to let life

“If there is light in the soul, There will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, There will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, There will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, There will be peace in the world.” — Chinese Proverb

Astronaut free in space

assembling blame

A calm & detailed account:

The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted “We Are Peaceful” and “We Are Nonviolent” and “Join Us.”

As we sat there, encircled, a separate team of LAPD officers used knives to slice open every personal tent in the park. They forcibly removed anyone sleeping inside, and then yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside those tents, scattering the contents across the park.


Each seated, nonviolent protester beside me who refused to cooperate by unlinking his arms had the following done to him: an LAPD officer would forcibly extend the protestor’s legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestor’s left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards. Then the LAPD officer would grab the protestor’s right foot and twist it all the way the other direction until the non-violent protestor, in incredible agony, would shriek in pain and unlink from his neighbor.


It was horrible to watch, and apparently designed to terrorize the rest of us. At least I was sufficiently terrorized.

LA’s mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says this is “the LAPD’s finest hour”.

are banks contributing?

Well? This is THE question of the era.

The financial system is like an organ in the body of the economy. But is it the heart or the appendix?

It appears likely that official statistics overstate the financial sector’s contribution to GDP, and we now have evidence that this is indeed the case.

Once returns due to term and credit risk are removed, banks look like the average for all US firms.

In fact, banks appear to generate slightly lower returns than average firms !

Boy o’ boy. Have we been hustled.

Here, I Plead
Each Hold A Key,
A Part To Guarantee
Our Great Liberty.

Never Let It Be Said
We Are Succumbed By Dread.
Speak, “Don’t Tread!”
Shriek, “I’m Led
By Liberty’s Forum,
Our People’s Quorum!
Reason Is Our Day!
Justice Is Our Way,

Whistles On The Eagle’s Wing.
This Is What We Dream And Sing!”

Of All We’ve Seen Or Ever Knew
It Rests On What We Say And Do,
Regardless The State Of Style,
The Yard Of Cloth, The Mile Of Smile.

Face The Trouble!
Burst The Bubble!
Dissolve Our Pain.
Achieve Our Gain.

Each Can Reach,
So Reach To Each,
The Best Restitution
For Any Institution.

Network From Matrix,
Matrix From Node,
To Coin A Modern Ode.

can’t do common sense

“There are certain levels of acceptable risk in society.”

That’s the policy position of ALEC, a right-wing group that pre-writes legislation introduced by many Republicans.

A top representative said ‘kids eating rat poison is an acceptable risk’ that does not justify government intervention.

From rat poison to weed killer:

Women who drink water contaminated with low levels of the weed-killer atrazine may be more likely to have irregular menstrual cycles and low estrogen levels.

These findings, published in the journal Environmental Research, were based on municipal tap water tested in 2005.

From rat poison to weed killer to toxic sewers:

Traces of pharmaceutical compounds commonly present in wastewater are interacting with bacteria during the treatment process to transform them from non-toxic to toxic.

The anti-inflammatory drug naproxen is altered by wastewater bacteria into a similar compound known to be highly toxic to the liver.

Jimmy Greer sez, “It’s knackered industries…



“Most Americans pay more in debt service than Scandinavians pay for the welfare state.” (tweet)


The true US federal costs of Iraq & Afghan wars is estimated at $3.6 trillion, and rising.

emotionally flattened

Dave Pollard:

To inure is “to habituate to something undesirable, especially by prolonged subjection” or acculturation. If you are subjected to something long enough and often enough (e.g. spending time in slaughterhouses or jails or emergency wards or factory farms or “old age” homes or street gangs or torture prisons or refugee camps or ghettos or the armed forces or police forces, or living with an abuser, or watching violent “entertainment”) you become habituated to it. You become unable to feel the strong negative emotions and visceral revulsion that you would if this were a rare or brief event. You cannot. You emotionally detach, disengage, dissociate. No one can sustain that intensity of emotion indefinitely. The emotion gets suppressed, turned inward, and eventually the chemical reaction that occurs no longer has the same effect. You become emotionally flattened, numbed.

From the perspective of a massive human culture that is trying to get all seven billion of its members to work hard without anger, grief, outrage, or complaint, such emotional flattening provides a huge evolutionary advantage.

If you can be inured to not care, or to not care to know, you can be made to do anything.

Or, in the face of continued cultural atrocities, to do nothing.

remembered by history


Hillary Clinton at the United Nations unabashedly arguing to the world that LGBT rights are human rights.

In most cases, this progress was not easily won. People fought and organized and campaigned in public squares and private spaces to change not only laws, but hearts and minds. And thanks to that work of generations, for millions of individuals whose lives were once narrowed by injustice, they are now able to live more freely and to participate more fully in the political, economic, and social lives of their communities.

Now, there is still, as you all know, much more to be done to secure that commitment, that reality, and progress for all people. Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time.

I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect.

who’s killing the mail?

So, in 2006, a bill passed requiring the U.S. Postal Service to fund 75 years worth of its pensions over a 10-year span. This is a requirement that applies to no other federal agency.

Congress is killing the Post Office.

…was told, in other words, to act like a business.

But the politicians never really let it.

The Postal Service doesn’t receive any taxpayer dollars, funding itself entirely through customer revenue. But it still has to deal with Congress as a micromanager.

landfill revolution needed

short but good sum up of how recycling waste is still darn sloppy

While recycling for yard waste totals nearly 60 percent, paper 63 percent, and car batteries almost 100 percent, recycling of plastics is stuck at just 8 percent.

That’s because manufacturers produce a bewildering array of plastics — polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, and high-density polyethylene, to name a few — that can’t be mixed if they’re to be effectively recycled.

In fact, she said, the seven types of plastics denoted in the recycling symbols stamped on milk jugs, salad trays, and other containers barely scratch the surface. That’s because category seven is an “all other types” category. The Environmental Protection Agency lists 40 types of plastic.

“Plastics are a big, messy, difficult problem,” MacBride said. “It is not a simple subject with no simple answers.”

first amendment falling?

Two examples.

1) …public gatherings of 10 or more persons require a government permit, and police have the authority to stop an unofficial assembly of five or more persons deemed likely to cause a disturbance of the peace.

2) …four or more people must obtain permits for all activity and displays in state buildings and apply for those permits at least 72 hours in advance.

Which is Brunei and which is the USA?

permit required for igloo

Occupy Anchorage is told tents are OK but permits are required for an igloo.


The Nation, “Reclaiming the Politics of Freedom,” can act as a guide to why this is so important and what the roadmap toward changing it could look like. He says:

The secret of conservatism’s success — as any reading of Reagan’s speeches and writings will attest — has been to locate this notion of freedom in the market…

We must confront this ideology head-on: not by temporizing about the riskiness or instability of the free market or by demonstrating that it (or its Republican stewards) cannot deliver growth but by mobilizing the most potent resource of the American vernacular against it. We must develop an argument that the market is a source of constraint and government an instrument of freedom. Without a strong government hand in the economy, men and women are at the mercy of their employer, who has the power to determine not only their wages, benefits and hours but also their lives and those of their families, on and off the job…

The politics of freedom does not dismiss the value or importance of state resources. But rather than conceiving of them as protections against the hazards of the market or indices of public compassion, it sees them as sources of power, as the tools and instruments of personal and collective advance. Armed with universal healthcare, unemployment benefits, public pensions and the like, I am less vulnerable to the coercions and castigations of an employer or partner. Not only do I have the option of leaving an oppressive situation; I can confront and change it — for and by myself, for and with others. I am emboldened not to avoid risks but to take risks: to talk back and walk out, to engage in what John Stuart Mill called, in one of his lovelier phrases, “experiments in living.”…

That is why the politics of freedom refuses to view the state as the conservative does: as a constraint. Or as the welfare-state liberal does: as a distributive machine. Instead, it views the state the way the abolitionist, the trade unionist, the civil rights activist and the feminist do: as an instrument for disrupting the private life of power. The state, in other words, is the right hand to the left hand of social movement.

the turmoil ahead

Interview with Australia economist Steve Keen:

The best we can hope for is a lost two decades?

If we leave it to the basic mechanism by which capitalism eliminates excessive debt which is bankruptcy and a slow grinding process of paying the debt down. Once we get back down to the level of debt that the system actually needs which is far lower than the level of private debt we have now then the process will be over. But that could take something like 20 years.

You’ve also suggested that it could take a rising level of violence.

The trouble is when you have a growing population and an economy that is used to growth and people expecting to get employed when they leave school and they find that in fact there are not enough new jobs coming on to handle the new entrants into the labor market, even if you grow slightly less than the rate of population change, that means that [you have] a population which you’re saying in the recent media is a lost generation. Well, that lost generation only has one outlet and that is frustration and violence. It is not the way to manage an effective society to be caught in a trap like this.

Your argument is that politicians won’t listen until there is something to make them listen.

Absolutely. Politicians are reactive individuals. They’re not leaders most of them. The vast majority of them. They’ve been going along with the general trend of believing that a larger financial sector, more deregulation, is a good thing.

carry on ignores the consequences

Will Hutton warns on Britain:

What is going to make the years ahead doubly fraught is that the ideologies that used to provide the basis for our democratic discourse have been as torched as the economy. This is a first-order crisis to which socialism, certainly as conceived and practised over the past 100 years, is no plausible answer.

But equally, nobody can dare argue that the solution is to press ahead with yet more of the free-market capitalism that has laid Britain and the west so low. The simple-minded nostrums that have poured from the great American neocon thinktanks have been tried and found wanting. An ideological vacuum coincides with the most testing economic times for decades.

We need vision and visionaries – but what we have is journeymen espousing bankrupt world views.

define a good life

via Harvard Business Review:
Is a Well-Lived Life Worth Anything?

We are the creators of the future. Because we are the inheritors of a tradition not just older — but more humanistic, constructive, nuanced, dynamic, and perhaps just a little bit wiser — than we know.

A good life today? It’s been vacantly reduced to the frenzied sport of buying ‘consumer goods’ — more, bigger, faster, cheaper, now.

But the foundational idea that ignited the art of human organization in the first place just might have been eudaimonia — and today’s opulence is just its clumsy, hurried streetside caricature, empty of depth, shorn of meaning, bereft of the essence of what make us human, void of the hunger to create a better world for humanity. Somewhere along the way, sometime on the journey — perhaps for the best of reasons — we lost it. Let’s get it back. —Umair Haque

jobs destroyer

Romney says his Bain experience shows he knows how to create jobs. A closer examination paints a different picture….

Under Romney, Bain became one of the nation’s top leveraged-buyout firms…. Boston-based Bain acquired more than 115 companies.

Romney and his team maximized returns by
♦ firing workers,
♦ exploiting government subsidies, and
♦ flipping companies for large profits

Ruthlessly, some of his deals slid into bankruptcy in order to extract profits.


What’s the NY Times say?

So Mr. Romney made his fortune in a business that is, on balance, about job destruction rather than job creation. And because job destruction hurts workers even as it increases profits and the incomes of top executives, leveraged buyout firms have contributed to the combination of stagnant wages and soaring incomes at the top that has characterized America since 1980.

Now I’ve just said that the leveraged buyout industry as a whole has been a job destroyer, but what about Bain in particular? Well, by at least one criterion, Bain during the Romney years seems to have been especially hard on workers, since four of its top 10 targets by dollar value ended up going bankrupt. (Bain, nonetheless, made money on three of those deals.) That’s a much higher rate of failure than is typical even of companies going through leveraged buyouts — and when the companies went under, many workers ended up losing their jobs, their pensions, or both.

So what do we learn from this story? Not that Mitt Romney the businessman was a villain. Contrary to conservative claims, liberals aren’t out to demonize or punish the rich. But they do object to the attempts of the right to do the opposite, to canonize the wealthy and exempt them from the sacrifices everyone else is expected to make because of the wonderful things they supposedly do for the rest of us.

The truth is that what’s good for the 1 percent, or even better the 0.1 percent, isn’t necessarily good for the rest of America — and Mr. Romney’s career illustrates that point perfectly.

rethink ignorant

Quote # 1:

“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.” —Aristotle

Quotes # 2:

“Start with the following two facts: Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.” —Newt Gingrich