Thursday, 31 May 2012

Christopher Hitchens: on Britain's favourite fetish

I love the new design for the Kindle version of the late Christopher Hitchens's republican polemic.

An excellent market would be poster sized versions of it in time for the jubilee.

It impacts me with severity that the Hitch isn't here to write and speak about his reactions to the mass, nauseating North Koran-style hysteria that will reach a crescendo in only days time.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Colin Powell's sick joke

In an interview with Time magazine, former U.S. Secretary of State of the George W. Bush administration Colin Powell ended the 'Ten Questions' interview with the following exchange:

Post-Iraq invasion, have you made amends with the Pottery Barn? 

It was a newspaperman who first used the phrase Pottery Barn rule to describe the "You break it, you own it" doctrine, to me. To be clear: the Pottery Barn does not have such a rule. 

Feel free to go in there and break anything.

Go break whatever you want. You don't have to pay for it. I didn't say that. 

In the light of Powell being the diplomat who insisted voraciously of the impending existential threat of non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which the Bush administration used to justify an invasion that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, and the permanent maiming, displacement and traumatization of millions more, isn't Powell's casual equation with broken pottery and the mass catastrophe and suffering within the country he played a major role in coordinating a little bit perversely appalling?

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Conservative Party campaigning with more honesty.

Here are the Tory Party's campaign posters in the UK from the 2010 general election if they were more transparent, perhaps in the style of the character Nada's first person in the John Carpenter film They Live. I think they speak for themselves.

Ian Duncan Smith himself used the terms "cleansing" in denying thousands of vulnerable people the welfare they need to live decent and dignified existence, and "festering" in to refer to disability activists opposing him, and those with disabilities at Remploy made unemployed by his astounding efforts in barbarity. 1,100 is only a rough, recent estimate of those who have committed suicide due to having their benefits withdrawn (with the majority unsurprisingly suffering from mental health issues already). How many more will be killed, in what we can view as manslaughter by proxy, by the further welfare cuts that David Cameron has ordered? 

Cameron has indicated his own commitment to turn the National Health Service into a fantastic businesses, with corporations such as Virgin and Serco claiming the spoils of dismantled universal healthcare.

It is beyond me why there is no mass public outrage as this government's inconsolable ideological cruelty, corruption and pathological fascism.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Gary Johnson and the 2012 U.S. presidential race

Gary Johnson
 Image by Gage Skidmore

Texas Congressman Ron Paul's following is one that eclipses political campaigning. It is something of a memeology. Then again, the enthusiasm Barack Obama in his original presidential run was easily comparable (though with it did not come a deluge of internet ubiquity).

The essential importance of Ron Paul in the political arena has always been as a voice taking an enlightened stand on issues where the majority of the establishment would not fray. Whether this be on U.S. foreign policy, corporatism, domestic civil liberties or drug prohibition. Noam Chomsky for example has always defended his objective stance on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, which in a Republican Party debate brought him nothing but derision. Of course, I agree with Noam Chomsky far more than Ron Paul on issues in general. As I do with Ralph Nader, who debated such differences with Paul (such as on provision healthcare) amicably. But in that debate their focus was on the converse agreements. Those are the debates really worth having: ones of definite significance. Not just slight variations of narratives within oligarchical corporatocracy (which Chomsky, it is important to note, would not define as a free-market economic system) and imperialistic militarism. There is somebody who I agree with much more than Ron Paul however; former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, who is the 2012 presidential nominee of the U.S. Libertarian Party. Unlike Ron Paul, he is a consistent advocate of individual freedom: in aspects such as LGBT civil rights, and abortion rights for women.

Of course, President Obama should be commended for supporting the right of same-sex couples to marry, following the lead of Vice President Biden. But if only the Vice President could voice objection to drone strikes, detention without trial, complacency to police statism and human rights abuses, suppression of Palestinian self-determination, arms trading to the Bahraini regime, and persecution of medical marijuana users.

Gary Johnson could play a major role in the November presidential election: if he polls at 15%, which would especially be a possibility if he was endorsed officially by Ron Paul (who will probably not defeat Mitt Romney), he could be featured in the presidential debates with Obama, and presumably, Romney. The essential importance of people like Paul and Johnson are their stances that enlighten where the mainstream will not tread for fear of violation of monopolistic power narratives. They attack it as extremism, or perhaps "kookiness". Rather, it is an intellectual challenge outside the prism of their own rhetorical homogeneity.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Austerity as ideology

The always lucid and excellent Paul Krugman comprehensively dismantles the brand of economic illiteracy practiced by the Cameron government in the UK, in a way that applies throughout continental Europe, and to the doctrine also now perused by the Republican Party in the United States: it is self-defeating. But in what way is it self-defeating? It is destructive in numerous ways: in its deprivation to human development, its dismantling of social mobility, and its priority of cost saving ahead of public welfare, the more important result of which are moral and ethical atrocities which are in many ways unspeakable (see the withdrawal of benefits from the disabled or legal protection from domestic violence victims).

As we all know, the primary cause of the increase in external deficits has been the financial crisis that began in 2008, which was the consequence of the greed, incompetence and criminality of an elite in multinational corporate and financial power. The just, and indeed productive response, would be the totally restructuring of public finance following the liquidation of these institutions, and a substantive, fundamental address to the issues of wealth inequality. This would ensure immense deficit reduction (rather than austerity's long-term inflation of debt as the consequence of increased borrowing costs to avert increasing stagnation). But most importantly, it would entail investment in the public infrastructure, education, healthcare and welfare for the poor that would provide a decent and alleviated human condition for entire populations.

Austerity's ideological and vested interests believe otherwise. It represents socioeconomic catastrophe and illiteracy: if the benevolence and literacy preferred is in fact basic human dignity and well being. In serving to reinforce the failed neoliberal power hierarchies by conserving its inherently amoral and obscurantist conservation of wealth at absolutely any expense to the human condition for a hypothetical infinitude, it will be a success if those aware ever eventually submit to deception and violence and let it be.