral cowardice, our age will have the misfortune to experience.]
 
I should stipulate that the original “process” ideologues of the 1760s were still motivated mostly by principle. Even John Adams originally held that the constitution was “a frame, a scheme, a system, a combination of powers”. Today, on the other hand, they’re almost all mercenary corporatists just seeking the most profitable outcome. (I chose to focus on Greenwald precisely because although he’s the rare exception who is not a shill, when he lapses into process mode he still ends up being just as incoherent and self-defeating.)
 
[Just to chuck in one more example of process, a truly disgusting one. (I’ve had this note sitting around since the Bernanke hearings waiting to be used somewhere.) In voting for cloture even though he intended to vote “No” on confirmation, Al Franken put on a real clinic in process taken to the level of insanity. According to his explanation, Franken’s principle isn’t that heads must roll, that Bernanke must be punished for his monumental screwups, that he should be punished as one of history’s worst economic criminals, or that he should even be prevented from continuing his crimes. No, his “principle” is the sanctity of the process, without reference to any other principle or goal, utterly unmoored from any moral context. (We can say the same of those who still want to do away with the filibuster on “democratic process” grounds even though we know this Senate will never again pass good legislation, only bad, and so from here on the best we can hope for is gridlock.) Prozess uber Alles.
 
In this he’s typical of politicians and everyone involved with politics, including the MSM.]
 
We freedom activists, we creatures of principle, must redeem constitutionalism from its relapse into “process”, and the constitution from its Babylonian captivity at the corporate royal court, where it’s painted and laden with garish jewels to dance for the lascivious pleasure of Wall Street and Washington.
 
Only by combining direct, on-the-ground democracy, freedom vigilance, and constitutional theory as based on avowed principle, with laws odious to this principle being void in the extreme sense, can we build a coherent, just new society.

April 7, 2010

Some Bad Hackman Performances

  .
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(Sorry about the paragraph breaks. The formatting on this is screwed up, and I can’t figure out how to fix it.)
So have you undergone Krugman’s sessions in trying to back everyone off the idea of breaking up the banks?
I’m still refining my perception of what this guy does. His last two columns seem to want to take us down a set of stairs, from the sunlit foyer of shiny happy reform ideals to the dank basement of the Obama sellout, without our noticing the trip, since the Princeton illusionist has his gaslights and mirrors strategically deployed.
1. First he assures us that only Republicans oppose “real reform”, while we can rest assured Democrats are acting in “good faith”. The Dems are doing the best they can for us. Then he starts in:

Here’s how I see it. Breaking up big banks wouldn’t really solve our problems, because it’s perfectly possible to have a financial crisis that mainly takes the form of a run on smaller institutions. In fact, that’s precisely what happened in the 1930s, when most of the banks that collapsed were relatively small — small enough that the Federal Reserve believed that it was O.K. to let them fail. As it turned out, the Fed was dead wrong: the wave of small-bank failures was a catastrophe for the wider economy.

(He thinks we can’t figure out that the reason the Depression bank failures brought on a general economic disaster wasn’t bank failures as such, but because common depositors lost their savings. Today we have FDIC for that.)

While the problem of “too big to fail” has gotten most of the attention — and while big banks deserve all the opprobrium they’re getting — the core problem with our financial system isn’t the size of the largest financial institutions. It is, instead, the fact that the current system doesn’t limit risky behavior by “shadow banks,” institutions — like Lehman Brothers — that carry out banking functions, that are perfectly capable of creating a banking crisis, but, because they issue debt rather than taking deposits, face minimal oversight.

He denies the TBTF structural problem, and by sleight-of-hand switches in a lesser depiction of the problem (“shadow banks”), declares that to be the real problem, and that in principle it can be solved by “regulation”.
If we broke them up completely, while not sufficient, it would go a long way. But since Krugman is for ideological and partisan reasons opposed to taking this necessary step, he directs us to this watered-down depiction of the problem which can then be solved the way he claims. Now he’s framed the issue the way he wants.
So he smuggles in the alleged law of nature that we have to endure the existing system, as it is, and can only hope to “regulate” it more or less well. Getting rid of the rackets completely is, as Obama hacks like him love to say, “off the table.”
He makes sure to tell us again that the Bailout “was necessary” (past tense, thus trying to sneak in the lie that the TARP equals the Bailout, and that it’s all been paid back). He keeps stipulating that.

The same would be true today. Breaking up big financial institutions wouldn’t prevent future crises, nor would it eliminate the need for bailouts when those crises happen.

I don’t get it. Why would people who are willing to Smash the Banks be willing to bail out the odd small bank that fails? When he talks about the kleptocratic bailout mentality he’s talking about himself and everyone like him who sees America as a resource to be mined for Wall Street. He’s not talking about actual reformers. So everything he writes is simply tautological: Bank flunkies will always act as bank flunkies. Yet he pretends to speak for everyone.
Here’s my tautology: Real reformers would enact real reform.

 

2. He says the Dodd bill is good in principle, but faulty in the proposed execution.

The Dodd bill tries to fill this gaping hole in the system by letting federal regulators impose “strict rules for capital, leverage, liquidity, risk management and other requirements as companies grow in size and complexity.” It also gives regulators the power to seize troubled financial firms — and it requires that large, complex firms submit “funeral plans” that make it relatively easy to shut them down.

3. He pretends to make a vague stab at what the specifics should be:

The point is that the Dodd bill would give an administration determined to rein in runaway finance the tools it needs to do the job. But it wouldn’t do much to stiffen the spine of a less determined administration. On the contrary, it would make it easy for future regulators to look the other way as another bubble inflated……

So what the legislation needs are explicit rules, rules that would force action even by regulators who don’t especially want to do their jobs. There should, for example, be a preset maximum level of allowable leverage — the financial reform that has already passed the House sets this at 15 to 1, and the Senate should follow suit. There should be hard rules determining when regulators have to seize a troubled financial firm. There should be no-exception rules requiring that complex financial derivatives be traded transparently. And so on.

“And so on”, indeed. He limits himself to the House bill’s 15-to-1 leverage (already way too high) and rehashes the resolution authority nonsense which already failed with the PCA law.
So that’s those columns. That’s where we are in these maneuvers. So what comes next?
4. The final step will be to declare that the final bill, whatever’s in it, does meet his exacting standards. (All this time he was convincing us of how exacting his standards are.)
So the pattern seems to be this: He starts out dubious. But he’s already maneuvering himself around. Softening the demand. Lowering the expectation.
Eventually, whatever bag of garbage the Congress agrees upon, he’ll say it’s good enough. (Maybe that you can count on his Dems to “build on it”.) And if necessary he’ll escalate the rhetoric until the wreck is a “great” reform achievement. And he’ll promise catastrophic consequences if the thing doesn’t pass.
That was his flight plan for the health racketeering bill, and so far we’re up to softening and lowering-expectations stage.
In the end he’ll declare Obama’s bill, however bad it is, “real reform”, and insist that all decent people support it, or else…
It’s all a setup. He’ll gradually lower expectations, and eventually he’ll tell us to accept a garbage bill as “reform”.
It’ll be just like with the health racketeering bill.
(For an alternative hack method, see here. In Hayes’ version, the same hacks who just told the lie that health “reform” was real reform regardless of racket acquiescence will now say the opposite, that racket opposition proves that this phony reactionary bag is real reform. That’s because they know this time the rackets will definitely oppose it. Krugman’s also been softening us up for the proposition that Republican and Wall Street opposition will be badges of courage for a tough, scrappy reform bill.)
 
Some people think Krugman’s been co-opted. Actually, Krugman hasn’t been co-opted, but has simply followed his longstanding path of the partisan hack. People only forgot about his aggressive corporatism under Clinton because of his excellent attacks on Bush and the Republicans.
But he never in fact objected to Bush policies, but only that it was Republicans doing it.
Here’s two examples, from 1997 and from 1999 of the real Krugman, one of globalization’s most malefic propagandists:
We’ve known at least since the experiments of the first half of the 20th century that whenever an ideologue says, “we have to suffer now in order to achieve Utopia twenty years from now”, he’s simply a lying thug.
And so we know that knew at the time that the real goal of “free trade” was to permanently liquidate all good jobs and social stability, first in the Global South and eventually in the Western countries as well. We’re undergoing the end game today.
Since the Dems are for the moment back in power Thugman has fired up his Big Lie Machine again for the final push. Thus we get his playing lead Pied Piper for the “reform” lies, first for health rackets and now for the finance rackets.
Thus we get his acting as chorusmaster for the new round of China-bashing, simply a textbook exercise in one of history’s oldest tricks, lies and misdirection via riling up xenophobia.
(Also, notice how silent he’s gone on Bush’s war now that it’s 100% Obama’s war? But I guess after being considered such a hero on Iraq, even he’s embarrassed to shill for the war now.)
And it’ll be interesting to see how he’ll try to drum up support for the liquidation of Social Security, which is Obama’s fondest dream. They’re all gearing up for it as we speak. It’ll be the consummation of Krugman’s career.
The fact is that Krugman’s role has always been to be a top propagandist for neoliberalism and corporatism when the Democrats are in power, while he remains outside of official power.

 

So no, he hasn’t been co-opted. He was Thugman from day one.
Since I’m in such a hack-bashing mood, I’ll finish with a few notes on Frank Rich’s latest drivel.
He starts out with several despicable false equivalences of simple fact about Obama with absurd fiction.
 

Depending on where you stand — or the given day — he is either an overintellectual, professorial wuss or a ruthless Chicago machine pol rivaling the original Boss Daley. He is either a socialist redistributing wealth to the undeserving poor or a tool of Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs elite. He is a terrorist-coddling, A.C.L.U.-tilting lawyer or a closet Cheneyite upholding the worst excesses of the Bush administration’s end run on the Constitution.

 
To put it bluntly, in at least the second and third of those dichotomies the second item is empircally true and the other is laughable. And it goes downhill from there.
 
Suffice it to say that after for awhile looking like he was coming off the Kool Aid, Rich has now gone all in on his hack Obama hagiography. He previously asked, “Is Obama punking us?”; now he’s satisfied that Obama is exactly the person he always openly claimed to be.
 
He invents a “friend” to trot out again the lie that Obama ran as a “moderate”:
 

Last week, after I wrote about the role race plays in some of the apocalyptic right-wing hysteria about the health care bill, a friend who is a prominent liberal Obama supporter sent me an e-mail flipping my point. He theorized that race also plays a role in “the often angry and intemperate talk” he has been hearing from “left-liberal friends for the past many months about what a failure and a disappointment” the president has been. In his view, “Obama never said anything, while running, to give anyone the idea” that he was other than a “deliberate, compromise-seeking bipartisan moderate.”

 
These hacks know damn well, of course, that the electorate did not take “Change” and “Yes we can” as calls for “bipartisan moderation”, but acclaimed them as part of the ongoing wholesale repudiation of the Republicans which started in 2006. That was the whole point of these vile lies, to convince the people that under Obama the Democrats would lead the charge away from Republicanism.
 
The second, implicit lie there is that Obama has “governed” as a moderate, instead of hard to the right the way he actually has.
 
(Not to mention all his broken specific promises.)
 
Rich’s “friend” said all this. Right. In other words, Rich is too much of a coward to even own up to his own lies. That’s how craven and embarrassed he is.
 
It’s pretty clear that, as a Democrat partisan, Rich is a typical cowardly bully who only worships Democratic success. Thus when Obama seemed to be going down the tubes in every way, Rich was one of the rats fleeing the ship. But now that The Big O temporarily has his mojo back, Rich is back in full worship mode. (Much of the column gives this away; Rich can’t hide his personal astonishment at the vagaries of perceptions of being “successful”, and at his own ever-shifting response.)
 
It’ll be interesting to see what Rich does when Obama reverts to his mean. Will he bail on him again? Even among liberal hacks Rich stands out for his faithlessness and opportunism.
 
One more detail from the piece that really goes to the core of hack rottenness. Expressing his disdain for the filthy peasants who still question Our Leader, Rich cites the “real authors” who speak the truth about Obama: Bob Woodward and Jonathan Alter.
 
“Real authors”! The courtier hacks Woodward and Alter! Now we see who Rich really is, what’s his wildest dream. He wants to write the great hack novel. (I guess that’s why he didn’t mention Lizza and other heroes; he doesn’t want to give the competition too much ink.)
 
So now Rich has thrown down the mask. Now we know who he really is. A “real author” is a court hack who carries water for power. In Rich’s case, his great dream is to carry that water for Democrats.
 
For anyone who wants to learn more about these “real authors”, just the other day Greenwald wrote a good piece on them.
 
If Rich gets his wish, someday he too can be among their number, honored by being attacked by Greenwald, who of course isn’t a “real author.” 

April 5, 2010

Today’s Stamp Act

 

The Stamp Act of 1765 was the flame which brought a long-gathering stew of ideas and suspicions to boil. From there proceeded an intensifying controversy and a dialectical chain of events which led straight to 1776. In retrospect it looks preordained, and perhaps starting with the Stamp Act controversy, and given British premises, it was. But the pre-existing discontent didn’t have to flare into conscious alarm and rage, and it didn’t have to develop an organized political movement. The Stamp Act was the occasion for that. It was a catalyst as well as a radical accelerant.
 
So what could be today’s equivalent of the Stamp Act? It seems very strange to ask such a question when $14 trillion has already been directly stolen in a year and a half, with the potential further looting in principle infinite (self-granted Fed and Treasury authority to buy MBS, as well as potential Fannie and Freddie guarantees, are proclaimed have no legal, constitutional, democratic limit; in other words, the government has overtly declared that where it comes to the Bailout it recognizes no legal, constitutional, or democratic restraints to kleptocracy). That’s beyond the unfathomable trillions already destroyed in the financial crash, and what has been, is being, and will be destroyed going forward as the general economy slowly sinks into the Second Great Depression.
 
And that’s just the wealth aspect, to be entered on the ledger along with the complete corruption of all institutions of the country, the substitution of gluttony for government, larceny for law, prostitution for politics, mendacity for media, atrophy for academia, enervation for economy, sickness for salubriousness, jeremiads for joy, fetters for freedom, despair for democracy, desolation for democracy, destruction for democracy.
 
When we read down the indictment it seems crazy to wonder what more America could need to rouse it to action. And indeed the people are furious and restless. But so far it’s an inchoate bestirral. The problem is the sheer magnitude of the crime itself. Experts from Sade to Hitler advised that the bigger the crime you commit, the better a chance you have of getting away with it because people will simply be unable to experience it as a discrete crime. They’ll be flummoxed by its complexity, the hazy enormity of its outlines. Or they’ll be intimidated by its monumentality, and despair of the possibility of reprisal. They may even take psychological and moral refuge in admiring and siding with the criminals themselves.
 
Maybe the fuse really has been lit, and it’s just not so easy to see it clearly right now the way men will be able a from a hundred years’ perspective, since we’re living it day to day. The original patriots often despaired of the temper of their times, the lassitude of the populace, the slow circulation of ideas and calls to action, the temporary doldrums where it looked like everything was normalizing, like in 1771-1773.
 
I was going to say, “but aren’t things like communications greatly accelerated today?” But then I wondered, is today’s doldrum, the phony government-goosed “recovery” and the absurd political glare of the health racket bill (they call it a glow), our doldrum of the early 70s? Maybe the TARP will turn out to have been the Stamp Act after all.
 
Or maybe in retrospect there won’t have been one event history will call the clear spark. Who knows, those are just some musings.
 
Just for the fun of it let’s ask, what kind of law today would be most similar to the Stamp Act? The Stamp Act required a payment on every transfer of printed material, business and legal documents, licenses, ship’s papers, even playing cards. It was thus pervasive, intended to extend its clutches into every nook and cranny of commerce and media.
 
If we ask, where does a policy today seek to extract at the point of paper transfers (or their electronic equivalent), we can see how the health racket mandate intends to use the IRS as its enforcer. In filing your tax return, you’ll be required to provide the “stamp”, certifying that you paid the protection money.
 
This is of course just a radical extension of existing practice whereby everything requires that one produce the proper “papers”. For decades it’s already been bad enough to engender rueful recollections of the lies they taught back in school, about how America’s better than the Soviet Union because, among other things, there you have to carry around your papers everywhere. Having to carry such papers is indeed horrid. Those lessons did indeed fill me as a child with a horror of the Soviet Union.
 
Well guess what: As an adult I still feel the same revulsion. But it’s not for any legendary Russian bogeyman anymore. It’s all too real right here at “home”.
 
What’s changed especially in more recent times is how the need to “show your papers” is less and less in order to receive some goodie, but in order to be allowed to function as a so-called “citizen” at all. And now with the insurance mandate they’ve taken a quantum leap. Now you’ll have to show your papers to prove you paid what is nothing more than extortion. With this the government has officially gotten into “protection”. And not even as its own boss, but simply as the hired goon of corporatism.
 
We should ponder that. As stupid as tax policy has long been, it’s still quite a leap from having to itemize to get stuff like a mortgage deduction, to having to show the stamp to prove you paid an extortionist, and otherwise you owe more, upon penalty of arrest and imprisonment. Is this a Stamp Act?
 
Another way of looking at it is the Stamp Act as choke point for communication. In the colonies every newspaper, every pamphlet, had to display the stamp. The regressive tax could therefore impose de facto censorship by the cost of communication route. What issue conjures a similar specter today? Net neutrality.
 
Where it comes to the internet, we’re in a position similar to that of the colonies entering the 1760s. We currently have a decent level of freedom, thanks to the ad hoc way the system developed, and to how many of the developers originally believed in some of their libertarian propaganda.
 
But the sector has matured, and that always means rent-seeking and neo-feudalism to whatever extent the sector can achieve it. Sure enough, some years ago various barons who have castles overlooking the rivers started making noise about wanting to construct toll booths. In this case the rivers are the “pipes” through which the electronic bits flow. Just like with a river, the pipes are already constructed (and not by the guy who happens to be living on the riverbank) and cost little to maintain. When a boat goes by, it’s the current and the oarsmen who are doing the work. Anyone who pulls a chain across the river and demands you pay a toll is simply a thug demanding protection money. And today’s little telecom fiefholder who whines, “why should they get to use my pipes for free?”, is that same worthless thug.
 
It’s easy to see how, if these feudalists get their way, the internet, which for the time being is the final, the one and only, public medium of communication, as all other media have been fully corporatized, will also be subject to enclosure. As with the Stamp Act, it will be stamped with the censorship of a regressive tax. (And then, once the precedent has been set that messages can be segregated according to whether or not the tax was sufficiently paid, they’ll go further to censor based on political content as well. Just as how the British intended, among other things, to use their newly imposed tax policies not only to extract revenue but eventually to impose social and political control.)
 
With net neutrality, the future of American politics for the duration of the high-technology age is at stake. Here if anywhere we have a Stamp Act issue, since what looms is the very doppleganger of the Stamp Tax. The same feudal theft, the same economic strangulation, the same intended political censorship, the same incipient tyranny. 
 
There’s no tax more profoundly worthless than a feudal toll. But that’s what those lobbying against the official enshrinement of net neutrality have in mind. And the imposition of this kind of tax is the one and only activity of the finance racket and the health insurance racket.
 
In the end, the idea of “today’s Stamp Act” may be a very direct parallel, or more figurative. By now any issue may serve as a tipping point. For me, while the health racket debacle didn’t teach me anything new intellectually, it has been a kind of spiritual milestone.
 
Similarly, the people’s perceptions may become clarified and their spirit reinvigorated by any of the battlefronts of our clamorous, chaotic war zone. There can be a tipping point at any time. And as I said, maybe the new Stamp Act fuse has already been lit. The TARP, the AIG bonuses, health racketeering last summer, the permanent war escalation in December, now health racketeering’s political climax (and, I really hope, some clarity for the public interest activists America’s going to need), net neutrality going forward. (If we can make that a public flash point as well; so far people in general don’t seem all that concerned about it. Horribly, on its face they might even stupidly side with the chainpuller simply because he loudly claims to own the river. The initial polls right after the Citizens United decision showed small majorities in support of corporate “free speech”. It’s easy to see why – most people are basically ignorant and lazy and evince a stimulus-response mechanism where it comes to a term like “free speech”, while understanding corporatism would take considerable effort. But I was heartened to see that within a few weeks the polls were less favorable. Maybe people really are wising up. It’ll have to be the same kind of struggle with the internet.)
 
So here we are, getting clobbered by stamps. Will we respond as did our forefathers?

April 1, 2010

The Joke’s On…..

 

So I took a break for a few days, and came back today, on April Fools’, to check out a joke newspaper’s headlines for the day. They actually didn’t look all that different from the normal headlines.
 
“Uncle Sam’s Citi exit partly vindicates Bailout” 
 
“Hedge Fund Managers’ Pay Roared Back Last Year”
 
“Risk Is Clear In Drilling; Payoff Isn’t”
 
“Pfizer Chief Says Growth Is Imminent” (I don’t doubt “growth” in extortion is expected; but that’s not what the NYT wants you to read from that.)
 
“Deadlock Is Ending On Labor Board” (Here the blurb contains the punchline: “The National Labor Relations Board will soon have three Democrats and one Republican, and businesses are bracing for a wave of pro-union rulings.”) 
 
But here’s my favorite joke piece, though the headline’s flatly descriptive enough: “Fed Ends Its Purchasing of Mortgage Securities”.
 

The Federal Reserve’s single largest intervention to prop up the American economy, its $1.25 trillion program to buy mortgage-backed securities, came to a long-anticipated end on Wednesday.
The program has been credited with holding mortgage interest rates at near-record lows and slowing the nationwide decline in home prices that threatened to send the economy into an extended slump.

 
In other words, as a key part of history’s greatest robbery, it helped prevent to restoration of economic reality, so that when reality inevitably does impose itself, the result will be experienced by most people as far more disastrous.
 
The government sentenced the people to this fate in order that the banks could steal yet further trillions. It’s part of the official establishment of Bailout Nation, Bailout America.
 
The academic prostitutes are out shilling:
 

Demand for mortgage bonds had been frozen since the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant mortgage-finance companies, in September 2008. “We were in a deflationary spiral, causing mortgages to go underwater, more foreclosures and a further decline in housing prices,” said Susan M. Wachter, professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “The potential maelstrom of destruction was out there, bringing down not only the housing market but the overall economy. That’s what was stopped.”

She called the Fed’s mortgage purchases “the single most important move to stabilize the economy and to prevent a debacle.”

 
(That’s a joke in itself, that we now have such a thing as a “FIRE sector professor”.  Of course all such quotes have to be read in Orwellian code. “The maelstrom of destruction, currently decimating the jobs of the real economy and sending it into the Second Great Depression, had to be segregated from the housing market in order to enable further FIRE sector looting. That’s what we accomplished. It was the single most important move to temporarily stabilize the financial (as opposed to real) indicators and prevent a debacle for Wall Street. Thus we’ve been trying and so far succeeding in shifting the entire bankster-created debacle from Wall Street onto the people. We’ll now attempt to make the people of America sustain the entire maelstrom of destruction, while the banksters and government criminals abscond with the loot. Hopefully they’ll still need a few whores and take me along.”)
 
The Fed is leading this propaganda offensive:
 

“Financial markets have improved considerably over the last year, and I am hopeful that mortgages will remain highly affordable even after our purchases cease,” Janet L. Yellen, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said in a speech on March 23. “Any significant run-up in mortgage rates would create risks for a housing recovery.”

Ms. Yellen is President Obama’s choice to be the next vice chairwoman of the Fed, after Donald L. Kohn retires in June, but she has not been formally nominated.

 
What’s left out of this quote from “Obama’s choice”, i.e. from Obama himself? As with everything else these criminals say, it has zero to do with the real economy, with economic, energy, or resource fundamentals, with anything which has anything at all to do with the lives of actual Americans or of actual people anywhere.
 
That’s because to a sociopath like Obama, and to a gangster like anyone at the fed, real people simply don’t exist other than as a cash cow to be milked and then bloodlet and then skinned and then roasted.
 
The whole MBS conveyor is simply the ongoing main vehicle of the Bailout:
 

A major factor in that recovery was the government’s announcement last December that it would guarantee debts owed by and securities issued by Fannie and Freddie, according to David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders.

While the future of the two mortgage-finance entities remains uncertain, the government backing has been particularly reassuring for foreign investors, including the Chinese and Japanese central banks, that hold securities based on mortgages originated in the United States, Mr. Crowe said.

 
It’s been particularly reassuring for the attempt to prop up the insolvent debt zombie of America as a whole, as well as its insolvent zombie banks.
 
These are the same Fannie and Freddie who keep hemorrhaging taxpayer money, intentionally buying MBS from sleazy lenders at far-above-market rates. This is simple embezzlement, simple theft, and simple money-laundering, being committed by what is simply a criminal government, orchestrator of a criminal system.
 
Bailout America is a de jure kleptocracy. Neither the government, nor the political nor media nor academic class, nor the top-down economy in general, any longer even pretend to have any rationale other than to loot the productive activity of society. Since people still work in order to eat and shelter themselves and raise their children, as well as because they labor under the brainwashing of consumerism, once a gangster parasite has successfully planted itself on the people’s backs, it can suck their blood for as long as the sucking’s good. Only two things can put an end to it: When and if the people fight back to kill the parasite; or once the blood has all been sucked.
 
Meanwhile the parasite may reach the point where it becomes so drunk on the blood of its host, and so incapable of even pretending to generate any value whatsoever, that it goes insane in its psychopathy. No longer content to just extract at a constant rate, it must rend and flay, beat the people, burn the crops, salt the land. We’ve been seeing this saturnalia set in with the rush to resume bankster bonuses, the more brazen and obscene the better (that it’s as open and obnoxious as possible is clearly a value to them), and the health racketeering bill. And right in the middle of it, the massive escalation of the already unsustainable, losing imperial war.
 
Between these there can no longer be any doubt whatsoever about this government and the so-called “two” party system which is really as calcified a one-party system as the decrepit stage of the Soviet Union was. There can be no doubt that this is not just a criminal finance sector and a criminal government but that it has gone insane in its orgy of looting. This is a whole globalized finance economy now dancing its Dance of Death.
 
Nor can there be any doubt about the unspeakable vile MSM, the corruption of the universities, the prostitution of “culture”, or the treason of almost all existing political activist leadership. The end result on the extension of the Bailout to the insurance rackets is the final, irrevocable divide. Kucinich’s treason made it literally unanimous among existing politicians. The same treason was almost unanimous among existing “progressive” groups of almost every stripe and alleged focus. We now know they’re all sellouts, all Astroturfs, all corporatized traitors.
 
The defining abyss which slashes its bloody gouge across every arena of our lives is corporate tyranny vs. freedom and humanity itself. The great virtue of the Bailout and its health racket microcosm is the cosmic lucidity with which it has cleared the air and defined the positions. The clarity through which it has rendered the great fault line.
 
The definition of economic Fascism is a command economy based upon private profits and socialized costs. While there can be debate on when exactly America became this fascist country, there can be no debate whatsoever on the fact that the Bailout enshrined it once and for all. That the Fed has today temporarily ended its trillions in MBS buys (though it ostentatiously reserves the right to resume at any time, and with infinite boundaries), even as Fannie and Freddie continue with their infinite guarantees of this worthless paper, doesn’t change anything at all. On the contrary it simply highlights how, as with every other totalitarian system, the tactics are flexible even as the nefarious goal is always one and the same.
 
So we know what America has become, and we know that all existing leadership has declared for crime, for tyranny, for the great enemies of the people, for treason.
 
Meanwhile, the people…this bent-backed peasant with the bloodsucker on its back….all this peasant need do is shrug to rid itself of this parasite. Is the people’s refusal to do so our own Dance of Death? Are we really no longer citizens, no longer human, but just the husks of “consumers”, and soon no longer even able to pretend any longer at being that?
 
Only we can answer that for ourselves. Our actions shall be our testimony before history, before the universe itself……
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