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Journal: Just How Blatant Must The Democrats Be? 7

Journal by smitty_one_each

National Review Online is reporting that the FBI (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DOJ) has made the highly unusual decision to disclose their investigation into Mike Rounds (pictured above), a Republican Senate candidate in South Dakota, less than a week before next Tuesday's vote.
The alleged misconduct being investigated is somewhat obscure-something involving a work visa program in the state-but it is notable that the alleged misconduct was to have occurred three years ago, and the FBI's announcement comes a year after the state's own attorney general closed its own investigation without bringing any charges.

I am sure some sycophant on here will offer a Nuremberg defense.

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Journal: [TCM] Communist Manifesto Reading Club Part 3 36

Journal by smitty_one_each
Still in Chapter 1 of The Communist Manifesto:

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his âoenatural superiorsâ, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous âoecash paymentâ. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom â" Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.

The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which reactionaries so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what manâ(TM)s activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

"The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations."
It almost sounds as though Marx is an apologist for Feudalism here.
(a) I doubt that he seriously is, and
(b) I completely disagree that the bourgeoisie behaved or continue to behave in any manner substantially differnet from those they supplanted.
(c) However, this passage is consistent with the rhetorical need to instantiate the bourgeoisie as a new object for reader consideration.

"The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo. . ."
Has it?

"The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation."
Karl the Kloset SoKon! It's almost as though he views the bourgeoisie as proto-Progressives, or something.

"The bourgeoisie has disclosed. . ."
Really, really needs some kind of reference as to what he means. Is Marx a crypto-Luddite?

"The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production. . ."
I don't actually think Marx is in any sense a Luddite. Rather, I think he's trying to strum the Luddite strings in his audience with this technological angst talk.

"The need of a constantly expanding market for its products. . ."
Well, if we're supposed to genuflect to the unions for the 40-hour work week, then let's at least offer a nod to the risk takers and experimenters who've actually *enabled* the modern world we like.
Or one could just head off to Papua-New Guinea, I suppose.
I can track Marx's point, insofar as having your bling steal your soul is an eternal tragedy--yes.
But bling as such is neither good nor evil, and not explicitely sinful, kept in perspective.

Installments:
Part 1
Part 2
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>

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Journal: Communist Manifesto Reading Club Part I 26

Journal by smitty_one_each
Welcome to the Communist Manifesto reading club.
Rules:
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.
Selah.
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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.
BHO!
BHO!
BHO!
Jehova!
Jehova!
Jehova!
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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