Monthly Archives: October 2010

An October 2012 Surprise?

Iran may be the unlucky recipient of a US attack in 2012. This would come right around the run-up to the election, so as to present the most patriotic side of things. The Congress is likely to be deadlocked after the mid-terms, so Obama’s not likely to get a domestic victory to base his re-election hopes on. In foreign policy, Afghanistan and Iraq don’t offer opportunities, Palestine is usually a negotiating hole, and China and Russia can bite back. Iran is weak and “could have a nuclear weapon.”

Read the linked article and discuss. But that’s my call: if Obama’s popularity numbers aren’t good enough for re-election in 2012, look for them to surge when he reluctantly has to start bombing Iran.

Putting It All Together

BP. Goldman Sachs. Lehman Brothers. AIG. Enron. Bear Stearns. Ameriquest. Tyco. Worldcom. Merrill Lynch. All of these companies and more profited greatly from lax regulation in industrialized nations and outright running riot in poor nations, or the poorer parts of industrialized nations. Yes, a lack of regulation is good for business. It’s even more amazing for criminal operations. Making a nation friendly for business often means leaving it wide open to criminal exploitation.

These huge corporations and their bretheren have huge piles of cash which they can use to influence politics. They invest funds in supporting campaigns. They provide contributions, legal and illegal, to congressmen in exchange for favors. They push legislation they want in order to make more profits than ever before. They ignore the crimes they commit by forcing others to pay their costs or bear the consequences of their evil, selfish decisions. The level of criminality in the boardrooms of major corporations is mirrored in the criminality in the Congress and the management of regulatory agencies. The levels of corruption in the USA have long been well-hidden, but are now obvious to me to be worse than anything I’ve heard of in Nigeria, Russia, or China.

The corruption is endemic in both government and boardrooms. Neither operates for the benefit of the nation, but only for the benefit of the ultra-wealthy. The same Congress that expressed concerns in public that the banking industry had gone too far secretly passed a bill that would give that same industry even more power, choosing to use a voice vote to mask which legislators supported such a measure. The same banking industry that promised to get the US economy back on its feet after receiving $1.5 trillion in bailouts has so far invested out of the country, bought up other banks, or parked their bailouts in treasury bonds. This is just recent news: past crimes would only make this post longer and more rambling than it needs to be.

The key to each scandal, to each looting of the poor to benefit the rich, is in the salient fact that the leaders of the USA have given themselves over to the worship of money. It is their God. Money is a God of War, a God of Hate, a God of Pride. We may try to justify the worship of money in the name of capitalism or free markets or as some form of self-centered Calvinistic entitlement that is our just due, but when we strip away the veneer of patriotic love of free markets, we see the worship of money at the heart of it all.

There is a way to survive without money. One must first reject the lure of money in order to be prepared to survive without it. One must first have faith that there is a better way to live before one can find that better way to live. Yes, this is getting mystical and obscure, but that’s what happens when one rejects money. One finds something better, something eternal that resonates in the heart and mind, that resonates in the soul.

The world of BP, Enron, Lehman, Ameriquest, AIG, Goldman Sachs, and every other megacorporation is not a world that cares about human life or dignity. It seeks to convert every possible thing into profit. Its servants, the worshippers of money, subvert the governments of men. If the government is strongest, they join it to gain by corruption, as they did in the former USSR. If the business world is strongest, they join that to gain by corruption, as they did in the current USA. They will mock and tear down anything not of their world, then buy and sell everything in their world for their own profit. They will leave behind the husks of men, women, and children they either used as raw materials or who they tricked into serving them with violence towards their fellow humans.

The greatest enemy of humanity is money. That’s what I get when I put it all together. Money is the physical representation of evil. All the frauds, pollutions, and crimes corporations have committed against humanity stem from a desire to get more money. If any crusading atheists want to make themselves useful, they should turn their activity to destroy belief upon those that worship money. We can’t prove or disprove the existence of God, but we can prove the existence of money and that it is an evil thing. We know that. We should deal with that first.

For any crusading Christians that want to make themselves useful, they should remember what Jesus taught and take no thought for the morrow but seek instead to do God’s work: aiding the sick, helping the poor, supporting the elderly. Same for anyone in any other religion: look to the origins of your belief, and there is a nonviolent heart, dedicated towards getting people to forget serving themselves and instead thinking about others first.

As for the USA, I don’t have good hope for it. The criminals that worship money have taken over. Look at any department of government, and you’ll see it run by people sympathetic to the ones they regulate. The elected officials are all beholden to those with money and not the people they serve. They all follow the false teachings of money and will shout down anyone that tells them the truth about the need for balance in their lives and equations. They truly believe they can have profit without end simply by making more and more money, but they are blind to the fact that their systems all have an end – and that the more debt a nation acquires as it heads toward that end, the more bitter and destructive that end will be.

When I add in global instabilities, I see even more potential for sadness born of greed and pride. I truly wonder if I will see the cities of my land burn in destruction during my lifetime.

I’m not going to end with some sad, “do something about it!” quip. The solution is not in getting mad and trying to change the system. The solution is in exiting the system and never coming back to it. Once enough of us refuse to participate in the system that demands we all buy and sell and never give of our own free will, then it will no longer have power over us.

Until such a time comes, I am working on the one thing I can control – myself. I refuse to turn to violence to solve the problem of evil. The wicked will destroy the wicked. The righteous and just will convert the wicked with their love – or move to a place where the wicked can not reach. The wicked will try to say that such a place does not exist, in order to further their control in the world. Such a place does exist, and one finds it with pure, unselfish love. Let go of hate, let go of anger, let go of pride. I used to want to be rich, but now I know it is a curse and desire it no more.

For the Love of Money

WHAT IS THIS I DONT EVEN Read it and weep, then discuss. It’s an account of the criminality in the subprime mess: don’t you even try to blame the borrowers. The lenders would get a signature on some innocuous form and then forge that on a variable-rate mortgage with all its attendant papers. Not just once, but often. Federal regulators let all this slide because they were either understaffed, shifted to other departments, or co-opted by their bosses hired from the financial world.

Robot (Endhiran)

Wow. Just Wow. This movie has it all, almost. Well, it didn’t have ninjas or pirates or space aliens, but it made up for that with robot zombies and a giant robot robot. Great music, fun dancing, and some amazing visual effects. The best part about it was that the climax didn’t involve just one master plan that would knock out the baddies. Instead, the big finish involved a huge number of twists and the last 30 minutes are non-stop, very satisfying action.

Oddly enough, the movie left me thinking as I walked out. The very end of the end features an interesting exploration of what it means to be truly human – or not – as happens in all robot movies. As a film, Robot draws in elements from all other robot movies, from Metropolis on down to Terminator, with a touch of Frankenstein and a dab of Edward Scissorhands. The action sequences definitely contain nods to chopsocky films, as well as the slick stylizations of Russia’s Nochnoi Dozor and Dnevnoi Dozor. It even has an awesome quote just before a baddie administers a massive beatdown: “Happy Diwali, everyone!” (Gratuitous explosions and mayhem follow.)

Looks like I came back to the action, but I can’t also forget the love story and how it showed the way the ugly side of humans comes through. Loved it. The script is full of intelligent turns and twists and the whole experience is massively entertaining, even the 30 second title sequence that introduces “Superstar Rajni.” Must see, four stars, five forks, has a great beat and makes you want to dance, fun for the whole family over the age of 15 because it’s pretty intense and I’m definitely buying the DVD when it comes out. Multiple thumbs up.

Yay for the Pocket Veto

Obama will pocket veto a bad law. Congress is out of session, which means any bill Obama doesn’t sign won’t become a law, as per the Constitution. The law in question allows for acceleration of foreclosures on homes, which is something the USA does not need right now. Maybe the bankers need it, but the people don’t. The bankers built their system, now they have to live with it.

Ubuntu Cola Go there and check out a cool video about the concept of Fair Trade. It’s not some commie propaganda. It’s actually something of an antidote to the oligopolies we have today, the ones Adam Smith warned us about. In fact, Fair Trade is exactly what Smith wanted us to have. So watch and learn!

Computers in 1982

“One of the most interesting new computers, both as a piece of machinery and as a specimen of capitalism in action, is the Osborne I. Its creator is Adam Osborne, an author of computer books who decided to break the price on-computers. The Osborne I is a very strange-looking piece of equipment. When folded up, it resembles a bulky white briefcase; it is advertised as the only computer that will fit underneath an airline seat. When unfolded, it looks like an outdated military radio. It comes with a full-sized keyboard, a 64K memory, two disk drives, and software for word-processing and accounting that would cost more than $1,000 if bought separately. Osborne offers the whole package for $1,795, which makes it the best bargain on computer power in the business. The catch is that the built-in screen is about the size of a postcard, although it is much easier to read than that would suggest. For an extra $300, you can buy a normal-sized monitor and attach it to the Osborne.

In a perfect world, everyone who had a home computer would also have an Osborne to travel with. According to dealers, Osbornes are selling so fast that many people must have decided that it makes sense not just as their second computer but as their first.

The Otrona Corporation also makes a portable computer, called the Attache. It is smaller and lighter than the Osborne (less than twenty pounds, versus the Osborne’s twenty-three), it has dual-density disk drives, and its higher-resolution screen displays a full eighty-character line, instead of the Osborne’s fifty-two. Its only drawback is that, at $3,995, it costs more than twice as much as the Osborne.

One other tip on hardware: If you live in a climate less humid than Panama’s, you must invest $100 in an anti-static mat to place under your desk. If you don’t, in wintertime you’ll get shocks of static electricity when you touch your machine. There is always the possibility that this will erase what you’re working on at the time.”

From The Atlantic Monthly, 1982: Article here.