thinkateria

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Maybe I noticed this one word because I don't really speak their language anymore

http://wsws.org/articles/2006/apr2006/iraq-a27.shtml

Just for auld lang syne I went to "World Socialist Web Site," a place I used to go all the fricking time when I was young and irresponsible and talked juvenile smack as if I were president of a one-member Khmer Rouge chapter.

Reading along, okay, a little shrill but still inside the pale. Then this caught me (subtly at first, then with growing creepiness). Emphasis added:

<<Maliki was an ally of Jaafari and is reputed to be a religious extremist, who zealously implemented the “de-Baathification” program that saw large numbers of Iraqi professionals expelled from their posts for serving under the old regime.>>

Hey now. If we're evaluating intensity("extremist" - which the man may well be), what's with that all-encompassing vagueness of "professionals?"

Granted, I'm sure plenty of innocent folk got swept out by the de-Bath broom. Teachers. Agronomists. Customs inspectors.

Still, that the thing that wrote this could frame the issue like this without thinking about all the less ... savory people caught up under that term "professional." I guess anyone is a pro in a way. And I feel like I never understood "Politics and the English Language" until now, like you don't fully appreciate a field guide till you see the illustrated fungus under a real live (digital) rock.

Either this guy doesn't understand what the BP was, or he doesn't care. Neither's acceptable. Boom, bam, now more than ever I'm done with this shit for good and I ain't never coming back. Anyone who at this date thinks "world socialism" is gonna save us is either braindead or a nazi, as far as I can see. The movement's done gone rancid and
the idealism's too stoned.

Monday, March 07, 2005

False Idols

So the best non-state, non-religious idea for a highest moral authority is a consensus of representatives from each state in the world. Tell me, are these states the same ones arbitrarily drawn by the evil European colonialists and the evil Eurasian empires for centuries before them?



They sure are. Hey left-world: doesn’t the delegation of moral authority to a mix of democratically appointed and self-appointed representatives from imprecisely defined populations seem a bit hasty?

Nevertheless, cue Phil Collins: this is the land we live in, OOOH WAY OOOH! And President Reagan’s a shit head, OOOH WAY OOOH!



Look:

1) Civilization is a human construct. Any designation of power that departs from brute force constitutes a civil act. It is not a zero sum equation that can ever be balanced, only an outgrowth of man's innate compulsion to organize and, in doing so, evolve from beast.



It has no fixed goal.



2) Civilization will never achieve equality because contentment is a mutable human construct. Equality presumes the contentment of all people. But contentment is not a zero sum equation that can ever be balanced across humanity. We CANNOT say that all the resources available to humanity on earth, and our capacity for organizing them productively, WILL balance contentment equally, or in excess of some threshold of universal contentment. In fact it may balance contentment below equality, in which case everyone lacks contentment equally.



So while I’m not saying shut the fuck up and stop seeking equality, I am concerned about the basic premise under which many of these monkey men are laboring. If you’re so fulfilled in your own life that you devote it to the betterment of others (and hysterical assault against those whom you perceive to be in your way), you’ve got to accept these truths about the world. I’m talking here about the natural desensitization of man to increasing standards of living. If your worldview is to elevate the situation of e.g. the lowest 1%, you’re going to be raising the bar to infinity before long.



Gruesome fact is the only objective authority under which men are truly equal is death, and by extension the potential for existence beyond death. If the lack of justice is what burns your ass day to day, and hope is your thing, there is surely more potential for justice in the next world than in this one.

S’all I’m sayin.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The timeline for evil

Alright monkey fuckers, the ghost of the ghost of Jane Fonda's treachery is alive and well. Communists are making life harder than usual. And madness over Bush's Social Security reform is widespread.

I want to know something: what degree of retribution is the left looking for? I was listening to Roger Waters whine earlier today on Amused to Death. And I want to get this crystal clear. Equitable development? Total and immediate redistribution?

I don't think it's about the poor at all, or injustice, or inequality. I think it's about a bankrupt worldview, and more frightening, a diseased sense of self. Honestly, chaps and chapettes, what purpose does reaching back into history and enumerating the wrongs of the most powerful democracy in the world serve? Or those of Europe? How can culpability for past wrongs be properly assigned when the list stretches back to infinity? When exactly did Europe *start* being so evil? When did civilization cease to be blameless animals and start *Keeping Score* of injustice? Were the Europeans who founded America evil by default, before they killed millions of Indians and imported African slaves?

Can't the left just accept that history is fraught with imperfection, malice and evil? And that the US bothers to provide an explanation for any of it makes it so beautifully unique?

Noam Chomsky can go to secularist hell. He is the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Bill Maher really blows. Really. Scroll down to his interview with Ward Churchill, if that's not a permlink.

Katie Couric can barely contain her distrust of Republicans, even if they're nine years old.

Rush is so right he eclipses the entire spectrum and reflects the white light of pure truth. Maybe it's his fatness eclipsing the spectrum.

Nope. He's that good.

Monday, February 21, 2005

"I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone … but they've always worked for me,"

"Can you hear me?" I yelled.

He nodded.

"That's good," I said. "Because I want you to know that wetre on our way to Las Vegas to find the American Dream." I smiled. "That's why we rented this car. It was the only way to do it. Can you grasp that?"

He nodded again, but his eyes were nervous. "I want you to have all the background," I said. "Because this is a very ominous assignment--with overtones of extreme personal danger.... Hell, I forgot all about this beer; you want one?"

He shook his head.
"How about some ether?" I said.

"What?"

"Never mind. Let's get right to the heart of this thing. You see, about twenty-four hours ago we were sitting in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel--in the patio section, of course--and we were just sitting there under a palm tree when this uniformed dwarf came up to me with a pink telephone and said, 'This must be the call you've been waiting for all this time, sir.”

I laughed and ripped open a beer can that foamed all over the back seat while I kept talking. "And you know? He was right! I'd been expecting that call, but I didn't know who it would come from. Do you follow me?"

The boy's face was a mask of pure fear and bewilderment.

I blundered on: "I want you to understand that this man at the wheel is my attorney! He's not just some dingbat I found on the Strip. Shit, look at him! He doesn't look like you or me, right? That's because he's a foreigner. I think he's probably Samoan. But it doesn't matter, does it? Are you prejudiced?"

"Oh, hell no!" he blurted.

"I didn't think so" I said. "Because in spite of his race, this man is extremely valuable to me." I glanced over at my attorney, but his mind was somewhere else. I whacked the back of.the driver's seat with my fist. "This is important, goddamnit This is a true story!" The car swerved sickeningly, then straightened out. "Keep your hands off my fucking neck!" my attorney screamed. The kid in the back looked like he was ready to jump right out of the car and take his chances.

Our vibrations were getting nasty--but why? I was puzzled, frustrated. Was there no communication in this car? Had we deteriorated to the level of dumb beasts?

Because my story was true. I was certain of that. And it was extremely important, I felt, for the meaning of our journey to be made absolutely clear. We had actually been sitting there in the Polo Lounge-for many hours---drinking Singapore Slings with mescal on the side and beer chasers. And when the call came, I was ready.

...

"Jesus, bad waves of paranoia, madness, fear and loathing - intolerable vibrations in this place. Get out. The weasels were closing in. I could smell the ugly brutes. Flee."
__________________________________________________________

Another clade of the American dream is detatched at head, stalled in the ether. Hunter's weary bones are at last Thanatopsis.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

If in fear he lived, in peace he will rest. That tunnel bored by an endlessly burning cigarette will find the light. Godspeed, good ghost.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

We need something to talk about. Social security?

Warning: this post has no pictures. Sorry.

There are two issues:

1. Is reform necessary?
2. Are private accounts a good idea?

1. There appears to be some division on this. Some Democrats believe reform is necessary. Some don't, or they say "It's okay until at least 2042 (or 2052, or whatever) and then it'll pay 80% of current benefits, so what's the problem?" The problem is that the people who say this will be dead by 2042, while we will be retiring, and I don't really feel like paying for 25% more than I'll get.

Is there any mathematically sound way to claim that an ever-increasing ratio of retirees to workers does not portend a crisis sooner or later?

How many people our age are expecting anything out of social security, anyway?

2. There are two reasons to be opposed to the idea of private accounts: a. they don't fix the crisis (if there is one), which is a reasonable objection, and b. investing is SCARY! and workers will lose money to EVIL BIG BUSINESSES! and the majority of people are too ill-informed to invest wisely. As I understand it, there are some safeguards concerning the second objection:

a. workers could opt out of personal accounts
b. workers would be restricted to a conservative selection of bond and index funds
c. workers should be encouraged/compelled to invest more conservatively as they near retirement (targeted "life cycle" funds of this nature are evidently the proposed default option)

I'm fine with that.

I guess another objection is that social security is an insurance program, not an investment program, and it's better for everyone to be guaranteed a little something than for some people to risk losing (some of) their benefits. Okay. That's why I'm a Republican, I guess.

Ultimately, since it's a heavy burden for two workers to fund one retiree, doesn't it make sense that Social Security is going to have to figure out a way to maximize the money it takes in from payroll taxes in order to maintain benefits? Is there a better way to do this than private accounts, sooner or later? I'm not expecting wholesale reform before we retire; this should really take a couple of generations to implement. But I would like something to begin now, so we have the next forty years to see something good come out of it before we retire, and so our kids will have something even better.

This is why I'm puzzled by the Democrats' resistance to social security reform and privatization: us 18-to-34-year-old types vote for them, right? They claim to serve our interests, right? Why do they say social security's hunky-dory when it's not going to be for us, and why are they so resistant to the idea of private accounts when it sounds like a pretty good deal? Or, why don't they at least say, "Private accounts sound like a good idea to younger workers, but they won't work, because the cost is prohibitive, our nut-job president got us too far into debt..." etc.? Is it because we're going to vote for them anyway? Is it because we don't vote? I'm confused.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Elections, Rum and the Lash

... dull scuds and ill rumblings in the bay area this week. their sister city of two wars' standing has let them down.



attention on this end slips ever eastward. iran? you say. no, no. thinking about that will only scare your peepee back into your stomach ... or foster allzumensliches urges.



what of oxiania? the sullen kyrg? dead cities' embers? the shorn deserts of far cathay? The Road to Nowhere? lo! the northern rim of the indian subcontinent tosses in fevered sleep ... bad craziness in nepal



"here i am ... stuck in the middle of asia."



Deeply regret not taking Uzbek last semester when had chance.



Let's get the chatter going again.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I got your center party right here

(actually, a fusion of the two "extremes" - averages out to the center, dunnit?)