What ISIS Really Wants 2

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From the Atlantic. A thorough overview of the much-maligned militant-Muslim Männerbund.


What is the Islamic State?

Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

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To stop ISIS, outside powers must end their proxy wars in Syria Reply

 

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Some constructive criticism from Charles Glass.


A French news cameraman burst into the bar of Beirut’s Commodore Hotel, where his colleagues gathered most evenings, on November 17, 1983. “At last,” he shouted, cupping both hands upward, “someone with balls!” French warplanes had just bombed the town of Baalbek, site of magnificent Roman ruins but also of a Shiite Muslim militant barracks. This was France’s revenge for the killing of 58 French troops by a suicide bomber four weeks earlier. On the same morning the French died, the United States had lost 241 American service personnel, most of them U.S. Marines, to another suicide bomber. So far, Washington had not responded. We learned later that Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who was against sending Marines to Lebanon in the first place, had dissuaded President Ronald Reagan from bombing Lebanon until there was evidence to prove who had done it.

France’s bombardment satisfied one French cameraman. It changed nothing, except for the civilians and militants who died in Baalbek. When the U.S. finally bombed eastern Lebanon in December, Syrian air defenses downed a Navy A-6 Intruder. The pilot, Lt. Mark Lange, died when his parachute malfunctioned. The navigator-bombardier, Lt. Robert O. Goodman, became a prisoner for 31 days until the Syrians released him to Reverend Jesse Jackson. And that was that.

By April 1984, the French and American forces of the ill-advised Multinational Force had left Lebanon. French President Francois Mitterrand’s promise to remain in defiance of those who had murdered his soldiers was forgotten, as was President Reagan’s commitment to peace in Lebanon. The civil war, already in its eighth year, did not end until 1990. The parties behind the bombing of the French and American troops, the Hezbollah militia and its backers, Iran and Syria, emerged more or less victorious. In fact, Syria had proven itself so powerful in Lebanon that the U.S. approved its military occupation to keep order. Syria went too far by assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in February 2005, and its troops were forced to evacuate the country two months later.

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Why I’m Scared of Widows & Orphans 2

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Islam, immigration, and interventionism.

I’ll be incorporating a response to the Ann-xieties expressed here (and elsewhere) into a future Infernal episode.


There’s a lot of raspberrying and dismissiveness in the debate over whether to let the wave of “Syrian” “refugees” wash up on U.S. shores. In the partisan sandbox-fights to which we tend to reduce even the most serious questions, it’s easy to forget that in a case like this, there is probably a strong moral argument to be made on either side.

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Ron Paul: Is Islam on the Verge of Engulfing Western Civilization? 3

In a better world, Paul would be POTUS.

(In an >even< better world, the concept of a POTUS – and other national equivalents – would remain just that.)

Antiracism, Our Flawed New Religion 1

By John McWhorter

Opposition to racism used to be a political stance. Now it has every marking of a religion, with both good and deleterious effects on American society.
An anthropology article from 1956 used to get around more than it does now, “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema.” Because my mother gave it to me to read when I was 13, of course what I remember most from it is that among the Nacirema, women with especially large breasts get paid to travel and display them. Nacirema was “American” spelled backwards—get it?—and the idea was to show how revealing, and even peculiar, our society is if described from a clinical distance.

These days, there is something else about the Nacirema—they have developed a new religion. That religion is antiracism. Of course, most consider antiracism a position, or evidence of morality. However, in 2015, among educated Americans especially, Antiracism—it seriously merits capitalization at this point—is now what any naïve, unbiased anthropologist would describe as a new and increasingly dominant religion. It is what we worship, as sincerely and fervently as many worship God and Jesus and, among most Blue State Americans, more so.

To someone today making sense of the Nacirema, the category of person who, roughly, reads The New York Times and The New Yorker and listens to NPR, would be a deeply religious person indeed, but as an Antiracist. This is good in some ways—better than most are in a position to realize. This is also bad in other ways—worse than most are in a position to realize.

For example, Ta-Nehisi Coates, now anointed as James Baldwin’s heir by Toni Morrison, is formally classified as a celebrated writer. However, the particulars of his reception in our moment reveal that Coates is, in the Naciremian sense, a priest. Coates is “revered,” as New York magazine aptly puts it, as someone gifted at phrasing, repeating, and crafting artful variations upon points that are considered crucial—that is, scripture. Specifically, Coates is celebrated as the writer who most aptly expresses the scripture that America’s past was built on racism and that racism still permeates the national fabric.

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The Magical Bottomless Labor Pool Reply

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The Princess of Pessimism, Ann Sterzinger, on labour and…er, labour.


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A few months back, publisher Chip Smith asked me to write a new intro for the upcoming second edition of my 2011 novel NVSQVAM. To write the essay I had to rethink my protagonist, Lester Reichartsen, whose youth and dreams came to a screeching halt when his girlfriend slyly quit taking her birth control pills.

Reviewers’ response to Lester’s depressive and unenthusiastic assumption of the role of family man surprised me. Many a columnist—both liberal and conservative, those who loved the book and those who hated it—declared him a disgusting human being.

Pushing aside the fact that the phrase “disgusting human being” may be redundant, I was forced to confront the contrast between reader responses and my own underlying assumption: that Lester is no more horrible than anyone else.

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Halal & Hypocrisy XIII: Remove Kebab? 1

 

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New from the Inferno: A tyrannical tale of kebabs and killjoys.


The south of France, and one man finds himself deeply disenchanted by the culinary delights on offer in his locale. So much so, in fact, that he took to the press, voicing his determination never to let another kebabish open in his town again.

Lushes and reprobates – I give you Robert Ménard: ex-secretary general of press freedom group Reporters Sans Frontières and currently disgruntled mayor of the supposedly shish-saturated town of Béziers. This blowhard first came to my attention a couple of weeks back, when I read about his distaste for döner at the Daily Sabah. Already something of a national celebrity for his animus towards Allahphiles—making a point of illegally collecting stats on Muslim schoolkids and personally declaring Syrian refugees in his town persona non grata—the somewhat megalomaniacal mayor now wants to obstruct the opening of any further lamb-spit houses in his locale.

Reading about this reminds me of one reason I kickstarted this series-within-a-series known as ‘Halal & Hypocrisy’: to shine a spotlight on those for whom fighting the Islamification of the Western world serves as a Trojan Horse for their own liberticidal bullshit. Whilst I may not be thrilled about the concept (and existence) of borders (at least not on a nation-state level), I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some sympathy for those who view them as a means of preserving treasured cultural and civil liberties—not to mention life and limb—in their lands (a la the late Pim Fortuyn). That said, I find it tragicomic how fervently those of such a persuasion appeal to the very institutions responsible for their malaise to make everything alright, especially when the latter either double down with a “solution” that further feeds the beast or take it as an opportunity to play bait ‘n’ switch by adding their own encroachments.

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France’s False Choice Reply

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Atlantic article from January. Thoughtful overview of Dar al-Islam in the land of the Gauls.

Also, rather refreshing to see a mainstreamer who can tell the fucking difference between liberty and democracy!


The impressive and inspiring show of solidarity at France’s unity march on January 11—which brought together millions of people and more than 40 world leaders—was not necessarily a sign of good things to come. “We are all one” was indeed a powerful message, but what did it really mean, underneath the noble sentiment and the liberal faith that all people are essentially good and want the same things, regardless of religion or culture? Even if the scope is limited to Western liberals, the aftermath of the assaults in Paris on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket has revealed a striking lack of consensus on a whole host of issues, including the limits of free speech, the treatment of religions versus racial groups, and the centrality of secularism to the liberal idea. Turns out, we are not all one.

French schoolteachers were reportedly dumbfounded that (some) Muslim students refused to stand up for a moment of silence after the attacks. But this is where confusion seeps into the debate. Within France, there is not a cultural divide on the attack that left 12 dead at the offices of a satirical magazine. To even suspect that a significant number of French Muslims might support the slaughter of innocents is troubling. But beyond the killings themselves, there is, in fact, a cultural divide—one that shines light on some of the most problematic aspects of how we in the West talk about Islam, values, and violence.

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More Anarchistic Than Thou 1

A reply to “Anti-Fascist News“:

An uninformed lay person reading the pathetically ignorant and barely literate bromide against Attack the System recently issued by “Anti-Fascist News” would hardly know anarchism is a vast tradition in modern political philosophy with roots in the radical Enlightenment more than two centuries ago. Further, history provides examples of many anarchist prototypes extending back for thousands of years (Peter Marshall’s magisterial work “Demanding the Impossible” ably demonstrates this point). However, our critics at “Anti-Fascist News” would have everyone believe that the sum total of anarchist traditions have never been more than a sectarian brand of anarcho-communism derived from the left-wing of anarchism as it was in the 1930s. This is akin to a modern Protestant fundamentalist insisting that the entire Christian tradition consists of nothing more than seventeenth century English Puritanism (no offense to Puritans).

While I am an admirer of the anarcho-communist tendency within classical anarchism of the early twentieth century, there is certainly no reason why anarchism should be exclusively and forever defined within the confines of these limited parameters. As a reading of even the most elementary level book on anarchism will indicate, anarchism is in fact a collection of many varied and diverse currents just as, to use the Christian analogy once again, the Christian faith consists of many thousands of traditions, sects, and denominations that have existed throughout history and throughout the world today. As John Zube has ably demonstrated, there are indeed many readily identifiable traditions within anarchism, some of which maintain a paradoxical relationship to each other. Of course, it is true that there will always likely remain sects within anarchism that refuse to recognize one another as “true” anarchists, just as there are sects of Protestants and Catholics, Sunni and Shiites, who refuse to recognize each other as “true” Christians or Muslims.

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Mass-Immigration: The Athenian Approach 1

By James Norwood

Libertarian Alliance

Mass-immigration brings two main challenges. The first is displacement of the traditional population. The second is enlarged membership of the political nation – that is, the grant of voting and other citizenship rights to the newcomers.

These tend to be seen as a single challenge. With or without citizenship rights, immigration on a large enough scale will transform a country. The grant of citizenship rights only becomes critical when the number of alien citizens passes beyond a certain level.

This being said, the two are separable. What brings many immigrants – certainly the tidal wave readying itself at the moment to overwhelm Europe – is the promise of lavish welfare. Some, no doubt, are exactly what the mainstream media tells us they are. Either they are fleeing persecution in their own countries, or they are coming in search of economic opportunities that may bring positive, if limited, benefits to the settled population. But many, it seems, are coming for the free money. Why else are they hurrying through Hungary and the Czech Republic, to claim asylum in Germany?

Moreover, once they are settled in their host countries, it is usually a matter of five or ten years before the newcomers are able to vote. They then swell the constituency of voters for all the policy and legal changes that are summarised by the words “political correctness.”

But suppose entrance to a European country brought no citizenship rights. Suppose there were no welfare, no free education, no hope of citizenship and the vote. As said, some would still come. Fear of persecution at home, or the chance to start a business here, would not be abolished. There would even be some beggars – the streets of Paris or Berlin or London would be more welcoming than the streets of Mogadishu. But the tap would be more than half shut off. The freezing of the electorate would slow the further growth of ethnic voting blocs. The immigration controls we already have might then begin to work.

I will not discuss whether the political will exists to make the necessary changes. I will instead show that the political will has existed in other times and places. Citizenship and its attendant rights have not always been a category granted by the State. Let us take the example of Classical Athens between the 6th and 4th centuries BC.

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The Immigration Question: A Libertarian Middle Ground Between Rockwell and Carson 7

By Chris Shaw

Rockwell’s recent piece Open Borders: A Libertarian Reappraisal provoked an angry response by Carson in How Low Can Lew Rockwell Go?. However they both go wrong. The former assumes a nonsense, fascistic idea that all American and European whites despise immigration and would prefer communities governed by restrictions on movement that have never been seen and takes a simplistic view of immigration and its forms and effects. However the latter also takes a simplistic view, asserting implicitly that because America was founded on robbery and imperialism, the people who live here now have no right to protect their culture and ideas in the way they would like. What if this argument was made for tribal peoples or for native cultures? Many of these were founded on similar crimes, but of course that doesn’t matter. Instead there is a ridiculous conflation of skin colour and the crimes of governments that happen to share that skin colour.

At the end of the day it comes down to state agency and recognising there is such a thing as cultural borders and personal fences. As Hoppe has pointed out, the state induces both forced exclusion and forced inclusion. That means that both Carson and Rockwell’s arguments are far too simplistic in what is a complex, multifaceted issue. More…

How Low Can Lew Rockwell Go?: The Case for Open Borders 18

By Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

For a long time, anarchists and libertarians have mockingly characterized the stereotypical liberal goo-goo response to any vision of a stateless society as “But what about the rooaaads?” But now a couple of libertarians — at least that’s what they call themselves — have made that phrase their own. In response to the seemingly self-evident proposition, from a libertarian standpoint, that people should be able to move freely from place to place regardless of imaginary lines drawn by states on a map, Hans Hermann Hoppe and Lew Rockwell — the gray eminences of the paleo-libertarian world — cry out “But what about the rooaaads?”

In a Mises Circle talk earlier this month (Open Borders Are an Assault on Private Property), appropriately enough in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s stomping grounds, Rockwell restated an argument earlier formulated by Hoppe:

What we believe in are private property rights. No one has “freedom of speech” on my property, since I set the rules, and in the last resort I can expel someone. He can say whatever he likes on his own property, and on the property of anyone who cares to listen to him, but not on mine.

The same principle holds for freedom of movement. Libertarians do not believe in any such principle in the abstract. I do not have the right to wander into your house…. As with “freedom of speech,” private property is the relevant factor here. I can move onto any property I myself own or whose owner wishes to have me. I cannot simply go wherever I like.

From here Rockwell continues to elaborate on an argument whose basic assumptions are — I say without equivocation — mind-numbingly stupid.

Now if all the parcels of land in the whole world were privately owned, the solution to the so-called immigration problem would be evident. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that there would be no immigration problem in the first place. Everyone moving somewhere new would have to have the consent of the owner of that place.

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Open Borders Are An Assault on Private Property Reply

By Lew Rockwell

This talk was delivered at the Mises Circle in Phoenix, AZ, on November 7, 2015.

Whether we’re talking about illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America, or birthright citizenship, or the migrants coming from the Middle East and Africa, the subject of immigration has been in the news and widely discussed for months now. It is an issue fraught with potentially perilous consequences, so it is especially important for libertarians to understand it correctly. This Mises Circle, which is devoted to a consideration of where we ought to go from here, seems like an opportune moment to take up this momentous question.

I should note at the outset that in searching for the correct answer to this vexing problem I do not seek to claim originality. To the contrary, I draw much of what follows from two of the people whose work is indispensable to a proper understanding of the free society: Murray N. Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

Some libertarians have assumed that the correct libertarian position on immigration must be “open borders,” or the completely unrestricted movement of people. Superficially, this appears correct: surely we believe in letting people go wherever they like!

But hold on a minute. Think about “freedom of speech,” another principle people associate with libertarians. Do we really believe in freedom of speech as an abstract principle? That would mean I have the right to yell all during a movie, or the right to disrupt a Church service,  or the right to enter your home and shout obscenities at you.

What we believe in are private property rights. No one has “freedom of speech” on my property, since I set the rules, and in the last resort I can expel someone. He can say whatever he likes on his own property, and on the property of anyone who cares to listen to him, but not on mine.

The same principle holds for freedom of movement. Libertarians do not believe in any such principle in the abstract. I do not have the right to wander into your house, or into your gated community, or into Disneyworld, or onto your private beach, or onto Jay-Z ‘s private island. As with “freedom of speech,” private property is the relevant factor here. I can move onto any property I myself own or whose owner wishes to have me. I cannot simply go wherever I like.

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Minnesota Student Association Rejects Moment of Recognition Resolution for 9/11 Reply

The irreconcilable political narratives of the Blue and Red tribes continue to clash on university campuses.

The Minnesota Republic

On Tuesday, November 10, the Minnesota Student Association (MSA)–the undergraduate student government at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN)– rejected a resolution for a moment of recognition on future anniversaries of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Theo Menon, the student group representative to MSA for the College Republicans (CRs) at UMN, introduced the resolution; MSA’s forum voted against it 36-23 (with three abstentions). The proposed resolution pointed to the university’s lack of any sort of commemoration regarding the attacks on 9/11. It then called for a campus-wide moment of recognition on every September 11 from now on.

“I wrote this resolution because I think we need to recognize the victims of this world-changing event,” said Menon, “The innocent men, women, and servicemen who died on that day deserve to be honored.”

Nathan Amundson serves as President of UMN’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter and student group representative for Write Things, a creative writing group. Amundson said debate on the resolution centered around whether enacting the moment of recognition might instill a more islamophobic sentiment on campus.
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Cody Wilson – 3D Printed Guns, PC Hacktivism & Cultural Terrorism Reply

An great interview of Cody Wilson by Lana Lokteff.

Radio 3Fourteen. Listen here.

Cody Rutledge Wilson, a student of law, political philosophy, and social theory, is a USA crypto and free-market anarchist. He is best known as a founder/director of Defense Distributed, a non-profit organization that develops and publishes open source gun designs, so-called “Wiki Weapons,” suitable for 3D printing. USA Carry named Wilson one of America’s “30 Influential Pro-Gun Rights Advocates,” and Wired Magazine’s “Danger Room” has named him one of “The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World.”

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The Real Issues You Won’t Hear from the 2016 Presidential Candidates This Election Year Reply

By John Whitehead

Rutherford Institute

“Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.”—Gore Vidal

The countdown has begun.

We now have less than one year until the 2016 presidential election, and you can expect to be treated to an earful of carefully crafted, expensive sound bites and political spin about climate change, education, immigration, taxes and war.

Despite the dire state of our nation, however, you can rest assured that none of the problems that continue to undermine our freedoms will be addressed in any credible, helpful way by any of the so-called viable presidential candidates and certainly not if doing so might jeopardize their standing with the unions, corporations or the moneyed elite bankrolling their campaigns.

The following are just a few of the issues that should be front and center in every presidential debate. That they are not is a reflection of our willingness as citizens to have our political elections reduced to little more than popularity contests that are, in the words of Shakespeare, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The national debt. Why aren’t politicians talking about the whopping $18.1 trillion and rising that our government owes to foreign countries, private corporations and its retirement programs? Not only is the U.S. the largest debtor nation in the world, but according to Forbes, “the amount of interest on the national debt is estimated to be accumulating at a rate of over one million dollars per minute.” Shouldn’t the government being on the verge of bankruptcy be an issue worth talking about?

Black budget spending. It costs the American taxpayer $52.6 billion every year to be spied on by the sixteen or so intelligence agencies tasked with surveillance, data collection, counterintelligence and covert activities. The agencies operating with black budget (top secret) funds include the CIA, NSA and Justice Department. Clearly, our right to privacy seems to amount to nothing in the eyes of the government and those aspiring to office.

Government contractors. Despite all the talk about big and small government, what we have been saddled with is a government that is outsourcing much of its work to high-paid contractors at great expense to the taxpayer and with no competition, little transparency and dubious savings. According to the Washington Post, “By some estimates, there are twice as many people doing government work under contract than there are government workers.” These open-ended contracts, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, “now account for anywhere between one quarter and one half of all federal service contracting.” Moreover, any attempt to reform the system is “bitterly opposed by federal employee unions, who take it as their mission to prevent good employees from being rewarded and bad employees from being fired.”

Cost of war. Then there’s the detrimental impact the government’s endless wars (fueled by the profit-driven military industrial complex) is having on our communities, our budget and our police forces. In fact, the U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest employer, with more than 3.2 million employees. Since 9/11, we’ve spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When you add in our military efforts in Pakistan, as well as the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt, that cost rises to $4.4 trillion.

Education. Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more on education than any other developed nation, our students continue to lag significantly behind other advanced industrial nations. Incredibly, teenagers in the U.S. ranked 36th in the world in math, reading and science.

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Matt Heimbach and Jared Taylor Debate Tim Wise and Michael Dyson Reply

Here’s an interesting thought experiment. Suppose an ATS associated had been the fifth participant in this debate. What should an ATSer say in response to the two sides being presented? One friend suggests something like the following:

“Most people viewing this probably see two radically opposing positions that are irreconcilable at best. What I see, is an emerging consensus where both sides agree that it is best to live in a cohesive community surrounded by people with similar values and aspirations. The sooner these gentleman see this as well, the sooner we can cease debating and start working toward that common goal.”

Ironically, I would agree with most of what all four participants in the discussion actually said. I know Jared and Matt personally, and being a sociologist, a profoundly left-wing profession for the most part, I’m also very familiar with the work of Wise and Dyson.

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This is the best South Park season in a decade Reply

 

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From Entertainment Weekly. I knew I wasn’t hallucinating Parker ‘n’ Stone’s sudden discovery of the narrative arc!


by Darren Franich

It’s been a long time since we talked about South Park as a TV show. As an institution, sure. Trey Parker and Matt Stone took Comedy Central mainstream in 1997, and they’ve outlasted all the network’s ensuing zeitgeists: Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle, Stephen Colbert, Key & Peele, soon Amy Schumer, maybe Tosh someday. In 2013, the show downshifted to a 10-episode-yearly schedule: a shorter season, but also maybe just the new normal for cable. They’re contracted through 2019.

Why would they stop? Parker and Stone have time for extracurriculars — an Oscar nomination here, a videogame there, the occasional raft of Tony awards. In their public statements, they sound perfectly willing to keep the show going until Comedy Central cancels them. Comedy Central, in turn, seems perfectly willing to keep the show going until they quit. The show’s ratings aren’t what they used to be, but then again, our perspective on TV ratings isn’t what it used to be. Sure, South Park’s first season finale had 6.4 million viewers; sure, last week’s episode had just 1.2. But that first season finale was 17 years ago. Saying less people watch South Park is like saying someone invented Netflix.

Because South Park has lasted so long, because of its uniquely privileged position beyond the usual ratings race, and because it has been and always will be a relatively low-budget cartoon, starring lookalike soundalikes, we don’t think of it as a TV show because it’s not really like any other TV show. We treat it more like an animated op-ed column. And, to be fair, the timeliness of South Park was always one of its central virtues. As memorialized in the documentary Six Days to Air, the complete production schedule for a single episode is insanely rapid: Weeks shorter than the typical scripted show, months shorter than the typical animated series. “What does South Park think about this topical event?” became a thing right around the moment that the rise of social media demanded loud, frequent opinions about topical events.

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…And Then They Came for the Tech Workers Reply

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From RightOn: Labour-market laughs and lamentations mit Ann Sterzinger.


Y’all in Europe might find it a challenge to accommodate all of your new friends right now, but there’s hope: on this side of the pond, the native-born American worker just scored a massive coup, I tell you what.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a bit of a hullaballoo when SunTrust Banks in Atlanta decided to take advantage of our government’s generous H-1B special occupational visa program. The H-1B visa is a great boon to the American economy, allowing companies to replace their spoiled, entitled, costly native-born skilled labor force with cheaper, more compliant computer programmers, IT assistants, and scientists from countries like India.

It’s not that Indian people are innately more charitable toward their great and benevolent employers than Americans, mind you; but people who are in the country on an H-1B visa can’t change jobs without risking deportation, so they have to shut up and take what they’re given. The ideal employee!

But that wasn’t what made the news; such abuses of the H-1B are becoming commonplace. Just as humdrum was the way SunTrust humiliated the American employees they were firing by making them train their own replacements.

But then SunTrust pushed their luck a bit too far.

Showcasing both their lack of esteem for the American employees’ years of service and their lack of confidence in their cheap new workers’ ability to hit the ground running, SunTrust stuck a “continuing cooperation” clause in the severance agreement.

If they wanted severance pay, the rejected workers had to agree to donate their own time to step in and provide emergency help if something went wrong—for NO ADDITIONAL PAY.

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Horizontal Collaboration 1

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A raunchily revisionist review by Ann Sterzinger. Sheds more light on the Conflict Without Heroes that was World War II.

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Is present-day Paris more puritanical than it was under the Nazis?

I’d love to simply dwell on the jaunty visual attractiveness—not to mention the entertainment and historical value—of author Mel Gordon’s recent coffee table book from Feral House press, Horizontal Collaboration: The Erotic World of Paris 1920-1946. It’s by turns a joyful and critical account of the legal sex industry in Paris before, during, and after the two world wars.

I’d also prefer to avoid painting myself into a corner as “That one lady who spends weeks at a time wondering aloud about what the French are going to do with all their enthused new Muslims.”

But as the EU brass continue prying national borders open to everyone who can fit on a boat, it’s almost impossible to read an account of Paris, sex, and the Nazi occupation without one’s mind wandering to Paris, sex, and the new theocrappation.

…Although the extent of said theocrappation depends on how you interpret some viscerally shocking poll data. For instance: does 3 percent of a sample of the French population responding “very favorably” to ISIS while 13 percent respond “rather favorably” add up to 15 percent of the electorate backing ISIS? You parse the adverbs.

But in any case, as my dear departed friend Lisa Falour used to say: Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. (An influx of radical Muslims is comedy gold, in fact; just as France was running out of humorless Catholics, here comes the new boss…)

I am, however, aware that reductio ad Hitlerum is a running gag with all the kids these days; therefore, I shall drive straight on to reductio praeter Hitlerum.

Because if the research in this book is anything like accurate—and Feral House’s longtime reputation might imply that it is—it sounds like the Nazis were more tolerant of, if not titillated by, Parisian sexual culture than our new friends the jihadis.

Then again, the Nazis were also more fun, sexually speaking, than the native French feminists in all apparent likelihood, so there’s that to chew on as well… Not to mention the fact that the Nazi stormtroopers supposedly acted less rapey in gay Paree than the heroic American GIs who came to chase them away.

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Noam Chomsky interviewed by Abby Martin 2

In this episode of teleSUR’s The Empire Files, Abby Martin interviews world-renowned philosopher and linguist Professor Noam Chomsky. Prof. Chomsky comments on the presidential primary “extravaganza,” the movement for Bernie Sanders, the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, modern-day libertarianism and the reality of “democracy” under capitalism.

J’accuse: Leftist intellectuals turn right 1

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From Politico.

Onfray’s book on atheism lies half-read on my print-pile; maybe one day, I’ll actually lay hands on it again.

~MRDA~

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Unusual ideological bedfellows in France are uniting against globalization and the euro.

By Pierre Briançon

10/16/15, 5:30 AM CET

Updated 10/16/15, 7:14 PM CET

PARIS — When the newspaper Libération last month accused self-professed “left of the left” philosopher and best-selling author Michel Onfray of “doing the [far-right party] Front National’s bidding,” French intellectuals circled the wagons.

Riding to the rescue from the left and right to defend Onfray, they did what intellectuals do in these cases: organize a public debate. The headline of the event, to be hosted at the Maison de la Mutualité on October 20 by political weekly magazine Marianne in support of its sometime contributor Onfray, sets a new standard for navel-gazing: “Can we still debate in France?”

Spoiler alert: The fury stirred up by the controversy offers a good clue to the answer.

Onfray is only the latest French thinker whom government-friendly media and Socialist party officials accuse of pushing ideas similar to those of the far-right — on immigration, the role of Islam in society and the need to restore France’s battered sense of self.

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