Friday links! World without a government edition

Name this famous painting that is also the subject of a quiz at Riverdale Country School and win a prize in the comments section.

Isn’t the government a drag? I understand that we need one in a vague, civics class sort of way, but from day to day the whole structure seems gratuitous. Other people clearly need a government. Maybe it’s just the location of my personal apartment, but other people can’t seem to go a day without trying to build a smoker in their house or getting drunk and punching each other or filling a milk jug with gasoline.* You and I, on the other hand, are completely self-governing. We don’t need cops or meat inspectors to keep us in line, and as a result the government is to us an endless series of clerks and taxes. Like the actual rules of Monopoly, it needlessly complicates a game that everyone already knows how to play. What we should do, you and I, is form a political party dedicated to reshaping the government according to our own personal needs. Things have been going fine around here without government intervention, so I propose we have stamps and an army and otherwise no government at all. I am not alone. This week’s link roundup is chock full of people who are operating without governments, and one guy whose plan is to grab the government and break it. Won’t you enjoy the war of all against all with me?

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President: dick?

Yesterday, President Obama announced that he would address a joint session of Congress regarding jobs and the economy on September 7—the same night, it turns out, as a Republican presidential debate. Exactly how it turned out is a matter of conjecture. Press secretary Jay Carney insisted that the date was not chosen to conflict with the debate, noting that there were going to be 20 of those things and that “one debate of many was no reason not to have a speech when we wanted to have it.” Still, I bet they have a big calendar in the White House, and Obama’s move seemed like a deliberate provocation. Fortunately for everyone, he was provoking John Boehner, which is like trying to get a fish to gasp. “As the majority leader announced more than a month ago, the House will not be in session until Wednesday, Sept. 7, with votes at 6:30 that evening,” Boehner wrote, asking the President to move the speech to September 8. Guess which date they compromised on!

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Dylan Ratigan on what’s wrong with America

MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan, telling people what's what

MSNBC political and financial commentator Dylan Ratigan went all me-after-four-drinks on Representative Kevin Brady (R–TX) Monday, delivering a long rant while the latter clung to GOP talking points and smiled like a man invited over for a big slice of crap cobbler. Props to Pete for the link. Let me first say that I do not usually have truck with MSNBC, for reasons exemplified in Ratigan’s interview style. He begins his segment by pointing out that Wall Street and high finance is one of the few sectors of the economy that is hiring again, which seems kind of ironic given that they were, to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare, the dildo of our original clusterfucktion. Ratigan then advances the thesis that the stock market, originally conceived as a means of encouraging investment capital to flow to new ventures, has become a “giant sucking machine” that draws money from real industry and into a realm of computerized abstraction. Cue Kevin Brady.

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