Thursday, May 31, 2007

Meaningless Exchange

The Meaningless Exchange (ME) feeds the basic, human need for interaction while completely shielding us from accountability, criticism, and challenges presented by opposing views.
Agreed. I'm worn out just listening
to it.

Now I'm going to take liberty here
and very loosely paraphrase what
Thumper's mom says to her son in
the movie Bambi:

"If you can't say something intelligent,
don't say anything at all."

A pat on the tush for anyone who can
quote the original.

Hint: Being 'nice' is boring.

The whole post.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Clinton: Shared Prosperity Should Replace 'On Your Own' Society

Sharing the wealth, equalizing the poverty...
Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.
Translated: "How much do you make?

Send it all in.

We're responsible to see where it goes."

All from the same people who brought you
the bankruptcy of the same organ
they're promoting.

Now, if you have two quarters to rub together
I'd suggest you run like the wind, far away.

I already have, long ago.

Full report.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another "Emperor" exercising desperation

Mr Ahmadinejad's [interest rate] decree forced all state-owned and private banks to slash borrowing rates to 12%. Inflation is officially 15% but is generally believed to be much higher. State banks had been offering rates of 14%, while those in the private sector ranged from 17% to 28%.
"There are groups which helped put Mr Ahmadinejad into office and in my opinion, he is paying them back. In the last two years, the value of (outstanding) debts has reached US$11bn, compared with $3.5bn in the previous 100 years. Mr Ahmadinejad ordered the banks to pay these accelerated loans to the special groups. If you cut interest rates, it means they have less to pay back. You can imagine how disastrous this is to the banking system."
Expect similar acts of desperation
elsewhere as more government bonds
head toward junk status.

The whole article.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Why the US Government Is Hated All Over the World

Something is wrong with the United States. I think most of us have noticed it. There is a mortal rot in the country, made manifest by many little rots that are hard to integrate mentally yet are, I think, somehow related. The change is grave, accelerating, probably irreversible, and fascinating. Things are not as they were.
It's just runaway cannibal stew, Fred.

It was bound to happen.

Few see it.

What does that say about what's coming?

See the whole rant.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Another Big Con - Soft Pedaling Coercion

Those of us who travel by air have probably come across those announcements in airports about how smoking is forbidden. If airports were private facilities, I would have no problem with this. And, in fact, since I don’t smoke, I am not personally put out by those bans, either.

What is, however, very irksome is that most of the announcements pretend to be requests. This is evident from how they end, namely, with “Your cooperation is much appreciated,” “We thank you for your cooperation,” or some such thing. And this clearly is a ruse, since when something is a government mandate, cooperation is not relevant. Compliance is.
Full essay.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Man, Family and State

Naturally, to many this all sounds too ridiculous to be believable! Responding to the statement "I believe that the state is both moral and necessary," with the question "Tell me about your parents," seems like a blinding non sequitur. However, it can be a very powerful approach, since it is based on a simple and empirical observation:

No rational examination of the evidence would lead any sane man to statism -- yet statism is the default position in society. Since statism is so blatantly irrational, it cannot have become so widespread through rational argument. Thus, there must be another source to the pervasive belief in the virtues of governments.
Highly recommended.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Earthmonkey... seen from a new light

You may have a list of rationalizations as long as a porn star's beefhorn for doing it, but the truth is that in our monkey brains the old woman next door is a human being while the cable company is a big, cold, faceless machine. That the company is, in reality, nothing but a group of people every bit as human as the old lady, or that some kind old ladies actually work there and would lose their jobs if enough cable were stolen, rarely occurs to us.


That really annoying person you know, the one who's always spouting bullshit, the person who always thinks they're right? Well, the odds are that for somebody else, you're that person.
Guilty as charged. So is the author.

Trapped in Strange Loops here, aren't we.

Oh, well. Make the most of it.

The author's got it just about all right.


Postscript: The 150 people mentioned in

article is called Dunbar's number.

Thanks to Rick White for pointing that out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gasoline taxes and oil company profits

At about 400 million gallons a day, the
gummint takes in $248,000,000.

Not that I object (I don't) but I wanna know
why the roads are being sold off.

Where is that $280,000,000 going?

Ripped from Mark J. Perry.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A feudal paradise

Maybe Bushian incompetence is really part of a cunning plan to restore the world to a feudal paradise.
I subscribe to stupidity. It's always

the most likely cause.

That stupidity ignores the fact that

people won't be shit on forever without

doing unpredictable things about it.

The whole post.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Do you really want Ron Paul to win?

However, it is written that the sons of the world are wiser in their ways than the sons of light, and that ye shall be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves, and other neat quotes orbiting around the concept of "thou shalt not keep thy head in thy ass with respect to worldly matters, no matter how much thou wouldst like to". It therefore behooves those of us who are concerned about such things to ask this apparently simple question:

Do we really want Ron Paul to win?
The same thing has occurred to me

and I've given my reasons on at least

one other blog.

The author has come to exactly the same

conclusion I have.

See it here.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pirates and Emperors

Friday, May 18, 2007

The muddle

Normally I try to stay far from the

left/right bullshit but I couldn't ignore

this one.

A fine question...
When the far left and the far right are in agreement - what is wrong with the muddle in the middle? --Dr. Lenny

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Stop, look and listen

It is a normal part of human experience that if you occupy, meddle, bully, and coerce, people who are affected by it all are going to get angry.
... it's what brings Empires to their knees, creating new enemies daily within and beyond their rule.

This one will be no exception.

Look and listen.

Feel the anger grow.

Full essay.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Status quo bias and other ruminations

The status quo bias is a cognitive bias for the status quo; in other words, people like things to stay relatively the same.

The finding has been observed in many fields, including political science and economics.

These same folks go scurrying from the

room when it's shown to them that Big

Changes are coming.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

4 Myths About America-Bashing in Europe

Europe's leaders are slowly waking up to the fact that, with shrinking birth rates and a diminished work force, the continent may no longer be able to afford lavish social benefits, such as universal health care, retirement on full pensions as early as age 50 and up to nine weeks of paid vacation per year. They are exploring best practices in the United States to see how to rekindle entrepreneurial spirit and push people off welfare rolls.
Regular readers here know why

that's true
even for Amerika.

A rather poorly-written article tho.

Full article.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Men Behind the Curtain

The use of foreign entities to strip-mine the United States “is brilliant beyond the pragmatic logistics of the deals,” Williamson continues, because “it will get the public accustomed to foreign ownership of large, publicly-utilized assets, so when the Chinese and the Russians start using those portions of their large reserves they have set aside for multi-100 billion dollar investment funds (not for buying US T-Bills), the public will more readily accept foreign ownership of US private and public assets.”

“Both situations involve the sale of public assets to well-connected insiders using all the levers of the state to tilt the results into the correct pockets,” she concludes. “Looks comparable to me, but the structure of each nation simply required different approaches. Russia's effort was raw, brutal, violent and highly-visible post-collapse...the US's is sneaky, incomprehensible to the average man, and therefore well-hidden, and set in motion pre-collapse.”
What choice is there?

Amerika is in hock along with Europe.

They all have only their governments

to blame.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Advice to writers by Vonnegut

1. Find a subject you care about

2. Do not ramble, though

3. Keep it simple

4. Have guts to cut

5. Sound like yourself

6. Say what you mean

7. Pity the readers
The rest.

If he were really serious about the topic,

wouldn't he have just posted those 7 points

and left?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Waking up?

In TV's worst spring in recent memory, a startling number of Americans drifted away from television the past two months: More than 2.5 million fewer people were watching ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox than at the same time last year, statistics show.

Full article.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Old Viking Farmsteads in Greenland

Bryson describes the navigational instructions provided for Norse mariners making their way from Europe to their settlements in Greenland. The place was named for a reason: The Norse farmed there from the 10th century to the 13th, a somewhat longer period than the United States has existed. But around 1200 the mariners’ instructions changed in a big way. Ice became a major navigational reference. Today, old Viking farmsteads are covered by glaciers.

Full report.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Digging bigger holes

This week we received new data that illustrates how big of a financial hole U.S. consumers are digging. Despite disappointing sales from major retailers such as Target and Circuit City, first-quarter profits at MasterCard surged 70% to a record $214.9 million following a 19% jump in transactions. I see two possible explanations for this apparent paradox. The first is that despite buying fewer items, consumers were forced to borrow to pay for things that until recently they could afford to pay for in cash. A second possibility is that due to disappearing home equity and tighter lending standards, fewer home owners were able to tap into home equity and were thus forced to use credit cards instead. Since credit card debt carries higher interest rates and is non-tax deductible, it is far more expensive to finance then mortgage debt. Under either possibility, future consumption will suffer as an even greater share of personal income is devoted to making interest and principal payments on items consumed in the past.
Full article.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cannibal stew

But he's [Ron Paul] not going to win. There's only one way to win a presidential race these days and that is to have a team of political consultants who can strike the winning balance of issues whereby the president promises to punish -- through force of fines, guns, and jail -- those you don't like in whatever ways you don't like them. Get that in just the right combination for a delicious pot of cannibal stew, and it's a winner every time.
Full rant.

Monday, May 07, 2007

They Thought They Were Free

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

"You will understand me when I say that my Middle High German was my life. It was all I cared about. I was a scholar, a specialist. Then, suddenly, I was plunged into all the new activity, as the universe was drawn into the new situation; meetings, conferences, interviews, ceremonies, and, above all, papers to be filled out, reports, bibliographies, lists, questionnaires. And on top of that were the demands in the community, the things in which one had to, was "expected to" participate that had not been there or had not been important before. It was all rigmarole, of course, but it consumed all one's energies, coming on top of the work one really wanted to do. You can see how easy it was, then, not to think about fundamental things. One had no time."
Full essay.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Evolution continues on the net

While I still think political action is a waste,
Ron Paul is making waves and needs to be
heard. He's the only human candidate on
the Republican side.

What is MSM trying to hide?
The mismatch between ”Post-ABC News poll, those more tuned into the ‘08 race” and the post-Republican Candidate debate online polls of ABC and MSNBC goes well beyond normal disparities between “scientific” polling and online polling. Ron Paul leads all other candidates by a more than comfortable margin in the online polls and is hardly even considered a “dark horse” candidate by the offline “scientific” polls. This is made even more interesting if, as has been reported here the MSNBC online poll prior to the debates had Ron Paul with only about 9% vs its present 34%.
Why was he originally excluded?

Psst. Don't tell anyone. ABC has been
'found out'.

Read. [Link fixed]

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Profits from the enmity of others

Asia doesn’t participate in the “global psycho-game with Americans in need to feel loved on the one hand and bitter Europeans or Arabs on the other hand; it just profits from it.”

That's why they'll soon own the planet.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Monopoly money protected in desperation

A grand jury in Washington, D.C., has indicted two digital currency companies and their owners on charges of money laundering, accusing the companies of helping to fund illegal activities like child pornography and identity theft, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.

The four-count indictment, handed down on April 24 and unsealed Friday, targets E­Gold; Gold & Silver Reserve; and their owners Douglas L. Jackson, of Satellite Beach, Florida; Reid A. Jackson, of Melbourne, Florida; and Barry K. Downey, of Woodbine, Maryland.

The defendants face charges on one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business under federal law, and one count of money transmission without a license under D.C. law.

The DOJ also obtained a restraining order to prevent the defendants from unloading their assets as well 24 seizure warrants on more than 55 accounts believed to be property involved in money laundering and the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business.

The restraining order does not limit the E­Gold operation’s ability to use its existing funds to satisfy requests to exchange E-Gold into national currency for customers of nonseized accounts or its ability to sell precious metals, the DOJ said.
Another step in the control of the gummint
'monopoly' [of] money.

If they didn't, Gresham's Law would rule.

It will anyway, eventually.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Rio's vigilantes

In this city of 6 million people, one of the world's most violent, "the police provide security for the rich" and "the militias are the security of the poor," said Marina Maggessi, a congresswoman and a former senior drug-control official. She has mixed feelings about the militias, saying they represent the "collapse of the state."
Expect more of the same worldwide.

State collapse is imminent, a piece at a time.

Full report.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Civilization in Free-Fall

Where does one begin to describe – much less analyze – our institutionalized commitment to death? The war system is certainly the most dramatic, having accounted for some 200,000,000 deaths in the 20th century alone. So insistent is our culture on the perpetuation of this corporate-state slaughterhouse that those who sponsor debates among presidential aspirants have systematically excluded the two candidates – Democrat Mike Gravel and Republican Ron Paul – who have most consistently opposed continuation of the war in Iraq.
This institutionalized war against life permeates our entire culture. Our world abounds with people-pushers who want to use state power to control the kinds and quantities of food we eat; how we raise our children; the language we can use with one another; the drugs we are both prohibited from and required to ingest; whether and where we can smoke; the weights, measures, and prices at which produce can be sold; and the health care services we may use. These are but a few examples of this mania, with additional proposals being offered on a regular basis.
Full essay.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Big Picture

"The revolution was Velvet because it stemmed from the beliefs of the common man. It was a cultural groundswell. Too often, revolutions are about power and attempting to grab control of the enforcement structure. They result in less liberty for the populace, as the new regime feeds on the dying carcass of the old establishment. If a revolution is to create more freedom, it must be derived from general popular consent and have as its goal simply to reject the prevailing sovereigns rather than to capture command, much like the American Revolution and Velvet Revolution were. Only then will there be the necessary cultural institutions present for liberty to thrive. Such an outcome is more secession than revolution. Otherwise, the result will be simply bloodshed and more tyranny as the French Revolution and Bolshevik Revolution showed." Unknown

...participation [in the electoral process] is an instrument of conquest because it encourages people to give their consent to being governed by the state. Stemming from a sense of fair play deeply embedded in the human psyche, people generally obey the principle that those who play the game accept the outcome. Those who participate in politics are no less committed even if they are consistently on the losing side. ...This scheme of politics is remarkably ingenious in the way it exploits the natural inclination of humans toward fair play, loyalty and cooperation in process of subjecting them to conquest. - Alvin Lowi, Jr., originally for

...the real occupation of the governors is either to plunder or to steal, as will best answer their purpose ...the art of administering those governments has been so to vary the means of seizing upon private property, as to bring the greatest possible quantity into the public coffers, without exciting insurrections. Those governments which are called despotic, deal more in open plunder; those that call themselves free, and act under the cloak of what they teach the people to reverence as a constitution, are driven to the arts of stealing. These have succeeded better by theft than the others have by plunder; ...Under those constitutional governments the people are more industrious, and create property faster; because they are not sensible in what manner, and in what quantities, it is taken from them. -Joel Barlow, "Advice to the Privileged Orders in the Several States of Europe - Resulting from the Necessity and Propriety of a General Revolution in the Principle of Government," written between 1792 and 1795