Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wall Street Investments in Congress Offer High Yields

Does anyone not know that Congress is for sale? Science says so. In an article by the Center for Responsive Politics, those members of Congress who voted for the initial Wall Street bailout on Monday also received the larger share of financial campaign contributions from Wall Street.

Why would an educated, intelligent banker or stock broker give money away? Surely we can attribute some financial savvy to this sector of society. Surely they would not give money without visualizing the return on investment. Moneyed interests now tend to give money to everyone, both Democrats and Republicans. We can think of it as a hedge fund. Regardless which candidate wins an election, the rich have the candidates in their pocket. Those members of Congress who work harder to pass Wall Street-friendly bills get more money from financiers when compared with those members with a lackluster career of pushing the interests of the wealthy. It's a merit system. More "pay" for Congress, for more results.

The mainstream press act like they are either very stupid, or else have been so thoroughly indoctrinated into the propaganda that they are incapable of recognizing the obvious.

To quote Steve McQueen, "Life's a scam." We all know this, but why aren't we talking about it? The concept of patriotism doesn't include denial of reality. Respect is due when respect is earned.

No one deserves respect merely for holding public office (elected representatives) or for possessing the power to wield billions of dollars around (CEOs), or for wearing an expensive suit. Speaking of suits, why does the rest of the world follow "suit" in wearing the Edwardian suit? Because it's a symbol of power and money. What we need is a universal style of dress that imparts an equally convincing attribution of Justice. What would it be? Some dress accoutrement imbued with symbolic integrity and compassion might be adopted, such as that depicted here .

As we witness open class warfare this week, the battle over the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, I am looking for evidence that the Right will be successful in preventing consciousness in the media of what warfare is. The media has never known a bad military war, but in the case of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the media can't even see the war.

Swedish Economic Meatballs

Doing it the Swedish way. Buy-out, not bailout.

More on Sweden.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Strategery Capital Management LLC

Is there anything left to be said? Surely, by now, notwithstanding the vast array of propaganda, we all know that McCain, Obama, Congress, the White House, and Wall Street are corrupt. The fiction of capitalism and our smiling leaders is over. Capitalism does generate wealth and prosperity, but for a tiny minority only. When that fiction runs its course, the people use socialism to bail out the faulty capitalists.

It's as if we never learned anything from a hundred years of domination by the wealthy, for the wealthy. Learned nothing. As Gore Vidal proclaims, United States of Amnesia. We should be kind to the public because they only know what the corporate TVs spew out. The American people are always the last to know because they're the last to be told. I can't even blame those who voted for Bush--twice. What did they know? Nothing, really. It's like the so-called presidential debates this past week. A charade. TV game show. Just another episode of irony posing as reality TV.

If the press doesn't tell the people, who will know? If TV news can't get the facts straight whether or not Iraq has WMD, can we rely upon TV news to get the fact straight about Wall Street and capitalism?

I began this series of posts on politics and democracy with some vacillation. Now, I know I made a mistake--I should have broken free earlier.

Where, in the public space, are the role models of ethical and humanitarian ilk? Now I understand the attraction of the enormously popular video game, Grand Theft Auto. I'm anticipating the sequel, Grand Theft Financiers. If you don't know it's a scam, you're not breathing.

The chickens are coming home to roost. Reality prevails, but not before the thieves frighten us with tales of doom lest we not bail out their vanishing chimera.

The revolution will not be televised. Where I live, the city can't afford to pave the streets. I live in the shadow of a Chevron refinery which represents a transnational corporation rolling in dough. In a most concrete manner, the open poverty of unpaved streets surrounds the fenced and guarded streets of gold.

A testament to the infusion of corporate propaganda in American popular culture is evidenced by the lack of civil disobedience on a par with the recent popular rebellion in Bangkok.

Were we a less-indoctrinated bunch, the American people would do likewise. It's coming. As post-modern psychics, we read the cracked palms of civic poverty writ large upon the boulevards fortelling the future.

Strategery Capital Management LLC

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama Promises To Stop America's Shitty Jobs From Going Overseas

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wealthy of the World Unite! - The Neoliberal Swindle

Bush's Iraq invasion is costing an estimated 1 trillion dollars. The current estimated cost of bailing out Wall Street is now at one-half trillion dollars. The Bush presidency is costing American 2.5 trillion dollars.

When do people wake up to the con game? Democrats, Republicans, transnational corporations, media conglomerates (TV, radio, newspapers), and much of academia, are responsible for pumping massive sums of money out of the pockets of the poor and middle class, into the pockets of the rich and super-rich.

Obama is not the answer. He's a Margaret Thatcher; a right-wing Democrat. We remember Thatcher for her attack on labor unions and imperial ambitions in South America. Being the first fill-in-the-blank isn't enough. First woman, first black, first left-handed lesbian vegetarian...is irrelevant to social policy, and is now a calculated, cynical political strategy.

Such is the neoliberal legacy. Profess free markets and free trade, but deliver public funds to fix a fundamentally flawed economic system. Capitalism is an economically and ecologically dysfunctional system. Capitalism concentrates money in the pockets of the rich as it oscillates within a cycle of expansion and collapse. Capitalism collapses by design.

David Harvey speaks-- Neoliberal Economics: Robbing the Middle Class and Plundering Natural Resources.

Rather than characterizing the economic dynamics as class warfare, I prefer to think of the past thirty years as a class con game. There is no war. The poor are powerless and thus irrelevant. The middle class gets a con game crafted by transnational corporations and fed to us by corporate media. The media feed from the money trough slopped in their pens by corporate advertisers. The major news media outlets work for the advertisers,, not for you and me. We are fed massive doses of propaganda about the wonders of the marketplace: free markets, free trade, means freedom and prosperity. Markets are managed by the government--for the rich. Regulations protecting buyers and protecting health are eliminated, while government bails out the greedy. For whom?

Bad education + bad news media = bad public awareness = weak public power + exploitation of the masses.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Junk Food for the Mind

While working on a client computer system today, I was subjected to the inanity of Wolf Blitzer and CNN "reporting" on the Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG crises.

I had to cringe. I haven't seen a CNN program since 9/11. I have no intention of reverting my avoidance of CNN. It continues on as mental junk food. McDonald's for the mind. McNews.

Don't bother trying to understand what either Obama or McCain insist is the fix for Wall Street blues. Both of them are part of the problem, themselves. They have no intention of addressing the systemic fatal flaws in capitalism. It's a TV charade. Better you watch a sitcom.

Neither the Dems nor the Repubs want people to understand that we are looking at a predictable systemic failure. McCain wants to create a commission to study greed on Wall Street. That is so laughable that it makes my sides split. Wall Street is greed. He may as well create a commission to study why the sky is blue. It's so stupid and so insulting of anyone with a brain, that one must either laugh, or get very angry. Obama doesn't do any better. He's in denial. At least McCain is willing to be boldly stupid in front of the camera. It's not much of a risk, though. No one in corporate media-land is capable of perceiving the obvious absurdity. Obama is a shiifty one. He's a band-aid-on-cancer kinda guy. Obama lives in a soothing pretend world. "Let's pretend the rich really don't run this country. Let's pretend that I care." The Democrats have been in control of Congress for the past two years which lays culpability for the current economic crisis at their own feet.

AIG, the largest insurance group in the nation, was bailed out by--guess who--you and me, The taxpayers will loan 86 billion dollars to AIG, a corporation which exists to make money for shareholders. What should have been done? What was the right thing to do? AIG (and Chrysler before it), should have been nationalized--taken over by the public because the public should now own it. We are paying 86 billion dollars for it. We, the people, should own it. Turn AIG over to the existing employees, converting the corporation into a worker-owned cooperative. What the federal government has done is bail out rich investors. The government plan is welfare for the rich.

Isn't it curious that if you were poor, and if you took out a shady sub-prime home loan t o put a roof over your head, and if you lost your home due to bankruptcy, the feds don't give a damn. Contrariwise, if you bought stock in AIG hoping to put money in your pocket, the federal government will stuff your now-empty pocket. Noam Chomsky has described such economic practises as Tough Love: Love for the rich; tough-luck for the poor.

The last major progressive economic movement (prior to the civil rights work of the fifties and sixties) was a direct result of the 1929 crash on Wall Street. I suspect much talk will flow from the mouths of Obama and McCain, but that nothing will be done until the next market crash. That crash may come sooner than later. it's sad that progressive movements require hammers to the head before people power emerges.

Instead of turning on CNN campaign coverage, buy this book, America Beyond Capitalism. Do something nice for yourself. Watching Wolf is an insult to your intelligence.

The alternatives to capitalism are not limited to totalitarian systems. Our economic system exhibits alternatives known as nonprofits. Nonprofits can be expanded from the current marginal role in society as narrow public-interest groups, to the meat-and-potatoes of life. Think of the Red Cross for every town, every day, not solely for disaster relief. Think of the American Cancer Society, not just collecting nickels and dimes on the periphery of life, but the principal support for cancer research.

Why not expand nonprofit organizations to thus form the economic core of society? Banks. Insurance. Health care. Oil and gas. Food. Clothing. Real estate, and other sectors.

Government and nonprofit organizations (a wretched term, NGO/nonprofit) are as American as apple pie. We have alternatives here and now. Why is water supplied by a public, nonprofit agency (East Bay Municipal Utility District), but gasoline is not? Why are libraries free, but lunch is not? Why is firefighting performed without charge by a nonprofit government agency (the "fire department"), but fighting cancer at a medical clinic is performed for a fee?

We would never know it by watching TV, but there is something profoundly broken in America.

I can't end this essay without an anecdote from the sixties. We are thoroughly indoctrinated from birth in the belief system that we should pay on an individual basis for every service.

A car in which I was a passenger burst into flames. Where my friend and I where headed, I do not remember, but there we were cruising down the Ventura Freeway in L.A. as the rear of the car became flagrantly on fire. Having noticed this mishap, I shouted at him to pull over, which he did. A kind and conscientious truck driver pulled over to the shoulder of the read in our defense. He pulled out a fire extinguisher bottle, which, much to his consternation, he promptly demonstrated did not work. The flames on the left-rear of the car grew higher.

I offered to run down the nearest off-ramp to find a public telephone booth (remember those antiquities?) for the purpose of calling the fire department. My friend said no, he didn't want me to do that.. As I stood there in timeless disbelief, he said, "I can't afford to pay for the fire department."

Can you imagine my confusion and disorientation forty years ago? Pay for it? Everyone knows firefighting is a public service. Unless arson is involved, people don't pay directly for firefighting servicse, but my friend was so well indoctrinated that even asking for help in putting out a fire was attached to fear.

Is it that much of a stretch of the imagination to conceive of other services essential to keeping us alive and well, provided just because we all need them? The costs are real . There is, indeed, no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a lunch which is paid for collectively and consumed privately, individually, without charge.

The measure of the wealth of a nation is the degree to which we collectively decide to do things solely because we humans need it, or just because it's a nice thing to do. Making a buck is a disgraceful enterprise destructive to human relationships and destructive to the world around us.

Socialism is the American way.

The argument that socialism is "un-American" (whatever that means) is false.
The argument that we can't afford social welfare for all is false.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Political Fallacy of Voting

I can't even write anymore. The profound corruption of the American society by capitalism is so rank, so blatant, so egregious that I don't see any purpose in writing. Surely, everyone knows by now.

That puzzles me is why no one does anything about it. A recent Associated Press story outlined how medical costs are rising, and that corporations will be passing on these cost increases to employees by raising their deductibles. This move is a thinly-disguised pay cut. On average, according to the article, costs for medical insurance is rising 5 to 7 percent each year (recent years have been even higher). Accommodating the cost increases by increasing worker deducible is tantamount to a pay cut. The entire American medical system is so thoroughly corrupted by corporate control that it's the most expensive system in the modern world that yields less than top-notch service.

The only reason the U.S. does not have nationalized health care is because that's the way the corporations want it. They don't give a damn. They can't give a damn. Corporations turn everything they touch into an immoral activity.

The people want nationalized single-payer health care, but the people are so marginalized and atomized by the corporate media that expectations are continuously lowered. If you don't know that your neighbor wants nationalized health care, maybe its better to remain silent. If you don't learn from TV "news" that millions of other people just like you also want nationalized health care, maybe you should not organize, maybe you should remain silent.

The shibboleth of the right wing in the sixties was, "The Silent Majority." This falsely asserted that most people supported the war in Vietnam. What is true is that most people were not only opposed to the war but considered it immoral. The American populace might be more accurately described as, The Silenced Majority. What the people want, they don't get. When TV fails to reflect what is true, what the people want, we question ourselves. What we get is a focus on "leaders" instead of the will of the people.

The super-rich can control the "leaders" thus the enormous attention on them. The super-rich can't exploit the people without emphasis on "the leaders."

Voting does not a democracy make. Voting is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for a functional democracy. People knows this and act accordingly by not voting.

Class warfare was once represented by the conflicts between the Democratic and Republican parties, but no more. The Democrats represent a slightly different set of corporations when compared with the Republicans. The political dynamics of America have been co-opted by the corporations. Who is anointed the nominee in either party is determined by candidates running the corporate funding gauntlet. No corporate approval? No money for you. No money for you, no national media exposure because you're not a "viable" candidate. A viable candidate is one which has corporate funding. Catch-22.

Today, a news article related how recent increases in the price of gasoline were controlled, not by supply and demand fluctuations, but solely by speculators on Wall Street. I really can't write anymore. The evidence is so profoundly evident of the corruption in American society and the economy.

We live in a culture controlled by a tiny minority of the super-rich who play games with gasoline to make money on Wall Street, play games with your health to make more money off of your illnesses, and play games with the electoral process to make it seem as if we're having an election this year for president. Nonsense. The corporations anointed McCain and Obama--and they don't care much which one wins because which one wins doesn't much matter. Neither candidate supports real change. It's a scam. A public relations scam.

To get excited about Obama is pathetic, but then that's what the super-rich want. They want the people to have such diminished expectations from government and the economic system that we all get excited about nothing.

The "change" in electing either Obama or Palin will be so superficial as to make me cringe. Corporations will do anything to distract the American people from policy. Race? Gender? Why not a Black lesbian vegetarian for president? Corporations recognized that the power of the purse financing campaigns is sufficiently effective filter to remove policy positions from the debate. Just as Pelosi took impeachment off-the-table, corporations take serious public policy debate off-the-table in national elections by introducing irrelevancies. It's not enough to be black, but are you going to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq on day-one of your administration? Are you going to toss corporations out of the American health care system by nationalizing it? These are the substantive issues which corporations will do anything to prevent from "leaking" into the corporate media.

McCain understands cogently how superficial race and gender are to American politics. The gates to power are opening to women and minorities--as long as they reflect the dominant interests of power and moneyed interests. Doing the people's business has vanished from the American political arena.

Class warfare is won by the people when they organize. As long as white-collar workers hold on to the illusion that they are "better" than poor people, and believe that only poor, unskilled workers organize unions, we are lost to the forces of corporate oppression--lost in a massive intentional delusion crafted by the media.

The U.S. is not the "greatest" nation on Earth. The U.S. is a disgrace. I'm ashamed of U.S. foreign policy and I'm angry as hell with the American domestic policy.

Don't we all get it by now? Surely, not another word need be spoken. They are taking away your health care, taking away your money right out of your wallet every time you buy a tank of gas, taking your money when they charge tuition for your children to attend college, taking away a trillion dollars out of your own pockets to line the pockets of war profiteers and to steal gas from Iraq, Georgia, and Azerbaijan--so the speculators on Wall Street can make even greater profits.

Global climate change is a function of corporations run amok on the planet. Changing individual human activities (e.g., using CFL lights instead of incandescents) avoids the core problem: the economic system managed by corporations. Corporatism is fundamentally, profoundly a flawed system, lacking democratic principles, and lacking appropriate restraint.

There is no end to corporate greed. They don't know the word enough.

We all have an enormously important choice: Shall we content ourselves with what is handed out to us by the super-rich--and in doing so escape the reality of exploitation through religion, or staring into the abyss of TV? Accepting a socially-condoned delusion comes with a steep internal price.

To recognize that we are exploited and powerless,is ironically the first step toward political empowerment.

Perhaps at a later date s I can muster a word on the 59,000+ nonprofit organizations in California. The meaningful core of American society can be found not in the corporate workplace or in the voting booth, but in the marginalized "nonprofit" associations. The core human values are nonprofit. The things that matter to humans: truth, justice, freedom, equality, fairness, opportunity, have nothing to do with money or corporations. More on Jeremy Rifkin's provocative elucidation that the core of American society has been co-opted, or colonized, by moneyed interests.

Freedom from the fallacy of voting and the pernicious illusions of the corporatized marketplace constitute the challenges of consciousness for the twenty-first century.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Apple Event September 9th: New Goodies

Apple will hold a public event on September 9th to, presumably, announce new Apple gadgets and/or software.

Speculation runs wild on the possibility of new iPods and other hardware.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

35 and 8

The standard work week in France is 35 hours in duration.
French workers receive eight weeks of vacation.

German workers also receive, on average, eight weeks of vacation.

In the U.S. it's 40 hours per week and two weeks vacation.

I'd rather be in France.

The U.S. is the only "Western" nation that does not have socialized medicine, or what is also termed single-payer medicine. Why is this so? Why does "everyone" else have it, but we don't? The answer to this is no mystery. More on this later...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Good Cop, Bad Cop

From my progressive political perspective, getting excited about Obama is pathetically delusional. That's a corner of consciousness where corporations excel. They define the world in the mass media to suit their own narrow, pecuniary interests, forcing citizens to either face the reality of class warfare and exploitation, or to sink into the available delusions of democracy.

The fact is this country is run by the rich, for the rich, but you would never know it from watching TV or going to a public school.

Obama and McCain are fundamentally dishonest. The entire game of American politics is dishonest. They're playing a corporate game of Good Cop, Bad Cop. They are both working for the rich. Neither want significant change. The campaign rhetoric from both sides is sheer moronic nonsense. The differences are so minuscule as to engender ridicule.

Iraq War:

Facts: The Iraq War is an immoral, illegal violent aggression (invasion) of a sovereign nation, initiated and justified on the basis of lies. Everyone knows this now. This isn't even a point of debate. Colin Powell lied to the U.N., Bush, Cheney, lied. Rice lied. Everyone knows this. It is an act in violation of international law causing death and destruction. This isn't even debatable.

What do the people want? According to recent CNN polls, a substantial majority of U.S. citizens think the Iraq War was a "mistake" (about 60 percent) and about two-thirds "oppose the war."

We do not live in a democracy, folks. The country is controlled by big business. The candidates and elected officials lie to us repeatedly. The mainstream news media is owned by a half-dozen corporations. These corporations have a deeply vested financial interest in war.

Two-thirds of the American people want out of Iraq.

What are the policy positions of the candidates?

McCain: Has stated the U.S. could be in Iraq 100 years.

Obama: Has recently stated that he would move some troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.

That's it, folks...

Good Cop, Bad Cop.

McCain, everyone knows is a cold-hearted shill for the rich.

Obama is the "kinder, gentler" shill for the rich.

Neither candidate intends to do what the American people want. Both candidates are screwing the American public. Other candidates reflecting the mainstream views of the people (Nader and McKinney, for example), are kept out of the mainstream media and out of the mainstream political process.

Both mainstream candidates for president, Democratic and Republican, have policy positions which are distantly removed from the mainstream of the people. The media game, and the Dem/Repub game, is to marginalize the mainstream wishes of the American people, while presenting the radical right-wing policies of both main political parties as if they represent the current thinking of the people. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's a scam.

Why do the media collude with the mainstream candidates to offer public policies which ignore the wishes of the people? The ostensible "mainstream" candidates are functionaries in service to wealth and power, while feigning populist policies.

The corporate mass media present constant false images of a functioning democracy.

In contrast, the American political reality presents itself as long-term abandonment of the wishes of the poor and middle class.

The American body-politic is a victim of political abuse. Such conditions are represented by long-term abandonment, and powerlessness to confront the political abusers.

The combination of powerlessness to stop the abuse and the denial from the abusers, creates the classic symptoms of the abused: inappropriate attachment to the abusers, denial of abuse, and the repression of the rage of injustice.

That part of the American body-politic self capable of knowing the reality of abuse goes underground, while the conscious self encapsulates into pragmatic denial.

The protesters at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions represent the return of the repressed knowledge of the healthy body-politic self. Concomitantly, the delegates to the conventions represent that part of the self which has chosen a delusional state in the interest of survival. For the abused, the aphorism, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," becomes a mantra for sheer survival, but no amount of posturing by the false self can deny the truth of the abuse. The truth is always known, though repressed. The truth shall always make itself known.

The return of the repressed is an ineluctable event, but it is always in conflict with the more "accommodating" component of the self.

The repressed self represents the eternal search for truth and justice. whereas the mask of accommodation is more politically pragmatic. This is where Obama-mania makes meaning: me thinks you celebrate too much. (With apologies to Shakespeare.)

The great moments in political history arrive when the pragmatic, accommodating part of the body politic recognizes that the angry protesters outside, are in reality falsely excluded from the self. When the body political forces of accommodation embrace the fearful truths carried by the externalized angry protesters, forces are joined in healthy human social solidarity. Good things happen.

As in the life history of a single individual victim of abuse in the nuclear family, a crisis typically is required to precipitate the meeting of the false (accommodating) self and the externalized, ostracized angry self bearing the truths. So it goes with the self of the body politic of any nation.

When the body politic recognizes the Good Cop, Bad Cop game of the public-policy abusers, in rushes overwhelming feelings of exploitation. Out of the conflagration of the accommodating false self, rises the phoenix of social change.

The rich fear the legitimate political power emergent from the synthesis of the "accommodating self" and the "defiant self." Divide and conquer.

Ending the abuse of the American body-politic will not come without roiling pains of catharsis.

Heed the nagging motivation to resist respectability. The respectable element of society represent passive bystanders to the crime.

Criminals are in charge of America, but they are "our" criminals. The betrayal and abuse can be rationalized. "Surely, they had an honorable motive for such ostensibly heinous actions. They were actually interested in bringing freedom to the Iraqis. See, even though they lied to us, the death and destruction really is okay!"

To acknowledge the crimes of the political establishment, is to acknowledge the crimes of the American pater familias. To acknowledge the political rape of the poor and middle class by the patriarchal political institutions of America is enormously painful, and scary. Daddy doesn't love me.

Good Cop, Bad Cop. Presidential election, 2008.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?