Cyprus and You

by Ian McLeod

Welp, this is the beginning of the end of the end.

As you may or may not have heard, Cyprus is “exchanging” shares in their banks for cash in a forced transaction that might, in saner times, be called “theft” but in our day and age, is just a bailout.  All bailouts are theft–whether from taxpayers or, in an unprecedented move, the “customers” themselves.

While my Economics For Fun And (Not Much) Profit series exists only as a distant memory in ANF’s previous incarnation, I’m pretty sure somewhere back there I made it clear that bailouts were the work of the Devil.  Or Cthulhu.  I’ve slept since then. Continue reading

The Plural Rebellion Part 2

Last time in “The Politics of Words: The Plural Rebellion Part 1” we constructed a land filled with letters and numbers called Alphabet Land. We met a letter named S, who felt scorned and thought he was better than the other letters. He had the power to make things plural, as he could turn an apple into many apples, and, with the help of Apostrophe, he could help nouns claim ownership of things.

Well, the letter S became a bit drunk with his new found powers and his head swelled with a sense of superiority. He treated the other letters with arrogance and thought they should see him as the most important letter.

Yet, they greeted S’s snotty behavior with jokes and snickers. S feels scored from his peers and he devised a plan to take over Alphabet Land.

The Plural Rebellion Part 2

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The Plural Rebellion Part 1

In the opening post of The Politics of Words, We learned that Thomas Jefferson’s use of “more perfect” in the Declaration of Independence may or may not be a grammatical error. We learned that the rules and regulations of grammar are constantly in flux and tangible. And most of all we learned that to truly know anything about grammar we need to study the subject.

And so we begin our studies of English grammar in an imaginary location…

Welcome to Alphabet Land.

Alphabet land is a mental location very similar to our own. Yet instead of people there are letters and numbers that compose the citizen base. Each page, document, or sheet of paper is it’s own part of Alphabet land.
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Maybe, I AM

Maybe, the reason is I wasn’t born into money.
I was never what you would call poor.
But my family was not extravagantly rich.
However, I always had enough
and more than I needed.

I have no understanding of the Status Quo.
I have no understanding of Art.
I have no understanding of Televised Reality.
I have no understanding of life itself.
I could be a liar.

Maybe I’m the curse of a liberal generation.
My mother believes in doing the right thing.
Which includes all the stigmas held by society.
Yet the war rages on the outskirts of town.
Humans eat humans with greed stained silverware.

Aim for the moon and beat the ruskies.
Aim for the freedom and blow up the world.
Aim for perfection and stick a fork in Utopia.
Aim for the heart and kill the beast.
Action remains the centerpiece of progression.

Maybe they will never give you a chance.
A planet spun in the vastness of space.
A race too nearsighted and stupid,
they miss the forest amongst the tress.
I remain indignant in my ignorance.

Mission statements gone unspoken.
Mission directive only derivative.
Mission airy confronts face front.
Mission impossible means improbable.
Messes left for future thought.

Maybe, We are in the land of the blind,
Where the one eyed man ponders his sight
and the blind lead the blind towards the cliff’s decent.
Conspiracies dance to a sold-out rube tune.
A subversive population left with no shoes to tap.

A Coffee Story

Morning abolition are infantile more pleasureful when the act ends with a cup of coffee. Even if the resulting mug of Joe is morning mud, there remains a mental picture of pleasure in the form of milk, coffee beans, and sugar spiked water.

Coffee Cravers

Java Jive

Caffeine visions danced like sugar plumbs in my wandering mind as I contemplated my current row with writer’s block. Wordless hours have turned into wordless days, turned into wordless months, and I turned to word filled pages of a writer’s workshop book.

Pressed between the covers of that book, I found a tale of many would-be writers who are not unlike myself. Strapped to the hilt with ideas but not a story to see. Plot lines not plotted and climaxes obscured. We can’t seem to see the story from the trees.
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To Be Right…

I love always being right.
This is the central motivation behind all of my actions in life.
Note this does not mean I am right, but that I strive to be right.

To be right is to…
…give more than empty words.
…understand chaos in the universe.
…live long past the point of no return.
…transgress popular culture and get to the root of the mater.

You become pop culture as a by product.

I have spent a life of procrastination
to escape the rigors of a desk job.
I never wanted a profession that weighted on my life.
Occupation, like marriage, is a prison sentence.

To be right comes with…
…a set of skills of it’s own.
…no remorse or hard feelings.
…the understanding of why you are right.
…the bottom of a bottomless heart.

You only appear like an asshole.

Of all the ways one can live their life,
There is none better than being right.
Which of course takes in to account
more than the ignorant notion of being right.

To be right takes into consideration…
…the truth.
…the humans.
…the environment.
…the change.

A universal view can see the big picture.

Neo-cons wouldn’t know the first thing about being right.
Nor the punch drinking liberals.
The truth is not pretty,
but it shall set you free.

How to Become an Adequately Cultured Person: Introduction

The Ultimate Half-Assed DIY Guide to Well-Roundedness
The Director’s Cut
By Ian McLeod

So a lot of people write “how to be well-rounded” articles at some point or another in their writing careers. I know, I wrote the original article quite some time ago. By popular demand, it’s back, and in the parlance of our times, it is being embiggened to proportions hithertofore unseen.

Rather than one article with a few super half-assed ways to improve yourself as in the original article, this new series will go in depth into how to be amazing. Now some of you may have your doubts, and I agree–maybe all of this is full of shit.  But then I argue that any series on being well-rounded that has “shit” somewhere in the first couple paragraphs has to be somewhat different–possibly even good.

And this is a Half-Assed guide, so it’s full of shortcuts and easy ways to become cultured, or at least seem more cultured than you really are. Unlike most who give sage advice, I’m not going to give you a list of “must-read” books or “must smoke” cigars. I will give you a general idea of what does and doesn’t count.

Are You Adequately Cultured?

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The Failure of Conservatism: A Polemic

by Ian McLeod

–With Thanks And Highest Regards to the Late Mr. Nock

Whilst I’m occasionally mistaken for a conservative, as I have a preference for economic freedom and have some (but certainly not all) traditional cultural views, I am not a conservative because I have no desire to see my personal or cultural views legislated on anyone–and in fact reject every attempt even to legislate them on me or anyone else, as I believe the fictitious King Pausole’s laws are the only laws worth having: first “hurt no man,” then “do as you please.”

Conservatism is an utter failure in America, as this election cycle has proven.  Once more Ron Paul has been destroyed by the Republican Party machine, and three identical candidates vie for a meaningless title. That was predictable.  I am nominally a supporter of Paul, but I did not vote in the Alabama Primary and nor will I vote this November, except perhaps to write in “Zombie-Eisenhower” if I am feeling particularly cheeky on that Tuesday morn.  But this cycle, I realized something whilst reading Facebook comments and news articles and blogs all across the Internet: the Ron Paul supporters do not realize how spurious their own opinions are, because they share one thing in common (if only tangentially) with the Party Establishment.  While they are True Believers and the Establishment is not, this is true of the vast majority of Conservative voters (not the elected officials or media figureheads.)  Conservative voters are gullible, not because they are idiots but because they are maleducated (because most Americans are maleducated, regardless of political affiliation).

Indeed, the Paul supporters, who are closest to traditional conservatives of yore, have a massive blind-spot. Again, and so I don’t seem as if I’ve gone Leftist, I find Progressives are equally maleducated, but do have an advantage in that they spend absolutely no time looking back to learn from history except to heap guilt on people who personally have nothing to do with dead and buried atrocities.

Now I understand that Ron Paul is a libertarian trapped in a Republican’s body.  Believe me, I’ve been a reader of his for the better part of a decade: I was down with Ron Paul long before he was cool (I write this with utmost irony and sarcasm, of course.)  But, you see, the Constitution itself is an anti-libertarian document.  Why he hearkens back to it so much and with such fervor is beyond me at this point.  People and their blind spots.  The definition of mal-education.

You see, the Constitution was the product of a cynical coup d’Etat by the urban, mercantilist, creditor class (who happened to own vast tracts of land across the several states, and were owed quite a bit of money after they bankrolled that little revolution.  The Madisonians and Hamiltonians were Madisonians and Hamiltonians precisely because stood to benefit most from centralization.  Principle had nothing to do with it.)  My question thus is, why do you call for a return to constitutional principles if those very principles are simply the enhancement and centralization of government power?  Does revering a document which was itself the product of unprincipled opportunism not seem nonsensical, if not immoral?  It’s a self-contradiction.

As we all know, this coup was led by Madison and Hamilton and perpetrated while Jefferson was in France.  Patrick Henry “smelt a rat in Philadelphia, and it was tending towards Monarchy” and made it a point to no-show to the Convention.  Sam Adams joined him.

In any case, the Constitutional Convention was convened under the false pretense of hammering out some irregularities in the original Articles of Confederation.  Its stated purpose was not to replace the government entirely, but to make the Confederation run more smoothly.  But as soon as it was convened, Madison, Hamilton, John Jay, and their cronies changed the agenda and the end result is what we have today: the Constitution of the United States.  The only “framing” the framers of the Constitution did was of the terms of the debate–for the Federalists it had little to do with grandiose ideas or heart-felt principles, as it boiled down to power and money.  And like most astute politicians, they were able to sell the public down the river in the name of “national defense” and “general welfare.”  John Jay really laid out the agenda the most truthfully, and while I despise what he did I will not issue a damnatio memoriae for sharing the same birthday with him simply because he was honest about it:  “The people who own the country should run the country.”   That was the spirit behind the Constitution.

Oh sure, you can blame Lincoln, or Wilson, or Roosevelt, or Taft, or Obama for all the problems today–but the blame truly lies on the Constitutional Convention itself.  The Presidents and Congresses and Courts have simply played the hand they’ve been dealt.  It is important to remember that the document was not sent to the Continental Congress or the State Legislatures to be vetted before it was put directly to a popular vote–an odd thing for a country which only a few years prior was so determined not to succumb to the perils of democracy.

Now, if you’d prefer actual limitations on the power of central government, then acknowledge that the power of the purse itself must be returned to the state governments, as under the Articles of Confederation, with all the hardships and limitations that necessarily accompany it.  Easy war, expansionism, imperialism, and your favored social issues will, by default become impossible to accomplish legislatively through the heavy hand of central government–but at least so will the legislative goals of your opponents, who are consistently better at manipulating the masses than you are.

The thrust of this is simple: anything less than pure antifederalism is mere posturing.  You wish to “restore the Constitution” when in reality the Constitution is fine, it is working precisely as it was designed.  It was designed to replace a loose-knit confederation that was more similar to Switzerland than to Britain at first–a confederation with painfully explicit limitations of powers with a centralized Federal-National government with only very weak powers.  The Bill of Rights was, and is merely a Trojan horse–a sugar-coating to make the bitter pill of nationalism palatable.    There was far more freedom and individual liberty under the Articles of Confederation.  It was a flawed document, no doubt, but it erred on the side of the Everyman and of State and Local governments, rather than play with the fire of centralization.  Conservatives and Progressives in America today are identical: you only differ in how much fire with which you’re willing to play.  Neither of you question the wisdom of playing with fire in the first place, and for that you should be damned.

You conservatives should be less shocked and offended when the Supreme Court “legislates from the bench.”  The Supreme Court, in fact, is doing precisely what a body of unelected lifetime appointees with unlimited power is designed to do.  Jefferson saw it coming, and was dismayed.

You fail to see that an intentionally vague legal document is a dangerous thing.  In vagary there is unlimited power to be seized.  Progressives understand this better than you do.  Indeed, Progressives are better at interpreting the “original intent” of the Constitution than any Strict Constructionist, as the “original intent” was an unprincipled power-grab by the moneyed class sold as increased security and better services at the expense of both social and individual liberty (the irony, the irony!)  It would have been worse from the outset if not for the antifederalists who demanded a Bill of Rights to mitigate the damage from the inevitable compromises which ensued during the surprise convention.  But even then, the Bill of Rights was a “go along to get along” measure, a bone already sucked dry of its marrow thrown to the antifederalists and Jeffersonians to keep the entire country from Balkanizing outright (as Washington predicted it would.  Indeed, Washington believed the Constitution would not last 20 years.  It probably would have been better if he were right.)

Conservatism in America fails precisely because it deifies the very thing which created all the problems about which Conservatives frequently complain.  You look to a history that never was as you are too blinded by your romantic messianic visions of “founding fathers” or “framers” to see that they were people..  Some of them were great men, and most of them did great things, but as with most people who find themselves with far too much power and influence, they–especially Hamilton’s ilk but Jefferson was no saint either–used their power and influence to their own ends.  They were human.  There is no excuse over 200 years hence, for the wool to remain over your eyes.  Why do you hold it there in the first place?

As you Conservatives look to a history that never was, your only comfort is that Progressives look to a future that will never be (but bless their hearts, they try.)

Politics in America is merely the blind leading the blind, and as great Suleiman the Wise wrote three-thousand years ago, both will inevitably fall to destruction.

The Story

There is always a story. For a writer, and thereby meaning anyone who has a running inner monologue circling their Grey-matter, there is always a story. Maybe even two or three. Sometimes there are so many stories bidding for attention that the mere though of writing any one of them becomes a terrifying task.

Which is where I have been for the last year or so. Could be more. It’s hard to tell when
One is out there having fun in the warm California sun. However the real issue is the golden idol sized case of writer’s block.

Though even as I type that statement, I’m in full knowledge of how stupid an excuse it sounds. Writer’s block is what my friend calls “White Problems”. No one cares if you can’t place words on a page. No one but your overactive super-ego.

The small tiny voice that drones on and on, like an over-protective mother. Yet procrastination comes on strong like a good drug. Dopamine flooding into the context of the cortex.

Television, the New Age Nanny, becomes visual junk food where everyone is a clown or king with big pearly whites, all the better to eat your soul with, my drear.

Though one comes back to the place where it all started. A chair, computer, desk, and an Oxford comma for good measure. Speakers turned up to 11. Elton John belting out homogenized tunes through a lisp.

Outside the world falls apart bit by bit. Predicted and prescribed entropy for a rapidly decaying society on the cliffs of time.

You want meaning, You won’t find meaning here. We’re all tapped out and the bunghole is dry. Inebriation gives way to realization. It’s better to have the bottle in front of me than to have a frontal inspection at the airport.

There is no depth, no substance. We are all only skin and knee deep in a river of shit. Tempering our resolve. There are two ways out of Shaw-shank, five hundred feet of feces or the body bag.

The choice is yours to make and suffer the consequences. The decision becomes, at least in part, the story.



The Politics Of Words

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” ~Constitution of the United States of America.

The first sentence of The U.S. constitution contains what appears to be a grammatical error. When the published copy of the Constitution was hung up for the world to see. The union of politics and words became further interlinked, as they have always been.

Thomas Jefferson’s use of “more perfect” has sparked the literary mind. One school of thought offers perfect is total unison, nothing could ever be more perfect. To be more perfect would mean what ever was perfect was never perfect until the point it was perfect.

Another school of thought offers “more perfect” is correct grammar as perfect is an exaggerated word. Nothing is ever perfect and to have the sense of entitlement to use perfect invites the use of “more perfect”.

No matter which school of thought you fall into, we learn about the nature of grammar from our constitution. The laws and rules of grammar are debated, changed, and tangible.

A writer must understand why he uses one word or another, as a politician must understand why he votes for one bill or another. When a writer goes to print, his job is to defend his word. When a Politician goes to vote, his job is to defend his vote.

If a writer’s grammar is weak, he will look like a fool to the literary world. If a Politician is uninformed, he will look like a fool to the televised public. We can see many places were the life of a politician and a writer have intertwined skills sets.

Grammar has politics of its own. One filled with strange rules and amendments.

In the beginning, there was “I Am.” The prefect sentence with a noun and an action. “I”, the noun, states a person place or thing and “am” ,an action, denotes a state of existing. “I am” means I exist, only with less letters.

The job for a writer is to explain themselves in a way that pays tribute to the first sentence. Writers pay tribute in many different ways. Hemingway was known for his understated use of words, while Twain offered verbose alternatives to “I Am.”

Both authors are debated and they both could defend their use of words. They knew the politics of words.

In the coming installments, we shall explore the politics of words. No system is free from politics. The infusion of free will leads to interaction and inevitably to politics.

Politics are the process by which people choose to make decisions. Similarly, grammar is the process by which people choose to communicate.

Grammar and Politics are subjective and we all fear the day when acronyms like “TTYL” and “LOL” find their way into our spell check as the day when a politician’s abuse of our freedoms finds its way into our law.

How would such a change occur? Through the debate of people who understand the subtle nuances and it’s time for us to join the debate.