"The worker always has the right to leave his employer, but has he the means to do so? And if he does quit him, is it in order to lead a free existence, in which he will have no master but himself? No, he does it in order to sell himself to another employer. He is driven to it by the same hunger which forced him to sell himself to the first employer. Thus the worker’s liberty, so much exalted by the economists, jurists, and bourgeois republicans, is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means for its possible realization, and consequently it is only a fictitious liberty, an utter falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom -voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory in the economic sense - broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery."
- 11 months ago
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there – good for you.
But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of the police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory…
Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea – God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward to the next kid who comes along."
— Elizabeth warren - A lawyer with a soul? Say it ain’t so!
- 1 year ago
More Video Game Witch-Hunting
As expected, certain members of the mainstream media have already pointed the finger at video games after it was revealed that Anders Behring Breivik (a self-identified right-wing Christian conservative) was a player of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft before he decided to shoot and/or bomb over 90 people in Oslo, Norway.
It’s unsurprising how this tragedy has re-ignited the ludicrous moral panic aimed at computer games. It’s also unsurprising that there have been no criticisms of his religious and political affiliation, whose influence on his criminal act holds far more plausibility.
Still, regardless of the fact that he’s a conservative, gamer or Christian, his heinous act was arguably the product of a psychotic mind.
It’s ironic that a lot of the accusations levelled at computer games as an agent for violence originate from the Christian Right. If Christian political lobby groups such as the A.C.L. are so committed to subverting intellectual and social progress, I can only wonder why they are tolerated, and why there isn’t a powerful lobby dedicated to mitigating the influence of historical fiction and scientific fantasy in contemporary society (Creationists, and ‘Young-Earth’ folks, I’m looking at you).
A mentally-sound gamer is fully capable of distinguishing between on-screen renditions of violence and actual harmful violence. Additionally, most games are passive activities performed for few reasons other than the enjoyment.
It’s ironic, because this is more than I can say about most religions, whose adherents believe in highly-implausible fairy tales, and read from a book of historical fiction that compels action in the real world with scriptural (and anachronistically-illogical) justifications. All for the approval of an imaginary friend in the sky, and for boons in the afterlife… which probably doesn’t exist anyway.
What right do people such as these have to criticise or question the gamer’s grasp on reality?
If there’s one failing of individuals that I hate foremost above all else in this world, it’s hypocrisy.
- 1 year ago
- 2 years ago
I think there is a direct correlation between how much of a douchebag a nation-state’s government is and the size/frequency of its military parades in urban centers. A multiplier of this would be whether or not they include large guided missile systems as a part of these extravagant displays.
Any given country’s douchebag rating (D) could be calculated with the following formulae:
(Z x Y) x (N x M) = D
Z = The average total number of military vehicles presented.
Y = The average total number of military personel brought forth to goose-step past the Great Leader.
N = The number of military parades per year.
M = The total average number of I.C.B.M. trailers present in any given parade.
So far as politics and military industry are concerned, I.C.B.M. launchers have consistently demonstrated their use as compensative cod-pieces for various despotic and autocratic regimes - particularly those of communist (not to be mistaken with socialist) alignment.
The open display and parading of weapon systems that are designed and produced (at a considerable cost) almost entirely for the targeting and instant decimation of large, civilian urban centres is nothing to be proud of.
Kim Jong-Il, I’m talking to you. You and others like you are wankers - we get it. Now put your codpieces away before the adults backhand you.
- 2 years ago
"It is a “scandal” when the Government conceals things it is doing without any legitimate basis for that secrecy. Each and every document that is revealed by WikiLeaks which has been improperly classified — whether because it’s innocuous or because it is designed to hide wrongdoing — is itself an improper act, a serious abuse of government secrecy powers. Because we’re supposed to have an open government — a democracy — everything the Government does is presumptively public, and can be legitimately concealed only with compelling justifications. That’s not just some lofty, abstract theory; it’s central to having anything resembling “consent of the governed.” But we have completely abandoned that principle; we’ve reversed it. Now, everything the Government does is presumptively secret; only the most ceremonial and empty gestures are made public. That abuse of secrecy powers is vast, deliberate, pervasive, dangerous and destructive. That’s the abuse that WikiLeaks is devoted to destroying, and which its harshest critics — whether intended or not — are helping to preserve. There are people who eagerly want that secrecy regime to continue: namely, (a) Washington politicians, Permanent State functionaries, and media figures whose status, power and sense of self-importance are established by their access and devotion to that world of secrecy, and (b) those who actually believe that — despite (or because of) all the above acts — the U.S. Government somehow uses this extreme secrecy for the Good. Having surveyed the vast suffering and violence they have wreaked behind that wall, those are exactly the people whom WikiLeaks is devoted to undermining."
Whilst it’s true that Wikileaks does pose many potential problems for governments (in terms of security risks) I find it difficult to argue with the sound logic of this writeup.
I think it’s always important to be critical and cognizant of the implications of governmental secrecy. As with all other methods of governance, democracy is a process that will, if left unattended, atrophy into a form of despotism where power is accumulated increasingly in the hands of a few.
While it could be said that that the government often assumes the role of information ‘gate-keepers’, active democratic citizenship should involve a strong initiative for gate-watching. Governmental accountability and transparency are at the very core of democratic ideals, which are themselves built upon a foundation of designated consent by the people, representative leadership, and a dedication towards the perpetuation of this elective reciprocity - not in the efforts to erode it.
- 2 years ago
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together."
United States President Dwight. D. Eisenhower on the emergent military-industrial complex in his presidential farewell address.
January 17th 1961.
Is it me, or have the oratory faculties of the United States’ more recent presidents seen a sharp decline? It seems almost an absurdity in our age to hear something out of the Oval Office that isn’t some form of ingenuously-spun bullshit.
And people wondered why they called it the ‘Greatest Generation’.
- 2 years ago
Let’s talk about shit, for example. It happens, as the bumper sticker says, and it happens to a cleaning person every day. The first time I encountered a shit-stained toilet as a maid, I was shocked by the sense of unwanted intimacy. A few hours ago, some well-fed butt was straining away on this toilet seat, and now here I am wiping up after it. For those who have never cleaned a really dirty toilet, I should explain that there are three different kinds of shit stains. There are remnants of landslides running down the inside of toilet bowls. There are the splash-back remains on the underside of toilet seats. And, perhaps most repulsively, there’s sometimes a crust of brown on the rim of a toilet seat, where a turd happened to collide on its dive to the water. You don’t want to know this? Well, it’s not something I would have chosen to dwell on myself, but the different kinds of stains require different cleaning approaches. One prefers those that are interior to the toilet bowl, since they can be attacked by a brush, which is a kind of action-at-a-distance weapon. And one dreads the crusts on the seats, especially when they require the intervention of a Dobie as well as a rag.
Or we might talk about that other great nemesis of the bathroom cleaner: pubic hair. I don’t know what it is abour the American upper class, but they seem to be shedding heir pubic hair at an alarming rate. You find it in quantity in shower stalls, bathtubs, Jacuzzis, drains and even, unaccountably, in sinks. Once I spent fifteen minutes crouching in a huge four-person Jacuzzi, maddened by the effort of finding the dark little coils camouflaged against the eggplant-coloured ceramic background but fascinated by the image of the pubes of the economic elite, which must by this time be completely bald."
An excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich’s fantastic book Nickel and Dimed. The book is a frank and darkly-comedic account of the noted Journalist’s year spent working incognito as a minimum-wager in the United States. It’s a secret and mundane existence faced by many, an American lifestyle obscured and largely unkown to foreigners such as myself, on account of my being bombarded by the idealised notions of life in the ‘States.
Then again, we have our own troubles here in Australia with stupid fucks living off the backs of the hard-working educated, so the pendulum swings both ways. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have so much social welfare, but I’m convinced certain ethnic minorities here in Australia would resort even more to stealing other people’s shit if the government didn’t give them so many cash handouts because of historical guilt.
- 2 years ago