Thursday, May 31, 2012

Expect Experience at Bain Capital to be the Bane of the Unemployed

I know, I know, others got to this obvious pun on the
Mittster's previous business experience way before me;
nevertheless, its catchiness has deep legs. How does
this man and his supporters say, seriously, that his Bain
Capital resume would help a putative president Romney
create jobs? So laying off 750 employees at one point
in this merger acquisition, highly leveraged, dependent
on personal philosophy-styled environment is a job
CREATION dynamic? --Double speak is what it IS,
there's no "depending on the definition of is" possibility.

If Mitt's background involved a small start up, say,
initially employing less than ten but expanding over
time to 100 then 1,000, I could somewhat support
his contention of positive, applicable experience to
help the U.S. in its lingering, dispiriting unemployment
malaise. "Somewhat" is the correct qualifier, as private
enterprise has rarely helped the average citizen in
economically troubled times.

It has been the U.S. government at the highest levels
which created mass work projects and advanced the
technical and living standards here: who doesn't know
that? Right wingers "probably" (that's as far as I'll accord
sense to them) do, but just don't like it, as they simply
have little interest in lifting all boats, or helping people
they don't know and don't like (-strangers). Of course
they can't say so publicly, but how does double speak
serve to get them and theirs elected?--Only if ~60%
of voters have IQs below 100.

-Who authorized the Hoover Dam? --Employing untold
numbers? President Hoover, (R)
-Who authorized the U.S. Highway system?--Employing
untold numbers? President Eisenhower, (R)
-Who authorized national public works projects in the
'30s-'40s depression era, employing many thousands?
President Franklin Roosevelt, (D)....
[Just a reminder, the Great Depression ended BEFORE
the U.S. entrance into WWII in 1941.]
The list, the details and the caveats go on, but just this
small citing should be enough to give the lie to the liars.

Even being properly wary of prognostications, things
looks good for Mitt to be "it": he'll flub much in
his debates with President Obama, perhaps (-please!)
give the Republican VP nominee spot to Mr. Trump.
Anyone's sustained experience tells everyone else
what sort such a one is: Mitt and money?
Romney puts capital over community, almost always.

Beware the bane of the unemployed if this Bain Capital
product becomes president: he'd also be the pain to the
best and the rest of us.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Beware "Public" Servants Who Read, Admire Ayn Rand

After a whirlwind mini-survey of classical term
definitions, I had a eureka moment: Ayn Rand's
"objectivism" (subjectivism) is really nothing more
than old/new fashioned hedonism. In her case, she
and her circle weren't merely Epicurean, following
a modest, even acetic life, eschewing politics; she
and hers had quite the high and intimate old/new

Grating on the good, even going against the good, is
what we got with Jamie Dimon, Alan Greenspan
(before their mea culpa) Ken Lewis, Paul Ryan et al.
Whatever brand of hedonism one follows, the upshot
is unconcern for the general welfare, warfare against
it at times, in the drive to attain pleasure. THEIR
pleasure is to get and stay rich, denying thought
toward the day they will be held accountable for
various immoral/illegal deeds.

So Cicero was right: all reasonably capable adults
have a civic duty to participate honorably, morally,
intelligently and responsibly in public life. With
around 310 million souls residing in the nation,
beware electing hedonistic legislators unconcerned
with our shared public places, spaces, life and each
other. They are constitutionally, philosophically
incapable of solving our common problems, indeed,
inimical to the greater good.

It has been Rand or Rand-like ideas which have
brought the greatest economic suffering to the U.S.
in modern times. ( The rise of the radical right-wing
economists here is related.) Looking for a great rep
or senator? Find out what the candidate reads: if he/
she loves Ayn Rand, look elsewhere for a public spirited,
public servant.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Police 1, Protesters 0: The Cowardice of a Few Tarnishes the Many, Once Again

As of Monday morning, May 21st in Chicago, it is all but
over: The fear-mongering media hype, the over-reaction
of the authorities, the unacceptable behavior of a relative
few in the crowds of protesters, it's over. This morning
the announced activities were to be "victory" celebrations,
food, music, an outdoor party, in other words. Commuting
to jobs in the Loop was uneventful, almost deserted, both
by protesters and workers. Many protesters who obviously
think of this as a media-recorded party, thinly garbed in
"serious" polemic, stayed/slept in 'til later, wanting to be
fresh for fun. No one thought to design dignity into their
strategic planning, unlike Gandhi and King who DID
dignify AND change the world.

And make no mistake, much of this WAS for fun, for
dramatis personae, to meet with others of similar
philosophical persuasions. Sprinkled in their midst were/are
anarchists, who don't have a positive plan save for disruption/
destruction. Anyone masked as anonymous was merely
showing fear and cowardice, not peaceful people power
confronting entrenched evil.

2012 is NOT 1968 in Chicago, when police brutally overreacted.
Still, even then, if someone had thrown a baggie full of human
excrement at me, I think I would have had to slap the offender,
even thrown a punch. (Restraint is one thing, weakness is
another.) I saw stick beating of a police officer on the side of
his head, knocking off his glasses. What does such behavior
have to do with the justified complaints against the U.S. Congress
and Wall Street, the cozy collusion of the two creating the Great
Recession of 2008?

The numbers attached to this entire scenario were all small--
modest numbers of protesters of any stripe, very few injuries
whether to police or demonstrators, very little property damage.
The media acted as if there were 100,000 when apparently not
even 10,000 showed up to "party". The mayor's minions and
Rah-monster himself heightened the hype with permit denials
and remonstrating macho public language.

I resent the public behaviors of the present day. In the late '50s
to the early '80s when I demonstrated, we did not occupy any
doorways, buildings, sidewalks or streets. We did not use profane
language, employ weapons of any kind, nor any disgusting drek
to inflame situations. We did use the sit-down tactic, did have
protest signs, did march peacefully with parade permits. The
media rarely covered us; at one point, we had about 35,000
in Grant Park. When university doorways and buildings were taken
over, I wasn't/would never be with them. Chaining myself to
property not my own is not my idea of an effective effort either.

--Change the world? --The greatest good for the greater number?
The third weekend of May in Chicago was an embarrassment for
"Occupy" and a loss of revenue for the city:

Police 1, Protesters 0, even if most of it was peaceful.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"My Cabinet Made Me Do It." (--?)

No, Mr. Obama didn't actually use this phrase publicly
(as far as I know), but it immediately popped into mind
after I'd been following his "evolving" on the issue of
whether to support Equal Marriage, as his VP did, and
others in his administration have. Where is his leadership,
or even exquisite use of language the man is often lauded
for? He seemed weak and evasive, frankly, and I feel
he was delaying his answer due to a protracted political
calculus concerning his re-election. (But better late
than never....)

This president is an improvement over his predecessor,
yes, but a saintly visionary?--No. He is all too human,
too interested in being popular, not courageous enough
to try Lyndon Johnson's moves (or even Ralph
Yarborough's) to be effective. Both of these Texans
were masters at bringing both houses of Congress to
heel when they deemed it necessary. Thanks to them,
Lyndon in particular, African Americans were accorded
the full legal and political rights as citizens denied to them
for 100 years after a war had purportedly decided the
question...and after brave blacks took to the streets to insist
upon what was long overdue.

But the various, venal and vicious vapidities abound: why
does anyone think they have the right to say what consenting
adults do, as long as these adults aren't harming anyone?
--Finding something offensive or distasteful or strange doesn't
harm those who hold such opinions; it's high time everyone rises
to that realization. Why is traditional (hetero) marriage said to be
"under attack"? (The gay community is NOT actively seeking
to recruit you or anyone else, Mitt, get over yourself!) Must
everyone walk in lockstep, looking alike, quoting and adulating
the same books and practices, reminiscent of Communist
Chairman Mao and his little Red Book?


I'm tempted to vote a straight Green Party ticket in November--
After decades of the two establishment political parties I'd like to
try something else. But no cabinet (or cabal) will be
making me do it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dimon "Chasened", a la Greenspan

Greenspan finally lamented his laissez faire Randian
"irrational exuberance"; Chase's Jamie Dimon, a rough
cut "gem" of a pro-business exponent, has now followed
suit. Dimon admits he and his were "sloppy" when it
came to economic profit sustainability, due to Chase's
over-investing in unregulated derivatives (STILL are
unregulated even after it's become known that credit default
swaps, derivatives, etc. played major roles in the Great
Recession of 2008 and Beyond). But boy oh boy, was he ever
strident and shrill heretofore, so sure what was good for
Chase was good for the country. Chase stock, as of May 11th,
took a 9% bath after Jamie's mea culpa.

The SEC is "investigating". And WHERE, may I ask, have they
been up to now?? I say, investigate the SEC, the FED, et al,
an overly cozy, incestuous business bunch of blustering bs-ers
--just follow the revolving doors of their appointments and
careers: NYC is just like DC.

How about a federal Open Meetings Act, one that includes
all of the U.S. Congress? --That includes bank lobbyists
meeting with same? Wouldn't that just take the wind out of some
of these characters' sails?

Too many questions, so few real current answers. Here's a
good bet: if Jamie Dimon is "Chasened", others of his and
Ken Lewis' ilk can't be far behind.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Not Nearly as Good as Takeout: Outtake Outrage

I've been mulling and muttering for over a week about the latest
atrocity by The City of Chicago and our local electronic media did the TV stations dare to request the Hudson Family
Murders' 911 tape? How could the Office of Emergency
Management release it? The stations' motivation was simply
a venal, jaded interest in infotainment shock TV, but the OEMC
should surely show more intelligence and compassion than this:

(1) There was NO news or educational value to the tape, which I
heard more than once, so as to be sure of the facts before
placing calls, firing off emails, and blogging HERE....unless

(2) One wants proof that 911 dispatchers are sometimes clearly
not up to the job: this one did NOT respond with alacrity, accuracy
or even human compassion to Julia Hudson Balfour, who I
managed to understand quite clearly, even if the male 911
operator didn't. He asked her what happened after she distinctly
cried out several times about encountering her mother dead on
the floor, blood near her head, etc. This man appeared dazed,
disinterested, drugged. He did NOT say anything calming, focus
redirecting, etc. (That was the suggestion when I called to complain.)

All this left me with a bad taste in my mouth, a far cry from
restaurant takeout. Too bad the TV "deciders" didn't turn
this outrage into an outtake before air time.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan, et al: Following Fiction into Reality

....As did Alan Greenspan, Mr. "Irrational Exuberance"
himself, another admirer of Ms. Rand. I've never understood
how enjoying The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged or her other
works translates into a credible, sensible prescription for
real life. This phenomenon is similar to Scientology, a "religion"
founded by another fantasist, sci fi writer Ron Hubbard.

Ms. Rand called her highly subjective, individual always-comes
-first philosophy "objectivism". (Yet another unpalatable idea
dressed up by naming it as a noble notion, a la the Emperor's
New Clothes. Nothing's new about either of these fictions.)

The one versus the many is a complex conundrum, endlessly
to be renegotiated; it was ever thus. How can anyone not know
this? Often the many must prevail over the one, in the interest of
justice and stability over chaos. But fairly often as well, the one
will win out, due to truth, justice, and eventual stability over
chaos. Human life has a see-saw quality to it, or a set of scales.
Policies and practices pointing us all toward a more practical
and humane civilization have reflected that reality, must continue
to be based on such an understanding.

Otherwise, Ayn Rand's architect Roark won't have any clients to
build his designs for.