Saturday, December 31, 2011


This is the leading political force in the U.S. today. The idea that "I" as an individual, or "my family", deserve more. "I" have been wronged by outside forces.

This is not the basis for any type of Left movement, which has to be formed around the idea of solidarity. OWS is not to fault, for the slogan of a 99% versus 1% is a solid one.

But the U.S. has been so successfully riven into various identity factions that the solidarity needed as the foundation for a Left movement will be, in my view, nearly impossible to come by. This view comes from living in all regions of the country and working in about every type of job imaginable. If one spends some time in an OWS encampment, or lives only in a coastal urban metropolis, it is very easy to forget about the rest of this country (representing 90% of U.S. GDP). Just look at the poll numbers for OWS.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Iraq and Cambodia

While there are differences, the post-collapse outcomes are similar in that the U.S. wiped out the existing government structure, and then was 'surprised' when there was vicious power struggle in the vacuum. For it was the repeated bombing of Cambodia which destabilized and discredited a neutral government and paved the way for the Khmer Rouge. So in terms of Cambodia, the blame for civil war was placed on the KR, in Iraq it will be the supposedly innate violence of the Muslim people. Americans are so historically illiterate that this will pass muster with a vast majority of the population. Again, it is worth repeating a thousand times. The American people do not have a repressed streak of warm-heartedness just waiting to burst forth in a revolutionary flowering. OWS is dead wrong about this. This is a vicious country who still believes for the most part that God made it special and that the rest of the world is inferior and barbaric, and when others do win - it is because of 'cheating'. In this dominant viewpoint, the U.S. made a mistake trying to civil a people in Iraq who are beyond hope. The complacent general ignorance of the U.S. population, and of course our elite, is why decline is baked in - culturally , not to mention politically, reform is impossible. Though it is important for the historical record to show that there were dissidents.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuition at Conservatories

Tuition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is $ 36,500 a year.

The vast majority of people leaving the program teach private lessons that might total $15,000 a year, and play gigs that pay at best $150 a service for a total of less than $15,000 a year. Actually, $30,000 a year might be a success story. A very few win stable gigs with full-time orchestras, theaters or choirs, but we know that is not a blossoming market.

If you're very wealthy, no worries, otherwise the economic model of this and other conservatories makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The leadership and professors of these institutions should understand that the U.S. ruling class (who they try to ingratiate themselves with) is satiated with philistines who see no need to promote a cultural agenda at this time.

The bottom line is that conservatories are doing a grave disservice to the young people they are charged with educating.

Monday, December 19, 2011


One thing about working in the field of music, you learn to separate the immediate from the historical. And Hitchens is the former. Historically he is irrelevant and will be forgotten within the decade. There is no substance to his work, no overarching theory, no perceptive insights into the human condition or substantial investigation into topics long ignored. Pithy comments rarely hold their weight even over the time-frame of months and yet this is the main of Hitchens' work. He is like most of the intellectuals today who light accomplishments ride easy on the fantastical (and cruel) magic carpet of Empire.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

'Clashes' Indicates a Level Battle Ground

A trained army shooting and beating protesters with some rocks is not a 'clash'. This is state terrorism against its people. But since the US most protect the Egyptian-Israeli 'peace' agreement, and therefore the former's military at any cost, it is portrayed by the New York Times as a 'clash' between two equally misguided, or excited, forces.

The death toll from renewed violence in Egypt’s capital rose overnight as clashes between Egyptian soldiers and protesters entered a second day on Saturday.

1'Death Toll Rises From Clashes in Cairo' - New York Times

Friday, December 16, 2011

On the Iraq War

This recent post by Brad De Long is curious for its lack of empathy for the million or so Iraqi's who had their lives ended prematurely by the war. Is the big problem with the war really the fact that Iran gained a bit more influence, or that the precious national security of the United States was ever-so-slightly damaged ? Internationalism is the only intellectually progressive position to take in today's world.

Yes, getting rid of Saddam Hussein would have been a mitzvah--if we had not replaced him with a chaotic mess that was, for half a decade at least, significantly worse than being ruled by Saddam Hussein.
Certainly the national security of the United States has been harmed by the adventure. Iran is no longer contained by Iraq. And there are an awful lot more people in the world who have very good reason to hate America.(1)

1Why were We in Iraq ? - Brad De Long

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Occupy Get Criticized by Labor Hacks

It's pretty much true that the average union official is more concerned with putting in their 20 years and retiring than any sort of commitment to a class struggle. I recall getting laid off in California, and the local union office was equal parts unconcerned, unaware, lazy and incompetent. The labor bureaucracy's role in sabotaging any sort of independent Left can be seen in their criticisms of the Occupy movement actions yesterday.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

From Russia, With Love

Russia sold Iran some state of the art radar jammers in October.

Russia has sent a set of mobile radar jammers to Iran and is negotiating future deliveries that Moscow believes do not contravene current United Nations sanctions on the Islamic state's regime, an official said Tuesday.(10/25)

I really doubt that drone just happened to shut down and gently come to rest in Iranian soil all on its own.

Student Debt is Social, not Individual, Problem

The problem with the student loan debate is it is entirely couched in the individualist cost-benefit paradigm. Nowhere in the mainstream is it acknowledged that a society is healthier (and wealthier) with smarter and more well-rounded people. It's entirely about whether 'x' degree will make an individual richer, or not, and whether the debt is worth 'the risk'. Because we know that all good capitalists take on risk before making their fortunes.

This Bloomberg article is a good exhibit.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Projection, Much ?

It's amusing to see Western papers and meritocrats salivating at the coming 'crash' in China or the 'groundswell' of protest against Putin. China's GDP is is doubling every 6 years, or so. And Putin's popularity is just under 50%.

I guess anything is better than looking at the mirror.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The CIA in Iran

One thing should be stated explicitly. The U.S. secret government, run out of the CIA, is (very, very likely) sponsoring separatist groups in Iran that are deeply involved in terrorist activity.

1'US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran' - UK Telegraph

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This is Your Country

And no liberal civil rights organization is going to lift a finger. No academic institution is going to lift a finger. Dry rot has reached deep within the U.S. establishment. And the American public pretty much does not care, there is no unrealized revolutionary spirit or even nascent good-heartedness beating below the surface. People at large mostly want to win their lottery ticket, and are perfectly happy to trample as many others as necessary to get it. This was an ugly country in the best of times, and its demise will be exponentially worse -- domestically and internationally.

1'Yasha Levine Released From Jail, Exposes LAPD’s Appalling Treatment of Detained Occupy LA Protesters…' - The Exiled

Friday, December 2, 2011

Salafists Make An Initial Strong Showing in Egypt

The U.S. has to be pleased with the results in Egypt. These religious leaders and their political attaches are mostly very dumb and easy to control. It's why they were unleashed on the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. And while 9/11 was a form of 'Blowback', religious-based movements coming out of the Middle East, at least, offer no hope of challenging class relations or the flow of money.

On Calling Oneself a Nerd

I'm hearing it bantered about with increasing frequency, and don't like it. There is no need to relegate oneself to a ghetto or shy away from the fact that one considers knowledge important. I can't imagine a historical revolutionary ever calling themself a nerd. It's a form of psychological self-neutering.