Don't worry, you can trust me. I'm not like the others.

Banned In China

Sunday, June 26, 2011

One and a Half Cheers for Democracy.

I've been thinking about this post since I woke up yesterday and found out that New York has legalized gay marriage.  It might be my general morose outlook on life, the fact I've been sick for about three weeks, or my accurate view of things.  On the other hand I see that Whiskey Fire kind of beat me to it.  

My thought was and still is that the powers who control the world, at this point do not give a fuck about you and me and are unable to see further than their next dividend check, or pay out from the Koch brothers (with the possible exception of Iceland if we are talking only about Europe and North America. 

The recent victories in kind of ending DADT (that I'll believe when I see it actually happen, that is more than the harrumph and more or less meaningless votes in congress) and now gay marriage in New York, cost our rulers nothing.  At the same time Coumo the Younger is set to seriously injure the workers and middle class (such as is left) in the Empire State he has a shinny new prize that he will give all us liberals.  Of course, in Ohio all we get is the financial fuck you without even the shinny bauble of some social progress. 

The problem with pointing this out is that it seems as though I'm saying that the right to marry is not important and we shouldn't care about it.  Once all this is said though, we come back to the fact that this is very important and a recognition that there should be no second class citizens in this country.  This is particularly important when one looks at the Rove strategy of the 2000 election of getting anti-marriage equality amendments on various state ballots to bring out the red necks to vote again' them and in passing vote against Gore too.  Even last year when the Iowa Supreme Court Justices were thrown off the court in an anti-marriage equality backlash.  So this is indeed, a big fucking deal.

But I've just watched today Inside Job the movie about the financial melt down in 2008 and beyond.  I think that it is a better movie than Michael Moore's Capitalism a Love Story.  Mainly because Moore was unable to bring himself to really do any criticism of his man Obama.  Inside Job is definitely a movie I strongly recommend, it makes the melt down and derivatives completely understandable.

There are a couple of  things that make it worth while.  First it was enjoyable was watching a few of the important economists come to the realization during the questioning that the guy asking  the questions wasn't the kind of namby pamby soft ball inquisitor they were used to.  None of the questions were particularly rude, but he did follow up.  In particular Frederick Miskin a former member of the Fed who seemed to stutter a lot when asked direct questions and Glenn Hubbard who seems pretty upset when asked about being paid for among other things a report he wrote for the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce.

Which leads to another issue, or perhaps it is the same issue in a different light, and that is that most of the economic professors seem to be bought and paid for by various Wall Street firms.  I'd guess that the response to that is:  Of course why not, shouldn't they get what the politicians are all getting?  I guess I'm a little naive here.  My thoughts on the matter were that good economics professors could make money investing, because they should now when to get in and when to get out.  But that is not true.  The amount of wishes can make it true economic thought is truly scary even after the crash, well that and the who could have known defenses.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gottcha Two Minutes of Hate Right Here

Perhaps this is a little too inside baseball, but there you have it.  I've been drifting around and reading some of the sort of progressive sites.  Although to be fair they may more properly be called democratic or anti-republican sites.  Places like Balloon Juice and Tbogg at Firedoglake have provided some interesting commendatory, in the sense that crap is interesting, I guess.
Tbogg is straight forward: no matter how bad Obama is the other guy (whomever he or she may be) is so much worse that, you've just got to vote for Obama, and I guess work for him also.  Not a position that I believe in, but at least one whose point of view I understand (perhaps because that was my position on Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and finally Obama in 2008).  In fact Tbogg is very explicit in the cut off the nose to spite, etc., position.

But the posters on Balloon Juice are, to me at least, more interesting.  Because they (or at least Mastermix and ABJ) have come out with the total and complete Two Minutes of Hate thing about Firedoglake and Hampsher in particular..  First accusing them of being in the pocket of republicans, second of being racist, third of being in it only for the money, and always of being liars whenever they attack Obama.  Larded in there are arguments that FDLis also incompetent politically, so there too, but that isn't the important stuff.  It is necessary to insist that FDL (and at other times Greenwald) are evil and that they are motivated by racism.  If not just racism they are in the pay of the right wing, or both. Essentially, they simply do not deal with the merit of any arguments against Obama and his policies, they simply skip that and go directly to..........well as I said the Two Minutes of Hate. 

Kind of sad really.  I came to a conclusion after thinking about the Tbogg post for some time.  I am not going to work for Obama and in all probability not vote for him either, but it doesn't seem worth while to seriously debate the True Believers (well except perhaps for my own entertainment).  My position is that you go right ahead and you work your little heart out and then if he gets re-elected come and tell me how he couldn't do anything but gut Social Security and most of the other "safety nets" in our society.  I will have the admittedly thin gruel of having been right.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Hiccup

We lived in a hiccup of history I think.  I was born in 1946 and in reality it was the beginning of the explosion of the middle class.  We would all go to college if we wanted to.  My uncle did, he was the first in either family.  Right out of the Army.  My Dad learned to fly and bought his house on the GI Bill.  He never graduated from high school, but ended up middle management in insurance, quit that and formed his own business (something he had also had shortly after he had gotten out of the Army). He had worked in a factory for about three days my Mom told me, but couldn't stand it.

I went to college, off my version of a GI Bill, a little stingier than the one my father's generation had, but still enough to take me through a good state school and with enough left over to party on.  One brother went to college on loans and with my parents' help then joined the Army as an officer (I was in the Air Force, an enlisted man, I worked).  He got out and we both went to good law schools at the same time.  Both graduated the same year, 1983.  But I do think that was right around the time things started to go really wrong.  Or at least when I started really notice just how bad things were going.  Reagan was in and I remember telling my girl friend that "They could run the country with 25% of us out of work, and they think it would be better that way."  Of course the push had been on since at least Nixon, but it wasn't as obvious at least to me as it became with Reagan.

My third brother inherited the business, but the other businesses they sold the nuts and bolts to were going out of business themselves or in reality moving out of the country, so nobody to sell the nuts and bolts to and the business goes out of business.

My brother the other lawyer worked for high priced law firms on the wrong side, and maked major amounts of money and goes back into the Army and quits a colonel in the reserves and gets a job. Finally with a mercenary firm working for the government and becomes a vice-president, where he was until three days ago when he was laid off one year short of the time he could have retired from the Army.

Of seven nephews and nieces, three are without jobs and not because they want to be, one is still in school, so I guess she would count as not having job and two have jobs.  Neither of my brothers have jobs nor do their wives, and they are all from six to twelve years younger than I am.

We came from a working family and we all worked (although to be completely honest I never really wanted to) from at least the time we graduated from high school and some of us sooner.  We are all relatively intelligent (although again my brothers seem to think that we just need to be a little more self reliant and then we will get all the good things the republican Jesus promises).  We are all fucked even the ones of us who still have jobs.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Saturday

Into the big city of Columbus for a Quilt show for the wife, reading for me, then the Gay Pride parade for both of us followed by Indian food.  Question from the wife who worked in a Hare Krishna kitchen for three years:  "Why does Indian food which is so cheap to make cost, so much in a restaurant?"

The fun thing about this parade was that she marched in the first one in Columbus thirty years ago.  The other fun thing about the parade in Columbus is that we stumbled on it last year (she has been living outside Columbus for some time and had lost touch with the gay community there) when I took her up to the Quilting Show for the first time, and the people at the show said that there was a parade outside, but we could just ignore it, which of course made us more interested.

This year was much better than last year and the anti-parade was less interesting.  All around a good thing. 
Joint Marshalls, the sign says it all

UPDATE:  I've been told that bible schools and church camps no longer have the kids do drawing and such of Noah because of the rainbow motif, apparently they are afraid that the kids will catch the gay.  And for some strange reason it brings this to mind:

God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
No more water the fire next time.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I read the news today, oh boy.  if Firedoglake is correct AARP has thrown its weight behind destroying what is left of the American "safety net."  It is another example of the way an organization is able to gain power for a purpose and then the managers essentially sell out their people.  With the exception of a few unions, I think that every progressive organization I am familiar with has done that. 

I don't mean to imply that AARP is or ever was progressive, but its purpose was to lobby for the elderly and to support their needs.  It has become little more than a corporation that has a lot of things to sell old people.  And another lobby for the corporations.   

I move on and see that the Greek prime minister is "shaking up" his cabinet because of the riots against the austerity programs his old cabinet put into place at the direction of Rulers of the Universe.  There is of course no indication that there is going to be any change in the austerity programs.  Which I guess is another example of the old saying:  "in a democracy the people do eventually get the government they deserve" being wrong.   

Our government is busy throwing around its dick in ways to further the wants of our personal ruling class, there is no cost benefit analysis that involves any rational evaluation of our nation's needs, but rather if there is any, it is one that involves the needs of the corporations who really run this country.  There may not be even any remotely rational cost benefit analysis at all.  Look at all the stuff all around concerning the world wide caliphate that is just around the corner, which will be caused by the alliance of the liberals and Muslim fundamentalists.   Our excuse for continuing to bomb the Afghans, I guess.

I also see that the president's people have decided (not that I mean to imply that they have just decided) that the Austrian School knows how to handle recession and depression and Lord Keynes is just silly.  I'm really not that well educated in economic issues although I've taken a few courses, so I may be over simplifying things, but what the hell.  The 30s in the United States never happened, WWII never happened we never spent ourselves out of a depression with a lot of deficit spending which we they mostly paid off with huge taxes on the wealthiest.  Never happened, doesn't work.  It is as if these people are jumping around with their fingers in their ears going nah,nah,nah I can't hear you.  They have decided what they need and in order to give lip service to the idea of democracy, they dress it up in a dress.

Of course there are books that argue that what happened really didn't happen it was all an illusion.  Crap.

Right at the moment the only country I can think of that is any different is Iceland, but then they no longer have anything we really want, so they are allowed to go their own way.  There may be the other problem (as far as our government is concerned) of the people being highly educated and so relatively impervious to our bullshit.

On the other hand this gives me a chance to segue into a brief movie review of Jar City, an Icelandic murder mystery I saw last night after another blogger on Balloon Juice recommended it and Netflix was streaming it.  Like most of the mystery movies and mystery books from that part of the world that I have seen it is bleak and depressing and very good.  (For a long time I thought that all Australian films were good since those were the only ones they exported to the U.S., but I was younger then.)   I understand that they are in the dark for six months out of the year so I guess I can understand that they are a kind of brooding race.  But in any case it was good and none of the people in it have to pay their bankster's bills for them.  And it gives me a reason to post the trailer and a kind of way to end this rambling:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sick and Movies

Still sick and I feel like I'm either Camille or Doc Holiday.

Watched The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest last night and today.  I'd seen them before and I liked them, but wanted to see them again.  I've read all three books and it was interesting that certain scenes that I thought were in the movies weren't there, but some how I'd incorporated them into my memory of the movies.  I mean they were so clear that I actually saw the actors who played them in the movies in my memory.

After watching the movies it occurred to me that if this was a movie about the United States right now it would end with Lisbeth beeing being stripped down naked in a psychiatric hospital and all the staff of Millennium would be in prison.  Pretty fucking depressing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More Blah

I tried to put this picture on three different ways.  It wasn't the picture, it was me.  Perhaps it is a good thing that I'm not in the office trying to keep my clients out of jail.
Day three of the kind of buzzed sinus infection week.  Started antibiotics on Monday and I really don't feel like I'm much better.  Are sinuses good for anything other than becoming infected and therefore causing me to spend money on my doctor and pharmacist  and the large pharmaceutical company that makes my drugs?  So essentially I'm being attacked by a neo-liberal corporatist disease. 

I am my own metaphor.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Oh Hell Why Not

So while we obscess about this:

This goes on, on a daily basis.

And nobody even remembers

And their little tax issues which have been getting more and more interesting.

Welcome to the Battle of Fredericksburg Fun Ride

Maybe I've been reading a little too much about the Civil War, but I am starting to compare Obama with at least two of the commanders of the Army of the Potomac.  McClellan or Burnside are my first choices.  McClellan because of his obvious empathy for the South and his inability to follow through when he had the ability and power to end the thing.  Or perhaps Burnside because of his idiotic continuation with a policy long after it was clear that policy should not be forced even though it might have been successful when originally planned, but is now not worth it because the other side has figured out how to prevent it.

There is a real growing fascist movement in this country, that chooses not to call itself fascist because it understands that word is not accepted anymore, even by people who happily would identify themselves with all the ideals and tenants of fascism as long as it is called something else.  These are the people Obama likes best even if he isn't an outright fascist himself (and his stance on assassination of Americans, the Patriot Act, his attacks on whistle blowers and permanent war are certainly in line with a fascist world view).

So perhaps I should hope that he is only as incompetent as an Army of the Potomac commander.

UPDATE:  Well if this story is accurate then perhaps the correct historical analogy is the nineteen century czarist secret police.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The People' s Front

Drifting around and found an interesting critique of Christopher Hitchens criticism of Noam Chomsky which attacked Hitchens for attacking Chomsky and attacked Chomsky at the same time. Very confusing. I started out with Lawyers, Guns and Money and then followed their link to the article attacking Hitchens which also managed to take a swipe at Chomsky. Now these were all by left leaning writers, you under stand and there were some interesting swipes at Chomsky including one poster who suggested that Chomsky was probably no more right in his linguistic theories than he is in his political theories.  I find that an interesting comment since I would expect that it really would be impossible to criticize Chomsky's linguistic theories if one was less than an expert in the area, something the poster never claimed.

I did go to Chomsky's article which seemed to me to raise issues that I am not sure I buy into, but isn't really all that off the wall.  It is short and an easy read.   The gist is if you can drop 80 Navy Seals into a little compound to kill a guy who has in essence no protection then why can't you just capture him and bring him back for trial, since that is what we did with the Nazis.  There is also Chomsky's point (actually more of a suggestion), which is I suspect the thing that really irritated people, that Osama might have just taken credit for someone else's operation and perhaps wasn't the mastermind at all.   Now we all "know" that isn't right, but then it occurs to me that the only reason I know that is because that is what the government and bin Laden told me, and I know for sure that I can't believe one of them and I doubt the other one.

I sincerely doubt that Chomsky is always right, but I know he has been right a lot more than he has been wrong.  So why are these leftist/liberal/progressive types attacking him?  Perhaps he really is a member of the Popular Front for Judea.

Just a Belly Laugh