it’s time to celebrate, unless you’re a broken egg

Great news everybody, celebration is in order.  For yesterday was the 200th birthday of one of history’s greatest thinkers.  But did Marx understand what his ideas would bring about?  That his philosophy would spawn history’s greatest monsters?

All throughout his writings Marx makes it pretty clear what he had in mind.  He certainly got the bloodbath, it just didn’t come with his expected results.  Because basically Marx (lauded as he is) didn’t understand the essentials of human nature.  One of which is: When you give one man, any one man unlimited power, regardless of motivation, the end stage is evil.

For all the people who are ready to shout ‘Nazi’ at Trump, it’s always astounded me that the same argument isn’t made on the Communist side.  As we’ve previously written, the death of Castro was a particular note.

I stand by every word of this:

Castro goes into my column as the consummate example of a guy who pours honey potion into your ear while he rams a stiletto dagger into your kidney.  The dude’s appeal to the bulk of humanity was all talk.  Castro talked a good game of social justice and equality.  Then he turned around and enriched his own personal elite and destroyed his country.  Depending on how you count, thousands or tens-of-thousands of Cubans were executed during his reign.  Tens-of-thousands more died at sea fleeing his utopia.  Also depending on how you count, perhaps 10-20% of Cubans left during the last five decades.  The equivalent number is if around 30 million Americans felt the country was so bad they moved to Canada, with the understanding that say two million would die during the journey.

The end result of Marx to me is not the idea of social justice or class struggle.  It’s the idea that humans can do just about anything to their fellow humans provided they use social justice as the justification of their cause.  That’s the great evil of Marx.  You can liquidate a few million fellow humans, but as long as your end goals were supposedly noble, folks will let you get away with it and apologize for your actions.  That’s an interesting construct, unless you’re one of the broken eggs.

Marx was a pretty smart guy with a lot of interesting ideas.  But, ultimately he didn’t understand the end game of his ideas.  You can have whatever motivation you want, but when all you do is place all power into the hands of the few, and then provide them with the false moral cover of utopian progress, there is no limit on how cruel and ultimately evil a person can get.  It’s why history’s two greatest serial killers are Stalin and Mao, and Hitler doesn’t even come close to their number of murders.

Marx wasn’t alive when all this happened.  So you can possibly give him a pass for what subsequently occurred.  He wasn’t around to potentially call bullshit to evil men who perverted his ideas and basically used them to do the same evil deeds as one would have seen from an 11th Century Khan.  But still, ideas are ideas and they have power.  Marx, and history, have to own up to what his ideas meant to the course of human history.  Not to blindly celebrate them without deep thought as to the terror they wrought.

This guy.

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I need Kim Jong-Un to sell my house

You would think that living as a comical Bond villain who builds c-grade nuclear weapons and runs labor death camps would get one put into the bad guy column pretty easily.  Then folks would treat that person like the living Hitler they were, and we’d respond accordingly.

You’d be wrong.

People are fascinated by Kim Jong-Un in a manner I just find weird.  When his sister showed up at the Olympics the press covered her like she was some celebrity Kardashian.  Never mind that all those expensive clothes she wore come at the expense of her starving people.  Here was a royal figure the press could dig into with glee.

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And take a gander at this Versailles picture from the BBC with this bizarre fawning line:

“North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un is to be served a Swiss potato dish at a summit dinner with the South, in an apparent attempt to remind him of school.”

Oh my, what an interesting line.  It’s almost like it’s totally cool if you run an extermination camp, as long as you’re unique.  Selective morality is awesome!  Just ask most of today’s Western elite.

But really, I need Kim to sell my house too.  Because the latest fiction is this guy is committed to giving up his nuclear weapons.  Kim said so, so China says so, so does Trump, the media, whoever.

People just buy this shit like it’s true, because they really don’t seem to think things through.  But, I guess, that’s to be expected when their whole lives are focused upon the most recent controversial Tweet, what Trump said to who, and who is outraged at who today.

But I’ll call this one right now, the celebrity cottage boy in Kim is not giving up his nukes.  Daddy played the same game with the planet and got away with it.  North Korea still has nukes.  We’ve been down this road before.

If you still don’t believe me, or think just now there might be some hope of resolution, then please bask in this entirely unrelated photo of Gaddafi as he was beaten, sexually assaulted, and mutilated by a crowd before expiring.  Note the guy nonchalantly smoking in the bottom right corner.  In the end, tis nothing to kill a king.

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Trust me, Kim’s not giving up his nukes.  Kim is playing everybody for fools.  Again.  That anybody swallows this nonsense as reality tells me Kim’s the guy to sell my home.  I could have a swarm of crocodiles living in the attic, Kim could make the sale happen.

60 Minutes interviews alien smuggler Erga Uticus

A few weeks ago we wrote morbidly about how formerly respectable news organizations had sacked their own credibility in order to get one guy at any cost.  So apparently it’s now perfectly normal to have an interview with a porn star posted everywhere like it’s real news.  But man, things got even more out of hand afterwards.

Next they drug out the widely known Psilon smuggler, scoundrel, slave labor proprietor, jai-alai extraordinaire, and amateur bridge player Erga Uticus for the backstory of his past interactions with Trump.  If you missed this segment, not to worry, below’s a snippet.  For the complete transcript, just write to us, and please make sure to include your credit card info, because producing publications isn’t cheap:

The Arcturus Project – Erga Uticus Interview Transcript

C/O Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

1794 Aguiyi Ironsi Street

Abuja 900001, Nigeria

Untitled

60 Minutes: So what you’re saying it is was difficult to work with him?

Erga Uticus: Oh, you have no idea.  I’ve dealt with some weird creatures before.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to fence goods via a Silicoid arms dealer?  But Trump, he was the worst.

60M: You were burdened?

EU: I was burdened.

60M: Do you regret working with him?

EU: Well, that’s difficult to explain.  I mean, I got paid, man did I get fucking paid, but I just don’t know if it was worth the effort.  The guy bleeds you, he makes you scrape every dollar out of him.  Don’t get me wrong, I respect, gotta respect a man who knows how to gut the guy at the other end of the table, but by The Emperor’s blessing it’s just too much work.

60M: What did you think when you heard he was elected our president?

EU: You gotta understand, where I come from the rules are different.  I figured (in my own mindset) he’d liquidate all his enemies overnight.  He’d have a pile of skulls dumped on the White House lawn by morning.  But, then I remembered you all have different rules out here.

60M: I see.

EU: Then I thought he would rig the game to funnel cash to his own business interests at the expense of the little guy.  But then I realized that every businessman already does that anyway, so it was kind of a mute point.

60M: That’s very true.

all of these people have wasted their time

Everyone is welcome to think one way or the other about America’s guns.  But with every shooting, I’m on the side of jaded apathy and cynicism.  There may be a solution, a compromise between sides that can be found on guns.  It’s not going to happen.  Those who marched are pushing with all they’ve got for gun control.  That’s also not going to happen.

1) Those who marched seem to be under the impression that politicians work for them.  That’s supposed to be how it works.  But it doesn’t.  Congress works for the following people:

a) Major campaign donors

b) The extreme fringe 5% of their party that rules their lives during the primary of their heavily gerrymandered district

c) Themselves

d) Ordinary average voter

In that order.  I’m sure there might be a handful of folks in Congress who are decent people who are there primarily to do good.  But I’ve come to believe they’re in the minority.

Ask yourself, what normal person would subject themselves to the vicious cage fight that is modern politics?  The answer is, a normal person wouldn’t.  Congress is not populated with problem solvers looking to compromise or make progress.

It’s why they can’t even conduct basic tasks like pass a budget on time.  They’re on an unhinged two year cycle where their goal is not to do work, but to satisfy the cravings of (a) and (b).  Rinse and repeat.

Anybody expecting that these people are going to be the ones to solve problems is asking too much a system that is (sadly) essentially broken at this point.

2) Think what you will about the NRA’s beliefs, but one cannot deny it is the most successful lobby in American history.  There are two people on the planet who I believe possess the powers of the ancient Aztec demon god Itzpapalotltotec.  They are Bill Belichick and Wayne LaPierre.  These guys are absolute masters of their craft.  Nobody can compete with them.

At this point, if you hired LaPierre and told him to get Congress to pass a law saying all ketchup bottles must be colored pink, he could probably get it done.  The NRA has five million card carrying members.  This is by far one of the largest and most dedicated interest groups in the country.

Unless the people who marched this weekend establish their own singular lobby group, get millions of people to join it, and fund it with a dump truck full of money they’re not going to compete effectively with the NRA.

As an example, after the Vegas shooting I think most people could get onboard with the most basic of gun control arguments, that bump stocks that converted a weapon to fully automatic under the table was not a good thing.  They couldn’t even get that passed into law, they had to do it on the side later.

3) I’m just going to go ahead and say this.  Most Americans simply do not care.  I read an article yesterday that said since 2000 over 600K Americans have died in car crashes.  Go ahead and try and wrap your brain around that number.  In the last 15 years we’ve had more Americans die behind the wheel than in all our 20th Century wars combined.

Throughout my life I’ve known several people who’ve died in car crashes.  I also know a handful of people who’ve died in gun violence.  But, selfishly, or cynically, there just isn’t much I can do about it.

We Americans have a shocking tolerance for mayhem, death, and destruction.  I think it’s in our primal colonial blood.  It’s built into our national psyche.

I’m not going stop driving, or go out and demand that every car come equipped with that goo that saves Stallone from dying in a horrible crash in Demolition Man.  I have personally accepted the risk to myself and to society associated with cars.

I think (whether they admit it or not) the vast majority of Americans have accepted the risk to themselves and to society associated with guns.  Folks might not like it, but it’s the way it is.

Those who marched today think that this mindset is beginning to change, and the march shows it.  I don’t agree.  I’m sure more people have died to gunfire in Chicago since this last shooting than those who died in the Florida school.  People intellectually know this, but essentially don’t care.  They move on with their lives.

Like all this, or hate this, either way, I just don’t believe it’s going to change.

Democracy is a mess, and mostly doesn’t work, but it’s still a beautiful thing.  Agree or disagree with those who marched, it’s still part of our freedom that they believe in a cause and are out there fighting for what they believe in.  But, I do believe, all of these people have wasted their time.march-for-our-lives-washington031.jpg

gun control march in Washington DC, Circa 2029

we analyze history to determine Xi’s future

Great news, everybody!  As if the planet didn’t have enough problems, the most powerful man on the planet today just became a dictator.  Now, lots of folks will claim that the title of most powerful should be Trump?

Nope.  First off, Trump is too insane to be powerful, and in any case the power of any American President is severely constrained by the balance between branches of government.

In terms of raw power, the ability of one man to say a word and things immediately happen, it’s Xi.  Here’s Xi applauding his own genius today after the rubber stamp goon squad parliament approved his ‘president for life’ title with a 99% vote.

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Where will China be or go under one man rule with absolute total power?  Hmm, well, let’s take a look at history to see how dictators actually perform by the track record:

sad hitler

failed artist

stalin

body count higher than Hitler’s

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greatest serial killer in human history

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hated by more Americans than Trump

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presided over a Hollywood that molested it’s own women, did nothing about it, but oh man, he’s, he’s just so good looking

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defenestration extraordinaire

The genius of America’s Founding Fathers was their understanding that no human being is capable of effectively and morally exercising unconstrained power.  Trump is the reason America’s government is slow, ineffective, and dirty.  They wrote the Constitution with the understanding that one day a Trump might be president.

America has had terrible, terrible presidents before too.  I’m looking at you James Buchanan.  But the country in general can move on.  In three years when Trump is gone (unless the Democrats do something unserious, like nominate Oprah) the country will move on mostly the same.

To put it bluntly, humans suck.  We’re a total mess.  No one person is good enough or smart enough or talented enough to rule without checks on their person.  Even Lincoln, who is in the running for greatest human who ever lived, made mistakes and it was fortunate that he had other people (like an aggressive Congress) to challenge him.  It made him better.

Xi seems like a smart guy, but apparently doesn’t understand history.  He thinks China needs one man rule to deal with it’s challenges.  But history is merciless.  And it shows us that dictators fail.  China has many problems that require strong balanced leadership.  But as of today, China’s biggest problem is Xi.

when heroes turn to evil

In these very strange times it’s helpful to listen to some words from history:

The wrongs of the past must now stand forgiven and forgotten. If ever we look to the past, let us do so for the lesson the past has taught us, namely that oppression and racism are inequalities that must never find scope in our political and social system. It could never be a correct justification that just because the whites oppressed us yesterday when they had power, the blacks must oppress them today because they have power. An evil remains an evil whether practised by white against black or black against white.

And who was the wise and just man that said this? Robert Mugabe, as in the guy who utterly destroyed and ruined an entire country to feed his desires for expensive wines, prostitutes, and fine cheese.

Believe it or not once upon a time Planetary-Stormtrooper-Goons such as the Castros or Mugabe were considered, and in some cases actually were, real heroes. They said and did many of the right things. They battled evil dictatorships, helped the poor, at least gave lip service to democratic principles, and so on.

Well that sure didn’t last. If you built a top ten list of history’s great monsters of the last century you could make a fair argument that Mugabe and Castro need their faces in the queue. These men who freed millions, provided hope to an entire country, and were recognized worldwide as potential icons of freedom ultimately turned to darkness, straight evil, perhaps even far more evil than the one they replaced.

 

This is sadly a theme you see all throughout history with revolutions and rebellions. But, still: What the hell happened?

Was it because folks like Castro and Mugabe were always evil from the start, or that they only became evil after they gained absolute power? I’m inclined to think it’s a little bit of both.

And so now enters upon this very troubled stage Aung San Suu Kyi who for all the political confusion, essentially holds political power in Myanmar. Once the darling of freedom and democracy throughout the globe Aung San Suu Kyi has seen her reputation and reality destroyed almost overnight as she’s presided over one of the more stark and brutal genocide campaigns in modern history.

For the uninitiated (or those focused on Dancing With The Stars or what Taylor Swift had for lunch yesterday) here’s what’s been going on:

– In Burma, about 1% of the population is Rohingya Muslim who live mostly on the northwest coast next to Bangladesh. This is in contrast to the nearly 2/3 who are Bamar Buddhist, the majority of the population. There are dozens of other minority ethnic groups in Burma beyond the Rohingya. Some parts of the country have essentially been in a state of civil war for five decades.

– After decades of house arrest for pro-democracy efforts, Aung San Suu Kyi is now State Counselor of Burma. She can’t be President because the Army rigged the qualification rules. So her party has a figurehead president, but Aung San Suu Kyi calls the shots. She holds executive power in Myanmar.

– There’s been ethnic turmoil in the west between Rohingya Muslim and Buddhists for decades with the last large scale violence in 2012.

– A few weeks ago Rohingya rebels and/or terrorists (depends on your point of view) struck various police and Army barracks killing about a dozen uniformed personnel. In response the Army did what it does best, it went wild. If you thought the scenes with the Myanmar Army in Rambo IV were part of the movie’s action packed nonsense, I assure you, the Myanmar Army got this reputation for a reason.

– Hundreds-of-thousands have fled to the border of Bangladesh. Untold thousands have been murdered, raped, whole villages razed. It’s humanity at its worst.

I think what essentially happened is at Myanmar Army Headquarters they had this plan on the shelf. It was printed on nice clean official paper and on the front it said “Rohingya Liquidation Campaign”. When the Rohingya rebels conducted their attacks a few weeks ago, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (a historically known miller of innocent human flesh) opened his desk drawer, took a swig of whiskey from a solid gold flask, said “Thank you very much, assholes,” and took the plan off the shelf and gave it to his goons to execute.

Everything after that has been on autopilot. The Army, assisted by local Buddhist militias, has done what one would expect them to do when ordered to exterminate a whole people. And where is Aung San Suu Kyi? Nowhere.

Apologists will make the argument that it’s not Aung San Suu Kyi’s fault. That the Army is actually calling the shots in Myanmar and she’s unable to stop the violence as she’s a figurehead. This ignores the apparent political power she wielded since the last election and which she’s been widely praised for using. It also doesn’t explain her essential silence and denials that anything remotely approaching genocide is occurring.

Nothing is stopping Aung San Suu Kyi from simply saying the violence has to stop. Instead, she’s made various inexplicable claims such as the Rohingya burned their own villages or are fleeing to Bangladesh at their own initiative.

Any reasonable person can only come to one conclusion. Aung San Suu Kyi supports the Army’s mission, thus genocide. Why? What the hell happened to this women? To me, when you really think about it, it’s actually rather simple:

1) Aung San Suu Kyi spent decades as a dissident and democracy campaigner. But, until recently she never actually held political power. She never ruled or ran anything. Nobody actually had a resume of hers to look at and say, this is who she really is.

2) Since the end of her exile, the restart of politics, and the last election a reputation has emerged that Aung San Suu Kyi runs her political party, the National League for Democracy, in an autocratic and closed manner. She doesn’t tolerate dissent or rivals, party policy is done at her whim behind closed doors, those who speak out are silenced or removed from the party.

3) Aung San Suu Kyi was born into, is, part of the central Bamar Buddhist establishment. Daddy helped found the country before he was assassinated. Daddy also founded the Myanmar Army. This was after Daddy had served in that oh so merciful organization known as the Imperial Japanese Army.

4) It was widely reported in the years leading up to the election that Aung San Suu Kyi could do business with the Army because (among other reasons) she still had an enormous amount of respect for the Army seeing as how Daddy founded the organization. In other words, despite decades of repression against her own person, Aung San Suu Kyi never checked out of the ruling Buddhist establishment.

5) Oh by the way, the majority of her voters are Bamar Buddhist and some of her most blowhard fervent supporters are Buddhist religious militants.

So what we have is a political newcomer, who already has autocratic tendencies, who was raised by a military man with a questionable background and record, who has always been a card carrying member of the establishment. And thus we get the picture of a woman who can very much share the vision of the Army that Myanmar is in fact a Buddhist nation, run by and for the Buddhist majority, with the Army as the cricket bat that enforces and maintains it.

It’s a very, very sad picture. And one that isn’t going to change any time soon. Aung San Suu Kyi is ruined in the international world. She didn’t even attend the United Nations meetings last week, so fearful was she of the criticism she would face. But does she really care? I doubt it.

Myanmar’s generals have been international pariahs for decades. They’re still rich, they’re still in power. And just like Castro or Mugabe, I suspect that a decade or two from now Aung San Suu Kyi will still be around. Disrespected, disgraced, and yet still calling the shots.

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