Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Perfect Warrior

General Fursthammer entered the research facility for his 10 AM meeting with Dr. Negron-Omikon. The USA needed the perfect weapon if it were to regain its supremacy in a world gone mad, and that is precisely what Dr. Negron-Omikon promised to deliver. Although his past results had been, at best, erratic, there was no question of his creative genius or of his ability to produce concrete results on time and under budget.

Which is why General Fursthammer had some mild concerns: this project was a month late and 7.63% over budget. It was not Negron-Omikon’s style. What else was not according to his style?

Dr. Negron-Omikon greeted the general with joyous good news. “This project is an unqualified success! You are so fortunate! Today is the day the perfect weapon comes into being, for the benefit of the glorious armies of the USA!”

“I’ll be the judge of that.” Continue reading

The Demise of the Texter

Having just seen a set of videos of people falling into ponds and walking off subway platforms while texting, being a non-adopter of technology may prove to be an emerging evolutionary trait. Once all the quick adopters are killed off through successive waves of increasingly immersive technology, the ones left will be those that instinctively avoid gimmicks, which means marketers are doomed to extinction in the long run.

As additional evidence to support my point, the number of vehicular drownings has increased significantly as GPS devices gain wider use. That’s right. People drive right into lakes, oblivious to their surroundings and attentive only to the GPS voice.

Forget Skynet and Terminators: our computer overlords will just give us Angry Birds and texting.

Abstinence and Ebola

Uganda has another outbreak of Ebola. The president there is asking everyone to refrain from touching anyone else for the duration of the outbreak. That is the only 100% certain way to avoid contracting the virus. If you’re currently touching Ugandans, you need to stop, NOW.

However, if you want to continue touching Ugandans, take precautions. Cover yourself head-to-toe in a biological warfare protection system. That should limit your exposure to Ebola.

This outbreak is serious business, and I truly do hope its impact is limited.

Becoming Intelligent

Just as the G8 leaders posed for a commemorative photograph, the aliens appeared. Seven of them, fur-covered conical mounds with a dozen tentacles, each with an assortment of metallic devices.

Amid the gasps and exclamations, three of the aliens waved metal tubes, freezing the leaders’ bodyguards in mid-motion. A fourth alien waved a tentacle high above the top of his body mass and then squeezed tightly on a mass of spheres and octahedrons.

“Hello, cephalopoidal quadrupeds! We mean you absolutely no pain, infection, contusions, hematomas, dermal abrasions, or other forms of physical harm. We hope that our arrival will not result in mental anguish, angst, worry, or other forms of emotional damage, but we cannot guarantee your reaction. We hope for the best. We would like to know which one of you is pre-eminent, that we might discuss the fate of your world with that person as a negotiator with unlimited authority.” Continue reading

A Nauseating Endorsement

I’m going to have to vote for Obama and his associated gang of criminals come November. I say that because I cannot support Romney, due to the fascists in his close camp. Yes, I know that for the most part Obama and Romney themselves are virtually the same. However, it’s the people close to them that give me the pause that I have.

Both will bend over backwards to accommodate Wall Street. That’s a lost cause, as far as I’m concerned. The only way we’ll see Wall Street reigned in is if they don’t get Obama re-elected and he takes them down with him in his lame duck period.

So what about foreign policy? Romney’s got John Bolton in his corner, and that’s what made me come down against him. I hereby withdraw my offer to be his VP. This Bolton guy is a real spook, and I can’t be in the same room with him.

He’s been involved in Iran-Contra, denying reparations to Japanese-Americans interned during WW2, and has previously been owned by Taiwan. Bolton’s also one of the brain trust that decided it would be a great idea to lie to the American people to get the nation to invade Iraq. Bolton was also the guy that kept one and all from knowing the truth behind the connections between the CIA and international drug running back in Reagan’s days. The man is a fascist in cahoots with drug dealers, and that won’t do, see?

I’m very disappointed in Obama’s listless administration, but at the end of the day he’s still marginally better than Bush II. Romney’s embrace of the neocons would make him as bad as or worse than Bush II.

Of course, I live in Texas, so my vote probably won’t count. But I have a principle to uphold: I have to fight Fascism, even if it’s a losing battle.

This Better Not Get Me Fired

The only way to guarantee that you will not get hit by a car is to lock yourself in a building, such as a house, and remain only in rooms that are not adjacent to the street or driveway. Abstinence from cars is the only way to prevent getting hit by cars. Don’t even get close to them because the risk exists when you get in their company.

If, however, you choose to engage in risky behavior like crossing streets, then be sure you limit your risk by looking both ways before you cross the street. Don’t step out suddenly into the street, particularly from behind a parked car or truck. Cross the street quickly and don’t engage in crazy forms of street crossing, like interstate highways or six-lane busy streets. Cross at the crosswalks, especially on busy roads. I’d rather you not cross the street at all, but if you do, do it safely. Limit your risks.

And if you want to drive, well, I’ll still love you even if you make that choice. But, please, PLEASE, wear a seat belt. Observe general traffic conditions, drive safely, don’t speed. And for goodness’ sake, DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE. Again, abstinence from driving is the only way to be 100% sure you’re not going to get killed by a car, but if you are going to drive, you need to drive safely. Limit your risks.

My advice can be analogous for other kinds of risky behavior.

Am I Still in Russia?

I came home from Russia to see a news report of how Joe Paterno is being consigned to the memory hole. His public legacy is being effaced. His memory will not live on: like Leon Trotsky, he’s becoming a non-person in his homeland.

Then I saw a report about how gangsters in suits are running the nation from their big bank boardrooms. Kleptocracy is alive and well and is in Jamie Dimon’s guest house.

The food is better here, but that’s a superficial difference. I still feel like I’m under surveillance by an authoritarian government that maintains the trappings of democracy. And then, just as I wrote that, a propaganda blast from AARP broadcast itself to me. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t bombarded with propaganda in Russia, except in their Victory museums. So I suppose that’s the difference I needed to know about: if I’m under surveillance in a nation run by gangsters in suits where people can go down the memory hole, I could be anywhere. If, however, I’m being bombarded by unlimited corporate propaganda, then I’m in the USA.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

I’m a believer, a big fan, and very, very pleased with my shipment of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. They’re made humanely and sustainably and the company shares its profits with its workers and the poor in a huge way. This is what a corporation should be like: not one obsessed with getting unholy dollars of revenue, but rather filled with a purpose to make an excellent product and to use the profits to benefit the world.

I saw two documentaries recently: one on Dr. Bronner’s and one on Monsanto. Dr. Bronner’s people used their knowledge of chemistry to produce things that are safe and clean, in safe and clean ways. Monsanto has done things to poison the world’s food supply – genes from their corn have gotten into peasant corn stocks in central Mexico, leaving those crops vulnerable to pests, diseases, and weeds unless those peasants buy Monsanto’s chemicals to sustain their crops. The farmers in Mexico have no choice in the matter: Monsanto’s genes made their way through wind-borne pollen. Monsanto is poisoning the world food supply, and that is but one example of it.

Dr. Bronner’s people know we have one world and that we are all one. I love reading the labels because so much of what is on them is true. I don’t go along with all of it, but I’m right there with him when he says we are all together in this and that we have a moral duty in our lives.

I believe in an afterlife, but I’m not sure exactly how it’s organized. I imagine vast halls filled with comfy chairs for the good and the just, where they get to sit and chat with each other and have a wonderful time. Then, there will be school cafeteria tables, complete with hard, backless, immovable stools for all the Nazis, teevee preachers, conservative talk radio hosts with drug habits, crooked politicians, and other “all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly, horrible people” as Arlo Guthrie described the “Group W Bench” in his classic, Alice’s Restaurant.

Which reminds me. I should write something about Alice’s Restaurant. I’ll do that in another article.

So who has to sit at the Nazi table? Monsanto’s executives, because they were just following orders from shareholders, CEOs, and scared men that thought money or power would save their souls.

Who gets to hang out in the comfy chairs with the nice people? Dr. Bronner and the good folks at his soap factory. They were following orders of a different sort, the kinds of orders that we all need to be following.

Time to wash up!

On LIBOR and Plutocracy

Just after I posted the article about the rigging of the municipal bond market, we saw a story break that 18 major banks have been rigging the all-important LIBOR interest rate for at least since 2003, probably for decades. The same financial industry has also committed massive mortgage fraud, engaged in CDS fraud, financial rating rigging, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

These are the same guys that are buying elections, from state houses on up to the presidency. They own the nation. This is not some wild-eyed suspicion. Look at the numbers: THEY OWN THE NATION. Ask Jack Abramoff: THEY OWN THE NATION. We have a plutocracy, firmly in place, and we have a diverting safety valve in the form of show elections.

What will end this? One day, a president will be sick and tired of how the bankers treated him as they bankroll his opponent heavily. That president will then enact some executive orders to bring in the heads of those financial heads and bring them to heel. Throughout history, in conflicts between money power and armed power, armed power wins.

I’m going to be traveling to Russia this week. I will see a nation that had a brief plutocracy before Putin won the showdown between money and arms. I feel like I’ll be traveling to America’s future. It’ll be interesting what I see there, in a land that might just reflect what awaits us tomorrow.

I Need to Make a Correction in My Teachings…

… as it turns out, I wasn’t paranoid enough. To all my former Economics students, I apologize.

It seems as though the major banks have been colluding to rig the main interest rate in the world, the LIBOR, for their fun and profit since 2005. That means the guys that kept hollering the loudest to let the market decide efficient outcomes were in a back room, letting their own greed decide the best outcome for themselves, no matter who they killed to get it.

These guys that demand there be no regulations because banks can self-regulate are also the first to claim innocence when their banks are caught doing heinous things. Why? They claim there’s no way they can watch over all the far-flung operations of their banks.

When guys like that pulled stunts like that in the Roman Republic, the senators there passed ex post facto laws that made stuff like that retroactively illegal and then had the culprits sewn up in bags full of snakes and then tossed into the Tiber. The British Parliament considered a similar course in the wake of the South Sea Bubble of 1721, but chose instead to personally fine each man involved in that financial crisis. In the USA, we can’t do ex post facto laws and corporations have limited liability – the perfect combination for the perfect crime, one in which the government itself is a partner.

So, in sum, interest rates are not set by the market. They are set by gangsters that are out to get every last bit of your money. I’ll be teaching that from now on.