July 31, 2013

On Survival

I offer my deepest gratitude to all those who have written to me offering support in various ways. (Well, there was one guy who said he was enormously sympathetic about my predicament and would love to help -- and all he asked in return was that I provide prominent links to his "Christian music" sites. No can do. But even he was kinda nice about it. I suppose that's the "Christian" part, minus the soundtrack.) For those who aren't current on the IRS's pursuit of insignificant li'l ol' me, you'll find the background here, here and here.

I'm now able to pay the bills due in the first part of August, including rent, but only because of the wonderful kindness of those individuals who have exhibited both generosity and the willingness to deal with the inconvenience of sending donations by mail. I think I'm up to date with acknowledgments for donations I've already received, with one exception: I received yesterday a very generous donation from someone in the Seattle area. It arrived with no note or return address identifying the donor. I think I know who this person is, but I'm not entirely sure. To the mystery donor: thank you very much indeed.

If I've failed to acknowledge a donation which I should have received by now (which would exclude donations sent in the last several days), please forgive me for the oversight. Feel free to remind me of my error; I always want to assure donors that donations by mail have arrived safely. To the best of my knowledge, all donations have come through, unmolested by the IRS, NSA or other interested parties.

There are only two or three inquiries about donating by mail that I haven't yet answered. I apologize for that, and I'll take care of it in the next few days. And as I look ahead several weeks, I continue to have grave financial concerns. If there are additional people who would consider donating by mail, I would be very grateful to hear from you. You can write me at: arthur4801 at yahoo dot com. It's possible I may be able to use PayPal, at least in a very limited way, in the near future, but I'm extremely nervous about doing so while this IRS business continues. And it will continue at least for another month, and possibly considerably longer than that. For that reason -- and because I have no way of knowing what other surprises the IRS may have in store for me -- I'm trying to build up as much of a financial cushion as I can. So, especially at this time, the more donors the better.

The manner in which the IRS has upended my life has had very bad effects on me. Of greatest concern is that it has made my already bad health noticeably worse. Low-level anxiety is now a constant companion, and it doesn't take much at all to push my anxiety to a much higher level. I spend some of my time doing meditation exercises, and I spend a lot of time in bed. In fact, most of my time has been spent in bed over the past week. I try to stay as calm as possible; so far, my efforts have not been rewarded to any significant extent. As a result, I'm completely exhausted; hence, the retreat to bed, where I sleep very fitfully.

I've had many thoughts about this episode and what it reveals about the State that rules us, and that attempts to control us in all the ways that matter -- and that will attempt to destroy us when it suits the State's purposes. When I'm able to think and write more clearly, I'll discuss all that. But here I will mention one aspect of this business. I should note that, from one perspective, none of this surprises me; I've written about many of these dynamics for years. Nonetheless, when you are the target, these mechanisms assume a terrible clarity and specificity.

Consider the monstrousness of the State and the ruling class. (I refer you to, well, everything in my archives if the multitude of reasons for that statement are not immediately clear to you.) Consider that the most powerful of our leaders are serial murderers, murderers who boast of their deeds and are proud of them. Consider that the ruling class continues to amass ever greater power and wealth with each day that passes, while ever greater numbers of Americans not favored by privilege and wealth sink deeper into increasingly dire conditions. Consider, as just one example of the inversion of anything that remotely resembles decency and justice, that the financial criminals who recently destroyed the economy of not only the United States but the world, have not only not been punished in any manner -- but have been made more powerful than ever, and have been rewarded with many trillions of dollars taken from taxpayers.

Against that very briefly sketched background, consider the nature of the IRS's actions in my case, and the amount of money involved. I have learned that the immediate concern of the IRS is one particular year. According to the IRS's own records (which accord with my best recollection of my earnings for that year), my total income for the year in question was ... $21,863.00. The IRS further contends that, including penalties and interest, I owe them close to $10,000.00. Yes, that's right: the IRS says I now owe them almost half of my total income for that year. It therefore appears that usury is a noble practice, at least when practiced by the State (or by the large financial institutions, but I repeat myself).

On this basis, the IRS helped itself to everything in my PayPal account -- which only happens to be the money I barely survive on. And they may not be done.

I try to write with precision. I can only observe that this is absolutely, utterly insane. From the State's perspective, the amount of money involved is trivial and meaningless. But what the IRS is doing to me has nothing whatsoever to do with the money involved, and it's a very bad mistake to think that it does. This is the brutal, vicious exercise of power for its own sake. The IRS is attempting to crush me because it can. To put it crudely, but in a manner which is doubtless fully accurate, there are people who do the bidding of the State who get off on this. There are probably quite a lot of them.

And even though the money involved is trivial from the State's perspective, for me it is nothing less than life itself. Keep in mind one other critical point: I am fully aware -- and you should never forget -- that what the State is now doing to me is far, far less brutal than what it does to many others.

At the moment, the primary, awful, sickening example of what I mean is Bradley Manning, and the verdict that was announced yesterday. Understand that I would never presume to compare myself to Manning in any way at all, just as I would not dream of comparing my situation to his. The sole connection between the two examples is the behavior of the State, and the varieties of ways in which the State seeks to destroy those who fail to obey its commands. If there were any justice in the world, Manning would be celebrated as a great hero. He would be honored in multiple ways, and he would be rewarded for his actions to a degree that would enable him to spend the rest of his life in luxury, doing only what he wished. Of course, in that kind of world, Manning would not have found it necessary to take the actions he did. In this world, he still faces the possibility of decades in prison.

How does a decent human being, a person who understands the precious, irreplaceable value of a single life, live in a world like ours? But, you see, the State doesn't care if such people live. Ultimately, the State would prefer that such people cease to trouble it, that they don't exist at all -- that is, that they die. That is the final meaning of our State and its actions. If you won't obey, the State wants you to die.

That is what people desperately need to understand. When enough people finally understand it, then we can talk about resistance that will make a difference. Until that day arrives, we aren't living, not in anything close to the fullest sense in which I use that word. We are surviving, which is not at all the same.

I will have more to say about Manning when I am able to think more clearly. For the moment, I must turn back to the task of survival. I add that I have no intention of dying any time soon, much as the State might wish me to. I have one further thought:

God damn these motherfuckers. God damn them to the lowest reaches of hell.

July 21, 2013

The Splendiferous Difference Obama Makes

The primary theme of this NYT article will not be news to regular readers: the Obama administration's "aggressive focus on leaks and leakers that has led to more than twice as many prosecutions as there were in all previous administrations combined." I will mention just a few points of interest.

The story begins with the role played by Dennis C. Blair after Obama appointed him as director of national intelligence in 2009. Dismayed by the fact that there had been no indictments for leaking in the previous four years, Blair determined to change that policy significantly:
[I]n a series of phone calls and meetings, he and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. fashioned a more aggressive strategy to punish anyone who leaked national security information that endangered intelligence-gathering methods and sources

“My background is in the Navy, and it is good to hang an admiral once in a while as an example to the others,” said Mr. Blair, who left the administration in 2010. “We were hoping to get somebody and make people realize that there are consequences to this and it needed to stop."
My, my. Our national leaders are wonderfully charming fellows who express themselves in charmingly colorful ways. Yet we must acknowledge that destroying people's lives -- and even murdering them -- can be a very effective deterrent.

Imagine the uproar that would have ensued if a person holding a leading position in the Bush administration had expressed himself in this manner. We don't have to imagine that: we witnessed that scenario being played out countless times. And the NYT, somewhat to my surprise -- although they buried it in the middle of the article, where hopefully few people will notice it -- identifies the wondrous difference Obama makes:
President Bush also faced damaging leaks during his tenure. But his Justice Department prosecuted only one official under the Espionage Act for disclosing national security secrets, a Pentagon analyst first investigated in 2004 and convicted in 2006. As a conservative, President Bush would have faced a greater public backlash had he sought to imprison leakers, said Gabriel Schoenfeld, a senior scholar with the Hudson Institute, a conservative-leaning research organization.
It's very thoughtful of the Times to bury this in the middle of the article, and also to attribute the view to a person affiliated with a conservative think tank. In this way, all the liberals and progressives so devoted to protecting Obama can dismiss the criticism as nothing more than the opinion of a rightwing wacko. Nonetheless, we all know -- and all the liberals and progressives know -- that Obama has completely neutered all the arguments once offered against Bush's policies, policies which Obama has rigorously adopted, often expanding and worsening them in monstrous fashion.

And you might think that all the recent revelations about government surveillance have caused the Obama administration to temper its pursuit of leakers. Of course, you would be wrong. The Times discusses the administration's next target -- precisely the kind of "top-level target" they have long wanted. That would be retired general James E. Cartwright, who "has been identified as a focus of an investigation into the disclosure of classified information about American-led cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program."

It is true that Holder has offered a few conciliatory gestures, but this is merely play-acting:
Implicitly at least, Mr. Holder seemed to acknowledge some of the criticism this month when he restored and bolstered longstanding Justice Department restraints on seeking evidence from journalists. He said those restrictions “will help ensure the proper balance is struck when pursuing investigations into unauthorized disclosures.

Mr. Holder’s move came in response to a torrent of criticism after the revelations this spring that prosecutors had secretly subpoenaed the phone logs for more than 20 phone lines of The Associated Press in one leak inquiry and two days of phone logs of a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, in another investigation aimed at a State Department adviser, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. Prosecutors also obtained a court-ordered search warrant for Mr. Rosen’s e-mails by identifying him as a criminal co-conspirator of Mr. Kim’s.
We know Holder is only offering a pretense at conciliation because, in addition to the pursuit of Cartwright (and Manning, and Snowden, and and and), the administration's "aggressive pursuit of leaks and leakers" has "also led to a significant legal victory on Friday when a federal appeals court accepted the Justice Department’s argument that the First Amendment does not protect reporters from having to reveal the sources suspected of leaking information to them."

It's breathtaking, isn't it? Obama, heralded as the great new progressive leader, who would thankfully reverse the abominations of the Bush years -- and here he is, pursuing policies across the board in ways that Bush would never have dared. I can only hope that the intense envy Dick Cheney must feel doesn't kill him. Hmm ... on second thought ...

No. No. That would hardly be Christian of me. Of course, I'm not a Christian, so ... anyway, Cheney's not in power now. Obama is. Obama, the gift that keeps on giving -- if what you want is a State dedicated to murder across the globe, surveillance of everyone and everything, and the destruction of all those who do not belong to the ruling class. The obliteration of liberals and progressives as a political force for anything remotely decent and humane is gravy. Given the obloquy and contempt that liberals and progressives have merited for some years now, that is hardly a loss to be mourned.

And to think that Obama has three and a half more years ... is there anything he can't do? I don't think I want to know the answer to that.

July 20, 2013

Yay, Transparency!

To think that only two days ago, I wrote: "[J]ust as was true of the deliberately 'leaked' stories about the State's Murder Program and Kill List, the ultimate effect [of the surveillance revelations] will be resignation, acceptance and even, in some cases, enthusiastic approval. As the murderer in my story says: 'we decided the publicity was a great advantage.'"

Now this news:
The U.S. government said on Friday a secret court that oversees intelligence activities granted its request to continue a telephone surveillance program - one of the two data collection efforts leaked by former security contractor Edward Snowden.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, said its authority to maintain the program expired on Friday and that the government sought and received a renewal from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court.

The ODNI said in a statement it was disclosing the renewal as part of an effort at greater transparency following Snowden's disclosure of the telephone data collection and email surveillance programs.

A top official said earlier on Friday that intelligence officials were working to declassify information on the programs that Snowden had already partially disclosed.
So the government's massive surveillance program has been renewed by the superduper secret court -- but we know all about it now. Some critics will strenuously object, saying that details of this kind alone aren't what they mean by transparency. They want to know more of the inner workings of what the government is doing, and the legal reasoning on which it bases its activities. But the story indicates that the government is diligently working to provide that sort of additional information. Imagine that, some months from now, we have been told a great deal about the State's surveillance activities, and the State has released all the legal memos justifying that surveillance. And all the surveillance programs continue exactly as before. Would that make you feel better?

Thanks to the State's own PR program, which it undertook because of its great pride in its enthusiastic willingness to kill anyone in the world on the basis of non-existent evidence of any wrongdoing whatsoever, you know lots and lots about its Murder Program and Kill List. Does that make you feel better?

The endless harrumphing about the critical importance of "transparency" is one of the more ridiculous fetishes on the part of many of the State's critics, and especially as voiced by many "dissidents." A monstrous criminal, who rapes, tortures and murders an endless number of people -- women, men and children -- tells us all about his crimes and how and why he commits them. He continually manages to elude the authorities, and he goes right on committing his heinous crimes. But we know every single detail about what he's doing and why. Explain to me why that represents some kind of moral improvement.

I've been over this ground before. I was writing about the Murder Program, but these general principles also apply to the State's surveillance activities:
But about the question of oversight, and the related pleas for "accountability" and "transparency": keep in mind what the Murder Program is. The executive branch claims that it can murder anyone it chooses anywhere in the world, for any reason it wishes. Someone needs to explain to me how oversight, accountability and transparency will make such a program better. But they can't explain that -- because it cannot be done. A program that is evil in the manner the Murder Program is evil cannot be "improved," or "managed" so as to make it decent and humane. The Murder Program is an abomination. You don't "fix" abominations of this kind. You end them. You end them this very moment. As I said about this issue last November:
Evil does not become less evil because people are "open" about it. It is not miraculously transformed into good through some mysterious process of alchemy. Evil becomes only worse, infinitely worse. ...

So if certain "critics" of the Murder Program get what they want, the State will be blessedly open about its programs devoted to evil. It will torture and murder regularly, perhaps every day, but in broad daylight, with all of us watching.

And a lot of people will be very pleased indeed. Pleased, hell. They'll be goddamned thrilled.
With regard to the State's Murder Program, its surveillance activities, and every other means by which the State seeks to subjugate and control all of us, I am not the least interested in oversight, accountability or transparency. I want all such programs and activities to stop. That's it. I want them to stop.

But you mark my words: the State will make additional, continuing efforts to be more "transparent." Many of the State's alleged "critics" will herald this important change in how the State functions. The "critics" will trumpet their victory, and talk endlessly about how this proves the importance of "constructive engagement" with the State.

And while the State is being so blessedly transparent, it will not only continue all its present programs: it will expand them -- but now with a touch of transparency added. The programs will expand and get progressively worse, and any criticisms that are still to be heard will steadily grow softer and more infrequent.

The State is far better at this game than its critics. The State knows all about providing a sufficient illusion of oversight and transparency to satisfy those critics -- while the State proceeds to do precisely what it wanted to do all along.

So now you are beginning to know more about the evils perpetrated by the State. Bully for you. Hoofuckingray.

July 18, 2013

To Look Back, in Horror

Until a few minutes ago, I hadn't reread the very short fictional story that opens "Accomplices to Murder" since I published it last October. (As I go on to point out in that article, the story is not fiction at all with regard to the principles and policies it dramatizes.)

I'd forgotten some of the details I included in the story. In light of all the recent articles about the NSA and the State's ceaseless, constantly expanding surveillance activities, I myself was slightly taken aback by the accuracy of my descriptions. For example, these remarks by the man from the Department of Internal Security to Mrs. Hamilton:
"Our Department didn't have any particular reason to be aware of you. It was just the result of the random searching we do, through emails, comments on websites, things like that. I'm sure you've heard about all those programs. There have certainly been lots of stories about them. At first, we didn't like all that coverage. But when we saw that people quickly got used to the idea that we kept track of so many things, we decided the publicity was a great advantage. People didn't protest all that much, not in ways that we might have cared about. People understand that we're just trying to keep them safe. You understand that, don't you, Mrs. Hamilton?"
The story has quite a bit more of that kind of thing.

I view it as a tragedy beyond measure that one of the key points in that short speech is what I am convinced will be the final effect of all the recent articles (and the articles that we are promised are still to come, in the manner of breathlessly announced "coming attractions"). I see nothing to indicate that the recent revelations will result in a scaling back of these surveillance policies to any measurable, significant extent. To the contrary, and just as was true of the deliberately "leaked" stories about the State's Murder Program and Kill List, the ultimate effect will be resignation, acceptance and even, in some cases, enthusiastic approval. As the murderer in my story says: "we decided the publicity was a great advantage."

But I have much more to say on this subject, and I want to explain the reasons for my strong conviction on this particular point. I hope to get to it soon.

Hey, Assholes!

This is a rude post. Don't say I didn't fucking warn you.

This is far too easy and much too obvious, but I'm going to say it anyway. The gross, offensive stupidity of many Americans deserves to be mocked so mercilessly that these idiots will be too ashamed ever to say another word on any subject whatsoever. Perhaps they'll be so thoroughly embarrassed, they'll crawl into a deep pit and pull the dirt in after themselves.

So Rolling Stone released the cover of its upcoming issue. The cover features what everyone acknowledges is a photo of a very attractive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And instantly, Americans are befuddled and hopelessly confused. "Oh, goshes and gee whizzikers and Jiminy Cricket," Americans wonder in a philosophical frame of mind. (This is what Americans' philosophical musings sound like. Not fucking kidding.) "How can it be that someone who is so evil can also be hot?" But Americans are certain they know the answer to that. Boundless ignorance brings many benefits; one is absolute certitude in the face of any thought that is even mildly complex or challenging.

"An evil person cannot be attractive! Make him ugly, and awful, and disgusting!" Americans have a solution to everything. Aren't they wonderful? And their probing examination of these difficult questions leads them to another conclusion: "If you don't make him ugly, and awful, and disgusting, that means you're evil!" And we thus are led inexorably, by means of subtle, delicately observed metaphysical perambulations, to a boycott of Rolling Stone, accompanied by idiot statements from idiot celebrities.

A short while ago, I heard some guy being interviewed on a local L.A. morning radio show (didn't catch the guy's name, but he's another idiot so who cares). He started by saying that covers of this kind are not at all unusual; among other examples, he mentioned that People magazine has featured rapists and murderers on its cover since the 1980s. For a moment, I thought that perhaps he wasn't a complete idiot. I should have known better. He went on to say that this is the first time we've seen a major boycott, and "this is SO GREAT!!!" He was almost shouting with joy. He declared that this represents "a major sea change in Americans' attitudes," and "we'll finally stop glamorizing evil people!"

Oh, yeah, you goddamned idiot? You going to stop glamorizing Barack Obama? Or Hillary Clinton? Or John Kerry? Or any of the other motherfuckers who are or have been leaders of a government that glories in its Murder Program and its Kill List, and exults in the fact that it claims the power to kill anyone in the world whenever it wishes, for any reason it chooses? Obama, Clinton and the rest are proud of their murders, and I know they'd tell you to stop your sniveling: after all, they've killed a hell of a lot more people than Tsarnaev. Give them the credit they deserve, asswipe!

Are you going to stop glamorizing the leaders of a State that carries out murder operations in numerous countries around the world, that has declared war on the weakest and most defenseless members of its domestic population, and that has incarcerated proportionately more of its people than any other country on earth?

Are you going to stop glamorizing the goddamned military, which now exists only to subjugate, brutalize and murder innocent people abroad, and constitutes the primary means by which the goddamned United States seeks to establish global hegemony? And are you going to stop glamorizing the fucking goddamned police, who need no excuse and no reason whatsoever to taser you, to destroy your home, to kill your dog, and to murder you and other members of your family?

Hey, shithead, I'm talking to you! You going to stop glamorizing all those motherfuckers?

No, of course you're not. SO SHUT THE FUCK UP.


Here's a modestly sensible article about this idiotic "controversy" (which I only read very quickly, but it seems basically sane). And I haven't yet read the Rolling Stone article -- but neither had any of these fucking morons when they started fulminating -- but here it is. Sounds like it might be quite interesting. Yeah, that's the kind of monster I am. A detailed, considered examination of Tsarnaev's life and background might actually offer issues worth thinking about. OMIGOD. [ADDED LATER: It is a very interesting article. I may write something about it; there are several points of particular interest, with broader implications.]

Also, I obviously cannot claim that the stress of my current walk on the tightrope over the abyss is the cause of my rudeness here. Regular readers know that I can be extraordinarily rude even when absolutely, totally calm. Evil motherfuckers -- and I mean Obama, Clinton, et al. when I use language of that kind -- tend to make me very fucking rude. Yeah, puzzling. Anyway, my stress about the IRS shit (explained here, here and here) is going through the roof, which is not especially helpful when you have a bad heart. Two days ago, I thought it might be horrible, but not too horrible. Yesterday, it became much more complicated. Basically, I want to run screaming through the streets and throw myself off a cliff.

I can still use, and desperately need, some additional help. If you're willing to make a donation by mail, please contact me at arthur4801 at yahoo dot com. (There are a few emails I still need to answer; I'll get to them later today.) It is not at all clear to me that I'll be able to survive much longer as things stand at the moment. Thank you very much; I'm enormously grateful to all those who have written, and I also extend my great gratitude to all those who have let people know about my situation in various ways.

That's it for the moment. Now I'm going to scream and sob into a pillow, until I'm so exhausted that I fall asleep.

July 15, 2013

Stop Doing the Vicious Work of the Ruling Class

I offered some brief thoughts about Obama's disgusting and profoundly offensive comments regarding the Zimmerman verdict here. In thinking about the trial and verdict -- and, of much more significance, the overwhelming amount of commentary offered by almost everyone about this case -- I realized some additional remarks of my own are merited. In particular, there is one significant issue that I haven't seen sufficiently addressed elsewhere.

As I occasionally feel compelled to do when I discuss subjects of this kind, allow me to establish my general perspective. I have written extensively about the vicious and pervasive racism that permeates every aspect of life in the United States. As just two examples out of many more, see "Racist Nation" and "Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been ... a Racist?" The second article is titled in that manner because I was addressing the charges of racism leveled by many people against anyone who dared to criticize Obama during the 2008 election. Because I wrote a number of essays exposing the numerous lies and frauds that the Obama candidacy represented, some people accused me of being a racist. In view of my extensive writing on this subject, the accusation was shockingly unjust.

I've also emphasized repeatedly that racism is sickeningly alive and well in the United States today. From the War on Drugs (see here and here), to the War on Terror and U.S. foreign policy in general (and in every particular), as well as in the countless ways that systemic racism finds expression in our everyday lives -- from the jobs that are available to us, to housing, to education, to everything else -- racism remains a critical foundational element of our existence. The truth of this issue has been hopelessly confused and sabotaged by the election and reelection of Obama. Because he desired power, because he wanted to be the most powerful man in the world as the head of the most murderously powerful nation on earth, Obama ran as a white man. As I have stated: "All this means that it is Obama himself who has adopted the white racist framework. Yes, I repeat that: Obama has adopted the white racist framework with regard to every issue of importance."

The lie of the Obama presidency has confounded this issue almost beyond the point of reclamation. (A perusal of "Obama's Whitewash," which analyzes Obama's widely-praised speech on race, provides a primer on how this monumental lie took hold.) A lie so overwhelming in its significance and reach makes accurate analysis of virtually any subject all but impossible. The Zimmerman case fell into this cauldron of lies, confusion and dishonest agendas. It is not surprising in the least that it is enormously difficult to find sensible commentary about it.

With this as background, I state the following. While I did not follow the case very closely, I think I know enough of the critical facts to form basic judgments about it. If I had been on the Zimmerman jury, I would have voted not guilty. In an article rare for its coherence on this subject, Ta-Nehisi Coates says the same thing:
In trying to assess the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, two seemingly conflicted truths emerge for me. The first is that based on the case presented by the state, and based on Florida law, George Zimmerman should not have been convicted of second degree murder or manslaughter. The second is that the killing of Trayvon Martin is a profound injustice.
That is exactly right, and his reasoning deserves your attention.

Keep in mind an obvious point that is often forgotten: not guilty does not mean innocent. Zimmerman is certainly guilty of following, and probably of stalking, Martin in an entirely unjustified manner. He may well be guilty of being a vicious racist himself; some facts suggest that, but others do not. In terms of what happened that night, it is undeniably true that, had Zimmerman not acted as he did, the tragedy would not have occurred. In that sense, Zimmerman was the prime mover in connection with Martin's death.

None of that changes the fact Zimmerman was not proved guilty of the crimes with which he was charged. As Coates discusses (and as others have also pointed out), to prove Zimmerman guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the State would have had to prove that, in the final moments of their confrontation, Zimmerman had no reasonable fear that he was in serious danger. Given the fragmented, sometimes contradictory accounts from the few witnesses to that confrontation, there was never any chance that the State could meet that burden. Therefore, Zimmerman is not guilty of these particular crimes -- although he may nonetheless be guilty of being an entirely rotten human being who exhibited extremely poor (and possibly hideously motivated) judgment.

When laid out in this manner, the case is actually very straightforward. But now consider the purposes for which the right and left have appropriated it. (I use "right" and "left" in the broad sense in which those terms are commonly understood.) The right loses no opportunity to argue that, while racism (and slavery) were terrible evils in this country's history, slavery is long gone, and racism is no more. If their assertions are challenged, they will ultimately resort to saying (with exclamation points): "But we have a black President! Who was reelected! Racism must be dead!" This is only one of the hideously deformed results of the monumental lie that Obama embodies. The right has no wish (and perhaps no ability) to understand that Obama fashioned himself into the whitest man in America, precisely so he could wield power on an incalculable scale. And Obama is notably more vicious in the exercise of that power than the white man who preceded him in that office. Nor is the right in the least concerned with what Michelle Alexander calls "The New Jim Crow," just as they evince no understanding whatsoever of the numerous ways in which racism remains embedded in the structure of this country, as well as in the fabric of its everyday life. Similarly, they strenuously deny that racism lies at the root of U.S. foreign policy.

For the right, the Zimmerman verdict represents the triumph of "colorblind justice." Even if that were true, it is certainly not true that race had nothing to do with this case, as the right also contends. Many on the right endlessly repeat that Zimmerman is not white himself, and use this fact to argue that the left's entire "narrative" is wrong. But as Coates concludes:
When you have a society that takes at its founding the hatred and degradation of a people, when that society inscribes that degradation in its most hallowed document, and continues to inscribe hatred in its laws and policies, it is fantastic to believe that its citizens will derive no ill messaging.

It is painful to say this: Trayvon Martin is not a miscarriage of American justice, but American justice itself. This is not our system malfunctioning. It is our system working as intended. To expect our juries, our schools, our police to single-handedly correct for this, is to look at the final play in the final minute of the final quarter and wonder why we couldn't come back from twenty-four down.
The right is intent on using the Zimmerman case to prove that racism is no longer a force of any consequence in the U.S., that racism played no part in this tragedy, and that America at its core is truly good and just. All of that is not simply a lie, but a lie that disregards every fact of consequence in our history, and every fact that matters today. (For the record, I do not view it as possible that this is ever an innocent lie in any respect.)

The left's central crime in this affair is to have made the Zimmerman case an enormous cause in the first place. The analysis of the case I offer above was entirely available to anyone who paid any attention to this case almost from the beginning. This is a case that should never have been brought. While I agree with Coates' perspective, his level-headed approach is very rare for commentary from the left. What is most revealing about the left's treatment is what they refuse to discuss. With rare exceptions, they will not acknowledge the racism that lies at the heart of U.S. foreign policy, to which Obama is as fully committed as any of his predecessors. In fact, with his vast expansion of the Special Operations forces' operations, with his forays into Africa and the Far East -- to say nothing of the Obama administration's unceasing interference in the Middle East -- Obama has reinvigorated America's drive to global hegemony in ways that earlier presidents can only envy. In the same way, the left frequently refuses to admit the racism that undergirds the War on Drugs, which Obama continues with sickening zeal. And Obama's views on a wide range of issues perfectly mirror those of the white ruling class (see this for a more minor, but still nauseating, example).

While the right trumpets that racism must be dead, the left answers criticisms like mine with: "How can Obama be racist? He's black, for God's sake!" These are ridiculously stupid and ill-informed judgments. Their purpose is not to advance the truth, for they have nothing to do with the truth. Instead, the purpose of such claims is to strengthen tribal identity. (See "Learning to Hate 'The Other'" for a discussion of the dynamics of tribes in general, and of the formation of political tribes in particular.) It was to advance and inflame tribal cohesiveness that Obama interceded in the Martin case in the first instance, with his proclamation that: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." It was a disgustingly irresponsible statement. Its obvious, desired effect was to make people think: "Oh, my God! Zimmerman killed Obama's son!" So much for letting justice take its course unimpeded, in the absence of undue influence.

Obama seems to have a penchant for this kind of meddling. See this story from a few days ago, about the many problems certain of Obama's comments have created in the efforts to pursue those who may have committed sexual assaults in the military. Obama's remarks were a boon to defense lawyers, who can seize on them as "unlawful command influence." The man is an exceedingly dangerous menace in every area he touches, which is every area. My own view is that Obama simply didn't care that his statement might cause endless problems in the military cases. He loves wielding the enormous powers he has. He wanted absolute power, and now he has it, since he claims the "right" to murder anyone he chooses. And he loves every minute of it.

The demonstrations against the Zimmerman verdict continue, as the tribes play out their chosen roles. The demonstrations concern a case which should not have been brought, and which cannot support the constructions the right and left have placed on it. Meanwhile, wouldn't all those energies be far better directed if, for example, they were targeted against U.S. foreign policy? Or against the War on Drugs? Or against what is almost certainly the already irreversible rise of the surveillance state? But no: the right and left have learned their parts very well. All the arguments they need have been prefabricated, ready to be hauled out whenever the signal is given.

The Zimmerman case is yet another in an endless series of distractions. It is another bauble to be tossed around by the ever-busy writers and "activists" of this country's political factions. It is a means of fragmenting and splitting the people's political power, which would be far more meaningful -- and far more powerful -- if the warring factions could only be motivated to form strategic alliances. All those energies are safely directed into a non-threatening pathway -- while the ruling class continues to consolidate and expand its power over every one of us. To the extent the right and left play their parts with such enthusiasm, they do the ruling class's bidding. Most of those on the right and the left have enthusiastically placed themselves in service to the State, and the majority of them have no understanding whatsoever of their grievous failing.

At this point, I almost feel it's beside the point to blame the ruling class for this kind of thing. (Note: I continue to blame and condemn the ruling class without mercy.) What appalls me is how easy it is to distract the American public with incidents like this. Most Americans have been trained very thoroughly. The bell is rung, and they eagerly run to their designated positions. While they are entirely consumed with playing their meaningless roles in the affair of the moment, they pay no heed to the hell that is rising around them.

They'll finally recognize that hell soon enough, but only when it is far too late to do anything to stop it. From that perspective, I can certainly agree that the Trayvon Martin case is a terrible tragedy. But it not only the tragedy of one life ended far too soon. It is the ongoing tragedy of this nation, as it plummets into the nightmare from which there is no awakening.

July 14, 2013

From the Merely Calamitous to the Ungraspably Nauseating

I will take a brief break from my deeply unnerving personal woes to note the Killer-in-Chief's statement about the verdict in the Zimmerman-Martin case. We thus move from the attempted personal destruction of someone most of humanity has never heard of (namely, me), to stomach-churning nausea and horror on a national scale. It's a great fucking world, innit?

Honest to Christ, contemplation of a statement from the Killer-in-Chief -- a serial murderer with a goddamned Kill List -- that extols "a nation of laws," asks " if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities," and goes on to say, "We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence," goes far beyond nausea and horror. If a significant number of Americans were remotely healthy, they would treat Obama as they would any monster who raises his bloody arms from the open chest of his latest victim, lifts up his hands -- which hold his victim's heart, liver and other organs -- twists himself with enormous effort into his most obviously and fundamentally false serious mien and with phonily solemn voice, as blood soaks the scene, implores us all to love one another and embrace tenderness and gentle care for each other as the greatest of virtues. Healthy people would regard such a scene with the monster as insane and horrifying. People should have the identical reaction to such statements from the fucking Killer-in-Chief. But most people assuredly do not, and I am beginning to think that is because this nation as a whole has suffered an irreparable psychotic break. I may exaggerate, but not by much. On some days, and this is one of them, I'm not even certain I'm exaggerating any longer.

I went over much of this ground in more detail in January of this year. Here's a brief excerpt:
To say the government of the United States is one of the greatest sources of violence and of violent death in the world today is not to exaggerate in even the slightest degree: it is the unvarnished, goldplated, fucking, goddamned truth.

Therefore and thusly, to believe that one of the greatest sources of violence in the world today should be trusted to solve the problem of gun violence in America is to believe in self-contradictory statements which immolate themselves on a gigantic pyre of the most ridiculous, asinine, ludicrous notions ever imagined in the malformed, grotesque, nonfunctioning brains of the dumbest animal that has ever existed. Anyone who believes that gun control -- gun control devised and implemented by a brutal, endlessly violent, systematically murderous State -- will even begin to solve the problem of violent death in and by America is a fucking idiot. Moreover, to believe that the man who has lovingly embraced the principle of mass murder, and who proudly and repeatedly declares to the world that he is a serial murderer dedicated to continuing his murders into the indefinite future, targeting an ever-increasing number of victims, is sincerely devoted to ending even a single aspect of the problem of violence is so colossally, stupendously stupid that it defies accurate description.
There's more.

And, for the moment, that is all I have to say about this hideous business. No, wait. There is one more point. If Obama possesses even the most microscopic fragment of sincerity when he proclaims his desire to "prevent future tragedies like this," he could take one immediate action. He would resign this instant, and insist that the authorities lock him up in a maximum security prison for the rest of his life. Furthermore, he should demand that every single person in the goddamned national government follow his example without delay.

I dream big. You should, too.

July 12, 2013

Into the Silent Darkness?

Readers who found my blog only in the last few years probably don't know the following history. I began blogging in the fall of 2002. I described myself as a libertarian, and I quoted Ayn Rand. A lot. I had a long history with Ayn Rand and her circle of friends; I worked in the office of Rand's last publication from 1971 through 1976 and had very regular contact with her. I was certainly never friends with her, although we had a very cordial relationship; in fact, Rand told a very good friend of mine that she wanted to help me financially when I moved to Los Angeles in 1978 to try my hand at writing, an offer which my friend thoughtfully managed to deflect since both our views of Rand had already changed significantly, and not for the better. But I did become very close friends with several people in Rand's circle; for close to a decade, my life was Rand 24/7. As I look back on my life now, and when I think about what I would want to change if I could, that is the single item I would alter: I devoutly wish I had never heard of Ayn Rand. (You'll find some of my recent thoughts about Rand in the introductory comments to this piece, along with links to more.)

In any case, my libertarianish-Randian perspective proved to be very popular. I was frequently linked by many bloggers who described themselves as libertarians, and even by many conservatives. Instapundit linked me very often (you can look it up). As you'll see at that link, Instapundit linked me a lot in 2002 and 2003; the links then become rarer and rarer (one or two a year, if that), and the links end in 2009. The links from right-leaning bloggers became rarer and rarer for me because I grew steadily harsher in my criticisms of the Bush administration, the War on Terror, and of conservatism generally. I was engaged in a vigorous, demanding course of self-education. I read many books and articles, and thought very hard about every single one of the beliefs I had accepted. I ended up rejecting most of them, and realized I had been wrong about almost everything in the realms of foreign and domestic policy. I knew what I could write that would keep getting links from Instapundit & Friends -- but I couldn't write those things, because I no longer thought they were true.

My criticisms of Bush and the right became extremely scathing. This proved useful to liberal bloggers. From roughly 2004 through 2006, I was linked very regularly by Atrios, Digby, and quite a few others, and I was linked very often by Crooks and Liars. (You can look that up on our own if you wish.) But as I learned more, my critiques deepened and broadened -- and my targets came to include Democrats more and more regularly. This post just before the 2006 election is representative of that period. There was much more of that to come. My criticisms of the fraudulent Obama began with this essay from 2007 (one of my better ones). In the spring and summer of 2008, I was merciless about Obama (see here and here, follow the links for much more).

Obviously, this turn in my writing meant that my writing was no longer terribly useful to liberal bloggers. Their links to me began drying up in 2007, and by 2008 they were gone altogether. But I was still linked regularly in other places. Antiwar linked me very often for several years; it was not uncommon for Antiwar to link my articles two or three times a week at one point. For several reasons, all of which are singularly unpleasant and which I don't care to revisit, those links began to dry up, as well. The last article of mine that Antiwar linked was this one. Articles like this one, or this one, or, very notably, this one, as well as a number of others appeared to be of no interest to them. I have an opinion about that, and you can probably figure out what it is.

In all of these instances, I knew what I could write (and say to individuals, if I cared to) that would keep the links coming. But I didn't write or say those things, because I didn't think they were true.

And so that brings me to the last couple of years, and my audience of well under a thousand visitors per day. (I was once used to three or four thousand a day, easy.) It also brings me to the response to my posts about my current troubles with the IRS (here and here). I am tremendously grateful to those people who have written to me, and I still have a few responses to get out (which I'll take care of today or over the weekend). So far, 18 people have contacted me about making donations by mail. 18. I may manage to survive for a month or two on that, but surely not much longer. And it may well take longer than that to reach any accommodation with the IRS, if that is even possible, and assuming I'm willing to do what the IRS demands. I'll be exploring those possibilities with the IRS in the next few weeks. I've received two offers of assistance with regard to the IRS; one is very limited, and the other appears to me to be very problematic logistically, but maybe I'm wrong about that. Please don't misunderstand me: I'm very grateful to those two people. I wonder how many offers of help, and how many inquiries about mail donations, I would have received if I had made myself write what would make bloggers of the right or left happy. If I had transformed myself into another mindlessly content, ever-obedient member of the right or left tribe, I would doubtless have far fewer worries today. I might well be in fine shape.

What do I think the lesson is? It's very simple: If you want to survive in this world -- the world of politics and political bloggers as currently practiced in the marvelous US of A -- never mind what you think is true. Learn to lie. There's a broader lesson, too, which I stated here:
The corporatist-authoritarian State is designed to force all of us to become its collaborators. If you wish to survive in such a State, you either collaborate or your life becomes increasingly difficult. In the most extreme case, your non-cooperation means you will die.
I wrote that in December 2010. I knew the risk I was running years earlier. Now the risk is here in full force.

My deteriorating health also means that I've been looking death directly in the eye for over four years. When you know you have a steadily weakening heart, and when you are unable to get any medical care whatsoever (except for calls to 911 when the emergency becomes extreme enough, which I've already done twice -- and think about doing again at least a few times a week), death is your constant companion.

I never learned to lie. I never learned how to convince myself to act in ways which I knew to be wrong, but managed to rationalize with arguments about being "practical" and "getting along." And I'm a stubborn bastard. But you should probably cut a few corners. No one will notice. Hell, most people will reward you for it. As I discussed in that earlier article, if you want to survive, and especially if you want to be successful, you have to collaborate. I never learned the trick of that.

What will finally kill me? My heart, or the IRS? Or both? I suspect we'll find out soon.

Well. Fuck it. I'm not changing now, even if I could. And I can't.

July 10, 2013

Seriously, I Need Some Help

As a quick followup to the news from the other day: I badly need the help of a tax specialist who would be willing to volunteer her or his assistance. At this point, I'm primarily concerned with having someone knowledgeable make the initial contact(s) with the IRS, so I think we're only talking about some telephone calls, taking perhaps an hour or two at most (and maybe less time than that). I need to find out what liability the IRS is pursuing, what else they might do in addition to levying my PayPal account, and what sort of accommodation might be worked out. Once we have that information (and perhaps a few other items that I don't know about, not being especially knowledgeable in this area myself), then we'll have a much clearer idea of how to proceed. At that point, I can try to find someone else to help with the required work, if need be.

So I ask anyone who sees this to help get the word out about my urgent need for such a person, in any way you can. I would like to think there are a few people out there who would offer me even very limited assistance in this matter. (One very kind man did contact me yesterday and answered a few of my questions, but his situation is not one that allows him to do much more than that. I sincerely thank him for his help.)

The stress associated with this business is already beginning to have some noticeable negative effects on me. So many thanks for any help you can provide. I'm very grateful.

July 08, 2013

They Finally Got Me

[Update added.]

First, many, many thanks to the people who so generously responded to my latest request for help. I'm deeply grateful for all your support. The July rent has been paid, and I'm okay for the moment.

Unfortunately, I just received a notice from PayPal that what I thought might happen someday has now, in fact, happened. The lovely folks at the IRS served a levy on PayPal for all the funds in my account. So the IRS took what was there, and my PayPal account is unusable. (You would have seen a notice to that effect if you clicked on the PayPal logo, but I've now removed it.) I had managed to get a good portion of the recent donations out before this morning but, very sad to say, there was still a fair amount remaining. Basically, if you made a donation up to about a week ago, I have the funds. If your donation was more recent, the IRS has it. I'm more sorry than I can say, and I offer my special apologies to those who made donations only to find out their money has gone to the IRS and not me.

For years now, because I knew the IRS was out to get me at some point, I've kept the balance in my PayPal account very, very low. Whenever I made pitches for donations, I withdrew the funds almost immediately. But because my health has now gotten so much worse, I wasn't able to make as many trips as I wanted to the closest ATM. It's only a block and a half away, but given my enormous difficulties in getting around, it might as well be a couple of miles. The heat in L.A. didn't help, either. That's the reason there were still funds left for the IRS to get. My apologies and regrets again, both for all the kind donors and for my sorry ass.

However, I'm not content to let the matter stand there. That is, I'm not ready to lie down and die, which is what I'm certain they'd prefer. I obviously have no money to pay an attorney or tax specialist, but if there is anyone out there who would consider volunteering their expertise, I would like to find out if there are any options with the IRS at this point. I should tell you that I don't want to pay them a single damned cent -- I don't choose to give funds to murderers and torturers, thank you (which is why the IRS was after me in the first place) -- and I'd also like to get back at least some of the funds they've taken.

Beyond that, and looking ahead to next month's bills -- especially since I now must plan further ahead than before -- I guess I'll have to use the mail. I don't like to do that at all, and there are a few complications on that score as well, but if you're willing to consider it for future donations, please write me (arthur4801 -at- yahoo dot com) and put MAIL DONATIONS in the subject line. (I received several such inquiries in response to my last plea for donations, and I'll now respond to those emails explaining the situation.)

As I say, I suspected this might happen at some point, especially after PayPal began filing tax forms starting with the 2011 tax year. I had thought about providing a warning to donors that the IRS might suddenly swoop down, so that you kind people would be forewarned. I'm terribly sorry I didn't do that. But since the IRS and I hadn't communicated at all for years now, I thought (hoped) they might have forgotten about me. I mean, Jesus Christ, I HAVE ALMOST NO MONEY AT ALL. And I didn't receive any warning at all before this levy was imposed.

And that's another aspect of this that absolutely enrages me. I know, we all know, that there are multibillion dollar companies (and individuals) who, with the aid of their fleet of top line attorneys and financial experts, pay next to no taxes at all -- and in many cases, none, period. And yet these bastards come after me.

Well, to hell with them. This has made me so angry that I feel I have a new lease on life. With your help, I hope we can figure out a way around these difficulties. And just to show them, I'll live for another ten goddamned years, and write another ten books' worth of essays.

Once again, I offer my heartfelt apologies to those people whose donations have been swept up by the IRS. I cannot find words to express my regret.

"They" hate us for our "freedom." Fuck me. And they have.

UPDATE: I want to state again that I feel horribly guilt-ridden, truly stricken, about soliciting donations, only to have a fair number of them grabbed by the IRS. I keep thinking: if only I'd felt better and been able to get to the ATM more often before this morning, if only it hadn't been so damned hot (which does horrible things to me now on top of my ongoing physical ailments), if only, if only... Well, that way, madness lies. But I am sorrier about this whole goddamned mess than I can say.

During the day, I tried to remember the last time I had any communication from the IRS. I'm almost certain it was close to ten years ago. Ten years, during which I had heard nothing at all. So I had thought that perhaps, mercifully, I'd fallen off their radar. I guess that's a lesson for all of us: they never forget. If there is any way at all, they'll get you in the end.

Meanwhile, I've put my thinking cap on, trying to come up with ways in which I might manage to survive. As regular readers know, it doesn't take much to cover my very minimal bills. There has to be some way in which I can survive this, without facing eviction (which is my major concern -- along with internet access, although that's covered for this month). Eviction would mean...well, best not to think about what that would mean. Too early for that anyway.

If anyone has helpful, creative ideas, I'd love to hear them. And I'd also love to hear from some tax attorney/finance person who might be of a splendidly generous frame of mind, willing to offer what I hope would only be a little help to a deserving mendicant. As I said above, I primarily want to find out if I have any options at this point, and if there is any way to get the levy lifted, and perhaps even get some of the vanished funds back.

Many thanks to everyone again. I seem to be managing pretty well for the moment, given the possibly very dire implications of this latest news. But I think I may give myself some needed relief -- and go into the bathroom and scream for about half an hour. If I weren't surrounded by neighbors, some of whom would doubtless come running to see what was wrong, I'd do it. If only I lived in the middle of nowhere...maybe I'll just break a few dishes. Haha. Just kidding. Not really. Maybe just one...