Thursday, February 28, 2008

Speculators Should Have More At Stake Than Other People's Money

The price of oil had doubled in a year, though the cost of producing, refining, and distributing it has not risen appreciably for something like 5 years.
Yet, it's not a matter of if the price will top $150/bbl, but only when that baleful day will come.
In a word, "Speculation."
Which leads me to my own speculation: that those who traffic in and trifle with the very fundamental elements of the life-world of the rest of us should have more at stake than just their own, or more commonly other people's money.
If their speculations are gonna effect lives--cost jobs, raise mortgage payments, close banks, shit like that--then their very lives should be at risk, too. Then failure--the burden of which all too often falls on the least able to endure it--will cost the greedy ones, too.
Of a part with my modest proposal that the execution of an occasional corporate malefactor, a rich and powerful CEO, would prove a salutary corrective to others of the class who might think to bend the rules, or chivvy the poor for another nickel. This presumes, of course, the truth of the well-loved right-wing maxim about the deterrent, or illustrative, power of executing any criminals.
Heck, why not give it a chance? Let's find out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Do Corporations Conduct Secret, Social Warfare Against The People?

Remember "A Nation At Risk!"?

About 25 years ago, in the heat of the Raygun Revolution Against The People, national-scold-in-training (and already a high-roller in the casinos) Bill Bennett and a bunch of so-called scholars published "A Nation At Risk," to initiate the neo-con attack on the US system of public education. The book, one of many castigating the nations' teachers for a horrendous variety of misfeasances, worked on a single trope: A recitation of the numerous ills allegedly inflicted on the schools by permissiveness, self-esteem, and multi-culturalism, followed by the insistance that hed these ills been inflicted by the Russians, we (the concerned citizens of the USofA) would have declared war and bombed 'em back to the Stone Age.

So if the failures of the schools constituted a liberal "act of war" against propriety, common sense, and the way it has always been done in schools, how should we understand the following critique of USer/Globalist CorpoRat transgressions?

Former Raygunaut Asst. Treas. Sec. Paul Craig Roberts offers some opinions, in the context of an apparent endorsement of Obama's economic agenda. Citing what he calls the most important economics book of the last 200 years, Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests, by Baumol & Gomory, a money quote from which follows:
(C)orporations break the link between their interests and America's interest when they offshore their production for US markets. By producing abroad, they raise foreign GDP and lower US GDP. By producing abroad, they raise the productivity of foreign labor and lower the productivity of US labor. By producing abroad, they increase the productivity capabilities and trade position of other countries at America's expense.
If I were to take the tack of the neo-cons of 25 years ago, would I then be justified in asking if, given this sorry state, and declining USer prosperity, if the Russians had done to the US economy what our "native" corporations have done in the intervening period since the Raygunauts (Roberts among 'em, by the way, tho' he seems to have undergone some kind of progressive epiphany) first undertook to roll back the New Deal and the Great Society and fuck the middle class, would I not be justified in calling for the moral equivalent of war against CorpoRat Interests?

Roberts' point about Obama's apparent understanding of these issues notwithstanding, I'd feel a LOT better about Obama's prospects to reshape economic relations in his presidency of Baumol and Gomory were his advisors, instead of the (Milton/Thomas) Friedmanesque, University of Chicago (trained) trio of Cutler, Liebman, and Goolsbee, who are radical free traders who would be very comfortable inside the Bushevik regime.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Homeland Security Wet Dream: An Automatic Shotgun

Homeland Security Wet Dream: An Automatic Shotgun
Doesn't it seem that the bloody-minded motherfucker demonstrating the thing gets all orgasmic behind his 'firepower?' You can almost hear the hard-on forming in his cammies!

But I bet he's got a two-inch cock.

I don't suppose it matters anymore, given the attitude of the vast majority of our 'leaders' toward torture, or un-provoked invasion, either, for that matter, but I think the automatic shotgun was outlawed by the Geneva Conventions as recently as the Vietnam unpleasantness. IIRC both ROCs & Koreans, as well as the ARVN, carried pump guns in the bush, but they were forbidden to USers...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

There Is No God!

Morning Edition, November 21, 2005 · Penn Jillette, the taller one of the Penn & Teller duo, is also pretty much a libertarian asshole; I mean, he's a "research fellow at the Cato Institute", but his essay, on the usually saccharine and pedestrian NPR feature, "This I Believe," resonated still when I stumbled upon it (again) this morning.
I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The atheism part is easy.

But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God."

Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.

Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.

Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.
There you have it: Less "God" = More Humane-ness. So good, it6 bears repetition:
Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.
I like that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Woody's Economic Maxim #1: Corporate profits are never "earned," they are "taken."

Over 40 percent of American families have less than $5,000 in savings. One bill, a hurricane out of the blue, can blow everything away.
Originally, I intended to let the maxim stand alone. But then I happened upon (was directed by Ron Perlstein to) this amazing bit of information, and saw it contextualizing my previous (constant) assertions on this subject.
Tom Geoghegan pulls together apparently disparate threads of our political condition in order to knit a picture of its underlying structure. That's the true aim of great social criticism—and he does it better than any social critic writing today. This passage below is the essence of Geogheganism—which is the political party I'd declare at the polling place, were the option available.
It took ten years—almost all of the 1990s—for the median family income to get to the same level that it was, in real terms, in 1989. But in 1999, when we got to the same income level we had in 1989, the "median" family had to work six more weeks a year.

To keep from falling, the 1999 middle class had to work six more weeks a year for free. Not a few more hours—six more weeks! By the way, maybe it's worth pausing to say this: No wonder our FDP keeps shooting up, if the middle class is being forced to work for free.

But all this unpaid extra labor tends to undermine the Rule of Law.

Why? The economist John Maynard Keynes put it best: "Nothing corrupts society more than to disconnect effort and reward." That's what did in the old Soviet Union: no matter how hard one worked, one could not get ahead of someone who did not work at all. All that is what is happening in the United States, too. Of course, in a certain way our country would seem the very opposite of the Soviet Union. Here, if people dont' work, they're going to end up homeless. Then again, if they do work, they may end up homeless, too. (Emphasis supplied.)

That's the point. Like the USSR, we are slowly breaking the connection between effort and reward. And in terms of the Rule of Law, that's a dangerous thing to do. It's dangerous to push the middle class into questioning the fairness of the rules.
Let's be clear about this: The USer economy--its crony/predatory capitalism aspect, anyway--is actually a threat to "the Rule of Law," which is the sole basis for sustaining a democratic polity because it decouples effort and reward! This is a brilliant analysis, and I commend it highly.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why I Detest NPR, Part (n+1): Scott Simon

Yesterday on NPR's Weekend Edition, Scott Simon interviewed a "floppy-haired," 22-year-old, privileged, white, male, college-graduate, native-English-speaker who has written a book especially, he says, to rebut Barbara Ehrenreich's research, published as "Nickeled & Dimed."

Upon graduating from college, this boy, named Adam Shepard, got on a train with $25, got off in Charleston, SC, and set out to prove that, contrary to Ehrenreich's sissy, whining, complaining, lazy (by implication), stupid, passive, immigrant/lower-class women's stories, it was STILL possible--through hard work, clean living, and true grit--for a young, healthy, educated, privileged WHITE BOY with enough ambition to live the American dream: get a job, a car, a nice place live, AND save money if you really want to,badly enough to sacrifice.

Why, the rest of the implicature went, does Ehrenreich hate America? She's obviously one of those 'blame-America-first,' commie/pinko/fag symps who should just move somewhere else, and leave the American dream to those wh are capable of seizing it...

The host, Scott Simon, was unbelievably, unaccountably deferential to this posturing little pile of privileged protoplasm, who parlayed his youth, strength, and true-blue-USA heritage into a (used) car, an apartment, and $5000 in the bank after one year.

Simon--who is easily THE most fatuous, most credulous, and least critical of a whole panoply of fatuous, credulous, uncritical reporters on a network increasingly renowned for uncritical, fatuous, credulous reporting--either ignored or didn't notice the several opportunities he had to insert a modicum of modesty into the boy's narrative. Simon was apparently overawed by Stewart's seemingly Emersonian self-reliance, Gipper-like determination to succeed, and John Wayne-like true grit--unlike those weak, whining, sniveling, immigrant/working-class women who struggled to make ends meet in motel cleaning jobs.

If they would just stop smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and buying lottery, the boy said (and by implication, also, just top having those children), they'd be up in the bourgeoisie in no time, just like him. If they'd just get off their asses, and start unloading moving vans, he implied, they'd be okay in a matter of months.

Me? I was soooo impressed. And delighted to learn that the American Dream is still middle-class boys who go slumming, at least...

Actually, you might have by now inferred, I wanted to take his book, fold it a couple of times, bend the little schmuck over an industrial clothes-washer, and shove it, corners and all, up smug little shit-bag's tailpipe.

Listen to the story, and tell me if you don't agree.

UPDATE: H/w the message I sent to NPR today:
I cannot TELL you how glad I am that the American Dream is still alive ... for 22-year-old, native-english-fluent, college-educated, white boys who can hump furniture. THATs the way to put paid to that damned Barbara Ehrenreich and her "blame-America-First," anti-capitalist, Commie/Socialist, immigrant-friendly lies, isnt it?

Raygunesque self-reliance carries the day, if youre a young, privileged white male gone slumming. Just get them whiney, lazy colored women out on them bedbugs, and pretty soon theyll be cracking the middle class, if they stop smoking them cigarettes, drinkng beer, and buying lottery tickets--and having all them damn kids--Aspirins the cheapest birth-control pill in the world, if you keep one pressed between your knees, ladies...

I tell you, we need more DISCIPLINE in this country. Damn women are all hos and tweakers, anyway. Lets put Mr. Shepard in charge of the boot-straps...

Honestly, Scott Simon had at least a half-dozen opportunities to open up the discussion to focus on the differences between Shepard and Ehrenreich, and to call Shepard on his explicit comparison of his experience with those Ehrenreich reported. But Simon, as usual, was too timid and credulous--or something: cowardly?--to pursue it.

I thought I had long since resigned myself to be disappointed in NPRs coverage of issues of social and economic justice, but surprisingly, I am still disappointed when this kind of stuff inevitably occurs.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Playing to type

Tonite (Wednesday, Feb 13), on Albuquerque's community access channel, 27, sometime after 7:15 pm, your faithful correspondent will appear on the Calvary Chapel tv show in the character of the prophet/patriarch Nehemiah. This is live TeeVee...

In consequence, I will be studying lines much of the day, and will post very lightly today.

If you are in the area, tune in...

For the streamed version look here, at about 15-17 20 mins in...

your faithhful correspondent

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

From: The Department Of This Is Some Outrageous Shit (DOTISOS)

Oh, yeah, sure, HERE's a GREAT idea: Let's give the drooling, unwashed, reeking, cretinous, fuckwad drop-outs calling themselves Transportation Safety Agents--fat, ill-educated, ill-mannered, pushy, pedestrian, totalitarian, pea-brained little fuck-nutz whose journey to work any day represents the furthest they have ever traveled from their peasant huts--some MORE power to fuck with us while we try to travel!!! Oh yeah, I like THAT fucking idea...
Via Raw Story:
US customs agents can examine, copy data from searched laptops
David Edwards and Mike Sheehan
Published: Monday February 11, 2008
Customs agents have the prerogative to examine and even copy data from traveling citizens' laptops they search, CNN's American Morning reports.

"A new alert for travellers: be careful what you store on your laptop or your BlackBerry when entering the United States," warns CNN's John Roberts. "Customs agents can examine your computer and even keep your private information."

CNN reporter Jeanne Meserve adds ominously, "Your banking records, your music choices, your emails, your business contacts -- all can be examined, copied and stored by the government when you enter the country, if they're in an electronic device."

One Pakistani-American IT consultant says that U.S. agents searched his computer on five occasions upon returning from overseas trips, even forcing him to give them access to confidential corporate information.
What I wanna know is how that oleaginous, dew-lapped, Zionist fascist shit-heel Lie-berman got this into law without anyone noticing...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts Just Fucking LOATHES The Busheviks

And this guy was Asst Secty in Reagan's Treasury Dept. Via The OnLineJournal:

Does McCain’s GOP have aces up its sleeve?
By Paul Craig Roberts
Online Journal Guest Writer

The Brownshirt Party has chosen John "hundred year war" McCain as its presidential candidate. Except for Cheney, Norman Podhoretz, and Billy Kristol, McCain is America’s greatest warmonger.

In a McCain Regime, Cheney will be back in office with another stint as secretary of war. Norman "Bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran" Podhoretz will be undersecretary for nuclear war with General John "Nuke them" Shalikashvili as his deputy. Rudy Giuliani will be the minister of interior in charge of Halliburton’s detention centers into which will be herded all critics of war and the police state. Billy Kristol will be chief White House spokesliar.

The whole gang will be back -- Wolfowitz, Perle, Wurmser, Feith, Libby, Bolton. America will have a second chance to bomb the world into submission.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

If the Dims WANTED TO Hand The Country Over To The Oiligarchs & Pollutocrats...

they wouldn't have done ANYTHING different this year.

With an opposing party tied to the least popular, most detested, "Worst President Ever," with a populace united in opposition to an immoral, illegal "war," with an environmental crisis much of which is attributable to the inertia of the ruling elites, with the economy bobbing around like a turd in a maelstrom, with food and energy prices spiraling upwards and no end in sight, with medical care costs growing while coverage for citizens declines along with their health, with unemployment rising, and wages stagnating, with ALL these pop/prog issues in play, the Dems offer not one but two "exotic" candidates, neither of whom is populist or progressive (much less "liberal"), either of whom will inevitably divide both the party and the Country, and both of whom can make it close enough for the GOPukes to steal, if they want to.

In some way, I have thought, the Clinton/Obama race in the Dim primaries is a god-send for the elites. It provides cover, for one thing. If either is 'elected,' it will be taken--by the relentlessly naive, at least--as 'evidence' that the elites are powerless to control the outcome of the 'election.'

But an Obama or a Clinton presidency will be almost as great a triumph for the oligarchy as nuevoBush would be.

That is because the array of institutions "mierdas-touched" by the Bushies is so stunningly complete, to total, so thorough, the shit-splashing so comprehensive, that there is NO FUUKIN way any mere mortal human will be able to clean it all up...This bed cannot be unshit. The fecal matter is everywhere, and crusted hard by the years of neglect.

But of course, either HRC or BHO will have been 'elected'--if they are--on the PROMISE of "change." It is a promise they will be utterly, tragically, inevitably, predictably unable to fulfill, thereby further alienating the desperate, fearful electorate from the process, and meantime lodging a black-mark against the aspirations of any future 'exotic' candidate. Cannot you just hear Big Babs Bush opining on the inability of 'those people' to govern? I can...

The other option available to the elites, of course, is to simply cut to the chase, install McStain/(Huckleberry or Ghouliani), and proceed with bidness as usual for the last 7 (by then 8) years of relieving the country of all its disposable income, and spreading world-wide terror, and enervating the people to their abuses... McStain's already on record believing 'the jobs ain't coming back, the immigrants ain't going home, and there's gonna be a lot more wars.' So he's the perfect agent of this program. Bush has lowered expectations so far, almost anything will be regarded as an improvement.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Flying McCain : Just Unlucky, or A Truly Rotten Pilot

(H/t, P.O'Neill; cp'd at The Pond & MLW))
He "lost" five aircraft.
No, really.
Seems, even then, he was a big supporter of the the war bidness, personally accounting for 5 wrecked, crashed, or shot-down jet fighters.
No, really.
Navy pilot John Sidney McCain III should have never been allowed to graduate from the U.S. Navy flight school. He was a below average student and a lousy pilot. Had his father and grandfather not been famous four star U.S. Navy admirals, McCain III would have never been allowed in the cockpit of a military aircraft.
John Kerry managed to bring his boat home every time.

Oh, and speaking of John Kerry, and then of medals:
"(In his 23 missions,) McCain had roughly 20 hours in combat," explains Bill Bell, a veteran of Vietnam and former chief of the U.S. Office for POW/MIA Affairs -- the first official U.S. representative in Vietnam since the 1973 fall of Saigon. "Since McCain got 28 medals," Bell continues, "that equals out to about a medal-and-a-half for each hour he spent in combat (and just about one-and-a-quarter per mission, Ed.). There were infantry guys -- grunts on the ground -- who had more than 7,000 hours in combat and I can tell you that there were times and situations where I'm sure a prison cell would have looked pretty good to them by comparison. The question really is how many guys got that number of medals for not being shot down."
Only the one event, on the Forrestal, was utterly and unambiguously an accident. There's certainly room for 'pilot error' in all the rest.
And hao 'bout all dem medals? Woweeee...This information seems to me at least partly to help explain McStain's otherwise unaccountable unwillingness to at least refuse to endorse the Swiftboating of John Kerry. Perhaps because, as it now seems, he was aware of the very spuriousness of his own decorations?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Those Who Believe Obama, Because He's 'Black,'

might do better in office for people of color, might more rapidly or more enthusiastically approach issue of social or racial justice are probably going to be disappointed, in the event that Obama 'wins' the presidency.

That is because Obama, should he adopt the cause of social/economic justice, even under the banner of justice for all, will inevitably be tagged by opponents as making a special pleading for "his" people--i.e., people of color--instead of "all the people."

This will play well, in the elite agenda of disabling any and all initiatives which might interfere with the corpoRatist 'final solution' for democracy--that is, its complete destruction and replacement by corpoRat authoritarianism.

This is as inevitable as Faux News is 'fair and balanced.'

Monday, February 4, 2008

Woody's Legal Theory: The Law Of Probability

Now that the Superbowl's done and the improbable occurred, a review:
If you flip one coin enough (777 million?) times, probability suggests a pretty even split, heads v. tails (heads having a slight, .0000001 advantage). If however, you flip a universe full (those 777 million) of coins just once, literally everything, or anything, is possible. They could all come up heads, or all tails, or any possible combination in between.

People flip coins one at a time; Nature flips 'em all at once, all the time. Which indicates the laws of probability are physical, not cosmic...
Just sayin...

The Spitting Citizen...

...Is legend--an urban myth, debunked everywhere--as it refers to civilians greeting veteran returning from Vietnam. I never met one who could say it happened to them.

It is reality, as it refers to assaults upon USer vets in VVAW, by the hard-hat, kill-four-more contingent of out citizens, during the student demonstrations against the Vietnam occupation..

May 5, 1970, the day after Kent State killings, was a day of demonstrations all across the country. In Albuquerque, the State Atty General (because both the Gov and Lt Gov were outta town) ordered the NM National Guard to prevent or stop a big demonstration on the UNM campus. The Guard debarked from their Deuce-And-A-Halfs on Centrral Ave, just off campus, formed a line, fixed unsheathed bayonets, and advanced down the Mall.

Student demonstrators waited in the space between the Admin bldg and the Student Union. I was a crowd marshall that day. All us VVAW guys were. We tried to maintain calm, and if not that, then we tried to maintain the lines...

But as the Guard got closer to the student lines, and the students seemed to show no inclination to disperse, the tension mounted. There was a clash. It happened to be near me. A Guardsman had freaked and bayonetted a student in the leg, opening his femoral artery.

Another vet and I got a tourniquet around it, and tried to lead the guy to an aid-tent. To get there, we had to pass close to police lines, behind which the redneck/hardhat contingent had set up to watch the fucking hippies get their/our asses kicked. As we passed, they showered us with spittle, death-wishes, and curses.

My opinion of "Average Murkins" suffered a blow from which I doubt it will ever recover. I shall never forget that day, and never, ever forgive that treatment.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Real News: George Monbiot,Two Degrees of Separation

The difference between unspeakable, tragic, dramatic, brutal, world-wide social upheaval, vast mass-migrations, and hideous territorial conflicts, and a somewhat less violent future, is only two degrees, Celsius...

So, you might ask, how DOES crass, political apple-polishing compromise the science of climate crisis?

Is he saying the corporate control of 'news' effects how the issue is reported, analyzed, and interpreted in the Media?

Practical suggestions? Really? Really! Check it out!