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03 Aug 22:36

The Great Importance of the Blue Angels Roaring Through Seattle Skies

by Charles Mudede
by Charles Mudede

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JOANNE DIFUCCIA/GETTY

The mistake that many liberals in our city make is to believe that we are somehow detached from the destructive stuff of Empire. We are not. We are, in fact, very much in the thick of it. If you drive 40 minutes south, you will reach a major military base; take a short and refreshing ferry ride west, and you cross waters with submarines that can flatten whole cities; drive 40 minutes north, and you will reach a naval station with six destroyers. The Blue Angels and their raw, sky-ripping roars and booms burst a cherished bubble right quick.

You do not live in a utopia ruled by philanthropic billionaires, or enlightened entrepreneurs, or an Innovation Advisory Council that can dissolve all of our problems, including homelessness, with what our "progressive" Mayor Durkan calls "technology solutions.” No, sir. We will have none of those silly (and silly in the original sense of the word) illusions this weekend. We will look to the sky and see those war machines shredding our clouds. And they will tell us what we need to hear all of the time: We live in an Empire.

What the world has never seen or experienced is a capitalist empire that's based solely on the paradise of trucking and exchanging. The first empire of this kind, the Dutch, lost its top position to Great Britain in the 17th century not because its markets were battered by the "heavy artillery [of British] commodities," but its ships were sunk by actual British cannons. And so it is not a surprise that in the second and third lectures of Patrick N. Allitt's The Rise and Fall of the British Empire course mentions the Anglo-Dutch Wars. (For more light on this matter, please read this post—the last post in this series is here.) Professor Allitt also points out at the end of the fourth lecture, "Imperial Beginnings in India," that the Bank of England, the first major capitalist financial institution, was established to make borrowing cheaper for the king's expensive wars. The fifth lecture, "Clive and the Conquest of India," is all about the major battles that lead to Britain's domination of the subcontinent's markets. Trade is an illusion without force.

The US, the third capitalist empire, is no exception. It rose to power after two massive world wars. A nuclear bomb announced its arrival in the summer of 1945. The graveyard of the moment that inaugurated the 74-year history of American power is only a three-and-half hour drive from Seattle. All of the US's major markets are surrounded by its military bases. The Empire's representatives are about to authorize a mindbogglingly $717 billion war budget. That's how expensive capitalism is.


Speaking of growing war spending, it is very interesting that the military budget of China, the new (and possibly next) top capitalist power, is now growing faster than its GDP—8 percent for war; 6.8 percent for the general economy. This is interesting exactly because we have yet to see a global capitalism that's established without bullets, cannonballs, and bombs.

The Blue Angels are only telling us this truth.

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31 Jan 02:09

A murmuration of starlings

by Jason Kottke

A flock of starlings is called a murmuration, an apt word because the flocks move like a rumor pulsing through a crowded room. This is a particularly beautiful murmuration observed in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Tags: video
10 Feb 03:50

70Decibels - Generational - 021 - Raising a Human [MP3;...



70Decibels - Generational - 021 - Raising a Human [MP3; Huffduffer]

Generational 021 - “Raising a Human” on Huffduffer

This week Gabe is joined by Merlin Mann to talk about raising a kid. They talk about the fears, mistakes, and joys of raising a child and screwing them up in their own special way. The discussion ranges from death to religion to Miyazaki films.

You can totally be forgiven for not loving all the parenting talk out there. Trust me, I hated it with a passion until the last few years.

But, if you are vaguely interested in the challenges, annoyances, strategies, and occasional minor triumphs around trying to help craft a person who’s not a total basket case, I hope you’ll check this out.

I really like Gabe a lot, and I love how this turned out.

(Related: if you haven’t seen Gabe’s amazing “Normal is Not Normal” post, please do treat yourself.)