Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Need 3 Billion for Bus Fare. I'll Pay You Back.

PM harpo has really lost it this time. Because the economic crisis (you remember? the one harpo and fuckhead flaherty pretended didn't exist back in October?) is so bad, harpo says Canada can't afford the time it would take to have any parliamentary oversight on his stimulus spending. But don't worry says harpo; when it's all over, he'll give us a full accounting of where the money went. He promises.
The Tories are proposing the fund's cash be spent over 90 days between April 1 and June 30 and want to take shortcuts in allocating it – although they promise to report back afterward on its disbursement.

It's at that point that everybody else in the room should have erupted into rude guffaws at harpo's unmitigated gall. Just last week the harpocons were inventing bullshit reasons for not having to release the minutes of their meetings during the listeriosis crisis. (You remember that one too don't you? where twenty Canadians died after harpo cut the powers of federal food inspectors and allowed the meat industry to police itself?) This is a government passionately addicted to secrecy and idiotic lies and harpo wants people to trust him with THREE BILLION dollars??

harpo's back to his old self again in the totally psychotic asshole department. (Those long weepy hours in his darkened office waiting for his fear-beshitted trousers to come back from the dry-cleaners and trying to put the fear of the coalition out of his mind are now only a dim memory apparently.):
“Let's be clear. …These are confidence measures. We are not going to mess around with this … we have our bureaucrats working overtime to make sure we cut red tape and get this money flowing quickly. If the opposition doesn't like it, they will find themselves in an election.”
Mr. Harper took a swipe at opposition MPs, saying they've been little help in the stimulus debate.
“To be blunt about it, the opposition has nothing positive to contribute to this economy.”
One would say that harpo hasn't learned anything, but I think he has. He's learned that the new Liberal leader is even more craven and spineless than Stephane Dion was and that he'll probably get everything he asks for.

But just for the record, let's be clear. Let's be blunt about it. It was your party, harpo, and your idiot finance minister who intended to offer no stimulus package when you yourself knew that there was a major global shitstorm in the works. It was you, harpo, who decided that the "statesman" thing to do was to try to force the opposition parties to drink from poisoned cups two fucking weeks into your new minority parliament. It was that sort of immature brinksmanship that got you to ask for a prorogation from the Governor General that wasted months that could have been spent actually dealing with the crisis instead of your own petty ambitions. Yours is the useless party harpo. As it has always been. As it cannot fail to be.

Friday, February 27, 2009

There's a lot happening in the world today, ...

... but i'm too lazy to write about any of it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our Intellectual Adversaries

Okay, let's review here:

There's mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Klanswoman KKKate MakkkMillan (who shows her intellectual integrity by deleting comments that prove her cluelessness and stupidity)

There's NAMBLA-enthusiast Richard Evans.

There's "Hunter" who says that Canada's mud and our "families" make us a "conservative" nation.

There's Jonah Goldberg, who wrote a book called Liberal Fascism and that's really all that one has to say about that.

There's Rush Limbaugh; revered by "conservative" airhead chumps across the US of A as a straight-talking, conventional values kinda dude, who happens to be a multimillionaire who got addicted to OxyContin and decided to buy it off the street (via his housekeeper because he was either too cowardly, lazy or fat to get it himself) and who also was found travelling from the Dominican Republic with a bottle of Viagra perscribed to his doctor (to protect Rush's "privacy").

And it goes on and on. Including this guy:
At dinner (where he talked with his mouth full at about 3:15), Ziegler opined about relationships and in a nutshell, he thinks women are foolish. He believes marriage should have contracts that come up for renewal and review every five years. Isn't' that romantic?

When he said, "I realize talking about women and being rational is an oxymoron", that did it. Ms. Long Island was officially repulsed. It was the turning point of the date. She didn't even finish dinner, ending the date right there.

Yeah, it was a "reality" dating show. Maybe he was trying to be an asshole to make the segment interesting. But given his stated political orientation and the track record of these morons, I'm thinking that was sincere.

[For the record, the idea of renewing your marriage every five years doesn't sound like an inherently insane thing to do. But go to the link and watch the clip. He argues that as the years pass, the men will have more power in the relationship because they'll keep getting more "distinguished" looking whereas women ("you guys" he says to his date) just get older and more unattractive.]

Summary: They are stupid, disgusting people and therefore their politics are stupid and disgusting. That they chose to call their politics "conservatism" is perhaps an interesting accident of history, or, more likely, part of their stupid inability to let go of discredited ideas that they've only just been able to master.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chris Sands on Afghanistan via CounterPunch

Another depressing article. An antidote to the stories of seemingly endless "progress" that never gets anywhere.

Hastily-created NGOs continued to flood in, eager for a slice of the action. So did journalists determined to write about democracy, the suave English-speaking president and the local golf course. It was the calm before the storm. Victory had been declared and, while Afghans were starting to feel the weight of its baggage, the rest of the world was still having fun at their expense.


A man working at the football stadium reminisced fondly about the old days when executions happened on the pitch. If capital punishment was still common, he said, the new government wouldn’t be so crooked. This was something I would hear repeatedly, until eventually it was said by Afghans across the country. The police were the worst offenders, looking for bribes at every opportunity to supplement their low wages.


In the spring of 2006 Kabul’s imams decided to speak out against all this and more. Officials were lining their own pockets and alcohol was easily available, they said. They were also angry at the house raids conducted by foreign soldiers in rural areas and accused them of molesting women during the searches. Most said the time for jihad was approaching and one announced that armed resistance was now the answer.

So when rioters tore through the capital on May 29, it was no big surprise. The spark for that particular day of unrest was a fatal traffic accident involving US troops, but the explosion had been primed long before. Protesters shouted “Death to America” and by the end of the anarchy at least 17 people had lost their lives.


Reports of civilians getting bombed from above came regular as clockwork that spring and summer. First some villagers or local officials would say innocent people were dead and the Nato or US-led coalition would deny it. Then all parties would agree civilian blood had been spilt, but argue over casualty figures. Hamid Karzai kept demanding that the carnage stop, but it never did.


Even the section of society that should have benefited most from the US-led invasion was full of sorrow. Female MPs told me they felt ashamed for not being able to help their constituents. One said she was sure the time was approaching when she would be a prisoner in her own home again. “For all this I blame America. When the Russians were here the people picked up guns to fight them. Now people are picking up guns to fight the Americans,” she said. “Soon my daughter will finish school and then she wants to start private education,” said another. “But I cannot let her because I cannot give her a bodyguard.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yet Another Disgusting Thing ...

Raphael Alexander.

Fresh from a triumphant engagement of giggling, hooting and frantic masturbation at the thought of torturing teenagers, Raphael now proceeds to hold forth on how non-white Canadians beg to be tortured so that they can turn around and scam real, honest-to-GOD, white Canadians of their hard-earned tax dollars.

Raphael really put his head up his ass with that one. (He must like the smell.)

One of those guys tortured in Syria was an Iraqi (a refugee fom Saddam Hussein's regime who thought he could go home because his country had been freed), the other was an Egyptian (who was engaged to a Syrian woman) and while the last of the three was a Syrian, he'd been a Canadian since he was 16, he'd never been troubled by the Syrian government before, and he was visiting briefly to see his grandmother before she died.

Raphael is a pasty, stupid little boy who needs a time-out from blogging. The last thing he needs is "enabling" from his co-conspirators in abject ignorance and filth, "The National Pest."

Monday, February 23, 2009

One of the More Disgusting Things I've Read Recently

This weekend I was checking out Canadian Cynic and blogging contributor "LuLu" had posted about the harpo government's saying "fuck you!" to accountability. According to the Globe & Mail:

OTTAWA — The Harper government has delayed for months the release of notes on conference calls held at the height of last summer's deadly listeriosis outbreak — a lag some experts say breaks Ottawa's own information laws.
Privy Council officials at first said they had records as requested, but needed four months “to consult other government institutions” about them.
Then Ann Wesch, the access to information director for PCO, wrote a letter dated Feb. 10 stating that in fact “the records retrieved do not fall under the scope of this request. Therefore we have no records relevant to your request.”
The explanation for the flip-flop? Records retrieved were handwritten notes — not minutes or transcripts, said the PCO analyst questioned about the response.This, despite the fact that the word transcribe is in part defined in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary as “make a copy of, esp. in writing .. . write out (shorthand, notes, etc.) . . . .”

As University of Ottawa expert on federal information law put it:
“It is silly,” he said. “I would even say it's infantile to be making this sort of distinction.
“This goes against the spirit of the act and the letter of the [Access to Information] act.”

As was stated earlier in the article, twenty people died because of this failure of oversight. We all remember at the time that harpo was lamely arguing that these deaths were the fault of the Liberals, as if his own sweeping changes to the regulatory regime never existed. (We also remember Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz making jokes about poisoned food and deaths during press conferences at the time.) Now, despite the fact that harpo is blaming the Liberals he lacks the confidence to provide us with the information about what his government was doing in response to these deaths. But we have a right to this information. This is OUR government. There is no "national security" issue at stake here (which harpo loves to use to hide information about his torture policies).

This contempt for democracy, this contempt for accountability, this callous disregard for human life, this craven toadying to corporate interests, this is all an excellent example of the sort of long-standing behaviour that should have written off this party of morons, losers, murderers and thieves long ago. This is the party that pompous idiot Charles Adler had the gall to describe as "mature." This is not maturity. This is a bunch of brazen vandals spitting in our faces, confident that there is nothing that can be done about it. And you know what? Thanks to the cowardly, useless AND COMPLICIT Liberal Party, combined with the ignorance and confusion of almost half the electorate (this includes the full-time stupid 30% of the population that will stick with "conservatism" through thick and thin), there really isn't anything we can do about this.

In the face of murderous negligence and subsequent callous contempt for the law, for the principles of open government, the decent portion of Canadian society is powerless. This has to change.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Titanic Danger of Islamic Fundamentalism

Last post I referred to sputtering gas-bag Terry Glavin as a "useful idiot" for Western imperialists' wars of aggression in the Middle East and parts "east, west, south and north somewhat." It goes like this: Western imperialists want the oil in the Middle East. Some of them want the Palestinians' lands. They want pliant, corruptable governments there. They want to eliminate any and all challenges to their total authority (there haven't been any genuine "threats" to their position of dominance anywhere in the world since the fall of the Soviet Union) globally or even regionally. They want to establish bases from which they can have striking capacity at China and Russia. Because of this, they topple governments. They prop-up dictators. They buy and sell weapons in huge quantities to oppress their own people and to attack others. They even invade from time-to-time. When they do this, they create enemies.

For a number of reasons, some indigenous some imported, the latest incarnation of Arab, Muslim, resistance to corrupt governments, US imperialism or Israeli barbarism has been led by radical Muslim clerics and militias. The Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda, all of them sworn to defeat some vestige or other of the Western project and determined as well to enforce their own particular brands of religious obscurantism on their peoples.

This has given deluded neo-con blowhards, right-wing morons and useful idiots like Christopher Hitchens and Terry Glavin the chance to pontificate and/or screech about the dangers of "radical Islam" or "Islamic fundamentalism" or "Islamo-fascism." At its most deranged, these fools would have us believe that the West's secular society is at risk from these Muslim hordes. At a sublime level of asininity smashing an airliner into a building and blowing up a bus or train car once in a while will supposedly bring us to our knees and we'll all be praying to Mecca and our pornstars will be forced to perform wearing burqas unless we surrender all of our rights to the War on Terror. At a slightly less deranged level, devious Muslims will take advantage of Western tolerance AND leftist stupidity to infect our culture from within. According to Mark Steyn Muslim women are busy pooping-out little jihadists all over Europe in order to latch onto the teats of their welfare states and drown all of Europe with their numbers. America, thankfully, is populated by sub-intelligent Christian women who (thanks to their rejection of birth control) can't help but produce huge litters of intolerant Christian babies. In Canada (where South Asians of every religious stripe are the largest source of immigrants, followed by East Asians) the Muslim conspiracy is to work thusly: Radical Islamic groups will note an insult to Arabs or Islam, complain to the Human Rights Commissions and, before you know it, out of sheer politeness and leftist gullibility we'll be sending our homosexuals and drunkards to the chopping block, foregoing bacon on our pizzas and shouting "Death to America" at the Peace Bridge.

Which of course is all self-evidently ridiculous. But these wingnuts like to work themselves into a lather about this manufactured threat to all we hold dear. They're all for allowing our governments to hold anyone they want without charges and they're all for allowing our governments to torture us, indefinitely, to preserve our sacred traditions of human rights and the rule of law.

Too bad for them that their such enormous crocks of shit about everything. First of all, the wars that they're supposed to die in (and drag us into with them) are being fought for wealthy oil companies, weapons manufacturors and corrupt contractors like Halliburton. These rubes won't even see lower prices at the pump in exchange for cheering on the destruction of our genuine freedoms and their childrens' lives in illegal wars. Either that, or they'll happily suffer bombings and wars so that a foreign country, Israel, can attempt to reclaim what religious lunatics there imagine are the historical lands of the Hebrews. Why a Canadian of non-Jewish ancestry should care about Israel expanding its borders is entirely inexplicable.

Also too bad for these morons is the fact that one of the biggest exportes of extreme fundamentalism is the government of Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the stalwart enemy of Islamic fundamentalism, the United States of America. The USA has also granted all sorts of assistance to the government of Pakistan's efforts to foster extremist fundamentalist movements such as the Taliban. The USA has done more yeoman's work to smash and discredit secular democracy in the Middle East than is easily understood by these yahoos, whether in Iran, Egypt of Lebanon. It has armed and funded the mujaheddin in Afghanistan. (Israel itself funded Hezbollah when it could be used as a rival to the larger, secular PLO.)

The dismantling of our rights and the invasions of other lands for resources and geo-strategic purposes is all of piece in the decline of late-capitalism. The creation of a state of unending war against an imaginary enemy helps to make the population amenable to these crimes. I'm sick of having to endure the stupidity that attempts to make this all plausible, whether it comes from knuckle-draggers on SDA, assholes like William Kristol, or insecure, raving, self-important turds like Terry Glavin.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Terry Glavin; useful idiot

He's at it again folks. Graduate of the Christopher Hitchens's School of Deluded Foreign Policy Apologias, Terry Glavin has turned his scatter-shot analytic powers on Tariq Ali:
On Ali and his apologetics for the Taliban and Hezbollah, read Imtiaz Baloch. On why Ali is intellectually incapable of recognizing real imperialism when it's staring him right in the face, read Naeem Khan Wardag' s 'Tariq Ali, Pashtun Nationalism and Taliban.' On Ali's stunted political maturity, Tahir Aslam Gora observes that "leftists like Tariq Ali are caught up in their so-called Islamic heritage pride and are not liberated enough to support the true values of liberalism and secularism." Principia Dialectica sums up Ali as "a socialist who defends barbarism."

Whoa. Strong stuff. Glavin's incensed because of Tariq Ali's description of the rise of the insurgency:
Ali: "Given the massive increase in support for the new version of the Taliban that is the result of the war and occupation, any government has to include their representatives."

Glavin responds by pointing to a bullshit poll:
Facts: Asked who they would rather have ruling their country, 82 per cent of Afghan poll respondents [pdf] said "the current government," while four per cent preferred the Taliban - up from three per cent three years ago. This is Ali's "massive increase" in support for the Taliban, for which we are admonished to blame the "war and occupation."

Really Terry? That's quite the ringing endorsemsent for the "Mayor of Kabul." If 82% of the country are so happy with our failed narco-puppet-torture-state, then why has the insurgency continued to grow? Why is the country still a complete basket-case after SEVEN YEARS of NATO/UN tutelage? (I already asked Terry this question folks. He delted it before launching into a detestable round of self-praise.)

Glavin closes with this exhibition of his debating prowess:
(Any such zombies or allied trolls from the Ali fan club who show up here in comments will be deleted without exception.)

Let's check out Tariq Ali's ringing defence of the Taliban's version of Islam:
True, there was a sense of relief in Kabul when the Taliban’s Wahhabite Emirate was overthrown. Though rape and heroin production had been curtailed under their rule, warlords kept at bay and order largely restored in a country that had been racked by foreign and civil wars since 1979, the end result had been a ruthless social dictatorship with a level of control over the everyday lives of ordinary people that made the clerical regime in Iran appear an island of enlightenment.

The term "useful idiot" appears to be an invention attributed to V. I. Lenin, but it's become a shortform for those who allow themselves to become dupes for a cynical political project:
In political jargon, the term "useful idiot" was used to describe Soviet sympathizers in western countries and the alleged attitude of the Soviet government towards them. The implication was that though the person in question naïvely thought themselves an ally of the Soviets or other Communists, they were actually held in contempt by them, and being cynically used.
The term is now used more broadly to describe someone who is perceived to be manipulated by a political movement, terrorist group, or hostile government, whether or not the group is Communist in nature.

The term suits Glavin because he actually appears to believe in "The Mission" (tm.) in Afghanistan and has allowed himself to be deluded into imagining that Western imperialists are throwing off their true nature in this one place in this one time, and are determined to defeat an enemy (the Taliban) simply because they're evil, and they're determined to actually rebuild Afghanistan and bring democracy to its people because Western imperialists have a heart after all. Which is complete and total bullshit. If you're Terry Glavin though, having drunk the Kool-Aid, Afghanistan remains a country of seven years of "progress" with the continued growth of the insurgency and the continued misery of the people maddeningly inexplicable.

What does Tariq Ali have to say about the causes of the West's failure?

Karzai was duly installed in December 2001, but intimacy with us intelligence networks failed to translate into authority or legitimacy at home. Karzai harboured no illusions about his popularity in the country. He knew his biological and political life was heavily dependent on the occupation and demanded a bodyguard of us Marines or American mercenaries, rather than a security detail from his own ethnic Pashtun base. [11] There were at least three coup attempts against him in 2002–03 by his Northern Alliance allies; these were fought off by the ISAF, which was largely tied down in assuring Karzai’s security—while also providing a vivid illustration of where his support lay. [12] A quick-fix presidential contest organized at great expense by Western pr firms in October 2004-just in time for the USelections—failed to bolster support for the puppet president inside the country. Karzai’s habit of parachuting his relatives and protégés into provincial governor or police chief jobs has driven many local communities into alliance with the Taliban, as the main anti-government force. In Zabul, Helmand and elsewhere, all the insurgents had to do was ‘approach the victims of the pro-Karzai strongmen and promise them protection and support. Attempts by local elders to seek protection in Kabul routinely ended nowhere, as the wrongdoers enjoyed either direct us support or Karzai’s sympathy.’ [13]


Also feeding the resentment is the behaviour of a new elite clustered around Karzai and the occupying forces, which has specialized in creaming off foreign aid to create its own criminal networks of graft and patronage. The corruptions of this layer grow each month like an untreated tumour. Western funds are siphoned off to build fancy homes for the native enforcers. Housing scandals erupted as early as 2002, when cabinet ministers awarded themselves and favoured cronies prime real estate in Kabul where land prices were rocketing, since the occupiers and their camp followers had to live in the style to which they were accustomed. Karzai’s colleagues, protected by isaf troops, built their large villas in full view of the mud-brick hovels of the poor. The burgeoning slum settlements of Kabul, where the population has now swollen to an estimated 3 million, are a measure of the social crisis that has engulfed the country.


Yet never have such gaping inequalities featured on this scale before. Little of the supposed $19 billion ‘aid and reconstruction’ money has reached the majority of Afghans. The mains electricity supply is worse now than five years ago, and while the rich can use private generators to power their air conditioners, hot-water heaters, computers and satellite tvs, average Kabulis ‘suffered a summer without fans and face a winter without heaters.’ [15] As a result, hundreds of shelterless Afghans are literally freezing to death each winter.

Well, at least there's real progress on women's rights, right?

What do I mean by that? Take for example Afghanistan. In 2003, almost every woman's group I met with in Afghanistan, which was already a few years after the initial invasion, said that although they were very grateful for the fact that the Taliban was gone, the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan in general and in Kabul in particular had highly increased the incidence of both prostitution as well as trafficking-- it's not one in the same thing. Prostitution in the sense of--being something "voluntary" because very poor women and girls would come down, particularly from the countryside where villages are in a state of absolute dire impoverishment...there's very little to eat, very little production...I talked to so many women and women's organizations who've said, young girls sleep with a soldier in Kabul for $40, $50, which is more than their mothers could make as a teacher in a full month. That's the incidence of prostitution as a function of--people call it in the women's movement "survival sex." The trading of sex for food on a survival basis.


Those militias and militant groups are also armed, roaming and wandering, going randomly into villages, and targeting women as they please by sexually assaulting and raping. As for the incidents that you've been hearing about--whether it was the girls who got acid splashed on their faces that you read about in The New York Times-- these incidents have been going on for the last four or five years across the country. Girls going to school and teachers have been attacked, and under very various pretexts. Either the Taliban, mujahideen or various factions are attacking them for being "morally loose" or "promiscuous." These people are armed--and because war tends to infuse large amounts of testosterone into large groups of men, living and wandering around together--this does not create the safest of environments for girls in villages, for schoolteachers, for women of any kind--women working in the fields. And so, what we've been hearing reports of are random sexual attacks on women in villages, on girls walking to school, on teachers or other women who are working. So, attacks on women have increased, for all sorts of reasons--the most common one that we hear in the West is "Oh, these Islamic fundamentalists don't want women to work or study and so they're attacking them." But there are plenty of people who don't really care whether it's about Islam or not, they're just interested in showing their power by sexually abusing women.

Grow the fuck up Terry. Maybe if you weren't so busy insulting your betters and deleting their analyses you'd actually learn something. Newsflash Terry!!! George W. Bush wasn't such a nice guy! Jean Chretien probably doesn't think about Afghanistan at all anymore! Stephen Harper can't bring himself to give a shit about Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, why do you think he cares about the Afghans? It's pretty obvious that these monsters have made a clusterfuck because their motives were either bad or stupid. And it's pretty obvious, Terry, that the reason you're so intolerant of actual dissent to your brainless, deluded position is because you're incapable of facing up to the reality that you've been had. And thousands more will die, and the suffering will continue, and useful idiots such as yourself will continue to prattle on about "progress."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Report Card on Hugo Chavez

Too busy to post. So there's this instead.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Night Music Melifluousness

Hip new thing the kids are listening to these days:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cash for Trash?

I can't decide where I stand on this debate.

At the Progressive Economics Forum, Duncan Cameron is saying that the Canadian government is bailing out Bay Street's bad loans just the same way that bush II and Obama are using taxpayers' dollars to help Wall Street.

Though you may not have read about it, the federal government is borrowing up to $200 billion to provide cash to mortgage lenders, cash to crown corporations that lend to business, cash to life insurers, and cash to shore up the reserves of our chartered banks.
Called the Extraordinary Financing Framework, or EFF, you have to go back to the Canadian postwar loan to Britain to find a financial operation anything like (though a lot bigger than) the 2009 Bay St. bailout. In 1945-6 we were lending to an overseas customer, so that it could buy our products. This time the government is providing cash to the financial sector, so its shareholders can stay afloat.
Instead of bailing out Bay St. the government could take over ownership of the banks at less cost, and use the sizable amount left of the $200 billion to stimulate the economy, so that people could make a living, and businesses not go belly up in the first place.

In the comments section, Stephen Gordon disagrees:

Um, no. Duncan doesn’t understand what is going on. These are exchanges of assets that leave the banks’ balance sheets unchanged. The point of these transactions is to increase the liquidity of the banks’ capital (CMHC paper is more liquid than mortgages), not to improve their capital ratios. Neither the federal government’s not the banks’ balance sheets are affected by these activities. No-one has suggested that the mortgages purchased by the CHMC are toxic waste.
This story being told in that column is about what is going on in another country, one that happens to be a neighbour of ours. But it’s not a story of what is going on in Canada.

I'd read about that somewhere before, long ago, at a website now lost to the mists of time. Or something. But I can't seem to figure out how an "exchange of assets" isn't "cash for trash." If the banks' mortgage assets aren't in any trouble then why are they having difficulty with them? If they're causing problems, why are we taking them over at the valuation levels that the banks are saying they're worth?

Cameron responded:
Stephen please explain why the government is borrowing up to $200 billion to help out the banks? Please explain why Carney is in Davos calling on the banks to lend? Please tell us how the banks are planning to deal with the loans out to the Detroit three equal to 50 per cent of their capital? And review for us what it takes for a balance sheet to undergo de-levering successfully.

And there things stand.

A couple of links for the Extraordinary Financing Framework.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why We Mock Them

I recently found this piece of shit (at a place different from the link provided, on a blog belonging to one of the ugliest, stupidest men on the fucking planet). This is some monkey-brained garbage by one Charles Adler that's burning up the right-wing stupid-o-sphere. It's his gleeful burying of the proposed coalition between Jack Layton's NDP and Stephane Dion's Liberals. This is what happens when one of these pompous asses tries really hard to be eloquent and intelligent; they poop their pants! Observe.
Dear Jack,

We've been friends for a long time and friends really ought to tell friends the truth. So since nobody else has told you, I think it's time for me to step up and get it done.

Jack, when you and Gilles Duceppe were first putting this coup together, you felt you had a strong hand because the Liberals had such a weak one. After the fall election, Harper had 46 percent of the seats in the Commons. He was within a whisker of a majority, and Stephane Dion, a marshmallow at the best of times, had just been roasted by voters. His part ended up with only 25 percent of the seats. Between Duceppe’s separatists in the sticks of Quebec, and your crew Jack, you had more seats than Dion. Power abhors a vacuum. Everyone knows the game. You approached Dion with a plan to get him one last kick at the can. He was never going anywhere on his own but if you and Duceppe got together with him, between the three of you, you'd have something you could call a coalition. Never mind that nobody voted for that.
First of all, "Charlie," standard parliamentary practice isn't a coup. You ought not to be setting yourself up for a thorough thrashing like this. And pull your head out of your ass. Gilles Duceppe was not going to be a member of the coalition. He was going to support it in return for some consideration for Quebec in the coalition's budget.
You could always finesse that with the willingness of many members of the media whose hatred for Harper would blind them of three obvious facts:

1) Nobody in the country thought Stephane Dion should be prime minister.

2) Nobody in the country thought we could have a stable central government which owed its allegiance to the bastard child of the Parti Quebecois - which owes its allegiance to people who want to blow a hole right through the heart of Canada. And;

3) Since no political party ran on the idea of a coalition, and nobody voted for a coalition, nobody thought it was a good idea to have a government based on something nobody voted for or wanted, even though your media friends at the CBC did think this whole thing was a lot of fun. Mr. Mansbridge said the other day during one of his At Issue Panel Discussions, that he and others in the media were really missing all the fun they were having before Christmas when you, Gilles and Stephane were talking about seducing the Governor General into the idea of going along with your scam, what I called the Three Stooges of Coupscam.
Well, here dipshit, you've outsmarted yourself. Obviously 28% of Canadians wanted Dion to be prime minister because they voted for the Liberal Party of which he was the leader. Your hysterics about the Bloq Quebecois reveal either a stupendous ignorance or a disgusting hypocrisy, because as you ought to know, your precious Stephen Harper was prepared to launch a "coup" against the "elected government of Canada" with the assistance of that self-same Bloc. Note, harpo was proposing a coalition even though nobody had voted for one.
On Friday, Mr. Harper went before television cameras to slam a potential Dion-led government as illegitimate because he lost the Oct. 14 election.
But the Liberals and NDP said those arguments were undercut by Mr. Harper's 2004 letter to then-governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, which requested that she turn to him if Paul Martin's newly elected government were defeated in the Commons.
"We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority," the 2004 letter stated.

Either way, Charlie, you're a stupid fuck. The fact that right-wing cretins read this nonsensical drivel without getting embarrassed right there is testimony to your political movement's total intellectual bankruptcy. And finally, regarding that last little bit, I took notice of your whining about media hatred of Harper. You fucking right-wing cry-babies should really get a grip. Every lazy-assed one of you. Harper's gotten kid-glove treatment from the media. The occasional bit of critical reporting sends you all bawling to your mommies like idiots. Grow the fuck up.
Now Jack, outside of these three facts that made it impossible to get your coaltion contraption to take flight, there were some other things said during the bad sales job which you keep on wanting to say, and it's time I think to put a final cork in the bottle. You keep talking about how the Harper Tories only got 38 percent of the popular vote. And so therefore, 62 percent voted for change. Wrong Jack. Those 62 percent didn't vote for change. They voted for Liberals and Greens and Separatists and your team. Nobody voted for a coalition. I'm starting to think that the 38 percent the Conservatives got isn't what's getting under your skin, Jack. It's the 18 percent of the vote that you got. Sorry to break it to you, but no matter how often you say you are applying for the job of the prime minister, fewer than one in five voters actually take you seriously.
Charlie, Charlie, Charlie! Regardless of how you want to spin it, 62% of the electorate voted for someone other than your idiotic hero. Let's just get that out of the way. harpo got a minority, do you understand this? Do you understand what that means in a parliamentary system? I suspect you don't. harpo certainly didn't. In a minority government, the PM has to reach out to at least one other party, or to at least enough opposition MPs to give him the confidence of a majority of the House. He does not get to say: "I have the single-biggest bloc of seats in the House of Commons, therefore everyone else can go fuck themselves." Do you understand this Charlie? Again, I imagine not. Because you're a pig-headed idiot.

62% of the electorate has the brains to realize that voting for your party is voting for dog-shit. It's voting for blatant criminality. It's voting for massive incompetence. You can sit in your cushy job (provided by capitalist idiots) and bitch and whine about how the media hates you, but really Charlie, it's just the fact that the majority of this country isn't as stupid as you and your ilk are.
I am starting to think that what also bothers you is how efficient the Tories are compared to your crew. They got 38 percent of the vote, but 46 percent of the seats. And while you got 18 percent of the vote, you only got 12 percent of the seats. It must bug you Jack, that the Tories are competitive virtually everywhere in the country except in two cities, while you are really competitive only in the poverty pockets. I can see it with my own eyes Jack. I travel through one of those pockets every day. Your representative there is hardly ever there. And he doesn't need to be. A monkey could win that riding representing the NDP. It's dirt poor and safe. If this country was poor as you pretend it is, your vote would be far more efficient. But it's primarily a middle class country and that's why your party is just a rump, a protest movement.
Hey Charlie, it won't be a primarily middle class country for much longer under the corporate tag-team of the Liberals and the Conservatives. But you do have a solid lock on the STUPIDEST THIRTY PERCENT of the electorate. Keep crowing about that Charlie. There's your fucking radio audience. There's your dupes, there's your meal ticket. But I can't get too mad at you Charlie. You're obviously one of them. They're your people, ... if the quality of this screed of yours is any indication of your general mental ability. Oh, and your gratuitous remarks about this unidentified NDP MP? Shove 'em up your fat ass. As if the CPC doesn't have idiot time-servers.
You talk about Canada adopting a different system of government like those mature democracies. Now the most mature Democracy in Europe is the United Kingdom. Guess where we got our system from, Jack. Remember it was the Queen’s representative in Canada - who in your fantasies - was going to go along with your crackerjack of a coalition. The Queen's representative. We have the same system as Europe's most mature democracy.
Yes Charlie. We got our system from the UK. Guess what dimwit? They have coalitions too from time-to-time. And, no --- they don't have to run as coalitions. They just don't. That's just the way it is you ignoramus.
Now I am going to submit to you Jack that the most important aspect of any demoracy is the maturity of its leaders. Maturity, meaning adult, meaning being able to handle the truth responsibly. I am going to ask you to be mature and please accept what I’m about to tell you like an adul
Okay, Charlie; let's hear it:
The biggest democracy in that Mature Continent called Europe is Germany.
Um, okay. Germany is the biggest democracy in Europe ...

Know why Germany has a democracy? Because Canadian soldiers gave their lives to liberate Germany from a man who was willing to turn them all into slaves. I'm always reminding you that good, decent Canadians in this country tell me that if it wasn't for what Canada and its allies did, Germany would have stayed a dictatorship for a thousand years or longer and who knows what kind of damage would have been done to its people and people all over the world. So Jack, I want you to take this like a man. Canada isn't just a wonderful democracy with no need for your scams and schemes and coalition dreams. Canada is actually one of the reasons why great big countries like Germany have a democracy.
Oh dear. Folks, I'm afraid we're going to have to call it a night. Mr. Adler's having one of his fits again. Babbling irrelevant nonsense. Oh my god! Somebody get him down from there!!!

Show a little pride Jack in what this country represents to other countries before you start down this road of how we should be like those others. Jack, you also talk so fondly of what the Americans have just done in putting Obama into power. Jack, if you look closely at what Obama stands for you'll find out he is way to the right of you. Whether its economics like free trade, social issues like gay marriage, foreign policy issues like the support of Israel - Obama is far closer to Stephen Harper than he is to you. And Jack, before you go too far down that road of envy, how much media do you think you’d get by being the leader of a third or fourth party in the U.S.?
Why don't you ask Ralph Nader or Bob Barr how much media attention they got in the final three months of their election campaign? Bob Who you ask? In the U.S. - you would be Jack Who.
Now he's not even talking about the coalition! He's just opening his bathrobe and clucking like a chicken. I'm sorry you had to see this ....

One final thing Jack, while you're thinking of hopefully abandoning this rhetoric about those mature democracies who are better than we are or the American democracy that is supposedly smarter than we are, change change change, please stop embarrassing yourself in trying to delegitamize the
Conservative victory by saying that 62 percent voted for change. Keep doing that and somebody is bound to look at how few points you put on the board in your own riding. Even though none of your opponents had anywhere near the kind of media attention that you have had, even though not one of them is a house hold name, their coalition vote - if you will – would beat you. You got 20 thousand votes in Toronto Danforth. But the coalition vote total of your opponents came out to 25 thousand. Twenty-five thousand for them. Twenty thousand for you. Did the people of your riding vote for getting rid of you, Jack? Were they voting for change? Hey, I could run the numbers up the flag pole in your lovely wife's riding. But I don't want to make this too personal, nor too cruel. I think you get the point Jack.
Oh wait, ... he's climbing down off the table. I think he's trying to return to the subject. Yes, you're right Mr. Adler, we have a first-past-the- post electoral system. And if Jack Layton had less votes than the combined votes of his opponents. If he had to stand in a Parliament representing only Toronto Danforth, he'd have to appease one or two of his rivals or they'd combine their votes and supplant him. But that doesn't happen in our system you moron, so it's entirely irrelevant. And for the record: Jack Layton's done more to respect the differences among his constituents than harpo's done for the vast majority of Canadians smart enough not to vote for the lying sack of shit. That's why harpo only wins minority governments. Most Canadians are smart enough not to trust him.
The moral of this story Jack is simple.
JESUS CHRIST!!!! I thought you said you were finishing!!! Dammit!! Sigh. Alright Charlie, ... continue ...
The system you are attacking
Um, Charlie. You're the one attacking our system of government. Not Jack. But do go on ...
...actually works really well for you and your wife and other members of your party which don't sell change at all, or hope for that matter. You sell hopelessness. You run the country down, by riding the backs of those who are down and out and ultimately only your core support comes from those who are down and out and feeling rather hopeless. Change isn't what they are voting for, Jack. Unfortunately, they are the ones who have given up on change and you are just moving in to take advantage, just like you moved into Stephane Dion's life once he was out of luck and hope and money. Yes, the system works well for you Jack and so does this country that affords a minority party like yours far more media attention and money than most marginals get in other parts of the world.
Why you graceless piece of shit. You disgusting excuse for a human being. You revolting lousy vermin. I'm not even going to condescend to debate with that. Fuck you.
Jack, by now I hope you understand
What? That Charles Adler is an old fool who doesn't understand how his own country's political system works? A jabbering moron jingoist who thinks a coalition government is spitting on World War II veterans? A loathsome hypocrite and elitist prick masquerading as a populist for all the mouth-breathing electoral cannon-fodder of the right-wing?
that the reason why the coalition scam didn't work is precisely because we are a mature democracy. And finally Jack, I want you to know that the reason things are the way they are for you - and you are on the outside looking in with your coalition idea - is because this is a mature democracy. Mature decisions have been made by people with more maturity than you currently possess. Canada is a Mature democracy and despite all the kicks it gets from you and your friends in low places, not all of them at the CBC, this is a great country where changes do happen for those who don't spend most of their lives running down the country they love and its institutions they respect, like their military, their mounties and their National Anthem. Call us crazy if you want to, Jack. We love our country just the way it is. And, if we don't have a system that makes it easy for you to have a seat at the cabinet table, well, we'll just have to suck it up and live with it. That's what mature people do in a democracy called Canada.
Now THAT is funny!! Mature? The party of Stockwell Day and Peter MacKay mature?? The party with the leader who launches frivolous lawsuits like the Cadman bribery tapes and then caves in before going to trial because it was all a stunt and a waste of taxpayers' money. harpo not showing up for the unveiling of his predecessor and colleague Joe Clark's official portrait is mature? harpo's manual for committee chairs to obstruct official business is mature? harpo's calling critics of Israel's wars of aggression and barbarism in Lebanon and Gaza "anti-Semites" is mature? The buffoonery at the hearings on the "in-out" campaign financing scandal is mature? --- joking about food poisoning deaths at a press conference is maturity? Violating your own fixed-election law to avoid facing the electorate during the 2009 recession is mature? Playing a game of political "chicken" two weeks into a new parliament to try to force another election is "mature"? One could go on and on. The fact of the matter is that there isn't a bigger group of immature, monkey-brained stupid crooks in all of Canada than the party of harpo.

Adler's braindead fans are all swooning. Congratulating him for "telling it like it is." The fact that he's telling it like it ain't has as little merit as the non-existence of bush II's weapons of mass destruction or the fraudulent nature of harpo's claims of tape-doctoring or the lies behind Flaherty's claims that he understands how the economy works.

These people are morons who fuck-up everything they do and say.

Somebody else already beat me to it. Dare to compare!!!

The Economic Crisis in Asia

Just in case you're wondering what's happening there.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Technologies of Domination and Resistance

Fuck, what can I say. In the late-18th and the 19th Centuries, the weaponry available to the masses in Europe was roughly similar to what the rulers had. In the late-18th Century for instance, sea-faring pirates could often go up against the most powerful military technology and occasionally prevail.

Today, we're simply out-gunned. On top of that, governments are developing ever more insidious and comprehensive surveillance technologies, which combined with propaganda (justifying the dismantling of hard-won civil, legal and political rights), much larger police and military forces, and sophisticated techniques of torture and mind-control, are making organized resistance increasingly difficult.

What's needed is a peaceful, gigantic mass-movement, united behind winning increased power with the present half-assed democratic system we have now. Something so big that the loss of a few leaders to the torture-chambers is inconsequential. Something so big, but so justifiable that refusing it will tear the mask of off capitalist democracy and usher in its complete loss of credibility.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Yeah, ... had this bad head cold for a week and a half, and it wasn't getting better. Worse in fact. Some kinda bacterial infection, hence the antibiotics.

Gonna start working on a public presentation, maybe a slide-show, about the roots of the economic crisis and how ordinary people are going to have to protect themselves from it and make sure it doesn't happen again.

I suggest to all the genuinely progressive folks out there who read this blog (I'd assume there's about 10-20 of you) to sit down and think of something to tell your own communities. The total collapse of the international capitalist economy isn't just a "great opportunity" for the left to make their claims, it's actually a moral necessity (if you'll allow me the phrase).

ETA: Yeah, and we should make our presentations for the off-line world. Put up posters and get local community groups involved. If the public responds to this crisis according to what they read in the mainstream media, we're all fucked.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bad Head Cold

What can we say? It looks bad.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Inverted Totalitarianism"

You can check out parts I & II if'n you'd like. Today, a look at the concept "Inverted Totalitarianism" mentioned in Part I.

Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism and the Constitution while cynically manipulating internal levers to subvert and thwart democratic institutions. Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens, but they must raise staggering amounts of corporate funds to compete. They are beholden to armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington or state capitals who write the legislation. A corporate media controls nearly everything we read, watch or hear and imposes a bland uniformity of opinion or diverts us with trivia and celebrity gossip. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. "Under invertedtotalitarianism the reverse is true," Wolin writes. "Economics dominates politics-and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness."
Chalmers Johnson first introduced me to this via a review of his former teacher, Sheldon S. Wolin's book Inverted Totalitarianism. (I'll provide some snippets from the review, but it has been difficult to decide what is only essential in it for here.)

To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: "inverted totalitarianism," a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on "private media" than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison -- 751 per 100,000 people -- of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has "emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions."

The genius of our inverted totalitarian system "lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion in the status and stature of the 'sovereign people' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of 'popularizing' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed."

Sounds like a pretty accurate portrait of the times we're living in. Naomi Klein provides a case-study in advanced "Inverted Totalitarianism," the new China, where the laws of capitalist supply and demand provide some rationality to a monstrous system and where the principles of equality and economic rights have fallen by the wayside. This new system, where the rulers of a one-party state grow rich from controlling access to China's resources to capitalist partners, and where spectacle is used to divert criticism, and where criticism is met with harsh punishments, was showcased at the Beijing Olympics:

The games have been billed as China's "coming out party" to the world. They are far more significant than that. These Olympics are the coming out party for a disturbingly efficient way of organizing society, one that China has perfected over the past three decades, and is finally ready
to show off. It is a potent hybrid of the most powerful political tools of authoritarianism communism -- central planning, merciless repression, constant surveillance -- harnessed to advance the goals of global capitalism. Some call it "authoritarian capitalism," others "market Stalinism," personally I prefer "McCommunism."


The goal of all this central planning and spying is not to celebrate the glories of Communism, regardless of what China's governing party calls itself. It is to create the ultimate consumer cocoon for Visa cards, Adidas sneakers, China Mobile cell phones, McDonald's happy meals, Tsingtao beer, and UPS delivery -- to name just a few of the official Olympic sponsors. But the hottest new market of all is the surveillance itself. Unlike the police states of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, China has built a Police State 2.0, an entirely for-profit affair that is the latest frontier for
the global Disaster Capitalism Complex.


It's easy to see the dangers of a high tech surveillance state in far off China, since the consequences for people like Jun are so severe. It's harder to see the dangers when these same technologies creep into every day life closer to home-networked cameras on U.S. city streets, "fast lane" biometric cards at airports, dragnet surveillance of email and phone calls. But for the global homeland security sector, China is more than a market; it is also a showroom. In Beijing, where state power is absolute and civil liberties non-existent, American-made surveillance technologies can be taken to
absolute limits.

I'll provide a quibble on Wolin's thesis. The statement (from someone else's summary) that "economics dominates politics" isn't entirely true. Capitalist economic theory is used as a rationalization of the domination of an invariably corrupt elite. Their economic theories sometimes fail to adequately defend this corruption and incompetence (the situation we're in now) and that's why the tools of totalitarianism are brought out.(I guess this'll do for now. I'll add some shit about the technologies of domination and resistance later.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Commentary on Yesterday's Article

Hey Scott! Here you go! (I was thinking that I'd be too busy to fulfill my desire to add commentary today, but what dee hell ...)

As far as the extent of this crisis goes, ...
Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will never have the standard of living we had. And poverty and despair will sweep across the landscape like a plague. This is the bleak future. There is nothing President Obama can do to stop it. It has been decades in the making. It cannot be undone with a trillion or two trillion dollars in bailout money. Our empire is dying. Our economy has collapsed.

It's possible. I first got interested in political-economy in 1993 and as the weakness and insanity of the world economy became clear to me I was always predicting collapse just around the corner. After two or three false prophecies, I decided that I underestimated the sources of strength of the capitalist economy and that I should be more circumspect. (The difference between my thinking on the capitalist economy and Rush Limbaugh on Obama's economic policies is that I don't "hope" the capitalist economy fails, I just expect it to, whereas Limbaugh "hopes" Obama fails because it will validate his beliefs.) So, now they're saying that this is going to be the big one. That this is the one where the bottom is a long way down. Paul Krugman even described the numbers for the USA and world economy as "terrifying." It's plausible.

My beliefs about the world economy is that the long-term story has been one of decline. Whatever would have happened without it, World War I caused an enormous shock to the capitalist world economy. The United States (already a leading economy) became a powerful creditor nation and was forced to prop up the bankrupted nations of Europe. Inexperience and indifference to the role of world leader caused the USA to retreat from its responsibilities and dabble in financial speculation and the crushing of the working class consumer base which brought on the Great Depression. The Great Depression of the 1930s discredited generally unregulated capitalism (I hesitate to call it "free-market" capitalism) and forward thinking politicians, economists and intellectuals agreed to allow increased public sector activism, trade unionization and income-maintenance programs to save the system from itself.

The viability of this option was first tested during WW II to rave reviews. Its application in the post-1945 era proved a resounding success until the contradictions of profit maximization and social welfare became too great to paper over and the unsustainable system of the United States as perpetual patron of Europe and Japan unravelled. The 1970s was a crisis of conflicting demands between labour, capital and the global South with capital coming out the winner politically. The 1980s was a period of neoliberalism, involving the elimination of profit-limiting regulations and trade union powers. The 1990s was the era of globalization, wherein the remnants of the social welfare states were avoided as corporations became mobile, setting up shop wherever regulatory and labour standards were the lowest, creating a "race to the bottom" in material living standards.

Throughout this period, "developed" country capitalism engaged in "financialization" wherein the difficult process of building tangible things and selling them was rejected in favour of "investing" in stocks, bonds and derivatives that had a negligable (if any) connection to the economy of real things. All the while, the populations of the developed countries were to maintain their function as consumers of real things (now produced elsewhere) and they were to do this by utilizing debt (referred to nowadays as "credit") which made up for their lost wages. Their maintenance of their living standards was assisted by the fact that, thanks to neoliberalism and globalization, many of the necessities of everyday life were cheaper.

So, of course I found this system unsustainable. But I neglected to look at how this extra profit and this "alchemy of finance" and this debt-fueled growth could provide opportunities for some that would allow the system to persist for years and years. Now though, the overhang of capital that cannot find profitable investment opportunities as met the ruinous burden of over-extended consumers to produce the calamity now upon us.

That's it for today!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"It's Not Going to be Okay"

From Chris Hedges at Common Dreams: "It's Not Going to be Okay" ... another gripping look at the possible extent and significance of this current economic crisis.
At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real. Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will never have the standard of living we had. And poverty and despair will sweep across the landscape like a plague. This is the bleak future. There is nothing President Obama can do to stop it. It has been decades in the making. It cannot be undone with a trillion or two trillion dollars in bailout money. Our empire is dying. Our economy has collapsed.
How will we cope with our decline? Will we cling to the absurd dreams of a superpower and a glorious tomorrow or will we responsibly face our stark new limitations? Will we heed those who are sober and rational, those who speak of a new simplicity and humility, or will we follow the demagogues and charlatans who rise up out of the slime in moments of crisis to offer fantastic visions? Will we radically transform our system to one that protects the ordinary citizen and fosters the common good, that defies the corporate state, or will we employ the brutality and technology of our internal security and surveillance apparatus to crush all dissent? We won't have to wait long to find out.

Let's talk about "Inverted Totalitarianism"
Wolin, who taught political philosophy at the University of California in Berkeley and at Princeton, in his book "Democracy Incorporated" uses the phrase inverted totalitarianism to describe our system of power. Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism and the Constitution while cynically manipulating internal levers to subvert and thwart democratic institutions. Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens, but they must raise staggering amounts of corporate funds to compete. They are beholden to armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington or state capitals who write the legislation. A corporate media controls nearly everything we read, watch or hear and imposes a bland uniformity of opinion or diverts us with trivia and celebrity gossip. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. "Under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true," Wolin writes. "Economics dominates politics-and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness."

How will capitalist totalitarianism respond?

Wolin argues that a failure to dismantle our vast and overextended imperial projects, coupled with the economic collapse, is likely to result in inverted totalitarianism. He said that without "radical and
drastic remedies" the response to mounting discontent and social unrest will probably lead to greater state control and repression. There will be, he warned, a huge "expansion of government power."
"Our political culture has remained unhelpful in fostering a democratic consciousness," he said. "The political system and its operatives will not be constrained by popular discontent or uprisings."


"My greatest fear is that the Obama administration will achieve relatively little in terms of structural change," he added. "They may at best keep the system going. But there is a growing pessimism. Every day we hear how much longer the recession will continue. They are already talking about beyond next year. The economic difficulties are more profound than we had guessed and because of globalization more difficult to deal with. I wish the political establishment, the parties and leadership, would become more aware of the depths of the problem. They can't keep throwing money at this. They have to begin structural changes that involve a very different approach from a market economy. I don't think this will happen."


The American left, he said, has crumbled. It sold out to a bankrupt Democratic Party, abandoned the working class and has no ability to organize. Unions are a spent force. The universities are mills for corporate employees. The press churns out info-entertainment or fatuous pundits. The left, he said, no longer has the capacity to be a counterweight to the corporate state. He said that if an extreme right gains momentum there will probably be very little organized resistance.

My commentary to follow.