• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Pope Condemns Pharaonic Oppressions of NeoLiberal Capitalism

Predictably, the neoliberal propaganda machine (aka “Hillary Press”) has distorted the Pope's recent remarks, bending them to their own nefarious and partisan purposes. Since the address is published in Spanish and Italian only, this will set the record straight for those with a waning interest in objectivity.

It is true, the Pope denounced walls built of fear and needless to say a U.S. audience would interpret this as referring to the border with Mexico and hence as an indirect attack on Trump. 

But what the Pope actually denounced was the “divinization of money” which was an “existential whip” which, as in Ancient Egypt, enslaves and exhausts without mercy (un látigo existencial que, como en el Egipto del Antiguo Testamento, esclaviza, roba la libertad, azota sin misericordia). You know, like usurious college loans perhaps?

So how does money rule? It rules with the lash of fear, economic violence and military oppression. (Con el látigo del miedo, de la inequidad, de la violencia económica, social, cultural y militar que engendra más y más violencia en una espiral descendente que parece no acabar jamás). It is from that primary violence, the Pope said,  that religious and narco- terrorism are derived. 

All tyranny, he says, operates by exploiting fears. Those who, despite massacres, plunder, injustice and oppression, still hold on to some rights are tempted by the false security of walls; walls which enclose some and exclude others.

The Pope certainly denounced xenophobia and indifference to the refugees fleeing the (US induced) disaster in Syria, but his premise was the tyranny of Mammon and its consequent “globalization of indifference” which did not put economy at the service of the people, which did not promote peace and justice and which did not defend Mother Earth. (As in continuous military incursions around the world, mass incarceration of petty offenders, sub-subsistence jobs, inadequate health care, penurious retirement,  ecocide,  fracking, coal tar extracting and palm oil deforestation.)

What is really choice is that at the outset, the Pope cited Quadressimo Anno the 1933 encyclical in which then Pope Pius XI denounced the economic dictatorship of international capital ("dictadura económica mundial que él llamó «imperialismo internacional del dinero». ) In fact Pius XI was also very vigorous in his denunciation of the “idols of Liberalism.” by which he meant exactly the economic policies pursued by Hillary and Obama and all American administrations since Reagan.

Of course the slop and slosh that passes for journalism in England and the U.S. would attempt to trivialize the Pope’s statements, rendering them harmless to the evil the corporate press supports (global capitalism sub nom. “free trade”) while abusing the Pope's remarks as a foil for their own enemies.

The Church has always denounced liberal economics. It has always insisted that people have a right economic security from the state as a precondition to personal growth and freedom.

"Toda la doctrina social de la Iglesia y el magisterio de mis antecesores se rebelan contra el ídolo-dinero que reina en lugar de servir, tiraniza y aterroriza a la humanidad."
If anything, his remarks were directed against Hillary and the arms-peddlers, money lenders, war-mongers and earth-destroyers she serves and supports


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Reading between the Slime

The New York Slime reported (10/30) on CETA, as follows

BRUSSELS — The European Union and Canada signed a far-reaching trade agreement on Sunday that commits them to opening their markets to greater competition, after overcoming a last-minute political obstacle that reflected the growing skepticism toward globalization in much of the developed world.


On Friday, Wallonia, which has been hit hard by deindustrialization and feared greater agricultural competition, withdrew its veto after concessions were made by the Belgian government, including promises to protect farmers.

[T]he Walloon intransigence has underlined the extent to which trade has become politically radioactive as citizens increasingly blame globalization for growing disparities in wealth and living standards. Across Europe and the United States, opposition to trade has become a rallying point for populist movements on the left and the right, threatening to upend the established political order.

The key word here is “competition.”  Repeatedly the established political order, of which the New York Slime, is a primary cloaca, tells us that these agreements are trade treaties which are a win-win proposition which will promote “good paying jobs at home.”

The image evoked is that of two neighbours trading sugar for flour over the fence.  What could be more innocent, friendly and winwin for both?

But competition is “a contest or rivalry between two or more organisms, animals, individuals, economic groups or social groups, etc., for territory, a niche, for resources, goods, for mates, ...”  (Wiki)  Not so kumbaya after all.

How does the Slime pull off telling a misleading truth?

It does so because of the secondary meaning given to the word “competition” by capitalist propaganda.  Over and over again ad nauseam, competition is spoken of as a healthy thing, like exercise, which brings innovation and better products to market, like getting stronger muscles. 

In this vein the Slime quotes GLOBCAP’s newest poster boy, thus

 Mr. Trudeau said he wanted to “make sure that everyone gets that this is a good thing for our economies but it’s also a good example to the world.”

In actuality, capitalist competition is simply Economic Darwinism.  It engorges and destroys. Why else would this Friendly Trade Treaty require an addendum that “promises to protect farmers”? 

According to Turdeau,  “trade is good for the middle class and those working hard to join it.”   Not, however, if you’re a farmer in the target country.   Just as NAFTA destroyed the Mexican farmer,  CETA is not so good/good for the Walloon.

Nevertheless, having castrated the word “competition” of its true meaning so as to present a glowy picture of capitalist rapine,  the Slime goes on to disparage those who might think otherwise.

In saying that ordinary citizens blame GLOBCAP for inequity and austerity, the Slime insinuates that they are misinformed, childish naysayers.  What the Slime cunningly omits to mention is that despite this “good thing for our economies,”  inequity and austerity are ravaging societies across the globe.   Neither in the United States, nor Spain, nor India and certainly not Africa, do the metrics come close to proving that these Competition Treaties benefit society as a whole. 

The Slime needn’t engage in a prolonged digression from “the story line.”  All it needed to have written was that “citizens blame globalisation for [the] growing disparities in wealth and living standards that afflict countries around the world.   A simply five word clause would suffice to give objective validity to a blame which is otherwise implicitly characterised as a subjective idiosyncrasy. 

When all this mind-mushing is over and done with the Slimes then turns around and slap the reader in the face by admitting it and the competition treaties it champions are the established political order and FUCK YOU.


Monday, October 24, 2016

American Pertinax (Synopsis)

[Synopsis of Longer Article in Journal]

Bernie’s candidacy triggered an astonishing surge of populist progressive sentiment in the country, which probably surprised no one more the Bernie whose candidacy was initially intended only to “put issues on the table.”

The “issues” which were suddenly driven by the force of millions represented an existential threat to the Entrenched Powers.  The political machinery of the economic oligarchy (including its apparatchiks in the press, academia and so-called policy institutes) successfully defeated the movement by fair means and mostly foul.  

Sanders declined to run on a third party ticket and instead urged his followers to unite behind a candidate who represented everything his movement fought against. Bernie’s betrayal of his enthusiastic and hopeful supporters flows from what was the underling deceit of his message.

Upon being deprived of the nomination, the political revolution for which Bernie claimed to speak should have upped the ante and broken the back of the D.N.C. by handing it a punishing electoral defeat.  A revolutionary movement does not consist in putting issues on the table but in commanding political power.  A true revolutionary would have maintained that over-riding strategic objective, from which all other blessings flow.

Instead Bernie sought to rally his supporters to join in the Battle of the Nudge by working “within the system” to nudge the beast to the left. He never explained how or why a beast that had done everything conceivable to moot, undercut and defeat him in the primary would now suddenly become amenable to nudging.  Bernie was not defeated because he was Bernie but because the political and economic demands he was making were threatening and antithetical to the constituency Hillary represents.

No issue more paradigmaticaly illustrates the futility of betrayal than the party’s position on the so-called “trade” treaties.  

The most important and urgent issue facing the world is the environmental and ecological destruction of the planet.  Whatever other issues might be important to individuals or sub-groups, the health and maintenance of the ecosystem on which all life depends is of pre-conditional importance.  To have even to argue the point is a sign of the depravity and degradation of the so-called “rational animal.”

The next most pressing issue is the misnomered trade treaties.  These treaties have nothing to do with trade. As Obama himself admitted in private to Bernie, they have nothing to do with creating jobs.  The purpose of the treaties is to remove legal impediments to investors and corporations buying up countries and plundering resources wherever they want to.

The treaties set up a supra-national unaccountable invisible military-corporate government, GLOBCORP and GLOBCOP, to rule the world according to no standard except corporate profit.  The treaties destroy the power of national government to legislate and regulate for the common good.  They destroy democracy and, indeed, civil society themselves.  They are an end-stage political cancer.

On this most important political-economic issue on which both greater and lesser issues depend, Mr. Nudge has nudged nothing.  The Demorat Party platform did not commit to defeating the treaties but only provided a clause that any treaty would have to “provide” for environmental and labor standards, a provision Hillary’s own platform studiously omits altogether.  Bernie has correctly denounced the “insanity” of the treaties but he is oblivious to the impotence of his nudging.

Bernie’s betrayal flows from the underlying deceit of his political philosophy.  He was never a true socialist but only a revived New Dealer; that is to say, a pseudo social democrat. 

But Europe’s social-democrats and “socialists” are themselves pseudo-socialists.  Lenin called them “social chauvinists.”  What he meant was that in the end and when the chips are down they supported the national-capitalist class in each country in which they operated. 

They supported that class (and waged its wars) because the “benefits” they were seeking to obtain for the worker were obtained from a system which obtains wealth by means of exploitation. 

If redistributed wealth is not obtained from the workers to whom it is redistributed, it must be obtained elsewhere from some out-of-sight, ignored worker in a fourth world country or by means of some other form of wealth producing plunder.  The success of the “European Model” or of the Fifties-Sixties “Prosperity” in the United States, depended on displacing costs. 

The deceit of social democracy is not that it is wrong to fight for life improving social benefits in the interim.  The defect lies in the fact that benefits are obtained from an economic model which cannot sustainably support them.  There is nothing wrong in bleeding a beast while you seek to kill it; but if you forget the killing and focus only on the bleeding, the beast will turn around and kill you.

The Faustian Bargain of social democracy has a narrow edge.  In theory social democracy could be revolutionary.  In practice it never has been.  It acquiesces in political and economic system that provides the benefits and in the end, as for all Quislings, Uncle Toms and Ghetto Elders, the “revolution” gets swallowed up. 


Friday, October 21, 2016

The Grand Duchy of Fenwick Saves the World (Again)

The Grand Duchy of Fenwick and it’s regional sister the (erstwhile) Margrave of Wallonia have together blocked ratification of the Canadian-EuroUnion Trade Treaty (CETA), after Germany’s Bundesverfassungsgericht failed to do so. 

Fenwickian Flag

Canada’s trade negotiator, Chrystia Freeland, visiblement très émue, returned to Ottawa stating “I am very disappointed.... but it’s impossible.”

According to the BBC  “The deal aims to eliminate 98% of tariffs between Canada and EU... It includes new courts for investors, harmonised regulations, sustainable development clauses and access to public sector tenders.”

What BBC does not tell its readers is that the trade is not really between “Canada” and the EU and that the “new courts” will be stacked in favour of corporations enforcing pro-corporate regulations.

Walloon Minister-President Paul Magnette, explained,

“We have clearly indicated, for more than a year, that we have a real difficulty with the arbitration mechanism, which could be used by multinationals based in Canada, that are not really Canadian companies, and on this point we find the proposals insufficient,”

That was Eurospeak for what we just said.

Neither the BBC nor the corporate-run press elsewhere disclose what these arbitration clauses mean.  However, what they mean is sufficiently proved by Trans-Canada’s $13 billion dollar legal suit against the U.S. government following Obama’s veto of the Keystone pipeline.

In simple English, the arbitrarion or “special court” provisions allow a corporation to sue for damages when it is prevented from damaging a country’s environment.   If you need to read that again, you read it right the first time.

One would never get the true scoop from pro-trade running dogs but what the “trade” treaties are about is establishing a supra-national, unaccountable corporate dictatorship.

Not Amused by That
The prostrated, depravity of the national governments is proved beyond doubt by the fact that none of them had any problem loosing their sovereign prerogatives to some anonymous corporation operating out of a domicile of convenience. 

However, under EU rules, all decisions must be unanimous and under Belgian Law no treaty can be ratified without the affirmative consent of its three, constituent erstwhile duchies, of which Wallonia is one.

Needless to say enormous pressure will be brought to bear on Wallonia to blackmail it into changing its mind before the October 27 deadline.   Needless to say, enormous inducements will be thrust at the Grand Duchy to bring it around and into submission.   If anyone does not think that the Great Obambi is not leaning on Paul Magnette, standing bold and dauntless amidst the wash of servile niebelungen and snivelling quislings that pass for Europe’s ruling elite, he does not know what is at stake or what Obambi is about.

Ave!  Conste Wallonia! 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Real Debate

While the US presidential candidates were engaging in their chronic gutter-sniping, Marine Le Pen, head of the French Front National was giving an interview to Stephen Sackur of BBC’s hard talk.

Let me ask you.. do you see yourself and your movement as part of world wide phenomenon?

Le Pen:
Yes; there is something happening in  the world. The people’s will is clearly emerging against either supranational political powers such as the EU or big financial powers and against a system which for too many years has been defending specific [special] interests and no longer defends the interests of people 

That is Brexit but also all these referenda in Europe which clearly show that the EU is being rejected — in Denmak, in the Netherlands and in Hungary some days ago, and soon enough probably in Italy.

Something fundamental is happening which is the comback of nations, of sovereign states with people and frontiers.  People want to be in charge of their destinies and for a long time they were prevented for doing so.

In so saying, Le Pen staked out a position diametrically opposed to the corporate globalism Hillary Clinton represents.  While Hillary, ever the duplicitous dodger and dissembler, has pretended to have “come around” to being against the trade treaties, she has come nowhere.

The position stated in both the Demorat Party platform and Hillary’s web page is nothing more than a bunch of weasel clauses in search of a stance.   Any fool can see that Hillary remains committed to the “four freedoms” the bottom line of which is that the rich get to buy wherever they want while the rest get to scramble for work wherever they can find it, even if 1000 miles away.

Hillary, no stranger to fanning outrage over politically incorrect transgressions, remained stunningly silent when Trans-Canada, availing itself of treaty-clauses, sued the U.S. government for $13 billion dollars in “damages” after Obama vetoed Keystone.  

While Sanders and Trump are also against the trade treaties, they failed to articulate the fundamentals.  Their opposition was stated in mostly in terms of job losses with Trump adding immigration.  Neither mentioned that NAFTA caused as much job-loss in Mexico as it did in the U.S., as a result of treaty mandated restriction's on Mexico's "right" to support its domestic agricultural sector.   Neither spoke to the fundamental evil of the current trade treaties which is that they are a threat to national sovereignty in all spheres.  It has been left to Le Pen to triumph the cause of nationalism as such front and forward. 

One of the inevitable concomitants of the mass consumer states is that it disables people from distinguishing what is fundamental from what is not.  The overriding habitus of the consumer state is the satisfaction of impulsive and idiocyncratic desires, albeit carefully cultivated and manipulated.  Social policy gets conceived of as a list of disconnected and often inconsistent wants.  SUMMUM WANNA

But some things are fundamental in that their existence or non existence determine all other ensuing issues.  The environment is fundamental because without a life sustaining environment nothing else exists and one’s desire for gender-free access to bathrooms becomes moot.

The nation state is fundamental because it acts as the environment for all subordinated political, economic and social decisions.

At this point, a qualification must be made. The nation state is not an eternal constant.  It was a specific historical phenomenon that began its formation in the 13th century with the Albigensian Crusade which was, at bottom, the suppression of local autonomy in favour of a centralized monarchy. In other words, the nation state was itself the emergence of a supra-manorial and supra-municipal power at a given point in history.

Indeed, the progress of history can  be viewed as the successive emergence over time of ever greater and more encompassing ambits of authority, although there are periodic retrograde retrenchments such as the so-called collapse of the Roman Empire, which in actuality represented a return of grass roots popular sovereignty.  Vive Asterix!

(We know that capitalist propaganda — aka the “enlightenment” — has obscured the true nature of feudalism so that all one can say at this point is that the reader will have to unenlighten himself as best she can.)

But what is a constant is that, at any given historical stage, a given unitary formation of a people (what the Greeks called a “polis”) retains sovereign control of their own destiny.

When nationalism usurped local freedoms what ensued over time was a reclamation of those freedoms in what are now known as the bourgeois revolutions of 1688 and 1789.  When Marine Le Pen refers to the French Republic she refers to fundamental political concord and control among and by the people of France at a given stage of historical development.

The obvious counter-point to Le Pen would be to assert that the new supra-national, global corporate state represents the ongoing evolution of human sovereignty.  The “next stage” as it were.

There are, no doubt, some socialists who might welcome the emergence of a global corporate state on the assumption that once in place it could be taken over by a triumphant proletariat working in the interests of the people.

The only difficulty with that long-term historical analysis is that by then no world will be left — or at least no world worth living on — because global corporate capitalism is not simply avaricious but fundamentally destructive.  It will in fact turn the world into a holocaust on Moloch’s altar.

The counterpoint between the national and the supra-national state boils down to the problem of size which, simply stated, is that you cannot have an infinitely large elephant.  At some point the skeletal structure required to support a mega-elephant is so thick and big that what exists, if it exists at all, is not an “elephant.”

The Roman Empire was a manifestation of the problem of size.  The idea (or at least the propaganda) of Julius Caesar for a Pan-Mediterranean (“global”) super-state of peoples united in peace and prosperity under aegis of Rome was simply not attainable.

Augustus rejected Caesar’s plan for a trans-national constituent assembly because, even if Roman jingoism could be overcome, the mechanics were all but impossible.  Instead, Augustus espoused a policy of “incremental romanization”.  As a result, what is called the Roman Empire was simply a class structure  — a band of romanized provincial middle classes adjunct to and supportive of a one percent elite in the four principal urban centers (Rome, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria) ruling over millions of repressed and dispossessed people. 

According to Edward GibbonThe frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valour. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury.”    But assuming arguendo a “happy period” from A.D. 98-180, more recent research has  painted a far more brutal picture beneath the exceptionalist blarney.  The empire was organized rapine — urban centres sucking the life blood out of their hapless surroundings —  and that translated into the misery of many for the wealth and luxury of a few.

The official Christianization of the Empire did not humanize this global, predator super-state; the urban episcopacy simply joined the one percent. The humanising impact of Christianity occurred at the local and feudal level under diocesan bishops guiding and giving voice to popular aspirations.

By analogy, the notion that a humanising socialism could effect a proletarian coup d’etat over a once established global super-state is, in our opinion, an unfounded pipe dream.   There are simply limits as to how big a “democracy” can get and still be a democracy.   James Madison himself made this point in Federalist Paper No. 10 wherein he discussed how the nature and constitutional structure of a republic depended on its size and extent.

It is arguable, perhaps, that at 140 million spread out over a continent, the United States still preserved the features of a true representative democracy; or, at least a democracy that was possible except for the country’s deplorable counter-democratic electoral system.  At 300 million, no form of democracy is possible; what exists is simply a degraded Roman farce.

Extent is as critical as size.  The dream of the 1812 Spanish Liberals for an ultra-marine constituent assembly compromising all inhabitants of Spain and the Americas was unachievable both logistically and in terms of the normal focus of each its constituent parts.  People are naturally disposed to be concerned about things in their proximate environments.  They don’t care about and are in any case not in a position to familiarize themselves with local problems a thousand leagues away.  Thus, apart from the mechanics of communication, size impacts on what people are disposed and capable to communicate about. The Count of Aranda had prophetically made this point in 1788 when he proposed that the only way to save the Empire was to break it up into distinct (albeit allied) sovereign nations — united by ties of religion and commerce and “in all events to the exclusion of England.”

Had his advice been followed there is a chance that an Empire of Sovereign Nations might have survived the Anglo-American onslaught.

In all events, both Aranda and Madison were on to the same problem of size. The ideal size for a parliamentary nation state seems to lie somewhere between 40 and 80 million.  A more accurate assessment would most likely be based on a correlation of population to GDP and other factors. However, what is evident, as a positivist fact, is that the current sizes of the major European states allow each of them to come to an articulable consensus derived from manageable differences. 

European nationalism would never prevent trade; it would rather base trade on priorities established by each of the trading counterparts.  Since the claque that governs the United States cannot conceive of priorities other than the financial bottom line, globalists like Clinton can’t conceive of differing priorities.  Doesn’t everyone believe that happiness is profit?  Actually not.  Profit like manure is necessary to fertilize productivity but right thinking people do not idolize dung.

With these considerations in mind, it can be seen that Le Pen’s call for a devolution of powers and a return to nationalism is not as reactionary and counter-historical as socialists of the internationalist mode might make it out to be.  In fact, in Latin America, liberationist and leftist thought currently rejects one-world globalism in favour of national and local political-economies based on and congenial to ethno-historical formations. 

The Gazette would prefer a Le Pen who was more to the left than she apparently is, although by troglodyte U.S. standards she out-lefts even Sanders.  That said, Le Pen is  about fundamentals and, on that level, the real debate last night was not between Trump and Clinton but between Le Pen d’Arc and the Whore of Globalism.

There can be no doubt where the Gazette stands.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Oh What a Lovely Encore!

In an editorial dated November 11 2008, the NYSlime, called on Obama to continue Bush’s wars by other means. Urging a withdrawal from Iraq, the editorial went on to endorse war in Afghanistan: 

The United States and its NATO allies must be able to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan AND keep pursuing Al Qaeda forces around the world.” 

(Please to note “around the world”.) 

Written in Slimeze, the editorial was a de facto endorsement of neo-con full spectrum interventionism.

Today the Slime reports on, and endorses sub silentio, a New War in Africa

The Somalia campaign is a blueprint for warfare that President Obama has embraced and will pass along to his successor.”

With inestimable aplomb, the Slimes states that the current strategy will not repeat the “mistakes” made in Afghanistan and called for in its editorial of 11/11/08.

The Slimes quietly omits the Administration’s construction of a new drone base in Niger to serve as a key regional hub for U.S. military operations.

Once again, the P.N.A.C.’s  9/2000 white paper (Rebuilding America’s Defenses) serves as the ongoing blue print for a fully continuous foreign policy that has remained in effect since 9/2001.  The difference between Obama and Bush is simply a modulation as to which part of the spectrum will be active in any given place or time.  It's ultimate effect and secret purpose is nation destruction.

In all events what the Slime has just told anyone who wants to have a brain worthy of being used, is that the Annointed One, will continue the policy of nation-destruction which she and her boss so ably executed in Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan — not to mention Yemen.
One correction needs to be noted. The New York Slime  speaks of this issue as a matter of United States foreign policy. That is anachronistic and misleading.  There is no such thing as “American” foreign policy.  There is simply a global corporate policy with economic, diplomatic and military aspects, carried out by a prime enforcer.

Pity the elephants.


Thursday, October 13, 2016


Bader Ginzburg has done it again.  The echoes of her lambasting of Trump had hardly dissipated before she took it upon herself to mouth off on the momentous issue of whether Colin Kaepernich should or should not have stood for the national anthem. 

Ginzburg is impervious to the fact, but her inappropriate comments discredit herself and the court.

Let’s begin with the overused and abused term “inappropriate.”  It is not a label to be slapped on whatever one does not like (usually with very pursed lips as if a lemon had been sucked upon).  It means incompatible with the properties of something. 

The property in question is the status and role a supreme court justice.  It is not appropriate for a supreme court judge to mouth off on whatever gets under their skin, much less to fog-horn on behalf or against a political candidate. 

They have an extremely privileged position and one of considerable power (reduced to factors of nine).  When they speak, they speak through their collective judgement.  Some systems do not allow dissents at all.  The privilege allowed in our legal system is to mouth off in a dissent.  That ought to be fucking it. 

The usual sophomoric contribution to anything concerning the Supreme Court is that it is *really* just a *political* institution (usually said with an advertised air of cognoscentia).  Of course it is political but it is political in a JUDICIAL way, within the scope and nature of judicial judgements on legal matters. 

This is not a topic-based limitation.  It is a limitation on method.  The Legislature decides things quantitatively - that is, impulse, “objects of desire” (Brandeis) and number are what control.  The judiciary is supposed to judge things qualitatively — the scope, constraints and fair meaning of words are ultimately what control.  This is just another way of saying the judiciary’s job is to “listen to our ancestors.”

Back in the 1930’s so-called “liberal” jurisprudence became “outcome determinative.”  That is, judicial method became result-oriented.  The technique here was not to listen to the fair import of the past but to dredge up whatever “rationales” (their word) might be served up on an opinion to bullshit the issue toward the desired target. 

Now, these are observations in gross. No legislature works on a purely numerical basis; studies, analyses, legal drafting are part of the process.  All appellate courts factor in number in arriving at a unitary collective judgement. Legal formalism is never impervious the needs of the present and outcome determinism does not necessarily descend in all cases into outright legal cynicism.

The fundamental problem with outcome determinism is that, in looking at a “desired outcome,” it necessarily “politicises” the issue in the wrong way — that is, in a way that is too close to what the legislature does.  When that occurs, the country ends up with a supra-legislature of nine.

From that habit, justices get to thinking that their opinions on this and that are notable and speakable, ipse dixit and fiat verbum. It is inappropriate.

Of late (and as part of the degeneration of virtually everything in the United States), justices seem to think that they can mouth off in front of audiences outside the courtroom.   No doubt, the lust for juicy speaking fees has something to do with it.  Scalia was a notable offender.   Were they to confine these talks to remarks and observations about jurisprudence and the legal system that might be acceptable. Even this is questionable because once they start talking to non-lawyers the palaver becomes unavoidably political, as was the case with Scalia,  or, worse yet, “Oprah-determinative” which is what Gizburg’s latest remarks boiled down to.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reading Hillary's Entrails

For the few who might be interested in what Hillary Clinton might actually try to do as President (as opposed to whatever committee-honed palaver she might serve up to targeted groups as expedience dictates), her May 2013 speech to Banco Itau (Italy) serves as an interesting omen.   As release by wiki-leaks, Hillary said,

"My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere."
Now, although the denizens of the United States might be oblivious to nuance, “open trade” (otherwise known as “free trade”) has been the banner of Liberal hemispheric hegemony since ... well since 1796, at least, when the United States (quietly backed by Britain) induced Spain into signing the Treat of San Lorenzo which granted the U.S. “free sailing” rights down the Mississippi River.  This, of course, was the opening gambit of Manifest Imperialism, which ended up with free-hoofing rights to  California and Oregon.

In 1796, Spain possessed the lion’s share of the hemisphere, and it was the Anglo-American ambition to seize those lands for themselves.  Free-trade was their banner.  To make the point and the objective clear, British Foreign Secretary, George Canning, proposed the announcement of a “doctrine” to President Monroe whereby the United States would declare that the meddling of any European country with the newly independent nations of the Americas would be regarded as a hostile act.  Ipse dixit.

The year the doctrine was unilaterally announced, 1823, was no coincidence.  Argentina had achieved independence in 1818, Venezuela-Bolivia-Chile in 1819 and Mexico, the jewel in the crown, in 1821.  The fruit was ripe for the picking and the U.S. (backed by Britain) wanted it for themselves.

What is called the “independence” of the Ibero-American nations was just a partisan slogan for the collapse of the Spanish Empire.  Spain certainly did not recognize the independence of its colonies. The independence of Mexico was not recognised until 1836; of Chile, not until 1844 and of Argentina not until 1857.  Striking the wedge, the United States and Britain recognised the independence of these countries in...well, as luck would have it, 1823.

Odd how pieces fall together once one bothers to look for the pieces.

The dissolution of the Spanish Empire began in 1808 when Napoleon invaded Spain thereby triggering the War of (Spanish) Independence. 

Tres de Mayo, by Goya

The Borbon monarchs (Charles IV and pretender Ferdinand VII) fled (to France, oddly enough) and Napoleon installed his brother, Joseph, as king-in-place. Spain was firmly divided in opposition!  

The country fell into two camps each as opposed to one another as they were to the French.  On the one hand, there were the ultras who wanted to restore an absolutist Borbon monarchy; and on the other there were the Liberals who wanted to establish a constitutional monarchy reigning over an ultramarine assembly of all Spanish subjects, white and Indian, in Spain and in the Americas.  In 1812, the Liberals promulgated the Constitution of Cadiz.  Article 1 provided, "The Spanish nation is the collectivity of the Spaniards of both hemispheres. Articles 18-21 granted voting rights to Spanish nationals whose ancestry originated from Spain or the territories of the Spanish Empire (i.e. Indians).

Both in Spain and in the Americas, the Constitution was the brainchild of the commercial and provincial classes.  It was opposed by the Absolutists who were (in one guise or another) feudal nobility in favour of official privileges and centralized authority controlling absentee holdings.  These represented the polarities of what would become an Ibero-American civil war between Liberals and Conservatives that would perdure throughout the 19th century on both sides of the Atlantic until ultimately coming to a head in the Spanish Civil War of 1936.

In 1816, the absolutist Ferdinand VII was restored to power and he immediately abrogated the Constitution of 1812 (after promising to abide it).  The Stupid Revocation (as history has not called it) set in motion those class wars in Mexico, Chile and Argentina that are misnomered as “wars of independence.”

Ferdinand VII

Ferdinand’s uncompromising absolutism led to an equally uncompromising repression which was so severe that even his troops revolted (Argentina) or the conservatives themselves got disgusted (Chile and Mexico).  It was that momentary unity-in-disgust that produced the declarations of independence of 1818, 1819 and 1821. 

But the ideological and economic divisions between liberals and conservatives remained.  Since Spain under Ferdinand wasn’t playing ball with anyone, the Liberals no longer had effective counterparts in the Peninsula.  The life-line of official sinecures and privileges were cut off to the conservatives.  In lieu of an absent Spain, the Conservatives looked inwards or vaguely toward France; the Liberals outward and toward the United States.  They would be the darlings of the Monroe Doctrine.

Trade had been the chief economic cause of factionalism. In the 1796-1821 period “Liberal” was virtually synonymous with “smuggler” and “pirate”  — English, U.S., even Spanish.  As smugglers tend to operate from lairs, Liberalism also became associated with “federalism” i.e. state and regional autonomy.

Liberal Privateer, Xavier Mina (financed by English Lords)

In Hispanic, as in Anglo- America, the Crown had placed restrictions on the autonomous industrialization of the colonies. Thus, the question for the Latin American republics was from whom to buy finished goods and/or whether to develop the “internal” market.  The United States itself was hardly “industrialized” and faced much the same problem. 

Following “independence”, conservatives took charge in Mexico, Argentina and Chile, replicating on a national level the centralization Spain had exercised on an imperial one.  Trade is never abolished but in all three countries it was restricted so as to protect the interests of prominent landowners, miners, merchants.

By mid century, the Liberals gained ascendancy.  Chile opened itself to investors from England, Germany and the United States.  Wheat exports to California and Australia were a key component of its economy at this juncture.  Likewise in Argentina, the Liberals adopted an agro-export model highly dependent on trade with England which in turn developed and owned the railroads which transported the goods.  In the 1920’s the U.S. replaced England as Argentina’s chief trading partner (ie. exporter of manufactured goods).

Mexico’s situation was complicated by its proximity to the United States and what “trade” really meant, at first, was simply theft of land.  The Mexican-American wars of 1836 and 1848 were the “infrastructural” foundation of U.S. capitalism.

The subversion of Texas was the first “orange revolution” to be orchestrated by Washington and the “revolt” of Texas was raised under the banner of Liberalism in reaction to an alleged conservative "usurpation" in Mexico.   The keys to California were all but handed over to the Americans by its Liberal governor.  What is now called the “French invasion of Mexico” was the last stand of French supported conservatives against U.S. backed Liberals.  The latter won and Mexico’s “Liberator” (Juarez) and his successor (Porfirio Diaz) proceeded to sell off the country to U.S. investors who by the end of the century owned the railroads, mining and 90% of the economy.

The techniques of infiltration, seduction, subversion and armed intervention worked so well in Mexico that they were repeated seriatim throughout the rest of the hemisphere. Throughout the remainder of the century and into the next, the United States cultivated its surrogates, promoted discord, helped suppress truly popular revolts and extended its hegemony where Spain had once ruled. 

Constable Teddy & His Stick
After the Second World War, the United States refined its tactics. Instead of “sending in the Marines” the U.S. would train and cultivate “institutional relationships” with the Latin American military so that they could do the repressing.  In tandem the U.S. would promote cultural and academic exchanges, the principle purpose of which was to re-indoctrinate the ruling classes with the splendorous virtues of free-market economies operating with open trade and open borders.  (All Mexican presidents since 1980 have been processed through Harvard or Yale.)

Re-indoctrination was required because, although U.S. domination of Central and Caribean America remained uninterrupted, in the mid-20th century, Mexico, Chile and Argentina had taken steps to regain control of their economies, nationalising infrastructure or key sectors and putting protectionist policies in place.  In a word, the Liberals of the 19th century became "Social Democrats" of the 20th.   In Latin America this meant not only regulating the economy for social purposes but nationalising it for the sake of national identity and independence.   The U.S. wars against Germany and Japan allowed Latin America some breathing room but by 1970 “re-liberalization” (aka “privatization” aka resumed U.S. ownership) was back on the table.  President Allende’s murder was the shot-across the nationalist bow.

Most U.S. Americans are oblivious to what their country does in its “own back yard.”  But what any Ibero-American would necessarily hear in Hillary’s honeyed words is an explicitly avowed continuation of U.S. capitalist expansion and hegemony.

However, in using history to read the future, it is important not to get stuck in the past. It is true that, under Obama, the U.S. has continued to seek trade deals with Columbia and other countries; that is, to penetrate, privatize and control their economies through IMF dependency -- a policy which Hillary would presumably continue.  But to speak of U.S. hegemony is something of an anachronism.  As a cohesive nation, the U.S. ceased to exist in 1994, although most U.S. Americans don’t realise it.  Stated simply, U.S. companies were so good at internationalizing themselves that they ceased to be “American” in any substantively national way.  In tandem, the U.S. government ceased to reflect the interests of country of a recognisable people and became simply the “user interface” for and chief enforcer of global capitalism.

Hillary’s “open trade and open borders” is simply a variant of what the Euro-Globalists now call “The Four Freedoms” — that is the free movement of “capital, goods, services and people.”

These freedoms are decked out with all the flowery, floaty sentimentalism of which Kumabaya chanting is capable.  But any idiot ought to be able to figure out that what the four freedoms mean is that trans-national banks, corporations, hedge funds and money men get to buy up whatever they want and people get to scramble from place to place looking for whatever job they can find.

To spell it out:  the four freedoms represent the triumph of a global capitalist class repressing over a vast lumpen labour pool.  That is what Hillary means when she speaks of “powering growth and opportunity for every person.”

Of course being the excalibur huckster she is, the key here depends on the pause. She wants her imbecile followers to hear “growth-and-opportunity for every person” (and most especially our children and their dreams for a better blah blah blah).  What she means, however, is “powering growth for investors [pause] and trickle down chances for everyone else.”

It is not for nothing that Pope Francis said that “capitalism is dung” and if that is the case, then the Vicar of Christ has just told us that Hillary is a dung pusher.   As the liberation-theologian Leonardo Boff put it,

"Development and underdevelopment are two sides of the same coin. All the nations of the Western world were engaged in a vast process of development; however, it was interdependent and unequal, organized in such a way that the benefits flowed to the already developed countries of the "center" and the disadvantages were meted out to the historically backward and underdeveloped countries of the "periphery." The poverty of Third World countries was the price to be paid for the First World to be able to enjoy the fruits of overabundance."
This continues to be the case, although the evolution of global "free trade" now means that the poverty of the Third Class is the price paid for the prosperity of the First Percent.

Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez went further,  In Una Teologia de Liberación he criticised “development” as itself a form of impoverishment which despite its humanistic tissues actually served to sever the connection of people from their land, their culture, their histories and reduced them to efficient, spiritually impoverished units within an impersonalized, uniform mode of production.   According to  Gutierrez,

''Among more alert groups today, what we have called a new awareness of Latin American reality is making headway. They believe that there can be authentic development for Latin America only if there is liberation from the domination exercised by the great capitalist countries, especially by the most powerful, the United States of America.''
Gutierrez wrote that in 1975. But what then appeared to be an issue peculiar to Latin America (or Africa)  has now become an issue for the people of France, Germany, Hungary, England, Italy and, if the gringo would realise it, of the United States itself; for the "great capitalist countries" have themselves ceased to exist, except as agencies of an invisible amorphous power behind them.

By authentic development, Gutierrez also meant more than national development.  He was not just a liberal-turned-social democrat in clerical garb.   He was in fact echoing the conservative theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar,

"Whenever the relationship between nature and grace is severed ... then the whole of worldly being falls under the dominion of 'knowledge', and the springs and forces of love immanent in the world are overpowered and finally suffocated by science, technology and cybernetics. The result is a ... world in which power and the profit-margin are the sole criteria, where the disinterested, the useless, the purposeless is despised, persecuted and in the end exterminated — a world in which art itself is forced to wear the mask and features of technique"
Ultimately, what these theologians call for is a liberation of the economy from the profit-margin and from the cultural reductionism that margin requires.  That call is paradoxical only to capitalists.  

So there it is.  One can fall for the honeyed bullshit of a woman who hires herself out to banks, investors and oil companies or you can take the word of “unrealistic” Catholic theologians.

Hillary is not peddling anything approaching authentic development anywhere.  She is pushing a world of power and profit-margins which promotes neither material development for the targeted countries nor authentic development anywhere.  Anyone who thinks that Hillary has reversed her position on trade treaties must also think that she has given up on her long held dream.  Dream on if you think so.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Turnip threatens Hen!

(and all the cabbages jeered.)

The organized hysteria continues.  On Monday, Donald Trump sought to rally his supporters by invoking the Supreme Court Issue.  This is standard fare for both heads of the hydra (aka “parties”), viz: “if nothing else, the Supreme Court, hangs in the balance... yadda, yadda, yadda.”

True to mantra, Donald Trump noted that the Right to Chose & Carry would be repealed in Hillary got to appoint anti-gun activists to the Court.

"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks," Trump said at a rally. "Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know..."

Once again, the Ink Gates were opened.

New York Times:  Trump Suggests Gun Owners Could Stop Clinton Agenda,

UK Guardian:  Republican hints at assassination of Clinton

CBS: Trumps gun comment interpreted as violent threat against Clinton

NBC: Did Trump just make An Assassination Threat against Clinton?

FBI contacted as Trump could face Criminal Charges for Violent...

FBI set to investigage Trumps Assassination Threat.

The first thing that might be noticed is that almost all of the shrieks resorted to a passive inflection.  They did not say that Trump made a threat but what he said was “seen” as a threat.  In other words,  the actual focus of the reports was less on the words Trump spoke than on a reaction by unnamed people as to what he said. The headlines might just as well have reported: “News Media Reacting Hysterically”  — In fact that was what Reuter’s essentially reported  ("Trump's remarks on gun rights, Clinton unleash torrent of criticism")   Reuter’s being one of the few news sources that still adheres reportorial objectivity.

Chipsters are loathe to throw cold water on the flames, but douse we must.   To begin at the beginning:


A threat is a statement of intent to inflict harm.  (Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [Threat, thret, n. Declaration of an intention or determination to inflict punishment, loss, or pain on another.].)

In many instances a threat takes the form of: If x then y where “y” is some harm, loss, pain, punishment.  The antecedent need not be stated explicitly but can be implied from the circumstances; e.g. where a wife says “I’m leaving you” and husband replies “I’ll fuck you up.” In this situation, the if-part is “adopted” by implication in the husband’s response. 

Similarly, the meaning of the consequent can also be implied from the circumstances, including the overall relationship of the parties. Suppose husband had said, “I’ll fuck you real good.”  Those words in themselves are ambiguous.  Whether they threaten a bad result or a good time depends on the circumstances.  This is why it is said that “all meaning is contextual.”

Suppose the husband had replied “You’ll regret that.” Is that a threat or a statement of hypothesized future fact?  If the tearful, quivering, wife comes into court and, through nose blowings and sobs states that she took it as a threat, does that end the matter?

Of course not. The wife my have experienced actual subjective fear but in a sane and civilized society people are not deprived of liberty on account of another person's purely subjective reactions.  Guilt and punishment are predicated on reasoned and objective factors.

The question becomes whether the wife’s alleged fear was reasonable in the circumstances, and this depends on whether her interpretation of the words themselves was reasonable and whether the words and/or circumstances objectively imparted grounds for taking the “threat” seriously.

In one California case, a teacher accidentally hit a student with a swinging door.  The student — probably a red head — immediately replied with “I’m going to fuck you up.”  The court ruled that a threat had not been made because a reasonable person would have understood that the words were just an angry reaction.  Nothing in the circumstances indicated an actual intent to instill fear in the teacher or a clear likelihood of the threat being carried out imminently.

With these types of situations in mind, a criminal threat is usually defined as existing when:

(1) that the defendant “willfully threaten[ed] to commit a crime” which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, (2) that the defendant made the threat “with the specific intent that the statement . . . is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out,” (3) that the threat – which may be “made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device” – was “on its face and under the circumstances in which it [was] made, . . . . so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat,” (4) that the threat actually caused the person threatened “to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety,” and (5) that the threatened person’s fear was “reasonable” under the circumstances
If one goes through the checklist of factors carefully, paying attention to the English meaning of the words,  it is indisputable that Trump did not threaten Clinton. He was making a wise crack.  Bad taste, perhaps.  Threat? No.

According to op-edist Lucia Graves of the Guardian, Trump was also guilty of inciting the overthrow of democracy:   "I’ve no doubt that it’s an unequivocal call for the use of gun violence to upend democracy."   Graves needs to take a Cool Down pill.


Under the English Common law speech could be outlawed if it had a “tendency to harm public welfare.”  It ought to be evident to anyone that such a standard was entirely arbitrary.  The standard ends up being a modulation between free roaming, hysterical fantasies regarding potential harm against a Precious, Noble, (Endangered) Cherished Good au gout.

Surprisingly, given the acknowledged intent and purpose of the First Amendment, the Common Law rule remained the law in the United States until 1969.

In Patterson v. Colorado,  205 U.S. 454 (1907) the Supreme Court applied the common law rule punish a journalist who had accused judges of acting on behalf of utility companies.

Patterson provoked alarm among judges concerned with constitutional liberties.  One such judge was Learned Hand (that was his name) of the federal district court for the Southern District of New York and partisan of the New Nationalism (aka “Progressive”) movement.  In  Masses Publishing Co. v. Patten , 244 F. 535 (S.D.N.Y. 1917), Hand announced the “imminent incitement” rule.  

Masses was an ultra left magazine sympathetic to the Russian Revolution. The Espionage Act of 1917 punished efforts to interfere with the armed forces and authorized certain forms of censorship, including the mailing of materials considered treasonous or seditious.  When the Postmaster General embargoed the Masses, the magazine sued for an injunction, which Judge Hand issued.

Hand refused to apply the “harmful tendency” rule.  He acknowledged that the magazine’s content might well arouse unrest among the people, causing them to criticize the war effort and the draft, but he held that such causal tendency was insufficient to overcome First Amendment rights.  Hand ruled that “agitation, legitimate as such” could not be equated “with direct incitement to violent resistance.”

Hand’s injunction was overruled by the Circuit Court of Appeal and two circus trials ensued. The trials were emblematic of what the “harmful tendency” rule engenders. Despite Hand’s adjuration (“I do not have to remind you that every man has the right to have such economic, philosophic or religious opinions as seem to him best, whether they be socialist, anarchistic or atheistic”) the jury hung 11 to one for conviction.  The hold out was a socialist and the jury tried to drag him out of court onto the street in order to lynch him.   Hand declared a mistrial. 

At the second trial the prosecutor invoked the image of a dead soldier in France, stating, “He lies dead, and he died for you and he died for me. He died for Max Eastman. He died for John Reed. He died for Merrill Rogers. His voice is but one of a thousand silent voices that demand that these men be punished.”   Again the jury hung.  No further prosecutions ensued but the Masses had been effectively suppressed.

Hand’s decision in Masses v. Patten was a “behind the bench” attempt to influence the Supreme Court to abandon the “harmful tendency” rule.  Unfortunately it did not succeed.

In Schenck v. Unites States 249 U.S. 47 (1919)  the Supreme Court upheld a conviction for handing out leaflets urging draft resistance, a crime.   The leaflets condemned the war as unjust and the draft as a violation of the XIII Amendment. It urged draft age men to “assert” their rights and "not submit to intimidation"
Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Holmes ruled that Schenck’s leaflets had violated the law. He went on to state, “The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that the United States Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree.”

Despite his popular fame, Holmes was not a very careful jurist.  California Chief Justice Roger Traynor once remarked that Holmes “thought he could decide complex issues with a quip.”  For 40 years, it was debated whether or not Holmes had adopted Hand’s test.   The reference to “proximity and degree” suggested that he had.  But  previous sentence, for which the case became famous, was simply a restatement of the “harmful tendency rule.”

Whether Holmes knew what he was doing or not, the confusion arose from his use of the word danger.  A danger is a “potential harm” not an actual one.  A potential harm is indistinguishable from “tendency to harm”     Had Holmes instead  formulated a “clear and present harm” rule, then he would have adopted Hand’s test.   A clear and present harm would be just another way of saying a direct and imminent violation of  law. 
 It was not until 1969 that he Supreme Court announced a standard for protecting free speech that in effect recognized his Masses opinion as law  In Brandenburg v. Ohio 395 U.S. 444 (1969), the court ruled that "the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action.

Justice Hand was posthumously vindicated.

Under the Brandenburg Rule, Trump’s remark was clearly not an imminent incitement.  Trump did not advocate violence against Clinton.  What he said was that maybe Second Amendment people (which can be taken to mean “gun carriers”) might “do something” about Clinton’s Supreme Court appointments, “I don’t know.”  That was not advocating anything.   Even if it had done, it was nothing direct and imminent.

The Supreme Court has sanctioned speech far more violent than Trump's. In  Watts v. United States, 394 U.S. 705 (1969) the Supreme Court held that the statement “If they ever make me carry a rifle, the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.” was not a threat and was protected by the First Amendment.  In NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., (1982) An NAACP spokesman told an audience of Blacks “ that any ‘uncle toms’ who broke the boycott would ‘have their necks broken’ by their own people.”  The Court acknowledged that  this language “might have been understood as inviting an unlawful form of discipline or, at least, as intending to create a fear of violence."  Nevertheless it held that the “emotionally charged rhetoric . . . did not transcend the bounds of protected speech set forth in Brandenburg…"  In words particularly apropos, the Court stated,

"An advocate must be free to stimulate his audience with spontaneous and emotional appeals for unity and action in a common cause. When such appeals do not incite lawless action, they must be regarded as protected speech.
The key is imminence. When words act as an effectual trigger to violence their consequence is imminent.  When the don’t they are covered by the First Amendment. Suppose a group of intoxicated, belligerent Dixie Dumbos are standing on a corner being rowdy.  A Black man is seen walking on the other side of the street and  one of the dumbos cries out: "A nigger! Let’s go get the nigger and teach him a lesson.”  Those words imminently incite an illegal harm.  Someone declaiming at a rally or writing in a blog that "mud people" should be run out of white neighbourhoods does not imminently incite anything. 

Over and over again those who are offended by a particular remark resort to the argument that the words they found offensive “inculcated” an “attitude” or a “culture” which “leads to” violence.  Though decked out in a lot of impressive sounding sociological babble or uttered in the knowing tones of those who deem their truths to be self-evident, the law correctly rejects such rationalizations for limiting free speech. 

As James Madison said years ago.

"It could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency."  (Federalist Paper 10.)
Any attempt to punish speech on the grounds that it might or even will engender  "inapproprite" or anti-social "attitudes,"  "beliefs" or "ideologies" is simply an attempt to silence opposition.   Invariably the power-grab is made in the name of public safety. 

In the present case, the political and press establishments are a hydra united in an endeavour to destroy the Trump candidacy. That is their right, but the means they are choosing to do so are the means that have always been resorted to by witchunters and repressive  regimes.  While the politicians and the press can legitimately criticise Trump for appalling immaturity, to whip the flames of hysteria over a non existent threat or incitement is an imminent danger of its own. 

Image of a Republic


Saturday, July 16, 2016

The only thing we have to fear...

Is government itself. 

In the wake of the horrendous Nice killings, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic were quick to pounce on the event in order to further their police state agendas by instilling the populace with the fear of an ever present, undetectable “terrorist threat” — in short by peddling ghosts. 

In the immediate aftermath of the horror, there were virtually no details about the assailant.  Before it was even known that he was a “French-Tunisian,”  Obama declaimed, “I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice,”  

On what basis did it “appear to be”?  Given the U.S.’s experience with gun-toting lunatics, an American must certainly know that not every mass-killer is a “terrorist.” 

A tad more nuanced was Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May who said, “If, as we fear, this was a terrorist attack we must redouble our efforts [against] those who seek to destroy our way of life.”  May added, that “a terrorist attack on the UK is highly likely.”

A terrorist attack on the U.K. might be likely, but the present issue was whether the incident in Nice could be taken to be an indicator of that likelihood. May’s statement put two fruits on the table (voilá!) but failed to explain any connection between them. 

Similarly, France’s president, François Hollande spoke of the attack as having a “terrorist character” before going on to declaim against “terrorism” while extending the state of emergency that had been about to expire.  In speaking this way, Hollande engaged in pure sophistry.  His statement ought not to have fooled anyone but it certainly fooled the press whose character appears more and more to be that of terrified geese.

In the days following the incident, press and politicians (who are now merely manifestations of the same underlying phenomenon), sought to make up the evidentiary deficit with almost vaudevillian tabloid slurs.

The assailant was a “loner” with a “history of violence” who “allegedly beat his wife” and whose apartment contained fake weapons and “more documents.”

"He is a terrorist, probably linked to radical Islam one way or another,"  Prime minister Valls told France 2 television. “Yes, it is a terrorist act and we shall see what links there are with terrorist organizations."

Did anyone think to ask how Vals could say it was a terrorist act without there being any known links to terrorist organizations?

Evidently not.  Instead, the press decried the “failure” of the  French Security Forces.  The New York Daily News stating that “The fact he was not on the watch list will be of grave concern as an investigation into last year’s Paris attacks identified multiple failings by France’s intelligence agencies.

A watch list for what?  A watch list for spousal discord, relabeled “marital terrorism”?

Inspector Clouseau notwithstanding,  Securité is not a bunch of incompetents.  The fact that they didn’t detect any “links” even though he was known to police indicates not a failure of investigation but rather the absence of links.

As of July 16th “authorities have not found links to terror groups or evidence of radicalisation.”  That did not give any pause to Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s interior minister, who pronounced that the killer most certainly was « radicalisé très rapidement »  

Indeed!  He was suddenly radicalized just moments before the attack.  This sort of thing happens, you know.

What is truly choice is that Cazeneuve can’t cite any evidence that Bouhlel was in anyway interested in Islam or ISIS or Middle east politics.  It cannot even be argued that “radical islamic propaganda” was festering and steaming in his brain until suddenly it reached a critical mass in his consciousness causing him to mow down bystanders in a instantaneous murderous “epiphany”

What is known is that he was was a petty criminal who drank alcohol, ate pork, took drugs  and never attended the small mosque near his block of flats. He was something of a cunt hound and was rumoured to have beat his wife.  He got kicked out the house and fell into depression for which he was taken to a psychiatrist by his father.   His actual criminal record consisted of petty theft and a road rage battery when he slammed another driver with an “improvised weapon” — i.e. one of the wooden pallets he has in the back of his truck.
The simple facts are that modern society engenders a great deal of alienation and at the same time furnishes a wide spectrum of lethal instrumentalities for misuse.  This incident had everything to do with societal dysfunction and nothing to do with terrorism.

Of course, ISIS is always there to rescue Western politicians from their hysterical inanity. According to the UK Guardian, “ In an online statement through news agency Amaq, it described the attackers [sic] as one of its “soldiers” carrying out the “operation in response to calls to target nationals of states that are part of the coalition fighting Islamic State”

The only thing this statement proved is that ISIS is quick to seize any opportunity to puff up its strength and advance its agenda of fear.
What is dismal is that Western politicians have the same agenda.  ISIS wants to fan the flames of fear and Western governments want to use those flames to tighten their police grip on society.   We’ve seen, before, the symbiotic relationship between subversives, anarchists, disaffected loners and the apparatus of the state.

Manuel Vals has been on our shit-list ever since he called for a "total war" against terrorism in January of this year.    Beware the Ides, when politicians start sounding like Goebbels

Post Script (18 July 2016)

French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, admitted to day that links between the Nice killer and ISIS  have "yet to be established."  

Meanwhile, attending a memorial ceremony in Nice, prime minister Manuel Vals was roundly and loudly booed for minutes on end.   The gist of the disapproval was that Vals and his government were "incompetents."  

He got what he bargained for.  Had he not been cynically pumping this incident up as an act of terrorism he would not have been booed, because no one would hold the government responsible for failing to detect the act of a lone, nutcase, who could hardly be expected to be on Securité's radar.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Monsanto's Niebelung

Obama is in the United Kingdom pushing the idea that he is tickled pink by Little Prince George and that Britain’s exit from the European Common Market would be a disaster

A disaster to what?  Well... “it could be” — he says —five to ten years before Britain could negotiate its own trade deal apart from any trade deal with the Common Market.

The trade deal Obama has in mind is the TTIP  the Atlantic version of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Obama’s tinsel tongue pushes both trade deals as a win win situation in which everyone trades even more furiously than they do now and everyone makes money, money, money. Good, good, good. Happy, happy, happy.

Obama lies. There is already plenty of trade between the United States, Europe and Asia. When Obama says that the trade deals will open up “market access” what he means is that various regional or national laws concerning the environment, health, safety and labor conditions will be swept away making it easier for predatory corporations to sell their goods.

To give a simple example. In order to protect the bee population and its own citizens from cancer, the E.U. passes a law forbidding the sale of products produced with Roundup. As a result, ecocidal Monsanto-Wheat cannot be sold in Europe.  The TTIP “frees up” trade by trashing Europe’s health and environmental regulations.

Not only does the TTIP do away with the regulation, to make sure Monsanto gets to peddle its poison, the treaty would also do away with citizen’s rights to challenge regulations in European courts.  The treaty will restrict judicial and legislative action and transfer actual judicial and ministerial governance to secret, corporate-run “arbitration” boards which would be more aptly called Corporate Courts & Councils.

It was recently pointed out by Robert Reich that neither of the trade treaties have anything to do with actual trade.   As a point of detail, Reich is right. But he misses the overall picture.  The trade deals are the ultimate reductio ad absurdum of liberalism.

The word “liberal” was invoked by the bourgeois revolutionists of the 18th and 19th centuries because the essence of their advocated political-economy was to “free up” trade from so-called “feudal encumbrances.”  Of course feudal encumbrances was just a popular whipping goat. What really irked the capitalist class was a wide range of customs, laws, policies that subordinated the act of acquisition and money making to “higher” civic, moral and national goals.  Let trade proceed unrestrained governed only by the invisible hand of what the market will bear!  So what if children haul coal for pence a day, exchange value is the unum bonum

No State shall...pass any Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts

By the end of the 19th century even the most politically conservative realized that this trumpeting of moneyed egotism was an anti-social dead end.  Under various names and guises anti-liberal programmes of “regulating” the economy once again came into vogue.

With regard to civil authority, Leo XIII (1891), boldly breaking through the confines imposed by Liberalism, fearlessly taught that government must not be thought a mere guardian of law and of good order, but rather must put forth every effort so that "through the entire scheme of laws and institutions . . . both public and individual well-being may develop spontaneously out of the very structure and administration of the State." Just freedom of action must, of course, be left both to individual citizens and to families, yet only on condition that the common good be preserved and wrong to any individual be abolished. The function of the rulers of the State, moreover, is to watch over the community and its parts; but in protecting private individuals in their rights, chief consideration ought to be given to the weak and the poor. "For the nation, as it were, of the rich is guarded by its own defenses and is in less need of governmental protection, whereas the suffering multitude, without the means to protect itself relies especially on the protection of the State. Wherefore, since wageworkers are numbered among the great mass of the needy, the State must include them under its special care and foresight." -- Pope Pius XI, Quadressimo Anno  (1931)

What was realized was that the “right of contract” did not enshrine arms-length equality but, on the contrary, enforced gradually increasing inequality. If in any given exchange one party got the benefit of the bargain, the other must necessarily bear its loss.  On the second exchange those two parties are no longer negotiating from positions of equality but from legally enshrined positions of inequality, so that

To he who hath more shall be given; to he who hath not even that which he hath shall be taken away.

What made the hand invisible was that the inequality inherent capitalist accumulation was often shifted, displaced, hidden or simply bullshitted away from particularized view.  Many small exchanges are indeed barters where one useful item is traded for another. Even where money is used as a medium the completion of an exchange of useful items is merely deferred.  But money does not grow on trees.  Where the objective of the transaction is to make a profit, not simply to exchange things of particular use, the increased value acquired simply cannot come from an exchange of equal values.  Some party has to bear a decreased return.

The vicious canard of capitalism is that “freedom of contract” almost eo instante translates into “servitude of obligation.”  The happy bonhomie at loan signing quickly turns into snarling shylockery  when a payment is missed.    This was in fact well understood which is why the cited constitutional provision and similar provisions in various civil codes are phrased not in terms of "freedom" but of "obligation."

Neo-liberalism takes the game further.  Contractual rights no longer mean the right to insist upon the payment of an obligation, but rather the right to exact an annualized or expected profit.  This is what the law of patents and copyright have  turned into.  A supposedly civil society, inter pares, has been turned into a scrambling mass of debtors, renters, licensees, beholden to algorithms for their daily needs.   This is what the CEO of Nestlé means when he says, “there is no right to public water.

Obama’s vaunted trade deals turn the Rule of Nestlé into global law.  Free trade means your right to be obligated in perpetuity.   The provisions of the trade treaties have been kept secret and their enactment has been fast tracked because what they actually do is establish global corporate economic despotism.  Rule by the same “folks” (an Obambi-word) that have brought you fracking, deforestation, desertification, polluted waters, global warming, mass-extinction, animal torture and cruelty, dis-employment, sub-subsistence wages,  guaranteed life-time debt-servitude, child labor, medical bankruptcy, and, in general, the dystopian hell that lies on the horizon.
And like a pedo-predator sweet talking a little child, Obama has the cunning and gall to tell young folks to “be optimistic.”

©WCG, 2016