i think the movement has reached a ceratain tipping point.
the movement has been covered on cnbc, the market/business channel.
yes, that's right, the channel that features rick santelli, who is credited with starting the tea party movement with an anti-bailout rant (what communications or money exchanges he's had with the koch brothers remaings a matter for conjecture).
cnbc is hardly foxnews, of course, but cnbc normally sticks pretty closely to things that actually have some specific market relevance. they report unemployment statistics, for instance, but only because it says something about corporate expenses and therefore corporate profits and therefore the prices of stocks and bonds. no hint of the human suffering involved.
as of yet it's not clear that anything about the occupy movement lends itself to any particular trading strategy. at least, i haven't heard cnbc make any such suggestions.
yet they're still covering the story.
i think this thing has spread like wildfire and has gotten big enough that it has to have some impact.
'bout time, too!
i had always thought that ayn rand had it wrong. but i finally realized that my arguments were flawed. you see, my basic idea was that this entire notion of strengthening people by refusing to give in to altruistic urges was injust and wrong.
but then i came to realize that ayn rand was not strictly wrong in this regard, the problem was she simply didn't go far enough.
if altruism weakens people that targets of your generosity, then why stop there? wouldn't other forms of kindness, such as basic non-violence, also weaken the targets of your non-violence?
remember in the pink panther movies when inspector clouseau has his servant cato attack him unexpectedly in order to keep clouseau's skills sharp? now THAT's love.
can you imagine the memories you will create for your wife, your husband, or your precious little children when you sit patiently in the dark awaiting their return home in order to ambush them with a surprise attack, giving them a cherished opportunity to test their self-defense skills that they will remember for the rest of their lives? call me romantic, but i can't think of a better gift for an anniversary or a birthday.
maybe it's just a jewish thing, but i know it's just not passover without a ritual slaying of the first-born. i'm not as familiar with christianity's rites, but it seems to me that easter wouldn't be much of a holiday without someone being strapped to a cross and tortured. how else will your babies grow up to be strong? i know i'd feel better knowing my kids have the fortitude to refuse to divulge state secrets after being captured by the enemy.
i have more to say on the topic, but mini-unblock has made the mistake of taking a nap without laying a defensive perimeter. this is, as they say, a "teaching moment". i do love him so! keeeeeyyyaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!!
ok, this is complicated, but follow me: the easiest way to create millions of jobs is to HIRE people
i know, i know. you really need an advanced degrees in economics, politics, finance, accounting, business and government, not to mention decades of experience running your own small business and becoming a billionaire by your bootstraps as well as several terms as a congresscritter to fully appreciate the ins and outs of the complex system that is the american economy.
so it's not surprise that a solution as complicated as this hasn't been seriously discussed in the media or on washington, but well, there it is. they prefer the simple solution of tinkering with tax incentives to coax private sector businesses that profit from layoffs to hire people to sell to consumers who can't afford to buy anything. that sounds so much simpler, i know.
if the government hires a ton of people, guess what? there are a ton fewer unemployed people. and in fact, it's better than that, because as these people would then have paychecks, they would spend the money they finally have, and rich people would want to hire some people to go sop up that extra gravy floating about. if people are finally able to spend, then businesses are finally able to sell and make a profit by delivering goods and services, as opposed to laying off people.
wait, i know you're going to object about the cost. turns out that it doesn't cost nearly as much. each dollar spent on extra jobs is offset by fewer dollars in unemployment insurance, welfare, aid to states and other forms of direct or indirect assistance. then some of those dollars come back in the form of income taxes. and remember that knock-on effect, where those new hires spend money and the businesses finally get going? that means more taxes from them as well. so the overall cost isn't nearly what you might think. and whatever you need, you could borrow and nearly zero percent and/or tax the seriously undertaxed rich.
are you worried about inflation if we borrow too much for this? well, aside from the fact that inflation doesn't seem to be a problem these days, IF we should actually get serious inflation, it turns out that THAT problem we know how to solve. remember when carter's fed appointee paul volcker jacked up interest rates sky high? yeah, it sucked for a few years but it worked, and we haven't had serious inflation since.
and what do i say to people who say "but that's socialism"?
i say, no, it's having someone bust their butt 40 hours a week to repair a bridge or a road that's open to everyone and every business in the public to benefit from, then compensating them with a few bucks so they can pay their bills and eat and sleep in some level of comfort and sanity instead of letting them suffer and die. if you're more worried about a stupid and innacurate label that might get attached to an idea than you are about the fate of the economy and millions of americans, then i'd suggest that your priorities need a serious readjustment.
our economy has been screwed up long enough. people have been unemployed long enough. it's time to stop hoping that tinkering around the edges will nudge the economy back to some minimally acceptable level of jobs creation.
just hire people and keep hiring people until there's no serious unemployment problem.
then move on to the next problem.
there's always a next problem.
don't worry, there's always a solution, too.
the spineless dems.
the scandals that always seem to snag the good guys and never really bother the bad guys.
impeachment off the table.
the compromises that always end up far to the right of the electorate.
the inability of democrats to rule the roost when controlling the white house and both houses of congress.
the ability of republicans to control the agenda with a majority in only one house.
the legitimacy of the filibuster when in republican hands, the illegitimacy of same when in democratic hands.
it has long appeared to me that many democrats were acting as if they were being blackmailed, and i think it's safe to say that, yes, that has been going on, and the culprit lies in murdoch's propaganda organizations.
maybe they had something on pelosi when she said impeachment was off the table. or maybe they just told her they had enough on key allies.
the bottom line is that to rise within the ranks in the democratic party, you needed to be acceptable to emperor murdoch. and that meant either a conservadem or a spineless dem, or maybe both. in any event, pelosi agreed to play ball, a as a result she got her promotion.
this story has repeated itself in so many ways large and small over the last decades it seems absurd, at this point, to think that spying and blackmail were not at play.
poor people (these days, to the ultra-rich, that seems to mean anyone on the lower 99.5%) are not, as a class, lazy and unproductive. it takes a lot of work just to survive.
but more important to their own, myopic, self-serving interests, is that these poor people FEED YOU.
that's right, ultra-rich people, listen up, you koch-heads and scions of wal-mart --
your money ultimately comes from poor people shopping at wal-mart, and consuming the many goods koch industries and so on push on the public.
ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the salaries, bonuses, capital gains, and profits of these busineses ultimately come from consumers, and the vast majority of those consumers are right here in america.
if you want to produce delicious grains, fruits and vegetables, you must tend to it. you must provide life-sustaining nutrients and protection from disease. treat it well and in return you will reap many rewards. neglect it and it will wither and die and leave you with nothing.
so when it comes to kick starting the economy, or government programs to help the poor, remember who actually butters your bread. even a small investment in the poor would be the best investment you can possibly make at this time. not because it's some bleeding-heart liberal cause, don't worry your selfish dark soul about that. but simply because the economy, and YOUR OWN PROFITS depend on a large population of poor people who have enough money to spend on YOUR PRODUCTS.
so go ahead and remain as selfish as always. you can still come to the right conclusion, even if for the wrong reasons -- helping the poor ultimately helps you. remember, a rising tide lifts all boats -- even yachts.
i'm actually not sure which is more surprising -- that i actually met someone who was directly affected by the events of that day, or that it took nearly a decade to do so. after all, i work in the area, in the financial industry, i saw the towers burning, i saw the smoke and debris cloud work its way up into midtown manhattan. i've known many could have been victims -- myself included, in a sense; some of my previous commutes took me through the towers, and my brother used to work near the top of one of them.
but soooo many people passed through those buildings that stories about, gee, if it had happened a year earlier or whatever, it could have been me, well, those stories are a dime a dozen.
here i was having dinner with some friends, and one of the guests is a widow because her husband was one of the 3,000 lost that day.
turns out she was pregnant at the time, and i also met her adorable daughter. our kids had plenty of fun playing together.
the mother was not the sort to volunteer this information, and actually none of us knew it (not even the host) until the daughter, who is just of the age to learn and understand why she has no father, told our host what she knew of the story.
daddy went to work to provide for mommy and her....
some very bad people did a very bad thing....
and daddy couldn't ever come home again....
can you imagine?
these people live with it every day. they can't get away from the news, the politicians, the bumper stickers, the wars, the stories about how greedy the 9/11 families were.
she was an art exhibit recently and there was a painting of the towers ablaze. she couldn't believe it, and they wouldn't remove it even after she complained, until she said, "hey, that's a painting of my husband's body being roasted in there".
one interesting part of the conversation centered around the money the families got, or the amounts they supposedly got. much of what got reported was more about cantor fitzgerald, the company that lost about 90% of its employees that day. because of the nature of the company, they had a HUGE amount of capital and comparatively few employees. they led the way, very publicly, in treating their 9/11 families rather well. some huge amounts were involved, and it got a lot of media attention.
but the vast majority of the other employers simply stole the good image created by cantor fitzgerald. whether they were in a position or not to be generous, most of them behaved pretty much how we would expect corporations to behave -- they paid out as little as they felt they could get away with, and thanks to cantor fitzgerald and the media, that wasn't nearly as much as we were led to believe. of course, i don't have a peek into her checking account, but judging from her car and her attire i have to believe her.
a lot of memories brought came back to me this weekend. but mostly, i got some grounding on the whole politics of 9/11. there were real people directly affected on that day, and those events have dramatically changed our politics and our foreign policy. all these things were done in the name of people like the family i met this weekend.
they didn't ask for it, and never wanted any of it.
you've done enough. have you no sense of decency,sir,at long last?have you left no sense of decency?
sometimes things that haven't needed to be said for years need to be said again.
as usual, the right-wingers have changed the topic and created impossible standards for any suggestion that they modify their own behavior.
we have asked them to tone down their violent rhetoric, we have asked them to be more civil and respectful of people and ideas with which they disagree.
they have responded with a demand that we PROVE that their rhetoric was DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for putting those bullets into all those victims. at issue is not merely that the standard by which they chose to judge themselves is nearly impossible to meet, and moreover is mitigated by shooter's personal responsibility and muddled by the his particular mental defects. at issue is the fact that they shifted the standard at all, away from the personal and collective responsibility THEY bear for creating an uncivil, disrespectful, undignified, and INDECENT environment for political discussion, where the people they simply disagree with are branded as anti-american traitors who hate their country, its heritage and its people.
once upon a time there was a concept of the loyal opposition. people of all political stripes allowed that no matter how much they disagreed with their political rivals, they never doubted, or at least they never expressed any doubt, that their opponent was a loyal american with the coutry's best interests at heart; they merely disagreed about how to achieve the best for the country.
such a notion seems naive and quaint these days. not because some of the more vocal extremists on the right have embraced the toxic talk of violence, and not because the rest of the right wing and republican establishment has repeatedly refused to repudiate such rhetoric.
no. it is because they have long lost any sense of decency. they could drop the violent rhetoric tonight and the problem would still poison our national discourse for the balance of a generation.
until they treat their opponents with as americans with america's best interests at heart, who merely don't agree with them on the route to making this nation the best america that it can be, we need to hold them to a standard they have long forgotten.
the standard of decency.
and so i say to the republican politicians, conservative commentators, right-wing pundits, and conflict-glorifying media moguls, what was once said to another republican who had simply gone too far:
you've done enough. have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? have you left no sense of decency?
the captain would give them all to the two richest passengers and let the free market decide.
the captain would make a big show of buying the first one, which he would immediately donate to a young orphan with a terminal illness. the second he would buy, quietly, for himself.
lacking funds for two exorbitant purchases, the selling passenger would make him a loan, to be repaid when safe on land, after the captain has had a chance to rake in big bucks from the inevitable book/speaking tour and movie rights, also arranged by the selling passenger. of course, such a deal is not available to anyone else, nor is it ever publicly acknowledged.
the rest of the passengers are on their own, but since there's competition between two sellers, no one feels they have any basis on which to complain.
in the end, the same number of people die as in the original titanic scenario with too few lifevests.
this time, analysts insist that those who perished inexplicably chose the same moment to commit suicide.
remember that mujahadeen (withour help) defeated the soviets not by killing so many of them, but by simply creating a situation where the soviets couldn't help but outspend themselves into self-destruction.
THIS IS THE CORE OF ASSYMETRIC WARFARE. it is not about killing a meaningful number of people. the terrorists couldn't possible defeat us by shear numbers, even if they could take down 3,000 of us every week, hell, every day.
but if they kill a few people in a particularly sensational way, then our fears and culture and politics and special interest drive us -- ourselves -- to spend ourselves into oblivion. eventually, we won't be able to afford to meddle in their region.
THAT is what they want.
and still, we COMPLETELY IGNORE COST and talk only about preventing more silly incidents. this mentality makes it REALLY EASY for them to score victory after victory, as they sacrifice ONE PERSON to talk us out of millions -- no -- many BILLIIONS of dollars.
ridiculous. how can so many public officials completely miss the point?
put aside the invasion of privacy arguments.
put aside the freedom to move about the country arguments.
put aside the subjecting to radiation/nudie pics/groping arguments.
it's just too ridiculously stupid for words.
far more than one person has entered a mall or a store or a restaurant and shot people.
should we post police at the entrance to every commercial establishment and x-ray or frisk every single person who wants to enter?
far more than one person has made it past our borders without proper documentation.
should have so many police on the road that it's impossible to get to and from work without getting asked for papers at least once?
far more than one person has cheated on their taxes.
should we have enough police to investigate the source of every undocumented deposit or transfer in every bank account?
far more than one person has possessed contraband of some sort.
should we have police search every home and business as a routine matter?
not only is the tsa policy simply stupid from an effective security perspective, the damage that it does in terms of taken away the AMERICAN way of life and replacing it with the 1930s GERMAN or SOVIET way of life is absolutely intolerable. if we stand by and accept this, on what basis do we reject anything like the above? it's simply a matter of the number of agents involved, the principles are the same.
cut the fucking waste and pork out of the pentagon budget
keep your fucking mitts of off social security
fucking raise taxes on the rich
stop giving fucking preferential tax rates to non-labor income
create fucking massive jobs programs already
tax fucking million dollar estates
fucking make medicare available for all
fucking hire a shitload more regulators and give them some fucking teeth
restore the fucking fairness doctrine
break up the fucking monopolies
publicly finance all fucking political campaigns and criminalize all fucking private contributions
fix the fucking filibuster rule
if you don't support taking by fucking emminent domain every last piece of land that had any property damage and/or death and/or injury on it related to 9/11 for some public purpose with absolutely no private ownership or private purpose, then, consistent with local zoning laws, let the property owners build whatever they fucking want.
some "planned economies" are tightly and centrally controlled, sure. but all economies (at least, where government has any meaningful power at all) are planned, because government can choose to enact OR NOT TO enact policies that heavily influence the course of the economy.
we made a huge decision when fdr created the works programs and the social safety nets. this had a dramatic effect on the course of the economy because it was a plan for attracting workers to america, creating a strong middle-class consumer sector, and so on.
we made a huge decision when eisenhower created the interstate highway system. this had an enormous impact on our ability to delivery goods within the country, helped populate the non-costal regions, and boosted popularity of automobiles, in turn creating urban sprawl.
we made a huge decision when kennedy promised to put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth. that commitment (especially the second part; we take it for granted now, but at the time, a different president might have asked for volunteers to give their life for the mission) led to the invention and enhancement, directly or indirectly, of everything from pop-tart wrapping and freeze-dried food to long-distance phone calls, microchips, and cordless tools. businesses jumped on all these free inventions and innovated tons and tons of consumer and business goods.
we made more huge decisions when reagan decided to bust patco, denounce unions, tell regulators to back off, to approve mergers, and so on. as a result, we have seen steadily decreasing labor bargaining power, lower wages and benefits, and greater and greater business consolidation and excess.
we made more decisions when clinton continued the rush toward free trade, further eroding labor's power and thereby keeping profits high and inflation low and the dollar strong.
we made still more decisions when shrub decided to piss away trillions on tax cuts for people who already didn't know what to do with their wealth and on wars with no military purpose, serving only to fund a hulking military industrial complex. laid the groundwork for the coming idiotic decisions to slash the budget and our social net. this will further trash the middle class and leave businesses to find a new, burgeoning consumer base in india and china.
perhaps none of these decisions were made by a group of people with a "plan" for the economy, but as they say, to fail to plan is to plan to fail. decisions like these have a major impact on the course of the economy and no one can just dismiss their impact by with any crap about the "free market" or "capitalism" or whatever you want to call it.
business plays on the field created by government. businesses aren't going to play football if the government creates a baseball field. government can LEAD.
if government gives massive aid to the poor, businesses will develop to figure out how to better delivery goods and services to poor people in order to extract that extra disposable income.
if government puts a high tax on luxury yachts and cars while subsidizing green technology, then businesses will tend to stop developing specialty, high-end, limited production, gas-guzzling collectors items for the ultra-rich and start developing more and better environmentally-friendly cars.
if government supports unions and discourages outsourcing and puts limited protective measures on imports (particularly from countries with governments providing their own heavy subsidies), then it will put unemployed people here back to work and help rebuild our middle class.
if government reaffirms regulations and ensures they are enforced aggressively by people committed to the law, then our economy will produce more honest advertising and more safe, quality products.
republicans don't believe in letting the market decide, no matter what their rhetoric says. they believe heavily in government funding and support for businesses, they just have a different plan. they like the oil industry. they like the military industrial complex. they like the ultra-rich, and they don't give a crap about the rest of us. they plan for an economy that suits their constituents. they send the military around the globe to ensure and extent our control of oil. they weaken workers and benefits to keep profits up for the ultra-rich. they shift tax burdens from the rich to the poor and cut support for the poor.
what kind of economy do you want?
what do you think government can or should do to encourage that vision?
me, i want economic justice. i want real competition among businesses, not just a few behemoths offerring virtually identical products, differing only in branding. i want rich people to have to earn their wealth. i want the government to guide the economy to ensure that all americans are taken care of. not as a "nanny state", but as a moral duty to its citizens. i want a military that protects us and ensures a peaceful nation and, where sensible, world, but not one that simply extends private business interests. i want there to be a cost to anyone who injures (e.g., by pollution) an uninvolved third party -- a cost that reflects no only the actual damage but also a penalty for failing to get consent.
i want the government to create and economy that works for all americans, not just the ultra-rich.
soldier "a" is a sharp-shooter who has proven to be calm under pressure, can hit a bulls-eye from distances where you can't even see the target, is extremely loyal and patriotic and dedicated and highly awarded. "a" is confidently volunteering for rifle duty.
soldier "b" is an inexperienced idiot who has only proven to be a danger to themselves and their unit. "b" is trained in military paperwork and isn't particularly good at that. "b" has already lost bladder control and wants to go home to mommy.
if you give the rifle to the right person, they can take out the enemy and save everyone's lives.
if you give the rifle to the wrong person, the enemy will take you out and all of you die.
QUESTION: TO WHOM DO YOU GIVE THE RIFLE?
ANSWER: you have insufficient information. in order to find out everything you need to know, you must first proposition sexual activity with each soldier. if possible, give the rifle to the one soldier who is of the same sex as you but unwilling to copulate, or who is the opposite sex as you but willing to copulate. if both soldiers can be described that way, then you may chose soldier "a" if you really think that's wise, but the important part is never, NEVER to give the rifle to anyone who would agree to same-sex sex with you or who would categorically refuse opposite-sex sex with you simply because of your gender.
on edit: don't actually copulate, just proposition and establish willingness. you don't have time for actual fornication. what, are you crazy?
now, you may think there's a problem with this quick and dirty little test because what if they just really like you or don't like you, might that not throw the test? in fact, they might lie just because they want or don't want that rifle. sure, that's true, but you really must do your best to establish sexual orientation. there's nothing more dangerous than handing a rifle to someone who would get this test wrong.
finally, if both soldiers are either the same sex as you and willing or opposite sexed and refused, then just surrender now.
remember, above all, that on the battlefield, sexual preference based on gender discrimination is the single most valuable trait a soldier can have! our country depends on it!
if you think the above is ridiculous, that's because it is. any who thinks our country is best protected by a military that arms soldiers on the basis of sexual orientation over proven military skills is both a bigot and a military idiot.
apparently whenever they decide.
my wonderful health insurance company decided, in their infinite wisdom, that i only get 6 migraines per month. my neurologist and i are convinced that i get an average of 24 per month, but what do we know. they denied my request for a "prior authorization" based on nothing more than their desire to pay out less in claims.
so my health insurance company will pay for 6 doses of zomig or generic sumatriptan per month, and the other 18 doses i have to pay out of pocket. since they decided that the additional doses aren't "medically necessary", THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSES DON'T EVEN COUNT TOWARDS MY $4,000 ANNUAL DEDUCTIBLE!
generic sumatriptan costs $220 for 6 doses, so that's about $660 extra per month or $7,920 per year.
so my employer and i pay something like $10,000 per year in annual premiums (which ultimately means i'm being paid that much less), i have a further $4,000 deductible before they pay anything, and i STILL have to pay $7,920 out of pocket!
time and time again, the right-wing stomped their feet and whined like little babies... and then got their way.
they have a long track record of shutting down liberal bills in committee and getting their radical right-wing bills passed.
they even have successfully shut down conservative legislation in order to make it EVEN MORE radical-right.
how do they get away with this?
because that's the most effective way to exert power. to REFUSE to be taken for granted. they support, donate, and vote when they get their way, and they complain and withhold donations and stay at home when they don't. all they while, it's very well known they they would never DREAM of voting for a democrat. yet this doesn't stop them from getting their way.
now those of us on the left might be proud to be loyal democrats and to supply a reliable liberal voice and vote, but that's NOT the most effective way to GET our way. in fact, it's begging people like obama and emanuel and reid to take us for granted.
WE NEED TO BE WILLING TO STOMP AND SHOUT AND WITHHOLD DONATIONS AND WITHHOLD OUR VOTE in order to get our way.
it's not be disloyal to the party or to obama.
it's being loyal to your liberal principles.
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