Our backyard Archives

March 23, 2008

SUCH a puzzle

Apropos coils of empire, this comes up in a fairly tepid, balanced civil-society perspective, by one Laura Carlsen, on recent developments in the noble FARC's grapple with uncle's death squad-nuanced "plan Colombia." Recalling the aftermath of the cross border double cross, Carlsen notes:
Inexplicably ignoring international law, neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton condemned the Colombian government's attack in a neighboring country. Clinton went so far as to scold Ecuador and Venezuela for "criticizing Colombia's actions in combating terrorist groups in the border region" and called for more pressure on Venezuela "to change course."
"Inexplicably"? Is this irony?

Ahhh, jackass Orthrians unite -- we have a global hegemon to figleaf -- but only till we get the White House back! Then watch us really feel the south world's pain.

The grizzled smiler in the middle of this scrum was the jefe smart-bombed by Uncle's proxied X double X.

May 19, 2008

Running the gamut from A to B

Above, Colombia's death-squad president Uribe, and his close personal friend, our former death-squad president Clinton, at a Clinton-sponsored schmoozefest last year. As usual, Clinton appears to be doing all the talking.

But Uribe listens. The most recent result of his attentive listening was the invasion of Ecuador last March, in which patently bogus evidence was duly found that the Colombian insurgency (FARC) had its eye on Weapons Of Mass Destruction -- and that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez was going to help FARC get them.

Now we all know that Hillary is nothing if not loyal to an old friend. In the aftermath of the Colombian attack, she nailed her colors to the mast:

The Colombian state has every right to defend itself against drug trafficking terrorist organizations.... By praising and supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Chavez is openly siding with terrorists.... Rather than criticizing Colombia’s actions in combating terrorist groups in the border regions, Venezuela and Ecuador should work with their neighbor to ensure that their territories no longer serve as safe havens for terrorist groups. After reviewing this situation, I am hopeful that the government of Ecuador will determine that its interests lie in closer cooperation with Colombia....
Obama, as usual, was slightly -- very slightly -- more vague and tepid, but his response amounted to much the same thing:
The Colombian people have suffered for more than four decades at the hands of a brutal terrorist insurgency, and the Colombian government has every right to defend itself against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The recent targeted killing of a senior FARC leader must not be used as a pretense to ratchet up tensions or to threaten the stability of the region. The presidents of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela have a responsibility to ensure that events not spiral out of control, and to peacefully address any disputes through active diplomacy with the help of international actors.
By "targeted killing" Barack means the invasion of a neighboring country. Compare the phrase "surgical bombing." Note also that he obligingly uses the magic word "terrorist" -- the all-justifying Philosopher's Stone of late-imperial discourse. He does mercifully omit the bit about drug trafficking, perhaps because from him, moralizing on this subject might seem a bit comical.

Uribe, like the Kosniks, seized eagerly on the quantum-scale difference between Barack's and Hillary's mad-doggery. Uribe, too, is a loyal guy, and he wants us to know that he's very disappointed by Barack's relative lukewarmness -- just as the Kosniks are oddly roused to orgasm by the same quality.

In Uribe's case, one need not take these protestations too seriously. A loyal guy dances with the one that brung him, as I believe Lyndon Johnson once observed.

The Kosnik fervor is harder to understand. Obama didn't bring 'em anywhere. He's promised 'em very little, and he hasn't even given 'em Arpege. They're like some poor podgy, ill-favored soul hoping delusionally to be asked to the prom by the captain of the football team. In the event, of course, she spends Prom Night at home -- blogging, no doubt, though this comparison lands a little close to my own home.

But no matter how neglected, forlorn and forgotten she may be, she's determined to hear no ill of her heartthrob.

March 24, 2009

True to form

Somehow I missed it back in January when Obie apparently accused Hugo Chavez of "exporting terrorism". At any rate it's always very gratifying to hear Hugo telling it like it is. He seems to have revisited the subject recently:

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama was at best an "ignoramus" for saying the socialist leader exported terrorism and obstructed progress in Latin America.

"He goes and accuses me of exporting terrorism: the least I can say is that he's a poor ignoramus; he should read and study a little to understand reality," said Chavez, who heads a group of left-wing Latin American leaders opposed to the U.S. influence in the region.

Chavez said Obama's comments had made him change his mind about sending a new ambassador to Washington, after he withdrew the previous envoy in a dispute last year with the Bush administration in which he also expelled the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela.

"When I saw Obama saying what he said, I put the decision back in the drawer; let's wait and see," Chavez said on his weekly television show, adding he had wanted to send a new ambassador to improve relations with the United States after the departure of George W. Bush as president.

In a January interview with Spanish-language U.S. network Univision, Obama said Chavez had hindered progress in Latin America, accusing him of exporting terrorist activities and supporting Colombian guerrillas.

"My, what ignorance; the real obstacle to development in Latin America has been the empire that you today preside over," said Chavez....

July 3, 2009

Regime change: it's everywhere

Can the good emperor save a critter who sez stuff like this? --

“Honduras and the Honduran people do not have to ask permission of any imperialism to join the ALBA(*).”
Does he even want to save him -- really?

Inquiring pwogs want answers, and they're in an ornery mood after watching the bludgeoning of the beautiful-loser green-scarf liberty legion.


(*)Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas.

December 31, 2009

Power and Personal Choice

Succinct and well said:

Deciding how you want to analyze the choice-making situations people find themselves in is something that’s up to each of us who is lucky enough to have access to the questions and information it takes to weigh that question.

Personally speaking, I tend to think it’s a good idea to refrain from blaming the commoners until the commoners have something like freedom of choice and a set of robust alternatives. To my eye, we have nothing like that in the USA. I hate capitalism as much as just about anybody, but find myself going to the store and the mall in order to survive and maintain my social life and sanity. Moving to the woods and living by hunting and gathering is not something I’m prepared to do unless absolutely necessary. I prefer to try to save the good parts of large-scale, technologically-dynamic society by wresting their fundamentals away from our overclass. To fight that fight, I find I need to keep living inside the system.

And, generally speaking, which is worse: To buy heroin, or to deal it? I don’t think it’s much of an issue. So I wonder why so many on the left continue to blame ordinary people for the sins of the pushers, especially when the pushing done by our corporate masters is far more devious and far more intentional than 99 percent of drug dealing…

Lifted from the fine blog of Michael Dawson.

January 23, 2010

Angels of mercy

From Mike Flugennock:

February 1, 2010

Grading on the curve

Land sakes! Mark Engler, the Doogie Howser of the pwog empire-watch crowd, gives the Obama admin a "D" -- yes, a "D" -- for its "handling" of the Honduran coup.

A "D"! What the hell? They deserve a brass plaque somewhere inconspicuous in the Captive Nations Hall Of Shame. Mark hizzseff answers the uproar:

"Why not give Obama an “F”? Some progressives, disgusted by the White House response, may be tempted to contend that it reflects a Latin American foreign policy that is even worse than that of President George W. Bush’s.

This would be an error. The stances of Bush appointees such as former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Otto Reich -- who lauded the coup as a necessary measure against the “expansion of Chavist authoritarianism” -- shows that the position of the last administration would likely have been far worse than that of the present one.

But the prospect that things could be even grimmer than they are now does not mean that the White House deserves passing marks for its efforts."

Amazing, eh? In Engler Academy, Obamanauts only get an F if they do worse than the Cheney gang. Who set those goal posts for ya, Mark? The Council on Foreign Relations? The Central Intelligence Agency?

Speaking of THE Company, dearest Mark figures the Hondo topple wasn't "a CIA black ops mission." I guess if it had been CIA, it woulda pulled a gentleman's "C".

March 2, 2010

Recuperation and the Thermidorian Style

Recuperation in the social sense, not physical healing, consists of institutions and institutional arrangements capturing radical tendencies, coopting them, and using them to reinforce their entrenchment. Sometimes there's a meliorist adaptive process accompanying that, with real benefits accruing to people who have had little or nothing to gain from an accommodating participation in the extant systems. It's progress, of a sort.

Hysterical reactionaries attack the adaptive process in a spectacular fashion; moral panic, corporate street theater and so forth. The more sober reactionaries set about undermining the fragile economic underpinnings of radical movements. Both attacks seem irrational to me. A dominant system that works at all in the provision of security can always offer significant incentives to people who weary of sacrifice and insecurity.

But react they do. Maybe those "rational actor" theories are the gassy, crackpot fulminations of poorly socialized, achingly nerdy sycophants; not serious socio-economic analyses.

The strength of the reaction and the resources poured into it offers status, power and career opportunities for people adept at Thermidorian posturing, e.g. the cruise missile left and the notionally progressive useful idiots who posture and fume when the institutional security for their useful idiocy comes under attack.

The shallowness and opportunism of the posturing is wretched in its own right, but it's the recuperation that does the serious harm. An expansion of the bullying classes is hardly progress. To paraphrase, when the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it's called a multi-cultural, proactively pro-diversity, ergonomically correct stick. And it's this, not philistinism or a desire to be a mini-Mencken, that forms the core of MJS's attacks on academia, the liberal media outlets, etc., when and where they serve as a havens for professional, extravagantly protected trivialization specialists. One could easily find room to disagree with his opinion on the academic fields and studies themselves, which many do, but for goodness' sake don't throw the essential core away. We must live for the day when the last wingnut billionaire can be strangled with the guts of the last tenured crackpot. Otherwise... the terrorists have won.

October 5, 2010

Sing coup, coup

A hit on this guy? Whose call? Is the white-hat imperator Barry O'Bummer playing more hardball south of the border? Or is this a case of local initiative by Uncle's spooks?

October 23, 2010


My experience of applied anarchy has been pretty good, overall, and could fit tidily into "libertarian communism". That is, communal living and enterprise, with no written rules, a few unwritten rules (some of which were amusingly eccentric, such as the proper care of cast iron skillets) and contributions to the common good based loosely on 'from each, according to his ability; to each, according to his needs'. It was not robust. It depended on the moral authority people who faced a degree of external pressure I didn't understand until I was an adult. And of course it fell apart. As far as I know, that's the outcome with any non-authoritarian intentional community.

Building and maintaining an anarchic intentional community is hard to begin with. It appears to be impossible to maintain from generation to generation, never mind scaling it up in the capitalist context. Shades of "socialism in one country", eh? There are so many things that can go wrong internally, and so many things that will go wrong externally, that functionally it's completely impractical. Foolish, too. A lost cause, if you like, that's lost from the moment it starts.

It sounds perfect to me. Trial and error, empiricism, good faith, human frailties, human strengths and... cookies!

The idealized anarchic condition, in which social reality accommodates individual worth and vice versa, is what brought me leftwards in the first place. And according to the anarchists linked on our blog roll, my lefty decoder ring is not an issue as far as they are concerned—provided I don't want to kill them, which seems very reasonable. So, where's the harm? Are the neighborhood anarchists going to turn out for Obama? I realize there some "self-identifying" anarchists who will. Just as there are millions of self-identifying lefties who can imagine nothing finer than that ghastly act of auto-erotic asphyxiation by proxy. The CPUSA and the SDS retreads come to mind. Does their activity reflect on the lefties who won't buy into the program?

There's more, but I have no appetite for it.

January 12, 2012

Recommended Reading

strategy schmategy

That post is as tight and clean as a Little Axe session. Read and enjoy.

If the reference is unfamiliar, go here first.

May 26, 2012

Vampiric Stakhanovites

This discussion at Kasama cut close to the bone for me. I like to work, a lot, when I'm my own boss, and on a roll I get irritable about things like my own physical limits. I don't always recognize that it's nuts to work yourself close to collapse. There are tangible rewards and ego strokes, but how much social virtue is there in that?

If I'm really the only one affected, a happy semi-hermit, then the overwork is solely my problem. Regrettable, maybe, but individual fulfillment and moral liberty are complex things. It's best to leave well enough alone. On the other hand, if my love of insanely heroic labor entails insanely heroic labor for people who would choose something else, then it's no longer an isolated neurosis. If it entails toxic dumps, prisons, wars and paramilitary policing, then it's way past neurosis and solidly in the camp of evil.

With that, we enter Sandwichland. What's a reasonable amount of work? The enlightened consensus on that comes to about twenty hours a week. That accommodates the obvious interdependence of labors and a high level of industrial development (with the understanding that the level of industrial development is another debate). There's nothing in this for vampiric Stakhanovites, although they could still opt for self-inflicted karoshi. Just try to be tidy, okay? It's rude to leave your corpse where someone could trip over it.

About Our backyard

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the Our backyard category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Opinion of climate is the previous category.

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