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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Arianna, your roots are showing

In a comment, a reader asked why Huffington Post has changed its look. Being a rare visitor to that site, I didn't know about any changes. So I popped on over and discovered another reason to distrust Arianna:
Hello from 8,000 feet. I'm in Aspen, where the conversation, thankfully, is much thicker than the air. I'm here for the inaugural 21st Century National Service Summit, sponsored by the Franklin Project, a new venture of the Aspen Institute. For two days, speakers will be discussing all the ways in which we can scale the idea of giving back into a robust program of national service. The goal is to make universal national service a new American rite of passage by creating one million national service positions for those aged 18 to 28.
If she's for universal national service, there must be something wrong with the idea. What you should focus on here is the fact that Arianna Huffington -- a one-time Republican firebrand who tried to Lady MacBeth her way into the White House -- claims to be a progressive convert. Yet here she is, leading a panel at the Aspen Fucking Institute.

Remember Scooter Libby's coded message to Judy Miller about the Aspen Institute? Here's a list of the Institute's bigwigs. Some of these folks aren't so bad -- Gabby Giffords, Herman Wouk (author of The Caine Mutiny, born in 1915!) -- but there are plenty of "usual suspects": Richard Armitage, David Koch, Henry Kissinger...

You know. The gang.

According to this rather funky source, the Board of trustees also includes this country's most powerful backers of Israel, including "Frederic Malek, major Republican financier and member of the board of the America-Israel Friendship League." This is the same Malek who helped Nixon's "pogrom" against Jews in government. Malek later became an advisor to Sarah Palin.

The basic point is this: Don't trust Arianna. Don't trust any courtier to the Dodekatheon who floats down from Olympus to tell the common folk which rites of passage they should observe. Or, to switch metaphors, the author of a book called Pigs at the Trough shouldn't pal around with pigs.
I can think of one thing that would serve the nation that certain right-wing types don't seem so fond of: PAY YOUR TAXES YOU CUNTS. But no, lets be hard-headed realists and put the nation before our petty political sniping, by forcing the young to work at government assigned tasks with no say in the matter and no real pay, and not focus on the politics of envy. That's FREEDOM!
Exactly what is the significance of support of Israel? Why even mention that some of the board members support Israel? Why not mention support of Poland or Vatican City?
Isn't this really a polite euphemism for the DRAFT?
Never trusted Arianna, never will. She coopted the left's jounralism with Huffington Post and that was the plan all along. Come on-her initial partner was Breitbart.
Israel is a very unpleasant state with close ties to the American political right and intelligence services.

Austria, currently, has a "national service" programme which can be served either in the form of military conscription or community service. Certainly to an Englishman, "National Service" means conscription.

It might be interesting to just conscript women. After all, men had it for decades in most western countries, and still do in South Korea, in Austria, in Norway (where they are about to start including women), in Israel (where women are conscripted for less periods). Might help men get on level terms for university enrolment, too.

In principle, I oppose determining the merits of a proposal by the short-hand proxy of looking at those who agree with (or oppose) it.

For example, that Marx included universal suffrage for women and mandates for children to go to school and the institution of the graduated income tax as planks of the Communist Manifesto has been raised as prima facie reasons those must be bad. They are not inherently bad, and Marx's ahead of his time historical support for them doesn't make them bad (nor automatically good, for that matter).

Perhaps this idea of universal service might serve as a sneak CCC plan ala FDR's program (his Civilian Conservation Corps), to employ a highly unemployed and unemployable cohort of the country.

Returning the federal government to at least a partial role as employer of last resort is probably a necessity in this disfunctional economy, and if it must be 'sold' as a high-minded national greatness program to achieve it, given the obvious charge against it that it is socialism/socialistic, seems a reasonable trade-off.

"In principle, I oppose determining the merits of a proposal by the short-hand proxy of looking at those who agree with (or oppose) it."

Of course this is correct. I really wrote this piece to point out how Aspen-rooted our "progressive" Ariana has become.
The Aspenites' national service thing comes from Gen Stanley McChrystal.

(McChrystal links to the Alexander post. He took over in Afghanistan from McKiernan, who according to Rolling Stone was the first top US general to be fired in wartime since...MacArthur in Korea. All these Macs, eh? Later, of course, McChrystal was himself fired.)

In Afghanistan, McChrystal pushed 'COIN', a counterinsurgency strategy which brings the military into broader (and more broadly presented) schemes involving diplomacy and politics. Not without carrying out assassinations, mind. You know what they say about hearts and minds.

Now on Civvy Street, he pushes a version of national service which similarly involves the military while being civilian in content and non-military in presentation, and which doesn't wear khaki...

...except when it does. Take a look at this interview:

McChrystal: "I personally believe [oh for fuck's sake! general becomes politician! - b note] that national service is important for the nation, and that’s having all young people serve a term of national service. Certainly not all military."

"All of us bear an obligation to serve — an obligation that goes beyond paying taxes, voting, or adhering to the law."
@XI: if Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto were calling for it to be compulsory for children to attend school - and that interpretation of their proposal for "Free education for all children in public schools" is probably correct - then they should have thought about it some more, even in 1848!
In an ethical society, a period of national service might represent a win -win situation and a growth opportunity for young people.

In an unethical society a period of involuntary national service can resemble a program of state-sponsored kidnapping and ransom, providing a great opportunity to manipulate ambitious draftees and their relatives who want exemptions for them.

In a neofascistic surveillance state,
a national service program provides an opportunity for the state to spy on, experiment on, intimidate, and collect lifelong blackmail material on, the people who participate in it--and thus to manipulate their relatives as well. It even provides, to the extent that suspicious deaths take place in the program, opportunities for murder.

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