Monthly Archives: March 2010

Who Needs Voting?

Louise Slaughter is the CAGW’s “Porker of the Month” for using her power as chair of the House Rules Committee to create a fudge that allowed the House to pass a bill without voting on it.

I would personally like to thank Ms. Slaughter for pulling this stunt right before I was set to discuss the following terms in my Government class: Speaker of the House, House Rules Committee, Committee System, and Pork Barrel. When I talk about how a bill can become law, I’ll be sure to add a fillip for the Slaughter Rule.

The Richest Persons in America, 2009

1. Exxon Mobil
2. Wal-Mart Stores
3. Chevron
4. ConocoPhillips
5. General Electric
6. General Motors
7. Ford Motor
8. AT&T
9. Hewlett-Packard
10. Valero Energy

Surprised to not see Bill Gates or a Walton or Warren Buffet on the list? Those persons have nothing on the persons listed above. Bear in mind, that, thanks to a bit of perjury before the Supreme Court by the author of the 14th Amendment, corporations are persons in the USA. That makes Mr. ExxonMobil the richest person in America. Move over flesh and blood, there are richer persons than you’ll ever be that walk abroad in the land.

Why No Tobacco Recall?

The news this morning went on about how a company recalled all its baby sling carriers because three children had suffocated in them. Clearly, the product was dangerous to its users and did not belong on the market. So why no similar recall for tobacco products?

Is it a timing issue? Are we cool with products that, although proven to be dangerous, do not result in instant death? Or is there another angle on the issue?

I went to and did a lookup of Phillip Morris, USA. It’s connected to the Altria Group, Inc, which I’ve linked here. Opening up Altria’s connections, and it soon becomes flush with pharmaceutical companies, governments both state and national, alcohol companies, and connections to the Trilateral Commission. It’s a conspiracy nut’s paradise, I tell you, with apologies to the conspiracy nuts, as it now seems you are right.

Tobacco companies have deep and insidious connections to government. Although the corporation itself has no parts or passions, those who serve it do. These servants are motivated by profits and profits alone, even if they must subvert the democracy of the USA and murder its citizens in order to do it.

A small company with unsafe products must close its doors. A large company with unsafe products must open its money bags.

Ryan Perrio, Comedian

Perrio’s a comic that performs here in Dallas a lot. He’s a clever guy that really can deliver. Yes, I really mean it and no, he didn’t pay me to say that. I just think the guy deserves a little more notice and attention. Catch him when you can.

How Protectionism Makes Things Worse

Greece is having hard times. The Greeks hope they can export more stuff in order to earn more money.

The problem is that Greece isn’t the only nation trying to export and run a current account surplus. It’s not even the most successful of the neo-mercantilist states: look to Japan and China as champs in those roles. The US wishes it could export more stuff, though, and resents the way China keeps exporting everything from inside its borders that isn’t nailed down.

That’s the danger sign: resentment in trade issues. When the world economy is going through hard times, some nations can weather the storm better than others by running a current account surplus. It’s just that for every current account surplus, there has to be an equal and opposite deficit somewhere else. When the nations in deficit despair of ever running a surplus, they can turn to protectionist trade policies to at least stop running up the deficits.

When the protectionist barriers go up in one place, other nations follow suit to the point where world trade is choked off and no nation is running a current account surplus and all nations endure the brunt of those hard times.

It happened in the 1930s. There’s a possibility it happens in the 2010s. And when it does happen, it does not help the nations that ran a huge trade deficit – because there goes their current account surplus that was investing in their nation.

US-Israeli Relations: Time for a Divorce?

No, it’s not all the Jews’ fault. I want to get that right out: the security of the state of Israel is being betrayed by its politicians and the extremist factions they must cater to in order to remain in power. Got that? Politicians and extremists in Israel are endangering the state of Israel, its relationship with the US, and the people that live in Israel.

The current Israeli government expects to be able to swing the US’ military power around like it was its own. For the last 60+ years, the US has been funding Israel like a co-dependent mother paying for her son’s heroin habit, particularly so after Britain and France stepped away from Israel after the Suez debacle in 1956. Every time Israel has thrown a fit, the US has caved in to pressure from the AIPAC and given Israel what it needs. What does the US get in return?

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Follow Your Dreams?

I’m not going to name names on a personal level, but I’ve seen my share of people that inherit for a living. They’re the ones that get to follow their dreams unconditionally. I’ve got a number of students that are working as hard as they can to end the nightmares for them and their families. They don’t have the luxury of dreaming, not yet.

I’ve got plenty of friends that made a run at making the big time in the music industry. You have no idea how happy I am when I track down one of these late-80’s dreamers and find out he’s off the drugs and is making a living playing in bars all weekend long. Of all the bright young guys with Texas-sized hopes I knew back then, Robert Earl Keen’s made it the furthest up the music biz ladder, and he’ll be the first to admit there are a lot of others every bit as good as he is that the music business shot apart. You take every person with talent and big dreams born in a given year, line ’em up, and luck will choose one to rise up out of them all. Luck chooses maybe a baker’s dozen to never have to get their lives wrecked by alcohol or drugs, and the rest… the rest become casualties if they don’t stop dreaming.

Then you have the no-to-low-talents that become big names simply because they’re connected to pots of cash and/or a famous parent. Maybe they had no moral standards and managed to exploit that amorality to its fullest potential… whatever. Be it a stage mom that never quit or a pile of cash that kept talking, there they are, on top of the world. The worst are the ones that are famous for being famous. Paris Hilton is perhaps the most egregious in that area. So much of success in any artistic field is not in mastering the creative process, but in dealing with the business side of things. If you don’t have connections to lawyers that can run amazing deals because of who they’re connected to, you got little to nothing left to go on.

Follow your dreams? How about taking a good, hard look at those dreams, hmm?

First of all, if you say you want to make a living with your art, ask which is more important, the living or the art? If it’s the living, you will likely wind up making that living, but you’ll compromise your art. The art is more important? Don’t quit your day job, buddy. And you better make darn sure you like that day job, because you’re going to make your living that way and your art’s going to remain a hobby.

Next, ask yourself, what is success? If it’s a pot of cash left over after you pay bills, then become a white-collar criminal. That’s the fastest, most effective way to make that money and chances are you won’t even go to jail. If you can’t stomach that, then you better consider success is dying with your soul intact. Success is in helping the weak and bringing smiles to the faces of people left broken by the guys that think success and money are connected.

I like to draw. Nothing wrong with that. I have friends that will ask me to draw a little something for them and I’ll dash off a pretty picture that isn’t really print-quality, but it looks nice. They say they like it, I get my audience, and everyone’s happy. Should they have to pay for that smile? Not if I’m having fun making the picture. That’s how I reason it and it works for me. In exchange for doing things for free whenever I have the time and feel like it, I don’t have to make a living with my art. The pressure’s off and I can enjoy the experience.

So have I given up on my dreams?

I don’t think so. I love teaching. That’s what I do. I love my family. That’s who I live with. I am satisfied with the spiritual side of my life and I can find plenty of intellectual stimulation. I’m doing fine. I’m 42 and I’ve got my life in a pretty decent balance. Not being hung up on material things is probably an important part of that balance, as is a feeling that I’ve found answers to a lot of The Big Questions and know that I’m finding answers to the rest.

I like drawing, but I don’t have to be hanging in a gallery. I like writing, but I don’t need to be on a display at a Borders. Because my life isn’t sucked into running after money, I have time to enjoy it. I’m free to follow my dreams, but that doesn’t mean I follow them irresponsibly.