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Journal: Cardow cartoon cannot be unseen 14

Journal by smitty_one_each
Click at own risk:

While the 2013 "Lie of the Year" was Obamaâ(TM)s pledge that you can keep your doctor and your health insurance, the 2014 "Weasel of the Year" must surely be Herr Gruber, architect of fraud and deceit.

I guess, since damn_registrars doesn't really fib (does he?) and Gruber is an Economist from MIT, that MIT is some kind of an insurance company, right?
I recall going to my soon-to-be-ex Congresscritter's town hall on the Affordable Care Act, and being verbally accosted by an Obama drone of working for an insurance company because I opposed ObamaCare. #GoodNotGoodTimes

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Journal: Does Being Honest About A River Of Lies Count As Integrity? 33

Journal by smitty_one_each

In a recently uncovered video taken at an event in October 2013, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber says that lack of transparency was a key advantage in helping get the law passed.
"This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes," Gruber stated. "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage," he explained adding, "Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really critical to getting the thing to pass." Given a choice between honestly informing the public and passing the bill, Gruber says he'd rather have the bill.

Would that I'd confidence the Republican's didn't secretly agree.
Anybody who thinks good can come from this river of lies is an utter fool.

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Journal: Keeping the Pimp Hand Strong 9

Journal by smitty_one_each

In June 2012, Mr. Walker became the only governor in American history to survive a recall election--initiated to reverse his enormously controversial 2011 budget-repair bill, Act 10, which limited the collective-bargaining powers of public-employee unions, as well as automatic dues collection and health and pension benefits. Big Labor and national Democrats returned this year to avenge their loss, though the irony was that Ms. Burke declined to relitigate Act 10 or even take a coherent position. The election turned on competing accounts of economic progress under Mr. Walker, such as job creation and rising household incomes.

Like the Confederate States of America, the Wisconsin unions don't seem to be on the correct side of the argument.
Walker is like Chris Christie, with less bloat in the ego and waist.
Presidential timber? Heck. To. The. YEAH!

And I fully expect at least one person on here to blow a hole through his Depends on this JE.

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Journal: 6) I believe in God. 48

Journal by smitty_one_each

Read Marx and discover a mythology that is irreconcilable with any other narrative, including the Bible. Hang out in leftist internet environments, and you will discover a toxic bath of irrational hatred for the Judeo-Christian tradition. You will discover an alternate vocabulary in which Jesus is a "dead Jew on a stick" or a "zombie" and any belief is an arbitrary sham, the equivalent of a recently invented "flying spaghetti monster." You will discover historical revisionism that posits Nazism as a Christian denomination. You will discover a rejection of the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western Civilization and American concepts of individual rights and law. You will discover a nihilist void, the kind of vacuum of meaning that nature abhors and that, all too often, history fills with the worst totalitarian nightmares, the rough beast that slouches toward Bethlehem.

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Journal: Context? Context? Hahahaha 20

Journal by smitty_one_each
What a goofball's goofball:

Jesus said render unto "Caesar" that which is Caesar's. In this context, Caesar isn't just referring to one individual, but to the government which he stands for. It is through government that Caesar ever could claim authority such that you have to render undo him anything.

Look. At. The. Context:

15. Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
16. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
17. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
18. But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
19. Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
20. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
21. They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
22. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

A few points:
15. The Pharisees came for a bit of gotcha journalism.
16. They start by buttering Jesus up.
17. Then the gotcha question: as a matter of Jewish religious law (because the taxes in question were collected via tax farming, not a proper legal code) is it kosher to pay taxes?
20. Jesus specifically asks whose image is on the coin before him. Jesus is explicitly referring to the individual on the face of the coin. He is doing it precisely NOT to be referring to the government in question, damn_registrars. You have the scene Completely. Backward.
21. By personalizing the question in this way, Jesus both directly answered it, and utterly refuted some dishonest interlocutors.

Aside: are you going to pick up the Communist Manifesto Reading Group project after the election?

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Journal: Just How Blatant Must The Democrats Be? 31

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 39

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.

Part 1
Part 2
Pastable version:
<a href="">Part 1</a>
<a href="">Part 2</a>

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Journal: Communist Manifesto Reading Club Part I 28

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.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein