forty lashes just for a warmup

Does  the logic of postmodern capitalism no longer work, all the structural Ponzi’s coming home to roost, starting with the subjugated marginals like Greece and moving inexorably into the more bleached white domains of the Occidental heartland. All bubble eventually pop even our Western economic “miracle” ; there are simply too many poor to crap on so there has to be some cannibalization further up the food chain even if these bigger fish are suffering from mercury contamination as well. According to the disciplinary logic of marginalization, “othering” and protection from “contagion” as NAFTA , WTO etc. NGO’S, can attest, the nation state can no longer primarily function as a piece of machinery that will police the purity of its identity and exclude the other, the old latent race baiting underpinning that establishes the pecking order.

Instead, the nation state is a gatekeeper for transnational capital and money flows, grabbing their cut while competing for funds like a boutique investment bank. Of course, this task seems to acquire police style crackdowns of the old fashioned variety not overly different than China.  Such overt tactics were in fact prominently on display in the Canada during the G20 where invoking public security opened the gates to suppression of civil liberties.  Just because the nation-state’s central reason for existing has changed, we shouldn’t underestimate that it’s been siphoned of its disciplinary power or its investments in law and order. The Canadian law and order industry, security apparatus is approaching in growth one of its now leading and primary industries: the gambling and lottery business. Hey, its Keynesian, there must be some pointy-head who can find a multiplier effect somewhere.

John Heartfield, 1000 Year Reich.---Potter:The value of relative income becomes apparent when we recognize that a great deal of consumption by the ultra-rich consists of a bidding war for goods such as penthouse apartments, high-end artworks and ocean-front villas. These positional goods get their value precisely from the fact that, unlike Big Macs or Cherry Cokes, not everyone can have them. This sort of competitive consumption is nothing more than a widespread arms race for status goods, and like all arms races, it is just a tremendous waste of resources that could be better spent, and thus a form of economic inefficiency that's growing rapidly. The influence of rising inequality on health is even more pernicious. The relationship between relative wealth and relative health is simple: the better off you are, the better the quality of health care you are able to afford, even in a country with a public health-care system such as Canada's.Read More: image:

So the on the horizon economy of globalized control does not take over or replace  the society of the nation-state’s discipline. Think of the nation state as being cops on the beat.  However, in this scenario of postmodern capital, nationalism’s political boosters dream not of purity or overcoming a threatening other, but rather of the smooth transition of capital and goods and services across frontiers of all kinds. Today, the mantra from the business and political class, the higher air of the 1% is very much in the mold of Potter and Heath’s Rebel Sell: Different is good!  As long as their is a relationship to consumerism and militarism and restricts itself to a mass critique of society -a la Naomi Klein, Michael Moore etc.–; it seems absurd, after all the world of expansive imperialism, Coke, MacDonalds, is principally thought of a difference is a negative, contradictory to standardization along the Adorno/Horkheimer model.  But, difference in the postmodern game is not to be surmounted. Difference is to be intensified; often using the power of new media platforms, the perversion of Henry Jenkins, “if it doesn’t spread its dead”  theory. Its totally brilliant and purely wicked and destructive.  The dynamic of intensification is the space or non-space where the logic or illogic of the individual  overlaps with the logic of globalization. All very ostensibly compelling with its calls for “participatory culture.” Even alienation, and its existential, heroic confrontation with the other and death, – the core of American exceptionalism- becomes now linked to this era of creepy imperialism, and the intensification of experience, and all its subjective narratives become bound up and bundled with the economic and political coherence of globalization.

But, the coda to this new propaganda/advertising jingle; cute, superficial and ingratiating- even Warren Buffet as fuzzy grandpa figure:geez who wouldn’t want to drop their pants for the kindly olde chap-  ultimately informs us that power alone is no good unless catalyzed through the individual, “the target market”  extracting some pleasure  from its bargain, their complicity for bread crumbs with the preponderant mode of power. So, there has to be something in it, so they buy into the coach’s plan. The linkage to subjective intensities, is not far off from Walter Benjamin’s musings on cultural commodities, aesthetics and fascism with todays ambitious efforts to achieve a thorough culturization of political and economic life, and even the spiritual sphere.

---However, we cannot hold that Veblen has an unfounded point of view, given that he considers the state of the world to be so lost in the business system and the interests that sustain it. Moreover, Veblen’s criticisms of the business system are important, coherent and should be considered, even if his solutions seem unsavory. In looking at a manner to democratize Veblen’s technocracy while retaining faith in education and democracy, the important criticisms Veblen makes of business might be preserved while avoiding the unpleasant possibility of rule by experts, which is at best an aristocracy. To this end, we will employ the democratic theory of John Dewey. The rule of experts is, in Dewey’s thought, a type of “revival of the Platonic notion that philosophers should be kings.”---Read More: Image:

Rick Salutin:I think I know what the Occupy (Wall Street, Toronto, etc.) movements mean to say and over which they are reproached by ill-wishers and well-wishers alike (e.g., “vast potential . . . untethered to many real-world goals”). What they’re saying is: Change the agenda/change the channel. Saying anything less is inadequate because you could find a small piece mistaken for the whole. But saying that much is tricky precisely because there already is an agenda in place that keeps blocking and obscuring the demand to change it!

What agenda? The one that’s dominated for over 30 years. You could call it the primacy of business. You could say its view is that people exist to serve the economy and not the reverse — though as a result, benefits will trickle down to everyone. It sees government, and any action that disrupts the working of “free market” forces, as the enemy. It considers taxes a bad thing, always to be diminished; and public deficits too, though private or corporate debt is different.

---Joseph Heath:Again, the same features that one finds in an old-fashioned bank panic can be seen at work here: a dramatic tipping-point effect that creates volatility, along with a vicious cycle of collectively self-defeating behaviour. But this does not mean that any of the individuals involved acted irrationally, or that global finance is nothing but a castle built out of thin air. It just means that the market for credit default risk failed, for a variety of prosaic and fairly well-understood reasons. Why then did so many economists miss all the warning signs? The problem is not that they assumed people were rational. The problem stemmed from what Harvard law professor Robert C. Clark once described as “facile optimism about the optimality of existing institutions.” “Thinking like an economist” is an ideal that harbours significant ambiguity. One way of doing so is to assume that everyone is egoistic and bloody-minded. Think of this as the Machiavellian strain. Another way is to assume that all agreements entered into by private parties are mutually beneficial, and that all outcomes produced by free markets are efficient. Think of this as the Panglossian strain. Read More: image:

It includes free trade (for which we were the global guinea pig in 1988 via our deal with the U.S.) and economic globalization, which gave all power to ownership, who could range worldwide in search of cheaper labour, and none to their workforce, who had no such mobility and lost any leverage. This isn’t just capitalism, which has been around far longer. It’s capitalism fundamentally uncontested: all the elites — academic, media, political etc. — buy into it.

I don’t mean every occupier would put it this

But the generality of demands (“inchoate” is the media word of the week) suggest a sense that something’s rotten in the overall mindset and policy mix.Read More:–salutin-occupiers-call-for-changing-the-agenda

Mihaelel Ferguson:While not taking it to a new world order, Pat Buchanan’s 2006 statement comes the closest.

“The nation-state is dying. Men have begun to transfer their allegiance, loyalty and love from the older nations both upward to the new transnational regimes that are arising and downward to the sub-nations whence they came, the true nations, united by blood and soil, language, literature, history, faith, tradition and memory.”

---Heath:What the apologists for CEO pay—and they are legion—proposed instead were all sorts of baroque schemes through which these compensation arrangements could be seen as in the best interests of all. Corruption, for instance, was interpreted as merely an implicit form of executive compensation, and therefore part of the “tacit” employment contract agreed to by shareholders. Why would anyone think this? Because everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Similarly, when more cautious souls began to sound the alarm about the run-up in housing prices in the United States, or the complexity and opacity of the derivatives that were being traded, the Panglossians responded in force. These bankers are clever people, they said, and they know what they are doing. This turned out to be true. Most of them were clever, and they did know what they were doing. Unfortunately, there was never any reason to think that the sum of all this individual cleverness would be stable in the long term, but much less beneficial for society as a whole. Read More: image:

…That’s why you must challenge the agenda itself. If you focus on specifics and “present demands,” you might win some, but the whole thing will revert to the way it was because of that underlying agenda. Take the protest over Toronto library closings. It succeeded! Mayor Rob Ford backed down, council voted against them, everyone went home happy. Next thing you know, they still plan to shut libraries early and often. The agenda flowed back in like the tide, or filling a vacuum, because it’s assumed that deficits take priority, taxes are bad, etc.

This is also why you need an occupation and not a protest: because the underlying issue — the agenda — is pervasive and long-term. You can’t just protest, win or lose, and go home. The people who like the agenda don’t need to do anything; it’s in place and, like MacArthur, de Gaulle or Zorro, it will return. I think that’s what the occupiers sense, by the form of action they’ve chosen….

---Contemporary Las Vegas is not so much a... for imperialist expansion or assimilation – the old-time ‘fuck you, we’re movin in’ Vegas of the Mob and the Teamsters – as it is an ongoing, live experiment conducted to see what happens when a certain imperial project has completed itself, when there are no more lands for Caesar to conquer. In other words, Las Vegas’s current modes of power are no longer primarily deployed in the service of legitimating the enterprise or overcoming an enemy (the government, the middle-American prude, the other casinos); those battles have already been decided. Rather, emergent modes of both corporate and subjective power in Las Vegas are aimed at intensifying what you’ve already got: expanding market share and deepening demographic base by deploying new forms of value-added entertainment ‘experiences’. In short, the economic force that’s deployed in Las Vegas functions not by conquering or assimilating new territory, but rather by intensifying new versions of familiar things.---Read More: image:

…It’s also why suggesting they should get out and vote more — as Chantal Hébert did here — isn’t pertinent: because all parties buy that business agenda. It’s parties on the left, like Labour in New Zealand or Tony Blair in the U.K., who were fiercest in cost-cutting and privatizing. Liberals Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin became heroes of the business press by strangling the federal deficit and savaging social programs. In the last Ontario election, the NDP’s Andrea Horwath highlighted tax cuts. Voting at the moment won’t alter any of that. First you need to change the agenda/change the channel.

---According to Wilkinson and Pickett, one of the biggest advantages of being at the top of a hierarchy is that it gives you control over your life. In contrast, the more you go down the status hierarchy the less control you have. As a result, people in an unequal society are highly stressed, with their fight or flight systems always primed to fire. The result is a higher incidence of a host of health problems associated with stress, including heart disease, hypertension, anxiety and depression. Perhaps as a result of the stresses associated with living with unrelenting status anxiety, significant inequality is also correlated with higher rates of crime and other forms of social dysfunction. At the limit, as the very rich abandon the common institutions of civil society -- including public schools, the health-care system and public office -- it can lead to a breakdown in social trust and undermine democratic institutions. Given all of this, how can rising levels of inequality be tolerated, or even considered a good thing? Read More: image:

The proof of this, I’d say, is the way the far “right,” like the Tea Party in the U.S. or Stephen Harper’s neo-conservatives, slide so easily into the corridors of power like Congress or Parliament, and then into actual government. No sweat. Their agenda preceded them. They’re already part of the establishment mindset and always were. But you can’t picture the occupiers getting elected, or running a government, not with things remotely as they are.

More power to them. We can finally identify the real radicals. There hasn’t been a challenge like this to the status quo in a long time. Why has this generation been ready to take on this agenda? That’s another subject. But they clearly aren’t as gripped by The Agenda as earlier ones were. A new agenda may be forming. Or not. But we know old agendas don’t get out of the way on their own. They get too comfy and need to be shuffled along.Read More:–salutin-occupiers-call-for-changing-the-agenda


Transnational institutions, the embryonic institutions of a new world government to which the elites of the West and Third World are transferring allegiance and power, include the United Nations, the EU, the World Trade Organization, the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, the International Seabed Authority, the Kyoto Protocol, the IMF and the World Bank.

The sub-nations, or ex-nations, struggling to be born or break free include Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque country of Spain, Corsica, northern Italy and Quebec in the West. Iraq, as we have seen, is a composite of peoples divided by tribe, ethnicity and faith – as are Iran, Pakistan and India. Jordanians are Palestinian Arabs, with a minority of Bedouins.

Lind argues that not only are nations subdividing, losing their monopolies on the love and loyalty of their peoples, but they are being superseded by “non-state actors” that are challenging the monopoly on warfare enjoyed by the nation-state since the Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War….

---According to a recent paper from the Center for American Progress, a think-tank based in Washington D.C., among comparable high-income countries such as France, Canada, Germany and Sweden, only Italy (which is famously corrupt) and United Kingdom (with its famously calcified class structure) have a lower rate of mobility than the United States. This combination of high levels of inequality and relative social immobility represents an inherently unstable situation, where excessive optimism about possibility for advancement must inevitably run headlong into the realities of living in a rigid and highly unequal country.---Read More: image:

…Among the more familiar non-state actors are the Crips and Bloods, Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, the Zapatistas of Chiapas, the racial nationalists of MEChA, the white supremacists of Aryan Nations, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah, the Maoists of Nepal and the Tamil Tigers.

Among the central questions of our time is a central question of any time: Who owns the future?

Of late, the transnational vision has lost its allure. Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and most of Latin America reject the NAFTA vision of Bush and Vicente Fox. The French and Dutch voted down the EU Constitution, which now appears dead. The Doha round of world trade negotiations is headed for the rocks. Hostility is rising to bringing Turkey into the EU.

Arabs and Turks in Europe identify more and more with the Islamic faith they have in common and the countries whence they came, not the one in which they live and work.

So, too, do millions of illegal aliens in the United States. They march defiantly under Mexican flags in American streets demanding the rights of U.S. citizens – while an intimidated political class rushes to accommodate and appease them, assuring itself this is but the latest reincarnation of Ellis Island.

As the Old Republic trudges to its death, less and less do we hear that incessant blather about the American Empire, “the world’s last superpower” and “our unipolar moment.” Read More:


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