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Journal: WTF, WI? 1

Journal by smitty_one_each

The state Government Accountability Board's top officials proceeded with a secret probe into coordination between Gov. Scott Walkerâ(TM)s campaign and conservative political groups for months without authorization from the six retired judges who run the board, court records unsealed Friday allege.
The documents filed by a target of the investigation also allege that the board voted to end its involvement in the probe in July but that staff continued to work on it.
The records add ammunition to Republicans in the state Legislature seeking to overhaul or abolish Wisconsinâ(TM)s elections and ethics watchdog agency.

I can't fathom the disquiet about secret investigations.You know darn good and well that those Lefties felt justified when they did it. Isn't that what matters? As long as our moral superiors say it's important, I gotta figure it's important.

User Journal

Journal: Karma: Excellent 4

Journal by damn_registrars
I'm sure the fact that my 6 most recent comments were all moderated down "flamebait" in spite of being in different discussions and written on different days is just coincidental. Nonetheless, dear idiot, you haven't moved my karma. I told you that before.
User Journal

Journal: Where were we? 11

Journal by Captain Splendid

Ah yes, we've just completed the boring off-year political cycle, which means it's time for the billion dollar roller coaster ride that is the quadrennial US presidential contest.

Except that, thanks to the right-wing retards, all the excitement has been well and truly drained out of what used to be one of my favourite pastimes. Their race to the bottom, still unchecked, means that Hillary Rodham Clinton is your next Oval Office Occupant. How the fuck am I supposed to enjoy the ups and downs of what used to be way more of an "Any Given Sunday" situation when the results are so predictable?

"Bu...but...but", I hear you say.

Oh fine, I'll humour your delusional asses.

HILLARY CAN BE PRIMARIED FROM THE LEFT. "It happened before! Liberals aren't fond of hawks!" And who the fuck is gonna primary her? Biden? Warren? Cuomo? Don't make me laugh.

A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN 2 YEARS! Sure it can. But apart form the fact that that argument cuts all kinds of ways and is thus useless, the "something" that's going to need to happen for HRC not to be elected Prez is going to have to be Extinction-Level Event sized. You go ahead and count your black swans before they hatch, see what that gets you.

PEOPLE JUST DON'T LIKE HER. Well yeah, if you're Railgunner. Meanwhile, to ordinary people, she's just a high-visibility politician.

YEAH BUT $REPUBLICAN CONTENDER CAN TAKE HER! Really? Let's see who's currently in the lineup:

Rick Perry: Either he's burnishing his stock to improve his post-political career earnings, or one of his advisers thinks they've ironed out all those glitches that made him a laughingstock even to members of his own party. The only way he makes it past Super Tuesday is because he has a nice smile.

Scott Walker: The stunning thing about the Wisconsin Governor is that he's somehow managed to convince donors that winning over white people in a medium-size state as well as surviving a recall election makes him both unstoppable on the way to the White House, and secretly the most amazing potential president EVAR. I really hope he does run, watching the 'electability' bloom come off that rose will be fun to read about.

Jeb Bush: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. The base won't even touch him with a ten foot pole, and the general electorate, faced with two different versions of recycled crap, will always vote for the one they remember more fondly.

Chris Christie: Oooooh, a Republican even Democrats could vote for! Yeah, maybe 10 or 20 years ago. Anyway, forgetting the millions of problems that would hound a Christie run, I suspect his biggest will be he doesn't' have the stomach or the endurance to really go the distance. In fact, I think he's also smart enough to know not to run, which is sad, because he'd be the only one with any moderate cred, and non-crazy Republicans are already feeling pretty unloved these days.

Rand Paul: Never thought I'd see the day when a presidential candidate came along that would make Ron Paul look sane. I guess crazy is contagious.

Ted Cruz: Let's pretend for a minute that Ted isn't the poster child for everything that's wrong about the GOP these days, the US electorate will never overwhelmingly vote for a Canadian with a whiny voice.

Paul Ryan: Remember Sarah Palin? You don't? There you go.

Marco Rubio: Theoretically, he's almost perfect. And in a non-insane world, he would be the man to beat this cycle. And even then, a disciplined Clinton machine could still keep him 5 points away.

Someone wake me for 2024. maybe things will get interesting again.

Republicans

Journal: Dick "Smitty" Cheney 94

Journal by damn_registrars
Shortly after the release of the Senate investigation into CIA torture, we hear from former president Dick Cheney on his thoughts on the matter :

Former Vice President Dick Cheney called a Senate panel's report on U.S. interrogation tactics during George W. Bush's administration is "deeply flawed" and a "terrible piece of work."

"The report's full of crap," he said in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday evening.

So how well versed is he on this "terrible piece of work"?

Cheney said he'd "seen parts of it. I read summaries of it."

Sounds familiar, there... His closing Bauer-ish remarks summarize his world pretty well:

He said he has no regrets about the tactics used after the Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks.

"I think what needed to be done was done," Cheney said. "I think we were perfectly justified in doing it. And I'd do it again in a minute."

User Journal

Journal: DB Cooper lives? 1

Journal by tqft

Sorry for the clickbait. Just a write up from a book coming out soon.

I think I just like how the story won't die.

http://dailyreview.crikey.com.au/rundle-the-43-year-old-legend-of-d-b-cooper/16590?utm_source=The+Rundown&utm_campaign=503d1bd720-The_Rundown_Tuesday_2_December2_12_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_33b9e8bf4f-503d1bd720-81103281

Crime

Journal: Legislating from the other side of the bench? 27

Journal by damn_registrars
A US Supreme Court Justice made a statement on the purpose of a grand jury a while back:

It is the grand jury's function not 'to enquire ⦠upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,' or otherwise to try the suspect's defenses, but only to examine 'upon what foundation [the charge] is made' by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice  360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.

This was brought up in the light of the Ferguson grand jury hearing where the prosecutor notably went out of his way to bring up exculpatory evidence when the DA said:

And you must find probable cause to believe that Darren Wilson did not act in lawful self-defense and you must find probable cause to believe that Darren Wilson did not use lawful force in making an arrest. If you find those things, which is kind of like finding a negative, you cannot return an indictment on anything or true bill unless you find both of those things. Because both are complete defenses to any offense and they both have been raised in his, in the evidence.

It appears the DA, knowing that he was being asked to bite the hand that feeds him, decided to either discard legal precedent or to make up his own.

And if you're wondering who the liberal scum supreme court member was that made the earlier statement? That came from Antonin Scalia, in a 1992 case.

User Journal

Journal: The Leonine Contract 9

Journal by Marxist Hacker 42

It's a pretty standard trope, but one that libertarians do not seem to believe can possibly exist. And it is a blind spot in economic justice in the United States of America.
 
 

The Lion and his Fellow Hunters, By Aesop
Once, a lion, a fox, a jackal, and a wolf went hunting. They caught a stag and killed it, and quartered the meat. "This quarter," said the lion, "is for me, as I am the King of Beasts. And this quarter is mine as the arbiter of the spoils. The third quarter is mine because of my part in chasing down the stag. And as for the fourth â" well, I'd like to see any of you dare to put so much as a paw on it." The other three animals were bitterly disappointed, but they slunk away, unwilling or unable to fight for their share of the meat.

Just because you help a lion doesn't mean he'll share.

 
So remember boys and girls, just because you help a rich man to run his business, does not mean he'll share the profits with you. Which leads us right back to an entirely Different Leo and his successors.

Republicans

Journal: President Lawnchair in Cartoons, again 22

Journal by damn_registrars
Not that it hasn't been described before, but this one from Chris Britt very accurately describes why President Lawnchair has been underimpressive for actual liberals.

Really, he remained in office by a combination of
  • A general lack of liberals in this country
    • ...and...
  • The far more dramatic threat that the other conservatives posed to the ability of us few remaining liberals who wanted to be able to continue to exist.
User Journal

Journal: [TCM] Communist Manifesto Reading Club, Part 5 20

Journal by smitty_one_each
We've passed the halfway point in the first chapter. Golf clap. Let's continue the journey. I'm going to use a lone capital B (Das Kapital) for "bourgeoisie":

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.

So Marx is against urbanization, without explitely saying why, other than crediting his B strawman with the development, while decrying the "idiocy" of rural life.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralised the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier, and one customs-tariff.

Well, that blows away a lot of thought which credited technology with liberating agrarian labor, in addition to providing new work in cities, for the urbanization. Is technology, itself, a B conspiracy in the B movie of Industrialization?

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground--what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

Marx's genius is elevating the B to near-Cthulhu levels of diabolical power. Here we are decrying all of the improvements that have made modern life possible, AND set the stage for the reactionary counter-charge that labor is being exploited and Gaia molested.

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

So Feudalism--it's not clear whether it was as bad as the B, or merely a precursor--was superceded by this hellish B force. As far as I can tell, Marx is noting a technological progression, and attributing societal side-effects to his B group. Has he confused horse and cart here? Perhaps. Is this a deliberate rhetorical choice? Let's keep the disbelief suspended.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class.

Heinlein replies:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded--here and there, now and then--are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity--the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.

It's as though Marx views technological improvement as though it were nuclear fission. Was he a proto-Luddite?

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

Here is a critical point: Marx has said that the B are bad, and will now be hoisted upon their own petard. But who is managing that? If the B were so clever as to fell Feudalism, how is the B to be eliminated by less than an Ueber-B?

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons--the modern working class--the proletarians.

Oh, the Proletariat is going to be bigger and tougher enough to slay the B dragon, while somehow not actually becoming even worse than the B, even though the slope of history sketched by Marx seems rather negative.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed â" a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

Wait--are the Proletariat the victims, or the conquerors of the B.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of machinery, etc.

OK, here is what I don't get. If "individual character" and "charm for the workman" are a key component of work in the market, why aren't the workers in the proletariat leveraging that? I'm talking craft beer, artisinal cheese, and hand-made furniture.
That is, Marx seems to appeal to fear of obsolescence in the proletariat, rather than appealing to individual greatness and pursuit of excellence.

Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.

One of the interesting aspects is how readily Marx both (a) rejects individual responsibilty for life outcomes, and (b) places individuals like sheep in the B factory pens in support of his argument.
In this, Marx seems ready to agree with the B, while purporting to attack them.
The contemporary version is rioters destroying small businesses in Ferguson, in the name of "Fighting the Power". Because #Justice.

Previously:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Pastable version:
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~smitty_one_each/journal/1342943">Part 1</a>
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~damn_registrars/journal/1343899">Part 2</a>
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~smitty_one_each/journal/1344465">Part 3</a>
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~damn_registrars/journal/1553731">Part 4</a>

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