Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Argue With a Libertarian

I'm going to assume if you're reading this, you spend some time on the internet and have likely come across someone who self-identifies as libertarian. This is the little understood philosophy - particularly by its own proponents - of limited government and unregulated business as the special alchemical formula for perfect freedom and happiness. Like all utopian beliefs, it falls apart when introduced to reality but since people who spend their lives on the internet are so actively avoiding reality, this particular wrong-thought bacteria has ample time to grow.

Normally this would just be another harmless little cult of losers - like Otherkin - but libertarianism has become the flavor of the month among Republicans desperate to protect their phony baloney jobs. You hear politicians, even with #OWS approaching critical mass, calling for deregulation and spending cuts as a way to save the country. Never mind that austerity is a proven economy killer time and time again - these arguments are crafted to woo the simpleton libertarian with what are insisted to be "fiscally responsible" and "common sense" solutions.

They're not, of course. The GOP mission statement over the past thirty years has been anything but responsible. A systematic redistribution of wealth from those who have little to those who have much, an inverted socialism that is really mass robbery on behalf of a new self-styled aristocracy.

This is why libertarians, the unwitting fifth column in this generational con, must be convinced they are wrong at every opportunity. It's an uphill battle to be sure - half the appeal of this nonsense is its reinforcement of self-serving delusions - but it can be done. Below, I've compiled some basic methods developed through personal encounters with these sad dupes:

Don't Get Mad, Get Rational
Libertarian arguments come in two flavors - insulting and crazy. While it is tempting to dismiss them out of hand - and they deserve dismissal - you are just going to leave the poor silly libertarian to fester in their wrongness, doing such self-destructive things as reading Atlas Shrugged and voting for Ron Paul. Better to calmly and logically deconstruct every absurdity to come out of their mouths. Here are three examples of their arguments you will hear:

1) "It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness." ~ Penn Jillette

This is a mixing of two big libertarian talking points - the eevil "men with guns" who will steal your shit and how anything government does is immoral, even when the outcome is universally beneficial.

Mike Huben has a fantastic takedown of the "men with guns" meme, pointing out that they're merely enforcing a standing contract - something libertarians support in all other cases. But since it's government enforcing a contract, and government is bad, it is by definition bad.

This is an absurd tautology but don't focus on that. Then it just devolves into one of those, "NO U" exchanges. Try this - at least it works. A welfare system funded through taxes may not be as "moral" as feeding and clothing people yourself, but as the entire post-WWII world shows it works alot better. And the past thirty years of dismantling welfare in America just confirms these findings as poverty and unemployed have boomed with the reduction of the social safety net. Who needs moralizing when you have good ol' math on your side?

2) "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship." ~ Ronald Reagan

Here we have a future US president decrying democracy itself. Setting aside the rank hypocrisy of holding such a view while pursuing the highest office in the land (assuming he even said this in the first place but you'll soon learn libertarians can't be bothered to confirm their sources) and it's clear fudging of history, let's examine the mathematics of such a statement -

It's wrong. Retardedly wrong. For Ronnie's assessment to hold any water, you have to assume the "largesse" - tax revenue - is a finite and static resource. It can not be added to and is only diminished by the greedy peasantry. Also, inflation doesn't exist.

The Treasury is not a safety deposit box but rather a highway of funds. Taxes garnished from wages, payroll, sales, or however go in where they are then redistributed into government projects from roads to bunker busters. Those on the receiving end then spend said funds, adding further to the great tax and spend cycle that is the bedrock of all functioning societies.

Yes, it does sound familiar. You learned this crap in grade school. Don't hesitate to tell them that.

3) "If there were no government, my money would be worth more!" ~ some libertarian whackadoo I spoke with in a bar.

This is just so shockingly stupid you'll at first think they're joking. And as tempting as it is to just start laughing, try asking them to explain how a government-issued currency would increase in value without said government existing or - if they're a gold bug - ask for some intrinsic values of precious metals and how they would be safe from price fluctuations, a basic fact of all market economies.

Whatever they throw at you, question it. Make them explain their dopey logic because, like all fundamentalists, they have no solid empirical facts to back them up. Only emotion.

Turn Their Principles Against Them
This'll be hard for the committed lefties, but try presenting government regulation and publicly funded safety nets as being an across the board boon to business. This may feel a little weird at first, almost like crossdressing, but here's a few points to help you get the hang of it:

"Thanks to welfare, rich people have every right to be selfish with what they have rather than feel obligated to perform acts of charity. If the society provides for the neediest, those who have much are free to give or not as their own conscience dictates."

"Universal healthcare - or at the very least a public option - would take the burden off employers to provide benefits, boosting their profits."

"Government regulation stimulates innovation and adaptation in the market. A business that thrives in such an environment is clearly doing something right while one that fails was based on a flawed model to begin with (and thus would've failed anyway, regardless of government action)."

"Welfare for the unemployed or unemployable ensures a solid consumer base for the economy at large, as do minimum wage laws and other compensation standards."

There's really no end to the free market arguments supporting welfare and regulation. The best part though is the sick thrill at beating these dolts on their own misunderstood terms.

Challenge Them To Do Better
Libertarians sure do bitch alot. Why don't they ever do anything about it?

Libertarian: "I don't want my taxes going to [insert outrage-of-the-week]!"

You: "Then vote."

Libertarian: "There aren't any sufficiently libertarian candidates!"

You: "Then run yourself."

Libertarian: "[lame protestations against becoming personally involved in politics]!"

You: "Then quite being such a big goddamn baby about everything!"

There's a reason all the utopian, "common sense" solutions espoused by libertarians never go into practice - they are and have always been a slapstick fringe movement. Not even the GOP toes every libertarian line - legalized prostitution and heroin use for example - because such broad ideological absolutism is electoral suicide. Even if they could make it into office, a libertarian would then face a whole host of career pols of varying beliefs. Reforming a system is a difficult and thankless task - well beyond the capability of a crowd who consider the height of political involvement to be posting pithy ad hominems on the internet.

If All Else Fails, Hit 'Em Where It Hurts
So they ignored reason, argued against their own beliefs, and are just generally being recalcitrant jackasses? Fine, time to call them out for what they really are - spiteful losers.

"That's libertarians for you - anarchists who want police protection from their slaves." ~ Kim Stanley Robinson

"Saying you're a 'radical for capitalism' is as meaningless and oxymoronic as calling yourself 'Dangerously Non-Threatening' or 'Radicals For Groveling.'" ~ Mark Ames

"Like Marxism, libertarianism offers the fraudulent intellectual security of a complete a priori account of the political good without the effort of empirical investigation. Like Marxism, it aspires, overtly or covertly, to reduce social life to economics. And like Marxism, it has its historical myths and a genius for making its followers feel like an elect unbound by the moral rules of their society." ~ Robert Locke

As libertarians can't do analytical thought on their own and rely on quote mining, this is a particularly satisfying tactic as you have famous, successful people calling them the chumps they really are. At this point, your best hope is that they'll run away to the Reason Magazine or Freeper forums and BAWWW to all the other solipsistic twerps. A pyrrhic victory at best but sometimes the most you can hope for is making it sting.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Half of a Good Book

I read Public Enemies months ago but it occurred to me I really should be writing more book reviews. I read more than regular McDonald's patrons cac, so it's an excellent way to pad out the blag.

For this, I also think it's better I review more contemporary and relevant books - and you don't get any more relevant in the 21st century than Michel Houellebecq. I learned about him a few years ago while scouring the eXile's archive at my soul-crushing job with General Dynamics. When you're in Nowhere Virginia stamping Hooter's receipts for overpayed corporate bagmen and getting only $9 an hour - which is what passes for decent pay in those parts - raw nihilism gets really really appealing...

So there's my bias for one of the authors up front. However, I was not familiar with Bernard Henri Levy - or BHL if you're hip - and after reading this I don't care to be. And it's not just because he's a grating caricature of the French intellectual jerk.

What put me off was an exchange between the two on the rightness and necessity of partisan violence, using the French Resistance during World War II as an example. Now most Americans think of this as Le Resistance! The only frogs worthy of respect, or at least excluded from the ignorant French bashing that took off with idiot gusto in this country back in 2003. Anyone actually familiar with occupied France... No. Just no. Running an insurgency is a nasty, dehumanizing affair, even if it's against the frickin' Nazis. Go watch Army of Shadows if you don't know what I mean.

BHL explicitly lends his support to every bloody act by the resistance because they're enemies were eeevil. And you can't reason with eeevil, now can you? Houellebecq, demonstrating that the grimmest misanthropes can also hold to the highest humanist ideals, counters that the average German soldier, a twenty-something from Dusseldorf just doing his stint for God and Country, isn't all that impressed by the high-minded crusading rhetoric when it's his throat getting slit by BHL's heroes. And his buddies won't be too pleased with it either, so they may just get a little rougher than usual during the nightly raids - which won't win many friends among the occupied so it just goes around and around and you are the stupidest motherfucker on the planet if you can still claim with a straight face you don't see how the invasion and occupation of Iraq could've blown up so badly.

This book is a much needed conversation between idealism and reality. Ideally the heroes will triumph over the eeevil fascists and look damn good doing it. Reality says pretty firmly those fascists are people too - just as confused and imperfect as you. Though this doesn't excuse either side's behavior - if anything, it's all the more damning as it shows how unnecessary the violence and strife really is against the bleak backdrop of eternity. A more curmudgeonly - and honest - retread of "Can't we all just get along?"

And finally, Houellebecq is clearly a better writer. He might be the only good writer left in the world besides Charles Portis, John Dolan, and me (Buy my book!) and it's even more clear when contrasted with a canting histrionic like BHL. Still a good read, half the time.

Think of The Children

Parenting has got to be the most common and disagreed upon practice in the world. Even within the same culture you'll find wildly divided opinions on the matter - when and how to toilet train, what language is appropriate and at what age, the dreaded sex talk. And while it seems to be unconsciously understood parents are making it up as they go along, we still treat their choices with a kind of sanctity. It's their kids, they would clearly know best.

Now bleed for Daddy...
Well Dogtooth is having none of that! If you are a repressive, controlling parent then you are going to have some utterly fucked up kids - not in spite of but because of how you raise them.

The Father (there are no names here) has sequestered his family in a gated compound to keep his son and two daughters safe from the corrupting influences of the outside world. Corrupting influences like hookers - one of which he brings home because his son is becoming a man. The girls? Well, they have to stay virgins. It's a Greek cultural thing...

Anyway, Brother getting his bone on serves as the catalyst for the children - really full grown adults now - to start questioning their world, pressing the boundaries...

You know what? The plot's not that important. If you've been a teenager yourself, you know this tune. What matters here are the many little slices of this weird life. Father has dictated not just the usual what you can and can't do stuff but also what is - like a zombie is a yellow flower. Or that a cat, the most dangerous monster beyond the fence, sparagmos-ed their imaginary older brother. Really.
Responsible parenting!
And the tension. Leave people in a confined space for long enough and they'll be at eachother's throats. It takes a surreal turn in Dogtooth as the children so absolutely believe the pure bullshit their Father has been telling them - "A cat hit him with a hammer! Honest!" It gets to the point where the scene of the children's talent show takes on this... just wrong feeling. Brother sits in on guitar - rather well, surprisingly - while his Sisters dance like first graders. And dressed as first graders. Despite clearly being grown women.

...Yeah, I got nothing.
Dogtooth says something obvious that no one can ever really take to heart - kids grow up. It can't be avoided. They're going to leave home, drink, screw, all those things you did when you were their age. If you try to stop it, you'll just warp them and make them even worse and when you catch them trading sexual favors for pornography from a security guard, it'll be all your fault. No matter how much you beat them about the head with the porn.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where Have All The Tea Bags Gone?

A year ago the whole country was humming with crazy. Rabid minarchists, survivalist nuts, and Christine O'Donnell had become the norm on the nightly news and there was this steady drumbeat against government doing anything, especially if it stopped the 1% from roto-rooting the last bits of cash out of the rapidly sinking muddle class.

And then... Silence.

Did I miss something? What happened to the marches of Medicare beneficiaries? The petulent dweebs hauling assault rifles to political speeches? The television career of Glenn Beck? While the Tea Party freshmen have roundly made asses of themselves in Congress, you don't see so much as a commie-nazi picket sign these days.

You can still find Tea Party faithful making noise on the internet. But that's the last refuge of spiteful losers, people with no power and no motivation to do anything about it - shut up - whereas public appearances have totally ceased. Could it be their whole "movement" was just a re-branding of the Republican Party and now, without a mid-term, their GOP masters have no use for them? Oh sure, they get a token ringside seat to the primary but it's not all that strange for the GOP to patronize fringe whackadoos while on screen.

Maybe the Tea Party never was "revolutionary" in any sense. Maybe it was just theatrics of the opposition party, trying to pass their failed policies off as new and different. It's a stupidly cynical approach but no one ever lost an election by assuming Americans aren't credulous morons.

Though if I may make a prediction - should Obama survive next year, the folks in Zucotti park won't be packing up and disappearing from the national spotlight...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Republinomics: Dumber Than a Sack of Hammers

Rick "I Like 'Kielbasa'" Perry released his super-duper tax plan today, after nearly a week of being challenged by the other primary clowns on what specific fixes he had in mind. Good thing too, 'cause 9-9-9 was running stale and we all needed a fresh laugh.

Oh lord, where to start... I don't know if there's some backroom competition to see who can come up with the most laughably wrong policy and still get people to go along with it but if so Perry has secured himself the gold. It relies on the cherished Flat Tax myth, proposing an across the board 20% on income.

- And just as a brief aside, I'm really fascinated by the whole Flat Tax phenomenon. On paper, it works. In practice, it fails miserably. I'll admit I'm not the best at the whole 'rithmatic thingy, but it just strikes me as the universe screwing with us.

Anyway, Perry's strokin' the GOP's libertarian supporters who crave national suicide. That's all good, that's SOP - But then he tacks on, "Oh yeah, it's all optional. If you like your current tax bracket - complete with reductions - go ahead and keep paying that!"

Watch - these suckers will buy anything!

Even if you're a fan of the Flat Tax, this is a retarded plan. It's a tax break in all but name to people who currently pay more than 20%. That means a net revenue loss. There's no excuse for this other than Perry is desperately trying to woo the minarchist screwballs who always vote Republican anyway while at the same time keeping his campaign appealing to anyone sane.

There's more to the plan, your standard "business good/regulation bad" cant that got the economy into this mess in the first place. But that's to be expected from the whole field these days - including most Democrats. Bullshit is the only thing politicians can be bothered to push in an election year and despite the ever rising #OWS movement, they're convinced they can still campaign on the same old fictions.

They're On A Jihad To Wackyness!

There's a reason tragedy and comedy are the two oldest genres - they get to the heart of the human condition. We are conscious and self-aware in a great big universe that shows no discernible sign of caring about us, a predicament so depressing and terrible sometimes the only recourse is to laugh.


Four Lions takes one look at the tragic absurdities of the War on Terror and chooses to laugh. And invites all of us along! Following an amateurish cell of would-be jihadists in London, the film provides insight into just what sort of people would choose to blow themselves up for the nebulous promises of religion. Turns out it's some painfully ordinary people.

The cell often vacillates between two poles, represented by Omar and Barry. Omar isn't some disaffected teenager but a seemingly happy, well-adjusted adult with a loving wife - who is pleasantly supportive of his plans for martyrdom - and while no strategic or tactical genius is clearly the brains of the whole operation. His frequent verbal tirades against the rest of his cell are so scathingly funny he could've carried the whole movie, though it wouldn't be nearly as good.

Barry is Omar's polar opposite, right down to his lily white complexion. Stubborn, controlling, and all around dumb - the Cartman of the group. That's actually a good comparison because despite swearing himself to Allah and having a bangers and mash-thick Yorkshire accent, Barry is every bit the mean, spiteful American hick. Right down to his complete ignorance of foreign languages as brilliantly illustrated by Omar early on, calling him all manner of vulgarities in Urdu (prompting everyone to laugh at Barry, the story of his life).

That's not to say he doesn't get some real zingers himself, possibly the best in the movie - "I'm the invisible jihadi!" "Dogs contradict Islam!" "We have struck you where you least expected - We have bombed the mosque!"

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

That last bit is Barry's pet project all through the film. See, our heroes want to martyr themselves but they want to hit the right target. Barry thinks it would be awesome to blow up other Muslims - lesser, fair-weather Muslims who don't want to self-destruct - as a means of radicalizing the whole community and, as he puts it, "Fast track the end of days!" It's hard not to hear shades of the GOP's Evangelical base in such a statement...

Even when everyone else has firmly vetoed the notion, Barry is still caught taping his post-martyrdom video in which he brags about doing the thing they wouldn't take credit for but blame on someone else. This is so dumb you have to wonder if he's an MI5 plant (spoiler: he's not) but it gets to the heart of why these guys living in relative comfort would sign up for suicidal holy war - ego. They're nobodies, they know they're nobodies but dammit, they want to be somebodies! And wouldn't ya know it, martyrs are Somebodies with a capital "S" in the exponentially expanding Islamic world so hey, why not?

You got a better idea?
And while the film largely focuses on the Keystone Khalids, it does offer some side and background critiques of Britain's - and by extension America's - approach to the whole terrorism question. Whether raiding peaceful prayer meetings, torturing harmless dweebs, or sniping wookies - seriously! - the security state is painfully clueless. Just like their targets.

As the final act approaches, Four Lions devolves into the blackest of slapstick. It's just the internal logic the film has established of course - why wouldn't the clowns we've watched for ninety minutes fumble their big trip to Paradise? It's the closest the film ever gets to optimism, showing that despite all their planning and dedication suicide bombers will never usher in some grand holy war or bring down the Great Satan of the West. Mostly they'll just kill the wrong people. And a few drugstores.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stump Speech 2: Stump Harder!

Obama is the worst sort of inconstant friend - he'll feed you honeyed words when it suits his interests, stab you in the back for three years, then turn around with a big ol' "I Still Love You Cake" when his performance review is due. And he can get away with it as long as the "loyal opposition" is a psychopathic doomsday cult.

Barry's latest campaign pitch is to use his unitary executive powers to relieve underwater homeowners. This is a case where opponents are going to immediately scream socialism like the trained monkeys they are but each and every voter this initiative helps - whether or not they want to keep the gub'mint's hands off their Medicare - will be an instant convert. In America, ideology always gives way to meeting animal comforts.

I'm happier with my taxes going to real people as opposed to gambling addicts in fancy suits, but that's all the opinion I really have on the policy itself. The cunning behind it, and the inevitably hysterical reaction, is much more interesting...

Saturday, October 22, 2011


The biggest problem with the English language is that our literature generally sucks. It's a rarely realized truth as safely vetted pablum such as Whitman and Dickens make up the bulk of undergrad courses and as some comedian once said, "It's not that Eskimos like eating blubber - it's the only thing around." It's the very rare student who reads anything in the "classics" category for fun and even then they reflexively confine themselves to the Anglo canon, like literary Stockholm Syndrome. This is how you get girls insisting Jane Austen's novels are so totally not just 19th century chick-lit or people citing Shakespeare when his work - and his language - is about as relevant as leeches in a doctor's office.

(Note I am speaking specifically of English literature from England. Irish writers such as Joyce and Wilde lumped in with "Brit Lit" are not included. Further, the brilliant P.G. Wodehouse has yet to be canonized by academics, therefore this critique does not apply to him.)

I'm saying all this to put what I have to say next in perspective - The Monk, a classic of the 18th century Gothic genre, is a very British book. Melodramatic, overwritten, and dripping in petty hatreds. You spend enough time with the Continental writers and these qualities take on a sharper emphasis in Anglo novels. I expected some digs at Catholicism, every Limey's favorite whipping boy, but the digressions into the manic passions and wacky superstitions of the Spanish turned what is ostensibly a horror novel into a flat-out farce half the time - which may have been intentional but I'll get to that later.

The Monk is billed as a terrifying tale of an Abbott Ambrosio's downfall due to lust, pride, and the machinations of the Devil himself. So far, your standard Gothic potboiler. The Author, Matthew Lewis, actually handles this part very well and it's the most compelling slice of his bloated narrative. Sadly that slice, concerning the titular Monk, is only about a third of the whole novel. Much more is made about some other noble-types and their marriage plans which only ever touch briefly on what should be the main story of Ambrosio.

It's a shame because the main storyline is one of those rare cases of a "classic" that can remain an engaging story centuries after it was written. Ambrosio is a tragic case study in hubris and the suppression of natural passions, all set against the backdrop of a senseless universe (see below). Though even all of that only yields a novella's worth of story, which may have lead Lewis to pad out an otherwise good tale with so much mass market grist.

The secondary narratives give Lewis the opportunity to indulge in the favorite activity of the typical Anglo - hating Others. That's capitalized because to the English of just about every age before 1945 were an insular and comically xenophobic lot, particularly regarding cultures with more sunshine and sex. Lewis's Spain is a circus of passionate goofballs, spouting histrionics at the slightest provocation and superstitious of their own shadows. Because they're Catholics and as any good English boy learns from his Anglican schoolmasters, Catholics are just all kinds of fucked up.

Which leads us the biggest problem with this book - it's schizophrenic. Lewis was clearly trying to write a satire of the Gothic genre, loading his novel with all manner of violence and injustice. Also, he is very clearly trying to make some point against the Church, ripping on the Papists because one could get away with that at the time in England while not on the Continent. Irrational, oppressive, ruled by hypocrites - Lewis clearly has a bone to pick with organized religion.

...Except that in the world of The Monk, religion is proven absolutely right. The Devil is very real, very interested in humans, and very actively trying to claim each and every soul through overly complicated machinations that would put the fictional villains of the 9/11 Truth Movement to shame. Lewis tries to have it both ways in his novel, with the Church a circus of two-faced debauchery and sanctimony but still existing as a bulwark against the forces of Hell.

Lewis, dreaming up a bonkers plot.

And he hates women. Like, alot. The only woman who isn't a credulous fool or a vindictive psycho-bitch comes to possibly the worst end of the novel, raped and murdered in a graveyard. The two women who demonstrate anything resembling a spine are punished to a ridiculous degree in one case and are revealed to be a goddamned demon in the other - so the psycho-bitch nuns are entirely right in their psycho-bitchiness... except they're also evil... despite being right...

Hell, maybe Lewis was trying to make this a mess. A bold proto-Dada example of the world as an absurdity. Or maybe he was just too excited about writing a novel and just crammed in every single story idea he ever had. Either way, it's an ugly mess wrapped around a surprisingly fun read.

Life Rehabilitating Art

I've mentioned before my predilection for that inconstant genre science fiction. I mention it again because of some issues that have been on my mind for sometime and how this genre - fundamentally concerned with entertainment - has programmed the dialogue.

Or in simpler terms - genetic engineering is not the new nuke.

Humans, being the tool-using monkeys that they are, have in the past generation started getting into such fun things as genetics, biomechatronics, and all sorts of fields that hold the potential for what flighty nerds like to call "human enhancement." That is, using Science! to boost natural capabilities or - like in the experiments with neural interfacing - develop entirely new capabilities.

And alot of the language is being driven by Cold War era entertainment for twelve-year-olds. Cyborg monsters, genetic fascism, all sorts of screwiness that is no more grounded in reality than any sword and sorcery fantasy yarn. But, because it has technical sounding words, it has perverted the discourse of what we can do and what we already have done.

Let me give you a solid example of human enhancement - glasses. They make you see better, right? There ya go, technology has "enhanced" you. Ain't it exiting?

Proponents of this term and critics both fall into the trap of assuming it's not something we've been doing ever since Moon-Watcher first learned how to bludgeon a tapir with a bone. In two-hundred years, god only knows what a human being is going to look like but they sure as hell won't be calling themselves "transhuman" or "posthuman" or any of that nonsense. It'll most likely be "Mohammad Lopez."

Friday, October 21, 2011

United States of Sick Fucks

Quick post - larger updates to follow this weekend - but something realy needs to be said...

If you are one of the many Americans celebrating the death of Muammar Gaddafi, however ironically, you are a miserable excuse for a human being. The funky chicken over bin Laden I could understand but this is just perverse. I'm not even linking to any examples because I'm just too ashamed to be living in the same country as you assholes.

Fap away, you wretched cunts...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Call Bullshit

So while checking the news last night to figure out what all those sirens in Arlington were for, I came across the Obama Administration crowing about how they totally foiled an Iranian terrorist plot to whack the Saudi ambassador. See, this Iranian guy living in Texas hired a Mexican to plant bombs, only there were never any bombs planted:

"FBI Director Robert Mueller said many lives could have been lost. But Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said no explosives were actually placed and no one was in any danger because of the informant's cooperation with authorities."

That line comes more than halfway through the article - so twice as far as the typical American would read. Maybe it was all the fraud and collective stupidity surrounding the invasion of Iraq, but I can't help feeling suspicious of any big blaring "Iranian Terror Threat!" headlines. As mouthy as Ahmadinejad gets, he's less than a figurehead over there. The real power rests with the Ayatollah and the Guardian Council, a bunch of smart, cautious religious oligarchs. Even indirectly staging a bombing on American soil would be strategic suicide and they haven't ruled Iran for over thirty years by being reckless.

I'm not saying nobody tried to whack the ambassador. Absolutely everyone hates the Saudis so the odd bomb plot isn't that surprising. But I just don't buy this whole Iran connection, especially with the Mexican hitman. Washington's had a mad-on for invading Iran for years now, a thoroughly retarded idea favored by both parties, so blaming Iran for everything from the failure in Iraq to malware at the SEC has just become common practice. And the Mexican angle just sounds too much like the whole Jose Padilla mess...

UPDATE: I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This Is What Real Populism Looks Like

Despite the many media attempts to downplay it, the Occupy Wall Street crowd just keeps growing and growing. Not even arresting 700 at once has made a dent in their numbers. Hell, it's galvanizing the movement across the whole country! If this weird-ass flu let's up, I'll be joining the DC event this Thursday.

And really, it's about bloody time. I don't feel like rehashing the many many many reasons why Wall Street needs a good purge. It's good to finally see enough people getting pissed off and demanding a change - a real one this time. The whole thing has the feeling of a real shift in the culture that's going to start moving America in the right direction - or prompt a draconian lockdown by the banker-owned politicians that finally completes the US's transmogrification into the USSR with more fat chicks, but I'll get to that some other time...

But the best part right now is how the entire Occupy Wall Street movement is revealing the Tea Party to be astroturf collabos. Quick, how many Tea Baggers got maced during their little hissy fit on the Mall last year? How many have been maced, beaten, arrested, or otherwise very clearly abused by the Big Gub'mint they so hate? Ever?

None! Not a goddamn one can point to a scar and say "I got that for Liberty!" Not a one! Because they were never a real populist movement. They were never even a really popular movement. They were the last gasp of the histrionic Reaganites who spent the 90s bitching about Bill Clinton's penis. Culture warriors whose culture lost more than a decade ago.

Now we've get real outrage in the streets and real scars to show for it. And the Tea Party pussies are nowhere in sight.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

From the Vault: Please Don't Piss in The Sewage

Originally posted in 2009:

Is there such a thing as litter on a highway? I'm not addressing the objective reality of people throwing trash out their windows at 80 miles per hour but rather can one say there is "litter" on a "highway?" Is it possible to befoul the environment of that which by it's very nature befouls The Environment? I'm going to vote "No!" because it's all trash.

For years now I've been observing the disconnect between urban garden fantasy and smog-choked reality. We cultivate greenery around our antiseptic homes, trimming everything living down to neat categories when not just burning it down. This is all cosmetic, no concern for ecosystem or biosphere or sustainability, just what gets you in good with the Home Owners Association. A shrubbery is so nice, just don't let it grow into the neighbor's yard. And god forbid you drop a can or cigarette butt in a park or one of those manicured "nature trails." How dare you pollute our Fake Earth!?

Not even the fauna escape this madness. We lock them up in micro-habitats for the amusement of children who would rather be playing video games. It's like some collective containment fetish, boxing in anything that would naturally grow or roam -- and then we're confused when things work out badly! Why do orca fins slump over in captivity? Maybe they don't like being captives.

We then turn around and feign concern for our own victims. We pass laws to keep trash off our precious, natural... roads. Roads we built by grinding up soil and plant life and all the small mammal and insect life that went with it. Which is the greater case of pollution? And while we're on the subject, how are "clean air" acts anything but a bag joke with millions of cars hitting the road every day in this country alone? It's - I mean - How goddamn crazy must you be to have such an inverted view of your own ecosystem!?

Jesus, all you suckers probably buy that invisible hand bullshit too.