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The Mystery of Vanishing Dissent

The Mystery of Vanishing Dissent, Vol I. Chapter 1: Hubris

On 16 January, 2016, the Louisiana State University of Shreveport hosted a symposium honoring participants in a top-secret and unprecedented international air strike against the forces of Saddam Hussein in 1991. Present were pilots and technicians who had been stationed operated in Barksdale Air Force Base, as well as scholars, photographers, journalists, and family members.

Today I observed a modern marvel of supreme superficiality. A meager convention of portly, aged men, mostly wasps, gathered in a self-congratulatory "symposium" to celebrate their achievements (as stated) in a small college theater. The men, dozens of them, were predominantly air force retirees who wore green shirts to designate their role in the opening volleys of an historic exercise in global air assault, 16 January, 1991, against 35 of 39 targets in Iraq, then ruled by Saddam Hussein.

The conflagration known as Desert Storm claimed at least 23,000 lives and began, as western history explains, with Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. However, this highly publicized and aggrandized effort is contained and compartmentalized in the public mind under the reductionist heading "Desert Storm. By naming the operation sequence and associating a finite set of objectives and policies with an official narrative, the perpetrators of this particular conflict succeeded in detaching the events as they unfolded in the last decade of the twentieth century from the broadly critical chain of events which gave them context, as well as from sincere evaluations of events which have transpired since. As a result, the common memory of this headline war has become completely divorced in public perception from the reality which it inhabited.

The Lee Greenwood Era of evangelical patriotism is founded upon this very rock: self delusion. Never in recallable history has this hollow attitude been so easily observed as in today's commemorative celebration of the so-called secret squirrels. Today's symposium had no genuine academic, political, or historical merit whatsoever. This irreconcilable void of substance was paper mache'd over in true conservative fashion, with pageant-quality reverence, vivid imagery, lodge-mate brevity, overt patriotism, and self-reinforcing applause. These men, virility now in varying states of decline, remember their orders and their enemies clearly, but after 25 years are unable or unwilling to discuss their actual targets.

There should be a saying, counter to the hoorah-drivel about atheists in fox-holes, that their are no enlisted polemicists. Nowhere in the mind of the modern millennial soldier, down to the least exposed technical and logistical rear-guard, does there exist a modicum of internal debate. There are no politicians in uniform. Politicians make lousy generals and the reverse is also true. The response, or relationship rather, is Pavlovian. The soldier is given a task to complete, and the identity and morality proceed exclusively from the perception of efficacy alone, and not from any bothersome philosophical liberalism. Was or was not the mission successful? What were the obstacles to the mission? What lessons were learned during the mission, and how can they be applied to future missions?

Ask a single one of them living under the shroud of their own insignia, "was the mission right?" and they will at once glaze over as if programmed to deactivate in response to the possibility of dissent, or worse, many of them return an auto-fire assertion of absolute assurance, augmented as always by a little Abrahamic aid, of course.But never, NEVER, does one of these young or old automaton express doubt. None, whatsoever. The general public, since the passing of the Vidal-Buckley generation, has little interest or awareness in foreign policy any more, so the convention, mostly the aging wives and aged parents of the "secret-squirrels" themselves, featured very little in the way of an external audience. Nowhere to be found was an opportunity for dissent. This was not a venue for competing narrative. It was not a venue for substantive debate, or for acknowledging the loss of human life resulting.

Those lives didn't matter. They were just "the enemy" and that short, simple campaign was straightforward and book-ended on either side by vacancy otherwise. Ironically, the lives of these men, apart from their roles in the Senior Surprise machine, were equally irrelevant, though there is little evidence that they comprehended this subtle irony. General Clark stood at the podium, echoing the answers to questions he did not know from a whispered voice behind a curtain, diluting the circus of perverse metaphor by amusing the audiences with laughing claims of extra sensory perception and revelation: "The answers just seem to be coming to me..." Toothy grin, audience laughter.

Everyone gets the joke, but no one does.

The only two questions of any external significance to be raised at this disappointing gala were raised by myself. "What was your kill rate?" And what were your targets. To the first, no one had an answer on hand, and seemed surprised anyone would dare to bring it up. To the second, an outright refusal. "we will not discuss targets" were the old mission commander's exact words. They would discuss munitions loading procedures, the planning phases and administration, training, the loading process, load capacity, comms equipment, armament, and even the shitting arrangement aboard a nineteen hour flight. They would discuss the last minute will-and-testament frenzy on alert, pre-strike. They would pray to Jesus Christ at the beginning, and they would observe solemn silence while local children, America's next generation of advanced weapons systems, paraded the color guard in loose, awkward uniforms. Many avid church-goers would join in singing the national anthem.

They would nod in support during General Clark's peculiar parable about artificial selection before introducing the panel.

"A man trained horses to run to the barn when he sounded a horn. Then he shut them up in the barn uphill from food and water in plain sight, and deprived them until they were starving and dehydrated. Then he opened the gates and they all ran towards the food and water, but then he sounded the horn. Most of the starving horses pursued their selfish interests, but five of them returned to the barn. The man bred these horses into the Arabian Stallions, the best breed of horses in the world. (Paraphrased)"

Someone out there should be alarmed by this, and it damned well ought to have been some of those so called academics who hosted this affair, but dissent was nowhere to be found. No one even flinched at the General's terrifying "commitment" parable, and no one even blinked when this battalion of Gulf-War pilots, intelligence operatives, and engineers failed to recall any human cost to their enterprise. They applaud the "absence of any loss of human life" as long as that life is their own.

Furthermore, the refusal to discuss actual targets in a declassified twenty-five year old campaign doesn't reflect an unavailability of information. The targets' sudden destruction would have been inevitably noticed by someone, somewhere, if it was at all critical to anyone; and these were likely to have been recorded and reported. The mission details, however, were withheld for some time in fact, granting the notoriety of first strike to another mission group as a matter of historical record until declassified. (Again, no one fucking blinks)

No. this refusal reflects the Department of Defense's active unwillingness to be engaged in sensitive areas of its constructed narrative by any support of opposition, even while presently laboring to visibly engage the public's attention on the very same subject. What is left but a bunch of old, fat, white men standing around the driveway, chugging Duff, and talking about the cool toys they got to play with. Or an outline for a mediocre Dean Koontz novel.

Discussion of death and foreign policy no longer have any place alongside the subject of war. Perhaps, in order to sustain pride in one's accomplishments, one must occasionally forget what those accomplishments actually were, and replace them with derivative fictions, revisions, and rationalizations that satisfy one's pride, for it must never be the other way around.

The Mystery of Vanishing Dissent, Vol I. Chapter 2: STOP (the) ONLINE PIRACY ACT

In 2011, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) succeeded in quietly introducing and passing House resolution 3261, commonly known as SOPA or the Stop Online Piracy Act. The controversial bill authorized and expanded punitive measures designed to eliminate what is known as file-sharing on peer-to-peer networks, targeting users and website owners, while explicitly granting immunity for service providers, search engines, and payment networks who voluntarily aid in enforcing the new regulations.

On the 26th of October, 2011, a sweatless band of merry conservative pranksters nailed a golden railroad tie straight through the bleeding liberal heart of America. With that final hammer-stroke of a politician's pen, the United States government nationalized it's own culture and sold the rights to the highest bidder. As of the 27th of October, all that the citizens of this once-great nation have ever said, are saying now, and will ever say again, may be considered private property, owned and distributed at the will and discretion of the oligarchy, not to be bartered for leverage or political maneuverability, but to be rationed back to the masses in grotesquely overpriced micro-doses as opiate nourishment against the revolution. The political Right and hence-termed "moderate Left" would call this hyperbole, and would McCarthy's ghost damn whoever should so curl a more beguiling tongue!

Amidst a muddled fog of half-baked pleas and sinister lies, the great moral lesson of an enlightened age drifts with stealth through an oblivious crowd of blind patriot slaves, cheerfully divided into opposing mobs, "promote" and "protect," and all can be sure that where ever the former is spoken aloud by any patron of the demagoguery, the later has been whispered softly over the fortune that binds him. In this instance, the offending hymn of destruction comes in the form of House Resolution 3261, derived from the gospel of Republican Texas Representative Lamar Smith, and ordained into law by the machinery of the free democratic world as a textbook example of how a little bit of complexity can be used to overwhelm the vast American attention span more effectively than any act of war, discovery, protest, or vulgarity.

More subtle than Alzheimer's and more supreme than martial law, this toxic and corrupt excrement of democratic and legislative failure is sure to be the curious and unhappy burden of scholars and historians for decades, and if not promptly undone before the currents of passing time sweep this rotten flotsam into the amnesiac seas of public apathy, then it is certain to be the intellectual euthanasia of civil identity, painless, swift, and irrevocable. Neither the first step, nor the last, but simply a dim and not-too-distant light opposing on a black and violent sea, the nearest and brightest in a long line of candles lit to mourn another passing spirit of Liberty, and to protest another set of wings bestowed upon the legions of tyranny, It is here where the search for our vanished spirit of dissent must begin. On this journey, skepticism endures a new kind of transubstantiation, becoming first muse, then guide, then oracle, and finally, revelation, bursting forth from molted mythology into sentience- a hydra of 'holy shit's' and 'no way's!' erupt! Had enough rhetoric?

This resolution conferred upon the Attorney General a new kind of jurisdiction over what the passive public diminishes as "digital media" in the parlance of our times. Applying broadly to such ubiquitous headings as 'sound recording,' 'video,' and 'live recording,' the legislation aborts the natural course of human development in favor of indentured servitude. Has the reader noticed the sparsely lamented passing of the print industry? The disappearance of books? The arrival of social media? Has it left the mind reeling in a state of disbelief and incomprehension how suddenly this wave of technological liberation has smashed against the new Gibralterian edifice known as a Pay-Wall? The argument that built the wall was simple: Intellectual Property. The most elaborate and hypocritical heist ever constructed in all of human history was veiled in virtue and sincerity, the way a prostitute sometimes dons a nurse's crown, or the way an assassin or bomber sometimes slips away under a phony badge during the commotion and panic.

'Intellectual Property,' as an expression in this new era, signifies an intrusion of the morality of materialism into the realm of thought and identity. In the old world, the pinnacle of philosophical accomplishment crowning the arc of human history was widely hailed to be the creation of a society that protected not only one's life and one's liberty, but especially one's property, the undisputed currency of capitalism. At the center of every political conflict ever recorded, however epic or consequential, may this wonderfully wicked word be discovered, parasitic, entrenched, and metastasized. In the tangible, physical world, the historical precedents for defining this simple word are innumerable. Its capacity for interpretation is interminable. Property connects the Battle of Hastings to the Battle of New Orleans. Property links the Pharaoh to the Hebrew, the Israeli to the PLO, and binds the Federal Reserve to the almighty-dollar.

Traditionally, if it could be seen, it could be owned. If it could be contained, it could be shipped and sold. If it should so happen to have had a pulse, it could be seized, subordinated, and enslaved. But what common ground exists between the master and slave, between the miser and the thief, and between the soldier and the citizen, is the notion that if a thing can be possessed, it could be taken away. Whether manufactured by hand or found freely in nature, whether as rare as gold or as abundant as water and dirt, all that existed within reach of human perception was susceptible to the pernicious greed of the human heart, and from this natural law proceed doctrines of liberalism and conservatism and philosophy as boundless as the starry sky. The great and simple conclusion of these, after obligatory centuries of chaos and tyranny, was that property was sacred. Whatever law man may derive, it must primarily concern the preservation of his herds and hoards if it is to legitimate a free and fair society. Man earns by the sweat of his labor or the wit of his cunning, but still he earns, and must keep or dispose of as is suitable to him and to his own self interest.

With great reluctance, he sacrifices a tax to facilitate this security, and bucks and neighs when the cost exceeds his comfort, but is ultimately rewarded with sounder sleep, satisfied his wealth and status safely await his awakening. Beyond murder, all law concerns property in some way or another. Traffic laws, drug laws, authorizations for the use of military force, civil rights, all hinge on the knowledge not only that a thing of value may be earned and kept, but of vastly more significance, it can be taken away. All punishments and penalties that do not deprive life or liberty do universally accept property as a suitable surrogate. Indeed, property is the mortar of organized civilization! Once removed, the world becomes rubble, as history has surely testified.

But what happens when the concept property trespasses into the domain of free thought and human expression? Into the open air vaults of imagination where our histories are stored? Into the streets and circuits where our culture circulates? Superior to property in Locke's hierarchy of divine endowment were life and liberty, life being that composite of all human experience dependent on the continuity of a beating heart, and liberty being the civil assertion of existence unbound by restraint and servitude. A person's identity in any society is a cultural construct of values, ideas, and references that is slowly accumulated over the course of that person's life. These derive from speeches, songs, theater, and stories which this species shares to illuminate humanity for new souls and retain the record for the old. Is a song a thing or an experience? Who owns the Midnight Sonata? And who may freely extract a toll for transit through Dante's Inferno? A better question. Who can afford to pay for public opinion? Who possesses the requisite wealth to pursue enlightenment? The best question. Is there any aspect of reality which humans might be permitted to share freely? In the age of digital property, what is for sale? And what can be owned by who?

These questions were critical to a debate that never happened. And to understand the consequences requires that one comprehend what could have been. Envision a world in which the American citizen, armed with fifty years of hindsight and a second chance at history, built its national, fiber-optic, data network infrastructure as a matter of public works instead of as the result of a privatized corporate effort funded by government subsidy. The purpose of this socialist venture? To freely share information, to communicate, and to record and retain our art and self expression for posterity. If this sounds Utopian and unrealistic to the reader, consider this critical piece of perspective, and carry it for life as a reminder of consequence: The only difference between the seemingly idealized historical revision above and the Orwellian reality to which this and all subsequent generations are beneficiaries, is the simple distinction of cost. The manufacturers who sold the materials got paid for the materials. The workers who dug the trenches and laid the lines got paid. The programmers and techs who designed the servers and invented the code, they all got paid. Then they all went home. But the American public, generous in spirit if nothing else, continued paying. Over the course of ten years, the average American subscriber to one of the major data-com providers will contribute in excess of $16,000 a piece in pure profit over operating expenses, but if you ask, the Average Joe will complain that taxes are too high and wants the selfish government to reduce the load somehow, without undermining the sacred principles of the free market. He has been conditioned to defend his burglar while assailing the constable's integrity.

Once established, this infrastructure of Internets and intranets quickly evolved into a profound landscape of human interaction, accelerating the pace of human development to rival the breadth of human imagination. Ideas, once confined exclusively to the provinces of earshot and line of sight, now surge at light speed to and through every corner of the globe. The rising tide lifted all ships, reducing mortality rates around the globe by facilitating the rapid and well organized mobilization of will-power and resources, and elevated the arts and sciences through dialogue, exposure, and cooperation. Entire civilizations discovered each other for the first time, though they had been at odds for centuries.

It was as if all the humans around the world finally came together in communion to warm themselves around a massive bonfire, visible from space but sustained on not but an armload of kindling from each who arrived- a grand reunion of the human family of races illuminated by each other's light. And then Lamar Smith from Texas went and pissed in everyone's face.

The SOPA legislation grants the AG the authority to order your internet service provider to A) inform you if you have downloaded some video or song or text that someone else owns the rights to and regards as a commodity with a cash value, and then B) terminate your access if you repeat the offence after having been warned. With this new authority, every single facet of your online experience may now be monetized. What this means in real world terms is that 'content owners' now have legal recourse to begin the process of removing all unauthorized content from the web, while rapidly acquiring ownership over the last hundred years of cultural expression, from Joplin to Jehovah, and consolidating public access through approved channels, on a pay-to-play basis.

Sound familiar? It should. This is the fundamental business model on which Pandora, Netflix, and Redbox are founded. YouTube and Facebook are both transitioning toward subscription services. All of the major newspapers and magazines already limit content to incentivize paid subscriptions. Broadcast television was eliminated more than a decade earlier, and all the TV networks and radio stations in the country have been owned by only a half dozen corporations for more than thirty years now.

So envision a world in which you continue paying for one bill for cable, another bill for internet, and another bill for phone, even though all three of these services come from the same national infrastructure which was fully funded a generation ago. In that world, imagine then paying one service for the privilege of listening to approved music, paying another service for theater and cinema, paying another service for historical record, paring another service to mediate between the citizen and the government, and paying for all these in pre-packaged form into perpetuity. Imagine paying for every re-run. Imagine paying to read a movie review. Imagine being filmed by drones in any parking lot, and having to pay someone else to release or remove the footage. Imagine having to enter a credit card number to access all the academic databases and law-books. What happens then?

First, the poor become completely disenfranchised as the moorings of socialization and national identity are cast off within the first generation. When the well of humanity runs dry or when the valve is wrenched closed, humans become unable to access and internalize the many historical narratives that shape and mold their character, their sense of community, and their point of common social reference. The value of society, of cooperation, and of virtue are always the first casualties of cultural deficiency. The emergence of a rigidly separate class system follows the immense and asymmetrical creation of wealth. Those who control the information control the narrative and will suppress and exploit the ones who do not.

One is not wrong to wonder at such a society, what worth property retains when propriety retains none. The stated intention of the SOPA is "to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating theft." The word theft used to mean taking something that belonged to someone else. It implied that that person no longer had it, and would not get it back unless returned by the thief. Now, "theft" means that you paid too much for an amazing computer, and way to much for marginal internet service, and that though the two together can reproduce any one masterpiece in full high definition resolution and high fidelity sound in a matter of moments, if any be obtained from an unapproved source over an unprofitable medium, Jeremy Landis at the Recording Industry Association of America can now ram the entire American judicial apparatus straight up your asshole to the tune of $250,000.

But don't worry, he'll happily settle for $3,000.

The Mystery of Vanishing Dissent, Vol I. Chapter 3: Mass Treason on Wall Street and The Crash of Winter '16.
In today's Washington post, Drew Harwell attributes the loss of two years of economic growth and two trillion dollars of wealth in the span of three weeks to "growing fears of a global economic slowdown that will test the strength of the fragile U.S. recovery," and proceeds to echo the established. albeit artificial, narrative that what is happening right now is the result of some deficiency in the Chinese economy. Everyone in the world needs to stop what they are doing right now and take a moment to willfully ignore this otherwise sensible and well-intentioned journalist, because what he says is an outright lie. However, what follows is not to discredit Mr. Harwell, or any other hard-working and poorly-fed pen pusher out there trying to make a living squeezing the poli-tit, but to shine a light in a dark and poorly comprehended direction: forward.

The new era of economic suffering which is upon us all is not an aberration, and will not likely pass very quickly away before getting worse, whether gradually or rapidly only the fates may know. It is in fact a grand and magnificent act of national and cultural betrayal, hidden under a Cleopatrian wedding-veil of complexity. Its true roots are not at all economic, as the trebeleau bean counters of the behavioral medicine generation insist on friendly-sounding radio programs which hold the modern intellectual audience hostage in their driveways each evening. This is an exodus. It is political. And this time, its payback time.

Never before in pop-history memory have the American business and banking interests so universally mobilized by the social adversity which they have engendered. The presently evolving collapse of the Republican party is perhaps the single most politically destabilizing variable in the entire global complex. Conceding, at last, a fifty year struggle against a seedy and possibly unredeemable political alliance between moral liberalism and neo-constructionism, the Right, alongside a considerable retinue of the more pragmatic and ideological left, to be sure, are right now at this very moment gathering up their chips and leaving the table. The implications of this elusively abrupt hiatus can not be, as of yet, over emphasized or understated.

Though such action is not new, in principle or in precedent, to scholars and a few straggling members of the celebretarian intelligentsia which America has built for herself, it is not widely discussed, and certainly comprehended in any meaningful way within pop-history. But this sudden 700 day economic squeeze on little-old black history month 'aint no surprise!' Failing to establish a suitable contender for the upcoming executive ticket during the season, feeling the aggressive anti-establishmentarianism from the left, and facing that colon-quenching finality of the approaching caucus season, America's 1% of myth and legend are stepping in out of the shadows and cashing out.
Again, the right, and the 'moderate' left, will dismissively chuckle hyperbole, and a duly herculean effort shall be required of that prototypical phosphorescence beaming down from Harvard and Stanford and Yale and Columbia to substantiate this now ubiquitous peril in terms the establishment would permit you to consider or future historians to recall, or we could simplify the whole affair in words a child could understand. "They're tired of playing with the other children, and are collecting their ball and going home." And in doing so, they are briefly exposing to careful scrutiny a latent potential for destruction inherent in the American system of power and politics.

It is well known to any cut-rate academic, such as those minute-men employed by the Post, that economy is a squiggly line that goes up and comes down, but, as we all have assumed from the last fifty years of data, generally inclines toward the boom, over the long run. In the back of their minds, this is what the best and brightest of the watching-world is hoping is happening now: A profound and visible panic, conveniently attributable to the old Red stand-in, for now, but, as their experts insist, will surely improve, because "the sell-offs don't last."

This is the fallacy to which historians must adhere and the analysts must pontificate. It is an assessment of the future, based on the past. A prediction has been made to serve as an opiate for the common appetite of dull people for simplistic explanations, appealing solely to conventional gospels of the past. This best illustrates the failure of the manufacturers of modern thought to live in the present and address the reality of our time. Beneath its surface lies nothing more substantive than a bit-biting, hoof stomping hoorah! and then thunder through a cloud of dust. It is not fact, it is a Norman Rockwell painting. It obscures the truth with bright colors and familiar themes, but doesn't dare look the goddamned dog in the eye.

Noam Chomsky once tried to explain that whenever any issue du jour seems to rial public indignation out of its restless slumber and rouse a substantial debate, the audience always mistakenly over-evaluated their own participatory role in such affairs. In truth, he explained, these storms were Olympian rumblings, resulting exclusively from disagreements between the elite forces who truly govern the global economy. In any case, the ultimate solutions which emerged were also products, to a substantially disproportionate degree, of the interests and inclinations of those elite, as opposed to the 'free people' themselves. In today's case, Mr. Chomsky's bell sounds far through the fields. The most complicated truth in this sordid affair is that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, will suffer endless hardships as a result of this collective flight of the Le-gulls. Lives will be ruined, and many more lost as mortality rates surge, bankruptcies spread like cholera, and the political will dissolves. The Democratic National Convention has but to select which martyr it will spend the next eight years crucifying in order to shore up a waning legitimacy. Neither party should produce a leader capable of eliciting the sympathies of the public without completely and irrevocably damning all future assessments of character and sagacity in the public judgement.

So what is left to do? What has always needed to be done. Since the days of Jackson, Hamilton, and beyond. The public en masse needs to be educated once and for all about the iniquities of usary and speculation, not from the lips of bible-thumping pedagogues, or more bland, condescending and pseudo-intellectual overtures from the Treasury and the Fed, or more prattling from those Paxil pushers on the friendly-sounding public radio. Someone needs to explain once and for all, in simple terms, how the 'regular people' -not just the Jacksonian wasps who propagandized the concept, but all the little children red-or-yellow-black-or-white you've all heard tell about- how the gen-pop gets the shovel when the rich get to shit.

Because in this case, the missed opportunity for dissent, like the SOPA example, derives directly from a giant vacant void in the the public's sense of comprehension and intellect, which I and others attribute to the foils of the modern educational system just as quickly as to the excesses and coversions of the present oligarian regime. The free market, for which the polemics have convinced us our predecessors and progeny fought and died to preserve, is as Orwellian and corrupt as it is enigmatic and inaccessible to the most atavistic among the un-gentrified proletariat, but who among them could know? How many could such an unlikely messiah convince? And how many more are there still who stand idly by waiting to overwhelm the meager sparks of opposition with the stifling mob-weight of apathy, indifference, and ignorance.

In any case, no one should presume this collective act of political economic rebellion is an act of concession. This isn't the Right backing down, it's the Right playing dirty. The problem with having such a historically anomalous 1% in the modern econo-scape is currently being showcased in an international exhibition. A 'sell-off' is a liquidation of holdings for currency. That currency must be stored somewhere, presumably somewhere which engenders more confidence than the trading floor. So what happens, for example, if they (the holders) move that currency into savings, for instance? First a prospective 3% annual yield (on trillions) becomes a .02% annual yield, in the best case scenario, and then nothing! Because there is no way that shit is ever going to happen even for a day so it isn't worth even exploring any further. And that's the point.

As any given stock becomes more available, the price falls. As a large cornucopia of publicly traded stocks become widely available, the prices fall fast and the process tends to become a self-amplifying principle. This is the historical prospective upon which the quoted analysts and "expert" minute-men have been tasked to establish a temporary narrative, either by deliberate, malicious, and guilty men, or by decades of susceptibility to suggestion and conditioning, or by spontaneous instance of originally flawed and ubiquitously familiar logic. So follow the rabbit. The stock price falls. The revenue for the company(companies) decreases, while the demand for money increases, lowering prices, including that of labor. Layoffs lead to a mass reduction in consumer spending, meaning demand for products is reduced, followed by a second round of layoffs. Demand for money rises, so the price of money rises, and it will be up to the Federal Reserve to fight back (the hard way) or to take the punch (the easy way) and normalize the money supply.

If they do this, and everyone will demand they do so, each on the most moral, religious, patriotic, rational, and urgent grounds they can conjure, they will effectively leave the Right holding all that currency and wealth they just pulled out in this sordid symphony of self-interest, after all the tears and foreclosures and police-state reinforcements on the working man's dime, harder to get than ever and twice as hard to keep. The increase in buying power for the wealth they wield, coupled with the massive quantity of wealth they wield, will tied them over for decades until the next major phase of global economic reorganization commences, and will sustain them against just about any other natural political adversary short of complete and avid national revolution, which would require a hallucinogenic and hysterical degree of spontaneous enlightenment and ambition to incite, let alone conduct and conclude.

And all the while, the talking heads will direct attention to cheap oil and China, the two traditional enemies of American Capitalists.
"Slowing growth."

It's extortion. The American working man is being taken for yet another ride. Buckle up!

The mystery of Vanishing Dissent: Vol I. Chapter 4: The Right to Remain Silent.

Steven ******** was arrested on a playground in front of his six-year old son by Louisiana State Police on July 1, 2015, for allegedly using "Improper Phone Language" in a phone call to the Office of the Governor's constituent services voicemail after hours, during which he expressed outrage at the governor's efforts to promote religious discrimination in that state. He has entered a plea of not guilt and is scheduled to appear in front of a State judge for trial on 11 February, 2016. Mr. ******** served in the Navy in the Persian Gulf during Operation Shock and Awe in 2003, and is currently a student in good standing, on the Dean's list at his local college, where he is pursuing a Bachelor's in History. He is expected to graduate this year.

I knew a girl once. She jumped out of airplanes on combat missions until cancer robbed her of her combat readiness designation. When many people would have taken a lifetime supply of income from the VA and walked, she instead chose to "cross-over" into the Navy, after fighting her cancer into remission. There, in service to her country, she performed one of the world's most dangerous jobs during the Shock and Awe campaign of 2003. Those fortunate enough to be called her friend called her BamBam (calling her Pebbles might have resulted in injury). She exemplifies a level of character and determination I will never possess, but which I have enough sense and decency to admire. It is difficult for me to imagine what it must be like for someone like her to come home to a country that welcomes her home with gratitude for her honorable service in one hand, but berates her in the other with malicious biblical condemnations from people whom the nation would permit to protest her funeral with such large colorful signs emblazoned with such hateful and derisive obscenity as only the most genuinely depraved and sociopathic people could produce. It is a truly unbearable thought that such a tragic condition in human nature could be not only encouraged, but embraced and celebrated by any elected official-let alone one wielding a state's highest office-and worst of all, sanctioned for the specific purpose of political advancement! Such an arrangement very neatly satisfies my definition of obscenity.

I have a close friend, now approaching seventy, who spent eight of the last ten years caring for his partner of over four decades in a down-hill battle with Alzheimer's disease. When many people would have eventually surrendered to the convenience of nursing homes and hospice care, my friend stayed with his partner day-in and day-out, every single day, feeding, cleaning, wiping. medicating, carrying, and guarding the fading light of his life, right up until the very last, when the passing of the enfeebled mind preceded that of the strong heart by three days. Whereas any "traditional" wife or husband in such a situation, even after the shortest and most capricious weekend weddings, might have had the privilege of leaving his or her lifetime of contributions to social security, my friend instead came home to an empty house, devoid of prospects, in failing health and dismal spirit, and very nearly alone at the tail end of the decades which claimed so many before him, and finding himself with not but the knowledge of inevitably depleting funds, accompanied by the not so subtle onset of his own symptoms of sun-down syndrome. To think that we live in a society which would permit such a man to find the rest of his life summed up in the choice between being a gay man in a nursing home in the deep south, and swallowing a tall bottle of pills, or that he would find the later more appealing than the former, such a thought I would just as quickly classify as obscene.
In these cases, I don't just use the term obscenity to indicate an absence of "political or artistic value," as the Miller standard requires. I use the word obscenity because the condition described is one that engenders the genuine suffering and degradation of honest, decent people, and because such suffering is predicated on the callousness and prejudice of others.

I stand accused of obscenity, and had my mean-spirited and poorly chosen words been directed at an ex-girlfriend or an employer, then perhaps I would likely concede to the so-called "contemporary standards" and plead guilty to this charge. But this I did not do. I did not institute or engage, anonymously or otherwise, with a person. In fact, after many calm and rational inquiries during stated business hours, I have encountered no substantial evidence that any actual person has any genuine interest in feedback from the common stock of state constituency. But I do have irrefutable evidence that the machines are listening, because within twenty-four hours of my long-distance expression of outrage, I was being handcuffed on a playground in front of my six-year-old son. The recording itself is now apparently a matter of public record, and I challenge anyone who would listen to it to deny a single assertion: that what is heard is in fact the genuine sound of outrage, and that at the bottom of this outrage there is a clearly political basis. Expletives aside, the question I offered, and which remains unanswered, is what possible right the Governor could possibly believe he possessed which would enable him to single-handedly disenfranchise an estimated 150,000 Louisiana citizens, against the will of the Supreme Court and against the better judgment of the state-legislature, to coin phrase never-before recorded in the history of politics.

Should it be the role of this court or any other to insulate, by rule of law, an elected official from the genuine and passionate outrage and discontent which they so deliberately and gleefully engender in pursuit of personal advancement? I contend that in fact, what is good for the goose ought to be good for the gander. It is a terrifying prospect to imagine a society in which a court sits on its hands while politicians sell hatred and discontent on any and every form of media they can afford, but that the state will arrest and incarcerate and thereby deprive a citizen in good standing of liberty and property for the dreadfully dangerous crime of responding honestly, openly, and directly to the fascistic and anachronistic policies of discrimination and evangelical extremism.

Governor Jindal hosted a rally for the hate-group known as the American Family Association in January of 2015. The organization was described as an "anti-LGBT extremist group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. According to Todd Starnes of Fox News, the U.S. Army uses AFA footage to teach personnel about how hate groups operate. Notable evidence includes a man named Bryan Fischer who describes homosexuality as a "sickness." A recent post on the AFA website is entitled "Constitution prohibits NASA from banning Jesus." At the time of this writing, it has received no comments.

On March 20, 2015, Emily Lane of the Times Picayune reported that Bobby Jindal had, by executive order, delivered a set of political policies known as RFRA, or the Religious Freedom Act, which had been rejected by the State Legislature the very same day. Critics of the order alleged that it enabled a discriminatory environment, and the policy itself was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court shortly thereafter, at which point the Governor made a political show of encouraging state employees under his jurisdiction to ignore the ruling by the highest court in the land, in favor of his executive order, crafted and delivered to satisfy groups like the AFA.

This narrative is further reinforced by the Governor's participation in a rally in DeMoines Iowa called the Religious Liberties Conference in November of 2015. The principle speaker at this rally, who introduced Mr. Jindal, along with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, was a man named Kevin Swanson. Swanson is a radio host, hopefully on satellite, in Colorado. During his long, passionate speech, he discussed in vivid terms the biblical mandates contained within the Book of Leviticus and the Gospel of Paul to the Romans which condemn homosexuals to death, usually by graphic and horrifyingly brutal methods. Mr. Swanson cried "Death to Homosexuals!" arguing that he was not ashamed of the word of God and "not afraid to go to jail for it." Ultimately, Mr. Swanson reasoned that it was not necessary to execute homosexuals because God's punishments were much more severe and permanent, and that instead, they should be given time on earth to repent.

So if we want to have a debate about contemporary standards of obscenity, where exactly ought we to begin? Perhaps the best, most joyful place to start is twitter, on 01 July, 2015. It is a sunny day. Hash-tag "#AskBobby" has failed horribly, and with widely varying degrees of politeness and acidity, Mr. Jindal got an endless roster of unrestrained public opinion. As bad as it gets, even the most sober and disciplined conservative stoic will surrender a chuckle or two while perusing the old records of the many questions which residents and non-residents volunteered.

While it was happening, I was being arrested, and booked into Caddo Correctional Facility on one count of improper phone language. I had been warned that I could have been charged with a ten-year felony. The man who warned me, and his partner, the arresting officers, had a nice big truck and were gracious enough to let me sit in the front, on my hand-cuffed hands. The radio was tuned to 7:10 Keel, an Am station devoted exclusively to radical, right-wing, evangelical conservatism. One wonders what these two G.I. Gentleman must have thought of me.

In six hours, I'm due in the Louisiana State court house in downtown Shreveport, Section Four, Room J. The following is the text of the misdemeanor statue I am alleged to have violated.

Today, with no fanfare or media coverage at all, the integrity of American Democracy will be tested. Whatever happens, the outcome will reflect what degree of dissent is still considered socially acceptable by the machines that govern humanity.

Needless to say, I intend to have the full amount on me...just in case.

I'll bet I was the only one to ever tell my story to a guard and hear him laugh, shake his head, and complain about how stupid the governor was. Except for the food, I had a relatively enjoyable time in jail.

In Caddo Correctional, during booking, the two most frequent questions I was asked were:

"Are you a homosexual?" and "Are you a member of a hate group." That's something to really think about.

Wish me luck everyone.

(Ed: I'm happy to report that these charges were officially dismissed as of 7 April, 2016. Go fuck yourself Bobby Jindal)

2011 Louisiana Laws
Revised Statutes
TITLE 14 — Criminal law
RS 14:285 — Telephone communications; improper language; harassment; penalty
Universal Citation: LA Rev Stat § 14:285

§285. Telephone communications; improper language; harassment; penalty

A. No person shall:

(1) Engage in or institute a telephone call, telephone conversation, or telephone conference, with another person, anonymously or otherwise, and therein use obscene, profane, vulgar, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature or threaten any illegal or immoral act with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass another person.

(2) Make repeated telephone communications anonymously or otherwise in a manner reasonably expected to annoy, abuse, torment, harass, embarrass, or offend another, whether or not conversation ensues.

(3) Make a telephone call and intentionally fail to hang up or disengage the connection.

(4) Engage in a telephone call, conference, or recorded communication by using obscene language, when by making a graphic description of a sexual act, and the offender knows or reasonably should know that such obscene or graphic language is directed to, or will be heard by, a minor. Lack of knowledge of age shall not constitute a defense.

(5) Knowingly permit any telephone under his control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this Section.

B. Any offense committed by use of a telephone as set forth in this Section shall be deemed to have been committed at either the place where the telephone call or calls originated or at the place where the telephone call or calls were received.

C. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

D. Upon second or subsequent offenses, the offender shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than two years, or both.

E. Repealed by Acts 2001, No. 944, §4.

Acts 1954, No. 435, §§1, 2. Amended by Acts 1958, No. 121, §§1, 2; Acts 1963, No. 54, §1; Acts 1966, No. 304, §1; Acts 1984, No. 477, §1; Acts 1999, No. 338, §1; Acts 2001, No. 944, §4.

Source: (accessed 11 February, 2016.)

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