Monday, May 31, 2010

On the hues of kettles and pots.

For this post I was first inspired by a quote from South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in response to the alleged torpedoing of a warship by the North Koreans : "We had been forgetting ... the reality that this country faces the most belligerent regime in the world."

It's like the guy is totally oblivious to the character of his own goddamn ally. You know, the one his country is conducting military drills with "in case North Korea invades" (really it's just a provocative show of force).

Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has insisted that North Korea end what she calls its "policy of belligerence."


Can we review the list? The US is conducting operations officially in two countries - as an open secret in three more (Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia), and has its fingers in plenty of other places, most notably in South America. The only other major power in recent years to actively invade a sovereign nation was the Russian attack on Georgia, for which the Ruskies caught a ton of flak (but, of course as it is still one of the world powers, no tangible reprucussions). No other country in the world but the good ole US of A is waging five major military operations simultaneously.

But that's all par for the course the most benevolent country in the world, which, incidentally, has been attempting the multi-regional occupation for two decades now.

And, not coincidentally, par for the course for the ally of another of the world's most belligerent nations.

But that's how it goes: On the world stage, might still makes right.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ivan, Get Your Gun

Are you armed? If you're a Red, a RUDE RED, then you should be.
" Whoa, easy X!",our loyal readership of tens of people respond. " Chill out! You want the Eff Bee Eye crawling up your ass with a stethoscope? Get put on the Terror watch list? Sing the I'm In Gitmo Blues?"
I don't want any of those things, of course. Let's get things nice and sparkling clear. I do not advocate the overthrow of our political system ( I just want workers to run it- there is nothing written in stone that says a constitutional republic is the exclusive realm of the capitalists ). Nor do I advocate harming officeholders. Threatening elected officials is cowardly, stupid, and a felony. Committing cowardly, stupid felonies is a speciality of the Right. Us Reds are smarter than that. One mass, non- violent action, such as a general strike, is more effective than a million bullets.
So then why am I so gung- ho on the whole gun issue? Here are some reasons:
1) Self- defense. The most touted reason by the NRA ( whom I DO NOT endorse)and gun- nuts everywhere. And you know what? They are absolutely goddamn right . America is an insanely violent society full of some of the most incredibly stupid people found on the planet. Guns, legal in some cases, illegal in most others, are used to carjack SUVs, obtain the latest style of sneakers, and to settle the question of who pays for a case of beer. Now throw contemporary teabagger politics in the mix. There are armed people out there who are convinced that socialists are the spawn of Satan. Literally.
2) Guns are cool. Blasting the hell out of paper, clay pigeons, or a side of beef is awesome fun. Just remember to play safe, comrades. Guns can also get you food, like venison or duck.
3) Owning a gun is one of my rights. Yeah, some smart ass who is terrified of the idea of the grotty little proles being armed will point out that the second amendment refers to organizing a militia. I can argue the flaws in that logic for the next two weeks but instead I will give the standard answer when a self- proclaimed constitutional scholar gets in my face: "Fuck you, you aren't a god damned time- traveling mind- reader who went back to 1791 and scanned the brain waves of the framers of the fucking constitution ( I yell this at teabaggers a lot )." I know what the 2nd amendment means to most Americans now and the right for the average citizen in the street to own a firearm is a fine interpretation to me.
Now, let's move on to the fun part- guns that cash-strapped Reds can afford.
Yeah, I know, being a Red means you probably don't spend a lot of time poring over your stock portfolio. But you want to send some lead downrange or want something more substantial than a butter knife to defend yourself. Rest easy- affordable shooting is an obsessions of gun- nuts like myself. Here's a few super affordable firearms:
1) Military surplus bolt- action rifles. Recently, Eastern European armies cleaned out their arsenals and sent their old rifles to the states by the boat- load. Russian Mosin- Nagants are the cheapest, running between $80.00 to $200.00. The cheaper ones are a crap- shoot: some work surprisingly well for a 70 year old rifle, others show their age. There are some cool little Mosin- Nagant carbines out there, too, if you don't mind the mule- kick recoil. Calibre is 7.62x 54R, and ammunition cheap and plentiful.
A step up in price and quality are the Mauser rifles coming out of Serbia. You can get the Pre- World War Two M 24 or the Post- War M48. They run between $150.00 to $300.00. Both fire the 8mm Mauser cartridge, which is not too common in the U.S. and therefore is fairly expensive.
These are the two most common, with Lee- Enfields running a distant third. Bolt- action rifles are great fun to shoot, make excellent hunting weapons, but the drawback is they are not so good for defending yourself unless you are on a battlefield.
2) AK and SKS. The ultimate People's Rifles. The SKS is a semi- automatic carbine firing the 7.62x 39mm cartridge ( aka as 7.62mm Soviet). This cartridge is known in military circles as " intermediate"- that is it is somewhere in between a pistol and full- sized rifle cartridge in power. This makes the SKS pleasant to shoot, though it is heavy. The AK was also originally chambered for this cartridge but now are available in other calibres, with 5.45x 39mm ( the successor to the 7.62mm Soviet) and 5.56x 45mm ( the standard rifle calibre of NATO) being the most popular.
Not too long ago even previously owned AKs were financially out of bounds to cash- strapped shooters. Right- wing knuckledraggers, duped by reactionary media into thinking that the Obama administration was going to make disarming the public priority one, rushed out and bought every damn " assault" rifle they could get their hands on. The result was an excellent example of supply- and- demand: the price of even cheap rifles like AKs skyrocketed. Speculators tried to cash in on the bonanza and bought up even more AKs. I bet the owners of gun stores everywhere were secretly very pleased that " socialist" Barack Obama was elected.
Well, if you are in the market to buy a Kalashnikov rifle these days you are in luck. Because after binge buying for a year right- wing morons across the country woke up one day to find that their living room floors were buried under AKs. Desperate, they have been putting them back on the glutted market at rock- bottom prices. A Romanian or Polish AK that sold for over $500.00 last year now can be had for about $300.00, if you do some bargain hunting.
3) Hi- Point. This company took the Kalashnikov concept- make it cheap, make it solid, make it work - and ran with it. Their firearms are butt ugly and heavy. But you can count on them to send lead downrange consistently and accurately. And working class people can easily afford them. Most of their handguns sell for around $150.00.
Their carbines are extremely popular and are beloved by the sub- class of gun- nut who shows up at the range and out- shoots the gun snobs with their pimped out $1, 500.00 AR- 15s ( civilian version of the M- 16) with a rifle that costs under $300.00. Available in 9mm Parabellum or .40 S&W ( very common pistol calibres used by the police and military)these carbines are hugely affordable to own and shoot.
4) Kel- Tec. A step up in cost from Hi- Point, Kel- Tec also makes pistol calibre carbines. For an increase of about $100.00 you get a carbine that looks more aesthetically pleasing and is a little lighter. The cool thing is that they fold- which makes them easy to transport and clean. Kel- Tec also makes the cheapest carbine you will find chambered for .223 Remington, a real rifle calibre and a very common type of ammunition.
5) The Makarov. The 9x 18mm ( not the same as 9mm Parabellum) Makarov was the Red Army's standard pistol during the Cold War. Many were imported, and continue to be imported, into the U.S.A. after the Soviet Union fell apart and the Mafia Republik was set- up in its place. It retails in the U.S.A. for about $250.00- $300.00.
The Makarov comes in for its share of shit from NRA Queens who curl their lip at the little commie gun while they polish their $1,000.00 Kimber .45s but truth is that in the right hands ( mine) the little mass produced gun will easily out shoot the thoroughbreds. The Makarov's short barrel points naturally at the target- don't bother with the sights. It is ultra reliable. I have fired hundreds of rounds through mine and the sucker has never malfunctioned. Not once. It is also built like a brick shit house. It ain't gonna break.
This is currently my favorite " cheap" gun. However, there is a major downside. The Mak isn't built with a lot of safety features like a Western handgun. Drop a Glock on the floor and it will not go off. Drop a Mak and it might. So don't drop it.
So there's a small selection of cheap guns for working class folks. If you can afford it, by all means get a Glock ( they aren't much more expensive than the $300.00 limit I imposed in this article) or an AR-15. Just remember, if you get a gun, the expenses are just beginning. You have assumed a huge responsibility to yourself, family, and the rest of us to operate your gun in a safe manner. You need to practice- that means range time ( at least once a month) and ammunition. You should take a basic firearms safety course, and if you plan to carry a weapon on your person you have to get a Concealed Carry license. All of this means money.
But if you do want to be a gun- owning Red, don't be intimidated by the above. Get your gun, get your ammo, and hit the range.
P.S. Nothing is more fun about being a gun- toting Leftist than confounding Right- Wing stereotypes. There are a lot more of us than you think. Check these guys out.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Let the corporate bidding begin!

The most active sector of society has shifted to the right. And I'm not talking about the Teabaggers.

I'm talking about this report from the Washington Post re: corporate donations to the Grand Ole Party. So we're pretty much assured a shift to the right come November.

Don't get me wrong: it looks like it's going to be close at this stage. Obama's victory is still a perceived landmark for the little-f-left, despite the fact that the man and his administration have left ample space in every issue for criticism among every stripe of supporter. A lot of people still believe in what he fundamentally stands for - hope, change, all that jazz. And he's still African-American, although he's a Kenyan-American, basically, and doesn't exactly come from the tradition of "black America." He's just very much a hand-holding liberal politician, which makes him a corporate puppet when all is said and done.

The economic crisis and the mandate of a new President, however, has put a little bit of fight back in the left's diverse forces. (Just a little bit.) The future seems grim indeed, but there are other sectors of the left getting ready to fight back against the attacks on their standards of living - the nurses who care for us when we are ill (the battle in Minnesota has been foreshadowed by the struggle in Philadelphia), and the teachers whose responsibility it is to groom our generations despite lack of funding and backwards legislation.

These are the two places where struggle is very likely to break out in the near future. We aren't done reclaiming our country from the grip of the last administration's mistakes. (Boy howdy, there were a lot ... have we even gotten started yet?)

Unfortunately, the unions will continue to throw money at the Democrats with the misguided hope that they can possibly compete with corporations like the finance industry, like big oil and big weapons industries that basically ensure they get their man.

They tossed a black man on top of the bureaucracy heap and called it "socialism." Without further explanation, and with tiny reforms that could have taken place under anyone, right or left, the media and political system has again villainized left ideas and government oversight and allowed the rabid right to appear credible and heroic.

So come November we will indeed see some fucking nutty Republicans, maybe even some far-right independents where the Republicans can't accomodate the clueless constituents. We will see Democrats continue to crumple spinelessly. Hopefully the mountains of cash from corporate America doesn't tip the scales entirely, but the real catalyst for change rests as usual on the shoulders of the American working class.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Take A Minute. Read A Poem.

Langston Hughes was one of the few writers that accomplished the near impossible: he wrote political poems that actually sounded good. In this age of dumbass has- been country stars singing at teabagger rallies, crappy materialistic gangsta rap, and cynical pop culture it serves one well to read a poem like this to remind us there was a time when artists actually used their talent to promote the common good rather than their own naked self- interest.
Let America Be America Again ( 1938)
By Langston Hughes

Let America be America again
Let it be the dream it used to be
Let the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
( America was never America to me).
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed- Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above
( It never was America to me).
O, let my land be a land where liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
( There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this " homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you in that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek- And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of land grab!
Of grab the gold!Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean- Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today- O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home- For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a " homeland of the free."
The free?
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me?The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay- Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again- That land that never has been yet- And yet must be- the land where every man is free.
That land that's mine- the poor man's, Indian's, negro's, ME- Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose- The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
O, yes.
I say it plain.
America was never America to me.
And yet I swear this oath- America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land. the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain- All,all the stretch of these great green states- And make America again!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The New Boss- He's Still A Boss

" A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and therefore, once capital has gained control... of this very best shell, it establishes its power so securely, so firmly that no change, either of persons, or institutions, or parties in the bourgeois republic can shake it." - V.I. Lenin, State And Revolution
Holy balls... the more things change, the more they stay the same, right? The incestuous relationship between big business ( capital) and bourgeois government is an unbreakable bond. Lenin pointed that out ninety- three years ago and more than ever it holds true.
If one just digs down a little under the pretty Hope-n- Change Garden that the Obama administration has planted one will find the nasty shit that keeps it fertilized. Take a closer look and you will find the same corporate manure that kept the Compassionate Conservative Pumpkin Patch of George W. Bush growing.
Favors for big oil companies? You bet! Its not like BP just waltzed into the Gulf of Mexico and said, " We are drilling here, with fucked up safety equipment, and there isn't fuckall you can do about it America." They needed exemptions, and passed inspections from the federal government to set up shop on TransOcean's Deepwater Horizon rig. And basically the O- Team gave BP a pass, despite their crappy track record on safety.Hand- in- hand with BP and other oil firms walks the Department Of The Interior, run by one Ken Salazar. Salazar has proven himself rather friendly to big oil in the past, when as a Colorado senator he voted not to repeal tax breaks for Exxon- Mobil and voted in favor of ending the offshore drilling moratorium in 2005. Naturally when he was appointed Interior Secretary, he began to hand out leases like candy to eager oil company execs. Shit, he continued to hand them out, less than 24 hours after declaring a moratorium on offshore drilling after the April 20 explosion.Twenty- seven exemptions to the latest moratorium, including two to BP, and counting.
The great myth that the Democrats are the shield of working people against the evil Plutocratic Republicans is one that dies hard. The assumption of that mantle by FDR during the Great Depression was one of the greatest benefits the Democrats pulled out of that mess. Mass pressure from the working class forced some concessions from the bosses, but mainly it forced the bosses to come up with more subtle forms of control other than having the cops beat the shit out of people who stood up for their rights. Or having the U.S. Army shoot at them. The Democrats were happy to oblige.
True back then the ruling class still had a sense of nationalism and during the Second World War the sons of the ruling class still went to war- a Kennedy and a Roosevelt died in the European Theater while in uniform. So they could still somewhat get on board with the idea that " We Are All In This Together". That rapidly changed when in the Fifties and Sixties when the sons of the rich figured there was no glory in fighting vicious " little" wars for empire in the far- flung corners of the world. As the world's elites began to be globalized nationalism became more and more a middle and working class phenomenon. To be sure, the elites in today's ruling class make sure to wear those stupid little flag pins in the lapels of their Armani suits, or deck themselves out in ridiculous Star Spangled get- ups ( yeah, that's Don Blankenship, murderer of twenty- nine miners), but how many of their kids are fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan? The plutocrats of both parties make grand speeches about how great America is and how much they love it while destroying the livelihoods of their countrymen by selling their jobs overseas or selling its natural resources to a polluting, transnational company like BP. Last time I checked the definition of patriotism was working for the common good of your fellow citizens, not fucking over your people to get a percentage.
The attachment of the Democrats for labor fell in direct proportion to the amount of pressure organized labor could bring to bear on them. In some ways liberal democrats are just as delusional as their conservative opponents. Whereas the conservative pines for a Beaver Cleaver version of the 1950s the liberal thinks every time a Democrat is elected president FDR has been re-born. The liberal progressive clings to a vision every bit as destructive as that as the reactionary conservative- namely that capitalism can be reformed and the rich men who are Democrats will put aside their class interests and work for the common good.
The problem with that vision is that democratic politicians, or any politicians who hold office in a capitalist republic for that matter, have absolutely no incentive to do that. The first and foremost responsibility of a bourgeois republic is to safeguard the accumulation and ownership of capital. In this sense the free- market advocates in the Republican Party are quite correct. The capitalist state owes you nothing. It was not designed to serve many, only a select few. If you don't own it, than you will work for it. Or fight for it. If you cannot do either, then you will starve. If you refuse, you will be exiled, imprisoned or put to death.
The modern Democratic Party is not a party of the Left. It never has been, in the sense of promoting workers' interests over capital's interests. Even the few concessions won by labor, through years of bitter and bloody struggle are being dropped. In the current recession how many times have you heard these shepherds of the people that workers have to " get real" and sacrifices must be made to maintain our nation's economy? You sacrifice- they still collect their bonuses, buy their yachts,send their kids to Ivy League schools while yours have to join the army just to have a shot at higher education. This is the essence of class warfare. Those who are rich and powerful never let up. They will wring every last drop of profit from working people's labor. They will fight endless wars over resources to the last working class soldier. There is no truce in class war, no peace can be called- either the ruling class continues it's relentless drive to subjugate the workers absolutely, or the workers will break the ruling class absolutely.

Monday, May 17, 2010

54 years of economic segregation

Today is the 54th anniversary of the "historic Supreme Court decision" in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which overturned the previous laws segregating people on racial grounds. (And then prompted Southern senators to pen the Southern Manifesto, another example of the crybaby conservative platform. A lot of it sounds familiar today: "We reaffirm our reliance on the Constitution as the fundamental law of the land," blah blah blah, "We're a bunch of dinosaurs who think a simple document written by plain ole people never ever deserves revision," dur dur dur. But as usual I digress.)

It has been 54 years since schools were (legally) desegregated, and fewer than that since it's been enforced and upheld. That's only a little more than half as long as Plessy v. Ferguson was the law of the land, confining blacks and other Americans of non-white-skinned descent to inferior institutions.

And yet some of our most honored institutions - public schools - are failing us. Here in Minnesota, there is a hot debate about how to tackle the "achievement gap," wherein poor and non-white-skinned students consistently do poorer in school than the rich white kids. This here website is considered a "good resource" - although it couches all its language in some pansy-ass liberal code. "Less disadvantaged students"? Just come out and say it like a Rude Red: rich kids get the good schools.

Everybody knows it. It's been that way our whole lives. School income is linked to property tax; rich neighborhoods give more money to schools. If you can't afford a good house in a good neighborhood, your kids will be attending class behind fences topped with barbed wire. (Ah, memories of home.)

Don't bother looking towards our glorious leaders for education reform, neither; you won't get anything under Obama that wasn't started under Bush. The corporate duopoly isn't interested in anything but furthering corporate stakes in what is almost a virgin market. ("Mmmm, all those state employees that we could replace with low-paid, non-union labor!" They're practically wetting themselves in anticipation, even though the actual process will probably be long and nuanced.) Running schools as corporations would bring in billions of dollars and lock a generation of young workers in low-wage, non-union jobs.

We won't even mention the opportunities for corporate propaganda.

No, the real change will have to come from the pressure of teachers, parents, students, and support staff, and it will require union action and probably even a pitched struggle against employers in school boards and test scoring corporations. And it will require finding a more equitable way to fund schools rather than segregating students according to their income.

In 1954 the Supreme Court ruled that "separate educational facilities" for different races "are inherently unequal." But that didn't address the economic issue, and economics are more of a determining factor than even race (and before you flip out, think about all the rich people in other countries). Race is an excuse for bad economic policies. Capitalism learned (as much as such a savage system can) that it was more effective to starve the freed slaves by putting them to work for low wages than it was to just beat and kill them. Seperate education facilities for the rich and the poor are also inherently unequal, and self-evidently so.

We need to stop punishing poor schools and start rewarding merit - but the only way to develop merit at all is to actually fund our public schools. And not on the basis of whose got a rich daddy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Onward And Upward

Rude Reds has a new domain name now:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Moderate Myth

Political moderates are held up in America as an ideal. It is believed these are the guys who build a bridge between the two parties ( really two factions of the same party, but we will deal with that later), keep the radical left and reactionary right at bay, and get things done because they are practical in their politics.
Well, I will agree with point one, sort of agree with point two, and vehemently deny point three. Let's deal with point one since it is obviously true- moderates do work very hard to keep the two parties happy. All they need to usually do is sacrifice the interests of workers absolutely and the rest is easy ( ever notice how legislation favoring big business slides through Congress faster than shit through a goose while anything that might benefit working folk is relentlessly picked away at by compromise until it is useless- if it goes through at all?).
As far as this famed neutrality goes, that is pure bullshit. Throughout History, the role of the moderate politician is to thwart revolutionary change. Just look at our Congress today. Any proposal even hinting at progressive reform is automatically tabled for debate. And History shows us another despicable trait of the moderate- if it does come to Revolution, these guardians of the status quo par excellence flee immediately into the arms of Reaction, no matter what form it takes. Even though it later almost always is cause for regret.
And getting things done? Are you fucking kidding me? The whole point of being a moderate is to not get anything done. To fiddle while Rome burns. To prevaricate, postpone, delay, anything to keep a creaking and failing establishment going for another year, month, or day. Far more often moderates are renowned for their catastrophic failures, lack of vision, spineless politics.
Can you even think of a moderate politician of historical note that does not wear the stink of failure and betrayal like a shabby cloak? Take note of the two do- nothings that bracketed Abraham Lincoln's presidency- James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson. The first let the Southern aristocrats frighten him into inaction on the slavery issue, thus pretty much ensuring the Civil War would ensue. The second let Reconstruction slip from the federal government's grasp because he didn't want to upset those same Southern aristocrats- after they had been defeated in war! Or the left- of- center moderates of the German Social Democrats who sold their Red brethren out to the death squads of the Freikorps during the German Revolution after the First World War.
More? How about Neville Chamberlain, perhaps the best example of the disastrous effect the wishy- washy can have when put in positions of great responsibility. The people of Britain and France were, if not eager, at least resolved to go to war with Germany over Czechoslovakia in 1938. Hitler's legions were far from prepared. One good push over Germany's western border might have shattered der Fuherer's carefully constructed bluff of military might completely. But no. Like any good moderate, Chamberlain decided to play it safe because the class he really represented was the ruling class, and they liked having Hitler right were he was- his Germany acting as a possible bulwark against the Soviet Union. So he left Czechoslovakia in the lurch and the Czechs lost the Sudetenland, which was where all of their frontier fortifications were. A year later Hitler marched into the rest of Czechoslovakia and captured the Skoda armaments works, which happened to build some pretty decent models of tanks. Well, these very same tanks were used to equip three of the ten Panzer divisions that overran the West in 1940. Whoops.
These are only the most egregious examples of moderate perfidy. It is no wonder that these milk- livered wankers, who sit on the fence so much they have splinters in their asses, are so beloved by our political establishment? And it is no wonder that in any revolutionary struggle they are the first to go?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Recession Part II: The Stock Market Strikes Back

Global stock markets, those infallible thermometers of capitalism's health, are back on the rise with the news of Greek's loan deal and a 750-billion-Euro plan to back up loans and provide emergency funds to future failing governments. These promised funds from the European Central Bank are like water to the parched roots of Wall Street, the London FTSE, and even the Asian markets. Proving, once again, that this is truly a global economy, all is right in the world, glory glory hallelujah.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (who happens to be Portuguese) even says, according to the BBC, "Our fundamentals are certainly good."

Surely he must mean the "fundamentals" of a regional and global economy, meaning consumer goods, industry, and raw materials?

When we juxtapose (I love juxtaposing) this statement from a BBC article with yet another good article, this one on the sustainability of the environment and its economic implications for the future, we see this is not the case. Human economies are often conceived of as a supply chain, but we forget that the beginning point of this chain is nestled in the complicated web of the Earth's environment. It's a web we hardly understand, yet one corporations fuck with like the own the place. (Seriously? Golf balls and tires? It's the 21st Century!)

So my apologies to the fine bankers of Europe, but your institutions are built on sand. In 20 or 30 years, it won't matter how many shiny Euros you have in the bank; if there's no arable land, no amount of gold will buy you food.

This is just another touted event in the "inevitable" climb to "global recovery." Of course we will remember that after every "recession," the so-called "recovery" leaves hundreds of thousands of people all across the globe worse off than before. Their homes foreclosed, their once-stable jobs irrevocably lost, their future in peril. As this instability increases, the chances that their region will go to war increase as well, and we all know by now that war is not a desirable outcome (except, perhaps, if you're Haliburton).

So yes, the banks are now investing in Spain and Portugal and all the rest of those governments that teetered on the edge of disaster. Perhaps that will stave off the remaining fallout from 2008's Great Recession. Now the stock market can creep back towards its "infinite growth" and the capitalists can rub their paws in anticipation of their "absolute wealth." It'll be 1991 all over again, only this time the European Union version: the countries taking international loans will sacrifice their people's livelihoods on the altar of austerity.

But let us here not forget that the seeds of the next crisis have already been sewn. The peoples of Europe, led for the moment by the rowdy but largely stumbling Greeks, will not take all this lightly. Not when banks and industry go back to making record profits. Unemployment in the United States has felt no alleviation. The wealth continues to concentrate on the top and wreck havoc at the bottom. BP will get a slap on the wrist (at best a spanking) when it deserves the corporate death penalty. There are other problems here at home, too: commercial land prices, consumer debt, the coming health and education sector storms. (And further on, the public sector.)

So I wouldn't look so smug and hopeful if I were you, Mr. MBA. If you don't get a decent war to clear your slate, the pace of recession and economic disaster will only pick up.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

As the world burns, and other ironies

Apparently Vice President Biden doesn't understand the meaning of the word irony. It would be "ironic" that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, other countries would stand up for themselves against the overpowering US nuclear arsenal? Sounds like some serious "New American Century" bull to me. We must remember that only the United States has the authority to ever use fission weapons.

Essentially, however, Biden is posturing. Recently General James Cartwright just came right out and said that a military strike against Iran would be more or less pointless, unless the administration was willing to engage in a long-term occupation. Considering our record on that issue, especially recently, that wouldn't be the wisest idea. (I have a lot of respect for "Hoss" since he pointed that out. There has been a lot of bluster and swagger from this admin and the previous one and it's nice to have a reality check now and then. Unlike McCain's comments in that same article. "About time" that we pulled the "trigger"? Douglas MacArthur got dismissed for getting trigger happy too, Johnnyboy.)

Naturally there is real, non-military pressure growing against Iran: the voluntary cut of fuel sales to the auto-dependant country. Japanese and Indian companies have complied, and China seems to have as well. It's a two-edged sword, ain't it? There's already a shitton of dissedence in Iran following all that election hootenanny, and some added pressure on the lives of working-class people could kick up fresh dirt. (Our rulers understand class politics even if our own class doesn't.) On the other hand, these complications are clearly the doing of the American Devils, and that could stir up some Iranian nationalism and support for a nuclear program. A society isn't a machine you can just feed formulas into and get a dependable product; these unofficial sanctions, and any more stringent measures, will also create a lot of unintended consequences. (It might also not help the US regime's case that Iran must have seen this coming.)

And let's not forget Biden's audience: the European Parliament, that wonderful bastion of Western Democracy, which is teetering on the edge of complete and total collapse. (If I could draw political cartoons worth a damn, it would be Biden addressing Europe in a disintegrating house, shouting "Never mind the foundations, gentleman, worry about the neighbors!" But I can't so you'll just have to use your imagination.)

You know, this parliamentary politics feels more and more like arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic, what with the biggest ecological disaster in history bubbling up right off the coast of Louisiana. Oh, and the rumor that the oil dispersal chemicals used might also be mutagens. (How do you want your fish - oiled or three-eyed? - or your wildlife, or your fishermen for that matter.)

Clearly both the economy and the environment have been repeat victims of oily businessmen with no limits to their lust for profit. BP is like Goldmann Sachs: it sucks for them not because of the disaster but because they got caught at what everyone else is doing. (It's also interesting to note that in my home state, Arnie has backpeddled on California offshore drilling faster than you can say "I'll be back." Image, in this case, trumps profit ... for now.) The environment is the one area where corporations the amount of damage caused by corporations can exceed the profit they rake in. After all, it's their pollution and mismanagement of resources that caused climate change and other ecodisasters in the first place.

Niether the United States, nor Iran - neither Greece nor Germany - neither BP nor Goldmann "You Can't Stop Us" Sachs - neither the European Union nor the United Nations - not a single one of these undemocratic, capitalist institutions are sufficient to handle the sheer depth of shit into which they have driven themselves. Perhaps the US can topple Ahmadinejad and the rest of that regime, but it won't be able to control the free-spin of events that will result as all the social forces within that country leap into the open like the insides of a split watermelon. Germany might bail out Greece and Greece might institute the social cuts necessary, but it will be "ironic" how the infuriated people made to pay for a crises they didn't cause will seek some way to hold their leaders accountable. BP can put a lid on the oil and the gov't can put a lid on Goldmann, but capitalism has its way of worming into the next sensitive spot in search of a pound of flesh. Intra-state governments and global corporations alike are beautiful top-down monoliths indeed, but they are run by cretins with savior complexes (at best) and we can no longer rely on them to provide us any sort of assurance or life-quality.

Our only option is, as workers, to run things for ourselves.

Friday, May 7, 2010

More Dead Workers, Environmental Disaster, And Bought Politicians: Business As Fuckin' Usual

I don't really blame President Obama. He is just doing what every other capitalist politician has ever done: show his outraged face to the public and his ass- kissing face to the corporate leaders. But what the fuck, Average Joe American? Especially y'all down on the Gulf Coast. Haven't you about had enough of this shit? This is the second time in under a decade where a huge disaster ( and this one is going to be a lot worse than Hurricane Katrina- the killing will just take longer) has hit your area and the Federal government is engaged in another stumblefuck, trying to deal with the problem with one hand tied to their balls.
Man, if I were living on the Redneck Riviera, I would be preparing the torches and sharpening my pitchforks. Because British Petroleum ( BP) with the blessings of our toady government in Washington, is dealing with the spill by dispersing it with chemicals. Think about that for a minute. The oil is being dispersed. Not cleaned up, not destroyed, dispersed. As in, spread out over a greater area. Sure it sinks and saves the birds and wetlands- some of them- but now the deepwater life gets the poison (plus, the agent used by BP was not tested by the EPA- that would have cost money).
What a monumental insult to injury. BP and our capitalist- controlled government are doing the equivalent of sweeping the dirt under the rug on a massive scale. How fucking stupid do you think we are, Mr. President? Just because the oil is floating on the surface of the ocean, do you think that we assume it's gone? Jesus, you are well on the way to joining Dub'ya in The Presidential Asshole Hall Of Fame.
Of course, if never occured to the President or anyone else in his administration of stooges to actually regulate the safety standards of their corporate benefactors. This whole mess could have been avoided if the Feds required BP to install a back- up switch on the pipeline's automatic shut-off valve. But no, not a word on the utter farce of corporate self- regulation. No insistence on protecting labor rights or workplace safety. Instead, Obama offers empty words and cold comfort to the families of the eleven dead oil rig workers, like he offered to the families of their brethren who died ( murdered is more like it)in last month's mine disaster. Meanwhile, the banksters, the mining tycoons, and the oil barons get a blank check.
Add these victims to the mound of corpses in Central Asia and you get a President who is every bit as lethal to workers as his predecessor.

Update: In a rare flash of sanity by corporate bloodsuckers, the spraying of dispersants was halted ( after the potential damge was done) so the new strategy of using a giant cap to seal the leak can be tried. I hope it works, but the corporate track record for efficiency leaves me doubtful.

"Fearless" Leaders Piss, Moan

The finance sector has no idea what it's doing.

Not a single one of them knows how an economy and an industry actually work. They come up with a bunch of numbers and shuffle papers and speculate. Speculate. The market is based on guessing.

Working people, we don't guess. We have to do, we have to know. We are held accountable when things go wrong. And why do things go wrong?

Mostly because the speculators can't get their own shit straight. They can't both produce and distribute goods in a reasonable way. Profit gets in the way of reason.

That means they end up saying stupid shit, like"Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist for Miller Tabak and Company," who told the NYT: "The economy is turning; unfortunately it is not improving as much as one would hope given the downturn."

Well thank you detective.

The economy can't improve without jobs. Without jobs there is no economy. These lousy morons can't get us jobs. Their whole system is posed on the brink of another collapse and all they can do is piss and moan.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Two Minutes Hate

My cheap, Chinese coffee maker died two- days after the warranty gave out. Do you fuckers plan this? And while we're on the subject, why not give socialism another go? This production of plastic, sometimes poisonous, crap isn't helping anyone except a few a- holes in the Communist Party- which is a total misnomer since the CCP is composed of capitalists and the bureaucrats who take care of them. Damn, doesn't that sound familiar?
Anyway, the remainder of the two minutes I will take to smash this shitty coffeemaker into little bitty pieces. Enjoy the rest of the day.