National News Roundup: Week 47 (December 10–16)

By Randall McNair (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

The theme of this past week’s news was largely “brace yourself for raining shoes” — and several boots and a sandal have yet to drop as I write this. This week, keep your eyes peeled for Mueller mayhem, final votes on tax reform, and personnel changes on Capitol Hill. But in the meantime, here’s some info on what has happened already.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not an FBI agent! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

This week was pretty quiet on the Russia Collusion Investigation front, in part because rumors started circulating that Mueller was about to be fired — but here’s what has happened:

  • Mueller Email Adventures. Over the weekend, the Trump administration accused Mueller of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of emails from them because he went through the third-party General Services Administration. But as several legal experts note, public email accounts have no expectation of privacy, and it would be prosecutorial misconduct not to request the records. These claims fuel concern that the President is looking for an excuse to fire Mueller, despite his lack of authority to do so (and his claims to the contrary).
  • The Latest in Harassment Personnel Changes. With last week’s sweeping resignations come new seat-holders, and boy howdy is some of the process looking weird! I think I touched upon this last week, but the governor of Michigan has announced they won’t hold a special election at all, opting to leave John Conyer’s former seat open for an entire year and simply having ordinary elections in 2018. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s governor has appointed Lt Governor Tina Smith to take Al Franken’s seat, but it’s unclear when Franken plans to leave (and her appointment has created chaos in the state’s politics). And it’s completely unclear who is favored to replace Trent Franks, despite a primary election happening in only two months. So it’s been a bit of a wild ride all around.
  • Tax Reform Remix. The tax reform roller coaster appears to be nearing a stop this week, but that’s not a good thing, as it’s currently slowing down right near a gilded circle of hell. Mnuchin released a one-page report this week, which Forbes (rightfully) says he should be ashamed of releasing; among other things, the report confirms that the tax cuts are so expensive that they cannot pay for themselves, and “welfare reform” (i.e. Medicaid and Medicare cuts) will be necessary to pay for it all. That, unfortunately, did not stop Bob Corker and Mark Rubio from eventually hopping aboard for the final version of the bill, leaving the GOP so confident they had the votes that they let McCain take the week off. Though the final version of the tax reform bill does soften a lot of the House version’s harshest edges, it still includes a repeal of the health insurance mandate, and it’s very likely to widen wealth inequality in the country. The Washington Post put out a good comprehensive summary of the final version, which is definitely worth a read (or at least a skim) if you get a chance. But the short version is: If you aren’t rich, it isn’t gonna be great.
  • Federal Judge Withdrawals. Several deeply embarrassing federal judge nominations went the way of the dinosaurs this week! The first to go were Brett “Does it count if my wife practiced law?” Talley and Jeff “I Literally Told You I Illegally Discriminate” Mateer, who were both unceremoniously screened out by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. But after another nominee, Matthew Spenser Peterson, couldn’t answer extremely basic questions about legal procedure — like “I don’t know what a motion in limine is” level of basic — he withdrew his nomination today. Hallelujah, it’s raining turkeys!

And that’s basically the news that was fit to email this week — some good, some bad, most unfinished. It’s like the Big Dig of news weeks! And speaking of unfinished, the next few weeks are going to be a bit wonky here at Roundup Center, because both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Monday. The tentative plan is to issue the Christmas roundup on December 26, and I’ll check in from there on how to handle New Year’s. Until we meet again, happy holidays!

Resist ornament sewn by Benn Kessler

Hijinx in the Missouri Capitol

House Republicans Target the Ordo Sororitatis Satanicae

The Ordo Sororitatis Satanicae (OSS) has been receiving messages for details on how all this Missouri Capitol trouble started. We’re up-front but a little exhausted, so we take to our blog for the necessary update.

Note: to keep our blood pressure at acceptable levels, this briefing will include therapeutic fun references and screenshots. Enjoy…

Rep. Mike Moon was once gifted the “Dirty Rotten Sexist Scoundrel Award” by NARAL! https://www.prochoiceamerica.org/nsfw-mo-state-rep-mike-moon-thinks-ok-play-chicken-womens-rights/

The setup…

The Ordo made a total of three House Floor requests in 2018; all were rejected with ambiguous Rule 19 cited in response. Though we pushed for further clarification on how to become Missouri House Guest Chaplains, those detail specific questions were never answered. We also performed a religious act of service in the Capitol rotunda, like many religious groups do.

In 2019, one of the first things House Republicans did during legislative start was change house Rule 19, a rule banning specifically, guest chaplains. We were shut out. Those details, here.

Here’s the players, insofar as we know…

Everybody should know Rep. Mike Moon by now, he’s the cattle-poultry rancher who killed a chicken on Facebook Live, because he was mad about abortion and Greitens’ (Missouri’s skeevy ex-governor) Special Session. We don’t know… he wrote a 3-page Facebook rant explaining his act (that didn’t), claiming it was the viewers fault for not understanding his video shtick.

Anyway, Moon’s been behind a shit ton of ridiculous, intelligence and humanity insulting legislation in Missouri. Take your pick, anti-LGBTQ, Transfolk attacks, save the fetus/forget the child. He has a porn ‘stache to die for though, is sanctimonious and smug to boot. This is his last term, and we can certainly give an amen and hallelujah to that! Let us hope he has no future aspirations in politics anywhere… of any type.

Enter Don Hinkle, the “Public Policy Director” for the Southern Baptist Convention, and Editor for the “Pathway”. He keeps the rural folks riled up, lobbies, and spouts a bunch of bullshit in his bullshit news(hate)paper. Don seems to have a Capitol crush on his pal Rep. Mike Moon who is featured in Don’s “Facebook top 5 photos,” where he was attending one of Hinkle’s religious freedom rotunda rallies.

Sherry’s two cents https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216637325987778&set=ecnf.1000313941&type=3&theater

Hinkle is basically Missouri’s own version of Fred Phelps Sr., just without the dumb signs or ridiculous flag skirts. We’ve never actually seen Don at any of the counter protests he likes whipping his extensive congregation into a religious frenzy over. No, Don does his dirty work through the “Pathway,” Missouri Baptists & Calvinists favorite source for “news” and good clean (Caucasian?) facts. Don’s religious work extends to the cap, he brags about his own influence over legislators during their “prayer walks” around the capitol. He’s also smug, longwinded as hell, and hates everybody Mike Moon hates.

Moon-Hinkle’s entourage? Some familiar names of recent headlines…

Hardy Billington (R-Poplar Bluff): Don likes to pal around with Rep Hardy Billington, the guy who just sponsored another attention getting bill, HB728, directed at atheists/non-Christians. This bill was designed to intimidate “Other” into not reporting church & state offenses.

Who doesn’t love sitting in Cracker Barrel for 3 hours remembering fondly (the good old days) of the old testament? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216637325987778&set=ecnf.1000313941&type=3&theater

Sherry (busybody) Kuttenkuler: Sherry (busybody) Kuttenkuler is Moon’s legislative assistant and was (or is) an electoral voter. Sherry also speaks at the Capitol Rotunda, sometimes for homeschooling, and sometimes for “Bikers for Trump”. She’s sure riled up for the April 16 gun rally at the capitol! Sherry makes sure to comment on Hinkle’s tirades, distributes Mike Moon’s prayer chain letters calling us demons across social media, and probably through Capitol email no less.

Sherry talking about stuff important to her in the Rotunda. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=593763024384138&set=t.1299000832&type=3&theater

Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon)- We saw (who we thought was) Rep. Nick Schroer, prowling above on the 2nd floor during our 2019 disrupted service. He shared an office with Moon during 2018… and is creepy in that Handmaid’s Tale sort of way. Big surprise, Schroer is behind autonomy violating legislation in Missouri, being the sponsor of what is currently the most aggressive piece of anti-choice legislation in the country: HB126. We hope he heard our thoughts on his shit bill while he was lurking creepily about upstairs, trying to stay out of our photographer’s range.

The space we paid for Moon to legislate against our bodies in 2018

Ask and ye shall receive, Rep. Mike Moon. We came and we prayed for you, in our own way. Appreciate the post-its summons!

To sum up the players, we have three grandstanders at a minimum. Moon-Hinkle want everyone to believe they’re in “spiritual charge of every soul (and body) in MO”. Or something like that.

Now that you know the players, here are the 2018 Invocation series of events (relevant to 2019)…

So, we have Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum here, who in 2018 fell all over themselves trying to prove their godly, manly firmness to their constitegration. (We like that word and we’re keeping it. Constituency+Congregation. Done.)

On 5/16/2018, Don Hinkle speaks of Capitol info through a “source with integrity” then admits he’s a liar spreading disinformation. (take those little wins with relish, savor them…)

We suggest self-flagellation. (Sherry still holding it down in the comments sections.)

On 5/17/2018, Mike Moon sends out his call to his demon fighting assistant, Sherry, to gather his prayer warriors to come battle demons with him.

Somewhere on Facebook… screenshot from 5/18/2018

On 5/18/2018, “The Conservative American” posted Moon’s message to Sherry to bring out the gimp, we mean, the prayer warriors, in what had become a Facebook legislator prayer anti-demon chain letter.

Now an anti-demon invoking prayer chain letter…

Share Bear doing her thing, and look at the OSS! Wedged right in there between “Fire 4 Harvest Ministries” and “March for our Rights”.

On 5/18/2018, Hinkle comes back and tries to save face with some supposed rationalizing and freeze peach wordplay. During his sugar coated tirade, Don threatens to launch an act of civil disobedience that would result in him being forcibly removed and jailed… if Satanists were ever to open the a session of the Missouri House or Senate. Goals, Don, goals. Challenge accepted!

https://www.facebook.com/don.hinkle.75/posts/10214080995711162

On 8/23/2018, Hinkle wrote an article about our rotunda invocation in his Pathway publication, which included laughable speculations demonstrating his inability to grasp complex concepts. In his heinous, ill-contrived tirade, he used transphobic language regarding Dame Sister Gwendolyn. His ideologically fueled hate-fervor knows no bounds, yet he demands and receives the ears of our legislators. Tsk.

Summing up 2018…

Though the Moon-Hinkle-Sherry prayer warriors had answered Moon’s calls to religious counter-protest, they did not disrupt our 2018 rotunda service… well, not entirely. We could hear them murmuring above, which was actually a cool rotunda sound effect. However, we did publicly voice our concerns over the VIP Whisper Room key-holder practices at that time.

A few months later, we felt the need to express our contempt in a productive, creative-yet-non-time-consuming manner. We found our therapy in writing stupid-ass scripts and making low production quality parody vids. One of these videos riffed on Moon. We aren’t sure how well the satire video went over with Mike, we like to think it gave him a (probably smug) chuckle. Maybe not. He seems kinda fired up this year, but that could be because he’s terming out. (If anybody would like to play the parody role of Don Hinkle, our separate creative is accepting future volunteers. Video & props must be of poor quality to qualify. Thanks!).

Stupid-Ass funny scripts, bad acting, and low production quality!

We arrive back in 2019…

Rule 19 is changed, excluding Guest Chaplains and sealing the door to the House’s religious political echo chamber. Mike Moon is still smug and making bad legislation. Don Hinkle remains a bloviated gasbag with an apparent Moon crush. Sherry is probably still busy sending out Moon’s prayer warrior calls to join his demon fighting gang on Capitol email, all on the taxpayer’s dime. We have/had three rotunda events scheduled this year, with this next Monday, March 11th being our 3rd and final event for the 2019 House session, but let’s hope not final-final. Such is the sad state of Missouri legislature, as the world knows.

At our 2nd rotunda service on 2/28/2019, the prayer warriors were back… somehow. Maybe that’s because we were on the Capitol schedule this time around (what alerted Moon-Hinkle & Share Bear to our service in 2018, see photo of post above). Unfortunately, we didn’t make the Capitol schedule for our 2/7/19 service. Guess we snuck one in there. Getting sloppy, demon fighters.

Here is the Ordo’s official statement on the disruptions at our last service:

https://www.facebook.com/OrdoSororitasSatanae/photos/pcb.782032212173319/782021285507745/?type=3&theater

Here is a video of the continued disruptions during our 2/28/19 Lilituan Act of Educational Service at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri. Though we had permitted floor time, the Capitol allowed the disturbances to continue:

OSS Capitol Service Rotunda 2/28/19

We end this detailed and opinionated explanation by stating:

We have never given any indication we were “summoning demons,” but simply invoking the meaning behind a powerful female archetype that inspires us. If anyone has been summoned, these goons have summoned us to the Capitol with their foolish acts and bad legislation.

We aren’t the spectacle.

They are.

Ave Lilitu!

-OSS

The Creative Concord

Successfully, Karl Marx identified the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and ‘the material dialectic’, but, despite his emphasis on creativity, he failed to identify the artifex, meaning ‘creator class’, which is made up of entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists. An artifexian, which is a term first introduced in this paper, is anyone who creates or recreates a means of production and/or a thing to be produced. Marx, it seems, conflated creators with the general proletariat. Consequently, his material dialectic only halfway addresses the nature of socioeconomic change. The full dialectic by which society ‘marches’ through history can be expressed as follows:

‘The Creative Concord’

Creativity ‘The Material Dialectic’

or

Creator(s) (Owner(s) | Worker(s))

or

Artifex (Bourgeoisie | Proletariat)

Defining the material dialectic, Marx argued that Capitalism was inherently contradictory, for it inevitably undergoes, of one kind or another, ‘creative destruction’: the businesses it produces destroy others, the resources it consumes leaves many lacking, and so on.1 In other words, at the center of Capitalism is self-destructive paradox. Though the material dialectic properly delineates how socioeconomic orders change within a given creative epoch, it does not describe how such orders change through them. To allude to Karl Popper, history changes not in line with any kind of dialectic, but in concordance with unpredictable inventions, ‘eurekas’, and ‘creative acts’.2 Marx, coming before Popper, missed this point, and so created a theory and system that works within a fixed epoch, but not through multiple epochs. If Marx, as brilliant as he was, had been afforded an awareness of Popper, he would have probably recognized ‘the creative concord’ and artifex himself. Failing to identify the creator class, Marx missed that Capitalism expands itself while carrying out creative destruction within itself. The proper dialectic isn’t just composed of creative destruction, but creative destruction along with creativity, which is the applied mental process behind innovation, invention, and creation.

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I

Marx claimed that alienation drives the working class (or proletariat) to revolt against those who own the means of production (the bourgeoisie). He was correct, making revolution eminent; the question remaining is how the revolution will occur. For the proletariat to seize the means of production and thus become like the bourgeoisie they rebelled against is just as alienating and ironic as being forced to work on something that one doesn’t own. Both kinds of alienation manifest in apathy, violence, and/or a desire to be ‘amused to death’.3 A forceful and violent revolution, as Marx ‘pointed to’ and Lenin advanced, rather than overcome alienation, causes alienation, which stimulated the revolution in the first place. Marxists and Leninists throughout history have revolted in the wrong way: they’ve continually chosen a ‘French Revolution’ over a ‘Glorious’ one, per se.

The concept of revolution for Marx was set in motion by his axiom of the material dialectic. Again, in this framework, since the revolution occurs within the dialectic that caused the tension, a successful revolution only makes the revolutionists the new bourgeoisie. This is no revolution, only a shifting of chess pieces. A true revolution moves beyond the framework it occurs within: a ‘moving around of pieces’ is only revolutionary if ‘chess’ is the only game around. If means of production were not created but simply ‘were’, then to seize them would be an act of revolution. However, all means of production are created, and it is this very act of creation that is truly revolutionary.

To create is to revolt: the man who starts a business claims that he has a competitive advantage over other businesses and seizes the means of production by creating a new means of production. Through creativity, he claims that he is part of the bourgeoisie without their permission. In creating what he owns and what he works, he furthermore chooses how he needs others by choosing which enterprise to create that requires demand, and so escapes both the enslavement of the bourgeoisie’s need for the proletariat and the proletariat’s need for the bourgeoisie. He becomes both — an artifexian — he becomes free. In this regard, the woman who pickets Big Oil doesn’t launch a revolution as effective as the woman who invents the alternative energy that obliterates its stock value.

Entrepreneurship is peaceful revolution.

Creativity is nonviolent resistance.

(Note that an artifexian isn’t someone who just thinks creatively, but who also realizes that creativity into being or enables others to formulate it. Unrealized creativity is nothingness. Also note that creativity is realized in structure. A society without structure is void, but a society whose structure includes organic activity and whose organic activity develops the society’s structure is a society that thrives. A purely artifexian society isn’t one without customs, laws, or rules, but one in which the limits enable limitless development.)

As there is a conflict between owners and workers, those who own and operate the means of production are always in a conflict with those who create the means of production. Those who invent can render a system of production arbitrary, which is a threat to both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Keep in mind that those who own the means of production are not necessarily the ones who create the means of production or who make them possible. Owners are many; inventors, few. Though Marx recognized the bourgeoisie and the proletariat caught in a tension, he failed to identify the tension between both them and creators.

Yet as the owner is enslaved to needing his workers, so the creator is enslaved in requiring a functional and efficient society and system of production. The creative person who has no food does not have time to create, and even if he does, without a means of distribution, his creativity cannot be received. It is the system of production that sustains a means of distribution for creators, but without creators, those means of distribution wouldn’t come into existence. The better and more stable the socioeconomic order, the more creativity can flourish. This is why technological advancements have grown rapidly over the last hundred years: society has become increasingly stable.

A creator requires an environment, but a creator doesn’t require others in the same way the bourgeoisie and proletariat require one another. The material dialectic fashions the environment that creativity occurs within, like a botanist preparing an environment for plant life, but the artifex ultimately transcends the dialectic by becoming that which feeds it material to construct its environment and itself, all while also teaching the dialectic how to do so.4 Though the master requires the slave, the slave in being a slave the master, the creator is his own master and servant. If there was no material dialectic, the artifex could create one, but the material dialectic couldn’t create the artifex. The artifex creates itself, while the bourgeoisie and proletariat create one another. They are helpless without the artifex, but the artifex isn’t helpless without them. If it needs them, it creates them. While the material dialectic forces people into the bourgeoisie or the proletariat, entrepreneurship and creativity offer a means for people to transcend this dialectic by becoming artifexians, owners and workers of their own makings. This transcendence is only possible in a free and creative Capitalistic society, while a society that is merely free inevitably undergoes creative destruction.

II

Unlike the material dialectic, the creative concord is not inherently conflicted or neurotic. The bourgeoisie and proletariat can choose to collaborate with the artifex and vice-versa. Thanks to the artifex, it is possible for the bourgeoisie and proletariat to likewise choose to collaborate with one another. The inherent tension of the material dialectic is thus eased. Through the artifex, the proletariat can transfer into the bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie into the proletariat without conflict. The relationship between the three classes can be expressed as follows:

A good society is equally B, A, and P. Without either B, A, or P, the system collapses. A growing society is one in which B and P lessens while A expands correlatively. It is never good for A to shrink, and always healthy for A to grow (considering people will naturally become different kinds of artifexians). An extraordinary society is completely A, and such a society, always self-motivated, is constantly growing and never alienated. Marx’s error was evolving Capitalism into Communism by melting B and P, rather than by growing A while B and P shrank into it.

As depicted, some members of the bourgeoisie are also members of the artifex, as are some members of the proletariat. It is possible for a member of the proletariat to become a member of the artifex, and in so doing, transfer into the bourgeoisie without alienation, as a member of the bourgeoisie can slip in the proletariat and escape upper-class alienation.5 The artifex is both an overlapping and independent structure, and it can function as a transfer stage or as a class-unto-itself. By creating an enterprise, a person comes to own and work a good of his or her making. Unlike the bourgeoisie, who is alienated by not producing what they own, or the proletariat, who is alienated by not owning what they produce, the artifex is free.6 The citizen who travels within the material dialectic from the proletariat to the bourgeoisie or vice-versa, finding alienation in both conditions, hopeless, is very likely to fall into depression, tragically rampant in the modern world.

The artifex is both autonomous and freely collaborative, while the proletariat and bourgeoisie cannot have autonomy and are forced to “work together” due to the material dialectic, making true, un-alienating collaboration impossible. Independence, freedom, and true community are only possible with the artifex, and the stronger it is, the stronger the individual and the society as a whole. The more the individual is able to help the other without alienating or being alienated, the more able the individual will be to find that working with others makes the most of oneself.

As mentioned, unlike between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, a person can be part of the artifex while also being part of the bourgeoisie and/or proletariat. This is a significant difference from the material dialectic; in that schema, the owner of the means of production could not also be one of the proletariat, nor was the other way around possible. But, in the creative concord, without conflict at all, a worker at a company can also be creating a new company on his laptop.

Not inherently self-destructive in relating to one another, the artifex, bourgeoisie, and proletariat can choose to transcend the material dialectic into the creative concord by working in concert. Rather than simply a dialectical relationship, creators and the material dialectic can harmonize. Until, that is, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat turn against the artifex, or vice-versa; then, the unity breaks down into a cacophony. Consequently, the creative concord devolves back into simply the material dialectic. It is only a matter of time then before the relationship between business owners and workers also collapses, just as Marx predicted. Clearly, the presence of the artifex is important for avoiding creative destruction by annulling the alienation caused by the means, management, and creation of production, while also offering a means for the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to shift or combine positions without psychological tension or violence.

The artifex both sees problems and envisions possibilities, and either addresses them or enables others with technology, knowledge, or motivation to do so. Others may not see what can be addressed, or may address one thing and fail to realize anything else to do. Because the artifex sees what is to be done and often does it, it is the artifex and the creative concord which drives history in the Hegelian sense. This is because, with perfection always just ahead, there is always something to be done which drives the artifex. If prevalent and influential, the artifex also shifts the focus from the distribution of limited resources to the creation of new ones, from the health of today’s enterprises to the birth of tomorrow’s. Rather than a model that is at the expense of some and advantage of others, the creative concord is inexorably to the benefit of all. It’s only a matter of time.

Again, without the artifex, the bourgeoisie and proletariat must clash; without creativity, the material dialectic is all there is, and, stuck in creative destruction, it will devour itself. Marx, like Einstein in Out of My Later Years, was correct to note that at the core of Capitalism is a paradox that is both the source of its productivity and self-destruction. Capitalism is an economic system driven by a desire for profit that subsequently raises the standard of living through mechanisms of problem solving and/or possibility realization, but once those problems are solved or possibilities made real, unemployment increases. Without new problems or possibilities, the system stagnates. Even if the material dialectic continues to have old problems to keep solving and maintains low unemployment, without new possibilities or problems, the standard of living flat-lines. With this lack of development comes a raising level of boredom, alienation, and tension between paralyzed high and low classes.

Creativity is both a source of employment and unemployment. It is a source of creative destruction, and as long as it is present, so shall creative destructive, and the material dialectic will not devour itself; at worst, to its benefit, it will lose itself in the creative concord. In a society where creativity is high, unemployment stimulates workers to be creative, and employment, for those feeling alienated by it, does the same. The jobs lost by creativity are made up by those created by it. If creativity was prevalent, when creativity caused an enterprise to close down and unemployment to go up, creativity would then set its eye on solving that problem. Unfortunately, in a society lacking creativity, unemployment and employment both cause alienation, alienation from which workers find no alleviation. These workers will want to revolt, but without creativity, they will revolt in a deconstructive manner and their personal lives suffer. In a creatively illiterate nation, the creativity there causes jobs to be lost out of balance with job creation, and those who lose their jobs will find themselves helpless, unable to transition into the artifex. Consequently, the less creativity there is, the more creation feels like a sin.

In a nation vibrant with creativity, the unemployment caused by the artifex would gradually force all members of the society to advance into the artifex, eventually causing the society to transcend alienation and the material dialectic. This makes society like Communism, but rather than obliterate class structure into a ‘universal class’, as Marx called it, it makes all people both classes. While the bourgeoisie and proletariat exist in conflict by definition, in the creative concord, the artifex eventually absorbs them into a harmonious family.7

The artifex also forces the owners of the means of exchange to invest more in variable capital than constant capital, addressing the concerns Marx raised in his theory on ‘the tendency of the rate of profit to fall’. While the bourgeoisie tends to invest in itself to maintain power — ironically stifling profit — the artifex forces it to invest in innovation and exploration by creating goods that put the value of the means of production that the bourgeoisie owns at risk. In other words, the artifex forces the bourgeoisie to grow the artifex. For this reason, if the artifex is large, it tends to become larger. However, if the artifex is small (as will be explained), it tends to become smaller. It is the proletariat, either for creativity or against it, which decides the directionality of the artifex’s development. Ironically, it is possible that the bourgeoisie will influence the proletariat against the artifex, but the proletariat can revolt against this manipulation by becoming creative and joining the artifex. A wise bourgeoisie will balance investing resources in the proletariat and the artifex, causing a gradual and sustainable rise in both the standard of living and rate of employment until the society is unified in the artifex.

“Cause-and-Effect” and Solution-Oriented Business

Part 1. The U.S. and Great Britain

The United States has been created by cause and effect since its’ independence from Britain. The creators of this country felt underrepresented, raised hell, and started the “taxation without representation” movement. This resulted in the Revolutionary War, where the thirteen colonies fought relentlessly against Great Britain.

People were disgruntled in a variety of ways, but became more infuriated with unfair representation because everyone could relate to it.

Strength came in numbers….

Part 2. Creation of Laws

Laws are created in reaction to groups of people being affected by someone or something that hurt them in an unethical way.

Laws are drafted by congress, voted on by the House of Representatives and the Senate, which require a popular vote to be passed — in basic terms. If a grievance has affected many people, it has more chances to pass in Congress and become a bill.

In Part 1, I talked about the creators being treated in an unethical manner. In effect, they gained freedom and created a system that divided power equally to the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches of Government.

The United States is one massive business, with over 27 million subsidiaries. What I mean is every business in the U.S. is a part of the country. Every business operates within the limits of its’ creator: The United States. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? A smaller example is when LoopNet, the highest trafficked commercial real estate website in the world, sold to CoStar Group for $860 million in cash, just by aggregating data from CRE’s (The Counselors of Real Estate) website. The advantages of bringing all the information together has attracted over 8 million people who are registered on the site and more than 5 million unique monthly visitors. CRE is similar to the United States, in that businesses have been created in effect of the resources it breeds.

To sum it up, businesses are just solution-oriented reactions (SOR) within society. The United States is just one big SOR to solve unfair treatment against citizens, and LoopNet is one big SOR to assemble and organize information for commercial real estate professionals. The most successful SOR’s are authenticated, solve problems, provide joy for many, or are a reaction of another one.

And success lies within just that: Your business preventing an unfavorable reaction, providing a favorable solution, or successfully filling in the gaps of another.

Written by Taylor Rossmann,

@: taylor0rossmann@gmail.com

NEOLIBERAL: Are you using this word wrong?

DISCLAIMER 1: I admit to having used it wrong in the past as well. DISCLAIMER 2: This image was less annoying until I realized that the cover photo dimensions are different from the dimensions for the same photos that are displayed elsewhere on Medium.

Let’s set aside the fact that usage often sets the definition for a word. This is true, but words having to do with politics and economics are contested battlegrounds and there is a war being waged in popular discourse to remove the meaning from the word “neoliberal” in the way economists and sociologists use it, to instead make it fit the needs of status quo warriors.

If someone implies that neoliberalism is juxtaposed to neoconservativism, then there’s your red flag that they don’t know what they are talking about.

Fair enough, many sources of information are either uninformed or purposefully muddying the water. “Neoliberal” is a technical word, defined by David Harvey in his book on the topic, A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

What the people who use this word wrong tend to mean is something like Palosi and Obama are neoliberal, whereas preemptive interventionists like Chaney and Bush are neocons.

Folks who make this mistake tend to exist primarily in the realm of politics as it is played in the U.S., and have very little grounding in the history of ideas, much less of political thought.

With that being said, though, plenty of people who are otherwise into philosophy continue to make this error because they do what I’m calling ‘armchair etymology,’ meaning they simply take the popularly known roots of the words at face value without doing research into their actual origins.

This mistake is easy to make if you know that “neo” tends to mean “new”. The real confusion comes from the technical definition of “liberal” vs. the popularized usage of the word “liberal” in mainstream discourse.

The popular definition of liberal tends to imply a horseshoe theory of human brains and groups. Mainstream media doesn’t help, as conservatives talk about the ‘liberal media’ and the self-proclaimed liberals are really little more than democrats.

People like Jonathan Haidt and George Lakoff don’t help either, as they write pseudo academic works that function to naturalize this notion that some brains are just more open to experience, whereas others aren’t, and this is therefore the cause for all the social divisions we see in the world. This kind of thing is utter bullshit, popular though it may be, but we have to set it aside for the time being because it’s not the main point of this short post (I’m coming for you though, Mr. Haidt).

The technical sense of “liberal” hails to classical liberalism, with slave-trade advocates like John Locke who championed free speech for the moneyed class and its right to overthrow monarchs (FYI, setting that slave thing aside, his arguments against the divine right of kings are super compelling, in case you know of any monarchists).

NEOLIBERAL, on the other hand, has to do primarily with economic policy that favors free market. David Harvey, who wrote the damn book that made this term one that is used by academics in the first place, says

Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade.” Page 2 from A Brief History of Classical Liberalism

For a more thorough post on what this is and how it works, and why it SUCKS and does not work, I recommend the two part work of Elton:

What I mean when I say Neoliberalism Pt. 1

What I Mean When I Say Neoliberalism Pt. 2

I would also recommend this post on Jonathan Haidt, since he came up, which was written by Emily Pothast

Also some great videos on the distinctions between liberals and leftists, liberals and leftists, etc.

How Classical Liberalism Decays Into Fascism by Radian2Pi

The Problem: Liberals by The People’s Bayonet

Dear Liberals: Let’s Talk! With Love, A Leftist by NonCompete

Civility by Thought Slime

Dave Rubin famously calls himself a liberal, but he and most of the new right have taken to strategically identifying as such. Here’s a playlist of some videos making this case.

Prager U is one of the worst offenders for spreading misinformation about what liberalism is and who leftists are. Here is a playlist that takes Prager U to task.

Thanks to Lampe and The Dangerous Maybe for the recent conversations that fed this post.

The Climate Change Debate. Or How Progressives Go After Lucy’s Football Every Time

This week, Donald Trump tweeted out a pretty common climate change denial position, that if the earth is truly warming, then why is it so darn cold right now.

And with a predictable, herd like mentality, Democratic politicians stepped up to respond back, in a all too predictable fashion:

I get that some of this is just the required political kabuki dance that our leaders do. Someone on Team Red says something inflammatory about an ideal that people on Team Blue hold dear and then Team Blue leaders feel the need to respond to the inflammatory comment. Its required, I guess, of Team Blue leaders for the next fund raising letter and as a means to prove their bona fides. It provides them an opportunity to let their donors and supporters see, at least in a tepid fashion, they punch back. The fact that they just raised a bunch of money for Team Red as well, or provided Team Red with exactly what they wanted in the first place, upset progressives seems to not register with them. Or it does, but doesn’t matter, as this is just an accepted consequence of the kabuki dance.

I’ve past the fifty year mile stone. Maybe the number of miles I have behind me now let me see things with more clarity than I did in my youth. Maybe because I am not a politician I don’t give a crap about the kabuki dance. I have kids, all about to leave the nest and spread their wings and I hope to someday have grandkids to spoil and I have a greater hope that there will be a thriving Earth to spoil them on. But if we let the politicians just continue with their ‘House of Cards’ style antics there will be an Earth for my grandkids, it’ll just be more like Dune or Tatooine than the mostly temperate place we know today.

So back to Trump’s comments. How does one respond to someone, particularly a political leader blurting out a position that goes against the majority of the science on climate change? You don’t. At least not directly.

Back to my kids. We have four. When they were in that awful period, between 2–4 years old and they would have their meltdowns, my wife and I chose not to respond to them, unless we were in a public place, in which case we would remove them from where ever and then let them continue to tantrum. Why? Well, we had learned through experience and the findings of child psychologists that responding to the tantrum is exactly what the child wanted.

Well, what they wanted was a shiny object or sweet snack that we weren’t getting them. That was the initial point of the tantrum, then, once it was apparent that wasn’t happening, they just wanted a reaction from us. It takes the patience of Job to sit there and not react while a kid kicks and screams. They don’t give in at first, they’ll double down and crank it up to 11, but eventually they came to the realization that they weren’t getting whatever it is that caused the tantrum, they weren’t pushing any of my buttons and then, once they settled down, they were getting punished in some fashion, losing TV time or a toy or something. Eventually the tantrums either diminished or disappeared entirely, depending on the personality of the kid.

In a fashion, this is what Donald Trump is doing. Not so much a tantrum, though word is he throws those as well, but he’s poking Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris with a stick to get a response. He’s not looking to engage in a debate on climate change and its causes nor are his followers. He’s just looking to piss you off, he’s trying to appeal to what’s left of his base, folks who take pleasure out of just taking the opposite position of progressives simply to make them angry.

And so, coming back with arguments such as, ‘you know, it’s proven science’ or even worse, something on the lines of ‘how could you be so obtuse’ means nothing to them. Your reaction does, and they love it. You are not changing the opinion of any Trumpist on climate change by pointing to any peer reviewed science because for them it is canon that they deny it is caused by man. To accept such a position would place them outside the tribe and off the island and in a world they feel is closing in on and continually against them, this will never happen.

Back to the question, then how do we, as progressives or liberals or centrist or moderates or anyone who accepts the overwhelming science, engage on this topic? Well, you start by leaving the science behind. If you are trying to explain to someone who already considers you a east coast liberal elitist or part of the Republican establishment that Donald Trump is confusing weather, which is what happens in a moment in time and climate, which is what has happened over a long period of time, you are not convincing them of anything except their preconceived notions of you.

But there are points that center around reversing climate change that they are interested in and that you can engage them on. Just don’t approach it from the point of view that climate change is man made. Here are the five points I always bring up when speaking to Trumpist on pushing our nation towards renewables and away from fossil fuels, the man culprit of climate change.

Security:
Trumpist in general believe in an America first policy and isolationism to some degree. You see this in Trump’s admonishments to the amount we pay for NATO defense or to the United Nations. I find common ground here, not so much in saying we spend to much defending Europe but that we spend too much defending middle eastern oil.

Let’s be honest, Henry Ford and his combustible engine is the root of our current security issues. What we do today, from a national security perspective, is not done in a vacuum. Our policies and procedures are determined more from a reaction to a long list of past historical events than to future planning. To be brief, our need for oil, Carter’s blunder with Iran, Reagan’s involvement with the Mujahedin in Afghanistan and Bush’s (the father) mishandling of Saddam Hussein and involvement in Gulf War 1 have all led to the current Middle East policy and our military involvement in that region for the past fifty years. How many lives, not just American but also Middle Eastern have been lost in the wars we fight to protect the oil fields? How many billions of dollars have we spent, that could have been used to fix our ailing infrastructure or build schools or lower taxes? Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks we have spent $5.6T in wars in the Middle East or on national security. And yet, we are no closer to ending those wars than we were sixteen years ago:

So, if we no longer have to protect the oil because we are self sufficient on renewables, then we no longer have to have such a huge military presence in the Middle East. If we are not there, dropping bombs and fighting on the ground, there is less incentive for people there to join terrorist organizations that target us. Getting out of the Middle East improves our security situation and saves us billions of dollars.

Additionally, moving us to renewables also lessens the power of Maduro in Venezuela and Putin in Russia. The more we build out renewable energy and share that technology with the world to make nations self sufficient, the less power some of the worst world leaders have.

Jobs:
Trump ran, partly, on a promise to bring coal jobs back and to increase coal use in America. This, as his tweets on global warming, are about doing something for the loss of coal jobs in America and more about playing the school yard bully to say hurtful things to liberals.

Despite his rhetoric and the desires of the extraction fuel industry, I feel the tipping point on coal has already been reached. The proof is that we closed coal plants in 2017 in the era of Trump, at the same rate as we did under Obama, about 1 every fifteen days.

Presidents do not have the power over the economy that most people think they do. There biggest ability to change economic outlook is through trade agreements or regulations. Presidents tend to shy away from influencing any market directly, and even with Trump ignoring this unwritten rule, his public comments don’t sway the scale against market forces to any noticeable degree.

Which is why coal is a losing prospect. Eventually, oil and natural gas will also go that way but right now, the end of coal is in sight. Which is good, as coal is a leading contributor to global warming.

The argument you make to a Trumpist, who sees coal jobs in the same way as climate change denial, an identity of Trumpist conservatism is to point out that this is where renewables can save the day. You can’t stop the market forces at play but you can help those at the mercy of them.

As of today, renewables employ more people than all fossil fuel industries combined and are in need of workers for all aspects of the industry. There is even free and low cost training to help someone get a job working in solar or wind or geothermal.

What Donald Trump should be doing, what any politician should be doing is establishing programs to transition the fossil fuel energy workforce into a renewable energy one. These are better paying, safer, long term jobs that let blue collar workers continue to do the type of work they like, with dignity and while contributing to the betterment of our nation and the world in general.

Pollution:
Coal plants pollute. There is no argument about that. Its the reason there are heavy regulation on building and running them. The burning of coal releases mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the air. Just 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury released into a 25 acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat. Sulfur dioxide contributes asthma, bronchitis and produced acid rain, which destroys crops and forests. Nitrogen oxides contribute to chronic respiratory diseases.

The soot or particulate matter that comes from burning coal, the gray stuff in the smoke, contributes to bronchitis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, etc.

Coal extraction itself pollutes the environment around it. When coal mine runoffs enter a stream they bring with it a variety of heavy metals, including arsenic, copper and lead.

Environment & Health:

Coal extraction is a destructive process. In central Appalachia the practice of mountain top removal, where upwards of 600 feet of the top of a mountain are blasted away to gain access to thin strips of coal that are inaccessible from traditional mining. The debris is typically dumped into the valleys below.

What was once forested land that could be used for recreation and hiking is now barren of all vegetation. No longer of use to the coal company and useless for anyone else. To date, the practice has buried more than 2,000 miles of headwater streams and polluted many more.

After coal is mined it is washed with water and chemical to remove any impurities before burning. The resulting slurry is then stored, along with coal ash (the remains after burning) in improvised ponds. These ponds are unlined and over time the heavy metals from slurry and ash can find its way into the local water supply. In extreme cases, the ponds can fail, as happened in Kentucky in 2000 and more than 100 miles of streams and rivers were polluted with 300M gallons of slurry and ash.

With so many points to make the argument against fossil fuels, particularly coal, stop trying to fight on the one point that Trumpist won’t relinquish. Convince them of the benefits of renewables over coal and win advocates to advance a change in US energy policy. That changing that policy also benefits your belief in ending man made climate change is a bonus.

The FREE DOOM of Power. – nwosu uzoma – Medium

The FREE DOOM of Power.

According to friedrich neitzche, “ the driving force of humanity is the will to power” .

Now, this may be true or inaccurate but the concept of power and who controls it is a dominant theme in human history.

What is power? Power is the ability to exercise dominance or control over another being and the ability to affect or influence his choices or actions with the least or absence of resistance from such being.

Humans are control freaks, they posses an innate desire to dominate and control everything in their natural surrounding and those includes other humans.

Over time man has exercised control over his fellow man, through various means , this power to dominate another’s Will often rested in a very few elite group, who called themselves by many different many names such as “priests “, “kings”, “judges”, “church”, “government” etc.

These elite groups have often controlled ‘the knowledge’ which is the key to power and exploited this knowledge in order to keep the entire populace in the darkness of ignorance and control their choices and actions by means of “force”, “fear”, “propaganda”, “ false sense of unity”, “scarcity”, “reward and punishment “, “food” etc. BY controlling the options we choose from, they have in turn controlled our choice, by releasing to us our stock of knowledge they have in turn decided what we should know.

The use of force, fear, guilt, intimidation, submission and God; worked in the past and humanity was perpetuated in a dark age of ignorance and fear, with all the wealth and power centred in the hands of a very few elite group.

After the scientific and cultural explosion of the renaissance in the early 16th century, such crude means of control and domination became obsolete as “kings” and “priesthood”, faded away, new means emerged such as the rise of “nation states”, “ ideologies such as communism, capitalism, liberalism etc” “ the emergence of the media” “ industrialization and urbanization “ “technology, money and science”.

It was karl marx who pointed out that whomever controlled the means of feeding the populace controlled the populace, so we find that in free system with many possibilities of living in luxury and ease, everything has to be bought for a price, the more money one possesses becomes the means to our comfortability. So we continue. to work for more money to access more liberties working endlessly, but we seem like the donkey who has the carrot tied to his nose who can only smell it but cannot taste it, then one becomes a slave for money.

They gave us technology which is supposed to serve us, but we become addicted and lazy and end up becoming slaves to the technology, the evidence is seen in the way we become glued to our televisions and can’t take our eyes off our phones.

The older generation are dulled to sleep by the media and gossip about politics, news and work.

The younger generation with more active minds have their put to sleep by endless entertainment and leisure which always carries a theme of obscenity, drug abuse and violence and the young people have become what they see.

They have by constantly controlling how we are fed, both physically and psychologically controlled our ability to choose and our thinking behavior, so all we are become is a mass of sheep with the inability to think out of the box or even to realize there is no box.

And as usual religion is the opium of the masses.

What is “Classical” Economics?

Photo by Manuel Nägeli on Unsplash

What is Classical Economics?

Classical economics refers to the school of economics adopted by Western democracies in the 18th and 19th centuries. Classical economic theory was brought into the mainstream by Scottish economist Adam Smith, who many refer to as the “father of economics”.

Classical economics rejected the idea of government intervening in the market place. The theory was that any problem would eventually be sorted out by the markets. Classical economists were largely in favor of free trade.

The Rise of Classical Economics

The rise of classical economics coincided with the industrial revolution. Many of the fundamental economic theories such as supply & demand were a product of classical economics.

Prior to the rise of classical economics, most economies were under the control of some type of monarch. Under these systems, the economy was tightly controlled by the state which is why they are referred to as “Command and control” systems. If the king decides to raise your taxes, there is no one you can really complain to.

Classical economics is the opposite of “command and control” systems and became associated with freedom.

The Invisible Hand

The very first lesson in my economic 101 class was on Adam Smith’s theory of the “Invisible hand”, a “classic”, classical economic theory. The invisible hand is really a metaphor for how each person's action to address their own self-interest ends up benefiting society at large.

When I am on my way to work in the morning I might buy a coffee on my way to work. My decision to buy a coffee is one of complete self-interest. I buy a coffee because I need a jolt of energy and I enjoy the taste.

However, my purely selfish decision to buy a coffee has unintended benefits to society at large. The money I pay for my coffee is taken in by the person who owns the coffee shop, who reinvests that money into their business and hires new employees. This increases employment and consumption within the economy creating a virtuous cycle of economic growth.

Additionally, since millions of other people also make the selfish decision to buy a coffee (or twelve) every day we collectively help put the market for coffee in equilibrium. A similar process happens with nearly every product and market.

This is why classical economists argued that there was no need for the government to intervene in markets.

The Fall of Classical Economics

Following the great depression, classical economics declined in popularity and in a way was replaced by “Keynesian Economics”. A school of thought made popular by British economist John Maynard Keynes.

Keynes believed that if left completely to their own devices free markets would lead to underconsumption and left society vulnerable to “boom and bust cycles”. You can imagine that the message of reducing economic downturns would be particularly appealing during the great depression.

Keynes advocated that the government has a crucial role to play in maximizing social benefits. Raise taxes and interest rates, and lower government spending during economic expansion and do the opposite during economic recessions.

As Keynesian economics grew in popularity, Classical economics became less influential.

Update on Catalonia: An Interview

Some are wondering what is happening in Catalonia since they voted for independence in October and Spain called for a special election. Well, I reached out on Twitter to my Catalan followers and received several responses. Here is the most detailed response I have received so far:

Angel Fox: Can you tell me what the current situation in Catalonia is?

@DemocracyInCatalonia:

  1. The current situation is the following: After the referendum on 1 October, the Spanish state initiated a legal offensive. It began before actually. But it hardened after the referendum. Jailing all of the Catalan independence movement leadership became the goal of State prosecutors. The crimes of rebellion, sedition, misappropriations are being used against the former government ministers. Some are in prison in Madrid, some have fled to Belgium. The Spanish government triggered article 155 of the constitution (http://democracyincatalonia.com/article-155/ ) removing self-rule from Catalonia, but also calling elections. Presumably, Rajoy called elections early on as a result of pressures from the EU (or let’s say Germany), but those would have been in private. The official line so far in Europe is: “we don’t meddle in (other) member states internal affairs”. Anyway, as expected the elections yielded a parliament that looks pretty much the same as the previous one, with some minor changes.

Ciudadanos now concentrates the unionist vote. The unionist vote has been mobilised through Catalan bashing and outrageous lying in the Madrid media. Most mother-tongue Spanish speakers is Catalonia are unionist leaning and get their news from the Madrid media as Catalan media is in Catalanlanguage. They are also generally first or second generation immigrants from other parts of Spain that live in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, the so called industrial belt, asloknow as red belt (beacuse they used to vote socialist) and now called orange belt because they vote Ciudadanos.. in Catalan elections, not Spanish elections, where they vote Podemos.

Anyway, Ciudadanos was the most voted party, and the PP collapsed in Catalonia.

So, the pro-independence camp won again with Puigdemont’s party getting over 21% and Junqueras getting 21% too. But Puigdemont is in Belgium and Junqueras in prison.

On 4 January there will be a hearing and the possibility that the judge may release Junqueras who has now been re-elected to take his seat in parliament… personally I don’t expect it to happen. The investiture session is meant to take place on the 17th, and there is talk of Puigdemont being made president by parliament remotely, I guess in writing or videoconference somehow. But the constitutional court will probably not allow that. 19 of the newly elected members of parliament are facing trials and long prison terms..

What will the government do..? I don’t know. It will depend on a variety of pressures and calculations. As important as what the government does right now is what the judiciary does. How directly does the government control prosecutors and judges is not completely clear to me. On the one hand they do appoint them and they share this fanatical ideology about Spanish unity. So with prosecutors, there’s a chain of command and they obey the minister who obeys Rajoy. With judges, be it the supreme court or audiencia nacional, they too are political appointees. But I don’t know if they can just get told what to do..

Angel Fox: What do you see the Spanish government doing next?

@DemocracyInCatalonia: So, I guess I’m not answering your second question. I guess they would like to find a way of stabilizing the situation and to recover normality. Their international standing has taken a hit. Spain is no longer that “friendly albeit sort of average western-European country”, they care about reputation that’s for sure, but Spanish unity is even more important. I am 40 years old, I’ve been living in Barcelona for 18 years, I’m culturally Spanish (as opposed to Catalan), half-Irish (hence my English).. anyway, these are completely unchartered waters for us.

Angel Fox: How are the Catalan people responding to the current situation?

@DemocracyInCatalonia: As to the last question, very quickly: On the pro-independence side there is a very high degree of determination, it has become a question of democracy and dignity. On the unionist side, it is very confusing.. mainly many people who are not usually political have been mobilized to vote through the demonization of separatism by the media. The challenge for the independence movement is to make greater inroads amongst Spanish speakers and convince them about the virtues of the Catalan Republic as a democratic project on which to build the kind of decent society which is impossible within the Spanish state.

It is clear to me that the Catalan people are not giving up. However, the Spanish government is clearly fascist and Rajoy, as a dictator, intends to try and squash their victory and his call for a new election backfired. President Puigdemont will continue his presidency in exile until these issues can be resolved. Hopefully, it is done peacefully for the sake of my friends in Catalonia. Peace be with you and love.

How to Support Your Local Police

A macabre satire written earlier this year reacting to a Congress and an administration that just keeps on shafting.

Among many other federally funded programs, aid to state and local law enforcement has taken hits from the GOP’s budget axe. In response to cries from conservative lawmakers that reducing criminal justice subsidies could unleash a crime wave, the Trump Administration filed legislation to take up the slack with a new program: the Citizens Law Enforcement Assistance and Revitalization Act, or CLEAR.

The draft legislation authorized any US citizen of majority age without a criminal record to terminate any US resident having a criminal record or who is in the country illegally. After liberal lawmakers objected that this would be discriminatory, a compromise was reached. The revised bill eliminates the criminal record condition and exempts persons under the age of 21 from being targeted. Illegal aliens, however, were not exempted.

Pursuant to CLEAR regulations, all persons wishing to commit homicide must apply for a Federal permit, good for one homicide under specified conditions. The US Department of Justice was put in charge of the program, expected to open for business in six months. To underwrite its cost, DoJ will assess application fees. Monies received via the program are projected to significantly increase revenues for justice-related activities. At the same time, by reducing the need for law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute homicides, public safety officials will have greater resources to target non-capital offenses such as illegal drugs, car thefts, domestic abuse, and jaywalking.

In announcing the passage of CLEAR, President Trump said “Thanks to this bold legislation, the brave men and women of our criminal justice system can sleep easier at night and during the day knowing that citizen vigil- um, volunteers are hard at work cleansing society of miscreants, slackers, cry-babies, and swarthy people who hate America, all at no public expense. So great.” When asked if citizens will be permitted to target politicians, Trump replied “Attorney General Sessions has advised me that this will be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

The application process for the CLEAR Program should be simple and straightforward. All applications must be in writing for now. At some point, applications will be accepted and permits issued over the Internet. Applicants will need to provide proof of citizenship and age, and complete a two-page form, a draft copy of which is shown below. DoJ has said applicants can expect to receive approval within six weeks, but certain conservative critics are already saying this is way too long. Strangely, or perhaps not, no liberal critics have spoken up on this matter.