Won’t you give too?

I am going to contribute Something of immense value to the Katrina escapees, and I encourage everyone within viewing distance of my words to perform the same selfless act of generosity.

I know the thing to which I refer is of immense value, because men and women are dying and being killed for it all over the globe, and have done so through history, and gladly so. And death in Its service sees no end into the future.

It is this one Item that powers civilization, and divides men from brutish, cannibalistic beasts (or so I am told). It is so powerful, that it alone can hold back tyranny, poverty, crime, and even the weather.

Therefore, I am contributing my Vote to the throng of Vote-dependant humanity now being flushed from the Gulf area. The Disenfranchised will now become the Overly Franchised, thanks to my contribution.

I neither desire nor expect applause for this sweet, powerful, and public contribution. All I ask is that everyone follow my example. Your vote might be your way of helping the Unfortunate in society, but it will mean more when you actually give it to the Unfortunate so they can help themselves to a lot more.

Good night, and please tip your waiter/editor…

Hurricane Handout Horror

A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare

Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

An Objectivist Review

by Robert Tracinski | The Intellectual Activist
September 2, 2005

It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can’t blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city’s infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists–myself included–did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina.

This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong. The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view. The man-made disaster is the welfare state. For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency–indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies.

That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:

“Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

“The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire…. “Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders. “‘These troops are…under my orders to restore order in the streets,’ she said. ‘They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.’ ”

The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows National Guard troops, with rifles and armored vests, riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to drive away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Super Dome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them? My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage last night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. “The projects,” as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.) What Sherri was getting from last night’s television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of “the projects.” Then the “crawl”–the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels–gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or so who remained, a large number were from the city’s public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then gave me an additional, crucial fact: early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city’s jails–so they just let many of them loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations–that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit–but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals–and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep–on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters–not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American “individualism.” But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism. What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider “normal” behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don’t sit around and complain that the government hasn’t taken care of them. They don’t use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don’t, because they don’t own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are
going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them. The welfare state–and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages–is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

raoul&betty barker
rabet1955@earthlink.net
EarthLink Revolves Around You.

Note well the parasite horde

Boston DSA Forum
AFTER CAPITALISM – SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVES A Talk and Discussion with David Schweickart (Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University, Chicago) plus a panel of discussants:
Ellen Frank (Dollars & Sense),
Noemi Gizspenc (Ownership Associates)

Thursday, Mar 3, 2005
at Tellus Institute, 11 Arlington St., Boston, MA 7:00 (promptly)-8:30 Program Reception w/ light refreshments to follow

The victory of global capital and its primary theology ­ classical economics often seems complete. We’ve all heard Maggie Thatcher’s
dictum: that there is no alternative. But is that right? Is this unjust, plutocratic system, with wealth and power for the few, and hunger, incessant labor and insecurity for the many, really the best we can do? Now, more than ever, we need study and discussion of other conceptions.

In this event, David Schweickart will develop his ideas for an alternative to global capitalism. Production of goods and services would be primarily by worker cooperatives; distribution by a market system; investment would be controlled by democratically accountable banks. Prof. Schweickart, in his books “Against Capitalism” and “After Capitalism” has shown that this is a feasible system, and superior to capitalism by every meaningful social and economic criterion. His presentation will be followed by a discussion.
Copies of “After Capitalism” will be available for purchase at the event.

Sponsors:
Democratic Socialists of America,
Tellus Institute, Massachusetts
Global Action, GEO (Grassroots Economic Organizing), Dollars & Sense, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism (Boston chapter), Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Boston).

For more info: http://dsaboston.org/calendar.htm.

Democratic Socialists of America
P.O. Box 51356, Boston MA 02205 (617) 354-5078

The author:

David Schweickart is a Professor of Philosophy Department at Loyola University Chicago, with earned Ph.D.’s in Mathematics and Philosophy.
His primary areas of research are Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy and Economics, and Marxism. He also has major interests in Feminist Theory,Existentialism, Critical Theory, and Race and Racism.
He has published several books, chapters, and articles on these topics.
His primary exposition of Economic Democracy, Against Capitalism, has been translated into both Spanish and Chinese. Dr. Schweickart has served as faculty advisor of Loyola’s Amnesty International chapter and the Loyola Organization in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, and has co-chaired the Committee on the Racial Climate at Loyola. He is an active member and program organizer for the Conference of North American and Cuban Philosophers and Social Scientists, held annually in Havana, as well as for the Radical Philosophy Association.

The panelists:

Ellen Frank is an activist left economist. She is a member of the collective that publishes Dollars & Sense magazine, for which she also writes the regular “Doctor Dollar” column. She has been active in the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), and the Center for Popular Economics. She was a professor of economics for many years at Emmanuel College, in Boston, and is presently Senior Economic Analyst at the Poverty Institute at Rhode Island College. She is also a member of Democratic Socialists of America, and often makes herself available as a speaker at events sponsored by the Boston local. She is the author of “The Raw Deal: How Myths and Misinformation about the Deficit, Inflation and Wealth Impoverish America”, published by Beacon Press in June of 2004.

Noemi Giszpenc graduated from MIT in 1998 with degrees in economics, science journalism, and chemistry. After graduating she worked as a research assistant at the World Bank and as an associate editor at the Nonprofit Quarterly (a national publication for non-profit managers).
She currently works at Ownership Associates Inc, a consulting firm addressing the needs of companies with employee ownership. Noémi is a coordinating member of the Sustainable Future Forum, an action and discussion group on issues of sustainability.

Visit our Web Site: WWW.DSAUSA.ORG

Actung herr Judenvestors

From Taipan Group
If you’re still not convinced that Europe’s economic leadership has taken leave of its senses, German chancellor Gerhard Schröder today had something for you: At Davos, he proposed an international tax on “speculation.”

Speculation, of course, is the old realsozialist term for “trading.”

The funds created would supposedly be used to provide “debt relief” for African countries… notwithstanding the fact that since WWII, western democracies have donated about a dozen Marshall Plans worth of development funds to corrupt Third World dictators whose unsavory practices the financial communities would be asked to subsidize with this tax.

Like a good little junior partner, Schröder echoed the proposal of French president Jacques Chirac, who had also proposed introducing a 0.1% tax on international “speculation” gains earlier this week. Which throws some light on the rationale: After losing Iraq as a major customer for French and German weaponry and “dual use” industrial equipment, what better way to free up the funds of other Third World dictatorships to buy Exocets “Made in France” than saddle the financial community with their debt?

I’m thinking “Posse” – Any takers?

Most of y’all don’t know me. Some of ya do. No matter. I’m new to this here medium, but something occurs to me: There ain’t the sorta “mix” of characters here that makes wrastling fun. Where are the fuckwitted gov-loving bootlickers? Seems Johnny used a bit too much RoundUp and the little bastards never sprouted around these parts.

I mean, it seems to me that back in the old Usenet days, we had us a heap o’ fun shootin’ them creepy little brain-dead slime-spitters every time they popped their yammering heads above ground.

So, I was wonderin’ if there is somebody who could act as scout and point me to a left-wing online hiver hideout. And I was also wonderin’ if there was a few of y’all who would like to form a philosophical posse/raiding party with me.

Take the fight to them instead of sitting around here watching each other scratch ourselves (‘cept for the ladies of course). Poke the retarded hornets’ nest with the proverbial sharp stick.

The pay is no good, the job is dirty as hell, and it won’t make any difference in the big scheme of things. But sometimes, if we get lucky, we’ll make a few of those vote-worshipping shitheels cry. And that, my friends, is a pearl of great price.

Greenspan generates killer irony waves

Killer irony waves, thousands of kilometers wide, originating in the printing presses of the United States Treasury Department today, wreaked amusement over a vast area. The cause of the unforeseen irony waves is believed to be the following statement of positively seismic hypocrisy issued by the Chairmain of the Federal Reserve:

“I do not deny that many appear to have succeeded in a material way by cutting corners and by manipulating associates, both in their professional and in their personal lives. But material success is possible in this world and far more satisfying when it comes without exploiting others.”
– Alan Greenspan

Victims are believed to number in the hundreds of millions. No rescue efforts are forthcomming.
Services will be held at the Nations Who Adopt Fiat Currencies Monument.

Voting, democracy, and stagnation

From The Daily Reckoning:

Another of the great conceits of the Western civilization, circa 2005, is that democracy makes people more peaceful and more prosperous. The evidence for the peaceful part is blemished by the history of the 20th century – in which nations that were democratic (at least at the beginning) fought the bloodiest wars in history. But how about prosperity? Does voting really make people wealthier?

A new study done by a pair of Stanford professors seemed intended to prove the point. The professors spend many pages explaining how democratic openness leads to market reforms, which then lead to greater output. But the actual evidence is inconclusive. According to the report in the International Herald Tribune, about as many countries lost ground, thanks to democracy, as gained it.

The professors looked at GDP rates in countries that have gotten people to line up at voting booths in the last 30 years. Then they compare growth rates in the 10 years before democracy to rates of growth in the 10 years following. Looking down the list, we see several marginal “winners” and only one big one – Chile, where GDP growth rose from 1.6% in the 10 years prior to democratization to 5.8% in the years after. On the other hand, what strikes our eye is a couple of big losers. Portugal’s growth rate fell from 7% before democratization in 1974 to 1.2% after. Spain’s growth rate dropped to 0.3% from 5.4% and Ecuador practically went broke; it’s growth rate fell from 6.8% to minus 0.4!

Back at the No Treason Saloon

I push the swinging double doors apart, and wander in. I look over at my usual chair, vacant many years now I suppose, more years than I care to remember. Some sweet saloon girl is sitting there, playing Texas Hold’em with…bless my soul, it’s Ponytail John. God, could that be Lynette? I think it is. I heard tell they was hitched. It’s obviously been good for her. Hell, that woman would just not *shut up*. I pity her husband. Can’t recall the poor bastard’s name. Probably another loudmouth. Ah, it’ll come to me soon enough…

What the hell is that humming overhead? Of course. It’s been so long. Gently powering around the chandelier with that trademark atomic bubbliness only she can wield safely is lung, sweet little thing. I see Beck’s gun is hung up behind the bar (he must be around here somewhere, though I heard he was working his own ranch over the ridge a spell). I wonder if Schneider made it through? Oh heck, there he is. And Kip! and Starr! And a bunch of greenhorns I don’t even know. Well, time to carve out a spot I suppose. Floors sure are clean. Must be Ponytail’s housebroke now.

PONYTAIL! I’M BACK! A ROUND FOR THE HOUSE, ON ME!

I’m gonna just stand here at the bar. I don’t like sitting down – slows my access to my…ID, in case I encounter an officer and have to…identify myself.

Just bring the bottle. Nice place here. I like what you’ve done with it. Hell, I remember when this was a just an old warehouse full of canned meat. Anyway, I got a question…

What the *fuck* is this shit I’ve seen on TV with Bush’s n’ Clinton’s all grabbing each other’s asses and damn near stickin’ their tongues down each other’s throats at every library opening or natural disaster? Did the two Parties *officially* fucking merge while I was away or what?

Godamn, I am *thirsty*. Start talkin’, I’m all ears…