« May 2012 | Main | July 2012 »

June 2012 Archives

June 1, 2012

Best news I've had in a while

Apparently MoveOn is going into triage mode, according to a characteristically hysterical email which just came panting into my inbox, like an asthmatic pigeon closely pursued by a rabid wolverine:

Dear MoveOn member,

With November fast approaching, we need to make some hard decisions about which campaigns we can afford to take on, and which ones we'll have to sit out.

There are so many important races this year. Of course there's the presidential election. But the U.S. Senate is up for grabs, too. There's the Scott Walker recall in Wisconsin. If we can elect Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, that will be huge.

It's like picking which of your kids you love the most. I just can't do it.

But I'll be honest—if we can't increase our budget, we're going to have to pull the plug now on some absolutely crucial campaigns.

"Like picking which of your kids you love the most"? Wow. These people are deeply sick. Or perhaps they just don't have any kids, and don't know what they're talking about.

red plenty


an imagined narrative of twilight gosplan theory
by some brit bum fuck named Spufford

gets a slow spin at this blog wallow


in the likely hood no one here gets to the end of this post by cosma
here it is:

"There is a fundamental level at which Marx’s nightmare vision is right: capitalism, the market system, whatever you want to call it, is a product of humanity, but each and every one of us confronts it as an autonomous and deeply alien force. Its ends, to the limited and debatable extent that it can even be understood as having them, are simply inhuman. The ideology of the market tell us that we face not something inhuman but superhuman, tells us to embrace our inner zombie cyborg and loose ourselves in the dance. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry or running screaming.

But, and this is I think something Marx did not sufficiently appreciate, human beings confront all the structures which emerge from our massed interactions in this way. A bureaucracy, or even a thoroughly democratic polity of which one is a citizen, can feel, can be, just as much of a cold monster as the market. We have no choice but to live among these alien powers which we create, and to try to direct them to human ends. It is beyond us, it is even beyond all of us, to find “a human measure, intelligible to all, chosen by all”, which says how everyone should go. What we can do is try to find the specific ways in which these powers we have conjured up are hurting us, and use them to check each other, or deflect them into better paths. Sometimes this will mean more use of market mechanisms, sometimes it will mean removing some goods and services from market allocation, either through public provision7 or through other institutional arrangements8. Sometimes it will mean expanding the scope of democratic decision-making (for instance, into the insides of firms), and sometimes it will mean narrowing its scope (for instance, not allowing the demos to censor speech it finds objectionable). Sometimes it will mean leaving some tasks to experts, deferring to the internal norms of their professions, and sometimes it will mean recognizing claims of expertise to be mere assertions of authority, to be resisted or countered.

These are all going to be complex problems, full of messy compromises. Attaining even second best solutions is going to demand “bold, persistent experimentation”, coupled with a frank recognition that many experiments will just fail, and that even long-settled compromises can, with the passage of time, become confining obstacles. We will not be able to turn everything over to the wise academicians, or even to their computers, but we may, if we are lucky and smart, be able, bit by bit, make a world fit for human beings to live in."

i'd like to see comments on this fat lady hee hawing

in particular from this sites blackest unflinching anarchists

why ?

because whether you join in or not

the active tenth of humanity
albeit in hunks at cross purposes
will be implausibly building drafts of the future
out of the retained and recorded wreckage of the past

Evolution, schmevolution

Sometimes I'm amazed at what mere liberals in Bolshie's clothing some of my Marxist comrades are. Every so often, I get a communication from some red-hot Red like the following:

Subject: 46 percent of Americans think that the earth is less than 10, 000 years old
> A reminder that the revolution is not around the corner.
> http://ncse.com/news/2012/06/latest-gallup-poll-evolution-007431
Hmmm. Dunno. Cromwell & Co did pretty well, though they were great Bible readers.

Evolution (and 'science' generally; not to mention 'progress') are liberal fetishes, really, and have nothing to do with the revolutionary disposition. In fact I would argue that caring deeply about whether or not people believe in these idols of the caste is more reactionary than otherwise; it insists upon a fideistic acquiescence to expert opinion. Very middle-class, really.

I'm always amused, in talking with people for whom belief in evolution is a big totem, to discover how little they actually know about the subject, in most cases. Reference to the problematic character of ideas like 'inclusive fitness' usually draw a very blank stare.

Evolution as taught in the high schools of this broad land is a deeply vulgar doctrine -- so vulgar it makes vulgar Marxism look relatively refined. It leaves people with a few catch phrases -- like 'survival of the fittest', with its muffled implicit justification for meritocracy and its theodicy of 'competition' -- and a vague belief that Nature labors under a need to optimize; that mammals represent an improvement on molluscs, and so on. It's a kind of secular religion, with rather clear political implications, and bears no resemblance whatsoever to the actual science of evolutionary biology, which like all good science abounds in quandaries, paradoxes, and perplexities in proportion to the immense value of its fundamental insights.

June 3, 2012

as the moor once wrote ....

while the english are the tops at buggaring others
the irsh have a genius for buggaring themselves

or something like that ...

a few days back this great truth was dmonstrated again and in finest fashion

on the last day in May
50% of the irish vote eligible citizenry turned out for a collective choice

vote no and say" fuck you "
to the masters of europe
or vote yes to taking it up the general arse

by 6 to 4 they choose taking it in the arse

in fact a whole protocal of taking it in the arse
on a regular basis
taking it till their collective bung hole could handle a mongol invasion

let us hope the proud acheans show the brass cubes old ireland seemingly lacks

now i hasten to drop in here

We Paines have more then a dab of irish injection
and saints preserve us
we try to carry on jaw set
nose to the wind despite it

but comes news like this ...and the Paine head
doth dolorously shake

as if it were
the soul's last door
swinging slowly silently solemly

an unhinged sligo gate
turning in a torrid vernal breeze


ohbomneycare uni-mandate strike down...count down

isn't it june some time the supremes will make the last call here ?

and why wasn't romneycare challengede at the federal level on the same grounds ?

i despise legal bagel rolls spent way to much time on lawyers in deposition and court
to find this a recreational pursuit

but i know the state supremes shot down the challenge to the state madate
but isn't it a federal protection too ?

let the side walk shysters'
long nose arguments begin !!!!!!!!!!!

June 4, 2012

Line up, y'all

Some fallout from a recent discussion of crypto-liberalism on the Left got me thinking, not for the first time, about the way many of my fellow Lefties seem to see the world. It's literally one-dimensional, for them, like the number line. There are Righties whose sign is positive, Lefties whose sign is negative, and a less than infinitesimal zero at the center(*).

Everybody has a position on the line, and A's position is either to the right of B's or to the left. A red-hot Trotskyite -- let's say, one of the one members of the Projectile Tendency -- is well to the left of a liberal, but even farther to the left of some poor schmuck who doesn't believe in evolution.

Since this is a one-dimensional world, it follows that liberals lie between Comrade Projectile and Mr Schmuck, and if Mr Schmuck could be nudged a little closer to being a liberal -- if he could be sent to a camp and made to believe in evolution, for example -- well, that would be a good thing, wouldn't it? The center of gravity would have shifted a bit closer to Comrade Projectile. Revolution would then be more likely. Or less unlikely, at any rate.

There's a not-quite-logical, but very compelling lemma: If Mr Schmuck remains obdurate about evolution, then revolution is impossible. I give up. These people are so fucking stupid. Pearls before swine.


(*) There's something to be said for that part, I admit.

June 5, 2012


(This was the first, absolutely the first image that Google gave me. Honest.)

In connection with the recent Great Evolution Inquisition among my Lefty comrades, a branch discussion emerged about Fundies, or Evangelicals, or tub-thumpers, or literalists, or what-you-will. Everybody knows who we're talking about, right?

Wrong. Here's one of my Red correspondents -- let's call him Strelnikov:

For the past 15 years at least, I try to spend at least an hour a week listening to AM radio religious stations that feature shows like "Focus on the Family", a key element of this movement. It is truly toxic stuff.
Of course, the first question that leaps to mind is: For God's sake -- or rather, for Marx's sake -- why? It's really difficult for me to imagine a worse and more useless way to spend your time than listening to Focus On The Family. It won't tell you anything about the world, and it's no fun.

Strelnikov disagrees on at least one count, though: he believes it's informative to put himself through this ordeal. (We shall return to the question of fun in a moment.)

Strelnikov is a born and bred secular New York Jew and I bet he hasn't met many people who take the Bible seriously -- least of all the New Testament, as we shgutzim presumptuously call it. So he really thinks Focus On the Family is informative. He thinks it tells him something about the thought processes and feelings of Bible-readers and Darwin-doubters in flyover country.

Now this is an elementary error. Focus on The Family is a radio product; that is, it's a commercial enterprise with a political angle. It's a show; everything on it is contrived and scripted. It's a fishing boat, and the "Fundies" -- for lack of a better word -- are the fish. Some come into the net, of course, and others do not.

Strelnikov has never swum with the fish in question; he knows nothing at all about their lives and feelings and thought processes. What does a trawler tell you about fish, except that they can be caught and sold?

Now let's come back to the question of fun. I think -- maybe this is harsh and cynical of me, but I still think it -- that Strelnikov actually gets some fun out of listening to Focus On The Family. It's hard to believe that somebody would do something week after week, year after year, without getting some fun out of it. And I think the fun comes from feeling superior to these poor benighted souls.

June 6, 2012

the pap syndrome ? is that what ails white male wage class types ?

ya ya ya the bulk of our white wage earning males
don't want no stinkin' "state" help
no public unions


my reference class since 1975 has been
white --high school only -- males
in their dixie red neck and northern cathoholic varients

this motley grouping
jumps to the GOP-- in the minds of secular humanists ( SH) --
because they are bigotry bent benighted angry oafs
with handles on their heads so big
even a rich baby prick like bush II can carry them almost anywhere

all clown crap ..of course

takes no wizards of agit prop
not even evil hand trolls like
pat buuu cannon mr rove or that dead atwater cat

yes they all were following clever sounding
blue prints from the nixon era
busily placing wedges
between these human lumps with yellow teeth
the moldering new deal coalition

christ this bilge about them defiantly
voting themselves a pay cut ?

more SH clown crap......

the new deal coaltion was dismantled by the Demcrat party core
during the carter administration

call it the cardigan sell out

---no not b4 that
despite warning signs since ballot day 1966--

and since then
since the jimmy jimmy fuck over
its all been a matter of refinements

now there's a grand new strategy..

the Brain bugs of the party core celebrate
based on a forecasted
coming national minority majority

imagine that
this nasty prison republic
into a democracy with a structural majority of the oppresed

tthe thought:

this for sure for sure big shift
will allow the Dembots to sit on their hands
and talk identity politics
and just wait it out

wait till demographic dynamics hand em back the country
franklin and eleanor ruled so convincingly for 12 years

that is
so long as their flying monkees of the populist outlands
promptly suffocate anything left of a law degree from the ivy league

cut the medicare docs fees by 20%

"the 1997 Balanced Budget Act was designed to hold down Medicare costs by setting yearly and cumulative spending targets. If actual spending exceeds the target for a given year, reimbursement rates for doctors are lowered the next year....
Expenditures have exceeded projections for the past seven years
and Congress has passed legislation to override the fix all seven years"

so hack em now !!!!

tempted ?

i am.... but ...going after the merit class extra-ord-in-aire not say... big pharma
proly amounts to fools gold class revenge
when our eyes oughta be on corporate medicine

of course the dembots want to fix this once and for all ..they love the Welby set
just like they love that nadir of misguided merit.... the trial lawyers
--- aka the beneficent league of ambulance chasers --

i must admit if it came to a choice i'd smot the Welbys first

the contingency shysters
are a pack of dollar hounds much more to my liking

the price tag here up or down ?
25 billion a year
or less then 1/6 th of one percent of gdp on average over the next ten years ...

but think of the howling ?

that starts my motor

ahhh but i must retain my pwogressive orientation
and wage class discipline

but ohh i can hear them now
only the bleet of gored tenured professors
would be a sweeter music to my hideous pink ear

Once more, the people prove unworthy of the process

M'sieu l'Maire, quoi donc que c'est qu'un bibiscite ?
- C'est un mot latin qui veut dire oui. (*)

Doug Henwood had some good things to say about the (entirely predictable) Wisconsin debacle:

.... the horrible mistake of channelling a popular uprising into electoral politics.... It’s the same damn story over and over. The state AFL-CIO chooses litigation and electoral politics over popular action, which dissolves everything into mush.
It did seem kind of amazing that they ran somebody against Walker who had already lost to him. But isn't that the Democrats for you in a nutshell? The graveyard of activism, as a pal of mine calls the dear old Donkle.

Here's a bit more of old Daumier on the electoral process:

The machine may be unfamiliar: it's a kind of old-fashioned mousetrap, a guillotine or garrote in reverse.


(*) Mistah Mayah, so what's this blebiscite thing?
-- It's a Latin word that means 'yes'.

June 7, 2012

The law-abider is a ass

From the indispensable Black Agenda Report:

  • Mass movements have political demands anchored in the deeply shared values of their core constituencies.
  • Mass movements look to themselves and their shared values for legitimacy, not to courts, laws or elected officials. A mass movement consciously aims to lead politicians, not to be led by them.
  • Mass movements are civilly disobedient, and continually maintain the credible threat of civil disobedience. They inspire and embolden large numbers of ordinarily nonpolitical souls to engage in personally risky behavior in support of the movement's political demands.
  • Mass movements are supported by lots of vertical and horizontal communication reinforcing its core values.
  • Mass movements capture the energy, enthusiasm and risk taking spirit of youth. Nobody ever heard of a mass movement of old or even middle aged people.
The core elements of union organizing and union activity are in effect illegal in the United States. Does it not therefore follow that effectual union activity, if there is to be any such thing, must disregard legality?

It's an interesting question whether substantial social transformation -- of the type that most readers of this blog would like to see -- is possible at all without a healthy labor movement. Personally I'm inclined to doubt it.

how to succeed in ohbummers amerika


u may have missed this
its by my favorite poison ivy merit slut

cathy rumpoliowitz

"a survey of high school graduates of the classes of 2006-11 who do not have college degrees and are not enrolled in school full time"

"Seven in 10 of these recent graduates said they would need more education if they were to have a successful career"

i need one of father Smiffs latin ttags here don't I ?

and a picture of my darling cathy R

June 8, 2012

Vorax mater

An old pal, who lives about a mile uptown from me, writes as follows:

Did you hear about the multiple murder up here on 122nd Street, in a car parked outside the Manhattan School of Music?

All the reports, probably all cribbed from The New York Times, refer to a crime "just blocks from Columbia University."

Apparently being right in front of the music school, around the corner from Riverside Church, and a block away from both the Jewish and Union seminaries is of no interest compared to the threat to Columbia students.

Not to mention you and your neighbors, brother, with institutional affiliations and without.

This is a somewhat specialized case of what is technically known -- in my house, anyway -- as the Colin Ferguson Startle Reflex. Colin Ferguson, you may recall, if you are old enough, is the fellow who suddenly pulled out a gun 20 years ago, or so, on the Long Island Railroad, and shot up a bunch of commuters. (Having spent more time than I would like on the LIRR myself, I admit to a certain sympathy for the guy.)

Reactions were of course sought from various Long Islanders. To a man, and woman, they responded with variations on a single theme: This is not supposed to happen here. In the city, among the schvartzers, okay, but Long Guyland is supposed to be safe. That's why I paid so much for my butt-ugly(*) house and my three-hour commute!

Just so: car shootups in Harlem used to be routine -- hardly worth reporting on, except to deplore the mores of the schvartzers. But now that Harlem is suddenly 'just blocks' from Columbia -- thanks to Clodumbia's own metastatic growth -- the Colin Ferguson reflex comes into play.

Perhaps Columbia should hire George Zimmerman to organize a neighborhood watch.


(*) Why do we say that? Okay, some butts are ugly, but others are very much the reverse. Why don't we say 'face-ugly'?

June 9, 2012

The boy stood on the burning deck...

... whence all around had fled.

There's been a sharp drop-off in the number of group emails and Facebook posts, among my acquaintance, about the upcoming Most Important Election In The History Of The Cosmos Since The Last Most Important Election In The History Of The Cosmos (lather, rinse, repeat). Even the true believers seem to have caught the prevailing malaise -- and not a minute too soon. Great thing, malaise. Need more of it.

There are a few exceptions, though -- a few boys and girls on the burning deck, who will certainly go down with the ship, bless their stubborn hearts. Here's one such -- let's call her Aristeia:

There's no alternative to giving the Dems a chance at a second, it is hoped more positive and successful term, rather than delivering the country directly into the hands of the Republicans. The lesser of two evils is a concept without which daily life in the real world would be untenable.
Much to unpack here, implicit in a few well-chosen words.

There's no alternative? Of course there is. There are several. Among them is the alternative of deciding that the electoral game is simply not worth the candle; that whatever marginal and completely hypothetical benefit might be derived from an Obie II simply isn't -- in purely personal terms -- worth the expense of spirit in a waste of shame that one incurs by apologizing or voting for this murderous monster.

More positive and successful? Are they the same thing? Obie has been quite successful in imposing austerity and building up the police state -- not to mention the unspeakable horror of education "reform", and on and on: the list is endless. These are real successes, but are they positive? If one expects something "positive" from Obie II, must one not rather hope for failure?

(The only 'positive' thing in his first term was defeat in Iraq. Go Iran!)

Delivering the country into the hands of the Republicans? I would have said the country already is in the hands of the Republicans, and Aristeia apparently thinks so too, since she tells me elsewhere that all the bad stuff that happened under Obie I was forced on him by... guess who. From the point of view of the boy on the deck, is it not a question of arguing about the figurehead while neglecting the fires?

The lesser evil as indispensable concept. It certainly is indispensable to the carney-barkers who keep the electoral circus running. Suppose they gave an election and nobody came?

At this point somebody will consult a cue card and mention gay marriage. Probably this issue doesn't loom as large in my personal landscape as it should. I've never proposed to a guy without being turned down flat, which has probably soured me on the whole topic. Indeed the entire marriage racket, gay or dour, is beginning to seem rather uncalled-for. Let cohabitation thrive, of course, but let's keep Bumble the Beadle out of it. Boycott elections! Boycott marriage!

Down with marriage...

... gay or otherwise.

I don't mean cohabitation, of course: the fragrant familiar head on the neighboring pillow, the near-telepathy of a glance exchanged, the shared child-breeding and child-herding, should you be that way inclined.

Nor do I mean the marriage rites: the priestly stole around the wrists, the vows, the ceremonial kiss, the raunchy humor of the toasts. The honeymoon, bless it.

What I mean is marriage as a legal institution -- a thing in which the state inexplicably has an interest.

What is that about? I'm sure it's been written of. But for those of us who think old Dr Karl was on the right track -- that the State is just an emanation of class relations -- what are we to make of this bizarrely elaborated institution, with its special body of law, its rigid protocols as to the gender and number, if not tense and aspect, of people who can be married? Why on earth were the Mormons so persecuted for polygamy? What good does all this folderol do for the capitalists? Isn't it quite simply all cost?

The institution has a long history, of course. In antiquity it seems to have mediated or articulated alliances among clans. In the early Middle Ages, among the common folk, it seems to have been little regarded; even the Church took hardly any notice. Then the custom arose of having marriages blessed at the church door; later the ceremony moved into the church itself; and finally you get the top-heavy legal apparatus of marriage, divorce, annulment and so on, for everybody from king to stableboy, enforced at first by the Church as a kind of state franchise, and now directly by the state itself, with the unspeakable horrors of divorce court and something called, with grim humor, Family Court, at least in this high-minded blue state.

Cui bono? Who exactly benefits from all this superstructure? I'm baffled.

June 11, 2012

Obromney vs. Rombama (1 of an N-part series)

Somebody in my household -- I don't know who; nobody will 'fess up -- subscribes to the New Yorker. The latest had -- besides a very amusing cover, which it took me a minute to understand -- a mighty thumbsucker on the prospects for an Obama second term:

Obama has an ambitious second-term agenda, which, at least in broad ways, his campaign is beginning to highlight. The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change....
I laughed so hard at this I nearly fell off my chair. Climate change! Oh please! Is there a three-year-old anywhere in this broad land prepared to swallow such a bare-faced whopper? This narrowly myopic, cynical, on-the-make Chicago machine politician wants us to believe he wants to do something about climate change? Jeez, where do you start?

Let's begin with the obvious fact that there is a clear elite consensus to do nothing whatsoever about climate change, apart from a little greenwashing of exposed flesh from the neck up; below the collar, it's the same old reeking noisome insalubrious territory -- cheap oil, endless driving, and the BTUphagous suburban house. But we are to think that sometime next November, once safely re-elected, Obie is going to fall off his horse on the road to Damascus -- the literal Joe Biden road to Damascus, I fear -- and decide to defy elite opinion? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

Presumably this little global-warming lullaby is directed at the Dembot base. Now normally the base only needs cultivating during primary season, and since Obie didn't face any primaries, he was in a fine position to tell the base to go fuck its collective self -- which he more or less did, in fact.

Now that the election is starting to look a lot less like a shoo-in, however, the question of turnout looms large. Obie's eleventh-hour conversion to gay marriage -- without, of course, any concrete initiatives to accompany it -- and these soft cooing noises about climate change look very much like ways to get a few more dependable Democratic voters hobbling out in their walkers.

What's next? Free Lexapro? Don't be discouraged!

June 12, 2012

North of the Border

This just in, from one of our far-flung correspondents:


Comrade Smith,

Here's your Senior Merkin Correspondent in Montreal reporting on the situation.

Hours away from New York City, the site of the first Occupy event, a far more effective movement has caught the government by surprise.

No, I’m not talking about the U.S. government. I’m talking about the Quebec government, where the 17 week long student strike has become the longest lasting strike in the history of Quebec.

The strike was called back in February in response to the government’s move to raise college and university tuition by $325 a year for the next consecutive 5 years. The three major Student Federations in Quebec mobilized and called for a strike vote. The schools that got the majority vote went on strike and put up the picket lines. As of now, well over 150,000 Quebec students are on strike. Since then, there have been massive demonstrations, countless violent clashes with the police (two students suffered the loss of an eye), mass arrests, and nightly protests. Here’s how Jesse Rosenfeld sums up the situation in his article in AlterNet:

“More than 100 days of strike for 160,000 students has brought hundreds of thousands people into the streets. The backing of professors' unions, major labor federations and community groups has bolstered the movement. It is a conflict that has seen fierce clashes with police in Montreal's streets, at the governing Liberal Party’s congress meeting and on campus picket lines. As police use rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, concussion grenades, batons and mass arrests, protesters have dug in their heels. Police charges have been increasingly met by overpowering numbers of protesters repelling or swarming their lines, returning teargas canisters or hurling rocks and bottles as the riot squad forcefully attempts to end protests.”
Unlike the Occupy movement, they have a clear and concise demand along with a formal plan on how to achieve that. Not only they are rejecting the fee hike but also they have presented a detailed plan to the government on how to get the needed funds in lieu of the tuition increase. They do have leaders although they call them “spokespersons” who are elected democratically by the Federation members. During negotiations with the government, they did not accept or reject a weak compromise that was offered by the government. Instead, they put it up to the members’ vote who rejected it.

All along the support for the student cause has been mixed. At one point the public support totally plummeted when a few students put out smoke bombs in the metro stations and shut down the entire Montreal subway system for hours (I guess they missed the French version of Chris Hedges' denunciation of violence!).

But then the government overplayed its hand and passed "Law 78", which became a turning point for the students’ movement. Believe it or not, up until then, Quebecers had the right to assembly anytime and anywhere without having to get permits or notify the police. I will never forget when I first arrived here and for the first time in my life I saw consecutive daily demonstrations. I remember at the time I thought to myself, wow, these guys are pretty efficient, they get their demonstration permits pretty fast! Little did I know that they didn’t need a permit. Law 78 changed that altogether and it now requires demonstrators to notify the police of their route in advance.

That’s what infuriated the Quebecers and turned them around. As Jesse Rosenfeld states in his excellent article:

“Outraged at the law and the police violence and mass arrests during the night time demonstrations, impromptu evening neighborhood marches of residents banging pots and pans has taken off. Inspired by the Argentinian protest against austerity following the 2001 economic collapse, the marches quickly spread across the city and province, carrying social frustration against an increasingly isolated political elite into the streets.”
To top it off, the city of Montreal passed a law that made it illegal to wear masks and heavy makeup during demonstrations!

Needless to say, that didn’t stop the protesters; instead, they got more creative with their disguise. The mascot of the student protests has now become Anarchopanda, who in real life is a philosophy professor but puts on a giant panda costume and marches with students. His identity was only revealed last week when he filed a suit at the Superior Court to challenge the anti-mask law. The Student Federations and their lawyers also filed a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of Law 78 couple of weeks ago.

So where do we stand now? Well, there’s certainly an impasse although the government has come out of this badly bruised. The nightly protests are not going away and in fact, this week, when Montreal is hosting the Grand Prix Formula 1, they have attracted the anti-capitalist and environmentalist activists in their effort to disrupt “business as usual”. Last night, despite the heavy police presence and riot squad, they managed to disrupt the Grand Prix festivities.

See for yourself here:



Merkin in Montreal

June 14, 2012

Intelligence makes you stupid

From the New Yorker:

Here’s a simple arithmetic question: A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

The vast majority of people respond quickly and confidently, insisting the ball costs ten cents. This answer is both obvious and wrong. (The correct answer is five cents for the ball and a dollar and five cents for the bat.)

...A new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology led by Richard West at James Madison University and Keith Stanovich at the University of Toronto suggests that, in many instances, smarter people are more vulnerable to these thinking errors. Although we assume that intelligence is a buffer against bias—that’s why those with higher S.A.T. scores think they are less prone to these universal thinking mistakes—it can actually be a subtle curse.

... West and colleagues weren’t simply interested in reconfirming the known biases of the human mind. Rather, they wanted to understand how these biases correlated with human intelligence. As a result, they interspersed their tests of bias with various cognitive measurements, including the S.A.T. and the Need for Cognition Scale, which measures “the tendency for an individual to engage in and enjoy thinking.”

The results were quite disturbing.... intelligence seems to make things worse. The scientists gave the students four measures of “cognitive sophistication.” As they report in the paper, all four of the measures showed positive correlations, “indicating that more cognitively sophisticated participants showed larger bias blind spots.” This trend held for many of the specific biases, indicating that smarter people (at least as measured by S.A.T. scores) and those more likely to engage in deliberation were slightly more vulnerable to common mental mistakes.

"Disturbing", is it? Not to me, Eustace.

(I note with pleasure, of course, the breezy and apparently unquestioned assumption that people with higher SAT scores are smarter.)

NO !


this is stale news but grim none the less ...

"Secret polling numbers may be driving Greek banks stocks straight up.
Greek banking stocks surged 20 percent Thursday"

"amid market talk that secret opinion polls were showing
that a government favorable to the international bailout agreement
was likely to emerge after the June 17 election,"

the wave of sentiment has rocked and rolled over the past several weeks

i still hold out hope

June 15, 2012

Dawks jumps the shark

I am delighted to report that one of the guys I most love to hate, Richard Dawkins, has just fully confirmed all my suspicions about him:

Evolution should be considered "the new classics", Richard Dawkins has claimed, arguing that a university course in the subject would produce the most academically polished students.

[Note for non-Brits: by 'course' the Dawk means what we Yanks would call a 'major'. No doubt among us it would be called 'evolutionary studies'. -- MJS]

... Although no such course exists in Britain, with the subject principally being confined to biology programmes, Prof Dawkins said degrees in evolution were sure to appear in future and their students would achieve "polymathic status". Reading evolution would broaden scholars' horizons by giving them a better understanding of economics, social science, philosophy, engineering, medicine, agriculture, linguistics, physics, cosmology and the history of science, he argued.

... "I think evolution would do a good job of uniting not just biology and geology and the obvious scientific subjects, but also philosophy, history, economics....

Explaining the common ground shared by evolution and behavioural economics in his speech last weekend, he said: "Everything has to be paid for, there is no such thing as a free lunch. You have to pay for whatever you do now in the form of lost opportunities to do other things in the future."

Confined to biology programs, eh? Free Darwin! This is of course a little like saying that the teaching of quantum mechanics is usually confined to physics programs.

Faithful readers of this blog -- fit audience, though few, as another Brit once wrote -- may recall earlier episodes of Dawkins-bashing on my part. One of the reasons I have always objected to him is that he really thinks he has an answer for everything, and surely any jury would return a verdict of 'guilty as charged' on this count after reading his demented ravings, in the Telegraph piece linked and quoted above, about 'evolution' as Queen of the Sciences.

Perhaps it is superfluous to comment on the 'no free lunch' trope, so beloved of market cultists, who also curiously enough have an answer for everything. In their case it's The Magic Of The Market (tm). There's a deep kinship, I think; Dawkins and the market cultists have essentially the same picture in their overheated heads: a relentless bellum omnium contra omnes.

June 16, 2012

from the pinky papers

first of an occasional series...****

November 01, 2004

white knuckle vote sinks kerry flotilla

will thiz be the lead?

the votes in
it seems
after all
iz said and done
too many
of america's common folk
simply have
no common sense


nov 2 2004

battle ground states usa :


after countless months
of partisan storm und drang
in a race
that went literally
right down to the wire
it was finally
our saviours choice
but in a squeeker

yes the man from nazereth
prevailed here today
in a contest
that will keep
pundits bizzy analyizing
the results
for generations

despite one blast
of foul air
after another
fron the jobs front
to iraq and beyond
America's votin plurality
came to the polls
to send
their message
to the world
thru the ballot box

" chief little george
we turn to you
our other cheek "


" why the fuck
do so many
mediocre american white folk
living on a nations
souless do dabs
pull the curtain closed
and vote
their fucked up conscience
instead of their pocket book ?"
larry flynt


white familly friendly
to a fault

gagging on
total disgust

i can't help myself

i m prolly gonna
end up
my special sauce
cheez burger
all over
the back seat
of north america


***** pinky is my older brother
js paine
who died last week
of a massive stroke
at an arby's in hodiak north carolina

he and his complexity challenged " life time friend"
andy "mouse" manton were driving north from their winter nest in florida
and had stopped to "water the dogs"

For the sake of the children

... it's time to ban Dante Alighieri, apparently. Or maybe not:

Dante's Divine Comedy 'offensive and should be banned'

... Dante's Divine Comedy has been condemned as racist, homophobic, anti-Islamist and anti-Semitic....

The classic work should be removed from school curricula, according to Gherush 92, a human rights organisation which acts as a consultant to UN bodies on racism and discrimination.

Dante's epic is "offensive and discriminatory" and has no place in a modern classroom, said Valentina Sereni, the group's president.

.... Schoolchildren and university students who studied the work lacked "the filters" to appreciate its historical context and were being fed a poisonous diet of anti-Semitism and racism, the group said.

This idea of 'filters' as the child-herder's(*) value-add is delightful, isn't it?

Alas, I suspect this is really some kind of complicated joke on somebody's part. Judging by 'Gherush 92's' Web site, it's a shell -- a one-woman vanity operation; the 'president', Valentina Sereni, is the only name one ever sees in connection with it. The name carries a coy reference to Ferdinand and Isabella's expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492(**), and anti-semitism always seems to head the lengthy list of things Valentina is against. All the news reports on this story say the outfit 'advises the UN' on human rights or some such, but what that seems to boil down to is Valentina attending NGO conferences.

Too bad. It could all so easily *be* true; clearly we want it to be true, judging by the amount of press the thing has received. Everybody loves it when Nanny makes a fool of herself.


(*) Pedagogue, in Greek.

(**)Ignore the 'h' after the 'g'; it's an Italian site, they're trying to be phonetic; gloogle גרוש ספרד 'gerush sefarad' vel sim.

June 17, 2012

tell Solon ...the greek people blinked first

New Democracy will receive 29.53% of the vote, equivalent to 128 seats.

because largest vote getter receives 50 bonus seats no matter the margin betweeen first and second place

Syriza will receive 27.12% – 72 seats

Pasok will receive 12.2% – 23 seats

Independent Greeks will receive 7.56% – 20 seats.

Golden Dawn will receive 6.95% – 18 seats.

Democratic Left will receive 6.23% – 17 seats.

Greek Communist Party will receive 4.47% – 12 seats

peacock plus new tyranny 151 seats ...a majority (300 total )

one seat to spare the magic of the vote count triumphs again

btw i thought you needed 5% to get seats
in which case if "projections" hold
my boys in the communist party are out
and that miight give the mordid center establishment pair 2 more seats

what next

a modern update of the Crypteia ?


the floor vote is 3%
my outfit gets in
alas with smaller numbers then golden corral

Stroke that pen, Obie

So Obromney recently allowed as how we should stop deporting children.

Bully for him. I note that he was in a position to do this without any help from Congress at all. Which of course makes me wonder, why didn't he do it sometime in late January of 2009?

The answer is obvious of course, and need not detain us. But it does bring up a somewhat interesting avenue of reflection.

For quite a long time now, Congress has been industriously surrendering its prerogatives to an increasing imperial presidency. This is not a novel observation; the only question is, how far back do we go? Roosevelt -- or Lincoln?

That being so, it's fascinating to see all my Obamaphile friends defending Obie's worse-than-disappointing first term on the grounds that those bad ole Republicans in Congress have him tied hand and foot, poor baby.

It is a standard trope of the breathlessly power-worshipping groupie press to observe that the US President is 'the most powerful man in the world' -- pardon me for a moment while I attend to a small matter of personal hygiene. Like all cliches, of course, it is true. A US President has powers that a Roman Caesar could never have dreamed of; and of course those powers have increased during the current God-Emperor's tenure, as they have in every preceding one since... since... Lincoln. Or Roosevelt.

But my apologetic friends think Obie is a kind of Prisoner Of The Vatican; an ineffectual figurehead. Which of course in turn raises the question: Why is it so important to keep this particular figurehead in place? If he can't do anything, then can he stop anything either?

Oh well, I'm the last person to argue with religion. Credo quia absurdum always seemed like a sound maxim to me. But it's curious to see what people choose to put their faith in. I always thought the Psalmist's advice was rather sound: Put not your trust in princes!

June 18, 2012

the troika will not lehmanize greece

why not ?

the troika under all its scolding and threatening
plans to hold together the zone

letting greece out
ie creating an Argentine moment wil back fire badly

after ejection from the zone greece will likely restore itself
faster then if greece stays inside the zone

imagine the impact of that example on the rest of the prodigal euro masses ?

call them the PIISers
the unfortunate wretched job classes still in the ECB'S corral of cruelty?

the greeks skate and prosper ?
while we take the teutonic rogering ?

the zone must be preserved as is !!!!

the greeks like old dixie have no voluntary exit
the doors are barred
they must stay inside this great horror ranch
and take the beatings
like dickensian children

June 19, 2012

Mutatis mutandis

Owen caused a bit of a kerfuffle here yesterday by drawing a parallel between Greece leaving the Eurojail and the Amurrican South seceding during the recent unpleasantness. Some readers seemed to think that if he approved of the one he must approve of the other.

It is a mistake to think that the same question always has the same answer. Keeping the US together -- on Northern terms -- was a great idea in 1860. But it's a terrible idea now, and the world would be a better place if the US were somehow to split into nine or ten reasonable-sized countries, with fantastic crinkled borders. My favorite one is the idea of a River Principality extending about a hundred miles either side of the Mississippi and stretching from Chicago to Nawlins. Texas, of course, would be given back to Mexico, with a sigh of relief.

Same holds for the EU, of course -- except that the EU was never a good idea. In fact I'd go farther and split up Germany. Make it like 1648 all over again. Oh and that chimaera 'Greater Britain' -- independence for Wales, Scotland and Cornwall at the very least, and reviving the Heptarchy wouldn't be a bad idea either.

ballot boxed democracy


egypt has two winners in this weekends voting

its re-putin russia in a breeze

greece gets to redo till it gets it right

wisconsin couldn't recall a plutocrats lackey
without electing ..a plutocrats lackey

and well
you know
ireland ever the red sox of nations
beggared itself anew


I just read how comrade bob avakian's acolytes
want to tell all us wage helots
our ballot boxed democracy
is so fraudulent so vestigial
we geefs here at the bottom of one of the planets pyramids
tend to see conspiracy everywhere

the tease :

"Why do we live in such a fucked-up world?

(even with free elections up the ass : ed )
Why are decisions so clearly out of the hands of the masses of people?

And why do these decisions always run so sharply against the interests of these masses?

Why do a few people control enormous amounts of wealth... while many more swim frantically to keep their heads above water... and the vast majority are ground down and chained to a life of misery, no matter what they do? "


just how do the guys at the top of the stairs
tap all of us around so easily ?

are we benighted .....are our brightest and most effective bought off ....
are we drugged....wedged into feeble pieces.......overawed ..... cowed ?

regardless .. look where you will
these people's preference pollings
are getting themselves a bad aroma lately

June 20, 2012

Anosmia liberalis

Liberals’ continued insistence on voting against their interests pretty much fits the classic definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

More on this subject at sinkers.org

lesser choices


comes an angry honest straight shootin guy .....

"the best, perhaps the only, way to waste a vote is to cast it for the purported lesser evil,
the drone-besotted corporate flunky who has made it all but impossible even to speak without derision of “hope” or “change.”

my my let us delve :

" . cheerleaders for Obama. ... have so little to cheer, they fear monger shamelessly — making much, perhaps too much, of Republican idiocy....it is also diversionary..... it frees (Dembocrats) up to toady to the capitalists whose hearts and minds they yearn, in vain, to win over."

whoops .....toady in vain ??

now that is categorically misleading eh ?

the ohbummer wing of the party was fucking BUILT by corporate sponsors
ahh but in the spirit of gracious open mindedness and a dull 100 degree noon time out there
let us pass on jet thru this tinsel talk and ....unleash ... Herr Marcuse !

errr in paraphrase

"despite a comparative absence of overt repression, “critical” thinking, counter-systemic thinking opposed to the established order is if anything, even less evident in liberal democracies than in societies where speech and other forms of expression are
subject to government suppression and control."

i'm nodding off then it hits me paine try for once to enter into the magic
of these cheap hegelian card tricks:

feature this :

suppression and tolerence are interpenetrating

and in the limitless dynamic of history
comes a conjuncture where opposites join forces

"where repressive tolerance reigns"
now call it..... AMERIKA

where "... anybody can say anything, but it doesn’t matter; critical thought is effectively neutered....Tolerance... renders criticism impotent."

but that's not the topic so here now we experience a shrewdly conceived parallel:

" it bears reflection whether, in our circumstances, democracy,
or at least the electoral system that captures
a large part of what we nowadays mean by that word,
can work to the detriment of democratic ideals,
whether like tolerence democracy too
can function repressively (or, more precisely anti-democratically)."

democracy becomes antidemocracy

"......our's is indeed a repressive democracy, and our electoral system
...... has become a means for keeping an oppressive status quo in place."

okay so where to next big fella ?oh God ..here it drops
the final bird turd
..go read it yourself

yup he said it

instead of applying lesser evilism to the gaping sore in washington ....

our hero recommends
we all vote our conscience
or nearly so
"vote third party"

vote...... jill st john !!!

i stagger grow foggy ......


now five minutes and a bud lite later
comes over me
some peace of mind

on further consideration perhaps
instead of fulminating like the great glenn beck
i think i'll simply rework his column

here big pink footed teutonic meme cracker

oughta be yer zinger end line

not as is not as i led off with ....
change it to this :

"the best, perhaps the only, way to waste a vote is to cast it. "


full stop

end of contextualized wisdom

brothers and sisters
speak no more of this

oh ya and tell jill st john to stick her sanctimonious gren thumb up her ...


can fault Barry the first for being emperor like ?

i'm not sure why
but all this talk about barry the remote control murderer
the defender of empire and the jailor of her mortal enemies
etc etc etc

reminds me of a turkey strut

white hat or black hat
that is it
he can't fill any other slot good emperor or bad


this is from back before his reign :


" Are we ready for a good emperor, maybe a great one, a philosopher emperor -- Baracus Aurelius
My quondam companion, the dearly departed J Alva Scruggs, once wrote me
on the subject of philosopher emperors.

he thundered and he flashed
,he filled the page with deep insight, and I was in awe and dazzled for days after.

I've misplaced it, and its perfected phrasing may be lost for all time,
but I remember he was... ......agin' 'em.

"There are no good emperors.paine
They all turn into Nosferatu once the door's shut -- it goes with the office."

ya " it goes with the office "

but then how do we judge such as barry ?

that question
reminds me of the old orangeman
that observed to his catlick workmate :

" what sense is there Dan
what sense
in asking me....me for heaven's sake
a knox man to my toes
why ask me
what makes for a good Pope "

June 21, 2012

Dog and man from Yale

When I hear the word 'realistic', I go for my Browning.

Quite a dogfight over at The Nation between two old Elis: Doug Henwood and one Gordon Lafer, over the autopsy results from the Wisconsin recall. Doug (as mentioned here before, with approval) argues that it was a disaster to channel the Wisconsin uprising into a futile electoral campaign for a Democrat, and lays the blame squarely at the feet of the collaborationist American labor unions. Lafer -- who is apparently both a labor bureaucrat and an academic one -- says Doug is an unrealistic ivory-tower dreamer who doesn't know the first thing about life in the trenches (where, one might add, trench mouth is a serious risk).

The debate continues at coreyrobin.com, where many of the comments are quite interesting (thanks Michael Y for the tip), and Corey Robin himself appears, pleasantly, to great disadvantage: a querulous, preening, self-important popinjay.

Among other things, Doug writes:

If it’s ever to turn things around, organized labor has to act consistently and convincingly in the interest of the broad working class and not just its members.
I kinda wonder about this one. Seems to me that the unions we actually have don't even act in the interest of their members -- note especially the iniquitous two-tier contracts that unions have been signing for decades now -- and would be more popular if they did. At various times in my own life I've had union jobs, and though I'm a completely pro-union guy, I never felt that my union did a blessed thing for me; in fact the only contact I ever had with it was the dues deduction on my pay stub. I certainly don't begrudge the dues but one would like to feel that one was getting something for it.

Another point: a pro-Henwood commenter at the Corey Robin site writes:

My mother-in-law is a diet tech at a state run facility in WI. She makes $13 and change an hour. She voted against Walker, twice now, but she is not at all happy with her union. She gets shit wages and her union protects people who are worthless employees – there is no self policing within the union and workers who do nothing are nearly impossible to fire, which is surely a factor in keeping wages down for workers like my mother-in-law.... Now, I know any good liberal can postulate theories as to why such union orientations might come about, but to the extent that you embrace them you distance yourselves from actual working class persons who give a damn about the work that they do, which is to say, the majority of them.
I too have heard this line of argument from many, many blue-collar folks, in unions and not. Dunno quite what to think about it. In general I'm in favor of goldbricking and working no harder than you have to, and if unions are a barrier against corporate Stakhanovism, that's a benign function. But on the other hand there are a lot of people who take some pride in doing a competent and conscientious job, and feel that idlers and incompetents are making their own lives unnecessarily difficult. Maybe unions need some sort of mechanism whereby a shop-floor initative could expel a particularly disliked co-worker?

June 22, 2012

cousin PK... public sector production guy

this ball was hit to my position

paul krugman has a colum ..a fifth coulmn in fact
on the jersey punition and rehab system
in particular
" privately run adjuncts to the regular system of prisons"

best line
"Chris Christie, the state’s governor — who has close personal ties to Community Education Centers, the largest operator of these facilities, and who once worked as a lobbyist for the firm — described the company’s operations as “representing the very best of the human spirit.” But The Times’s reports instead portray something closer to hell on earth "


and all this great grey hag pitch perfect muck raking
really gets paul going

he soon soars to the level of relevent generality

"on contracting out public functions " one might label it

and once up there....opiled and ready why then
he sez
he sez""..if you think about it even for a minute, you realize that the one thing the companies that make up the prison-industrial complex — companies like Community Education or the private-prison giant Corrections Corporation of America — are definitely not doing is competing in a free market. They are, instead, living off government contracts. There isn’t any market here, and there is, therefore, no reason to expect any magical gains in efficiency. "

then he gets into motives

de unionizing short run budget gimmicks blah blah
but this is where he puts the emphasis

here is the key link as we maophytes say

"Never mind what privatization does or doesn’t do to state budgets"

" think instead of what it does for both the campaign coffers and the personal finances of politicians and their friends."

" As more and more government functions get privatized, states become pay-to-play paradises, in which both political contributions and contracts for friends and relatives become a quid pro quo for getting government business. Are the corporations capturing the politicians, or the politicians capturing the corporations? Does it matter? "

i got another "does it matter "

does it matter which batch of corporate butt beagles are buying our government ?

does it matter if its union dues money or corporate pack money ?

does it matter ...does any of this MATTER !

uncle arming the syrian opposition

i say its a non issue

yes its likelt to be nothing but another
clearing the corporate global flight deck of stubborn obstructions

now Father S is a man of high principle
and he figures i think like this

any enemy of uncle hegemonic
holding power
when up against forces working to implement
the yankee imperial preference
oughta be supported by us anti imperial stalwarts

"hands off Syria" !!!!

maybe it don't get cried with the fattened cord flashing throat
father might cry "hands off cuba"

none the less its the correct anti washington line
and i grant you all that

no man from Swans take for me

saying some issimo is about to commence to stackin up innocent bodies like cord wood

stand alone don't move my needle much


unless i'm gagged ..willingly gagged i need add ... by a vanguard party

i just like to crow when one of these bastards takes
the big black boot in the ass...
so lonng as it appears to be the big black boot on the fot of
that issimos on country persons

no matter how they were organized
nor to what fuzzy or frantic purpose
they fight on

i'm a rootin' for em

that is
just so long as they appear to be doin all the wet work themselves

arms ? get em from anyone i say

air support ?

weeeelll that depends obviously

yes the uncle gang rule from the skies

ours is the planet's first empire of the air

so i get touchy on that bit
in the case of Syria today
i say no

but i'll repeat

flows of arms into the zones of combat ?

to me its just not much of a violation

more a reason to issue a warning then a summons
by the hallowed
unimpeachably wise
unofficial committee of the plain pinkos of america'
for the issuance of tall timber wolf tickets

Fork off

The rather charming lady shown above is admonishing her audience -- members of something called the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, God help us -- to finish their lunch quickly, because the Secret Service wanted to collect their silverware before the God-Emperor Obie I favored them with the sunshine of His divine presence.

Having a President around, apparently, is as bad as being on an airplane these days(*). One has to take airplanes occasionally, but who in his right mind would ever willingly find himself within miles of a President?

Evidently this is standard, though not universal practice -- confiscating the cutlery, I mean. One rather suspects that we heard about it on this occasion because some of the Latino Elected And Appointed Officials felt it as a slight. Perhaps because they still have a Mediterranean sense of honor, bless 'em -- something the rest of us have entirely lost. Whatever you say, Officer. Just how far do you want me to bend over?

Excessive, you say? Not at all. Essential. That Marcusian notion of repressive tolerance is sound, as characterizing a moment in history; but the strategy won't work over the long haul. There is really no alternative to repressive repression. People simply cannot be allowed to imagine that they have any dignity at all. It's a matter of national security.

I note with amusement that the cutlery ban is lifted for some trusted audiences, notably the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Shows good sense. Lord knows the Emperor has nothing to fear from the Free Press(tm).


(*) Everybody who lives in New York knows this. Dignitaries and their motorcades are a plague of locusts in this town, especially when the UN is in session, and US Presidents are the worst of all. The whole damn place goes into lockdown when one of these pests shows up. How I wish they and all the other tinpot dictators would stay home; and how glad I am that the Founding Fathers, in their infinite wisdom, moved the national capital from here to that dank miasmatic fen on the Potomac.

June 25, 2012

Morality Play

I probably complain too much about my fellow Lefties. But really, one does encounter some of the oddest attitudes.

It was recently reported that the US military is going to shitcan the supposedly "secure" Windoze operating system that has been running the drone fleet -- which turns out to be infested with all kinds of malware, surprise surprise -- and run the drones on Linux. Of course I'm sorry that now the drones will work better, and mildly surprised that the military brass were intelligent enough to take this obviously reasonable course.

But one of my red-hot Lefty correspondents is... indignant:

I would feel ashamed if I were a Linux developer, to allow the use of my work to drive those terrorist`s weapons, the drones. There should be clause in Linux license to not let it use it for weapons. That`s utterly disgusting. I`d instantly quit any link with Linux.
I've always thought I had a pretty good imagination and felt that I could come to understand a lot of attitudes and behavior that I don't actually share, but this really baffles me. Gotta admit, it made me mad, too, since I'm a big fan of open-source software and have even participated, in a small way, in some open-source projects.

Is my correspondent just ignorant? The open-source world never attempts to place any restrictions on what the software is used for -- not that you could ever enforce any such restrictions, or get consensus among the developer community as to what uses should be restricted. It's like asking a rotisserie football league to take a political stand.

More broadly it raises the question of a neutral instrumentality. Lefties in general don't regard technology as an autonomous domain, standing over against the social dialectic. Quite right too. But on the other hand -- is there a capitalist technology, and a proletarian technology? A revolutionary technology, and a reactionary technology? To which does fire belong? The wheel? The transistor? The Fourier transform? Was Linux a Good Thing before the Pentagon started using it, and a Bad Thing now?

Terence, this is stupid stuff. I can't quite say why it's stupid. But I know stupid when I see it. Blaming Linus Torvalds for the depradations of the drone fleet seems a lot like blaming Ogg the caveman -- the inventor of fire -- for the burning of Giordano Bruno.

All wired up

This just in:

[T]he Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is spending about $1.1 million to develop a way to physiologically measure how engaged students are by their teachers’ lessons. This involves “galvanic skin response” bracelets that kids would wear so their engagement levels could be measured.
Now of course for the Gates Foundation $1.1 mil is chicken feed -- that's about what they spend arranging a conference call, according to an acquaintance of mine who works there. Still, this is a grim item.

Bill & Melinda have backed off on what their web site originally said:

A foundation spokesman said that the purpose of the [grant] is not related to teacher evaluation and that the Web site shouldn’t have said it was.
Oh well, that's all right then. As long as the telemetry from these experimental classroom animals isn't being used for 'teacher evalution'.

My mole in the Gates Foundation tells me that Bill & Melinda are never referred to as such within the Death Star; nor even as Mr and Mrs Gates. The correct term is 'The Living Donors'.

June 26, 2012

hellenic comprador semi comprador party coalition tries to split the difference



greek soaper update:

implicit take away headline
for us plain pinkos of amerika :

the broad popular left party SYRIZA can play opposition
even as the new government haggles with troika :

"New Democracy, Pasok ( C )and the Democratic Left (SC)
(read here comprador C /semi comprador SC parties) agree :

".. plans to cut 150,000 public-sector jobs should be scrapped, also ...
reduce sales tax for cafes, bars, restaurants and the agricultural industry,
and increase the threshold for paying income tax.....cuts envisioned for 2013 and 2014 should come from public spending and clamping down on tax evasion and not from pension and wage cuts or from the public investment budget. ... cutting the minimum wage by 22 percent be repealed.....
Unemployment benefit should be paid for two years instead of one. "

note well:

the great trans national corporate heist :

ie the plan
" to raise 50 billion euros from state asset sales half of which are real estate "
is still slated for implemented.... with modifications :

modifications ?

"... negotiate with creditors that some of the state assets
like the national rail company OSE
, be carried out through public-private partnerships"

The trans nat corporate heist " .. was halted after the country’s first election on May 6 produced no government. "

the assualt on the EZ job class may be losing its BIG MO

June 27, 2012

Cultural Marxism

The Sandwichman has done the heavy lifting on the topic. Me, I find accusations of "Cultural Marxism" to be bad for my moral character. If I can undermine capitalism simply by being who I am, there's no need to do anything else. Wouldn't that be fun? It would be hipster heaven, which is enough reason to feel slightly nauseous.

I have a theory about the origins of the Cultural Marxism bogeyman. The New Right was infamous for its excesses of self-indulgence and inability to handle them. They played around with sybaritic anti-authoritarianism before settling down to a life of resentful propriety. Big deal, eh? But they needed scapegoats. A "Cultural Marxist" could have told them their experiences were nothing new and nothing to get so upset about. Privileged youngsters have cut loose, many with later regrets, for all of recorded history. Those that get over themselves settle down and maybe enjoy a few moments of nostalgia. Those that don't get over a trivial little thing go on to stuff themselves silly with paranoid, exculpatory polemics. It's tawdry. It's sad. And sometimes dangerous lunatics run with it.

Ancient music

I've been playing a lot of Froberger and Frescobaldi lately. I love these guys because there's no plot line, no plot points, no fucking "arc", no character development, no resolution, no hero, no villain, no moral. The subject doesn't get exiled by an evil stepmother into the relative minor, marry the countersubject in V of V, and return in triumph to inherit the kingdom in the scherzo. It's all roadside scenery. I love roadside scenery. It's what life is really all about, I think.

The 'hexachord' fantasia being played above -- quite nicely, I think, though maybe a little too fast, in spots(*) -- is based on perhaps the most boring subject imaginable: the first six notes of the major scale, say C-A or G-E, on the white keys. The boringness of the subject is the point: there's no intrinsic interest whatsoever in the basic material; it's all in what you do with it.

The tyranny of story-line and 'arc' is a relatively recent invention in Litrachoor as in music; in both cases it dates from sometime in the 18th century. A little earlier in music than the written word; I blame Corelli and Vivaldi.

Interestingly, some modern literary genres have dispensed with the arc; I'm thinking mainly of those huge endless science-fiction cycles, like Orson Scott Card vel sim. They read like fourteenth-century Arthurian prose romances, or Don Quixote for that matter, a deeply loving parody of the genre.

It wouldn't be SMBIVA if this post didn't have a little political sting in its tail. Here it is:

I wonder if the belief in 'progress' isn't an byproduct of the literary/musical arc -- a back-reading of modern fiction and the Beethovenesque symphony into history.


(*) Which is to say, faster than _I_ can safely play it. It's being played on what is obviously an old -- 17th-century or earlier -- Italian organ; or possibly an extremely good modern facsimile. This raises the question of how important the pedals were. I can't play the stuff without resorting to the pedals; but doubtless Froberger had better chops. And maybe he played it slower. Or maybe he had a better pedal clavier than most Italian organs; southern Germany, okay, but still Germany. Home of the pedalboard.

June 28, 2012

chief justice Roberts: agent of monopoly capital

relax its just a tax brothers and sisters


The Supreme Court can always be depended on to do the wrong thing, can't it? It's federalist when that's the wrong thing, and anti-federalist when that's the wrong thing. Of course it's consistently corporatist, which is why it upheld Obie's scandalous giveaway to the insurance companies -- fixing the insurance mess by handing the whole thing over to the very people who have caused the insurance mess.

I admit it: I was kinda dreaming that the Supremes would be bloody-minded, dogmatic, and "partisan" enough to hand Obie a defeat on this one. But of course partisanship takes a distant back seat when it comes to the consensus project of promoting corporate parasitism -- though Thomalia and the other Usual Suspects were at least able to claim the moral high ground this time, and vote in accordance with their supposed 'philosophy'. I suppose the slightly less reactionary four were being consistent too, in their own incoherent way, and Roberts got stuck being the scapegoat, driven into a wilderness of derision, bearing the sins of the insurance 'industry' on his thick head. A 'tax', forsooth. Ontology recapitulates oligopoly.

I've now seen two of these corporatist insurance 'overhauls' from Democratic administrations: first the nightmare of Hillarycare, and now the nightmare of Obromneycare. If there was ever a good reason never to vote for another Democrat, these debacles would be it. What fresh horror lies in wait at the Democrats' next "overhaul"? Flying robots that extract your wallet from your pants and take it straight to some McDuckian Money Bin in Hartford? An obligatory three-month corvee on the ole Aetna plantation? Half the people in the country sitting in cubicles saying 'no, we won't pay, go die and be damned' to the other half?

June 30, 2012

Get out! The VOTE?!

I've been ruminating today on the voting compulsion. Where does it come from?

I often get the question, well, if you don't vote, what do you do? The apparent assumption here is that one must do something, even when there is nothing useful to be done. That is: without some sort of goal-oriented behavior -- no matter how obviously inane and foredoomed -- human life simply means nothing(*).

Talk about a substitute for religion; but what a poor one. Gimme the Rosary any day.


(*)I blame Man Of La Mancha.

Review of reviewers

Somebody should write a history of reviewing -- as in book reviews, movie reviews, music reviews, and so on. Who died and made these people King?

I think of it as a 19th-century thing, but somebody correct me if I'm wrong. That's when you get art produced on an industrial scale -- big operas, mass-circulation books and so on -- and an audience largely composed of culturally insecure and thrifty bourgeois unwilling to trust their own judgement or waste money on inferior product. So a corresponding quality-control function arises; it's much the same as meat inspectors in a slaughterhouse, stamping one dismembered haunch 'prime' and the next merely 'choice'.

About June 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in June 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2012 is the previous archive.

July 2012 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31