Flimsy Sanity: April 2008

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Operation Chaos

In late February 2008, Limbaugh developed Operation Chaos, an antidemocratic political call to action with the initial plan to have voters of the Republican Party temporarily cross over to vote Democrat and vote for Hillary Clinton, who at the time was in the midst of losing eleven straight primary contests to Barack Obama. The goal was to have the campaigns of Clinton and Obama fight over the Democratic Party nomination for as long as possible and potentially force a brokered 2008 Democratic National Convention.

On March 27, 2008, Limbaugh said that "The dream end of this[of Operation Chaos] is that this keeps up to the Convention, and that we have a recreation of Chicago 1968 with burning cars, protests, fire, and literal riots and all of that, that is the objective here [of Operation Chaos]."
- Wikipedia

Aren't there laws against trying to manipulate elections and inciting riots? USA must look so stupid to other countries who are told that this man's show is listened to by half the country and is broadcast to our soldiers. Pennsylvania had over 178,000 people switch their party registration in Pennsylvania this year, and 90% of them have registered as Democrats. How many were sincere and how many were following this mean, disgusting criminal's directions to keep Hillary in the fight?
It makes me very sad to know that so many of our citizens admire the schoolyard bully.

Friday, April 25, 2008

EBAY is the Answer to your Economic Woes

In a very recent speech, McCain said that 1.3 million people make a living on eBay. I think his point was that there is opportunity in USA and it is growing at an unbelievable rate. Six months ago (October 9th, 2007 in Dearborn, Mich.) McCain said "A lot of people don't know that 50,000 Americans now make their living off eBay."

According to politifact

These days, the company only keeps track of eBay entrepreneurs worldwide. That number, based on a 2006 Nielsen study, is estimated at 1.3-million. But again, it doesn't distinguish between full-time and part-time on-line auctioneers...The bottom line: Lots of people make money on eBay, but how many depend on it to pay their bills remains unclear.

Latest statistics I could find said $20 Billion was sold and this includes large items like real estate and cars. If you divide the figures, the average yearly eBay income is around $1500. The people making a living at it are the power sellers and I could not find statistics on their numbers.

The hated Meg Whitman quit as EBay CEO and joined McCain's camp. Who knows what bullshit she is whispering in his good ear.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Look at wonderful me. I am doing my part to save the earth. I no longer drive a car and instead walk or take the bus. If everyone quit driving, the price of gas would plummet and people would become more healthy.

Actually that is a lie. The truth of the matter is that I have given up on being treated fairly by an evil segment of society. The last mechanic charged me $800 for a new head gasket and all he did was disable the check engine light and punch a hole in the exhaust system so that the white smoke came out where I could not see. I am done with all of them because fraud is endemic to the occupation and the only option I have is to not participate in their sick racket any longer. The benefits are that I no longer need insurance, high priced gas, or licenses and most satisfying, I never have to talk to those dicks again. Casino gambling has always seemed stupid to me because such a small percentage ever win. I confess I was even more stupid to keep trying when I NEVER was treated honestly in auto repair shops. Most of these men just don't like women.

If fraud were treated the same as other forms of robbery and cheaters were jailed, maybe things would change. Ralph Nader is at heart a consumer advocate and that is why I like him (that and the fact that he treated his own employees with respect). He knows that businesses are often dishonest and that their victims should have some recourse. Thanks to Reagan and everyone after him, regulation has been dismantled and we are so screwed.

Catchy Tune

They could have left the war bits out.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Comments on Common Dreams

I like many of the essays on Common Dreams, but sometimes the comments say it even better. Here are a couple that I liked:

To understand the history of the 2nd Amendment, you have to understand some of the fundamental concepts of democracy as defined by the people who had just fought a long a bloody war to obtain it.

The key bit of this is that they did not want the government to have a monopoly on force. They wanted neither a well-armed and permanent police force, nor a permanent standing army. They viewed, correctly in my mind, both as essential threats to their liberty. We’ve lost that idea along the way, and today’s near-police state prison-industrial complex and the military-industrial complex show the dangers of which they were afraid.

The society they created then worked differently. There was a sheriff, but he and maybe his few deputies didn’t have the power or the force to act directly. When they needed to use force, they’d call out a ‘militia’ or a ‘posse’ of armed citizens.

What this did was keep a very democratic check on the use of force by the police. If the community thought the sheriff was out of control, they could restrict his ability to use force simply by not showing up when he tried to call for a posse. This meant that the citizens in the community always had a veto on the use of force by the police.

The same for the military. There was either no standing army, or a very small standing army. In times of national crisis, there would be callups of the militia and calls for volunteers to come serve the country. Again, this gave the citizens of the country essentially a veto power. If the country thought that a war was illegal or pointless or bad policy, then the call for militia or volunteers would be met by non-participation.

The key part to understand when looking at the second amendment is that the entire design of the society at that time was to keep the ability to use force in the hands of the citizens and not in the hands of the government. Thus, the existence of the 2nd amendment where citizens can keep and bear arms for use in these militias.

Me, while this would need some adjustment for a modern age, to me I’d still like to see us move back to something closer to this system. What I see around me in police forces and the pentagon using the monopoly on force that they’ve acquired scares me more than my fellow citizens do.
COMarc comment on Common Dreams.

Poorly informed liberals never tire of pointing to the fact that the federal govt had a surplus at the end of Clinton’s second term. This means almost nothing, particularly when one looks at how this surplus was achieved. It would have been admirable, had it been achieved by cutting defense spending, or by taxing the hell out of the rich.

But that’s not how they did it. They did it through one simple device: the stock market boom. This fed billions of capital gains taxes into the federal coffers, making the “surplus” magically appear. And the market boom grew directly from some special bits of Clinton corruption: they let Wall St insiders like Greenspan & Rubin control policy, while Wall St prostitutes like Lieberman & Schumer pushed to further deregulate the financial industry.

In other words, take away the stock market boom (itself a product of big-business corruption & deregulation), and there was no “surplus.”

And apart from the surplus, you’d be hard pressed to find a single thing Clinton did, that deserves any credit. He slyly passed the 1996 Telecom Act, which directly strengthened the media conglomerates. (Back in 1996, there was no coverage of this at all. It was literally passed behind the backs of the public — and Clinton never said a word to the public, by way of warning.) Clinton also presided over punitive cuts to welfare benefits in ‘96 — something that any good Republican would have happily done. He FAILED to cut military spending, even though the USSR had disintegrated just before he came to office. He bombed Kosovo, in a move quite similar to bombing Iraq. (Admittedly, he did this in a way that was a lot slicker than GW Bush’s clumsier but basically similar aggression). He passed NAFTA. And as independent investigative journalist Robert Parry (www.consortiumnews.com) thoroughly documents, Clinton failed to pursue investigations of several major Republican crimes — Iraqgate, Iran-Contra, Passport-gate, & the “October Surprise.” Instead, he just let the Republicans off the hook, giving them time to regroup.

Basically, Bill Clinton stood to the right of Richard Nixon. As he was just leaving office, Bush was busy stealing the presidency — and Bill didn’t say a word against it. In the years that followed, he failed to criticize the invasion of Iraq, as he was busy making millions in speaking fees, & gallivanting around the world being best buddies with Bush’s daddy.
RichM comment on Common Dreams

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Vote That Counts

I wrote this in September of 04 and edited it slightly. Watching Clinton throw back a whiskey shot and brag about duck hunting makes me sick - the people who love their guns ain't voting for Democrats so Hillary can stop being an embarrassment. Nader did not cause the Republican victory in 2000, the Clinton backlash did and I wish she would get the hell off the stage.
Every four years or so, the big time politicians pretend they care about the common man. They hang up their $1000 suit jackets and show up in casual clothes riding on buses to let us know that they are “One of Us”. And of course, there are plenty of flags in the background. They are not only not one of us, their actions show they may just dislike us – the average working person – and they care very little about the will of the people. By and large, they are beholding to the folks that made them millionaires, not the folks that pay their wages. They cannot relate to folks who earn in a week what they spend at a meal.

Are we too late to tell them that it is obvious to the working man that something is wrong with our democracy - that it is obvious that government is by and for the super rich: who don’t care that the worker cannot afford health care as long as the pharmaceutical companies show record profits and rich doctors get caps on lawsuit awards; who don’t care that full time work is rare these days as companies who cannot send their companies overseas only hire part time workers; who act like a cost of living raise in minimum wage will bankrupt the country; who have convinced us that government is bad and greed is good.

The following was written about the Republican Party, but both have similar agendas:
In the glut of paper I could find no unifying or fundamental principle except a certain belief that money was good for rich people and bad for poor people. It was the only point on which all the authorities agreed, and no matter where the words were coming from (a report on federal housing, an essay on the payment of Social Security, articles on the sorrow of the slums or the wonder of the U.S. Navy) the authors invariably found the same abiding lesson in the tale—money ennobles rich people, making them strong as well as wise; money corrupts poor people, making them stupid as well as weak…..An opinion poll taken in 1964 showed 62 percent of the respondents trusting the government to do the right thing; by 1994 the number had dwindled to 19 percent. The measure can be taken as a tribute to the success of the Republican propaganda mill that for the last forty years has been grinding out the news that all government is bad, and that the word "public," in all its uses and declensions (public service, citizenship, public health, community, public park, commonwealth, public school, etc.), connotes inefficiency and waste. http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2004/Republican-Propaganda1sep04.htm

Schopenhauer said that “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” We are fed the crap that our vote really counts and somehow we are responsible for the government we have. Majority does not rule when the man who wins the popular election is not president so obviously their claptrap that our vote counts is bullshit. The only vote that really counts is the one that reflects a conscience rather than a tradition. For me, that is Ralph Nader. He is against the war and so am I. He is a moral person and so am I. He thinks buying legislation to benefit corporations that pay no taxes or operate from offshore havens is wrong and so do I. He believes the minimum wage should be tied to inflation and so do I. He thinks NAFTA and GATT are a mess and so do I. I think he is a reasonable man who cannot be bought and so he is ridiculed and violently opposed. In time, we will all see that what he says is self evident. Many social improvements came about because third parties were formed around ideas that were then co-opted by the major parties after enough people supported the idea. Whether Bush or Kerry get in, things will pretty much stay the same. I think either the Republicans or the Democrats can adopt Nader’s ideals and have my vote.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Why Republicans appeal

First, let me say that I think Bobby McFerrin is amazing. This song came out about the same time Reagan was saying the same. I really think the main difference between the right and the left is optimism/pessimism about the goodness of rich, powerful people.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Save the Economy

There's always been snake oil and there have always been snake oil salesmen. Greenspan simply raised the bar a notch, but he's not the first huckster and he won't be the last. What really matters is underlying ideology; that's the root from which this economy-busting hydra sprung. 30 years of trickle down, supply-side gibberish; 30 years of idol worship for the waxy-haired reactionary, Ronald Reagan; 30 years of unrelenting anti-labor, free market, deregulated orthodoxy which inflated the biggest equity-Zeppelin in history.

Now the bubble is hissing out of the blimp and the escaping gas is wreaking havoc across the planet. There are food riots in Haiti, Egypt, and Kuwait. Wherever the local currency is pegged to the falling dollar, inflation is soaring and trouble is brewing. Also, European banks are listing from the mortgage-backed garbage they bought from brokerages in the US and need central bank bailouts to stay afloat. It's just more fallout from the subprime swindle. Finance ministers in every capital in every country are getting ready for a 1930's-type typhoon that could send equities crashing and food and energy prices rocketing into the stratosphere. And it can all be traced back to the wacko doctrines of neoliberalism. These are the theories that guide America's "screw-thy-neighbor" monetary policies and spread financial turmoil to every city and hamlet around the world.

The present stewards of the system are incapable of fixing the problem because they represent the interests of the people who benefit most from the disruptions.

Want to Save the Economy?
Read the whole article here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Exotic coffee

I heard about $100 a pound coffee on the radio and thought it was a prank. Humans are indeed beyond redemption if cat shit is a gourmet delight.

Katrina as preview of coming attractions

My most often googled post is the one on surviving the coming depression. If things degenerate, people believe they can survive by stocking food and owning a gun to protect themselves - didn't work in New Orleans. Incidentally, the news media said that frail old lady was a threat because if she stayed to protect her dogs, bacteria would cause her to spread disease.

On the other side is this great essay on our Rambo mentality.

Penn and Teller and bees

If you ever wondered how people do those bee beards and why these two weren't stung repeatedly, send me a couple euros and I will tell you.

Problem Solving 101

Illegal immigration: Seems our unemployment and falling dollar is making Amerika less attractive and eventually the wall will prevent southern migration.

Conservation: Airlines declaring bankruptcy are not buying fuel. Unemployed people do not have to commute.

Employment: Keeping soldiers overseas indefinitely keeps them from being unemployed over here.

Obesity: High food costs and shortages will make eating a luxury.

Eliminate pesky regulatory agencies: Strand thousands of travelers or appoint corporate whores as heads.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Isn't That Special????

Special license plates shield officials from traffic tickets In California and I am sure other places - special people get license plates that excuse them from the laws we rubes must observe.

It sounds like something out of the former Soviet Union, where the well-connected could obtain special number plates that exempted them from traffic laws. According to Wikipedia, "the nomenklatura were a small, elite subset of the general population in the Soviet Union who held various key administrative positions in all spheres of the Soviet Union: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc. The nomenklatura had more authority and claimed higher privileges of the same kind as the ruling class which Communist doctrine denounced in the Capitalist West."

I believe that in North Dakota, these special plates and some worse perks go to the Infragard.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Time to Get Over It

When the 2000 election put the loser in office, we were told to "get over it". If we are advised to get over a political coup, why is it we are not told to get over a war fabricated from lies? It seems to me that it is time to repudiate the Vietnam War too. Since Kerry was rejected as a hero, one should not embrace McCain either (and yes there are fellow soldiers that say he was a traitor and given special treatment because his father and grandfather were naval brass). We seem to have a case of national PTSD and data shows that of all the military actions taken, the ones most likely to result in post traumatic responses are those that participated in atrocities or criminal acts.

My town has this pretty park by the lake with a flagpole that has the American flag and a POW/MIA flag. I suppose they think they are being patriotic but, it is time to "get over it" and if someone cannot, they should fly to Vietnam or Cambodia and disarm landmines.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Internet Finds

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Packing House Woes

Carol Hidalgo, a Spanish Language interpreter liaison at Austin Medical Center uncovered the fact that several people with the same symptoms all worked at the local pork slaughter facility. Rare medical investigation unfolds recounts the sequence of events.

They were all getting progressive muscle weakness to the point where they couldn't walk...There are several disturbing facts involved: All work at Quality Pork Processors in Austin. All work in the kill. None are exposed to chemicals. At least 3 work with brain or spinal cord of pigs. Ages range from 21 to 46. Four are Hispanic, 2 are white. Two women, 4 men. Time of onset ranges from Nov. 06 (2006) to 3 weeks ago," he wrote in September

The article says the brains were shipped to the south, but I think they probably are used in hot dogs and bologna because if thousands that are harvested were all shipped south, they would have to be featured on every menu. Who is to say Mad Cow Disease doesn't have a pork cousin?

I think it is great that some low level person pointed the problem out. Reminds me of the Mexican guy that read the label on Chinese toothpaste and said, "This is antifreeze."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Summary of Dutch Documentary on American Dollar

The Wall