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Long live rational skeptical thought. :)

     Before my libertarian friends get entirely up in arms I’d like to preface this article with a disclaimer.  This is not a’ beat up on libertarian inanity’ post, I have plenty of those already, but rather an examination of the role of the state when it comes to managing the affairs of a country.  Now as to what the optimal mix is between the public/private is, is quite contentious.  In my opinion, the social democratic state a la Sweden or to a lesser extent Canada does the best at preserving choice and liberty while keeping its citizens safe from “free-market” discipline and providing the social services necessary for a smoothly running society.  Unfortunately for Mexico, they have been herded far away from anything resembling a social democratic state.

Mexico, the biggest loser in the NAFTA free investors agreement has never recovered from the trauma.  Local industry and manufacturing was gutted with the influx of tariff free American goods.  Local agriculture was hollowed out as tariff free food-stuffs made farming unprofitable with people leaving the land en mass (Our churlish Canadian federal conservatives are dismembering our single desk wheat board, moving us merrily closer to the Mexico model, yaaaa!) .  What was left intact in Mexico was drug cultivation and production, as illegal trade tends not to respect treaties or borders (kinda like a different shade of NAFTA, creepy eh?)  While the Mexican economy is going on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the government was forced to adopt many of the notorious structural adjustments that we tend to enforce on even poorer countries to cut the ‘fat’ out of government spending.

What constitutes “fat” are programs that strengthen the social fabric and cohesion of society: Health Care, Education, and Welfare.  Obviously the state has no business in areas like these, and the inevitable cuts destroy the social safety net for a countries citizens.  Another step toward that lovely Darwinian state of being that is so often bandied about by libertarians.  Survival of the fittest, personal liberties and freedom from government interference.  Most of the time, your freedom consists of choosing how you and your family can starve or how quickly you can be come destitute if your unlucky enough to get sick.  As the structures of the state fall away society morphs closer to the “me first, once I get mine, fuck you” attitude that exemplifies the majority of libertarian thought.  Altruism, community, social supports all decay as the struggle to survive quickly marginalizes these now luxurious concerns.  “How can I help my community?”, is trumped by, “How can I feed my family?” and necessarily so.

The emergence of the Mexican Narco state is the response to “how can I feed my family?”.  The Narcotics industry is profitable, and there are many jobs available, positions that need to be filled and are filled by desperate people who struggle to exist in Mexican state that has been economically and socially hollowed out by ‘market forces’.   The violence continues as the Cartels struggle for territory and power while the enfeebled state attempts to maintain order.

“The bound and gagged bodies of 26 young men were found dumped in the heart of Mexico’s second-largest city, in what experts said could mark a new stage in the full-scale war between the country’s two main drug cartels.
The bodies were found early on Thursday in two vans and a pickup truck abandoned on an expressway near the Milennium Arches in Guadalajara, one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city, according to several local media.Most of the men died of asphyxia, according to officials in Jalisco state where Guadalajara is located, though initial reports indicated some had been shot.  Mexican drug cartels frequently leave threatening messages with the bodies of their victims as a way of sowing fear and taking credit for their actions.”

This is a version of the free market in action.  With no rules, no regulation, everything is on the table.

  “The victims, apparently between the ages of 25 and 35, all had the words “Milenio Zetas” or “Milenium” written on their chests in oil, said Jalisco state Interior Secretary Fernando Guzman Perez.  A law enforcement official who was not authorised to speak on the record said the writing was apparently meant as the killers’ calling card, identifying the assassins as being from the Zetas and a smaller, allied gang, the Milenio Cartel.  The official said a banner found in one of the vehicles, whose contents Guzman Perez refused to reveal, was in fact signed by the Zetas.  The killings, apparently carried out before dawn, bore an eerie similarity to the September 20 dumping of 35 bodies on an expressway in the Gulf coast city of Veracruz.”

The desperate poor a set on each other killing themselves for their small slice of “the action” so they and their families might survive another day.

“Our correspondent said the federal government was steadfast in its decision to continue using the full force of the state to battle the Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel.
“Despite all of those efforts … these kinds of killings continue here and there’s a sense at times that the federal government is really unable to control these kinds of possible revenge killings by trafficking organisations,” he said.  Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president, has deployed the army to crack down on powerful criminal gangs and some 45,000 people have died in the conflict since he took office.”

The Drug War continues in Mexico.  We are at least partially responsible for what has happened there, and what continues to happen there (we provide the market for the narco state’s end products).

The god of justice, compassion and eternal fiery torment for us atheist types gives us proof of his love in his most revered book…

I’m thinking with a kill streak like that god probably has an *aimbot.

 

(* For those unfamiliar with FPS computer gaming – an aimbot is a program designed to let the users cheat while playing a multiplayer map)

Liberal Viewer is taking a fine tooth comb to the action of the police during the OWS protests.  More importantly he is speaking directly to what the character of the US is about.  It the US a constitutional democracy or is it a autocratic oligarchy that will defend the interests of the rich before the rights of the poor (yes, yes I know false dichotomy but we are being dramatic here).  The protests and coverage are writing a new chapter in the rights that people are allowed to express in the US.  You can sit on the sidelines and critique OWS on any number of areas, and justifiably so, what and how they are doing is far from perfect.  However, what also needs to be examined is what by extension they are doing for those of us who are not participating.

The protesters are documenting and recording how the state treats dissident views.  What you are seeing is how well your rights as a citizen stand up to the power of the state and its coercive apparatus.  The OWS protests are a litmus test as to exactly how much freedom and liberties are accorded in society.  So before you cast aspersions and uncritical invective at OWS, perhaps consider what it would be like if you were demonstrating and vocalizing an idea that meant enough to put your freedom and safety on the line.

 

 

Speedy the cat always knows what is going on, she watches you watch her!

http://youtu.be/Y38d8MJUvq8
VII Aquarium

Strings without double-bass, two pianos, flute, and glass harmonica: This is one of the more musically rich movements. The melody is played by the flute, backed by the strings, on top of tumultuous, glissando-like runs in the piano. The first piano plays a descending ten-on-one ostinato, in the style of the second of Chopin‘s études, while the second plays a six-on-one. These figures, plus the occasional glissando from the glass harmonica — often played on celesta or glockenspiel—are evocative of a peaceful, dimly-lit aquarium.

How many ‘wtf’ moments are republican political candidates allowed before being branded too stupid to breathe?  Michelle Bachmann must be getting super close to the limit by now.  I’m not really sure what to do with this level of intellectual bankruptcy on her behalf.  Coupled with the puerile servitude of fox news, its almost too much to stomach in one sitting.  It is chilling to see that this level of incompetence is allowed anywhere near a position of political power.

Making stuff up on during a  televised debate and advocating for torture are apparently okay, small bumps in the road on the campaign road I guess.

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