Obama Cult Continues to Roll Reply

Maury2K takes down the Democrats.

What was truly shameful was not drug-addled carnival barker Rush Limbaugh saying on his radio show that America’s health insurance system is perfect, but, rather, Democrats on the floor of the House, maintaining that the solution to the health care crisis is pouring billions of dollars into the coffers of insurance companies which caused the crisis in the first place.

For American families caught in the middle: Double Penetration. Fake reform from the Democrats; countered by shouts of “Tough Shit” from the GOP.

"War on Cops?" Reply

The great William Norman Grigg tells it like it is.

Every week — actually, every day — innocent people across the country are harassed, abused, brutalized, tortured, and murdered by armed strangers in government-issued costumes. Most of the assailants are never held accountable. Often, they are placed on paid vacation (commonly called “administrative leave”) while their colleagues devise an official rationalization for their crimes.

Those who publicize abuses of these kind are routinely accused of focusing on a vanishingly small number of “exceptional” cases, thereby creating the erroneous impression that police misconduct is widespread.

However …

When 11 police officers across the country are injured or killed in an unconnected series of shootings, many police officers believe that they are targets in a “war on cops,” and that alarmist impression is being propagated by police union officials who are always eager to exaggerate the very modest dangers of their profession.

“It’s not a fluke,” insists Richard Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations. “There’s a perception among officers in the field that there’s a war on cops going on.” Although Steve Groeninger, spokesman for the D.C.-based National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, admits that “we don’t have any data,” he told MSNBC that “there seems to be a type of criminal out there looking to thwart authority” (by which he means any directive issued by an armed government functionary) and warns that “cuts in police budgets could exacerbate the danger,” according to MSNBC.

This is an interesting variation on a familiar police union theme. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, some police unions are literally trying to terrorize the public into supporting their budget demands. Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts announced several months ago that because of budget cuts citizens shouldn’t expect police to respond to calls involving 44 kinds of crime, including burglary, grand theft, and other serious offenses. The hideously corrupt Camden, New Jersey Police Department adopted a similar policy after half the force was laid off. In Sacramento County, the Sheriff’s Office published an ad depicting what appeared to be a sexual assault on a child. “Don’t let them cut deputies and put your family at risk!” screamed the ad copy.

The essential message here was: Give us what we want, or people will get hurt. Now those of us who oppose the demands of police unions can expect to be told that we’re morally indistinguishable from cop-killers.

Anybody who takes the life of a human being through aggressive violence is a murderer and should be treated as such. That being said, this should be also: If the wildly exaggerated fear of being killed on the job results in increased attrition in the ranks of the State’s armed enforcers, one happy result will be a net decrease in the amount of criminal violence afflicting our society.

Houston Shuts Down Homeless Feeding Program 1

This sucks.

This is also the kind of economic activism we alternative anarchists could work to build political coalitions around. No doubt these kinds of state actions are offensive to a wide assortment of political groups as well as private individuals. Perhaps our organizing opposition to economic repression of this type would be a type of “leading by example” of the kind Jeremy has suggested.

China-A Paper Tiger Reply

Justin Raimondo explains why.

The “Yellow Peril” is a convenient scapegoat for politicians and their partisan followers eager to divert popular anger toward a foreign – and non-white and non-black – scapegoat. Oldsters will recall another yellowish peril, Japan, which supposedly threatened to upend American economic supremacy by flooding the market with cheap goods – and we all know how that turned out.

Japan was supposed to be the wave of the Asiatic future, a future that never came – and the myth of China, the Sleeping Giant Awakened, is but the second act of a fundamentally false fear. That fear is partially rooted in economic misconceptions, and the rest is perhaps accounted for by racial animus and a complete lack of contextual knowledge about China’s past and its future prospects.

It’s true that the free market reforms unleashed by Deng Xiaoping greatly benefited the nation, but a recent report on China’s much-touted economic growth rate puts the issue in perspective:

“In nominal terms, the nation’s GDP is more than 100 times bigger than in 1978, when Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping began rolling out free-market policies. While China outstripped Germany in 2007 and the UK and France in 2005, the economy remains less than half as big as that of the U.S.”

The average annual income of the typical Chinese worker – a farmer – is under $5,000. Urban workers are better off: they make nearly twice as much. In spite of Beijing’s pretensions, the Chinese leadership is acutely aware of the country’s relative poverty, and massive underdevelopment. That was the whole point of Deng’s radical reform program, which sought to modernize an essentially pre-industrial agricultural society.  And they aren’t even halfway there: most of China remains mired in poverty, while the coastal regions are booming. A huge displaced lumpen proletariat is forming, displaced by the upheavals of the past few decades, rootless and dangerous to the established order.

A great deal of China’s festering social problems are directly linked to the inflationary policies – the pursuit of a “cheap” currency – implemented by the regime. In order to fuel its export-driven industries, Beijing increases prices on the home front, where inflationary pressures keep prices high, in order to subsidize exports headed to the US, where they will be snapped up by bargain-hunting American consumers. In the meantime, we borrow from them in order to finance our ballooning deficit, while Ben Bernanke speeds up the printing presses at the Federal Reserve – and we pay them back in devalued dollars.

Know Your Rights: What to do If Stopped by the Police Reply

From the ACLU website.

– You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
– You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
– If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
– You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
– Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

– Do stay calm and be polite.
– Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.
– Do not lie or give false documents.
– Do prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
– Do remember the details of the encounter.
– Do file a written complaint or call your local ACLU if you feel your rights have been violated.

Maybe Paul Krugman Isn't So Bad After All Reply

Kevin Carson explains why.

Krugman is entirely correct in arguing that, as the economy is currently structured, there is no way to achieve full employment other than government spending to make up the demand shortfall.  But there’s no plausible scenario in which the economy, once kick-started by Keynesian pump-priming (if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor), gets going on a self-sustaining basis without continued government spending.  There’s no plausible scenario  where the economy ever attains the levels of demand, or nominal output, that existed three years ago.

Keynesian “aggregate demand management” will work this year, if the government runs a $1 trillion deficit.  But the economy will slip back into depression if the budget is balanced next year.  So the old Keynesian model, in which the government ran a deficit in bad times and paid it back by running a surplus in good times, is as dead as the passenger pigeon.  There are no good times, as state capitalism is currently structured, without a perpetual deficit.

So count me among the “deflationists” that Krugman routinely mocks.  The material reality we face is that it takes less investment in physical capital, and fewer hours of labor, to produce what most people regard as a comfortable standard of living.

Carson also comes down on the side of free trade.

For decades, American foreign policy has protected Third World landed oligarchies against left-wing land reform movements, in effect enforcing the artificial land titles of haciendados and other feudal ruling classes at the expense of the rightful  owners actually working the land.  It has empowered such landed oligarchies to reenact the Enclosures of early modern Britain, driving peasants off the land and leaving them no choice but to enter the wage labor market on whatever terms are offered by foreign capital.

The World Bank, in collusion with Third World elites, has mainly undertaken projects to create subsidized road and utility infrastructure without which offshored industry would not be profitable — and then used the resulting debt in much the same manner as a company store, to coerce local governments into “structural adjustment” deals by which state property is “privatized” in collusion with crony capitalists.

So corporate globalization, despite all the rhetorical trappings of “free trade,” is statist to the core.

Reply to a Cultural Marxist Critic 8

A Leftist who uses the name of “Equus” has posted a limited critique of ATS on Royce Christian’s blog. Read it here.

My response:

Equus begins his rebuttal by offering a concise and helpful summary of the points of his refutation. I repeat it in full:

My objection to Third Positionism is that it first and foremost has an ahistorical approach inasmuch as it is leftist and only retroactively places itself there, using ideas and attitudes not formulated at the time of the conception of the left/right political spectrum. It claims to be neither left nor right and claims to be a synthesis of right and left ideas while rejecting the sole premise of left-wing ideology. Furthermore, it understands being anti-state as an ideological characteristic instead of a tactical characteristic; it would claim Anarchists and anti-government fascists are ideologically similar instead of correctly placing Anarchism as an ideology that opposes the state in the context of leftist politics. While it co-opts much of Anarchist rhetoric, it dismisses two key concepts: solidarity and community. Finally, it may not be an exclusively right-wing idea, but it provides an arena for people who oppose what Anarchists stand for to enter the conversation as legitimate actors and gives nothing back. I know little of Preston’s personal political background, and it is both irrelevant and hard to make the case that he is knowingly undermining Anarchism with his support of the Third Position. Regardless, his ideas have only provided a dangerous utility to the right that must be understood.


The Limits of Libertarianism 1

An interesting and sympathetic critique of libertarianism from someone who appears to be paleocon-leaning. Read it here. It’s actually the second part of a critique that began here.

This writer identifies what I consider to one of the core weaknesses of anti-state radicals, i.e. their inability to develop viable strategic formulas for the implementation of their plans or the communication of their ideas to a wider audience.

Of course, there are other weaknesses as well. “Conservative” libertarians all-too-frequently act as corporate apologists, and fail to recognize the symbiotic relationship between corporate interests and the state. Happily, we have Kevin Carson as the antidote to that problem. Leftist libertarians and left-anarchists exhibit the same ideological fanaticism and virulent intolerance associated with totalitarian movements like Communism.  The three core weaknesses of libertarianism/anarchism at the present juncture-lack of strategic viability, corporate apologetics, and leftist intolerance-are the main reasons why this blogs exists in the first place.

An Right-Wing Extremist Under Every Bed? 1

The $PLC and other professional hate-watchers think so. Jesse Walker fills us in.

We also know, for example, that Loughner was deeply interested in lucid dreaming, in reality-bending movies such as Waking Life and Donnie Darko, and in the science-fiction novels of Philip K. Dick, a writer whose paranoid plots often hinged on the idea that reality itself is a fraud. Another friend of Loughner’s, Bryce Tierney, told Mother Jones that the shooter was “fascinated” with the idea that “the world is really nothing—illusion.”

Interviewed by Keith Olbermann on the day of the murders, Potok gamely tried to link lucid dreaming to the radical right, noting that the conspiracy theorist David Icke is interested in the subject. Well, that’s Potok’s schtick; if Loughner had turned out to be a soccer fan, Potok may well have mentioned that Icke used to play for Coventry. My own guess is that Loughner’s interest in alternate realities was at the core of his worldview, and that he was attracted to those elements of fringe politics that seemed to reinforce his suspicion that the waking world is a lie. But I’ll refrain from declaring it “pretty clear” that my guess is a fact. That’s the sort of thing that might make you look like a fool.