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Showing posts from May 7, 2006

the seventies show

LI was going to write about an important issue today: the American Idol election. According to the Washington Post, all America voted for whoever it was that won the contest. And this puzzled me – since it is clear evidence that I’ve been sleepwalking again. Damn. My enjoyment of America’s show, a show that is American as idolatry with less calories, but more filling, with four on the floor, Ram tough, built to last, I’m lovin’ it, is a bit baffled by the fact that I can’t watch it – my tv being so sensitive to the many waves and follies that float invisibly through the air that I can only watch one channel – Fox – and every show looks like a heavy blizzard having an epileptic seizure. This puts the keebash to the only show I really want to watch – the Simpsons – and definitely would make viewing American idol, which depends, I believe, on sound, a little boring. Of course, I could get the DVDs of American idols past and see what I voted for. I also could slit my wrists with the kitche

d. 2001

All the liberal blogs, lately, revel in the President’s falling poll numbers. LI doesn’t. LI finds those numbers extremely depressing. They map the incredible political impotence of any opposition to Bushist politics, rather than the reverse. The extension of tax giveaways to the wealthy today are the latest sign of the absolute victory of Bush’s values. Another, more familiar sign, one that every American can warm himself with: the murder of seven American soldiers in Iraq, yesterday, in the bloody farce of the Iraq vanity project. Then there is the dispossession of most of New Orleans, the lack of any attempt to deal with global warming. Yada yada yada. That depressed personal approval rating of the man whose policies are opposed by an utter vacuum shows how utterly Bushist culture has triumphed, not the opposite. Whenever I read a progressive site touting, say, Bush’s popularity being down to 31 percent, it seems to me I’m seeing a corpse crawl out of his grave to point proudly at


First things first. LI says: SUPPORT THE TEN. As a long time supporter of breaking the American military, LI has been heartened by the lack of enlistment, and the Army’s quiet desperation as it eyes various dire thresholds in Iraq. So this story in WAPO caught our eye : “The Army Reserve, taxed by recruiting shortfalls and war-zone duty, has adopted a policy barring officers from leaving the service if their field is undermanned or they have not been deployed to Iraq, to Afghanistan or for homeland defense missions. The reserve has used the unpublicized policy, first adopted in 2004 and strengthened in a May 2005 memo signed by Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, its commander, to disapprove the resignations of at least 400 reserve officers, according to Army figures "I don't think during a time of war you would want to let people go when you have a shortage of people," Army Reserve spokesman Steve Stromvall said when asked to comment on the memo, which surfaced during litigation o

a little justice for condillac

Condillac In 1776, the Abbe de Condillac made the mistake of publishing his thoughts about the political economy, Commerce and Government. He should have chosen 1777, or 1778, since his book came out at the same time as the book from a Scottish philosophe, Adam Smith. Piss poor timing has undone many a man. Overshadowed by the Wealth of Nations, it took two hundred some years for Condillac’s book to be translated into English. Not that he was totally ignored. Menger, that semi-founder of the marginalist school, liked him – and subsequently, Condillac, as the founder of the subjectivist school of economics, has been held in warm regard by the Austrians. Marx, on the other hand, reserved one of his minor thunderbolts for the man. Quoting Condillac in Das Kapital, Marx remarks: “We see how Condillac not only throws together use value and exchange value, but childishly foists upon a society with developed commodity production a state in which the producers produce their own means of subsi

myths about myths

Lee Harris’s article about socialism at Tech Central says some smart things – and puts them at the service of a very dumb thesis. First, let’s go to the dumb thesis. Harris poses the question: why, almost twenty years after the Berlin Wall fell, is there a resurgence of nationalizations in Latin America? One answer would go like this: neo-liberalism, or the Washington consensus, encoded a contradiction at its heart: at the same time that it encouraged massive consumer spending through loans and the selling off of nationalized industries, it stripped the state of its abilities to institute counter-cyclical economic policy. In effect, it speeded up and deepened the effects of the business cycle while attacking the immune system that could mitigate its harsh effects. All of this among nations with pervasive inequality, stagnate working wages, and entrenched poverty. The effect was to systematically de-legitimate capitalism when the bottom fell out of the boom. Now, this answer is arguabl

the masque of castlereagh

The British are used to lunatic leaders. Castlereagh, the emblem of odiousness in the Masque of Anarchy, committed suicide in 1822. Shelley wasn’t alive to hear the glad tidings: ”I met Murder on the way-- He had a mask like Castlereagh-- Very smooth he look'd yet grim; Seven bloodhounds followed him: All were fat; and well they might Be in admirable plight, For one by one, and two by two, He tossed them humanhearts to chew, Which from his wide cloak he drew.” Castlereagh was, of course, a relentless pursuer of native radicals spawned by the French Revolution, and the proto-chartists who were beginning to respond to the horrors of the new industrial system. But even Castlereagh might have hesitated to propose the Blairist blasphemy acts. Then of course there was Anthony Eden, who, after Suez in 1956 and the realization, among the English political elite, that they were no longer independent of America – basically, the Americans told the English, get a new p.m. – retired with a ner

snopes, revisited

Snopes, revisited In the aftermath of the election of Bush (not the coup in 2000, but his real election in 2004), LI wrote a series of slamming posts directed at a silly meme in the progresso-sphere. This meme crudely separated the cultural from the economic, and was postulated on the idea that the working class folks in the red states just didn’t understand their economic self interest. LI thought this was bullshit. The Snopes well understood their short term interest, which was to substitute, for wage increases, tax cuts; and to further substitute heavy borrowing, at reduced interest, in both the private and public spheres, for real time increases in wealth. What the progs thought was some mystical kind of false consciousness was nothing of the sort – it was classical Free Ride behavior. At the time, we made such angry comments as: “We want to pick up on our freerider thesis. Some readers might think that we have gone nihilistic. We haven’t. Really, our point is simple. From the turn

a small theory

Once again, the liberal press, the naysayers, the blame America first crowd, the Politically Correct a-holes, the academic jerkoffs, the ones who say happy holidays, the Islamofascists, the useful idiots, the Marxo-anti-semitic-stopper supporters of Saddam are refusing to publicize the good news from Iraq. Oh, they say, look at all declining stats – fucking electricity, fucking petroleum. Oh, like we are supposed to shit in our pants. Well, here’s something that shows Iraq is on course, steady as she goes: “ Kidnapping has flourished here since the fall of Saddam Hussein, as insurgents, militias and criminal gangs have taken advantage of the breakdown in social order. Iraq has caught up with the traditional world leaders in kidnapping — like Colombia, Mexico and Brazil — and may have surpassed them. The vast majority of victims are Iraqis. Between 5 and 30 are abducted every day, according to figures maintained by the American Embassy in Baghdad, though Iraqi and American officials ack