Defending Chris. Kind of. Somewhat.

When it comes to comedy & social context, there’s basically three approaches:

-Try to write it out as irrelevant, which limits your range of content.
-Pretend it’s already irrelevant, which limits the effectiveness of your content.
-Grab it by the horns, which while risky also potentially opens up big rewards.

Many legends of comedy (for example George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Dave Chappelle) are known for having picked that 3rd approach. Chris Rock is one that has done so and also been successful, particularly in skewering racial politics at times in his standup shows. I’ve been a longtime fan of his*. Well, over at Salon, Mychal Denzel Smith points at a well known bit of his — the “black people vs niggas” segment of his 1996 HBO special “Bring the Pain” — and calls it way more than Not Funny in his opinion:

The joke here being that there is a subset of black people that are gleefully uneducated, take pride in their criminal activities, and serve as the clumsy sidekick in black America’s plan for liberation. If it weren’t for them, the n–gers, we’d all be free. [...] Of course, the substance of what Rock said wasn’t new. It hewed to the same line of respectability politics that had been a part of black political life since the days of Reconstruction. Even W.E.B. Du Bois, perhaps the most important sociologist in all of American history, posited a theory for black liberation that rested on the idea that 90 percent of black people ain’t shit and could only be saved by the “talented tenth.” He later abandoned that idea, but it got stuck in our collective imagination nonetheless.

He brings this up in the context of former NBA star Charles Barkley saying (with no jest at all) that black people have other black people to blame for lack of success, Mychal claiming that Chris Rock is getting a pass for having in his mind said the same thing.

First of all, I actually remember Chris himself saying that a part of the reaction he got for that routine, apparently from people who thought it justified their racism, made him drop it entirely. It’s not like he has the power to decide how people interpret his material, and some will read whatever they want to into anything simply to reinforce what they already believe. If people were prejudiced against blacks after hearing Chris, it’s because they were prejudiced before.

Speaking of racism, observations of structural racism have as well been mined for material over the years. Take Chris’ observation about the War on Drugs, for example: that it’s largely because of where the good drugs come from & the skin tones of those who would benefit from their open sale. He has punctuated this in another of his stand up shows with the line “could you imagine how ILLEGAL a pack of cigarettes would be if Phillip Morris had been started by a bunch of Jheri curled niggas from Mississippi?”. Does that sound like someone who thinks what Barkley said is spot on?

Exaggeration is often a tool of comedy, particularly to emphasize a point. To me, the point of the bit wasn’t the “talented tenth” from W.E.B. DuBois that is invoked in Mychal Smith’s critique, as that would’ve required Chris to have claimed effectively that most blacks are the “niggas” he spoke of. Rather, it was of a piece with how people within a cultural circle can talk to others within it in ways that outsiders can’t get away with, and a certain frustration with a few habits that do appear at times. To my understanding, much of what was lamented there via comedy and at times discussed more seriously actually stems from learned responses to systemic racism to begin with. Consider the attitude towards education he mentioned: there’s a still fresh legacy of intelligent blacks being seen as a threat, to be stomped on for the safety of the status quo. Combine that with the economic struggles that young blacks in many areas grow up seeing regardless of the efforts of those around them, borne of residential segregation, the fallout from the police state routinely singling out minorities, and the whipsaw effect of capitalism on already disadvantaged populations: some people will inevitably conclude Screw It. Incentives matter.

To be fair, Mychal does acknowledge how those responses can actually work out to benefit others at times:

The real “dirty, dark secret” is this: the n–gers helped us survive. It’s all of those welfare queens, dope-dealing cousins, liquor store-robbing uncles, cable-stealing aunties, drunk granddads, and fast-tailed grannies who have made any of our relative success possible. It was those dope-dealing cousins who were able to buy someone’s kids’ school supplies. It was a good-for-nothing-drunk-of-an-uncle who fixed cars that helped folks get to work. It was an aunt who had five kids out of wedlock who did someone’s hair and made alterations on their suit for a job interview.

To an extent he’s got a point. Nobody is perfect, it’s silly to expect perfection, and sometimes people just make what they can out of a bad hand. Hell, look at the Williams sisters! While they were practicing tennis early on in Compton, who helped keep them safe? Some dudes with blue rags hanging out of their in all likelihood sagging pants.

Observations about ones own group are commonplace in standup comedy these days: Black comedians about black people, Jewish comedians about fellow Jewish folk, Latino comedians about Latinos, etc… I even recall seeing a tour film of comedians from the Middle East that made such self culture referential jokes. The idea that there’s something inherently bad about doing so… I don’t get it.

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Posted in philosophy/life | 3 Comments

The diagnosis is capitalism

Several years into the post Capital Paradox era, laments of the “recovery” that ain’t continue. In one example, Matt O’Brien at the Washington Post notes where the Federal Reserve has put interest rates, asks “what gives?” — and comes close to a moment of clarity:

What does it mean that the economy “needs” low rates — indeed, negative once you account for inflation — to get to full employment? That shouldn’t happen in a world, like our own, where investments have positive returns. Companies should always want to invest, hiring workers in the process.

Well, the answer is one part psychology and another part supply and demand. People, you see, just might be too scared to invest in anything that doesn’t look super-safe, unless there’s a bubble that looks super-profitable.

But this isn’t just a mental problem. Real rates might also be negative, because there’s more supply of lendable funds but less demand for investment. Or, in English, there’s more money chasing fewer opportunities. (emphasis mine)

In the sense that Matt is describing, control of interest by the central bank essentially functions as a system-wide business subsidy, the point being to make investments more beneficial than they otherwise would’ve been. Without such manipulation, tons of decisions that went one way would have gone the other. The assumption built into this policy, reflected in Matt’s confusion, is that the encouragement of more opportunities leads them to self-perpetuate — investment endlessly begats more investment.

If at this point you’re asking “waitaminute, if they do lead to more investment then why does it have to be nudged to begin with?”, congratulations, you’re a fellow Crank. Reasonable reinvestment is a no brainer, all else being equal, so if reinvestment broadly stalls without steroids then a large chunk of the investments prior are basically bubble chasing & short-sighted boondogglery, a.k.a. malinvestment. The bubbles bursting & outlandish projects being mothballed en masse are what correction to the mean looks like.

Beyond just the actions of the Fed, there have all along been additional incentives provided by the state for investment as well, many of which are so common for so long they’re barely thought of or talked about anymore: various subsidies in the tax code, direct favors to politically connected industry (including resource theft), the monopoly grant that is IP law enshrining huge markups in even relatively simple consumer goods, etcetera. Taken as a whole, the rampant political favoritism to capital, while hampering most of the population in the name of false enrichment, has served as a training program of sorts as well, in that the height of big business has been bred to expect profit to be as easy as falling out of bed. The “need” of negative interest rates is because the system constructed cannot look to natural consumption patterns for survival, due to the wealth concentration that Matt is able to notice. When only a few people have the money to even bother, next to a wide swath of debt craters, of course opportunities shrink!

Reliance on behemoths built on our backs is what got us to this point. Sure, more bubbles can be created, but that is by definition short-term. The condition of the economy is less like having the flu & more along the lines of extreme hypertension with several blocked arteries — the lifeblood isn’t flowing like it needs to. Unfortunately, the ruling class would rather see the patient die than have that happen.

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Ted Rall’s Awful “truth”

Political cartoonists can be overly broad & annoying, purveyors of lame jokes shoehorned into demonstrations of Conventional Wisdom that fail both to be remotely humorous and to make a point that your south end couldn’t trump after a burrito with extra beans. Ted Rall is one of the few that on occasion accomplishes more, aiming his pencil right at many absurdities the US ruling class inflicts on us (and, most importantly, the world), party be damned.

…which is why I was disappointed to read in his interview at Salon, after making an important comment about military embedded “journalists” and their reporting ending up lopsided rah-rah propaganda claptrap for empire, the following stinker about the continuing Afghanistan occupation (all emphasis mine):

Yeah, I am worried. I think it’s important when you’re a journalist to report the uncomfortable truths that go against your own ideology. I don’t think we ever should have been in Afghanistan to begin with, but now that there have been so many improvements — there are fewer dropped calls in Kabul than there are in New York City, for examples — you really kind of hesitate to see that go.

Quality of phone service. Seriously. To use that as your example of benefit with a straight face, in light of the revelation of the communications of the entire country being Hoovered up by the NSA and used for drone strikes, seems like the kind of thing a caricature in one of his drawings would do.

A skeptic of the war to begin with, Ted Rall goes on to practically melt at Infrastructure, speaking of the glory of the almighty Roads & fearing that all will fall apart without Uncle Sam around to hold it together. Bullets and bombs make great glue, see…

[Infrastructure] really has a huge psychological impact. The idea that people in Harat can go to Kabul and back and forth… They know about each other now. They have more of a sense of nationhood, which had vanished during 26 years of war, and is now in danger. If all that stuff gets blown up again, aside from obviously all the human carnage, there’s also going to be a tremendous national trauma that is impossible to measure and that you’d just hate to see.

Think about the implication here: Rall portrays the occupation as having unified a splintered people (and reduced dropped calls!), yet fears that it’s unsustainable without US forces. If true, that would mean that his tale of cultural uplift in the ashes of imperialism is only about enduring a common enemy, thus nothing to shout about at all. A unity that requires a bigger beast in the area to worry about is illusion, mere alliance of convenience like when the total jerk in the zombie movie joins forces with an all-too-innocent survivor. Though, even if the shift is more permanent than he thinks, there’s still the question of why he thinks that the US has and should continue such role.

In the same interview, observation of how actual Afghans see the foreigners currently taking up residence by force somehow pairs with an idealism that ignores it all. Seeing the occupation force less as a military & more like a transnational paternal authority reads like an insult, and one that all the network stability in the world can’t make up for.

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Posted in Foreign Policy, random shots | 1 Comment

Empire as jumping fish

If the members of Islamic State, the nascent theocracy taking over chunks of Iraq & Syria, know anything, it’s how to play to the media…
Since Obama ordered air strikes in northern Iraq, in keeping with the long tradition of western powers meddling there, and talking heads have dutifully gone to work portraying IS as an existential threat to the US, IS fighters have started making snuff videos of them beheading American journalists. Steve Sotloff marks the 2nd of these so far.

With the reactions by US politicians hitting a rolling boil (Joe Biden has declared that the camo’d out cannon fodder sent over there “will follow [IS] to the gates of Hell*”, and Rand Paul is screaming “I WANT TO BE PRESIDENT!” for the US to “destroy them militarily“), you’d think these killings were just done on a whim, no setup, no hook. Well, you’d be wrong:

In the latest video, a masked fighter says, “I’m back, Obama. I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy toward the Islamic State, because of your insistence on continuing your bombings.”

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t assume someone willing to saw the heads off of multiple human beings likely to be kidding…

It’s the same kind of thing al-Qaeda members were saying as far as their motivation went, which isn’t a coincidence. At the same time, there’s an obvious reverse psychology at work, again in parallel to the last militant group that sat in the boogeyman chair. While they say the inflammatory gesture of the beheadings is due to the bombing campaign, they also want escalation because it would be a huge propaganda win: “look, here come the Crusaders! See, we were correct!”. That, except to a few overly famous rubes, the conflict is not about religion but oil money doesn’t exactly get through to them, but same diff’ basically. “In God We Trust” is on our slave-owner trading cards, after all…

Note the mutual dance here. IS uses the media rage machine both to disseminate warning and provoke an ever snowballing battle they think they can win, using what looks like repellant as bait. The US government and its cheerleaders act shocked! SHOCKED! that anyone (other than Saudi royals) would do such a barbaric thing as chop someones head off (as opposed to pumping Drano into their veins), and can’t wait to respond by dropping bombs & sending people off (more openly than they already are) to kill and die. Among the ruling class and big media, there aren’t voices pointing out how this state of affairs came about in the first place and consigning empire to the trash bin. There aren’t even reluctant warriors, no matter what the DNC might say about Rand Paul or right-wing bloggers say about Obama. There’s just a hive mind, eager to sacrifice you and me on the alter of hegemony, and thus play right into the hands of those they claim it is all to protect us from.

IS doesn’t even need a hook. The hegemon leaps from the water, landing in the boat with a wet slap.

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Live from the Zoo

What they think of us

Another day, another young black man dead.

Saturday afternoon, Michael Brown was walking home with a friend in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominantly black suburb of St Louis. According to the friend, a cop pulled up to them in a truck and yelled at them to get back on the sidewalk, to which they replied that they were close to home anyway & weren’t holding up any traffic. Since going by the pictures of the area it’s a residential neighborhood, this makes obvious sense. However, rather that swallow his pride & head to the nearest donut shop, the cop according to multiple witnesses — the friend with Mike and others — got enraged enough to swerve his vehicle in front of them, fling open his door so quick it hit Brown & bounced back, then reach out the window & grab Brown attempting to choke him.

Now, naturally when someone is trying to strangle you, you try to get away, which he did.  The cop reacted by firing multiple times at someone running away, unarmed. Hit but still alive, Mike stopped, threw his hands up, & proclaimed that he was not armed. With ones hands up in the air, and already with a bullet wound, you would think that the idea of being a threat would be absolutely Looney Toons. Well, not to that cop: he stood over Michael Brown and fired several more times.

Michael Brown, 18, was merely walking in the street. For that, he was executed in public, then his corpse was left exposed in the road for several hours. Like roadkill. Try to imagine the psychological effect of that, the message it sends about the perceived worth of their lives.  I’ve literally seen squashed armadillos picked up faster.

A protest & vigil came up, as tends to occur whenever this happens (and it does happen a lot). The reaction of the police to this was to run their vehicles over the vigil & threaten the protesters. By the way: you may have heard from some media sources that the protesters were chanting “kill the police” — this has already been debunked by others who were there. Though honestly I wouldn’t blame them if they did.

Amidst images of cops wielding dogs at peaceful protesters with their hands up, SWAT vehicles rolling around and the deployment of pretty much military gear, somewhere along the line some rioting and looting took place. I admit, I used to be more skeptical of such things. I had partially internalized the view that concerned itself with Sending The Wrong Message, the view that playing ball with respectability politics was the thing to do. That was a long time ago though. I see how people that follow that idea are treated no different, and have concluded that to the police, to the system, to the state, dissent is in and of itself seen as a violent act regardless of the actual behavior conducted. If we are going to be brutalized regardless, why bother with the distinctions? Desperate times an’ all that…

To just be brutally honest here, only bone I have to pick with those that did the rioting aspect was their target. I recall reading about a situation in Mexico awhile back where a town long abused by a corrupt police force actually armed themselves and ran the cops out. If the ostensible point of the 2nd Amendment is indeed as tea party types describe it, as defense against tyranny at the hands of the state, then surely they’d sympathize if the people of Ferguson did such thing, maybe even support them, right?

(insert sound effect of crickets here)

In the days since, the police state has ramped up in its visibility like a giant moth emerging from a cocoon. Cops are waving around automatic weapons and in full gear for war:

occupied america

They’ve taken to threatening, then banning media from the area (so much for that 1st Amendment, huh…). Ferguson, Missouri even has its airspace restricted for the benefit of the police. You know, the terrain may be different, but this whole thing shrieks echos of the IDF invasion of Gaza, or the US invasion of Iraq. When hawkish politicians speak of places overseas as training areas for violent extremists though, I strongly doubt this is what they had in mind, despite its truth. Even torture is a line that has long been crossed, as the case of former Chicago police commissioner Jon Burge proves. The streets of America are treated like war zones, and people are beaten or slaughtered for approaching someone with a badge & uniform with anything beyond “Yes, massa”… yet police act puzzled when Stop Snitching is a thing. Well, who wants to be seen as a collaborator with the occupying forces, with the enemy?

The scene at the top, with the officer’s quote to the protesters, is illuminating. Animals. That’s what they think we are. We’re animals in a cage, & they are the zoo keepers. Well, Mr zoo keeper, here’s our response: we’re getting hungry.

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Posted in fevered barking, law | 1 Comment

On Necessity

Due to unfortunately not heeding a hint about concentration of power so clear that it shows up in Americas Finest News Source, it is still considered to be important what people like Paul Ryan think about things. Taking advantage of that position, Ryan has been holding hearings in the house of representatives, the subject of which has been poverty. In an unexpected twist, Tianna Gaines-Turner (an actual poor person) testified at the hearing held this past Thursday.

A House GOP rep from Indiana, Todd Rokita, made a remark about government spending on the poor to her, one which he thought was a Reductio Ad Absurdum. What she said in response is basically being treated as Prog Soundbite Gold — which is why the link preceding these words goes to Think Progress. After she agrees with what the rep saw as absurd, this exchange followed:

He followed up saying, “But the cycle of dependency would certainly still be there which you also don’t like… The cycle of dependency, you wouldn’t be independent.”

“I’m independent now on the program,” Gaines-Turner told him. “You’re independent on this?” Rokita asked.

“Yes, I consider myself to be very independent. I work just as hard as anybody in this room,” Gaines-Turner replied. “I’m very independent.”

I’d say in terms of hard work if anything Tianna was being way too modest. With the exception of if a janitor for the building had wandered in during the hearing, it is safe to say that she was the only one in the room that provides a useful service. Yet though I sympathize with her situation, I’m admittedly puzzled of her meaning of independence. While I don’t subscribe to the myth of everyone being nothing more than an island unto themselves, and see cooperation as a vital and necessary part of society, I would not define a condition of needing assistance as being independent, whether the aid were administered by the state or not. Needing the generosity of others to survive seems to me rather on its face synonymous with depending on them, with dependence. To be independent, in my view, is to not have such constraint due to need.

There is a fear I now have that this may be misinterpreted. I do not mean to denigrate her or anyone else for merely needing help. I know this position well, as I’m only caught up on my rent & about to get my car fixed because of the generosity of friends & followers. If I were at that hearing then it would’ve had two poor people participating instead of one. What I seek about her side of this is understanding, as her use of term honestly sounds alien to me.

Todd, on the other hand I have no such care about. He does not deserve mercy.

A brief search on Mr Rokita shows he voted in support of a bill that would effectively ram through Keystone XL and any other cross border oil & gas pipeline projects, in total ignorance & unconcern about the use of eminent domain to steal land for the oil industry. He also voted in favor of the “farm bill” that was notable for maintaining extensive subsidies to agribusiness while cutting the SNAP program*, and was a Yea vote on the National Defense Authorization Act despite $600,000,000,000 being cartoonishly shameless overkill for any sane concept of “defense” — but no doubt lucrative to arms manufacturers. It appears that the “dependence” Todd rails against is A-OK for Monsanto, oil companies, and Boeing, as is usually the case with politicians who drag out that cliche.

The problem here goes further than Todd however, he’s just a symptom of the constant misdiagnosis of who takes & who makes. The contradictions of capitalism the reality versus capitalism the myth shine with the extensive state backing of wealth, meanwhile use of revolt insurance is a mass thing and people like Tianna find that employment isn’t enough to feed her kids. I strongly doubt this is coincidence.

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Posted in economics, fevered barking | 4 Comments

Alito and the expected pretzel

First, for any newcomers, a primer on my view of public government sector unions:

-I am staunchly pro-labor. At the same time, I oppose the existence of the state. A look at how workers have been treated by governments over time, and how regularly states back up capital in several ways, disproves the commonly peddled idea that the two are a contradiction.

-That said, there are some things that workers currently defined as government employees do that would not — indeed could not, on basic reality grounds — simply go *poof*. To oppose the government school is not to oppose education or educators, and trash disposal would still be necessary, for examples. To the extent an actual service is provided that is not predicated on force & intimidation, that would be sought out voluntarily in a post-state society, I’m with them on that.

-Much of the rage currently directed at government sector organizing that fits the above criteria (that is, NOT COP UNIONS) is based on a misreading of the total labor landscape: private sector labor power got thoroughly crushed first.

Why this is relevant is because today the ruling in Harris v Quinn came out from, from… what’s that group of people in the robes in the fancy building with a huge security zone around it called again? Right, the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions Monday, ruling that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover the union’s costs of collective bargaining.

In a 5-4 split along ideological lines, the justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with the positions that unions take.

On principle I agree, no one should be able to force you to contribute to a cause you oppose. Yet there is a sleight of hand in how they describe what’s going on. See, the union is required to represent and bargain for non-members whether they pay or not, thanks to the organizing system imposed by the government. So what is portrayed as a matter of conscience and freedom of association is instead the mandating of a free rider problem. Why is it not the case that one can, if they for some reason oppose the union, cease dues paying while the union ceases the activity for them that the dues paying funds? Why is it not seen as equally injurious to free association to force providing free benefits?

Try to imagine if there were a law that said 7-11 had to give out free slurpies to people who prefer other convenience stores. Or free lottery tickets to people that opposed gambling. Ridiculous, no?

Such is the logic of the state. The most reasonable answer is never an option.

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Posted in law | 1 Comment

The Floor is open

As little as popular sentiment has to do with what the State does — and really, it has precisely squat to do with it unless particular interests agree already — I do at times find the results of polling amusing. I do so both for futility plus amusement reasons & for what messages they may say (if anything) about how the masses interpret their predicament and Where To Go Next.

Recently, a Gallup poll result showed a large gap between approval of the US Congress and the police/military — who get their orders from the same entity that according to the poll people disapprove of. For reference, I’ve included an image of such below*. On its face, this is illogical — soldiers get their orders from congress, after all, and what the cops do is to enforce the laws that the US congress and the executive branch have decided should be enforced.  Yet, I’m of the mind that due to how little influence the average person has, that they’re discouraged from the start from rationality when it comes to decisions. When ones view doesn’t matter, incentive to have an informed one evaporates, y’know?

So, what I am curious about is the following: why the contradiction? Why do people, according to this survey, separate so neatly that which the view of the system we’re commonly taught says is incorrect? Why do Americans ascribe such confidence to pigs & soldiers while withholding confidence from who tells pigs and soldiers what indeed to do?

*Here’s the result image:

pewpoll

I made a remark about this on Twitter the other day, resulting in a bit of something that could be seen as snark from our old Stopped Clock friend Matt Yglesias.

My initial thought is that this is a paradox of crossing the ideological fable of oligarchical pluralism equaling “democracy” with the decisions of such being more hidden when it comes to police & military action, combined with the proto-fascist desire of some for “Decisive ACTION!” against what they see as the flaws of public debate# (read: semblance of actual functioning democracy). But I don’t post this time for what I think, rather what you think. Holler.

(# – I get the feeling a particular person may find that angle interesting…)

 

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Observation Gumbo

Of no particular theme…

-Blaring from the Huffington Post’s front page today was this:

huffpoworld

Oh no! Nearly 1/3rd of the global human population is obese! PANIC!! And since this is HuffPo we’re talking about, the likely assumption is this as a problem for politics to step into. However, click to the article and you’ll notice a fudge — the number refers to being obese or overweight, which refer to a quite broad range if their frame of reference is the Body Mass Index. BMI has been subject of criticism over the years for leading to some absurdities like labeling muscular people as obese & drastically downplaying individual factors. More practically speaking, expecting conformity of body type to what is considered by some experts “normal” is about as realistic as expecting your cat to lead a discussion about Bitcoin. People are different, they’re going to be different, some of us like our food and dislike exercise as well as have a slow metabolism, ok?
There is a brief hint in the piece about globalization and availability of processed foods, to which I’ll say to extent this has been encouraged via subsidy & rents to those raking in the money from such of course I don’t find it kosher, but beyond that hey, sometimes people don’t feel like cooking.

By the way, at the other end 12.5% of the world population is actually starving. So maybe this concern for the love handles is a bit misplaced. Maybe. Mull it over?

-Obama campaign, Fall 2012: “Want the war in Afghanistan ended by 2014? Vote for us!!”
Obama administration, damn near halfway through 2014: “Uh… we wanna keep those troops there a couple more years”
Remember when forces finally left Iraq? It wasn’t because of opposition to them being there Obama touted in his first presidential campaign, but because an attempt to keep them there longer fell through due to Iraqi refusal to not prosecute those suspected of abuses. Unless similar spike of base-playing spine arises in Afghanistan, those soldiers are going nowhere. If you’re the religious type, pray for a total fall through.

-A team of chemical weapons inspectors in Syria came under assault yesterday. I’m wondering by which side, to be honest, since the area they were headed for had the Assad regime and the rebels pointing fingers at each other with regard to the initial chemical weapon attack being investigated. The typical fog of civil war blends with reports of who some of the elements on the opposition are, and guess what? The U.S. is going to butt in even further, backing the opposition even more. Now, considering the original stated reason for involvement was Assad regime use of chemical weapons, and the reason those inspectors are even there is because of an agreement to get rid of them, doesn’t this look like steps towards provocation? If U.S. picking of a side continues (they’re already getting arms & training), then doesn’t any incentive to stick to the agreement fall to pieces? What would stop Bashar Assad from concluding Screw It & handing out chemical arms to his forces like skittles?

-A pattern of abuse by cops in Seattle prompted some new guidelines on use of force to be handed down by the feds. In response, a hundred of the pigs are crying, filing a lawsuit claiming the rules put them in danger.
One hundred. That’s a nice round number. In fact it just so happens to be equal to the number of cops that died last year — across the entire country. Click that, there’s even a helpful breakdown of just how they died. To put it bluntly, the depth of fear by cops expressed towards pretty much everyone not in possession of a badge has no grounding in reality. It is simply a dodge for their claim of exemption from the most basic human decency, an excuse to be able to brutalize, even murder you and walk off like it’s nothing.

-Slight revelation the other day concerning Operation Zero Sum… you know those highs that keep getting yakked about in the stock market? As if being completely divorced from ANY semblance of gains for the average person wasn’t enough, here’s some more indication of just how rigged that whole thing is: Q1 numbers are in, and the bulk of stock purchases was… share buybacks. Specifically, share buybacks disregarding price, serving as basically a mass Pump & Dump operation for executives since their compensation is tied to stocks. Corporate bosses are rigging their own pay ever higher on mythical numbers, meanwhile striking fast food workers are met by riot cops. Funny how that works…

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Bloodsuckers World

Some items I feel demonstrative of a whole:

-While Ukraine burns due to the triggering of a (U.S. backed) Fascists versus (Russian state) Fascists proxy fight, amid jockeying over natural gas supplies to the country & further into Europe, Joe Biden’s son just so happens to land position on the board of Burisma — the largest private gas producer in Ukraine. Demand shift due to Russian pressure stands to get him (as well as his dad’s campaign manager) quite a chunk of change.

-Previous revelations in the NSA leaks of economic espionage by the U.S. government on behalf of connected domestic corporations via trade policy advantage are back in the news again due to their holder releasing a book.

-Along with the above, a reminder has been given of just how deeply & broadly complicit in the global dragnet the tech sector is, regardless of how much they may now gripe in public about it. A veritable Who’s Who among the very backbone of modern communications technology sell us up the river for the pleasure of their real client: the surveillance state.

What is it that Hunter Biden’s new job, spying for trade advantage, & 80 global communications corporations acting as buddies to U.S. surveillance regime demonstrate? Just the simplest principle, the most direct application, of What Capitalism Is: the synthesis of government claim to authority and the interests of wealth in order to rob the rest of humanity, be it by fraud or by arms. Screw your customers by loopholing their security! Break your products to obtain inflated government contracts! Sow chaos & shortage then position yourself to profit! What are they gonna do about it, go somewhere else? The conglomerates & their triggermen are calling dibs on the whole planet, so have fun on Mars.

 

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