Friday, March 27, 2009

The Rise of the Corporate State--Freedom Vs Equality

...and on and on ad nauseum. Unfettered capitalism run amok, as it always will do given human nature. Success defined as material gain, or the number dominated by the self. The argument itself governed by the trivial day to day minutiae of acquisition and control. Petty little men with loud voices screaming that the Republic is out of control when it was always so, and should remain so. On either side of the Sword rests the argument of Freedom vs Equality, both seek the good but are incompatible. How is it then that one side demonizes the other? Forsooth, Freedom is narcissistic, and equality coercive. But then, who looks at the bedrock, the foundation of things?--not so many it seems. A few dusty academics, a radical or two unconcerned with consequences, the always emerging dark side spreading like a shadow.

It should be obvious that neither side can be allowed to triumph, or that either side should be suppressed. No faith can be placed in the rule of men, yet the lessons of history teach us that the rule of law degenerates from the constant pressure of ambition. Each of us a tyrant, from order we seek chaos, and from chaos, order; and from each little corner of the empire dictators arise complete with orders for right behaviors and recipes for success, for us, for you, for me, for today--which passes quickly enough.

The age of the nation-state is on its last legs, technology and circumstance has presented ambition with a larger stage, sovereignty and self determination are no longer viable, more and more it will come to be realized that we are all in this together; that it is us and the world that matters, and not the petty ambitions of local demagogues fraught with narcissistic delusions, despite their area of expertise. Another hundred years or so? Give or take. A global constitution that takes the armies away from the pisspot little despots who are feeding the always miserable mob an endless line of bull, regardless once again of their area of expertise, be it real or perceived. It is all in all, who we allow to lead, and that is often a difficult choice, as we cannot know but only guess.

Is one tyranny worse than another? Shall we ask the dead? Which in due time will be ourselves,--I am this, or I am that, or I am virtuous and you are evil. I have noted, in my passage, that to be human is to fail at being Human, except in times of extreme crisis, odd moments when the underlying cause is love, take that how you will.

We fall away from the pursuit of the good, since all in all, we cannot seem to define it, torn as we are between humanism and religion, the spiritual and the material, the empty and the significant. How are we to choose, burdened as we are with existence? What is existence but choice, left or right/ How vain those choices when we have enough to eat, and how ruthless when we do not?

Foolish foolish men! squabbling like dogs over a pile of bones, when of all the creatures that have walked the Earth we are the first to have the capacity to distribute the bones equitably? What is it that gets in the way of all being fed, and clothed and sheltered? Perhaps in truth we are nearer to those dogs than we are to ourselves. Hard men walk among us killing things to raise themselves in their own regard, and it seems that is something we cannot expunge since they too are part of who we are. In the failure of Will civilizations are strangled in their own filth.

At the end of days--be it spiritual or biological--will we have been parasites or symbiotes, scavengers or caretakers? Is our legacy to be, I or we? Sounds simple enough but given the complexity one is faced with the stark realization that in due course all that we are, good and bad will be lost in a dry wind.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Philosophical Underpinnings of Conservative Thought

"To understand what is distinctive about today's Republican Party, you first need to know about an obscure and very conservative German political philosopher. His name, however, is not Leo Strauss, who has been widely cited as the intellectual guru of the Bush administration. It belongs, instead, to a lesser known, but in many ways more important, thinker named Carl Schmitt."

Proto-nazi dude. Advocated that the executive should proclaim a permanent state of emergency to rule without restraints---that politics should not be be regarded as dialogue or compromise, but rather as combat in which the opponent is to be destroyed. I have an idea that Karl Rove & John Yoo read him when they were impressionable young boys...

"Liberals think of politics as a means; conservatives as an end. Politics, for liberals, stops at the water's edge; for conservatives, politics never stops. Liberals think of conservatives as potential future allies; conservatives treat liberals as unworthy of recognition. Liberals believe that policies ought to be judged against an independent ideal such as human welfare or the greatest good for the greatest number; conservatives evaluate policies by whether they advance their conservative causes. Liberals instinctively want to dampen passions; conservatives are bent on inflaming them. Liberals think there is a third way between liberalism and conservatism; conservatives believe that anyone who is not a conservative is a liberal. Liberals want to put boundaries on the political by claiming that individuals have certain rights that no government can take away; conservatives argue that in cases of emergency -- conservatives always find cases of emergency -- the reach and capacity of the state cannot be challenged."

The controversy over the Yoo Memorandums and the Influence of Schmitt---

Friday, March 6, 2009

An open Letter To Glenn Beck

Dear Mr. Beck;

One notes your claim that you are a libertarian--

1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.
2. One who believes in free will.

"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."

"the belief that human behaviour is an expression of personal choice and is not determined by physical forces, Fate, or God," or Free Will.

Much of what you know is predicated upon that which you think you know, The Greeks defined that as Hubris--which is neither here nor there as you earn a living by preying on fear; another tool in the hands of the demagogues who would strip you of all that which you claim to hold so dear--and when it comes down to it what is that but the size of your bank account--the arbiter of your "safety".

"Tonight, America, here is what you need to know. We have got to make a choice. We are either capitalists or we`re not. We either believe in the free market system or we do not. We can`t play both sides."


Progressive Democrats instead favored a reserve system owned and operated by the government and out of control of the "money trust", ending Wall Street's control of American currency supply. Conservative Democrats fought for a privately owned, yet decentralized, reserve system, which would still be free of Wall Street's control. The Federal Reserve Act passed Congress in late 1913 on a mostly partisan basis, with most Democrats in support and most Republicans against it.

In 1999, the Financial Services Modernization Act overturned the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. The Act effectively barred banks, brokerages and insurance companies from entering each others' industries, and separated investment banking and commercial banking. The law was enacted in response to revelations of gross corruption and manipulation of the market by giant banking houses that organized huge corporate mergers for their own profit, leading to the collapse of the stock market in 1929.

The Wall Street Journal celebrated the agreement to end such restrictions with an editorial declaring that the banks had been unfairly scapegoated for the Great Depression. The headline of one Journal article declared, "Finally, 1929 Begins to Fade."


The unleashed and deregulated financial services sector boomed, bringing us the speculative boom that in turn gave us the temporary budget surplus of the late 1990s and the finance-led booms and busts since then. The hedge fund was not invented in the 1990s, but it was under Clinton that they were transformed into their modern form, with the Clinton White House cheerleading that transformation. In 1998, when the hedge fund, Long Term Capital Management, collapsed, leading to federal intervention, the president established the Working Group on Financial Markets. In February 2000, it concluded that hedge funds needed no regulation.

The General Welfare Clause

"Revolution of 1937."

Hughes prevailed on Roberts to desert the Conservative camp, swing over with him and join the three liberals in declaring the social security cases [Steward Machine Co. v. Davis (301 us 548, May 24, 1937)] Constitutional.[4] [P.56] This Roberts did, and by so doing, took the wind from the sails of the President's court packing plan. It went back to committee and died. one Administration official called the court's action, "the switch in time that saved nine."

This decision said in effect, Congress would no longer be held to enumerated powers but instead could tax and spend for anything; so long as it was for "general welfare."

But the words "General Welfare" in the introduction to the enumerated powers of Article I Section 8 were never intended to be an object for extension of the power to tax and spend; and up until the cases noted above, no court ever so averred.[Appx. 1]

The supreme court surrendered to the new deal on the most fundamental of constitutional issues. "it is scarcely conceivable that Chief Justice Hughes and Justice Roberts... were unaware of the political implications of their move. the President had lost a battle but won a war. In a remarkable series of decisions . ..the Court executed the most abrupt change of face in its entire history..."-

::::::::::: tho the nation exists only in the moment of your latest adolescent eruption, that free market you prattle on about--is and always has been, manipulated to suit the needs of the few, not the many. Caesar, Crassus & Pompey--whose petty pauper are you--? Sweet swindles, as they divide the world; as if this nation you whine about actually exists--other than as a faction in the global chaos, and you a sop to the Mob milling about in the forum, Caesar's tame tribune spilling earnest lies.

Oh, how fierce your indignation, at these petty politicians with painted faces, puffing up the Senate steps, papers tucked under their arms, stuffed with peacock wings, and fine wine chilled in the Apennines, bought and paid for, their votes nothing more than an abject acquiesce to the highest bidder in the triumvirate.

Fool, to think your useless prattle matters to the rabid Mob that cares for little more than the next circus or the next sensation in the scheme of things.--


For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader--the barbarians enter Rome."
(To Sail Beyond the Sunset, 227)

The ebb and flow transcends the antiquated nation state; Caesar conquers Gaul to add to his coffers;--some years later Charles is crowned in Rome; just before Hamlet the Armada runs aground; new monsters roll across the Ardennes redefining the extent of the civilization, and today sit perched on desolate hilltops surveying a bleak landscape, the Last redoubt against the Beast; and you prattle on about "earmarks" which your master decides should be your latest diatribe to put coins in his basket.

Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Caesar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:
--Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and
die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live
all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew him.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.


What then, my friend? Honor or Ambition? How long will it be before the fables are allowed to die? What will you choose as your newest alcohol? How will you know the difference, in the prison of your delusions? Will you champion Sparta, or sleep with oligarchs in Athens? In the end it will not matter much, your lips pressed against the ass of your latest suitor; nor will you, as he strokes your hair, spinning the web of your newest despair; some new whimperings to delight the drunken mob.

Even so, such pretentious preaching will only serve the mob so long, its addled attention soon drawn off to some new atrocity, your mendacity nothing more than the graffiti scrawled upon the wall--the temple was profaned when Gilgamesh was just a boy, or when Achilles sulked in his tent as Agamemnon fondled Briseis as her father moaned to absent gods. Take your meager knowledge to the market to impress young girls--they are always wide eyed at the sight of Heroes, even when they do not know what they are:

from The Sixth Elegy

The hero is strangely close to those who died young. Lasting
doesn’t contain him. Being is his ascent: he moves on,
time and again, to enter the changed constellation
his risk entails. Few could find him there. But
Destiny, that darkly hides us, suddenly inspired,
sings him into the tempest of his onrushing world.
I hear no one like him. All at once I am pierced
by his darkened sound carried on streaming air.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rove has studied his Orwell and understands that "who controls the past, controls the future."

That's why we saw Rove lambasting Obama's budget deficit, conveniently skipping over the nearly $1.6 trillion added to the deficit by the administration he helped guide. Not one word about the role the massive tax cuts for the rich he championed played in creating the current economic crisis. Not a peep about the deregulation of Wall Street he held so dear.

Indeed, he tried to lay the Bush administration's fiscal legacy at the feet of "two wars, 9/11, and a recession handed to us by the previous administration."

CRAMER: Welcome to the U.S.S.A. In the worst bear market since the Great Depression, we have a president and a Bolshevik -- Democratic Congress that seems oblivious to the rampant wealth destruction that's being caused by their agenda. Or maybe they know and they don't care. Either way, it's important that you Obama-proof your portfolio, or at least make it Obama-resistant, because we know he has both the power and the will to crush entire sectors. Everything from health care to oil and gas to the defense contractors. As if dealing with this garden-variety depression wasn't enough, now you need to protect your money from the expropriator-in-chief.


We [conservatives] love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, Liberty, Freedom. And the pursuit of happiness. Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault.


These Yahoos, and their masters, will indeed do everything within their power to insure that progressive programs fail. The downward spiral will not affect those with the wherewithal to withstand it, the inconvenience, the strong survive, despite their lip service to creationism--their only allegiance is to god, and he is green and looks a lot like George Washington, at least till he tanks and they are forced to convert to a more stable commodity. When we come out the other side, they will be covered in shit, but firmly in control, and all they need to do is sit on their hands as the largesse is thrown at them.

Capitalists are amoral they have no idealogy, other than that which they can buy, or sell. It could be said that most Americans are capitalists, large or small--the almighty buck has been in charge for a long time.


:::"Republic: Form of government in which a state is ruled by representatives elected by its populace. The term was originally applied to a form of government in which the leader is periodically appointed under a constitution; it was contrasted with governments in which leadership is hereditary. A republic may also be distinguished from direct democracy, though modern representative democracies are by and large republics."

:::"Democracy: democracy [Gr.,=rule of the people], term originating in ancient Greece to designate a government where the people share in directing the activities of the state, as distinct from governments controlled by a single class, select group, or autocrat. The definition of democracy has been expanded, however, to describe a philosophy that insists on the right and the capacity of a people, acting either directly or through representatives, to control their institutions for their own purposes. Such a philosophy places a high value on the equality of individuals and would free people as far as possible from restraints not self-imposed. It insists that necessary restraints be imposed only by the consent of the majority and that they conform to the principle of equality.":::


Therein lies the basic division between the Democratic & Republican parties. The former tends to the egalitarian & the latter towards the creation of a ruling class.
One may immediately see that the system in the United States tends to give the Republican viewpoint an advantage in that the structure set up by the Constitution favors a representative government; which over time has fostered a ruling elite regardless of party affiliation.

A second division lies in the approach to the redistribution of wealth. Broadly, the republicans favor the wealth remaining in the hands of the few, postulating that they can be trusted to redistribute it for the benefit of all, while the democrats favor the idea that the government should be trusted to redistribute it equitably. Both viewpoints seem inevitably flawed--and indeed the major dilemma of government in the US is just what to do with the money, a wheelbarrow full for this, a truckload for that; or the reverse should you belong to the opposition.

At the present time--we are on course for a civil war & a great depression combined over this very issue, the republican partnership with the corporation or the democratic distrust of the corporation. One leads to a fascist symbiosis, the other to a socialist state. For the most part, America waffles between the two, unable to choose--Teddy Roosevelt went after the big trusts in the early part of the last century, and Franklin instituted the "New Deal"--it should be noted that Teddy got tossed out of the Republican party, and that Franklin changed the role of US government irrevocably--as the republicans are only now beginning to realize.

What the Founders understood was that no-one is to be trusted, not individuals, not companies, not religious institutions, and not the arms of the government they themselves were setting up, and they therefore set everyone against everyone in a perpetual free-for-all that would continue as long as the Constitution itself was the final determining factor, and because of the faction inherent in the system the constitution would endure because no-one could afford to set it aside.

At least not yet--as the this last most recent attack upon it has shown.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cartoon Figures---

"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us."

--Neil Postman;"Amusing Ourselves to Death;"1985.


We have a national spotlight, rather more like a searchlight really, it is constantly on swinging to and fro, examining, scrutinizing--a long litany of ills can be attributed to it, from 'Triumph of the Will' to the latest "Joe the plumber". It would seem that even with the best of intentions, the reduction of three dimensions to two creates a separate reality that necessarily subtracts from an essential humanity.

Broadly, the problem is not the not realbut rather the idea of an almost real; that is the spill over, the inability to distinguish between realities, that of fact, and that of illusion.

It would be necessary for this discussion to note that we are not dealing here with literature or cinema, which though pertinent to the argument in the larger sense, do not deal with the flow of information necessary to decisions which should be based on accuracy. What we receive is filtered, shaded, even suppressed, and of course manipulated to fit the needs of the searchlight which feeds on conflict. We are served personality, which is more easily digested than numbers, and drama, which is more entertaining than the gritty theory which the numbers are fed into--

Capital must create more capital; inevitably, it seems to flow inward, becoming ever more concentrated, thus the outlets for the control of information must also constrict to perpetuate and protect the system. It might be noted, that the only industry that seems immune to the boom and bust inherent in the capitalist model is the entertainment business, it has no top end, no saturation point, money can be continually pumped into it with relative security as regards the possibility of loss. It is not surprising then that actual News is on the decline; it has become irrelevant, devoid of the necessary angst, unprofitable. Unless packaged adroitly, it is a distraction from the real purpose, the manufacture of profitable personality which a potential viewer will "invest" time in.

Thus, what is said is subordinate to who says it. Who trusts the sayer, and who does not becomes that sayers demographic--the larger the demographic the more valuable the sayer: regardless of the veracity of what is said.

A person who wishes to know, rather than just be fed, must stumble through the forest blindly, hoping to fall into something of value. Opinions from one side of the aisle or the other have little validity as they reflect only the interest of the corporate entity promoting them. It is not easy to escape from Motive, be it monetary or more nakedly in the Will to Power.

The power to know is dangerous; and an actual ability to know anything in the morass of misinformation is nearly impossible; and will in the course of time become even more so, the casualty is history which can no distinguish what actually happened, from what was said to have happened.