American Politics 101

The political establishment, helped by the mass media and intelligentsia, has long played a game in this country. It consists in depicting the competition for power as between two blocs: one hostile to business in the name of social justice, the other friendly to business in the name of “the free market.” Each bloc’s talking points and pet projects are calculated in superficial ways to reinforce its signature theme. Whenever the blocs need to rally their respective bases, they accentuate their surface differences. The “antibusiness” bloc accuses its opponents of being, say, Wall Street lackeys, while the “pro-free-enterprise” bloc accuses its opponents of being, say, socialists.

It’s all a sham that serves each side’s interests. The rivals actually want two variations of the same thing: the corporate state, a system of economic privilege that transfers wealth via government from market entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers to well-connected business interests.

Sheldon Richman, The Freeman

The rest here.


“Fill out a complaint form and leave it in the box. We’ll get to it a soon as we can.”

While at the mall the other day I saw a man wearing a Philadelphia police T-shirt that said: “A city that makes an enemy of its police force is a city that will have to make friends with its criminals.”

I’m not sure whether this is supposed to be a response to a specific incident or not, but either way it’s pretty much standard fare for police propaganda, resting on the bogus assumption that without a full-time, professional, tax-funded police force criminals would run rampant and good people wouldn’t be able to walk down the street without being robbed or murdered.  Of course, people are robbed and murdered on a daily basis, in spite of the presence of our heroes in blue—in some cases, by the police themselves.

So I’m thinking maybe the residents of Philadelphia need their own T-shirt, which says: “A city whose police force makes an enemy of it will have to file a complaint with Internal Affairs.”

Fuck Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein

This week, Senators Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein engaged in acts of serious aggression against their own constituents, and the American people in general. They both invoked the 1917 Espionage Act and urged its use in going after Julian Assange. For good measure, Lieberman extended his invocation of the Espionage Act to include a call to use it to investigate the New York Times, which published WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables. Reports yesterday suggest that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may seek to invoke the Espionage Act against Assange.

Naomi Wolf, HuffPo

Wolf follows this opening paragraph with a brief history of the Espionage Act and its victims, and goes on to explain why the invocation of the Act and the more general tendency to equate criticism of the government with “treason” is a threat to a free society.  The fact that she even feels compelled to explain something so obvious is really all the commentary that’s needed, and wouldn’t really be worth commenting on, except to agree, if it weren’t for the nice little turning of the tables at the end, where she describes the Senators’ invocation of the Espionage Act as “traitorous.”

Exactly.  As long as we’re still paying lip service to that quaint notion of a government “of the people, by the people,” etc., let’s call Lieberman and Feinstein’s actions what they are—treason against the citizens of the United States.  I think both should be put on trial and, if convicted, sentenced to ten years at Gitmo, and forbidden from ever holding public office again.  Also, in Lieberman’s case, since he’s such an odious little turd bucket, I think a bit of corporal punishment might be in order as well.  I propose a good beating, with a large rubber dildo, on national TV.

The Painter of Confections

I really see no point in bashing Thomas Kinkade—or talking about him at all, really.  Suffice to say, I don’t understand the attraction, or why anybody would want to “go into where that is and be part of it.”  Being inside a Kinkade painting strikes me as a particularly cruel form of punishment, a department in hell reserved for the most heinous offenders where you’re killed slowly, over and over again, by infusions of soft yellow light and faux-cheerfulness.  Still, this quote, from the story linked to above, struck me as one of those more-revealing-than-it-was-meant-to-be type statements:

Ami Davis, who teaches art at the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote her master’s thesis on Kinkade. “I’ve heard [about] almost quasi-religious experiences with some of these paintings,” Davis says.

How fitting: almost quasi-religious experiences from looking at almost quasi-works of art.  Seems like something that could be worked into a motto for our times.

Also, there’s a kind of satisfying poetic justice in the fact that he’s being sued for fraud, even if it’s in a different sense.  The DUI arrest just gilds the lily.