Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Subsidies for the Reality-Impaired

So Bush quietly signed a new law yesterday morning essentially bailing out about 400,000 or so mortgage borrowers and, to some degree, the unscrupulous lenders drunk on fiat credit who made the mortgages. How will this be done? Why, by creating even more fiat credit, of course (boldface is mine for emphasis):
The measure includes $300 billion in new loan authority for the government to back cheaper mortgages for troubled homeowners; $3.9 billion for communities to fix up foreclosed properties causing blight in neighborhoods; and $15 billion in tax cuts, including an expanded low-income housing tax credit and a credit of up to $7,500, to be repaid, for some first-time home buyers.

The number of homeowners who could lose their homes to foreclosure by the end of 2009 is estimated by some to be around 2.8 million. Under the legislation, 400,000 having trouble with payments could avoid it by trading their loans for new, more affordable mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration.

So the Federal government is insuring even more mortgages and refinancing others at cheaper rates, and "providing" various other assorted goodies in order to save the financially imprudent, such as cleaning up the mess resulting from their foolishness, all off of the backs of people who actually try to save a portion of what they produce for future investments they can afford. That is, it's inflating yet some more and robbing the rest of us blind.

Of course, intervening in order to prevent people from experiencing the natural consequences of indulging in wishful thinking--instead of engaging in such reality-based activities as saving and spending only within one's means--has long been a U.S. government tradition.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Alan Moore on Anarchy

I recently blogged a little on the newest Batman film, The Dark Knight, and I mentioned the Joker's misapprehension of the term "anarchy" in that film.

That has brought to mind the very talented comics writer and novelist Alan Moore, author of Batman: The Killing Joke, Watchmen (soon to be a major motion picture, as they say), V for Vendetta, From Hell and Top 10, as well as the novel Voice of the Fire. Moore is a self-proclaimed anarchist.

Moore discusses the concept of anarchy--which he calls a "romance" and "the only morally sensible way to run the world"--in the clip below (at about 2:18 or so), and its application to V for Vendetta.

What I find remarkable is that this clip was broadcast in England by the BBC. Hell would probably freeze over before any broadcasting company here in America, the "Land of the Free," would ever allow an intelligent proponent of anarchy to calmly and rationally present his or her case for a rulerless society.



Moore further elaborates on his thoughts and ideas pertaining to anarchy in this 2007 interview posted by Infoshop News.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The TSA: Keeping America Safe From Nipple Rings, Old Men In Wheelchairs and Other Grave Threats To National Security

This latest news on the Transportation Security Administration's valiant efforts to keep us all safe and protected from the Islamo-Fascist Terror Menace comes to us by way of Manuel Lora at Lew Rockwell's blog:
For arguing with a TSA agent, Robin Kassner wound up being slammed to the floor. She's filed a lawsuit.

"I kept begging them over and over again get off of me...and they wouldn't stop," Kassner said.

And it wasn't enough for another woman to show TSA agents nipple rings that set off a metal detector. The agents forced her to take them out.

Mandi Hamlin said, "I had to get pliers and pull it apart."

In Chicago, people like Robert Perry are subjected to exhaustive security checks. He was patted down, his wheel chair was examined and his hands were swabbed, all in public view in a see-through room at the security checkpoint. Perry, 71, is not alone.

"It's humiliation," Perry said.

Perry was also taken to a see-through room by a TSA agent when his artificial knee set off the metal detector.

"He yelled at me to get the belt off. 'I told you to get the belt off.' So I took the belt off. He ran his hands down over and pulled the pants down, they went down around my ankle," Perry said.

At that point, Perry was standing in his underwear in public view. He asked to see a supervisor. That made things worse.

"She was yelling 'I have power, I have power, I have power," Perry said. The power to stop him from flying to Florida with his wife that day to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

"It makes you feel like you have no rights," Perry said.
Yes, Mr. Perry, that's exactly how you're supposed to feel: like you have no rights. That's the point of all such harassment by government bullies intoxicated with the elixir of Authority. The fact of the matter, however, is that you do have rights, by virtue of the fact that you are a human being. A TSA bullycrat violated those rights by stripping you in full view of other travelers, publicly humiliating you and making you feel like some sub-human freak, reveling in the glory of her power over you as she did it.
Carlos Villarreal, former director of security for the Sears Tower, said proper training is crucial. "When you're wanding somebody and you can identify which part of the body set of the alarm, that should be sufficient to clear a person," Villarreal said.

But all too often, it's not enough for 16-year old Michael Angone. She frequently flies as a member of the Chicago Children's Choir.

"I've had to completely take my pants off and show them like my entire leg," Angone said.

As a baby, Angone was diagnosed with cancer. Her parents, both Chicago police officers, had to have her leg amputated. She said she always warns TSA security agents that her prosthetic leg will set off the metal detector, but many insist on doing an embarrassing full body pat-down.

"I feel like I'm being felt up in public," Angone said.

Her father Bob Angone wanted to know, "What's the reason for all the feeling up, you know the groping at the back of the neck, the chest, underneath the bra, all the groping on her body, her buttocks?"

CBS 2 News asked the TSA those questions, but got no answers.
Of course they got no answers, and most likely they won't. If they get any response at all, it will most likely be some kind of non-sequiturish bullshit. You know, something like this:
A spokesman said that out of 2 billion passengers screened nationwide since 9-11, there have been only 110,000 abuse complaints.
That should certainly make Robert Perry, Michael Angone, Robin Kassner, Mandi Hamlin, and 109,996 other people feel a whole lot better for having been molested and/or assaulted by the petty tyrants of the TSA: Hey, there's only been 110,000 of you who have complained. Come on, kwitcherbitchin'!

And it looks like the fun in only just beginning:
The TSA declined to comment on the Angone and Perry cases, but the agency has announced that soon, passengers who set off an alarm that cannot be resolved will have a choice: Agree to a physical pat-down or what some believe is an even worse invasion of privacy.

This fall, O'Hare International Airport will get its first advanced digital x-ray machine. It allows TSA agents to see through clothes and discover any hidden weapons. Critics have likened it to a virtual strip search.
Are you feeling safer yet? Well, I know I am. I'm going to be sleeping a whole lot easier knowing that many more 70-year-old men with artificial knees, teenaged girls with prosthetic legs, young women with nipple rings and anyone who dares question the holy, sanctified Authority of TSA agents will be scanned by an X-ray device. Whatever concerns there may be that this is simply a legalized means of physical molestation by which any of these public servants may be getting some kind of perverse jolly or the simple ego rush of a power trip must be swept aside for the sake of protecting this great land of liberty from the greater evil that seeks to vanquish us.

I mean, who knows what these people might be attempting to carry onto an airplane??? Besides nipple rings and prosthetic knees and legs, of course. Why, these people could even be Islamo-Fascist jihadists in disguise!!!

And you don't want the Islamo-Fascists to win, do you?

(Cross-posted at the Strike-The-Root blog.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Party of Misguided Principles

With "Libertarians" like this, who needs statists?

Monday, July 21, 2008

'The Dark Knight' vs. Terror and Chaos

My wife and I went out with some friends over the weekend to see the new Batman flick, The Dark Knight. I’d been looking forward to seeing this film for a long time. While Batman Begins was not without its flaws (and neither is Dark Knight), I found director Christopher Nolan’s treatment of the DC Comics hero a vast improvement over the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher flicks of the late ‘80s-mid ‘90s. Those movies tried to maintain a balancing act between noir thriller and campiness (ultimately tilting embarassingly to the latter), while Nolan stayed consistently noirish with Begins, making to my mind a far more satisfying Batman thriller. Nolan maintains that approach with Dark Knight to spectacular results.

Now, before I go on, please be advised that while I will not be going into great detail about this film, you may still want to bail out now if you don’t want to know too much before going into the theater. And if you do stop here, I can tell you that Dark Knight is probably one of the best comic book adaptations to have ever appeared on the big screen and is a fully satisfying action thriller, so if those are qualities that appeal to your moviegoing sensibilities, you should definitely go see it.

Now, some market anarchists, agorists and mutualists may take issue with the Joker’s use of the term “anarchy” to describe his raison d’etre in one scene, as it plays to the old canard that anarchy is chaos, destruction and disorder, but to my mind this would be a minor quibble with the film. After all, like it or not, that is the popular conception of anarchy, as misguided and misinformed as it may be. But most importantly, keep in mind that it’s the film’s lying, murdering sociopath who is using the term in that way, which doesn’t exactly prove the popular theory that anarchy = chaos, especially considering the flawed premises of the Joker’s nihilistic philosophy and social analysis as he articulates it throughout the film. If his reasoning is so faulty, as it is clearly demonstrated that it is, then why should audiences accept at face value that his usage of the term “anarchy” is correct? (Those of us who know better, of course, are aware that anarchy, properly understood within the context of political economy, means “without a ruler,” not “without rules,” as the Joker implies by his usage of the word.)

What may be most tantalizing for many libertarians and anarchists of varying stripes is the depiction of Gotham City’s government as being consistently impotent in the face of the Joker’s reign of terror. Some government police are even complicit on one occasion. And there seems to be a pervasive attitude among Gotham police officers that rules are made to be broken in pursuit of their own ends. There are even a couple of scenes in which city bureaucrats fall into the same false moral universe as the one inhabited by the Joker himself. In fact, one of the major characters who falls headfirst into that false morality and straight into the abyss is one of the city’s top government officials. And in one plot twist, Gotham’s government police are easily manipulated by the Joker’s deception into very nearly taking a large number of innocent human lives, which is prevented only by the intervention of that heroic vigilante, the Batman, after he receives the necessary information to assess the actual reality of the situation.

But there’s a huge question begged by this film. Early on, crusading Gotham D.A. Harvey Dent declares that everyone in Gotham City is somewhat responsible for the massive crime wave that befell it prior to the Batman’s career as its self-anointed guardian. Later on, many of the city’s inhabitants, tricked into participating in the kind of perverse thought experiment that only the Joker could have dreamed up, show themselves capable of choosing the virtuous--one of the movie’s most riveting and rewarding scenes. So if it’s the case that a.) Gotham’s state of affairs is the responsibility of the people who live and work there and that b.) those same people are capable of sound moral choices, then why do they all assume that their only alternatives for improving their lot is the local government, Batman, or some combination thereof? Couldn’t Gotham City’s private residents take it upon themselves to protect their own lives and property? Or does Gotham have strict gun control laws that prevent them from doing that? If it does, perhaps the good people of that troubled city should demand that they be repealed so that they can rely on themselves for their own protection, rather than expect the cops or a guy in a bat suit to do it for them. Interestingly, my own city of Chicago, which doubled as Gotham City in both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, is currently debating that very proposition. (Though we don’t have the option of a crusading crimefighter in a bat suit, obviously.)

Overall, this movie is a highly entertaining action flick that should hold much appeal for the comic book geek within. The late Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker should go down in cinematic history as one of the all-time great movie villains. Frankly, his Joker is an acting lesson in how the character should have been played the first time around. In stark contrast to Jack Nicholson’s over-the-top mania, mugging and scenery chewing, Ledger’s Joker calmly seethes throughout, saving the outbursts of mania for only those moments when the Joker is taking the most pleasure, which is when he is being the most morally abominable. Sadly, this underscores what great performances Ledger could have given in years to come after having evolved into such a fine and skilled actor.

Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhal, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are all rock solid as well, as is Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne. The impressive thing about this cast is that it’s clear none of them ever assume that their characters are any less complex than any other they’ve played in any other film just because this is a comic book flick. Each actor finds all the inner conflicts and complexity of the character he or she plays.

And though the movie’s 2½ hours may seem a bit daunting to some, it doesn’t waste a single moment. I can’t think of a single scene or line of dialogue that didn’t move the action or illuminate it in some way.

On a side note, I actually auditioned for a bit role in this movie when it was filming here in Chicago last year. It was interesting to see that the scene I read for actually made it to the final cut—and that the actor they cast in the role for which I auditioned was of a type that is absolutely nothing like me. That made me feel quite a bit better for not getting the job, but greatly perplexed as to why they auditioned me in the first place. Ah, well…

There’s a lot more I could say about this movie, but I don’t want to give too much away, so just go see it.

ADDENDUM: Jeffrey Tucker has just posted a terrific review of The Dark Knight over at the Mises Economics Blog.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

John Lennon On Peace & Revolution

"In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace. 38 years later, Jerry has produced a film about it. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin has woven a visual narrative which tenderly romances Lennon's every word in a cascading flood of multipronged animation. Raskin marries the terrifyingly genius pen work of James Braithwaite with masterful digital illustration by Alex Kurina, resulting in a spell-binding vessel for Lennon's boundless wit, and timeless message."


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Postmodern Tribune's Official Endorsement For President

All of us here at The Postmodern Tribune have debated long and hard as to whether or not to publish an official endorsement for the upcoming presidential election. Most of the staff agreed that it should be obvious to most of our readers by now as to whom we wish to see become the next commandant-in-chief of this United State.

However, after much discussion, debate and a bottle of our best scotch, we ultimately decided--in the interests of a final clarification lest our readers ever become confused and mistake any past or future criticism of one candidate for a de facto endorsement of another candidate--to go ahead and give The Postmodern Tribune's official stamp of approval to whom we feel is best qualified to govern you, your family, your neighbors, your community, your country:

NOBODY.

Nobody is best qualified to rule and lord over you, not to mention some 300 million or so other individuals in this country. Nobody carries the moral authority to make far-reaching decisions that will impact not only your life and the lives of your fellow Americans, but those of millions, nay, billions of other human beings around the globe.

Let's face it. A president is not just the political leader of the U.S., but of virtually the entire world. Every American president sees fit to spread the ideas of holy, virtuous democratic government to every country on Earth regardless of whether or not millions of individual human beings in those countries really want it or not, and no matter how many bombs, missiles and soldiers it takes to persuade them of the virtuous rationality of our wise and all-knowing managerial technocratic elites. Nobody has the necessary credentials to exercise such prerogatives.

Nobody possesses the all-pervasive wisdom necessary to decide who should be permitted to buy what from whom, anywhere on Earth.

Nobody possesses the legitimate right to exercise force in order to prohibit you from consuming certain substances with your own body.

Nobody carries the requisite moral authority to administer the U.S. government's vast apparatus of legalized theft, i.e., "taxation", that now plunders more than $2.5 trillion annually from working people, much of it before the money even reaches their pockets.

Furthermore, Nobody should be able to command the confidence of the people of this country to direct a vast network of domestic surveillance to spy and eavesdrop on them, including tracking and recording their personal phone calls and electronic communications at will.

Finally, Nobody is endowed with the requisite divine powers of an almighty god to decide who shall be allowed to live, and who must die.

That's why we here at The Postmodern Tribune proudly declare that Nobody should be the next president of this United State of America!

Unfortunately, Nobody is not an available choice on any ballot in any state. There are still many millions of Americans who insist that either a Democrat, a Republican, a Constitutionalist, a Libertarian (notice the capital "L"), a Green, or some other such member of an organized band of thieves (or would-be thieves) should be the next Chief Executive of Life On Earth, rather than simply choosing Nobody. Tragically, most of these people won't even remotely entertain for a single moment the notion of Nobody being a viable choice. You can, however, simply write in Nobody as your candidate.

Better yet, if you sincerely wish to vote for Nobody, you can simply stay home on Election Day, which is just as every bit as good as trekking down to your nearest polling station and actually slipping a marked ballot into a box or punching a button on a computer screen.

We here at The Postmodern Tribune are confident that in time, you will agree that our choice should be your choice, too:



(If you would like to buy a copy of the above as a bumper sticker for yourself, visit Fattees.com, where it's available for only a mere $2.50 with free shipping and handling! Fattees is also a purveyor of fine T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and hats with customized screenprinting, as well as other unique and interesting garments worn around the world. Tell them The Postmodern Tribune sent ya!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Famous Last Words?

I suspect that this is the best indicator yet that the financial shit has only just begun to hit the fan.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Iranian Non-Threat To All Human Civilization

So it turns out that the Iranian government digitally manipulated photos of a recent missile test to make themselves look like much bigger global badasses than they really are:
"Iran apparently doctored photographs of missile test-firings and exaggerated the capabilities of the weapons after one failed to fire, fooling the world's media and intelligence for at least a day.

"Iran on Wednesday test-fired nine missiles - including a Shahab-3 it said was capable of reaching Israel - angering the US amid fears that the standoff over the Islamic republic's contested nuclear drive could lead to war.

"Four missiles appear to take off from a desert launch pad in one image of the test published on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards website.

"But a similar image has emerged that shows one missile still in its launcher after apparently failing to fire.

"Analysts said that in the image apparently showing four missiles taking off, one of the projectiles was added using elements from the smoke trail and dust clouds from two of the other successfully launched missiles."

Well, what should one expect from any government? Every government wants people to believe that it is far more potent and powerful than it actually is. The only difference for the Iranian state is that it's pathetically clumsy when it comes to that kind of propaganda. According to Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute of Strategic Studies:
"This is typical of Iran to exaggerate the accomplishments of the missiles and its nuclear program.''
This begs a crucial question: Are these people really the threat to all human civilization that U.S. government bureaucrats want you to believe? Seriously. They're not even very good at Photoshop--they supposedly possess the potential to bring the entire Middle East to its knees?

The Iranian government test-fired a total of nine missiles last Wednesday, including a Shahab-3:
"The Shahab 3 is a update of the ageing North Korean No-dong missile, which is a close relative of the Soviet-era Scuds fired by Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War."
"A close relative of the Soviet-era Scuds"??? Anyone recall how well the Shahab's Scud cousins performed in the first (phase of the) Gulf war?

The idea that the Iranian government possesses the potential to overtake the entire Middle East should be the cause of much laughter if not for the fact that U.S. government officials--with both major party presidential candidates providing an echo chamber with minor differences in tonality--are once again manipulating facts and spreading outright misinformation in order to manufacture a pretext out of thin air for an all-out trade embargo against Iran (necessitating a U.S. Navy blockade of the Straits of Hormuz, which is ordinarily construed by any government as an act of war) and, eventually, a "pre-emptive" military strike on the Iranian people.

Never mind that the entire U.S. intelligence community itself has declared with "high confidence" that Iranian officials deserted their nuclear weapons program some five years ago. Do they continue to produce enriched uranium? According to U.S. intelligence, yes. Will they eventually have produced enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon? Again, according to U.S. intelligence, yes--by, oh, the next decade or so. Does this mean that it is a foregone conclusion that they will make a nuclear weapon at that time? No, not necessarily.

The Iranians say that they want a total of 7-10 nuclear reactors for civilian energy use. At a time when the price of uranium has been skyrocketing, Iran's domestic resources can allegedly supply enough enriched uranium for seven reactors for a period of fifteen years. As Muhammad Sahimi, an Iranian exile and professor of petroleum and chemical engineering at the University of Southern California, explains:
"It would be foolish not to go after a domestic uranium facility...given that, the price of enriched uranium, and the political obstacles and hindrance (Iran faces) if it decides to rely on outside suppliers."
In this market climate, it would make perfect sense for the Iranian government to sell Iranian oil in order to pay for a facility to enrich domestic uranium--uranium needed for perhaps up to ten nuclear reactors for energy. If the U.S. government is claiming that the Iranians will definitely divert some of that uranium to a weapons program at some future date, then the burden of proof is on Uncle Sam--which I don't see as possible unless U.S. bureaucrats have suddenly been endowed with the supernatural ability of seeing the future. Their previous track record as prophets has been less than stellar, to say the least.

If Uncle Sam is claiming that the Iranians are making nuclear weapons right now, then again, the burden of proof is on Uncle Sam--and Uncle has yet to prove his case.

Otherwise, such uranium enrichment is perfectly permissible for the Iranian government as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (in accordance with Article IV). Which, by the way, the Israeli government has not signed on to, and they very likely do have nuclear weapons--and they're applying the most external pressure on Washington to act against Iran in the name of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The only people to whom the Iranian government presents a very real and dangerous threat are the people of Iran. Iran's fundamentalist Islamist regime is indeed a very repressive and deadly one to the 65 million or so human beings who reside within the geographical territory over which it unjustly claims a monopoly of force and coercion, and I certainly hope that the Iranian people will some day cast their parasitic rulers off their backs--which is what I hope for everyone in every country in the world. If the Iranian people ever do, I hope that they don't merely trade one set of tyrants for another, such as in the political arrangement that the U.S. government has forced onto the Iraqi people in the midst of its aggressive occupation of that country.

In the meantime, one of the worst things the U.S. government could do for any dissidents and freedom fighters in Iran is to impose economy-crippling sanctions on that country, let alone the aggressive Naval blockade that is currently under consideration in the U.S. congress. Not only did more than an entire decade of sanctions against Iraq not facilitate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime, it left at least 170,000 Iraqi children dead. How likely is it that a repressed people will rise up against their dictatorial rulers if they have to struggle from day to day just to put bread on their tables for their children to eat?

The absolutely worst thing to do to a people struggling for freedom is to drop bombs and fire missiles on their heads. I assume that would strike most people as common sense, but the managerial elites in Washington are not most people. Like any government bureaucrats in any country, they can only see destruction as a viable course of action. The only kind of "liberation" they will ever promise is death.

The Iranians are talking tough and doing everything possible to appear tough, especially in the wake of George W. Bush's endless saber-rattling and the Israelis' recent dress rehearsal for war in the Mediterranean, hence the recent testing of their anachronistic North Korean, Soviet-style missiles. The recent Photoshop flap only underscores, however, that in the global neighborhood of nation-states, the Iranian government is nothing more than a gang of thug wanna-bes.

When the gangs who are really the biggest and baddest thugs on the block go after them for a rumble--and it's only a matter of time before they do--it isn't going to be a war.

It's going to be an atrocity.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Freedom From Little Boxes

Karen DeCoster appears to have unwittingly stumbled her way into Jeremy's Social Memory Complex.

Ms. DeCoster has recently taken to calling those who refer to themselves as "compactors, freecyclers, freegans, frugalists" such pleasant names as "bums/freeloaders/losers," terminology worthy of a high school homecoming queen annoyed by the common proles crowding her and her friends' favorite lunch table in the cafeteria.

While singing the praises of frugality, low time preferences and economizing of scarce resources, it appears that some methods for achieving these ends are more equal than others, at least according to Ms. DeCoster. In case you haven't guessed already, those methods enumerated by her own self are valid, while those of freecyclers and freegans are the ways of lunatic bums and losers:
"The dumpster divers are bums and losers who can't get up the ambition to seek out and establish a career or hold a stable job. People who don't want to work are bums - there is nothing 'frugal' about them. 'Freegan' is a kind word developed by the bums to try and soften the image of being a perpetually unemployed drifter living off of the scraps of others, and begging friends and family for a place to shack up. And the mainstream press is paying a lot of attention to these cranks, lately.

"The homeowners and employed people who practice the fine art of dumpster diving and curbside shopping (as described in the story) are a mystery to me. If one gets a thrill from such actions, one's life must be quite uninspiring and filled with a nasty sort of boredom. Those people are tragically hopeless, and, I'd say.......crazy."

I agree with Jeremy:
"I think it’s fucking awesome that people find ways to live without bosses, disposable income, and the general bullshit that goes along with mainstream society. That’s freedom!"
Oh, if only everyone could become a Certified Public Accountant, be so "necessary to capitalism" and get themselves a nice fat paycheck every week! Well, they could if they weren't such bums and losers.

As I'm sure Ms. DeCoster is aware, the economic system in which we all toil--whether we're paid employees of a business, self-employed independent contractors, or freecycling freegans (or some combination of all these)--is hardly a free market system. The many legal restrictions imposed by licensing requirements, various rules and regulations, so-called "safety" laws, etc., have created an economic landscape fraught with entry barriers for anyone seeking to establish a new business, thus limiting and narrowing opportunities for both employment and independent self-employment. This has resulted in a system of workers competing for jobs, rather than jobs competing for workers. In many cases, the available employers are not shy about playing their trump card and exercising as much control over their employees' lives as possible. After all, where the hell else are you going to go? Especially in times like these?

For those of us fortunate enough to be so graciously permitted to eke out a productive living in such a system, each of those little green bio-survival tickets issued by the regime's central bank is constantly losing value on a near daily basis, thus driving us deeper and deeper into a grind of working ever more hours just to pay the bills and keep roofs over our (and our families') heads. Perhaps I'm "just not aspiring to any particular way of life and not harboring ambitions geared toward success and achievement," but you know what? I say, screw that.

FUCK IT.

Freeganism and freecycling have for many people become something of a necessity in this day and economic age, especially if they don't want to completely fork over the only life they'll ever live to what is becoming more and more of a meatgrinder economic system that punishes "ambitions," that literally mocks many people's efforts for "success and achievement." It takes more and more hours in the factory/corporate grinder, more and more schooling and college degrees and resultant massive debt, more and more hours of your precious life sunk into a seemingly endless quagmire of work! work! work! just to earn enough of those increasingly worthless dollars to buy even quasi-quality shit, which is shit just the same. The houses get flimsier, the cars get junkier, the entertainment gets more vapid and mind-numbing, and all the while the grave calls nearer.

It that's your American Dream, you're more than welcome to it. Throw epithets and spitballs at those attempting to evolve their own alternative systems if you like, but from where I'm standing, "crazy" is looking more and more like a purely relative term.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

America: Fuck YEAH!!!









Wooooooo-hoooo!!!
We're Number One!!! We're Number One!!! We're Number One!!!

Courtesy of Anthony Gregory at the LRC blog, comes fantastic news!
"Americans are the world's top consumers of cannabis and cocaine despite punitive US drug laws, according to an international study published in the online scientific magazine PLoS Medicine."
Yes!!!! We are the world's top consumers of cannabis and cocaine!!!

God bless America!!!

We didn't let any stupid "war on drugs" get in the way of our latest and greatest national achievement. Oh no! So what if in "2007, [DEA] agents seized 41 metric tons of cocaine in just two raids, and denied drug traffickers record-breaking revenue of 3.5 billion dollars for the year"??? Has that stopped supply from fulfilling our seemingly insatiable demand for a kick-ass party drug followed by a little groovy mellowness to take the edge off? Hell no, my friends!

In fact,
"despite the US government's massive anti-drug efforts, the United States remains the world's top drug market, one amply supplied by South American cartels." (Emphasis mine to stress just how coked up and doped out so many of us are.)

Hey, God bless you, too, South America!

And get this:

"In the Netherlands, where drug policy is more liberal than the United States, 1.9 percent of survey participants said they had used cocaine and 19.8 percent marijuana."
Contrast that with the finding "that 16.2 percent of Americans had tried cocaine at least once, and 42.4 percent had used marijuana." Ha! Take that, namby-pamby Dutch liberals! We have way more drug laws on the books and a hell of a lot more people locked up in prison for drug-related offenses, and we still out-coked and out-smoked your sorry asses!

Amsterdamn??? Balls!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Everybody's Workin' For the Weekend!

This just in from Utah:

"Utah this summer will become what experts say is the first state to institute a mandatory four-day work week for most state employees, joining local governments across the nation that are altering schedules to save money, energy and resources.

"Gov. Jon Huntsman, a first-term Republican, says he's making the change to reduce the state's carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency, improve customer service [sic] and provide workers [So-called-Ed.] more flexibility."

Regardless of whatever gooftard reasons they're offering for doing this, as an anarcho-libertarian I can always applaud state government employees spending one day less per week at their jobs bullying and enforcing taxes on everyone else.

It may be argued by some, however, that in spite of the fewer days, these state employees will still be working the same number of hours per week (which is why I rather doubt this change will have any impact for greater energy efficiency; if anything, it will most likely increase overall consumption of energy since many offices and buildings will be consuming it during more peak-usage hours than they were previously). So, this argument may go, on net balance there is no net reduction in tyranny for Utahns.

But one needs to keep in mind the nature of that creature called the State Employee.

My theory may be totally flawed (wouldn't exactly be the first time) and perhaps I'm over-generalizing based on my own experiences with gubmint bureaucrats here in Chicago, but based on those experiences I've come to understand the State Employee as typically lazy and unmotivated. Shocking that I should notice this, isn't it? (Of course, there are always exceptions to this observation, but they only prove the rule.)

The State Employee is generally work-averse, hence their attraction to their job in the first place, which in many cases basically involves bullshit, paper-shuffling, make-busy work kinds of tasks. Additionally, they are members of one of the statist labor unions and extremely difficult to fire. Hence the appeal to the slothful and indolent: Getting paid to do not much. This is not to say that they don't do anything. Tax bills and court summonses still get mailed, parking and traffic fines still get collected, etc. But we should be grateful that the nature of the work is such that it invites a personality consisting of a sort of malaise, or can eventually induce even the most ambitious Nazicrats into a state of malaise by virtue of the sheer bureaucratic, soul-sucking character of the system to which they have chosen to sell their souls. Otherwise, our liberty might actually be in far worse shape than it is.

Now imagine the State Employee is told that their work schedule has been altered from five eight-hour days to four ten-hour days. How would they greet such news? I submit that they would see it as another opportunity for yet more something for nothing. They will goof off and lollygag as much as possible those extra two hours a day on the four days they're in the office and cheerfully take their three-day weekends. That is how the State Employee's mind naturally works (as it would for many other people when tempted with such an opportunity): Why do anything more than the bare minimum if my bosses are going to grant me a three-day weekend each and every week regardless of my productivity? Thus, their fellow Utahns really do have, on net balance, one more day per week without (at least some) bureaucrats issuing them orders and collecting fines, taxes, etc., than they did previously.

But if anything is the bummer-side that negates my theory on balance, it's this:
"The change will apply to about 17,000 employees, roughly 80% of the state workforce, Huntsman says. Public universities, the state court system, prisons and other critical services will be exempt."
Judging from the mention of courts and prisons, one can only take "other critical services" to include the fine protective services the people of Utah receive from their government police. From the state's perspective, apparently, the poverty it creates with its own restrictive regulations, intrusive agencies and taxation rests enough that it can shut down the welfare offices one day a week, but crime never rests enough to have fewer judges in the courts, fewer guards in the prisons, or fewer Gestapo on Utah's streets and highways on any given day than is the case at present. Oh, no sir. It views all its plundered victims as suspected criminals, 24/7.

The only truly sustainable option for liberty in the long run is always to simply abolish the state in its entirety, once and for all.