pilfering all of us

Folks have no bloody idea what a billion dollars can do. When billionaires fund electioneering, what’s democracy?


The idea that Americans are rational in their opposition to redistribution is ludicrous.

Otherwise they’d have been screaming bloody murder for the past 30 years as incomes have been distributed up. You have to be able to explain the change that occurred between, say, the 50’s and the 80’s. We went from steeply progressive redistributive tax rates to nearly flat rates, from high to low taxes on capital, usury laws overturned, etc.

Something happened to the American psyche in the interim. I think it was a result of deliberate manipulation by the plutocrats, but I suppose other explanations are possible —floridation of the water supply maybe or a brain virus placed in our flu vaccines.

We had more than a modicum of fairness in the earlier era. We had an extreme level of fairness, at least relative to what we have today.

From the 40s to the early 70s, average incomes of all five income quintiles went up almost exactly equally, roughly doubling in real terms over that period; right in line with productivity growth. The rising tide lifted all boats; the classic analogy for ‘fair’. Today, in contrast, all but the yachts are taking on water.

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt says laws are written by lobbyists. Politicians are merely preserving a wealth preference. Shame on us.

Lawrence Lessig says corporations spend unlimited amounts to promote political candidates. Shame on us.

Canada has already reacted. Bill C-24 enacted in 2003 says corporations can’t donate over $1000 to a party and no person may donate over $5000.

Tom Junod says,

“Barack Obama, then, is not the agent of change; he’s the fulfillment of a change that is already occurring culture-wide, in every place but politics.

That’s why the Republicans fear him so much; why, while waiting for him to fail, they just come off as the political party for people who want to hit their kids.”

enthusiasm gap

“A man learns by two things. One is reading. The other is association with smarter people.”- Will Rogers

Indiana University has launched Truthy.indiana.edu, a sophisticated new tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation. FastCompany calls it a ‘Swiftboat Torpedo’.

Mainstream folks turned out in high numbers to the One Nation Rally despite slack media coverage. Satellite shots confirm a greater turnout than Glen Beck’s Whitestock Tea Party —275,000 vs 87,000. Only C-Span detailed the event’s variety of people and its depth of focus on jobs and education. Wingnuts label the attendees as Communists.

noise obscures sound

Dozens of new cities are required !

Why would we fail to build them well? Perhaps these days good technology will bring good living?

So many projects. It sometimes seems there’s more $$$ behind big than there is behind new.

After all, exponential horror is not a secret.

The worried cow would have lived till now
If she had saved her breath;
But she found her hay wouldn’t last all day,
And she mooed herself to death.
Bishop Taylor Smith [link]

alpha dominance is bunk

“The wolf researchers now studying in the wild say the alphas are simply the ones who can do whatever they want, but they don’t drag others down to maintain dominance.”

“A lot of what we believe about aggressive alpha dominance comes from old studies of wolves in captivity.” —Jennifer Arnold

Discipline-based approaches like those followed by Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan are popular but misguided, because they are based on faulty assumptions of wolf pack behavior.

In the wild, wolves are known to lead benevolently. Researchers have noted male wolf leaders sharing chicken with children and mates before eating.

Superb PBS film online: Through a Dog’s Eyes.

imbalance of silence


What’s attacked? Check out academics, elites, bureaucrats, scientists, the ivory tower, advocates, radicals, muckrakers, ‘community organizers’…. And please note that they are only under attack if they are seeing and warning of hazards to the people.

Where’s Our Billions of dollars going? And when spent?

National Defense Consumption

2000 —371,000,000,000
2001 —393,000,000,000
2002 —430,000,000,000
2003 —498,000,000,000
2004 —551,000,000,000

2005 —589,000,000,000
2006 —625,000,000,000
2007 —662,000,000,000
2008 —737,000,000,000
2009 —772,000,000,000

dupe unto others

Stunning no matter how familiar.
When God arranges votes, what arrogance appears!

Friends implored Reed—the former executive director of the Christian Coalition and one of the key architects of the GOP congressional takeover in 1994—to get back in the game.

As Reed tells his audience at the Mayflower, a phone call from Sean Hannity persuaded him. “I wanted to know that this was not me,” Reed says, “that this was not any ambition of mine. I wanted to know that this was the Lord.” Reed breaks into a sly grin as he recounts Sean Hannity’s bargaining: “Ralph, God is speaking through this phone line right now and he’s using me to deliver the message.”

[link] Note: Hannity is a premier news anchor; never revealed as a political operator; merely characterized as a ‘journalist’.

Shameful Days,
more critical than budgets or war,
because we let lies arrive.

machine controller virus

Most of the headlines about Stuxnet are conjecture.

Virus Bulletin Conference provided the first detailed public analysis of the worm’s inner workings to an audience of some of the world’s top computer virus experts showing how the virus could cause infected hardware to run out of control.

Researchers uncovered an obscure date in the worm’s code, May 9, 1979, the date on which a prominent Iranian Jew, Habib Elghanian, was executed by the new Islamic government shortly after the revolution.

Thus the story that it’s military. Pretty slim evidence.

One guy reacts:

So the entire idea of the “Israel created this to attack Iran” idea is based on finding the date May 9, 1979 hidden in the code – and that because it’s the first day the current theocratic asshats running Iran beheaded the first Jew of their despotic regime? Really?

This is like playing Nostradamus. Pluck something vague, go hunting, and see what you can say.

For instance, in Eastern bloc countries, May 9 1945 is Victory Day. I’m sure some prominent politician somewhere also died on May 9, 1979. A google search for that date came back with 196,000 results just on the precise phrase “May 9, 1979”.


exemptions to responsibilities

Too polite:

…constituencies with the means and the bureaucratic endurance to get what they want slowly hack away at the government over time, carving out exemptions to their civic responsibilities…

Hedge-fund gazillionaires pay less than half the top tax rate paid by most middle and upper-middle class Americans.

Matt Taibbi:

Constituencies with the means and the bureaucratic endurance to get what they want slowly hack away at the government over time, carving out exemptions to their civic responsibilities while ordinary people suck the proverbial egg.

A 100% or 200% tax break for hedge fund and private equity billionaires is not the sort of thing that one passes instantly, by standing up in front of big campaign crowds and urging on a mob; it takes a long time and a lot of behind-the-scenes baby steps.

Once upon a time, we didn’t make very many distinctions about taxable income. Whether you made your money driving trucks or buying and selling stocks, you made what you made and you paid the rate outlined in your bracket.

Then a movement coalesced behind the idea that the government should give a tax break to those persons who made their money investing…

nothing beats good references

Get a look at one of Hunter Thompson’s letters requesting a job. The year was 1958. Seattle Weekly says it’s the greatest cover letter ever written.


“I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity.

“Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.

“I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.

“I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.”

bumpersticker policies

Washington Post

Oops. Republican debt will be $1.5 trillion higher than under the president’s budget.

Details. Details. Details.

The deficit would be $200 billion larger under the ‘Pledge to America’ than it would be with Barack Obama.

The ‘Pledge to America’ accrues $11.1 trillion. By 2020, their federal deficit would be 6% of GDP, the federal debt would exceed 93% of GDP, and interest payments on the debt would be $1 trillion per year.

“The Tea Party today is being pitched in the media as this great threat to the GOP; in reality, the Tea Party is the GOP.

[It] will die on the vine as one Tea Party leader after another gets seduced by the Republican Party and retrained for the revolutionary cause of voting down taxes for Goldman Sachs executives. [Rolling Stone]

leaving no trace

It is one of the most deplorable traits of our strange civilization that we are still discovering truths that are commonplace even among peoples much less advanced than we.

This is because we have never moved in concert with the other peoples.

We stand, as it were, outside of time, the universal education of mankind has not touched us.

Look around you. Everyone seems to have one foot in the air. One would think that we are all in transit.

That is but a natural consequence of a culture that consists entirely of imports and imitation.