Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...

and a Happy New Year.

This is my end of the year post, and it is simply a series of not so simple questions for you to consider providing answers to. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

1.) In the last year, what, if anything, have (you) learned about the culture we live in with respect to its functioning, resiliency, and its likely future?

2.) What are your biggest concerns with respect to the health of the nation vis a vis your own fortunes?

3.) If you could live in another (or other) part(s) of the world, where would it/they be, and why-other than weather related reasons- would you choose to live there?

4.) What sort of interesting developments or changes do you imagine will come about in the U.S. in the next twelve months? What have been the most interesting or meaningful ones to come about in the prior twelve months?

Friday, December 3, 2010

What Will it Take?

To the multitude of readers who regularly take in my column for kernals of insight, pearls of wisdom, and, of course, just for its sheer entertainment value, I would like to extend you an apology for not posting for well nigh almost three weeks. I have no reason to offer as an excuse for the dearth of new content from this quarter other than that a certain exhaustion set in last month. Perhaps it was the onset of the dreaded holiday season, or an impending birthday, or the paucity of sunlight at this time of year, but, whatever the reason(s), they served to short circuit my usually regular, if not always stellar, output.

Still, even as I was taking a self imposed and modestly refreshing break, I did happen to notice, among many global developments, that Ireland has unsurprisingly, but disappointingly, been broken by the monetary hooligans of the EU, and, also, that some here in the U.S. are expressing their deep disapproval, not to say outrage, at the methods and behavior of the Transportation Safety Administration whose
conduct of late has been markedly unkind to a number of folks seeking to get from point A to point B by air.

For what it's worth, I was in the less than enviable position of having to fly recently, and when it was my turn to stand inside the backscatter used by the TSA, I opted, as is my wont-call me crazy, but I trust the safety of the TSA's x-ray machines about as much as I trust the assurances of The Federal Government that The Gulf of Mexico is cleaned up and ready for unbridled shrimp harvesting-for the dreaded pat down.

The new pat down procedure, which the TSA employee assigned to check me for bombs and other such potentially dangerous cargo, made sure to let me know was in place and would be practiced, involved, among other things, the use of the back of the hand when slapping, excuse me, when checking passengers in what the TSA agent euphemistically referred to as (a tad nervously or so it seemed to me) "sensitive areas." The entire exercise was silly, which, other than the fact that the procedure likely amounts to a violation of the 4th Amendment and almost certainly won't do much, if anything, to safeguard passengers, is fine.

And all this puts me in mind of my opening apologia for my blogging absenteeism. I've just have had a Eureka moment wherein I suddenly feel I have a firmer grasp on just what it was that might have been keeping me from posting. While I am heartened that some number of my fellow citizens have chosen to stand up for themselves in the face of utter police state piffle as practiced by the TSA, I am, in the main, disheartened at the response of the vast majority of my fellow citizens who appear to have the demeanor of overfed sheep in the face of a constant barrage of myriad outrages.

It doesn't seem to bother most of my fellow Americans in the slightest that such entities as commercial banks and institutions like the The Federal Reserve are as lawless as wild west bandits. The behavior of these institutions is bad enough, but it doesn't seem to so much as provide the hint of a transitory wrinkle on the collective brow of the nation's above twenty one crowd that, in the face of a level of egregious scamming that would make Charles Ponzi blush, their Federally elected officials act, for all the world, as if they had either no clue, no balls, or were on the payroll of the scammers, which, of course, they are.

And so, one is left to ask the question that one is constantly faced with when one witnesses a strong electric shock administered to a subject who does little more than faintly twitch in response: Is the subject dead? And if not, just what is it going to take to make the subject remove the instrument of pain and strangle the son of a bitch who attached it to them in the first place? To be a tad less abstract, what are the American people waiting for, well, besides waiting in very long overnight queues for flat screen T.V.s and cut rate computers on sale at Best Buy on Black Friday? Why, dear reader, I will tell you what they are waiting for. They are waiting, like the sheep they are, to be shorn of their remaining threadbare wool. Pardon the unsavory imagery, but not until they are as naked as a porn star in a shoot on a public beach will they likely wake up and realize that they don't want to be sheep any longer. I am talking real deprivation wherein the sheep are left cold, hungry, and without shelter. Yes, I think that is what it's going to take to inspire the sheep to be something other than (utterly shorn) sheep.

Unfortunately, by then, and there will be a then, because the folks calling the shots in The Land of The Free aren't merciful, it will be too late. Glad I'm back yet?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sarah Palin: Whore of Babylon Update

The Whore of Babylon, who now has her own show on the dubiously named Learning Channel, has recently asserted that she could defeat Obama in the next Presidential election. Putting aside the fact that politics at the the Federal Level are utterly corrupt, and that, therefore, at least hypothetically, anything is possible, Sarah Palin's boast should disabuse anyone of two things: one that she isn't more than a tad eager to hold the highest elected office in the land, and, two, that she is not utterly delusional.

TWOB's distorted view of reality resides, in this humble observer's opinion, on Palin's astounding misconception that she is fit- in all the ways one needs, and ought to be fit- for The Presidency. Okay, I imagine she's physically fit, but, then, one of the nation's better Presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was confined to a wheel chair, so I'm not giving her anything but the minimum number of points for her likely ability to hike through some place like Denali National Park for more than half an hour without rest.

In truth- and it is the truth-only the most benighted and/or demented characters believe that Palin should be allowed to hold any office, however modest, since all Mrs. Palin really embodies, at least to those who have some semblance of judgment, is massive ambition married to appalling ignorance, all wrapped up in a toxic, little, Fundamentalist Christian box with a tawdry and fake "you betcha" bow on top. Put another way, in any other context save possibly running her own home in Alaska, she's a grand scale calamity waiting to happen. And that's being kind.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Oil's Still There

Some days I wake up and feel as if The United States should be, in a manner of speaking, broken up into pieces, formally dismantled bit by bit like an outdated, malfunctioning mechanical device. In truth, for quite some time, my default view has been that the breakup of The Union is as inevitable as anything in human affairs can be said to be, but, lately, my opinion is that sooner might be better than later as maintaining our collective presence seems, upon consideration, to be doing the vast majority of the local (and not so local) citizenry more harm than good.

I suppose, this morning, I was especially impelled towards this feeling by reading this. As The Gulf of Mexico fiasco was occurring, I devoted quite a bit of blog space to discussion of this year's, if not this decade's, if not this century's, most sickening, literally and figuratively, corporate/government act of skullduggery.

The glaringly indisputable fact that We The People haven't taken bold steps to hold to account the primary malefactors in this ongoing tragedy-as has been the case with so many other outrages- may be the most sickening aspect to date of the entire affair. As a result, I can't help but conclude that We The People absolutely do not deserve The Republic that, on a daily basis, many of us still foolishly imagine exits. However, we almost certainly deserve the one that we have allowed to be constructed, namely a massive, fetid, cauldron of consumer catatonia fully owned and operated by a rapacious and shockingly hollow nexus of political and corporate mountebanks.

Speaking of which, Obama, and his ostentatious traveling caravan designed to pimp internationally for corporate America, seems to be falling flat, and one also gets the distinct feeling that the result of this weekend's G20 meetings in Korea will, likewise, not yield anything helpful or useful towards addressing the growing fissures in the global monetary system. And yet, next to the more parochial on going catastrophe in The Gulf of Mexico, which, except on the slick, unsullied surface appears to be anything but related to the business (not being) efficaciously conducted in Korea, such portentous international events pale.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blogs and Political Reform

One might require a Ford Foundation grant to convincingly address the following question: What effect is the blogosphere (and alternate media in general) having on the prospects for genuine, organized political reform? Unfortunately, as I have no such resources at my disposal, I must try to come to some sort of conclusion based on nothing more than my own humble observations.

Empirically, after being immersed in the world of blogs of various kinds for some number of years now, my present view is that, at least where political action is concerned, the blogosphere may be doing, at best, only a small amount in assisting the winds of change. Simply, if not necessarily simplistically, put, despite the wide array of excellent blogs covering numerous areas vital to public life, my sense is that the many impassioned, well wrought, and sometimes even brilliant electronic scribbling that can be found on the blogosphere is not demonstrating the capacity to act as much of propulsive force for genuine, organized, political change.

Perhaps I shouldn't expect the blogosphere to have anything like the potential I would like it to have, and, yet, I am still disappointed in what I sense is, for the most part, a collective waste of energy coming from that part of the blogoshpere that seems to desire having a very different set of values in place informing our politics. Then, of course, perhaps my premise is wrong, and some nascent, ready to turn the established order on its head movement- though not the Teaparty- is, as I write, coalescing as a result of a few inspired blogs. Unfortunately, instead, my sense is that much of the energy that might be dedicated to the sort of action I have in mind is instead being spent dissecting, analyzing, and sometimes just plain fulminating against the established political order.

These are all laudable pursuits, even fulminating can, at least to some modest degree, be defended as useful, but, at the same time, I feel that, for good reasons, the forum that blogs provide overwhelmingly tend to dissipate the energies of their collective readership.

In the meantime, the established order, at least where the economy is concerned, seems to be in a well evolved state of epic upheaval, and if that perception is indeed accurate, history tells us that ineluctably the political sphere will soon experience its own brand of foundational tumult.

And while I'm quite prepared to give some unspecified sum of credit to the blogosphere for helping to assist change in the hearts and minds of some number of the populace, it seems to me that whatever effect the blogosphere is having as an agent of change, amounts to, at best, an engine for ad hoc responses to the dismal political status quo.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Election Day

The quality of the following correspondence should be self explanatory. See if you can spot the problem.

Hi Mr._____

I wanted to let you know that the Senator did not vote for this legislation, HR 3808, rather it passed by unanimous consent. This means that no one objected to the bill but individual records of each Senator’s position were not kept. Thankyou for writing in.

Derek Khanna (on behalf of Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts)

Hello Derek,

Thank you for responding. I am aware that The Senate's was a voice vote, and for the purpose of clarification, when you wrote, "no one objected to the bill", were you saying that Mr. Brown voiced no objection to what is, in my view, a very objectionable bill? If so, saying Senator Brown did not "vote" for the legislation would seem to be technically true, but, rather something else in reality. Please advise.



From Derek Khanna:

No one objected to the legislation. A large amount of legislation is done on the floor, often without physical quorum, through a unanimous consent vote. This means that unless someone objects it passes. Senator Brown did not object. He did not vote for or against the legislation.

I understand your concern for the legislation, it was vetoed by President Obama.

From me:

It was "pocket vetoed" by the President, which is a qualitatively different act, and I now have, for all intents and purposes, my answer. I am disappointed that Senator Brown did not voice a strenuous objection to a bill whose intent was an end run around proper legal process.

I made the same query concerning HR 3808 to Senator John Kerry's office and have yet to receive a reply. On that basis, and that alone, so far, the office of Senator Brown has the edge on his Democrat colleague. Finally, a vote where no one can be said to have either voted for or against a piece of legislation that ultimately passes is evidence of a deeply, not to say fatally flawed, system. I know what I won't be doing next Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mourning in America

I believe we have well and truly reached the end of the line fellow citizens. It may not be apparent, as the full effects of our utterly rotten system's imminent failure have yet to fully manifest, however, little patience will be required going forward as things are fast reaching the breaking point. I'm prompted to say as much based on the appallingly insufficient official response- save for a select (and mostly feckless) few- to the cataclysmic mortgage fraud scandal.

That, in itself, doesn't surprise me. I would be far more surprised, shocked, really, were the Legislative and Executive branches of government seen to be swinging into action on all fronts, enacting a full court press to thoroughly and judiciously deal with this epic sized sordid affair. But how could they? They are in so deep with all the financial system's perfidy it would be like turning evidence against themselves, which is why I assert that the U.S. Federal government, well, at least two of the three branches, but, probably, “upon review” the judiciary as well, deserves to be impeached, and some substantial portion of its number, a group that includes many high ranking officials, subsequently ought to be vigorously prosecuted for criminal misconduct.

If anyone can tell me by what contortions the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government-branches peopled by officials who, in the main, systematically subvert, deny, and/or obstruct justice- possess any legitimacy, please drop me a line.

Monday, October 11, 2010


An obscure mom and pop forecasting outfit by the name of Half Past Human has marked the period between November 8th and the 12th as coinciding with a tipping point whose effects will exceed, by several orders of magnitude, those associated with 9/11/01. And while I hate to tempt fate, HPH, at least by my runes, is a decidedly more miss than hit outfit from the standpoint that not only do they forecast more events that don't occur then do, but the ill effects from some of their more dire calls have been, as yet, with very few exceptions, far less heinous than prognosticated. Having said that, they have made two spectacularly correct calls which are 9/11 and the recent- well, ongoing- Gulf of Mexico catastrophe.

Presently, were I of a mind to nominate a prime catalyst for the putative tipping point, I'd vote for, or bet on, the epic mortgage fraud debacle that's presently unfolding, because, a cursory review of relevant blogs-don't waste your time looking to the MSM to get the skinny on this one- makes it readily apparent that we aren't looking at the emergence of the next black swan, but, rather, the arrival of an enormous flock or three of- desperate to copiously and messily crap anywhere and everywhere- black swans.

In the meantime, as we anticipate how this all shakes out, I feel supremely confident in asserting that attempts by the boundlessly vile Obama Administration to cover up and/or forestall the fall out from this festering cancer meets septicemia meets gangrene of a legal, financial, economic, political, and social (have I left anything out?) calamity
will only compound our nation's grave predicament.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Are we the only ones in the Universe? If not, are other intelligent life forms checking us out? I have no idea, but I'm biased to think there are other intelligent life forms in the universe that, for whatever reasons, have a keen interest in what goes on here on planet Earth. One is especially persuaded that this is the case when officials offer denials and excuses such as this. After all, what sort of government and/or military would choose not to alert the operators of a commercial airport beforehand that there would be activity in the area? It's simply not credible that A.) they forgot or B.) chose not to. It's simply not done for, what should be, obvious reasons. This is especially the case if one wants to appear credible when issuing after the fact denials about alleged UFO activity. Had the military informed local civilian authorities beforehand about planned maneuvers, one would be much more inclined to accept that the odd looking bright lights in the sky were, indeed, part of a military exercise and not the arrival of ETs.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rahm Fiddles...

President Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, has resigned his post to seek the mayoralty of his hometown, Chicago, which is arguably the most corrupt city in the U.S. Somehow this seems only fitting. Apparently it was a touching and fond farewell as Mr. Emanuel shed a tear or two during his send off, quite possibly at the precise moment the President of The United States proclaimed that:

"We could not have accomplished what we've accomplished without
Rahm's leadership."

This, of course, begs the question, what exactly do they think they've accomplished? It also makes one ask what they have, in fact, achieved? From where I sit, The Obama Administration have been excellent stewards of entirely too much of the agenda of the last President. You remember him, the one who was supposed to be the worst President in living memory, if not the most dreadful Commander-in-Chief ever. Well, there really isn't any point in ever trying to determine who is worst between dreadful and ghastly. This is especially the case when our two party system, which does little but front for what remains of the FIRE economy, has an octopus like stranglehold on the nation's business, as it were. Still, it is instructive, if not particularly appetizing, to keep a scorecard on just exactly what the combined governmental vampire squid-with apologies to Matt Taibbi- has managed to accomplish. Do write in and tell me what you think they've accomplished, especially if it's different than what I have only vaguely alluded to in this post.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another Day, Another (Drop In The) Dollar.

The fate of the currency of the realm is something I'm keenly interested in for personal and intellectual reasons. In truth, everyone who uses, however modestly, the dollar as a medium of exchange, and heaven forfend, as a store of wealth, ought to be riveted by matters related to The Greenback's prospects, which, I am sorry to report, are, like all fiat, dismal.

Why should this be so? Putting aside the history of currencies, even reserve ones, whose viability rests ultimately on nothing but the existence of a solvent and subservient citizenry pliable to government taxing schemes, the dollar- which, since the inception of The Federal Reserve in 1913 has already lost 94 percent of its purchasing power- is destined to be devalued at an increasingly faster rate, perhaps to the point where it becomes shunned as a medium of exchange, because the vast majority of the taxable citizenry, contrary to economic reports that might suggest otherwise, are quickly being reduced to penury.

Add that condition to the existing burden to pay for all that needs to be paid for by way of pubic spending, as well as the need to repay borrowed funds- two requirements that are consuming the host like a late stage cancer- and it is as close to a certainty that, within a few years, if not sooner, there will be crisis on these shores of the sort that, in years gone by, would have only seemed fitting in places like late 20th century Argentina and Chile.

Lately, the authorities have been trying to pressure China into devaluing their own currency, the Yuan, the idea being that inducing a drop in Chinese currency would improve the United States' prospects for export. The diplomatic efforts, if that is, indeed, what they were, seem to have failed, and, so, the U.S. powers that be are engaged in skinning the cat via another time honored method, ergo the dollar's precipitous fall of late.

In truth, all currencies around the globe are in a race to the bottom as governments attempt to prop up their export trade with beggar they neighbor policies. This will, of course, simply exacerbate the already fragile condition of the world economy, but when winning elections are at stake, and the tempers of the citizenry are frayed, governments invariably opt for these sorts of measures. Rarely does anyone express concern that inducing weakness in one's currency carry any sort of real long term risk such that the weakness may start to take on the cast of a fatal illness. Even so, that shouldn't stop us, on this occasion, from being on guard for the already sick patient's transfer to the critical ward.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Have Seen The Enemy

Today I am redirecting your attention here. I hope it is apparent in the post at the link why there will be no revolution in the U.S. Too many of us have a hand in the sordid pie. Too many of us are, in effect, compromised, our acquiescence to all sorts of skullduggery, foreign and domestic, bought and paid for by a system that, by hook or by crook, we helped create. Until this system is sundered, and it will be, probably by an exogenous shock or two-because the U.S. is not a closed system-there will be no alteration in the current trajectory of our political, economic, and social behavior.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Selfless Psychopath.

What is China's famed growth and prosperity built on? For that matter, upon what foundation rests Dubai's once vigorous economy? They were both built on the same platform that the United States' storied nineteenth and early twentieth century economic growth rested upon, namely that of an army of mostly powerless, defacto indentured, and, quite often, just plain, old, slave labor. They say there is honor among thieves. I wouldn't know, but it's my view that there may be more honor, and certainly heaps more dignity, and freedom, at least until one is caught, being a petty thief in China than working for some
charnel house like Foxconn.

It's interesting to note the similarities for the average Joe and Josephine Chin under capitalism compared to life under another oppositional ism spawned by Karl Marx. Both socioeconomic orders featured, and this may be a peculiarly Chinese trait, or not, big bosses-you know, the ones with immense authority, power, and, of course, big time perks-who seem to instinctively paint themselves as mere humble servants of the social order, working for the greater good, unconcerned with their own prosperity.

As Foxconn boss man, Terry
Gou, put it:

"I am not interested in knowing how much I have. I don't care. I am working not for money at this moment, I am working for society, I am working for my employees."

One would very much like to ask Mr.
Gou what salary he receives from his employees?

And lest we find ourselves taken in by the posture of selflessness, here is a more telling quote regarding the sensitivity of the aforesaid, Mr. Gou,

"The first one, (suicide) second one, and third one, I did not see this as a serious problem. We had around 800,000 employees, and here [in Longhua] we are about 2.1 square kilometers. At the moment, I'm feeling guilty. But at that moment, I didn't think I should be taking full responsibility." After the fifth suicide, in March, Gou says, "I decided to do something different."

Right. One wonders what amounts to taking full responsibility? Legally speaking that would seem to indicate, at the very least, some jail time.

On another, related, note, China's meteoric rise to economic prominence must be put down to more than just cheap, cheap, cheap virtual slave
labor. It's also the result of a top down wild west mentality that decrees that environmental concerns aren't, well, something business needs to be overly concerned with. And so, concomitant with China's prosperity is pollution throughout the country that would've made a resident of 1930s Pittsburgh blanche, if not choke up and keel over.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Moment of Clarity?

As things continue to go all pear shaped here in the world's foremost crony capitalist kleptocracy masquerading as a democracy, we should probably expect more of just this sort of lunacy. How embarrassing (it ought to be) for this very breathless, and clearly overwrought, self styled, Republican loyalist to invoke Albert Einstein, only to immediately fail to remember the chosen pearl of wisdom at the moment of truth.

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

I know, it doesn't really seem like an especially brain straining collection of words does it? But when one is as away with oneself as Mr. Davison clearly is, remembering such items can prove to be too much. And while I can readily agree with Mr. Davison's general position that we are, in fact, in the middle of difficulty, I will hazard a guess that were he to reveal precisely what he has in mind, I would share very little, if any, common ground with this berserk would be elected official's view on exactly what our problems consist of and how to best address them.

In the meantime, Ohio, you have my sympathies.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Bigger War Coming

One of the great, albeit, lopsided debates that has taken place the last few years amongst those keenly interested in finance and economics has been over whether the forces of deflation or inflation would ultimately dominate. So far, the deflationists have held the upper hand. Employment has been moribund for years, ditto the share markets, and in most areas of the country, housing prices have cratered. And since the vast majority of people's (seemingly) ever diminishing wealth still resides in their homes, it is very hard to make the case, despite evidence of rising costs for consumer goods, food, and fuel, that the effects of inflation have been, to date, as deeply felt as those of deflation.

At this point it might be helpful to point out that hyper-inflation, a dreadful condition that has most recently ravaged Zimbabwe, and that most notably occurred in the last century in such varied locales as Weimar Germany, Argentina, and Chile, is, despite the seeming similarity to inflation, a very different animal. Hyper-inflation occurs when a nation's currency is, in effect, shunned, which tends to be the result of a total and relatively sudden loss of confidence in the issuer of said currency. Inflation, by contrast, is generally a healthy development that comes about as a result of a fully functioning economy simply overheating.

There is nothing healthy about hyper-inflation. In fact, it is so nasty that, after wreaking absolute havoc, economically, politically, and socially, it generally burns itself out in a year or so. There is no evidence in modernity of hyper-inflation occurring in a currency that has held global reserve status, and that is the primary reason commentators invoke against the possibility of hyper-inflation occurring in the U.S.

The other reason that many "experts" offer for why
it can't happen here, a reason that is, in essence, inextricable from the idea that the U.S. Dollar's reserve currency status will forestall hyper-inflation, resides in a belief in the indomitability of the U.S. monetary authorities. The basic idea is as follows: The Federal Reserve, The Treasury, and the broker dealers that work closely with these two institutions will not collude to monetize to a degree that will ignite hyper-inflation, because it is not in their interest to bail out borrowers at the expense of lenders. Despite sitting on trillions of dollars of non performing, (i.e. worthless) assets that can not be allowed to sit on balance sheets forever in their vastly depressed state, to head down the road of hyper-inflation would destroy The Federal Reserve's most prized asset, its dollar franchise. The goose that laid the golden eggs would be well and truly killed.

These arguments have several flaws, one of which is that the U.S. dollar is already in the process of losing its reserve currency status. It is happening slowly, and in fits and starts, but the wheel is rolling down the hill nonetheless. The rest of the world has been badly burned by the profound corruption in our capital markets and political sphere, and they are taking steps to insure that they will not be the bag holders of tomorrow.

As for the vaunted power of the U.S. monetary authorities, only in the sort of system we don't live in, namely a closed one, can their formidable power be, in theory, unassailable. The Federal Reserve and The Treasury do indeed have massive, if not unimpeachable, strength, but it is my view they have already squandered a great deal of their wherewithal in the service of a plethora of scams and frauds-see gold and silver suppression, and, of course, the much better known, but hardly transparent, exchange of toxic assets for currency. So, in short, the U.S. dollar is a currency whose days as the globe's reserve monetary unit are numbered, and the U.S. monetary authorities have, despite surface appearances, squandered their advantage and compromised their authority through various execrable endeavors.

Having said that, nobody wants a hyper-inflation, which may, in the end, be the main reason why one won't come about. However, my view is that the aforesaid wayward deeds of the U.S. monetary authorities are all that stands between us and the onset of wheelbarrow money. When, for whatever reason, their machinations are finally sundered-they are already exposed, but to date, no one in our thoroughly corrupt political environment seems remotely interested in addressing them-we will likely be hours away from a full blown hyper-inflation as they have an unerring and alarming tendency to emerge with blinding speed.

At this point you may be wondering what the title to today's blog entry has to do with what I've written about so far. Here's a hint: The authorities, monetary and otherwise, are, in my view, very aware that our financial system and economy are in a terminal state, and that the risk of an uncontrolled currency collapse-as opposed to their far more preferred scenario of a contained, slow moving one- is far from inconsiderable. What do you suppose they might have in mind to forestall, or at the very least, divert attention away from, the inevitable day of reckoning?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sarah Palin: TWOB Update

Glenn Beck, Fox Network's "conservative" huckster extraordinaire, he of Nazi Tourettes, held a pep rally in D.C. today with his special guest, the former Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin, better known to disasterporn readers as The Whore of Babylon. Together, employing their own brand of nauseatingly perfervid rhetoric, the dimwitted duo addressed the throngs with such pearls of insight as "For too long, this country has wandered in darkness.'' One didn't get a firm date from Mr. Beck as to when, exactly, the lights went out in America, but, somehow, one imagines, given Mr. Beck's well advertised prejudices, darkness descended on the U.S. at approximately the same time that Barack Obama began serving as POTUS.

In the meantime, Glenn Beck would have us believe that the fact that this rally was held on the forty seventh anniversary of, and on the same ground as, Martin Luther King's historic, "I have a dream" speech, was nothing less than "divine providence." Note to Glenn Beck, you, sir, are positively full of shit, and you and your adherents are little more than thinly veiled race
baiters who delight in vile provocation. As for bogus left/ right distinctions of the sort that Mr. Beck and his benighted followers traffic in, they are only for forlorn folks who are so hopelessly out of touch with the actual forces that shape our government and our society that no sensible person should give them any creedence whatsoever.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

(Cor) Exit Government

I know it's less than thrilling to have someone -like me- bang on and on about the same, tired, old issue, and, so, I apologize (but only a little) for once again bringing to your attention how unworthy your government is of your respect and support. More precisely, what your government is worthy of is to be tossed out and subsequently prosecuted for high crimes and misdemeanors.

As I'm sure you're aware, the NOAA recently asserted that most of the millions and millions of gallons of oil that gushed-for months on end- from a compromised BP well was gone. That's right, gone. I don't know about you, but when I hear the word gone used, I generally take that to mean that the thing referred to as gone is not all. I do not infer that gone means present in any way, i.e. concealed, hidden, masked, etc. etc. And, as I am the skeptical sort who doubts the veracity of official pronouncements regarding any matter that effects the public at large, it comes as no surprise to me that prior claims about The Gulf of Mexico being mostly, if not completely, oil free were just so much stinking, steaming ca ca.

Really, my friends, isn't it way past time to discard the quaint but absurd notion that traditional voting booth maneuvers have an oil covered pelican's chance at successfully overcoming the wickedness that besets us? Isn't the revelation by Wood's Hole personnel that a twenty two mile long plume of oil exists (and is loitering with intent) several thousand feet below the GOM's surface enough for you take proper stock of the situation?

Our President has gone along with this BP BS from start to finish. Appearances at acting tough on BP aside, The Commander-in-Chief, the same one who recently pretended to bob joyfully with his daughter in The Gulf's bathtub warm, oil infused waters, has been the best President the largest, multi-national major oil company could possibly buy. One wonders how much more oil resides several thousand feet below the surface? Probably only the controversial late whistle blower Matt Simmons would be prepared to conjecture, and that should bother the hell out of you.

Why I would even hazard to say that the fact that the only reliable information about the condition of The Gulf is available from the sort of (non vested) entities who weren't allowed anywhere near the BP gusher as it was going on should cause a similar sort of discomfort to the one I imagine occurs after ingesting oil befouled Gulf Shrimp. But that's just me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Permanent Vacation from the Imperials

It's August, the epicenter of the summer vacation season, and generally the slowest news month of the year, and, yet, despite being mired in the so called dog days, there is still a veritable smorgasbord of material one could comment on. From the Gulf of Mexico oil spill- which is now alleged to have been fully plugged- to the U.S. economy, which, despite massive and unprecedented infusions of money to reprobate banking interests, and the application of the best mainstream media spin money could buy, is well on its way to a return trip to the critical ward, to Michelle Obama's recent holiday activities, we are well and truly blessed.

Allow me a departure from my usual fare as I choose to focus on The President and First Lady. I didn't think it would be possible for the Obama coterie to equal the loathsomeness of The Bush junior contingent, and yet, lo and behold, at least for me, they have. From the incessant and preposterous mendacity exhibited by the sitting President, who has achieved little in his less than two years in office except to enact disastrous health care legislation and entrench the most ghastly policies followed by his predecessor, to The Commander in Chief's wife's fatuousness and phony posturing, it's become pretty much an unassailable fact that the nation is afflicted by leadership that would cause even The Sun King to blush.

The electorate, at least the part that enthusiastically voted for President Obama, has been well and truly conned. And while, as per the most recent polls, this clearly is not a surprise to most of the voting public, some of whom, by now, must be aware that every Presidential election is a sham, it is still sickening, because the stakes are, arguably, at least for a span of a few decades, a tad higher than they have been heretofore.

So, forgive me for cutting to the chase by suggesting that there's never been a better time for citizens across this great hulking ruin of a nation to take a permanent vacation from The Feds. For those who reside in such fiscal sinkholes as Illinois, California, New York, and a few other terminally sclerotic states that have been reduced to insolvency by local public serpents, an extended separation from local officialdom might also be advisable. Civil disobedience, after all, begins at home.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

God Bless America.

This should be a real eye opener for some. For those suffering from terminal stupidity and/or profound denial, perhaps not. The only way one can act rationally with respect to U.S. Military operations in the Mid-East is to shut them down. If one wants to support the troops, and not collude with the ongoing obscene scam that is operation control/skim heroin and oil profits from, respectively, Afghanistan and Iraq, then one must throw one's weight behind efforts to bring the troops home now. Nothing less will suffice, and any other mode of engagment with this appalling situation is, at best, a dodge, and, at worst, as already stated, collusion.

Of course such a course of action does nothing to address the immense U.S. war crimes in the area. What do you think compensation ought to be for the inhabitants of Fallujah? Can there ever be anything like sufficient remuneration for the profound injuries described in the report at the link? Probably not, but that is no reason not to try.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Somehow it Seems Fitting.

The purveyors of the stuff of war porn are also the purchasers of kiddie porn. Both hideous groups, which, according to the report, are apparently inextricable, would seem to be informed by a similar disregard for human life. Don't forget to support the troops.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just So You Know.

You are a cartoon. Well, your government thinks you are, or at least they believe you are susceptible to the, ahem, allure of a comic strip. The only thing the following simulacrum of Saturday morning bilge is lacking are paint by numbers Snidely Whiplash characters. A question or two does come to mind as I wipe the bile from my lips, how much money did narrator Kyle Risdall of NPR get paid to do the voice over for this slick bit of mendacity, and how soon, if ever, will some substantial number of my fellow citizens of the U.S. act to opt out of our not so kinder, gentler, corporatist horror show of a Federal Government? Perhaps when TIAWKI (the internet as we know it) goes the way of the dodo bird? Perhaps never.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Plummeting Numbers

After a year and a half in office, President Obama's approval ratings now resemble that of his predecessor after his first year in office. Transposing the sequence of events from Bush's first term, one ought to expect that more war will be manufactured. In the meantime, the Republican and Democratic Legislature is even less well loved than The Executive, so there is no reason for Congress critters and Senators to feel confident

Frankly, this represents an excellent opportunity for those of us who choose to take stock of the situation. The sum total of the meaning of these abysmal ratings is that our Executive and Legislative branches are corrupt where they are not incompetent. They can not do better as presently composed. They have proven this irrefutably too many times to think otherwise, and, so, they desperately need to be replaced en masse and the legislative body needs to subsequently be reformed. After all, if you don't like the composition of the team, or the way said team plays, boycott the contests, and begin forming your own team. If necessary, form your own league. The solution is relatively simple, even if the implementation is anything but.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What to Expect

With the new rush to "austerity" in places like the U.K. and Germany, the U.S. monetary authorities can no longer rely on the rest of The West to ride herd with more Quantitative Easing. So, the powers that be are bound to set events in motion that will allow them to do that which they are so desperate to do. As the economy, and its bellwether, the stock market, which under girds every pension in the land, are knocked for even more of a loop than before, the way will not so gradually or gently be paved for the cowardly and corrupt Federal Legislature to enact QEII.

Our legislature wouldn't go for it today, but when the public starts screaming for largesse as they witness their pensions disintegrate, and as war in the Middle East is inevitably intensified, all will be made to feel it is their patriotic duty to get behind a money printing exercise that will make the last one seem tepid by comparison. And just in case appeals to patriotism do not have the desired effect, rest assured that, by hook or by crook, what is left of our devalued assets will be coerced into such flagging instruments as municipal and Treasury bonds, all while the price of basic necessities go though the roof.
In the meantime, as pointed out here, President Obama is doing his best imitation of a bland, if not benign, despot, as he bars access to The Gulf of Mexico disaster, assists BP in covering it up, and helps the wayward oil major and a lapdog press to manufacture and disseminate copious amounts of disinformation and propaganda about the prospects for capping the gusher. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Seize The Future. Part 3A

What exactly is Civil disobedience? As Wikipedia succinctly puts it, "Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government." Generally, acts of Civil disobedience, as the name implies, disavow violence, but do advocate assertive behavior that amounts to individual, and more often, groups, "holding their ground". Sit down protests, marches, vigils, and boycotts, such as occurred in the sixties in the U.S., and that still more than occasionally occur in other parts of the world, generally don't, at least by design, set out to engage in destructive mayhem, at least not by the dissenting side.

The classic picture of Civil disobedience, the one the majority are most likely to associate with from television, if not through personal experience, is one where "the state" literally holds its ground on one side of an erected physical barrier, while encamped on the other side of the barrier-which may be defended by nothing more (or less) than a battalion of well armed local police, are some number of citizens acting defiantly, hoping, presumably as a result of the righteousness of their cause, and due to their unflagging tenacity, to overcome official recalcitrance.

And this is precisely where it gets very challenging for the would be radical change agent interested in engaging in a bit (or a lot) of Civil disobedience in the present day United States. Many, if not most of our government's most objectionable activities are occurring, as it were, off book, far away from the public's none too keen eye. From the military expeditions in the Middle East, to various government bailout schemes of private financial institutions, to the manipulation of capital and commodity markets, to the handling of the ongoing catastrophe in The Gulf of Mexico, there are no shortage of activities the government is engaged in where there are no concomitant public decrees, laws, or public ceremonies with which the eager and righteous dissenter may disrupt or defy. How does one boycott, disobey, or otherwise resist in such an atmosphere of secrecy and deception? After all, a large part of the utility of Civil disobedience is that everyone, "innocent" onlookers and bystanders especially, can get a sense of the nature of the cause, and hopefully, be persuaded to support it. So, what can one do in such a disadvantageous situation?

Here are, in my view, despite all the cover ups and under cover of darkness maneuvers by the powers that be, a few areas where the righteous dissenter might direct his or her energies.

The Two (Headed Hydra) Political Party.

1.) Denounce and boycott all elections that feature nothing but contests between Democrats and Republicans, as these two corrupt political entities are, most assuredly, (a very big) part of the problem.


Obviously voting isn't mandatory, at least not yet, and, so, refusing to vote, doesn't, at least technically, qualify as an act of Civil disobedience. However, I would argue that, where our vitiated political system is concerned, one must turn the entire process on its head such that voting-at least as elections presently function- is cast as an act of benign neglect, if not outright injury, to the state. The heaps of scorn that seem reserved for those who do not enter the voting booth for principled reasons, as opposed to, for example, those who don't vote out of apathy, should now be cast on to that portion of the electorate who mindlessly participate in the nation's hideous election year boondoggles. After all, they are nothing more than elaborate political charades designed to fool the lazy, obtuse, and/or brainwashed into thinking that they actually live in a functioning Democracy.

2.) As such we should support any and all political movements and endeavors that feature, not necessarily in order of importance, (because, frankly, I don't know which ones are the most important) the following:

A.) The removal of all troops from Iran and Afghanistan.


The so called War On Terror, where we have been gulled, prodded, and generally hounded into acting as if we must we engage in perpetual war for the purposes of insuring a permanent peace is, by definition, both a sham and a scam. I've already spilled enough ink in prior posts about what purpose the WOT is actually serving so I'll cease and desist for now. Hint: It has nothing to do with containing Islam, radical or otherwise.

B.) Something analogous to a Marshall (national energy and transportation system) Plan.


Had we not spent obscene amounts of boodle on our present military expeditions in the Middle East, we could, by some estimates, have already vastly changed the nature of our energy needs. Why, for example, isn't the entire Southwest not already heated and cooled mostly by solar power?

C.) The boycotting and ultimate dismantling of "too big to fail" financial intermediaries, and other rent seeking parasites that add absolutely no value to anyone but themselves. And that's the least of their crimes.


This is also not technically an act of Civil disobedience, but, be that as it may, pull your assets, if you are fortunate enough to have assets, out of these financial abattoirs. Stop doing business with them of any kind. This should be very easy to achieve since most of them, like Goldman Sachs, which is just a profoundly corrupt hedge fund, don't function remotely like traditional lending institutions anyway.

D.) The paring down (by no less than one half to two thirds) of the present amount of time taken up by national elections.


We mustn't try to remove money from politics. We should instead take politics to a place where money ceases to have much use.

3.) Without risking the alienation of friends, family, and loved ones, do your level best to impart the news that the system is irreparably broken. (Add that this condition is, by no means, all bad. In fact, stress that, in time, with a large dose of good luck, we will likely feel fortunate that it is past tense.) Either way, it's done for, so there isn't much point in doing anything but preparing for a very different kind of world than the one we, of late, knew.


The most effective way to "spread the news" (to the not so clued in) that the system is finished is to demonstrate that you have a modicum of insight and foresight. Start by making succinct analysis for family and friends regarding, for example, the meaning and effects of policy actions by officialdom. You may find that if, in the main, you accurately predict what transpires, you will garner some added respect and credibility. Generally all one has to do is make a few modestly successful predictions about all manner of man made phenomenon, and a few folks, a few, mind you, may want to know more about what informs your thinking. There is always the distinct possibility that some number of folks will simply revile you for your views, even more so because they seem to comport with (an unpleasant) reality. That's always a risk, but one that is probably worth taking.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Seize The Future. Part 2

Independence Day is upon us, and, so, in the spirit of this nation's most patriotic holiday, I'm choosing to take time to discuss what strides We The People might consider taking in order to establish independence from a government which has become profoundly detrimental to the interests of all but an elite few.

In the nineteen sixties, the late Timothy Leary coined a mantra in support of the use of LSD which was, "Turn on, tune in, and drop out." While I don't happen to be an advocate for dropping acid, I am in favor of dropping out of "the system". Equally, I enthusiastically support, for, mostly practical reasons, vigorous efforts to render government, at least as we know the present corrupt power nexus, impotent, since I harbor few doubts that any and all attempts to coexist peacefully outside of the long arm of elected and appointed officialdom will not be permitted.

Like The Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation, one's choices will almost certainly be limited to either assimilation or annihilation. However, unlike the unfortunates who came within the deadly orbit of The Borg, resistance, in our realm, need not be futile. It will, however, likely come with a price, one that will be, if history is any guide, quite high. But then freedom, real freedom, which I do not define as the unbridled ability to do whatever one pleases when one pleases, is rarely, if ever, won without struggle, because, as Frederick Douglass observed, "Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will." Well, where wantonly unjust power is concerned, and presently we are saturated to the point of bursting with that brand of power, we ought to expect that no concessions will be made without measures that might best be described as extralegal.

That's right, I am suggesting that, going forward, we will almost certainly have no other choice but to engage in acts of civil disobedience. Perhaps we will have to commit to even more than that. Perhaps we will have to raze to the ground most or all that we presently have in place in order to build something truly in keeping with the idea of a Democratic Republic. That remains to be seen, but this much I (think I) know, the very idea of reform, let alone the reality of actuating it within the present system, is a fantasy, and a rather ridiculous one at that.

Our elections are a sham. Our Democracy is a fraud, and our very way of life, broadly defined, is an untenable monstrosity. And in order for any of this to change, We The People must begin to believe, to know, that our salvation, or damnation, if it comes to that, lies with our own efforts. We must begin with that premise, and build upon it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Seize The Future. Part 1

"I don't see any future for whale species except extinction," Payne said. "This is not on any body's radar, no government's radar anywhere, and I think it should be."

Where the sentence above is concerned, I'm afraid that we humans could just as easily substitute the term mankind for whale species.

Plan of Action

Over a century ago Vladimir Lenin composed a famous tract entitled What is to be done. The pamphlet was, of course, about what needed to happen to enact a communist political program in Russia. Today, the human species faces a far more important-at least to my mind- and daunting task than the one Lenin outlined. What humanity is faced with is nothing less than altering the way we inhabit the planet.

Last week, in a nationally televised speech notable for its lack of gravitas, President Obama asserted that "the time is now" to make a shift in our nation's energy arrangements. Plainly, such an idea is nonsense from the standpoint that the time for such a shift was generations ago, but, we humans, both at the individual and the collective level, rarely make bold changes until (usually for reasons of survival) we are forced to. Bearing in mind that A.) it is quite likely too late to ward off catastrophe, which I choose to define as an accelerated massive die off of human, animal, and plant species, and B.) that the task of radically changing how we power our homes, package our food, travel to work and play, fertilize our soil, build our dwellings, and generally take care of ourselves on an individual and societal level is overwhelming in prospect, I would like to offer that our first steps, because they will be the most difficult, are, almost certainly, the most critical.

One thing we mustn't do is look to government to act as a leader let alone a facilitator of reform. Government has proven time and again that they are retrograde and obstructive to progressive and essential reform. In fact, part of the necessary change will involve living, to the best of one's ability, beyond the reach, literally and figuratively, of elected and appointed officialdom.

For generations, Republicans of yore, and presumably those who still think of themselves in what now seems like a hoary and absurd political affiliation, were committed to a program known as "starving the beast". This concept generally meant, and must still mean, destroying all non corporate friendly government functions by dint of choking off their funding. In large measure- excepting hysteria tinged rhetoric by "right wing" cadres that assert that President Obama is some sort of crypto-Marxist- proponents of "starving the beast" were very successful. In fact, they were so successful that, with very few exceptions, the banking sector and a few other malefactor industries, have now managed to co-opt the entire Federal Government to such an extent that it is the rest of us who are being figuratively and literally starved.

Towards (a sort of Luddite) Resistance

As much as one can, one needs to live one's life in a way that defies anything that smacks of a well established cultural norm, because entrenched cultural norms are, quite frankly, killing us. By eschewing institutionalized cultural norms I do not mean that, starting tomorrow, we should all discard such endeavors as building nuclear families, or creating a network of friends, or holding memberships in civic or charitable organizations. Far from it. What I have in mind are cultural practices that support and bolster the maintenance of materialistic existence of the sort that systematically eats away at basic social networks that are vital to the maintenance of local community. And if it's not clear now, it will, in due course, become clear that the creation and maintenance of robust local communities will be vital to our individual and collective survival. Having said that, I would like to add that the irony of my preaching such a message on a blog read by people who live far away from where I, and my family, dwell is not lost on me.

To say that we are subsumed by devices and products that are utterly devoid of all but the barest utility is hardly an exaggeration. I really don't know where to start by way of cataloging and describing a phenomenon that, for the purposes of this post, I'll refer to as horrific technological waste, but, however one wishes to refer to this monstrous and seemingly all encompassing condition, it is, indeed, a menace that is almost impossible to exaggerate. I submit, for example, that the omnipresent sub culture of the cell phone-yes, dear readers, I, too, own one- may be, to date, the single most infamous progeny to ever emerge from the steaming cauldron of horrific technological waste. We must endeavor to divest ourselves of this sort of gargantuan cultural junk as if our lives depended on it, because, quite frankly, they probably do.

In keeping with that sentiment, we must also strive to become, with respect to daily necessities, as self sufficient as possible. I imagine you've all heard this line before, ad nauseum, so forgive me for, as it were, piling on when I say that, where possible, grow your own food. And if you can't grow your own food, then support local operators that do. We should do this for the simple reason that even though it will almost certainly entail a greater strain on our personal finances, the price for not doing so is simply too high.

Humor me when I advocate avoiding, if possible, the purchase of items packaged in plastic. Likewise, where you can, use public transport instead of a car. Equally, when and where you can, walk rather than availing yourself of public transit. Most importantly, at least where the subject of personal transportation is concerned, avoid, if possible, owning an automobile. I'm sorry to report that better and more fuel efficient cars aren't the answer. Far fewer automobiles of all kinds are much closer to the answer, at least until such time as autos are powered entirely by means that are vastly more fuel efficient than anything available presently.

Making the aforesaid changes amounts to a case of we can take these steps ourselves with some modicum of control over the process or we can cede any potential for autonomy that still exists, and expect to be dealt with in an arbitrary (and most likely) harsh manner as exigent circumstances dictate.

End of Part 1