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Journal: Communist Manifesto Reading Club Part I

Journal by smitty_one_each
Welcome to the Communist Manifesto reading club.
1. This is a team effort. I'm doing this in conjunction with damn_registrars. I'm willing to give this tract more than a casual skim, but only if those at least posing as sympathizers with Marx & Engels are playing along. That is, I'll read this text, but not as an example of stupid human tricks, m'kay?
2. Participants shall capture the "next few" paragraphs, up to ~300 words or so, such that we're including and analyzing a small, but substantial, amount of material.
3. We'll endeavor to read this in the classically Platonic mode of dispassionate inquiry. Biases happen, but like spice in food, need not require every dish to be inedible. I'm not sympathetic toward the authors, but let's give them their due, not doo-doo.
4. Installments will be whenever, hopefully not at a frequency lower than weekly. No one is under any sort of obligation in any direction, but I'll start this. If the other half of the team turns out to be a dud, I will not accuse him of being out of character.

Manifesto of the Communist Party

A spectre is haunting Europe â" the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.
Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?
Two things result from this fact:
I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power.
II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself.
To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London and sketched the following manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.

"A spectre is haunting Europe. . ."
Marx starts off a bit 'tinfoil hat', but:
(a) this is not a boring academic text, and a ball-grabber is perfectly reasonable for an opener,
(b) there is no reason to doubt the assertion that the PTB were as keen then on stomping political expression as the IRS has done to the Tea Parties in our day.
(c) Bismarck's subsequent creation of the Social Welfare State in Germany is a tacit acknowledgment of the pressures at work.

"Where is the opposition. . ."
This is sort of like how capitalism is currently disparaged in academia and the media. There must always be an Other, no? Let me add that I'm noting this as a pattern, without supporting it. Because I'm more comfortable with the group/self dichotomy as the source of friction than I am with Us. vs. Them, which seems more subjective, and prone to manipulation by pointy-bearded losers down at the coffee shop.

Chapter I. Bourgeois and Proletarians

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.

"The history of all hitherto. . ."
I'm going to stipulate right here that the C.M. is NOT a full historical treatment. Thus, I'll provisionally accept this assertion. You kind of have to, or the exercise of reading further is dead in the water. That said, it's fair to say that Marx neither justifies this assertion here, nor points to elsewhere in his emissions that this wrenching course change in historical analysis is supported. Also, the science on this one isn't settled. Disbelief is officially suspended. I will henceforth use the acronym "DIOS" whenever reading C.M. and experiencing food arriving in my mouth from a non-standard direction.

"Freeman and slave. . ."
What bothers me about this enumeration is the attempt to sell the static nature of the societal org-chart. I'm just not sure the classes that Marx is alluding to were as statically compiled as he contends. Men rose and fell continually, their women with them. That "guild-master and journeyman" existed meant more of a career path than the master/servant relationship Marx wants it to.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society
Yeah? So? Among the bigger modern yawners is the Myth of the Noble Savage where there is an allusion to some Edenic golden age existence where the air was filled with "Let the Good Times Roll" by the Cars, and people were all swell to each other and stuff, prior to this pesky capitalism and the technology it breeds.
Well, put your money where your mouth is, say I. If you want to live an Old Order Amish then Be. My. Flipping. Guest. Just go do it. Knock your socks off. But don't sit there in the coffee shop, sipping a latte, bemoaning the weight of technology on your iPad, and expect other than contempt from me.

So, there you have it. Over to you damn_registrars.

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Journal: As a conservative, I take full responsibility for ebola 10

Journal by smitty_one_each
Liberalsâ(TM) new message: You know who is responsible for Ebola outbreak in America? Conservatives
Never mind that I really don't actually wish harm to anyone; have vulnerable children; understand that ebola is likely to hurt the half of the economy still working, and not the couch potatoes. Oh no. The Holy Narrative must be protected. So, dutifully, I assume the role of bitter, raaaaacist, misogynist cling-on, Bible in my left hand, .45 in my right, and strike my best straw-man for you.
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Journal: Abject moron claims control over 1/26th of the alphabet 40

Journal by smitty_one_each
You have to enjoy the full context of this cranial rectalitis:
damn_registrars: "You were one of slashdot's foremost purveyors of President Lawnchair's pointless TLA"
me: "FDR, LBJ, BHO, WTF?"
d_r: "We have had the discussion before on why that argument holds no water. Bringing it back up is pointless. Take your fear mongering to a different discussion."
me: "That argument, and the rest of my post, is thoroughly buoyant."
d_r: "Wrong, wrong, wrong. You are full of shit on that one for the same reason you were full of shit on it before. You gave examples of three past presidents who are known by their initials, and I pointed out why they are known by their initials -
The all came from families where others with the same last name were president and/or commonly known as holding elected office in DC
You cannot say the same about Obama. Our government has never had anyone else elected by the last name of Obama. Your argument is invalid, end of story."

Listen, Hot Rod: you don't get to make some arbitrary distinction understood only by you, take the American tradition of referring to Presidents by initials, and bully people into not saying BHO.
Now take your bullying and get thee hence, creep.
You're just being peevish because you straight up lost the 'tantamount' discussion.
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Journal: I Sure Some Sycophant Will Claim They Were "Just Doing Their Job" 102

Journal by smitty_one_each

So, to sum up: it is likely that members of the Obama administration committed federal crimes by illegally sharing confidential taxpayer information with the White House for political purposes. With luck, we will find out for sure before our next president is inaugurated. The alternative is that a high-ranking White House official fabricated a baseless smear against the administrationâ(TM)s political opponents and passed it on to reporters to further the administrationâ(TM)s political agenda. Any way you look at it, this is a shameful episode in the already bleak history of the Obama administration.

Come on, defend it like it was the targeting of the Tea Parties, and collecting taxes is just what the IRS does, or something. Every time you use the Nuremberg Defense, down in Hell, Satan has a chuckle. Losers.

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Journal: Little historical help out there 12

Journal by smitty_one_each

I had said

Maybe we can agree that, as is nearly always the case, there was a spectrum of motives [for/against slavery]. If boiling it all down to "plain old economics" was the sum, then the 3/5ths Compromise would not have been as contentious in [debates about the Constitution in] 1787.

Now, I realize that there is this concerted effort out there to try to hang guilt on contemporary Americans. I've two words in reply to these efforts, the second of which is "you". Doubling down on my comment above, no one is virtuous; not me, not the slave traders then, not Abraham Lincoln, not those flinging guilt today. But do note such figures as Luther Martin:

Martin was an active participant in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was an especially strong proponent of proportional representation in Congress and fought to prohibit the further importation of slaves. The slave trade, wrote Martin, was "a solemn mockery of and insult to God." Slavery itself was "inconsistent with the genius of republicanism ⦠as it lessens the sense of the equal rights of mankind and habituates us to tyranny and oppression." He would later become honorary counselor of the Maryland Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. Ultimately, Martin opposed ratification of the Constitution and became a prominent Anti-Federalist in Maryland. He authored four open letters to the citizens of Maryland in which he addressed his concern that a strong federal government was bound to expand in size and scope and thereby threaten the liberties of all. His voice was a part of the larger national chorus that supported the Constitution as long as it came with a bill of rights.

If you aren't willing to step back and view the sweep of events from Independence through the Civil War through the Civil Rights movement to the Racism Industrial Complex of our day, that juxtaposes Ferguson, MO to ISIS, then I think you're missing some major points.

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Journal: For crying out loud in the dark, NYT 32

Journal by smitty_one_each

It seems that the Paper of Record had no record of the broad coalition built by George W. Bush for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, including ground troops from more than a dozen nations, when it attempted to explain the difference between the approaches of Bush and Barack Obama on war in Iraq and now Syria.

I'll concede that George W. Bush answered the question: "Does the U.S. have any business engaging in nation building?" with "abso-effing-lutely NOT".
However, I think that the Paper of Record has so thoroughly soiled itself that even its staunchest, vertebrae-free sycophant apologists here on Slashdot can just lay by their dishes.
This embarrassment on the basic facts of the previous decade underscores the NYT's basic unreliability, and the uselessness it brings to discussions of, say, Benghazi.

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Journal: I'm shocked, SHOCKED! to hear they sifted the docs 3

Journal by smitty_one_each

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to "separate" damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

I sure am glad that both Harry "the Cadaver" Reid, plus Pravda on the Hudson (NYT) did such a stellar job on the case. They, and the sad little sycophant throne sniffers one encounters on this site, are encouraged to locate a large supply of shame and prepare to feel it in a big way.
On the other hand, the investigation could exonerate the whole sorry lying lot of them.
I may be wrong in my assessment, and will be happy to eat crow.
Also, the sun may rise in the West.

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid