Mass Shootings, State Repression and Gun Laws: Don’t Look to Europe as a Model 2

A reader asked as part of a general discussion of whether the adoption of European (or Japanese) gun laws might reduce the frequency of mass shootings in the United States.

A simple question…..What do you think the government of the USA would do, if the population was totally disarmed, without recourse, and the only people with guns would be government officials and the police? If the government had the power to do *anything* to the US population it wanted? The government with 100% power, and the population with 0% power? Tell me that the US government would not turn into a large version of Pinochet’s Chile, killing, torturing, and disappearing US citizens at will, when all of these policies of Foggy Bottom and the CIA in Chile and elsewhere, were really practice to someday use these same tactics of repression on us?

My response.

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Assessing Donald Trump and His Critics Reply

One of the best assessments of Trump and his opponents I’ve seen to date, from our own Tron Bolome.

“For all the hysteria and bluster, Trump has mostly only delivered on the traditionally leftist side of his platform – trade protectionism, ending the Korean war(!) and preventing us from getting into any new ones, tolerating legal weed, and now prison reform, among other things.

The “right wing” policies that actually passed are conventional beltway bullshit…tax cuts and corp deregulation, ignoring environmental concerns, etc. Nothing has really happened on healthcare, but I don’t think the Republicans have the will, plan, or support for any major overhaul anyway.

The real nationalist stuff the left constantly panics about is mostly rhetorical bluster. He either can’t or won’t deliver on serious, consequential border control, the wall, etc. in a way that would halt or slow the demographic sea change which dooms both the Republican party and classical liberalism, which everyone knows is the real issue here. Trump just speaks with undisguised contempt for the progressive religion, which sends true-believers into apoplectic frenzy, because like in all holy superstitions, open sacrilegious blasphemy jeopardizes the effect of coercive group think.

In reality, his words are mostly junk food thrown to his base without much meat. But the Republicans have never been serious about border control because the capitalists who fund them don’t give a flying fuck about the historic American nation, the people that live in it, or any other human value that can’t be exploited for votes, money, or power. The evil fascist nazi leader’s immigration policy amounts to not blatantly allowing open borders as stated policy.

The other right-wing issues he’s passed are irreverent fluff…no more sex changes on the tax payer dime in the military? Woopety fuckin doo. It was dumb policy but irrelevant, and I could give a fuck what other bizarre indignities willing zog slaves subject themselves to.

So Trump is actually something of a moderate centrist if you look past the bluster, judged even by today’s standards. As opposed to what? A neolib war hawk that replaces idpol grievance mongering for working class advocacy? Fuck that. My biggest fear for Trump was that he would pick a fight with some tinpot dictator in a coke fueled juvenile rage over a personal slight, and here he is talking about how him and Kim Jung Un “fell in love” (lmfao!!!!). With Hillbitch we might be at DefCon 4 in a standoff with the Russians in Syria, with Israel and Iran involved. 1A and 2A would be aggressively attacked in the courts and legislature.

My biggest takeaway from the Trump adventure is concluding once and for all that the modern left is ignorant, fanatical, superstitious, intolerant, gullible, authoritarian, ironically extremely racist, sadistic, totally out of touch with reality, hopelessly corrupted, and very dangerous anywhere near power.”

My own two cents worth.

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A Marxist View of the Capitalist Co-option of the Populist Left 3

A writer named Don Hamerquist, who appears to be a Marxist-Leninist with left-communist or autonomous Marxist leanings, has a new three part essay on the “antifascist” blog Three Way Fight that is considerably more insightful that what I usually find coming from that milieu. The essay is available here, here, and here.

The essay makes the following arguments.

1) The difficulties that global capitalism has experienced over the past decade have generated a backlash against neoliberalism in the forms of populist movements from both the left and right.

2) The “capitalist class” in the Western nations has attempted to co-opt left-wing populism by pitting it against right-wing populism in a supposed battle for “democracy” and “liberalism” against “authoritarianism” or “fascism.” Hamerquist also recognizes that Russia is a player within the framework of global capitalism, not a genuine opposition nation, but one that is being used as a scapegoat or whipping boy by Western liberals.

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Has the Government Declared War on Trans People? 4

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Has the government declared war on trans people? That’s the million dollar question and its one I still don’t have a clear answer to. As some of you may already know, several weeks ago a memo being circulated by the Department of Health and Human Services was leaked exposing a plan by the Trump administration in league with their supposed enemies in the Deep State to officially establish gender as being defined exclusively by ones genitalia at birth. This would essentially erase people like me and leave us at the mercy of a bevy of bureaucratic tyrants from the prison industrial complex to its child abusing cousins in the tenured snake pits of the public school system.

When I first heard about the memo, released by the New York Times, I was skeptical for a number of reasons, most of them having to do with the foul circus of the midterms. Was the memo leaked by Trump’s frenemies in the Steady State in an attempt to use identity politics to shore up the youth vote for their allies in the Democratic Party? Or did Trump leak the memo himself to excite those fun-policing tranny-bashers, the Evangelicals, knowing they’d need the Spanish Fly of state sanctioned child abuse to get hard enough to vote for their local philandering whore-mongers in the GOP and, by proxy, our own philandering whore-monger in chief? Was this memo for real or was it just more hot air to fill Trump’s leaky balloon?

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PayPal is canceling accounts used by the Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, and antifa groups Reply

The repression of dissenters continues. It’s also interesting how the System has zero regard for any of these “extremist” groups who constantly hate on each other. In the ruling class’ perfect world, every one of them would be dead. Yet, if you point this out to sectarians, partisans, tribalists, and cultists on the Left and Right, they usually respond with “moral equivalence” arguments (i..e special pleading) which usually amount to “We’re not assholes like THOSE people…” (even if they usually are).

By Colin Lecher

The Verge

PayPal said today that it will cancel accounts used by far-right group the Proud Boys as well as multiple accounts from anti-fascist groups.

The move will make it much harder for the groups to raise money online. The decision is the latest act of “de-platforming” by the tech industry, which has been grappling with how to effectively handle users that promote hateful or violent ideologies. The news was first reported by BuzzFeed News’s Blake Montgomery.

The ban will include the Proud Boys account as well as an account used by its founder, Gavin McInnes, PayPal said. The company is also canceling accounts for Atlanta Antifa, Antifa Sacramento, and the Anti-Fascist Network. PayPal had previously canceled accounts for Antifa Philadelphia, Antifa Arkansas, Belfast Antifa, and Rose City Antifa. The company also canceled an account used by Tommy Robinson, former leader of the far-right group the English Defence League.

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On Antisemitism, Critical Thinking, And Conspiracy Theories Reply

A timely article from Caitlin.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Today a gunman attacked a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while shouting the words “All Jews must die”. The suspect, Robert Bowers, reportedly had a history of making antisemitic posts on social media, and was taken into custody alive with multiple gunshot wounds. As of this writing, eleven people were killed in the attack.

I don’t have anything interesting or insightful to say about America’s mass shootings, other than to repeat the point I always make that the effects of modern war propaganda on American psychology are wildly under-appreciated and ignored by scientific research. I believe the subject of US gun control is a bit outside my sovereign boundaries as an Australian writer as it only affects Americans, so I don’t really have anything to contribute in the primary debate surrounding the attack. It’s a debate for Americans to have with one another, so I tend to avoid it.

What I do have to offer is a brief description of my experience with conspiracy theories about Judaism and Jewish people as a fringe blogger who writes a lot about conspiracies, and the impression those encounters have left me with. To be clear, when I talk about antisemites I mean the actual bigots who promote hatred of Jewish people, paranoia about Jewishness, or any type of violence against or mistreatment of Jews as a race. I do not mean people who voice legitimate criticisms of Israel and its government, I do not mean people who criticize the way Zionism is used as a tool of manipulation to advance geopolitical agendas, I do not mean people who question the justification for the creation of Israel in the first place, I do not mean people who defend Palestinians, and I do not mean people who voice valid, factual criticisms of George Soros or any other billionaire who happens to be Jewish.

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The Myth Making of Antifa Intellectuals Reply

By Paul Gottfried

The American Conservative

Mark Bray is in his early thirties and the recipient of a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers in 2016. He is also rapidly becoming antifa’s chief ideologue. Among his works describing or advocating for the often violent demonstrators are Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook and Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street.

Bray has yet to find a major commercial press for his tracts and, so far as I can tell, remains a lowly lecturer at Dartmouth College. But he has presented his case for antifa’s protest activities and the disruptive forms they have taken in, among other venues, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, and Boston Review. Bray was also invited to voice his views at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., an honor usually reserved for intellectual and political celebrities. It was after watching Bray’s Politics and Prose address and the remarks it elicited from the mostly “antifascist” audience that my editor at Northern Illinois University Press arrived at the idea that I should write a book on antifa’s worldview.

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Slavoj Žižek: Trump’s rise is a symptom of a dark and subtle force Reply

A leading Marxist philosopher says what I have been saying for (at least) 20 years. Interesting.

By Stephen Johnson

Big Think

  • Slavoj Žižek and British political writer Owen Jones recently spoke about American politics, the left and global capitalism.
  • Žižek sees the success of President Donald Trump as proof that the left needs a major overhaul.
  • Žižek said one positive aspect of Trump’s presidency could be the rise of a new movement on the left.

The crucial battle in American politics today is what’s happening within the Democratic Party, not what’s happening against President Donald Trump, according to the philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek.

Žižek recently sat down with political commentator Owen Jones for an interview that covered the changing nature of global capitalism, the successes and failures of modern leftist movements, and the best ways to change existing political structures.

Žižek, a frequent critic of both capitalism and the shortcomings of the modern left, said liberals focus too much on social issues, such as LGBT rights and racism, and on new right-leaning factions. The cost? The majority of working-class voters may not hear what’s in it for them.

“The crucial event today is not the rise of the New Right,” he said. “The crucial thing is the disintegration of the central-left welfare consensus. This is why the crucial battle in the U.S. today, it’s not against Trump, it’s what happens within the Democratic Party.”

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Civil War? If It Starts It Will Be Uglier Than Anyone Can Imagine 1

“The first time I walked up on some really, honest to God dead soldiers, I must have jumped back six feet. Burnt, charred, frozen in time at the moment of death & look of shock & horror upon their faces.” —  J J in Comments

Even if a day of reckoning arrives it’s unlikely to be one of our choosing. Like everything else of actual importance, it will burst on us like a sudden downpour, unbidden and unexpected. The list of survivors will be lengthy if not all inclusive. Specifics of how it all went down will be uncovered and argued generations later, to the interest of no one save antiquarians. —  OlRemus @ Woodpile Report

Everybody needs to just Chill. Out. Needs to sit down. Needs to take a breath and say the Serenity Prayer. And mean it.

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Larry Krasner’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration Reply

I’m inclined to say “I’ll believe it when I see it” but is this a case of the system actually working?

By Jennifer Gonnerman

The New Yorker

Krasner asked his young prosecutors, “Who here has read Michelle Alexander?”

Photograph by Jeff Brown for The New Yorker

Until Larry Krasner entered the race for District Attorney of Philadelphia last year, he had never prosecuted a case. He began his career as a public defender, and spent three decades as a defense attorney. In the legal world, there is an image, however cartoonish, of prosecutors as conservative and unsparing, and of defense attorneys as righteous and perpetually outraged. Krasner, who had a long ponytail until he was forty, seemed to fit the mold. As he and his colleagues engaged in daily combat with the D.A.’s office, they routinely complained about prosecutors who, they believed, withheld evidence that they were legally required to give to the defense; about police who lied under oath on the witness stand; and about the D.A. Lynne Abraham, a Democrat whose successful prosecutions, over nearly twenty years, sent more people to death row than those of any other D.A. in modern Philadelphia history.

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Unraveling Political Theory – 5 Political Debates That Are False Dichotomies Reply

“In episode 13 of Unraveling Political Theory, Tim and Keith will be discussing 5 different political debates that are false dichotomies. To understand the world of politics and change it for the better, it’s paramount that people begin to study political theory and the ways in which it has manifest throughout history up into the present day. By bringing light to the origins of political and philosophical thought, the present day becomes all the more explainable because one is now able to see the logical progression of such manifestations.”

We Know You’re Full of Shit 1

By R.J. Jacob

Ryan Anarchy

Last week on KTP, Keith and I discussed data from a new study by an independent group of researchers showing that 80 percent of Americans see themselves as against political correctness. Shouldn’t surprise you. Most people don’t even pretend to act “shocked” when someone acts racist or sexist in public. It’s the phony rich people on TV who act like we’re supposed to care about another douchebag and his poetic justice or the next racial/gender/sexual/animal equality BS or whatever it is that we’re supposed to care about this time.

I think one of the main reasons why so many Americans dislike PC is because most Americans aren’t that naive and already know that our news broadcasts are full of shit. In fact, the very notion of talking about what the “political people” on TV are talking about has become a hobby for the more educated and comfortable classes. Most people I know are worried about their bread and butter first and foremost followed by their families. The average person who gives way to the daily grind of “succeeding at life” spends most of his free time drinking, going to the bar, talking to girls, or working out at the gym; and worries about things like family, work, sex, love, depression, trying to save money, and Facebook.

I think “progressive activists” who push PC as a central political social religion have too much free time on their hands. PC anxiety is a luxury for sure. The only people I know who act PC in real life are either lawyers or tech experts with upper-middle-class lifestyles with progressive globalist views or graduate students whose current living situation is comfortable enough to allow them to take up PC as an outward feel-good social hobby while other middle-class progressives mimic the upper-middle-class elite by watching their Real Time with Bill Maher/Anderson Cooper/Colbert Report for rich bitches while the rest of the country doesn’t really give a shit.

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In Defense of National Anarchism 2

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

When I first learned that I had been published on Attack the System, a site notorious for being something of a safe space for national anarchists, I was both confused and intrigued. Intrigued because the national anarchists have a rather unsavory rep among their fellow anti-statists as being a kooky breed of quasi white supremacists. And confused because I happen to be an aggressively queer Marxian syndicalist. But also being a hard-luck, technologically challenged, writer who’s shit is often too radical even for the fringe, I decided I could hardly look a gift horse in the mouth. So I said fuck it, why not?

Then something very strange happened. The national anarchists turned out to be human beings and they seemed to legitimately dig my shit. So I put them to the test. I sent them all of my posts, not just the ones I thought wouldn’t offend their traditionalist sensibilities. I sent them candid posts about my own complex gender identity. I sent them posts referencing my past dalliances with communism and my continued admiration for the Black Panthers. I sent them posts in which I openly and gleefully derided the very notions of biological race and gender. I didn’t write these posts with the national anarchists in mind, it just happened to be the kind of shit I write about and I made zero attempt to shield my new audience from it. To my surprise, not only did every single one of those posts get published, they were a hit. Attack the System even went so far as to make me an editor, which was particularly kind considering that I can barely edit my own work, let alone anyone else’s.

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Political Commentators That Are Not Totally Worthless Reply

Some political commentators actually worth reading or listening to:

Jimmy Dore, Chris Hedges, Ben Norton, Caitlin Johnstone, Glenn Greenwald, Tucker Carlson, Brian Becker, Pat Buchanan, Rania Khalek, John Kiriakou, Abby Martin, Robbie Martin, Adam Proctor, Eugene Puryear, Aimee Terese.

From Marxists to paleoconservatives, they offer a range of alternative perspectives to the FOX-CNN-MSNBC axis of bullshit.

Five Tribes of American Voters Reply

This research more or less confirms the findings of the “Hidden Tribes” researchers with some slight variations.

By Carl M. Cannon

Real Clear Politics

“Every difference of opinion,” Thomas Jefferson warned in his first inaugural address, “is not a difference of principle.” Speaking to his countrymen after an election every bit as bitter as the one that put Donald J. Trump in the White House, Jefferson was trying to soothe the reigning animosity between the nation’s two dominant political parties. “We are all Republicans,” he added. “We are all Federalists.”

Not anymore. In 21st century America, any notion that election results end the argument, however temporarily, is an anachronism. So, too, is the conceit that a nation this large and diverse is divided neatly along “50-50” lines, with half of America’s 253 million adults supporting Democrats, and the other half backing Republicans.

Today, slightly more than one-fourth of registered voters in the United States have political views and social attitudes placing them in the camp of the “Resistance” — to President Trump and the Trump-era Republican Party.

This is one of the five American “tribes” identified in a sweeping new public opinion survey conducted by RealClear Opinion Research, a new service offered by RealClearPolitics. The survey of 2,463 registered voters, conducted Sept. 18-28, was overseen by John Della Volpe, co-founder of SocialSphere Inc., a public opinion and analytics firm based in Cambridge, Mass.

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The Democrats’ Left Turn Is Not an Illusion Reply

The research that is cited in this article, along with the “Hidden Tribes” report that came out recently, seems to confirm what I have long suspected, i.e. that “political correctness” is the ideology of the mostly white, educated, affluent, left-wing of the upper middle class. This is probably one of the more interesting parts of this article:

“In fact, white liberals are well to the left of the black electorate on some racial issues.

Take the issue of discrimination as a factor holding back African-American advancement. White liberals are to the left of black Democrats, placing a much stronger emphasis than African-Americans on the role of discrimination and much less emphasis on the importance of individual effort.

Among white liberals, according to Pew survey data collected in 2017, 79.2 percent agreed that “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days.” 18.8 percent agreed that “blacks who can’t get ahead in this country are mostly responsible for their own condition,” a 60.4 point difference, according to a detailed analysis of the Pew data provided the Times by Zach Goldberg, a doctoral candidate in political science at Georgia State University.

Among blacks, 59.9 percent identified discrimination as the main deterrent to upward mobility for African-Americans, and 32.0 percent said blacks were responsible for their condition — in other words, blacks are more conservative than white liberals on this issue.?”

By Thomas B. Edsall

New York Times

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‘Hidden Tribes’ report shows poor prospects for ‘Exhausted Majority’ Reply

It seems that the “exhausted majority” would be the natural constituency for ATS…if only the “exhausted majority” had any kind of critique of the state and/or capitalism (and, yes, I’m fine the Karl Hess version of capitalism).

By Michael Sean Winters

National Catholic Reporter

(Unsplash/Gabby Orcutt)

(Unsplash/Gabby Orcutt)

A column by David Brooks this week pointed to an interesting new survey undertaken by the group More in Common. Titled “Hidden Tribes,” the report, as Brooks rightly notes, “understands that American politics is no longer about what health care plan you support. It’s about identity, psychology, moral foundations and the dynamics of tribal resentment.”

Brooks’ central conclusion is correct: He thinks the core problem with American politics is that it is dominated by the two sets of rich white people who inhabit the ideological extremes, groups the report dubs “Progressive Activists” and “Devoted Conservatives.” Unfortunately for those of us on the left, the first group is only 8 percent of the population and while the second group is but 6 percent, the next closest group, “Traditional Conservatives” identifies 19 percent of the nation’s population and tends to side with the “Devoted Conservatives” on almost all issues. These are the “Wings” that set the tone and the parameters of public debate.

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My Shitlist 2018 Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

This blog is a lot of things to me. It’s art. It’s therapy. It’s a bullhorn from which I can shout my radical diktats to a small horde of loyal followers whom I lovingly refer to as my dearest motherfuckers. Hopefully it’s a launching pad for a future revolution that will liberate poor people once and for all from the shackles of big government and big business (or do I repeat myself.) But when it all comes down to it, lets face it, I’m here to bitch. That’s why once a year I drop all artistic and political pretenses and simply make a list of all the people who piss me off the most. I call it my shitlist and 2018 has provided me with no shortage of shit. Now if I put everyone that chaps my ass on this list it would be longer than fucking Gravity’s Rainbow, so I’ll just pick a handful in no specific order to roast like pigs on a spit. So here it is, dearest motherfuckers, My Shitlist 2018.

John McCain  After a lifetime as America’s most celebrated war monger, the one thing that John could do for the world, the only act of mercy that that rapacious murder junkie should have been capable of performing is to finally do us all a big goddamn favor and just fucking die already. But no, John McCain even has to die like a fucking dick. Over a week, a goddamn week of funerals and parades and tributes and memorials and animal sacrifices and imperial orgies, all of them carefully planned by that ego-drunken light bulb factory bomber, to celebrate his foul legacy of homicide advocacy like a goddamn pharaoh. By day five of this ordeal, I was screaming at the TV set “Just give me a goddamn shovel! I’ll bury the cunt myself!!” All I have left to say to the first dead man to make this list is bon voyage you putrid butcher of civilians. Tell Satan that Armageddon’s going great.

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Political Correctness Is Apparently Widely Unpopular Among All Americans Reply

The recently released study indicating the deep unpopularity of political correctness, as well as the marginal nature of both PC partisans and the hard right, carries certain implications for the ATS strategy and program. First, there is no need whatsoever to capitulate or kowtow to PC, and that the strategy that I have been pursing for years now of bashing PC to the max is a winning strategy (in fact, it’s probably brought me a larger audience than anything else I have ever done). However, a second implication is that the far left and far right are only peripheral and unpopular elements that are soundly rejected by most Americans. But the catch is that the rival ruling class factions attempt to build a loyal base for themselves by pandering to far left and far right extremists. Therefore, those of use who are committed to an authentically revolutionary perspective must necessarily position ourselves as a radical center that not only rejects the ruling class in its entirety, but also rejects the marginal right and marginal left with equal fervor. When it comes to the Antifa, “anarcho”-Marxists, neo-Commies, PC progressives, Alt-Right/Lite, WN/NS,  neo-fascists, or religious theocrats, our attitude should simply be, “Fuck ’em. We don’t ’em.” Instead, our target audience should be the “exhausted majority” who are tired of both ruling class malfeasance, and the crap on the margins.