The Myth of Cushy Prisons Reply

From the This Ain’t Livin’ blog.

I recently re-encountered one of the more bizarrely pervasive myths about prisons when I was talking about the prison abolition movement with a friend: The idea that prisons are ‘cushy.’ This person was trying to argue that because conditions in prisons are so terrific, prisoners have it better when they’re incarcerated than they would in their own communities, which is such a tangled mess of complicated and erroneous ideas that I hardly know where to begin.

The Inalienable Right to Hate Fags 2

Jim Goad on the Fred Phelps freak show.

Based on their endless words and their tireless actions, the Westboro Baptist Church seems to sincerely believe that God is punishing America for its increasing tolerance of homosexuality. They honestly seem to think that every scrawny AIDS casualty, every soldier snuffed in battle, and every random bleeding disaster victim is tasting “God’s hate” in the way that only a sadistic, torture-happy God can spoon it out to them. The sort of drive that compels this extended family of look-alikes and think-alikes to conduct an average of a half-dozen public demonstrations every day for nigh on two decades suggests they truly believe in what they do, regardless of whether people think they’re assholes.

Now, paint me pink and call me Shirley, but they are assholes of a rare caliber. Picketing the funerals of AIDS victims and slain soldiers is mortally rude. Picketing at any funeral for any reason makes you an asshole. In fact, picketing at all, even once in your life, is a good indicator that you’ve always been and will always be an asshole.

Women and Democracy in the Middle East Reply

Article by Charles Glass.

That there is a long way to go became clear on the night that Hosni Mubarak resigned and mobs crowded into Tahrir Square to claim credit for a revolution that others had made. (They were like those “resisters of the eleventh hour” who jammed the streets of Paris on the night of August 24, 1944 to pretend they had been in the Resistance all along.) I spoke by telephone to a young woman who had been in the square most of the previous two weeks, and she said that many of those who came on February 11 had not been there before. Some men attacked and sexually assaulted CBS correspondent Lara Logan. About eighty-three percent of all Egyptian women said they had been harassed in public at least once, while half of them said they suffered similar treatment every day. This is according to the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights’ 2008 report. The dictatorship ignored that behavior, but a democracy cannot afford to do so.

Taking responsibility for one’s own life, which is what democracy requires, means growing up. You are no longer the leader’s wayward child, you are a full citizen with obligations to other citizens. If this revolution is to succeed beyond merely sending tyrants to luxurious retirement, the people will have to become sovereign. The women must have an equal say with men in how the society is constituted. And the men must, if they are to be men, grow up.

Gideon Levy wrote of his country’s treatment of the Arabs it rules:

What sort of democracy is this, if exactly half the state’s residents don’t benefit from it? Indeed, can the term “democratic” be applied to a state in which many of the residents live under a military regime or are deprived of civil rights? Can there be democracy without equality, with a lengthy occupation and with foreign workers who have no rights?

He might have been writing of women in the Arab world, which may enshrine the equality of women before Israel does the same with its Arab population.

An Odd Duck 2

“I do think Keith Preston merits the title odd duck, if anyone does.

That said, unlike with Gabb, you don’t generally see those two criticisms coming from the same group of people in Preston’s case. The people who bag on his NA-sympathies don’t generally also complain about his sympathies for Carsonian economic views, at least as far as I know.”

-comment posted on the “Rad Geek” blog

Right wing commies
Leftist Nazis
Point their fingers
Rumors linger

We don’t care what you think

Branded sexist
Labeled racist
Want it clearer?
Check the mirror

We don’t care what you think

Lies and slander in vain try to shame us
Riots, protests, violence just makes us famous
TV interviews, free publicity
Increase record sales dramatically

The left they say I’m a fascist
The right calling me communist
Hate hate hate hatred for all–one and all
No matter what you believe
Don’t believe in you–and that’s true

Some would say that we’re biased
Accusations that we are racist
Well, shit comes in all hues
Now this means you
‘Cause things ain’t always like they seem

We hate everyone

We don’t care what you think

-“We Hate Everyone,” Type O Negative, lyrics by Peter Steele, R.I.P.

A Women's Revolution in the Middle East? Reply

Naomi Wolf thinks so.

So where were these women in Tunisia and Egypt?

In both countries, women protesters were nothing like the Western stereotype: they were front and centre, in news clips and on Facebook forums, and even in the leadership. In Egypt’s Tahrir Square, women volunteers, some accompanied by children, worked steadily to support the protests – helping with security, communications, and shelter. Many commentators credited the great numbers of women and children with the remarkable overall peacefulness of the protesters in the face of grave provocations.

Other citizen reporters in Tahrir Square – and virtually anyone with a cell phone could become one – noted that the masses of women involved in the protests were demographically inclusive. Many wore headscarves and other signs of religious conservatism, while others reveled in the freedom to kiss a friend or smoke a cigarette in public.

The Last "Political" Essay Reply

Anna Morgenstern on why the Left and Right are both failures.

As far as I can tell, the two biggest social problems that we have in statist society are War and Poverty.  And true to form, they are rarely directly addressed.

In truth, there is very little sentiment or support on the official, political left for policies that would directly damage the corporate elite, by taking away their subsidies and privileges.  The reasoning or justification seems to be that “we need the rich to form a tax base to use to help the poor”.  The irony would be hilarious, if not for the concrete implications.

he “right” loves to talk about the morality of private property, but they don’t really mean it.  The rich have no respect for the private property of the poor and middle class.  They use that as a would-be club against the poor who have been forced into misery and the middle class who naturally want a piece of the spoils of statist plunder.  But when their own interests are threatened, well they’re all for bailouts and government-backed loans and such things.  The entire justification for central banking (or quasi-central banking, as in the National Bank Act, long before the vile Federal Reserve existed, or the frequent “suspension of specie payments” before that) is purely and directly “welfare” for the rich.  To protect the banking system against systemic failure means allowing banks to loan what is essentially stolen money to rich people for risky ventures that they wouldn’t dare with their own savings.  There’s no other way a bank could fail, but it’s never explained that way.

Do the Neocons Want Democracy? Reply

Daniel McCarthy on the neoconservatives Jacobinism.

…what the neoconservatives mean by democracy, and what their critics know they mean, is not one man, one vote. It’s not procedural democracy but a substantive democracy: a democracy that entails an American-style mixed-market economy (“democratic capitalism”), liberal institutions of civil society (e.g., labor unions, but not too strong or violent labor unions; religious institutions, but only those organized on a voluntary basis), and a political system that is democratic in name but designed to promote enlightened objectives rather than whatever the popular will might be — especially if that popular will is retrograde by American standards. On this model, a democracy is by definition going to be pro-American and favorably disposed toward some of the more grandiose claims of Israeli nationalism. This is precisely why people like George Gilder insist that Israel is fulfilling the dream of the Enlightenment, just as America supposedly does. To oppose the expansion of Israeli settlements into the occupied territories is to oppose the expansion of high technology, capitalism, tolerance, and civilization itself — in a word, democracy. (That many of the settlers are religious fundamentalists can be glossed over: after all, the grand strategy of the Republican Party here in the U.S. demands the assimilation of Christianity to substantive democracy.)

The Anarchism of Peter Kropotkin Reply

Wow! An article about Kropotkin at the Mises Institute.

A little more than 90 years ago, on February 8, 1921, Peter Kropotkin died in Dmitrov, then a small town in Russia, about 40 miles north of Moscow. He had been born in Moscow itself almost exactly 78 years before, on December 9, 1842, but he had spent at least half of the 78 intervening years living abroad — a few years in Switzerland, a few more in France (though most of his time in France was spent behind bars), and, for more than 30 years, in England.

Kropotkin was of noble birth — Prince Kropotkin was the title he was born into — and, like his father and his father before him, he was expected to become an officer in the Czar’s army and pursue a military career. The young Peter Kropotkin dutifully went to military school and, on graduation at the age of 19, accepted a commission in the Czar’s army. But, to his father’s disgust, he requested an assignment in Siberia, where he knew there was little or nothing military for the army to do…

The Latest Wave in Victimological Identity Politics 8

Are whites racially oppressed? A growing movement says yes. Read all about it. For some time, I have predicted that as supposed spokesmen for traditional out-groups become more powerful, and as PC becomes more firmly rooted in institutions, the members of traditional in-groups turned out-groups will begin to adopt the Left’s rhetoric of victimology and identity politics, as will members of traditional out-groups who reject the totalitarian humanist paradigm for whatever reason.  The Left has really pushed the limits with this, inventing concepts like speciesim, looksism, ablism, fatphobia, etc. In the future, look for more and more movements in the direction of white rights, men’s rights, Christians’ rights, hetero rights, smokers rights, gay conservatives’ rights, oppressed Irish-Catholics’ rights, anti-feminist feminism, black white supremacists, one-eyed vegan transexual fascists, Leagues of Republican Fat Asses Against Weight Discrimination (FATWA), and on and on.

In Search of Identity Reply

Interesting article by Swedish nationalist Rafael Koski.

The main speaker of the evening was the Croatian-American ”New Rightist” Tomislav Sunic. He talked of his Croatian and other identities, and how he would prefer an explicitly racialist identity as a White European. He acknowledged, though, that as long as discourse is controlled by the enemy, it makes sense to use more neutral terms like ”identitarian.” He wanted to remind the more action-oriented nationalists that the real enemy is not the immigrant, but always the liberal capitalist plutocrat, who, despite appearances, will always be ready to sell his country for profit.

Sunic gave an entertaining account of all the forms of propaganda that have been used to create a ”negative identity” based on guilt for European peoples. This negative identity is manifest in the various commemorations for the sufferings of all kinds of foreign peoples around the world. This produces a “victimology” in which different groups compete for status as the one most oppressed by evil White heterosexual males.

But this victimology will never bring peace to liberal society, because the ”victims” are haggling for the money that is expropriated from the White man. Sooner or later, the ”oppressor” will cease paying taxes, or cease to exist altogether.

Montana Introduces Comprehensive Nullification Bill 3

It’s the first state to do so.

This is how I envision the revolution actually happening.

If I’m correct that the liberal-Left is going to dominate U.S. national politics for the next few decades, then more and more “red states” will likely adopt such actions, and hopefully “blue zones” in red states will follow with secessionist threats of their own like Pima County in Arizona is doing. And then black, white, yellow, brown, pink, green, and purple zones starts will start seceding from each other until the state is virtually destroyed by many different communities going off and doing their own thing.

Bradley Manning Could Face Death: For What? Reply

Glenn Greenwald on the state’s efforts to kill the solider who exposed U.S. war crimes.

The U.S. Army yesterday announced that it has filed 22 additional charges against Bradley Manning, the Private accused of being the source for hundreds of thousands of documents (as well as this still-striking video) published over the last year by WikiLeaks. Most of the charges add little to the ones already filed, but the most serious new charge is for “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although military prosecutors stated that they intend to seek life imprisonment rather than the death penalty for this alleged crime, the military tribunal is still empowered to sentence Manning to death if convicted.

Do the Rich Really Pay Most of the Taxes? Reply

Not exactly. Kevin Carson explains why.

Although (by strong implication, anyway) Paul & Co. frame the issue as the shiftless majority voting themselves loot at the expense of the hardworking rich, what’s really happening is that the rich who control the state are smart enough to understand what the system — not the free market, but the corporate economy as currently structured — needs for its survival.  The rich simply have more investment funds sitting around than there are productive outlets for, while productive capacity sits idle for want of demand.  If the government didn’t bolster aggregate demand by taxing it and then spending it into circulation, we’d be in a permanent big-D Depression.

The Free Market's Regulatory Model Reply

David D’Amato on why the regulatory state serves the alliance of state and capital.

Big Business, we are frequently advised, is the enemy of our natural biosphere, forever seeking new ways to sidestep its responsibilities to the environment and to dirty it at will. This assumption is, in the main, difficult to contest, its evidentiary support inescapably confronting anyone paying even the least attention. This popularly-understood fact, however, is attended by another assumption regarding the relationship between power and the natural world, that the state is the great taming influence on the evil corporation.

As historian Gabriel Kolko demonstrated in his groundbreaking account of the Progressive Era, absolutely nothing in political life could be further from the truth. “[T]he federal government,” reveals Kolko’s The Triumph of Conservatism, “rather than being a source of negative opposition, always represented a source of economic gain” for Big Business. The state, in conflict with the widely-accepted story we get from “respected” outlets, allowed corporate powerhouses to “solve their economic problems by centralization.”

It doctored the economic system, introducing cartelizing regulations, to displace any trace of free market forces that — if genuinely left to themselves — would tend to shake the giant companies at their substrata. In her study of the French free market radicals, Joanna Kitchin similarly identified their view of the free market as a system that “prevents excessive enrichment due to monopolies” and “diffuses very widely the profits of industry.”

Noam Chomsky: Stability, A Cold Code Word With U.S. Reply

A new interview with Professor Noam.

Chomsky: I think that more can be done, what is happening is already pretty awful and that could lead to a really major bloodbath. Information is pretty sparse but at least the eastern province appears to be substantially under control by the popular uprising. Tripoli looks very dangerous. I think efforts could be made to provide assistance and protection to the parts of the population that have succeeded in liberating parts of Libya. However, nobody wants a western intervention. That would probably be not only wrong but also disastrous. But actions could be taken through the UN presumably.

The Sunic Journal: Richard Spencer and Alex Kurtagic Reply

Listen to the interview.

Tom’s guests are Alex Kurtagic, founder of publisher Wermod and Wermod, a novelist, and author of the dystopian novel Mister and Richard Spencer, the executive editor and founder of website magazine Alternative Right, also author of numerous literary essays.

The main focus of their discussion is culture, as the vehicle of political struggle, and how can cultural battle shape up political activism.