Future News Of 2013

“Tomorrow’s news today!”

NRA headquarters in the “blue states” are coming under fire from mobs of angry protestors demanding gun control legislation. An NRA spokesmen on Fox News declared: “This fits in with what we believe, which is that the American people need their 2nd Amendment rights in order to defend their democratic freedoms.” Asked if this meant that the NRA accepted being fired upon — so far only seven NRA officials have been shot in the sieges — and did not want police protection, the NRA spokesman said that “on the contrary, we believe that the use of more guns is always the answer to any situation, even when it comes to deciding which group of shooters in a firefight has the greater amount of 2nd Amendment rights.”

The Mainway Reality Company has begun sales of homes in its new soon-to-be-beachfront development, Prudhoe Bay Shores, on Alaska’s North Slope. Savvy investors are swooping in to scoop up these half-million to two million dollar properties along what is anticipated to be a vacation destination shoreline in a decade. Each luxury home is accompanied by a large garage for multiple SUVs, and a boathouse and dock for storing and mooring various watercraft. While these properties are some miles inland from the present shoreline of the Arctic Ocean, the president of Mainway Reality is confident of reaping large profits from this venture. “It won’t be long before the sea arrives and these property values skyrocket, this is the next Miami Beach” he predicts. The rush of buyers seems to prove him right, and the planting of palm trees along the streets of Prudhoe Bay Shores continues.

In a case bought (well, brought) by Goldman Sachs, and bolstered by a host of amicus curiae briefs by large banks, The Supreme Court has agreed to review the constitutionality of the 13th Amendment to determine if the present prohibition of reducing a person to slavery because of bankruptcy or a refusal to pay debts, such as underwater mortgages, is unconstitutional. “The property rights of investors are central to our society,” a spokesman for the pro-slavery suit declared, “and the Court should correct the legal error that permits flagrant personal irresponsibility to deny the rightful return-on-investment those investors anticipated.”

A nuclear reactor at the Three Mile Island power plant in Pennsylvania has fallen into a large sinkhole that opened under it following a recent period of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” for the extraction of geologically trapped natural gas under the surrounding area. Because cooling lines to the reactor were severed as it fell, it is overheating and melting its way deeper into the earth. A spokesman for U.S. Outgas, the fracking company, denies responsibility for the disaster, claiming “it was obviously the result of an earthquake, and had nothing to do with our operations.” Seismometers have recorded earth tremors occurring as each of the other forty-six recent sinkholes in Pennsylvania opened up. All were over trapped gas deposits.

The Chinese Communist Party is buying the entire Swiss banking industry for $1.7T, the value of its holdings in US securities. The Chinese government’s purpose is to bolster its citizens’ confidence in itself, as explained by the Minister of Finance. “Now our politburo members can deposit their personal holdings in the Chinese Swiss Bank without fear of being seen as corrupt,” he said. The Swiss bankers have invested their Chinese gains by buying the entire banking industries of Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco and San Marino, and continuing their business as before.

The Greek government enacts a solar energy export tax. “We believe the solar energy Greece receives is an important natural resource that must be used for the benefit of the Greek people,” said the Minister of Finance, “so we are enacting a tax to recover such benefit from the solar energy that is removed from our country.” Hardest hit by this new tax are German and other Northern European tourists, who must now have their tans measured before leaving Greece, by a melanin density optical scanner, which assess their skin darkening and hence their absorbed dose of solar energy as against a standard un-tanned skin tone for their region. Despite initial fears that the new tax would devastate the Greek tourist industry, it has been at success at generating much new revenue, which is applied to Greece’s foreign debt. As one Greek tour guide said, “they may have the banks up there where it is cold and grey, but we have the sun.”

The continuing FBI investigation of e-mail on personal computers linked to possible security leaks from the US State Department and the Pentagon leads to the offices of the New York Times, where it is discovered that the editors and op-ed writers are all secretly reading manuelgarciajr.com to guide them in anticipating the public mood, for purposes of control and in crafting their own editorials that copy those manuelgarciajr.com insights they think they can get credit for. “It’s absurd to think we collude with government to control the public, or that we would be influenced by such an insignificant publication as manuelgarciajr.com,” said a spokesman for the Times. In a related development, drones have been seen circling over Oakland, California, headquarters of manuelgarciajr.com.

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The above is the raw material I submitted as my contribution to the 2013 edition of the blended work of humor published by Swans each New Years. (I modified the last item for this blog). You can enjoy the collected bonbons at:

Infamous Predictions for 2013, by SWANS
http://www.swans.com/library/art18/xxx148.html

Guns Are America’s Masturbation

The US news at the moment is dominated by the deep and shocking tragedy of the rampage killing on December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, where a lone gunman (a 20 year old male) first killed his mother in their home, then went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School to randomly shoot 20 children (ages 6 and 7) and six adults dead, wound one other person, and finally kill himself. Total casualties: twenty-eight dead, one wounded.

The acrimonious debate on “gun control” versus “2nd Amendment rights” in the United States has been momentarily reignited. While this particular massacre is the evil work of one particular sociopath, undoubtedly precipitated by a lack of psychological soundness and moral strength completely disintegrating under the pressure of resisting some personal realization too shameful to confront, the fact that such a disintegration could so easily access modern semi-automatic weaponry and use it at will is a searing indictment of the abysmal state of the collective character of the American people.

So long as guns are America’s most fiercely held form of masturbation, there can be no rational discussion of how to keep shooting sports and mental illness separated, nor of the crafting of intelligent regulatory procedures for keeping the public safe from the pathological misuse of guns.

In 2011, I wrote two articles whose aim was to prod discussion toward such a rational solution. But, I have no hope such is possible until (if ever) a major change occurs in the collective character of the American public. The root of the problem is who we are as a people, not what we do with guns nor how we regulate them. We have to be, individually and collectively, a radically different kind of people in order to maintain a safe, orderly, intelligent and minimal use of firearms. Our debates and arguments about guns — “control” versus “rights” — are all excuses and denials because we don’t really want to admit to the root failure, nor take responsibility for it. We just want to masturbate no matter who has to die for it.

Gun Malpractice Insurance
25 January 2011
http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/01/gun-malpractice-insurance/

Gun Freedom, or Owning A Gun The Way The Constitution Intended You To
12 January 2011
http://www.counterpunch.org/garcia01122011.html

Looking back on these articles, I see them as retreats into the absurd in desperation to find some effective procedure to prevent such overwhelming and unnecessary tragedies. One can only hope.

Non-intervention Versus R2P

In Jean Bricmont’s Counterpunch article of December 4th:

Beware the Anti-Anti-War Left
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/04/beware-the-anti-anti-war-left/

he makes a clear and impassioned case for his conviction that armed interventions by Western powers and NATO, justified by the principle of “responsibility to protect” (R2P, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsibility_to_protect), should be uniformly opposed by leftists (and preferably everybody).

Bricmont argues that all such military interventions ultimately advance the geo-political aims of the United States, because it is the leading power in both the United Nations and NATO. In this view, “humanitarian interventions” are always excuses for advancements of US-led Western imperialism, by military force.

To uniformly oppose such military interventions is to believe that preventing the advance of US (primarily) geo-political aims by military means is always preferable to preventing the course of events from playing out in states undergoing violent social and political turmoil. The only forms of intervention acceptable to this strict non-interference point of view would be diplomacy according to international law, and real humanitarian assistance by non-governmental agencies, as possible. Bricmont writes:

“We should demand of our governments the strict respect for international law, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and cooperation instead of confrontation. Non-interference means not only military non-intervention. It applies also to diplomatic and economic actions: no unilateral sanctions, no threats during negotiations, and equal treatment of all States.”

The other point of view on this question is the belief that in certain cases it is preferable to prevent the likely course of events from playing out, even if it means that the Western powers and NATO (led by the United States) may also gain some geo-political advantages as a result of the military intervention. This point of view would have to believe that the blood to be shed during the prosecution of a military intervention would likely be of lesser magnitude than would be the case without the intervention, and that those killed or injured by interventionists would predominantly be combatants or perpetrators of war crimes, rather than innocent civilians.

Everything depends on vague judgments in the interventionist view: “in certain cases,” which ones?; “geo-political advantages,” exactly what?; bloodshed of “likely lesser magnitude,” how to estimate?, and how to know what might have been if unhindered? There are no such uncertainties in the non-interventionist view.

A great deal of emotion is expended by the opponents in the intervention versus non-intervention debate, and historical examples are dissected, interpreted, re-interpreted and tossed back and forth, for example:

— German, Italian, Soviet and anti-fascist volunteer interventions in Spain 1936-1939,

— Western non-intervention in Hungary 1956,

— India’s intervention in the Bangladesh Liberation War 1971,

— Vietnam invades Cambodia in 1978 and removes the Khmer Rouge from power,

— Cuban interventions in Angola 1975-1991,

— non-intervention (“failed intervention”) in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994,

— British intervention in 2000 to save the UN intervention in the Sierra Leone Civil War,

— France’s intervention in the Côte d’Ivoire since 2002,

— the UN and NATO interventions in the Yugoslav Wars 1991-1999, and

— Libya 2011.

I find it interesting that Bricmont sees most leftists in Europe as being interventionist, I find just the opposite here in the United States. Certainly, among people who otherwise identify as leftists there exists a divide on the question of non-intervention a.k.a. responsibility to protect. I am not going to argue the question one way or the other here.

Obviously, it is a matter of judgment between accepting either a militarily gained geo-political advance for the interventionists (maybe) or the likely commission of a mass atrocity crime. As people are different, they will weigh the specifics and potentialities of any situation differently, so they will arrive at differing judgments.

The fact of this difference of opinion within the leftist political orientation led me to question what the definition of a leftist was, and from that I wondered how any political orientation could be accurately classified, since all the labels commonly used (e.g., “conservative,” “liberal,” “socialist,” “progressive”) often seem vague or inaccurate. As a result, I invented a system for classifying political orientations, and this helped me to understand political differences such as the (very uneven) interventionist versus non-interventionist split among leftists, along with other cloudy political formations. My article on that is:

Left Conservatives Under Right Progressives
3 December 2012
http://www.swans.com/library/art18/mgarci58.html

While I happen to agree with the application of the R2P principle in some cases (like Libya), my article aims to identify the general types of political orientations, not to advocate for any one in particular. In the language of my article, I see Bricmont as a democratic socialist conservative ideologue, while my own preference is democratic socialist progressive pragmatism.

Bricmont’s non-interventionist conviction is very deep, and it reflects his judgments and values. His very clear and extensive presentation of this conviction, in Counterpunch, helps those who share it to articulate their own agreement to it within their social circles, and it challenges those of different view to be clear about why they see the matter differently.

Like Bricmont, I am clear about my convictions, in my case in favor of R2P, and I did my best to present my view in articles on Libya that were rather difficult to get published in leftist Internet journals in 2011 (that story in http://www.swans.com/library/art17/mgarci31.html).

I find that arguments between people of opposing convictions are pointless, but that identifying the sources of those conflicting convictions can be quite enlightening.

Left Conservatives Under Right Progressives

What is a Liberal?, a Conservative?, a Progressive?

How can we characterize anyone’s politics, and that of any regime, with simple easily-understood labels that then enable us to compare political entities across the spans of geography and history?

The following article describes my system for classifying politics.

Left Conservatives Under Right Progressives
3 December 2012
http://www.swans.com/library/art18/mgarci58.html

Enjoy