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Echoes and Mirrors » propaganda

Archive for the ‘propaganda’ Category

I have a blog? Oh look I have a blog.

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

I’m pretty terrible about not posting anything on here. Pretty much this is a result of being bogged down with a mountain of homework or other academic work, which is an adequate excuse for me. I was considering implementing something to produce a daily digest of interesting links from google reader with a brief comment, but google has gotten rid of shared links. Truthfully, it wouldn’t be a huge time constraint to just sit down and write a blog post every day, but lately I’ve just felt like I don’t have anything interesting to say about much of anything, especially news-wise. But I’ll whip up a few thoughts about #OWS because I’m feeling frisky tonight.

I’ve been following the #OWS movement from twitter and fark.com, where there is at least one thread a day, if not more. Oddly enough, people in those very threads claim that nobody is paying attention or talking about #OWS. This sort of movement is exactly what I think we need right now, even if it’s not organized with a clearly identifiable goal. Because what the US needs is to recognize that something is wrong before trying to figure out exactly what it is. And I think #OWS is accomplishing one thing very well: they’re making the symptoms of the problem very, very clear. But like many alcoholics who refuse to admit they even have a problem, many Americans are refusing to admit that there is anything to protest. And some of them don’t think that protesting is the right answer, but would rather the protesters play the PAC game and attempt to work the system the same way the banks have. This is silly.

The boat needs to be rocked. I’m sorry your overpriced martini was spilled.

Matt Taibbi really nails the frustration with Wall Street. But I see Wall Street’s behavior as a symptom of a bigger problem with the US. That bigger problem is the cause of other ninety-nine percenters siding with Wall Street. I’m not even sure what it is, but there is something fundamentally wrong. And like an unexplainable rash on a patient being treated by House, M.D., we’ll find out that it is something that requires more than government intervention. I suspect it will require a reevaluation of American values, not just rules.

And unfortunately, with the recent DHS coordinated attacks on the occupy camps, Scott Olsen, and Zucotti Park, I am only seeing things get worse. The police are doubling down on their loyalty to the system, even if they know it’s corrupt. They might even care. But I doubt it. The police have been slowly turning into paramilitary thugs armed with tanks for decades. They like the system the way it is. Any given day, a visit to The Agitator shows that the state of law enforcement in this country is only getting worse. And the plutocracy loves it. They get thugs-by-proxy from wars on drugs and invisible terrorists and the serfs run around screaming injustice, too busy to worry about the secret aristocracy.

But I shouldn’t say crazy things like that. It sounds melodramatic even to me. But I do think that there is a problem with American values and that the problem with Wall Street is merely a symptom of that. I offer no solutions, but I’m not even sure what the real problem is yet. The abuses of Wall Street can be fixed, but I suspect it will just come back in a different industry, in a different guise unless we figure what is really wrong.


The Unbearable Death of Postmodernism

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Postmodernism is dead

I have some good news—kick back, relax, enjoy the rest of the summer, stop worrying about where your life is and isn’t heading. What news? Well, on 24th September, we can officially and definitively declare that postmodernism is dead. Finished. History. A difficult period in human thought over and done with. How do I know this? Because that is the date when the Victoria and Albert Museum opens what it calls “the first comprehensive retrospective” in the world: “Postmodernism—Style and Subversion 1970-1990.”

So… the party’s over folks. Please dispose of any empty bottles, used condoms, golden apples, skeletons, overcoats, or whatever it was you were playing with in the trash before leaving. Last one out turn the lights off.

Whatever is next ought to be fun. Let’s take a nap until then.


I’ve been slack haven’t I? Oh bother.

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Yes, yes, I know that nobody reads my drivel anyway, but I still feel sort of bad about not having posted anything since mid-December (is that right? I didn’t even look to see when my last real post was.). I’ve been awfully busy with schoolwork. With luck I’ll actually manage to keep some kind of schedule for posting again. I need to start taking notes of shit I’d like to rant about. It’ll be rad if I can manage that. My coursework is a little lighter than it was last semester. It’s still pretty heavy though.

In the mean time, I’ll just drop off a couple things I’ve found really interesting. Well, I had more things to talk about — Wisconsin, in particular — but I sort of got frustrated with it and gave up. There’s revolution going on everywhere but here. We need some good old-fashioned late-90’s Seattle anarchist-style protests. People smashing up a Starbucks or something, you know? I digress.

This is pretty rad. I think I’m actually going to buy it. Because I’m not nerdy enough, as it is.

There is a flash doohicky of the LROC WAC mosaic of the lunar nearside. It’s like google-maps satellite view for the moon. M-O-O-N that spells fucking awesome. Yeah, so it’s just a ball of rock that creates tides, looks pretty in the sky, avoids attempts to be lassoed, was once confused with a god, and shelters moon-men who plot to take over once we’ve killed ourselves off one day, but it’s still pretty awesome. The moon doesn’t get enough credit for causing lunacy anymore, in my opinion.

I might be alone in this, but Charlie Sheen is my fucking hero. Now, I don’t have predilections towards mountains of cocaine and hookers per se, but I’ll be damned if that lifestyle doesn’t have at least a slight bit of appeal. I’m a bit envious, honestly. I know a lot of people are giving him a lot of flack for his recent shenanigans but that’s just kinda sad, really. He says, “I’m winning” and I look at it and say, “yup.” Why? He’s doing shit we all wish we could and being unapologetic for it. I’m not saying he’s doing the specific things we want to do, but he’s doing what he wants to do and not backing down. So when he called into the Alex Jones radio program and ranted for 18 minutes, it was pure gold. He does not give a flying fuck what we think. Which is sort of admirable. Oh, and don’t do cocaine. It makes you all wacky. If you don’t believe me, follow the link and listen.

The revolutions in the middle-east are going well I guess. I’m sort of interested in seeing how it all pans out. The US’s involvement and interests can only muck things up, but hopefully our el presidente has a decent head on his shoulders and won’t send the CIA in to work their nastiness. It’s never really seemed to work out for us. That whole Taliban thing sure bit us in the ass. So did a few others, I guess. These revolutions and their decision to be democratic could possible end with them simply choosing a new dictator, but I’d like to believe that wouldn’t happen. And just because a certain cretin will be favorable to us in the short-run doesn’t mean we need to help them into power. If we do something like that again, I think Canada should wait until we revolt and install a leader of their choosing into the position of US President. Maybe then we can get some decent hockey coverage on broadcast television.

I have no comment on the Wisconsin Teacher’s union business. I’m a product of Wisconsin’s public education system and it was top-notch while I attended school there (for a public system, it’s fantastic).

Or maybe I’m not seriously paying attention anymore. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m starting to believe that anybody with any gravitas or voice in the media is simply trolling us now. Nobody can seriously believe half the stuff said on television. It’s just not possible. Bill O’Reilly is a prime example: he’s just fucking with us. Plain and simple. Or maybe not, at which point, I’ll go back to my book and pretend not to care some more.


We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

The Huffington Post takes it out on the media that let this whole mess get out of control:

Yesterday afternoon, the leader of a microscopic cult of idiots who announced plans to stage an “international” day of Quran burning in Gainesville, Florida held a press conference, for a rapt media which decided that his moronic plans were the single most important thing going on in America. At that press conference, in front of “9/11 Truther” signs, this cult leader lied to everyone who was watching, telling them that he was going to call off his 9/11 book burning festival because he had successfully reached a deal with the people behind the Park51 community center in Lower Manhattan, in which they would move their facility away from the site of the World Trade Center.

Not a word of this was true, but it was amazing, all the same — at one fell swoop, we had finally knit up the strands of a season of irrationality into one big, shiny, synergized knot. This was supposed to be the end of Recovery Summer? More like Relapse Summer.

The media was culpable because nobody would have noticed if they had neglected to report on a bunch of nobodies doing something of little importance. They blew the whole story out of proportion. They reported a lot of opinions and hot air as fact. The whole ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ that never was, and so on. I hope what we’re seeing is the death rattles of contemporary news media, otherwise I think things are going to get far uglier than we can imagine before they get better.

PZ Meyers, of course, looks at it from a much different perspective:

So I’m looking at this recent episode with Terry Jones — a fellow I don’t like at all, and I think he’s a fanatical goofball — and I see that the serious problem here isn’t Jones at all…it’s all the lunatics who are insisting that burning the Koran is a major international catastrophe.

It’s just a frackin’ book, people.

From an Atheist perspective, burning a bible or a korrah or a koran are all the same. I don’t see a difference, either. Of course, being a lover of literature, I can’t condone burning books for their content, whether or not you disagree with it. All books hold some value, whether they be dissenting viewpoints, historical context, etc.,etc.. Try to figure out Renaissance literature without the bible as a reference and you’ll regret it. The same goes for other world literature.

But the media is using this as a way to remind us that there are Muslim boogeymen out there still. That is all. By saying “hey, don’t burn their book, they’re dangerous!” they’re asserting that Muslims are inherently dangerous fanatics. Which isn’t true. I’m sure there are some dangerous radicals out there, somewhere. But all religions have those, even the Christian denominations (they kill people for performing abortions, blow up federal buildings in Oklahoma, etc.).

Of course, I can say that I was opposed to the whole idea of burning the books because they think their silly religion is better than the silly religion of the book they’re burning.

To sum up:

News Media: 0 , Religious Nutbags, Warmongers, Trolls: 1

I give up. It’s 9/11. Remember how religion killed a few thousand people that didn’t need to die. If you don’t consider the US to be a Christian Nation, this seems really, really sad. I’ll pour one out for my homies, and I’ll drink one for the brothers I have deployed right now, but I won’t admit that anyone has died for any noble purpose. They’ve died for the arrogance and stupidity of others. My sympathy to all.

From Wonkette:


I know why the Palestinians are angry

Friday, June 4th, 2010

It’s probably the lack of nutmeg to make really great French Toast with.

Or, failing that, the fact that what they’re getting is barely enough to sustain themselves without the opportunity to improve the living conditions. And also, no meat.

But hey, the situation is so polemic and tragic that I just can’t help but feel bad.


Canaries in the coalmine

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

To borrow the analogy from John Robb over at Global Guerillas, who sees the recent Joe Stack incident as such a marker.

In addition to that, I’d point out the guy who bulldozed his own house in retaliation of forclosure:

As well as the ridiculousness of the Tea Party. These people don’t know what they want, but they are determined to get it. And I’m not sure the GOP can use Sarah Palin to destroy the Tea Party the same way they did Pat Buchanan to destroy the Reform Party. These people aren’t just pissed off – they’re desperately clinging to The American Way.

If we start seeing uncontrollable road gangs killing people and stealing gasoline ala Mad Max, we’ll really know we’re in trouble.


In which I ponder the meaning of conservativism, reject rationalism and wander into the desert in search of something more fun.

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Dear Conservative Movement:  Stop Ruining My Life, by Michael Brendan Dougherty

You go so far as to encourage people to fabricate their entire identity from the Republican platform. Look at S.E. Cupp. She used to be a person! Now, under your influence, she is one of the lamer Rush Limbaugh monologues from the Clinton era. She’s a copy of a copy of Xerox of a rejected P.J. O’Rourke riff. How can you live with yourself, conservative movement?

You may not know this. But all the smartest people on the Right are basically ashamed to be associated with you. Your “success” in building a set of near-permanent institutions, think-tanks, and magazines to promote your ideals in an uncontaminated environment leaves us with two choices[…]

It’s not only entertaining, it is very on point.

The truth? The size of the government is still an issue, regardless if the left would prefer to ask about the effectiveness instead. The dems are in trouble because they aren’t recognizing what the people want – they’re being paternalistic douches. But as noted above, the GOP is only doing marginally better. Libertarianism, however you define it, is becoming more and more important. But it needs its own platform – not space on the coattails of another party. Which is my big problem with Eric Dondero; I find many of his opinions worthwhile and refreshing – but I would prefer that he didn’t try to claim that so many GOP candidates are libertarian when they aren’t. Of course, that being said, a libertarian is just a Republican who takes drugs, right?


2010 is starting off swimmingly

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Homeless people can’t pay fines. What to do about panhandling? San Antonio has a solution:

You see them everywhere….panhandlers…often holding crude cardboard signs, begging for cash at busy intersections. Efforts to wipe out panhandling by outlawing the practice have been ineffective, largely because panhandlers don’t have the money to pay fines, taxpayers are not excited about releasing violent criminals from overcrowded jails to make way for beggars. And several municipal laws outlawing panhandling have been thrown out by courts as an unconstitutional violation of free speech.

So, San Antonio City Councilman John Clamp has a new and intriguing idea. He tells 1200 WOAI’s Bud Little he will propose making it a crime, with stiff fines, for people to give money to beggars on the public street.

Which just seems wrong, unless the motivation behind municipal laws are to raise revenue, not to prevent crime. If the motivation is revenue, this is not just logical, it’s right. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but it doesn’t seem right to me. Politicians have pretty much set a precedent that giving money is a speech act (to protect their campaign contributions). If that is the case, this law is infringing on the freedom of speech. But from what I understand, the bums/panhandlers in SA are some of the worst in the nation (by worst, I mean most hostile) and this would seem like an effective deterrent from giving them money. On the other hand, what right does the state have to prohibit this act? Balancing justice and pragmatism is difficult.

And in Michigan, they are using municipal laws to subvert a state law regarding the legality of medical marijuana. Of course, any of these laws, ordinances and zoning issues will eventually be thrown out by some judge; it just seems childish of the anti-pot crowd. The thing about laws are that they can be passed even if they are unconstitutional – and remain in effect until somebody takes a court case up high enough with it. Sure, organizations like the ACLU (I’m a card-carrying member myself, so this is no rip on them) can try to go in and fight off every case, but that’s kind of wasteful. The teetotallers are just fighting a war of attrition now, hoping that those who put liberty above all else will just give up because it’s so difficult.

The system of checks and balances works, but not nearly quickly enough. Unconstitutional laws can sit on the books for ages just because nobody has the money or motivation to take them to the supreme court. This is wrong.

And this year, I think it will only get worse.


Social Conservatives: Liberty is not just for You.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I had originally planned on posting some really kickass video from Reason TV, but I was blindsided by PajamasMedia.  This is truly demoralizing and defies any sense of reason or liberty: Libertarians Need to Rethink Support for Drug Legalization. Why? Here’s what happened:

  • guy was getting arrested, freaked out because he was carrying a bag of marijuana and didn’t want to get caught with it.
  • He eats it.
  • He chokes on the bag.

Obviously the libertarian argument is that if marijuana wasn’t illegal, this would never have happened.  Which is logical.

The problem with this Pajamas Media blog post is that they are trying to join social conservativism into libertarianism and distance themselves from the GOP.

The position on the legalization of marijuana provides the point of departure from the traditional libertarianism of Barry Goldwater. In abandoning the duty to enforce social order, today’s libertarians have made a devil’s pact with the pro-drug forces of George Soros and company.

Traditional libertarianism holds individual property rights, especially those of one’s own person to be the first and foremost concern. If the state were to prevent you from doing things because they were “unsafe” then they might as well be telling you that you don’t have the liberty to control your own person.

They forget that the moral order they have inherited is put at even further risk as laws change to allow more destructive behavior.

That’s right because as individuals we are allowed to choose self-destructive behavior if we see fit. Morality and justice have nothing to do with whether it is pretty, nice or gives you the warm and fuzzies.

There is too much stupid to nit-pick. Get your religion away from libertarianism, go read Anarchy, State and Utopia and drink yourselves to death.

The comment thread itself is a fucking goldmine (hint: they tear the blogger a new one). PajamasMedia needs to reel its bloggers like Mary Grabar in a bit.  This one pretty much nails it (commenter ‘spindok’):

The author simply does not understand Libertarianism. Her entire argument is collectivist and intent on preserving “our way of life”, “foundations of society” and “judeo-christian heritage”.

These things are not meaningful in the Libertarian context. It is like arguing against Capitalism because it would destroy the obviously desirable goal of “state control of the means of production”.

To the Libertarian way of thinking pot may very well be bad for you and legalizing it may not produce the best results for society as a whole, but that is beside the point.

Libertarianism is not utopian. It accepts that social outcomes may or may not be “better” if we respect individual liberties. It is a principled moral argument, not an empirical one. Society and government cannot have rights, only people can and yours stop at my nose.

A Libetarian can either cringe or laugh when the author says that Pot, or something else, needs to be illegal to preserve “our” culture, but would only take that as evidence for the dangers of collectivist thinking.

Watch what happens if I propose that I dont care what “our” culture says, but “my” culture says differently. She will tell me to pack my bags and go elsewhere and if I dont follow the rules “we” will be happy to lock “me” up because although I have done no harm to anyone except perhaps myself I have not done my share in preserving our culture, our biblical values, or something else of ours.

Well said. I don’t give a crap about “Judeo-Christian values” because I am neither Jewish nor a Christian. Let’s talk reason.

85. gs:

Pajamas commenter Kazooskibum puts it well. Remember: The issue is never the issue. The issue is control.

Bravo! Then this guy comes in, and he pretty much gets ripped apart. I’ll quote the part that I can disagree with personally:

86. archer52
Most libertarians I know that like the free drug argument have two common traits. One- they usually use weed or something along that line. Not the hardcore crack/meth/oxy drugs that kill people. Just weed, or as one of the comments said- a vegetable. Two- The active libertarian does not work or live or suffer dealing with the hardcore drug user. Their argument is a classroom argument, not a real world argument. I’ve seen the end result of hardcore drug use. Meth, crack, prescription pills. I’ve actually seen it kill the user and more often kill an innocent. Legalizing anything with that kind of power and put it in the hands of people who can’t control it is stupid and dangerous. We do live in a society where our right to screw up ends at the nose of the guy next to us. There has to be controls on behavior.

I work with crackheads every day, and you know what? There would be a fraction of the crime there is in this town if drugs were for sale in a guarded liquor store. The argument is not about the drugs themselves, but about the criminology associated with drug use, dealing and trafficking. Major drug companies don’t shoot each other up or rob each other or accept stolen televisions for payment.

The post goes on to decry porn, stripping and other assorted fun activities. It’s a fucking mess. I quit.


Struggling just makes it worse – the nature of rape

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Unlike Rob over at To the People, I think this is great:

PALMDALE, Calif. — Schoolteacher Shana Richey misses the playroom she decorated with Glamour Girl decals for her daughters. Fireman Jay Fernandez misses the custom putting green he installed in his backyard.

But ever since they quit paying their mortgages and walked away from their homes, they’ve discovered that giving up on the American dream has its benefits.

Both now live on the 3100 block of Club Rancho Drive in Palmdale, where a terrible housing market lets them rent luxurious homes — one with a pool for the kids, the other with a golf-course view — for a fraction of their former monthly payments.

Rob hates them for exploiting the situation.

But let us look at this from a practical angle. What does failure teach us? Not to fuck up again, hopefully. A single failure might not deture a person, and will certainly not deture millions of people. What it takes to teach millions of people a lesson by forcing them to suffer through a hopeless, downward spiral together and force them to realize it while its happening. Horror makes you scream and fight back. Terror paralyzes you and the mind reels in horror while the body is unable to move.

And what better way to teach people that government subsidies, welfare and bailouts are bad policy? There isn’t. That’s why the best solution is to encourage it. We should all suck on the teat as hard as we can, bleed it dry, watch it turn to dust and cheer on the collapse of a flawed system.

Then social selection can resume its role of culling the herd. Policies that prevent failure fosters a culture that believes, deep down believes, that everyone can be a winner. Hell, its part of the reason for the horrible status of the American education system. And it will only get worse. The bailouts that essentially resulted in millions of US bonds simply evaporating is another example.

The simple truth is that not everyone can be a winner in a world where resources are finite. Attempting to break this rule through clever market regulation can only result in an even more catastrophic failure than could naturally take place.

Some are leaving behind their homes and mortgages right away, while others are simply halting payments until the bank kicks them out. That’s freeing up cash to use in other ways.

Ms. Richey’s family of five used some of the money to buy season tickets to Disneyland, and plans to take a Carnival cruise to Mexico in March. Mr. Fernandez takes his girlfriend out to dinner more frequently. “We’re saving lots of money,” Ms. Richey says.

Who is the chump? The guy accepting the free shit other people are willing to give him and and not thinking twice about it, or the guy who is handing it over?  Both are.  They’ve been duped by a shitty system.  Both groups will most likely suffer greatly for it.  One, immediately because he’s being forced to give and the other because he’s becoming complacent.  Self-sufficiency and independence will never lead to these ends.

I’m not a gun-toting TDTSHTF (The Day The Shit Hits The Fan) survivalist guy and I don’t expect the collapse to happen any time soon. But I’d like it to. Then again, I have very little to lose under such circumstances, and much to gain.  I am a poorly paid non-profit worker, after all.

And with that, I’ve been inspired to write a zany short story. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get high and eat 39 cent macaroni and cheese because I’m crawling my way out of a pile of debt I got myself before I had even heard the terms ‘free market’ or ‘libertarianism.’  Tootles!