Thursday, September 29, 2011

As the Cookie Crumbles: Algebra

One of the insights for which I am grateful to Howard Gardner's theory of multiple 'intelligences' is that it helped me to understand my own ineptitude with mathematics.

Not arithmetic. No, no...I went to Catholic grammar school. I can DO me some arithmetic! Them addin', an' subtractin' and multiplicatin and divising--I'm top o'de heap! I can do three-digit by three-digit multiplication in my head. I had to memorize the squares to 25. Estimating fractions is my MEAT. Everything was going FINE til sixth grade Algebra...

Just as my skill and courage surfing runs out at about 10 foot waves, so such skills as I possess in arithmetic exhaust themselves in "higher" mathematics. Especially algebra, which--for reasons I'll mention later--made calculus impenetrable to me.

"Algebra" is an Arabic word, around the root 'gebr,' which means (among other things) "to straighten." It became a component of the formal mathematics system devised by Arab mathematicians during the flowering of Muslim culture along the fringe of the Mediterranean in the 9-11th centuries, more or less.

The system, designated Al-gebr we'l mukabala, was formulated and formalized by one Mohammed ibn Musa Ab Jefar Al-Khwarizimi, sometime around 830, CE. It was in this way--through the Arabic expansion across the straits of Gibraltar, and in through Italy, that "the West" came to learn how to do decimals, among other things. The Muslim expansion is credited with preserving and developing the knowledge of the Greeks through the Dark Ages of pre-medieval Europe.

(Parenthetically: During the FIRST Gulf War, I recall seeing a debate between an officious, supercillious Brit and an Arab spokesperson for some institution or another, wherein, the Brit accused the Arab of being uncivilized, the arab replied, with wonderful aplomb: Civilized? Sir, WE were doing algebra while your ancestors were still painting themselves blue to make it rain.")

The first time anyone in the English-speaking world would have encountered the word, it would have had the form "Algebrist," and it would have identified the party being referred to as a "bone-setter."

Algebra is basically a puzzle-solving activity: you have a formula (one of the parts of the puzzle is determining which formula you need) and some values, and you have to figure out which values to plug in what slots in what formula, which is always the form "x = (Something). All the homework in the WORLD will not improve the facility of someone who does not have such a puzzle-solving aptitude to do the desired task.

It occurred to me one day that the only really practical application of algebra in 'everyday' life is in another mathematical activity: calculus. Algebra is the "grammar" of calculus. And calculus is the LANGUAGE of power. It is NOT in the interests of "power" that too very many people should understand just HOW it works. There are a lot of KINDS of knowledge, but the most useful is "know HOW."

That's one reason why it's often taught as if the student were a supplicant before the "mysteries." It's because "calculus," (a Latin word, meaning 'little stone,' used in tallying) is the branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series.

Any of those terms ring a bell, hippies? Wall Street bells?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

As the Cookie Crumbles: Gamesters

There was a clip from an edition of the (pretty savvy and useful) "Business Insider" blog from April 30, 2010, going around on the blogs today( linked below). It was revived I suppose because of its relevance as to the mind-set of the champagne partiers last Friday who mocked the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from their balconies. All part and parcel of the turmoil and potential conflict, the stage for which is being set on Wall Street and environs, that spark being lit perhaps even as I write, or you read/hear these words.

Eighteen mos ago, already, the 'traders' were perfecting their alibis...that of course having been already 36 months into the collapse they engineered and are STILL profiting from. Though they have resorted to it since time immemorial... You know the drill.

The gist of the argument is "You loved us when the Dow was at 14,000. You lived well BECAUSE of us. If you ever want to live well again, go away leave us the fuck alone! If you don't, we'll REALLY fuck you up, cuz that's what we DO: Fuck people up for fun and profit." I won't read it to you, because I'm not sure how long I could retain my equanimity, but it ends in this paragraph:
We aren't dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama & his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply…will he? and will they?" Read more.

These are the same, or nearly the same guys--and they're pressed from the same mold as--those ENRON energy traders who cackled obscenely and joked about grannies dying in the heat, as they instigated rolling black-outs all around California in the early Bush years, to drive the Governor from office and bolster their criminal enterprise's books, back when Ken Lay and that crowd was riding high.

Same crowd, even if the names are somewhat altered. The game's trhe same. Same agenda. They're gamblers, in the best way, as they see it.

I'd might be inclined to buy their argument, or some of it, except for one teeny little thing: the outright cheating and associated behaviors as much as "litereally" killed people with less thought than one would spend on a pest that one trod on. Another culture would call that criminal.

They're proud they gamed the system. They regard themselves as the cold-blooded realists, and regard the rest of us as little more/better than dispensable domestic animals to be disposed of as the needs of the owners dictate, regardless of the feelings of the children. It's a hard world out there, and they think--and reward--themselves as its masters.

I accord them all due respect for their accomplishments, though with a caveat: as long as when they fuck up, and get caught, they also pay a commensurate penalty: they get shot, dumped in a hole, and have a bag of quicklime poured in on top of 'em. That's how the PRC does it, with the guys (and gals) who get caught and cost "face" to the regime.

They're right: It's a deadly game. But they're not playing with their own skin. It's our lives that are the chips on the table. They're a bunch of tin-horn gamblers playing with the house's (that's "our") money.

They'd be more careful if they had anything REALLY at risk, cuz though 'deterence' is kind of a slippery slope, it does cut WAAAAY down on recidivism, doncha know, hippies?

Oh, yeah: Go buy a bumpersticker, a tank or a t-top at the store, too! We appreciate your support, more than we can say...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WWH ~~ As The Cookie Crumbles: Entitled!

The cookie flavor of the day is rich and sweet asnd textured. Entitlement!

I am NOT a financial analyst, or even close. I'm entirely too unserious to be 'trusted' on such important matters. I keep my bank balance in my head.

But even I know that the whole conversation about 'entitlements' is a rigged game, as George Lakoff has been reminding us for some years. It echoes precisely the Righturd/ wackloon/ fucknozzle slanders about the "Culture of Entitlement" that's been the standard rhetorical tactic to attack Social Security and other Gummint social safety-net programs since Reagan and before. "Google" it. It's constituent of the ancient Conservatoid canards about 'moral hazard," whereby it is asserted that it is dangerous to the spiritual well-being of the prolateriat if things go too EASILY for them. The idea is that privation builds character, you know?

Pres. Shamwow SEEMLESSLY adopted that rhetoric--consistent with his own sentiments, clearly, but inconsistent with such surviving "Democratic" values as there still are in public discourse--and conceded the terms of the argument to the GOPhux-- literally within DAYS of his nomination. Doing so was a calculated, pragmatic, political decision, a decision powered by expediency, but it was grotesquely unfair to the facts of the case.

Under most rules, if you have been offered a commodity in the marketplace, and you PAY for it, you are "ENTITLED" to it. A car, a meal, a suit of clothes: If you pay for 'em, you are entitled to enjoy 'em. With SocSec, we have not only contributed to Social Security, but employers did too. It totaled 15% of your income before taxes.

If (your earnings) averaged only 30K over your 49 year working life, that’s close to $220,500.

If you calculate the future value of $4,500 per year (yours & your employer’s contribution) {on that $30k/yr you averaged], at a simple 5% (less than what the govt. pays on the money that it borrows), after 49 years of working (me) you’d have $892,919.98.

Withdrawing only 3% per year, you would STILL receive $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30 years, and that’s with no interest paid on the undistributed capital. It's exactly like--in fact, for retirees, it IS-- a life insurance policy you DON'T have to die to collect, and which ISN'T gutted by the high salaries being deducted by the management thieves at the top.

That's how I understand it. If I have bungled it, please correct/forgive me.

They call Social Security and Medicare an "entitlement" as if that diminishes the justice of our claim to it, even though most of us have been paying for it all our working lives.

You want "undeserved entitlements?" Lemme remind you of the sweet deals the Congresscritters have crafted for THEMSELVES:
Cheap, highest-quality healthcare,
outrageous retirement packages,
67 paid holidays,
three weeks paid vacation (Did you know Congress can vote itself a vacation anytime it wants to?),
unlimited paid sick days, and
much much more?

Yeah, that's what I'd call "welfare," And they have the nerve to 'worry' about the 'moral hazard' of my meager entitlement?!!!!Entitlement? You fuukin betcher sweet ass, we're entitled. We paid cash for your social security insurance!!!! Just because the Gummint borrowed money out of the fund doesn't make your benefits somehow evanescent or tentative. Now when it’s time for to collect on our insurance, the government claims it is running out of money.

Oh! You didn't know Congress has been "borrowing" from the Social Security Trust fund for nearly 50 years? Why, you might ask, did and DOES the Congress borrow from the Social Security trust, in the first place? Why isn't it in that thing Al GOre wanted, the 'lock box,' sitting there for the benefit of those who contributed to it?

This answer is much the simplest one all day. One, three-letter word, in fact: WAR!

The Soc Sec fund was and is a honey-pot that Congress and Presidents could tap WITHOUT raising taxes, without leaving any fingerprints. Like the oil, it would NEVER Run out.

LBJ and a Dim Congress began it, as a way to finance their competing wars: the one in Vietnam and the "war on poverty" and other New Society programs.

About 15-20% of the so-called "national debt" consists in bonds created by the Treasure to underwrite those literally TRILLIONS of dollars in loans FROM the SocSec fund over those decades.

And now you, see--funny thing, ain't it, hippies--that the Gummint --the institution, owned bag and baggage by the Elites, oligarchs and Aristos-- actually has a motive to let the system fail.

Two motives, really: One, to cancel that enormous debt, and two, to get their feculent, blood-soaked fingers into that whole, huge, residual KAPITAL pie.

Guten appetit, hippies. See you at the beach...

Monday, September 26, 2011

WWH ~~ Hippie News & Stuff, Sept. 26, 2011: Vetted!

WWH ~~ Hippie News & Stuff, Sept. 26, 2011

Perhaps history will record that the most "tragic" part of the election and Presidency of St. Barry, the Compromiser, is that so MANY people apparently believed that the melanin quotient in the fellow's skin would/should/could? actually make any functional or material DIFFERENCE. It was strangely totemic reaction, for a 'civilized society,' as if the "coming of the Black President" forebode rare, triumphant, even miraculous events--PEACE!, or JUSTICE!, or something the return of the White Buffalo, or birth of a Red Calf.

This puzzled me from the start: HOW, I pondered, could nominally reasonable, normally intelligent, functioning, responsible, adult people--with jobs, children, mortgages, and other such trappings of maturity--how could such folks REALLY THINK that the OWNERS of the country

--The oligarchs, plutocrats, aristos who were the grist for George Carlin's comic ouevre in the last five or ten years of his life--

would ever turn the actual MANAGEMENT of THEIR "property,"--the COUNTRY and all it's inhabitants-- or the system of its administration --the Executive Department, in this case, the most ICONIC branch--

...over to somebody--to ANYBODY--who wasn't utterly, totally, completely, thoroughly, exhaustively vetted and trustworthy?

Do you REALLY think that someone who posed even the tiniest, remotest, slightest, slimmest, faintest, glimmering scintilla of a CHANCE of undoing the least jot or tittle of their immensely profitable, unimaginably powerful status quo would be permitted to be elected to that position?

No. That's preposterous! Who could believe such a thing? The status quo would have to be absolutely safe in the hands of ANYONE in that Office.

Ergo--in the sense, "cogito, ergo sum!"--St. Barry had already, long before 2008-09, to have faithfully demonstrated to the relevant screeners that he neither would, nor even REMOTELY wanted to--that, indeed, it had actually NEVER CROSSED HIS MIND--to jostle, far less to UPSET, any hegemonic applecarts, or otherwise in any way disturb the Owners in their well-earned enjoyment of the spoils of the good fortune of their birth.

Just sayin...See ya at the beach, Hippies

Friday, September 23, 2011

As the Cookie Crumbles: Law or Justice?

With all the controversy and conflict swirling around the execution of Troy Davis--a black man convicted under dubious circumstances, on questionable evidence, of murdering a white cop, in Savannah, GA,-- a killing which he denied to the very end having had any part in--it's possible that we'd overlook the fact that there were two State-sponsored executions committed yesterday: Troy Davis, in Georgia, and in Texas, Russell Brewer, one of the men convicted of the hate-crime, dragging death of James Byrd, Jr.

Byrd, a partially disabled black man, was attacked and beaten by three white men whose only motive was racial malice, and who then chained Byrd behind a truck by his ankles and dragged him to his death some excruciating, horrifying moments later when his head was severed from impact with a curb. Russell, a white supremacist, died without any remorse or last words, according to news accounts.

Troy Davis was convicted, mainly, of being a convenient black person who could be tied to the killing an off-duty (white) cop doing 'security' work at a fast-food restaurant. The evidence against Davis was mainly circumstantial, or in the form of witness identifications. Crime-scene identifications are notoriously unreliable. No murder weapon was ever recovered. There was no explicit, physical evidence linking him to the death for which he was convicted and was executed. And there there were allegations of witness intimidation, in any case.

There exists that kind of physically incriminating evidence on Brewer that was not produced at Davis' trial. They found Byrd's blood on Brewer's boots, found his dna on items found at the crime scene. He and his accomplices had been seen picking Mr. Byrd up. One more of the trio is also scheduled to die, a certain John King. The third got life without parole.

I am uncomfortably aware in myself of a certain ambivalence about capital punishment, which I think may be pretty widely shared, and which is perfectly illustrated by these two cases. I am sure it betrays an unwonted elitist streak in me, but I think there ARE some folks who society, through the application of laws, safely dispose of. I wish I could be an anti-capital punishment absolutist, but I can't. When you're approaching 40, and still getting your jollies murdering poor black men by dragging them around behind a truck, you've pretty well exhausted your prospects for social utility, to me...

There were cries of "justice denied," especially in the Davis case, but in a "nation of laws," you don't get "Justice."

Despite the well-meaning and sincere sentiments of the Pledge, We do NOT "DO" justice. We do "law." They are only occasionally--rarely--synonymous, and even more rarely synchronous.There is a really big difference, which should be understood by all who complain when 'justice' is not served.

Law reduces "Justice" to procedural fairness. SCROTUS Justice Scalia declared a couple of years ago that actual innocence was no bar to execution, if the forms were all followed, and conviction accomplished without reversible error. Both executions were "legal." To the executioners, that's all that matters, technically. The rest is emotion, against which "law" is supposed to be an antidote, both to revenge and, unfortunately, to compassion...

But in the face of those ambiguities and ambivalences, I think I can say this for certain:

If I were being executed for a murder I had not committed, and I were permitted 'last words,' I believe I would "NOT go gentle into that good night," as the poet warned. I believe would try to get as far through the following as I could before they flipped the switch:
"You are murdering an innocent man, you smug, self-righteous, contemptible assholes.
I hope that the memory of my unjust and bitter death poisons your every breath, taints your every pleasure, colors your every memory for all the days of your lives. May you NEVER have another day of joy, may your children starve, and may your every aspiration fail. May this malediction haunt you forever!
Fuck ALL of you for killing me!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WWH ~~ As The Cookie Crumbles: Execution

(Note: This essay was composed during the course of Wednesday, Sept. 21. I never held out ANY hope that the crackkkers on the Ga. Pardons board were gonna rescind the death warrant. I had tentatively begun it this way: "Troy Davis is probably dead by now...") When news came that the execution had been performed, it was too late to go back to the site-owner and change it.

Good MORNING, Hippies, hither and yon!

Today's crumbling cookie is of a deadly variety...

Troy Anthony Davis is still alive. Apparently the US Supreme Court ordered a delay--not a stay in his execution. This did NOT come from the State of Georgia, even though there was substantial doubt almost from the first moment that he was guilty of the crimes for which he was supposed executed Wednesday night.

Troy Davis was an unlucky man. You just about can't get in deeper shit in the South than being a Black man, with a record (which EVERY young black man has got) accused of killing a cop.

That was "then," 1989, and he was him, and the police in Savannah GA, weren't gonna take any particular care to see that the exact niceties of the law were too rigorously followed, that principles about uncontaminated identification were too scrupulously observed. And neither the DA not the Judge were overly fastidious about what testimony was included and/or excluded. They had a dead cop, and a Black suspect, and that was enough.

The case against Davis was strong enough to get the death penalty for a Black man convicted in Georgia in 1989 for murdering a cop.

The thing was, son: SOME Negrow had killed a cop, and SOME Negrow was gonna pay, not for his sins, but as a lesson to the other, potentially uppity Negrows in Savannah, GA.

Witnesses recanting, accusations of police intimidation, and scores of trial errors, along with the pleas from concerned citizens everywhere, from Amnesty International, and 650 thousand internet petitions, didn't swayed the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. I suspected all along that they weren't going to. As far as they were concerned, as soon as this became a "dang librul cause celebre," those crackkker spines on the Georgia Pardon Board were gonna go all rigid. They'd execute that "boy" if they never did anything else.

More than 60 percent of Murkins still support capital punishment. And most of them would support it it even if they had incontrovertible evidence that the innocent had sometimes been executed, according to a study I saw reported about 15 years ago, in The Nation, iirc. That level of support remains, I suspect, mostly, because that percentage of people do not expect themselves ever to have to face it, ESPECIALLY unjustly inflicted.

Cuz that sort of thing just doesn't happen to "our kind" of people. Except that it looks like it actually did happen in Texas, back around # 175 of the current Perry record-breaking onslaught of official blood-letting, when--relying on over-zealous prosecution, and flawed forensics, a Texas jury convicted, and sentenced to death, and The State of Texas executed a man named Cameron Todd Willingham for committing an arson that killed his children. One of "us"...It happens so infrequently that it's memorable. Besides, Justice Antonin "Vafanculo; the Big Canoli" Scalia says if procedures have been properly followed, actual innocence is no bar to execution. No. really...

I've seen posts on Fbook today villifying St. Barry for not intervening in the matter but that's specious, and dishonest.

Because Obombster can command drone raids does not mean he can order Georgia to release a prisoner. He can order YOU shot on sight, if he deems you a threat to the Security of the State. But he has no authority to intervene if Georgia wants to commit capital punishment in the name of its citizens.

Those two things are not in the same universes of discourse.

He's culpable enough for the sins of commission and omission in the normal run of things. No need to blame him for that for about which he REALLY can do nothing.

Anyway, that's how it crumbled for Troy Davis yesterday.

Now don't forget to go by the store and pcik up some WorldWide Hippies stuff. Too kewl ampules, t-shirts and bumperstickers. So I'll know ya when I see ya at the Beach, hippies!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WWH/ATCC (9/21/11): "Ray-All Poh-lit-TEEK!"

Good Morrow, Hippies. Howzzit going this week so far. Peace!

The cookie today is pronounced "Real-Politik." The confection'll have a many-layered, Middle Eastern flavor to it.

Palestine at this moment is nothing less than a political petry dish for "post-modern" colonialism. Israel it seems will never cease to try to expel Arabs from what it deems its "natural' territorial sphere. Assimilation seems a dubious proposition at best. Arabs, for their part, probably will NEVER cease to resent and resist.

Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas reiterated Monday that they will try this Friday to win a vote in the UN for "Statehood." If successful--which the US and the ISraelis will move heaven and earth to prevent--Palestinian statehood would be a real game-changer.

It is NOT a 'religious' issue. It's about the land, and the resources...(see map, attached)...The same tensions, and hostilities, and the same stratagems for contesting them, would be used by any two groups in a similar conflict. Anywhere, anytime.

It may be a small irony that it is in fact immaterial that this situation pits "Jews" against their 'semitic' cousins who shifted their spiritual allegiance from Yhwh to Allah, some 1500 years ago. That's just an excuse, masking--in the real politik sense--comprehensible, territorial ambitions: namely to consolidate all the land between the Jordan and the Sea, between Lebanon and Suez under Israeli hegemonic control.

The State of Israel, by any 'rational' (real-Politik) standard (and by long-understood definitions of 'Sovereignty', cannot countenance the existence of a separate, sovereign State within its borders. That would be anathema to ANY state. So Israel is extremely unlikely to enter--willingly--into any agreement which provides for anything like a co-equal Arab state in Palestine. The US wouldn't let the Navajo have their own Air Force, "sovereign" though the tribe might be, in law. Hell, we barely let 'em have their own police.

The real rub is that the Israelis would actually have to negotiate--BINDING, and IN GOOD FAITH, cuz that's how States negotiate with each other. Absent Palestinian statehood,' the Israelis could do, and pretty much have done, pretty much anything they would. As a "State', the Palestinians would have the standing to DEMAND to be treated as equals. I don't think "real-politik" Israel, as a State, can tolerate that.

On the more applied, local level, there is absolutely NO WAY that any Israeli politician could face the Israeli electorate having handed back to a Palestinian State water which the kibbutzim needed to 'make the desert bloom.' Can you see Bibi Netanyahu or Avigdor Lieberman telling a bunch of settlers to pull back from an Arab village they covet? Or explaining to a bunch of kibbutzim why they have to share precious water with the people commonly referred to as "filthy Arabs?"

Me neither....So that's the dilemma.

Obama is just the latest Murkin Prez to ignore or miss or misunderestimate Israeli "real-Politik."

In a way analogous way Upton Sinclair's cynical declaration that "It is hard to get a man to see what his job depends on him ignoring," neither Obama nor any other US leader "can" see-can't acknowledge--that Israel has those territorial ambitions. Still, they are undeniable. Netanyahu advisor and former Israeli Cabinet member Dori Gold has said repeatedly that settlements must continue to provide "a future" for some "300,000 settlers." That is about as clear a statement of "manifest destiny' as you'd ever want to hear, outside the 19th Century USofA..

In 'reality,' there is no way Israel, the State, can tolerate any arrangement for the Palestinians in Israel which is NOT basically an apartheid-like assortment of bantustans such as those the white South Africans set up for their pesky blacks; or, at best, reservations like those on which USers isolate and disempower those from whom WE stole "our" country.

Real Politik: It just means "How things really are, shorn of spin and pretense." Kinda like how the cookie crumbles, hippies...

PS: (and way off topic) I'll start to believe Corporations are people only when Rick Perry executes a couple of 'em.

Oh yeah, and go by the store and stock up on Worldwide Hippies paraphernalia, including bumper stickers, which we have aplenty. That way I'll know where you parked when I see you at the beach...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hippie News & Stuff: Decline & Fall (WWH, 9/19/11)

Absent the (somewhat too loud) background music, here's my Hippie News & Stuff commentary:

Friday, September 16, 2011

As The Cookie Crumbles (WWH, 9/17/11): "Dear Mister President..."

Good morning, all Hippies and Freaks, at home and abroad and afloat...PEACE!

At the risk of appearing to unnecessarily flog an expired equine, this is a letter I'd send to the Obombster, if I thought it would matter:

Honored sir:

I take the liberty to speak to you, not as an equal, not as a postulant, not as a constituent but as an "elder." You're the same age as my little brother. Call it "Fraternal/avuncular council." I was born not far from where you lived in the near south-side of Chicago. Think of me as a "grey-beard from the hood," with some friendly advice.

I notice you are spending a big effort to drum up public interest in your so-called "jobs" program. The response has been lackluster, and perhaps you're wondering why? Lemme explain, if I may...

First, you must know, a LOT of people invested a LOT of HOPE in your promises of change--all that "Yes, We Can" folderoll. I wasn't among 'em. The last time I was disappointed in a public figure was when the tooth-fairy only left me a dime for a molar.

But for those who did, their sense of loss is still palpable. It has come to seem, I think, that every time they invested talent, money and energy in what they thought was your agenda, it's seemed to them that you sold 'em short.

For the obvious example, their kids are still dying in unnecessary, immoral, and unjust wars, many having succumbed to a "poverty draft." Yeah, they're volunteers. But you said you'd bring them home. Summer, 2011? Remember? They do.

Our/their health care still reeks of the effluent of corpoRat influence and favor. You once proposed what sounded to many, if not most, of them like a single payer plan. Then you announced you'd settle for much less, and got even less than that. It no longer seems we await "When" the promised features will ensue, but "IF", they can proceed in the teeth of concerted GOP efforts to thwart even that little progress.

And it sure seems that we're investing more in rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan than in our own infrastructure. Of course, you have full discretionary authority over DoD funds. Should we declare war on ourselves and lose?

You said we’d be working on green energy projects, but "we" aren’t. It's all still the old unholy trinity: Nukes, coal, and oil. You fired the only Green guy who could have given your efforts any cred. Are you waiting for the definitive proof?

You've apparently already agreed to sign a bill to put an oil pipeline across our country border to border. Over 100 MILLION gallons of crude and distillate petroleum has spilled from domestic pipelines since 1999. It doesn't take much of that stuff in the water or on the ground to really screw stuff up for MILES around. They had an experience like that along the Yellowstone River recently, and one in Michigan, too.

Some folks even recall--with some impatience, really--that you indicated we’d get some of our freedoms back with you in the WhioteHouse. Imagine their surprise when you not only didn't even throw in a "pro forma" hesitation before renewing the Patriot Act, TWICE...but then even strengthened it the last time, too. Coulda knocked them civil liberties folks down with a feather, when you backed away from Habeas corpus.

You did say people who committed war crimes should be brought to justice, but then effectively trivialized their offenses. And then you seem to have discovered ways even to surpass the Busheviks in blood-thirsty enterprise. How many innocents have the drones killed in the AfPak? Have we lost count? Under Bush, they DIDN'T count dead Iraqis--didn't wanna "body count mentality, or something--so if you're counting--even if we lost coutn--its progress I guess.

If I'm any judge, your supporters were willing to fight for what they THOUGHT they heard you saying. Hell, at one time you might have even turned my head. But when crunch time came, you ALWAYS “compromised.” I say “compromised” but that's being kind. They were give-aways, plain and simple.

And it appears you're still "compromising" our "entitlements": Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and the rest of the safety net. Nobody knows what's on the table or off it.

So why should someone invest energy in your already patently inadequate, and probably doomed jobs program, when we all can predict what yet another “compromise” will inevitably ensue? What will you fight for? A good deal for the Bosses, and bollocks for the rest of us.

Still, you're right in thinking most of those who supported you last time probably couldn’t vote for Perry, Romney, Paul, or any of the GOPuke Clown-Car Candidates.

But, come next November, they might just fire a "compromise" of their own back at ya, and either stay home or "waste" a ballot. Again, don't worry about them. There PLENTY of unemployed, underemployed, disabled, uninsured wannabe “Republicans” who are simply not bright enough to vote in their own best interest who’d cancel out that vote anyway.

I don't wanna beat a dead horse, but if the shoe fits, Dobbin, you mighta throwed it yourself.

PS: Waddaya call horses in adjoining stalls?
Have a great Saturday, hippies...

As The Cookie Crumbles (WWH, 9/16/11): Blow Jobs.

Good mornin', good hippie folks, and all the Whos on Whoville

Poverty in the USofA = $22,113 for family of four. Forty-six million two hundred thousand Americans--are poor even by our own niggardly standards. That's 2.6 million more than two years ago. There are 16.4 million children living in poverty in this country. I tried to remember today when the last time I'd heard ThePrez utter the word, and couldn't.

Unemployment is epidemic. There are more than SIX unemployed workers for EVERY job opening. FIFTY THOUSAND PEOPLE applied at last summer's MCDonald's "jobs fair." They hired at about the same rate that Harvard accepted incoming freshmen: around 6 percent. And there hasn't been anything like this degree of wealth inequality since the Gilded Age.

Like most statistics, I suppose these numbers only really matter if you are one of those enumerated. A piece on Alternet the other day (linked in the accompanying text) highlights the problems with reporting such information along with the inadequacy of the framing of standard replies:
‎"The real numbers—like that the wealthiest 300,000 Americans received as much income as the bottom 150 million—sound too crazy to be true. As a result, proposals to raise taxes on the wealthy are so often dismissed as wild-eyed populist rhetoric—“soaking the rich”—rather than legitimate, reasonable policy prescriptions."
As usual, after a clear enunciation of the problem, the solution proposed by the author is: "YOU have to stop them":
"(Though they) would have you believe the (mal) distribution of wealth is a naturally occurring phenomenon, state investment and regulation plays an essential role in the structure of the economy. If we want a more equal playing field, we can have it—but we need to start now."
But of course, that's just the point: Start WHERE? These are federal tax laws "we" have to change. There is ONLY ONE way to ensure a more level playing field, and that is through legislation designed and intended to LEVEL that field; legislation to UNDO all the special favors, tax breaks, considerations, and deals that Gummint makes to ensure a "favorable business climate."

Understandably, the people who benefit MOST from the current inequities obviously do NOT have any desire to LOSE their advantages, and they OWN the process--BOTH so-called "parties," every voting machine, every candidate, every medium--by which any such changes would have to be implemented: the legislatures and legislators, and the regulators, along with the CorpoRat/SCUM "Press." So they've "fixed" things in their favor.

But the smelly throngs will clamor, so the other night the Prez belatedly but enthusiastically began flogging his new "jobs" act. Rotsa Ruck, sez I! Even if it passes, its immediate 'benefits' to workers in the form of tax reductions, will be deducted from their long-term well-being in the form of a damaged, reduced, perennially embattled Social Security fund. It's more of the WRONG solutions, and in any case, too-little-too-late, again.

So to me the recommendations of the Alternet writer have the quality of incantations against looming spirits. If you think St. Barry's got the stones (to say NOTHING of the desire) to face down THAT much concentrated wealth and power, I got a couple of LOVELY skyscrapers--a LITTLE damaged--in Lower Manhattan I'd love to show ya...

Til then, ask not for whom the cookie crumbles, hippies. It tolls for thee...


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

As the Cookie Crumbles (9/13/11): THAT'S THE POINT!

Hey Hippies, Hipsters, Yippies, and the rest of the scattered bretheren: Peace!

You know, my ph.d.'s in education, so I gravitate back to this subject occasionally, and that's the "flavor" so to speak, of our cookie today.

The etymological root of the word "teach" harkens back to that most powerful gesture of which people are capable: To POINT. It was first used in that context back in the ancient Indo-European language root on the prairies of Central Asia, the trans-caucasus back in the mists of memory.

From there, as a gutteral, glottal monosylable, probably, it migrated west into the Germanic languages, and south, through India, into Greece, where it morphed into "deixis."

There is a class of adjective/pronoun in English grammar called "deictic": "the," "there," "this," "that," "these," "those," "they" and "them" exhaust the class; each of them acts to point to a particular thing). But that's beside the point...

Which is that, "teaching" is nothing more or less than directing attention in some way, either by word or action toward an important, impingent phenomenon: "Look." or "LOOK OUT!"

So, in practice, anyone who "sees" and is aware of their surroundings, enough to pick out anomalies, exceptions, etc, may be--since we're all in this together, probably SHOULD be-- a "teacher." Teaching, then, is pointing to facts in such a way as to invite others to see, and to understand, too.

Everyone can teach something, but a "teacher" has a wider ambit. Their view is larger, wider, better informed.

"Learning" is what happens later when we reflect upon and discuss WHAT we have observed.

So, if you look around for something that the test-happy, factoid-based, corpoRat-sponsored curriculum of the USer schools actually points students toward, the real purpose of schooling in the COrpoRat USofA appears to be, to induct 'graduates' seamlessly (and seemlessly) to the consumer curriculum of the CorpoRat/State media for the rest of their lives.

Pedagogy's an interesting word, too. We use it to mean the art of teaching, and you can trace the metaphorical connection easily enough to yher root, which was a labelk attached to the slaves whose jobs it was to lead the Masters' children to and from the Academies.

We see in the continuous and baleful attacks on teachers, especially, among public servants, how that pernicious aura of presumptive servitude regarding teachers' status persists even into today.

And that's how that cookie crumbles, hippies...

PS: Stop by the Store on yer way out and check out the shirts (tees and tanks), those kewl amulets, and stock up on bumperstickers. There'll be more cool stuff in there pretty soon, too.

Monday, September 12, 2011

WWH/HN&S (9/12/11): Forget It...

Thanks Winston, ...Yo, Bugs, Glad you asked...

I dunno about all y'all, but I did my level BEST to ignore all the memorial hoopla, and the attendant predictable maelstrom of prefabricated jingoistic fury. I really did. But you couldn't change channels fast enough: out of NOWHERE, BAM! there it was.

It's like picking at a scab, or unhealed stitches.
If, by endlessly probing 'the wound,' we were 'draining the poison,' or resetting the break, it might be different.
If it stirred us to examine what WE--the USofA-- had done to bring on such an attack, it might be different.
If we took from it the obvious lessons about neo-colonialism, and neo-liberal, imperialistic over-reach, we might be forgiven these bathetic forays into national masochism.
Any public "anniversary," whatever the number or event commemorated, is a pseudo-event, an exercise in propaganda existing only to provide media with more fodder. If you did watch, didja count the commercials???

The Owners can and will continue to play this like "A Wonderful Life," or a lost Elvis concert...year after yer after year after year...

Meanwhile "WE," US, the USofA, unrepentant, continue on the same bloody, Imperialistic path that brought us here in the first place.

Remind me again: Why are "WE" bombing the shit out of brown people on the whole OTHER side of the world, who haven't done any harm us, and had NOTHING to do with the offense for which we are allegedly still 'punishing? them'

For perspective: Proportionally, there are MANY more Panamanians whose relatives and/or loved ones were killed by the USer invasion to overthrow Noriega than there are Americans who suffered such loss on 9/11/01.

AND more than a MILLION Iraqis have died DIRECTLY in consequence of the illegal, unjust, unjustified, unjustifiable, immoral, criminal, murderous USer invasion of their country.

That's between 4 and 5 percent of the population killed. In a country which had nothing AT ALL to do with the "attack" that was framed as the "casus belli..." To kill that proportion among US, it would mean more than 15 MILLION dead.

There is a class of epistemic events properly named "BULL_SHIT" and this is a prime example. I had to turn my back on all the creepy, pious, solemn, empty moralizing and sermonizing, all that it accompanied (and implied)! No mas!

The whole repetitive spectacle--from the 'memorial plaza' and the construction thereof, to the endless repetitions of the tragic footage, to the ceremonies marking the remembrances of the perished; and I grieve for them, too--to me positively REEKED of banal, mawkish, maudlin self-absorption...

At which, it must be said, we "Murkins" probably ARE STILL Number One!

Thanks for your attention, Hippies. See ya at the beach... and back to you, in Hippie Central, Winston...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

WWH/ATCC (9/10/11)(w/vid): An "Ap-Paul-ing" Dream

Greetings Earthlings! and a glad "Klaatu barata nicto" all around, eh!

A correspondent in the UK asked me in all sincerity why, when there were 1) so many other, bigger targets around, and 2) so many other PROBLEMS than identifying the presumptive GOPhux Presidential candidate, did I focus my attention and bile on Ron Paul. I blame it on the American Dream: anyone can grow up to be President.

Of the whole, sorry lot of them--give the devil his due--Ron Paul probably is the only one with anything even approaching the necessary...ummm... "gravitus." He's the one who takes himself the most seriously, the one with the most pronounced faux-intellectual pretensions (and credentials), the most unctuously, righteously smarmy of them, with his blithely Ann-Randian --which is to say, predatory--'Libertarianism' camouflaging his abject obeisance to his CorpoRat masters.

And he's the one who seems to have the most appeal to disaffected "lefties," for some reason; mostly because of his "stands" on ending the USer wars both in Central Asia, and against marijuana.

However "ap-Pauling" he may appear from afar, if you're not an American, it is more difficult to realize that there is, in principle or practice, really NOTHING to prevent Ron Paul from being 'elected' President.

Ya gotta remember, in 2008, we 'elected' an unproven, untried, greenhorn, first-term, corn-state, mixed-race, rookie Senator with ambiguous political credentials, mainly on "appearances": he 1) was not a white Republican, and he 2) was expertly marketed in a campaign that led voters to believe that that, alone, would make a difference.

Before THAT, we TWICE elected a jovial, dim-witted, seemingly ILLITERATE, compliant sock-puppet and his psychopathic puppeteer to smilingly lead the country into wrack and ruin. They committed war crimes, robbed the treasury for their bankster buddies, flat-out STOLE two elections, engineered TWO "wars-of-choice," and when they were at last replaced, it was NOT to answer warrants and indictments, but to MILLION-DOLLAR book deals and speaking tours.

Then there was that luminously stupid, second-rate actor who started it all with his eight-year descent into gibbering idiocy during the 80s, whilst his thugs and gunsels set things up for the long term take-over.

It's the "American Dream" and it is truly terrifying, if you think about it:

Any-fucking-body CAN be "President."

So bully-ragging on Ron Paul is at least no less productive than heaping mockery, scorn and derision on any of the rest of the GOPhux Clown Car Candidates, and it may dissuade the unwary from undue admiration.

Which, finally, is all one really CAN do, unless it is--as HL Mencken once remarked, that any rational person must sometimes be tempted--"to spit on our hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." Ap-Paul-ing, innit?

Anyway that's how the cookie crumbles, today, chillun...See ya at the beach, hippies.

Friday, September 9, 2011

WWH~~ As The Cookie Crumbles (9/9/11): Resentment

To all the ships at sea, and to Hippies in their happy hippievilles everywhere!!!

As the cookie crumbles today, with the apparent defection of Cornell West and Tavis Smiley, a breech seems to have developed in the Obamster's Black base, as on one hand, less informed and/or less engaged voters increasingly become disappointed that, Obama hasn't "done" anything especially or recognizably "for" the Black community; meanwhile the intelligentsia notice that "ThePrez" is pursuing policies which are NOT really even very much those of a "Democrat," much less of a "Black" Democrat in the WhiteHouse...

It is probably an unfortunate, uncomfortable fact that just about the ONLY way in which Obamster's 'election' actually ever "mattered" was "symbolically." As a practical matter, there was NEVER a moment when he would have been able to redress specific problems within "minority" communities as their advocates. No, really.

Even under the most benign circumstances (which these weren't), he'd nevertheless have been effectively forbidden by the quite real fear of a backlash from authoring or authorizing ANY measures which could be perceived to grant "privileges" to "his people." He had--understandably, or not--no taste for being called out by Rush and the Ditto-heads for "favoring HIS people" against "the rest of America..." Which is what the charge would have been.

That's actually why "Obama-care" got the reception it did, from the Tea-hadists.

Them folks operate on a very high level of resentment at the "loss" of their (previously socially endorsed) "superiority" over those they regard as their racial "inferiors," such that they are apparently willing to endure a minor loss to their own over-all well-being, as long as by doing so, they can deprive those whom they detest of ANY of part of it at all...

It is for this reason that the brigades of Hover-round harriers are willing to see Medicare crash, and Obama-care fail, even if both would be detrimental to their overall well-being:

I think it is because there is an "unacceptable" amount of egalitarianism embedded in universal health care, for instance, by virtue of which EVERYBODY gets treated the same way. The rabid tea-hadist sensibility resists being in even the same system with "those" people. I believe they think themselves diminished by having to accept the same care from the same providers in the same facilities as those whom the do NOT regard as their equals...

Yeah, it's pretty stupid.

And that the way the cookie crumbles, hippies...See ya at the beach!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

WWH/As The Cookie Crumbles (9/6/11): Thanks

To all the Whos in Whoville, and all the Hippies in Hippievilles everywhere: Good Morning!

Sunday on The Book, another piece of Obama-fondling fodder made the rounds, this off Kos; like all others of that ilk, its author called out to the critical outliers of the 'professional left' who persist in ATTACKING their St. Barry from within, so to speak, to just STOP acting so durn SILLY, and bask in the panoply of wonders St. Barry Obama's DONE for you! In helpful categories. With hot-links and everything!

At the same time, folks were reacting pretty critically in my little corners of the universe to the news that, on Friday, the slowest news day of the year, ThePrez ordered the EPA to stop implementation of stricter air-quality regs for energy producers.

To me, that flagrant appeal for approval sounded like WE'RE supposed to be grateful HE'S doing just SOME of his job. It's not what bills he's signed that matters. That's only what the people who 'elected' him were entitled to expect.... A minimum...the LEAST he could do.

What matters, to me, anyway, is what he HASN'T done. It's the opposition he SHOULD have mounted, and didn't, or feigned and walked back from, as on the air quality regs, on Friday. (I've catalogued some items in the text below. Feel free to add your own.)

Now, purportedly, no small part of his "jobs" program will consist in things for which he does NOT require Congressional approval. (It goes to the People, on Sept 8-12, depending on the swell...)That was the brag last week, anyway. But that just leaves me breathless. What the FUCK! I mean, what the fuck, man...

IF these soon-to-be-announced expedients don't require Congressional approval NOW, I'm betting dollars to quatloos that they didn't require such approval, oh, say, LAST YEAR at this time, when as I recall, there was already a serious recession going on?

In fact, there was NOTHING to have prevented him implementing them in his first week of his tenure, was there? Naaah, he just didn't. This is Obomberama Puro!

Or how about a directive to ALL federally owned or managed buildings to simply paint their roofs white? It's not crazy. Here's a link. And here's a link for the "Precautionary Principle," too, while you're at it.

Such complaints may sound trivial, but to me it's emblematic of the things he COULD and SHOULD do, but avoids and/or ignores. It's "significant." I'm a semiotics guy. Signs matter. Those are signs, and not even particularly complicated ones.

So give me a farking BREAK with all the grateful encomiums. YER getting dicked-over, and you're THANKING him, lavishly, begging for MORE?
I understand you may feel you HAVE to vote for him.
At least have the decency to do so with regret.

And that's the way this cookie crumbles...have a day, hippies!

Note: We're all adults here. Adults don't get, or expect, praise for doing the right thing--or for NOT doing the wrong one. It's how it is.
The catalogue"
It's the WARS that he DIDN'T end (plus the new ones he approved).
And the CIA drones slaughtering people wholesale in Asia.
And the Super (Cat-Food) Commission.
And don't EVEN talk to me about "regulating the Banksters." That was Chris Dodd's retirement package.
His education "policy" --indeed his whole Cabinet-ful of Dis-Appointments-- is a sell-out to the globalist CorpoRats.
Feel free to add your own.

Monday, September 5, 2011

HN&S, 9/5/11: Matter

....Thanks Winston, and Aloha, grommets, from the sunny beaches of Albuquerque, NM...

Lotta folks have noticed the two-party system has some drawbacks.

What the two-party system guarantees is that EVERY election will be an exercise in denial, of rejection; of a populace, agrieved, shouting "NO! AWAY WITH YOU! You sodding awful charlatans, NO MORE!" And they vote to throw the bastids out, not caring over much in the heat of their disapproval about what is going to take their places, or of what depravities THE REPLACEMENTS could be capable.

I agree with those who believe that with McCain in the WhiteHouse, we’d never've heard a PEEP about cutting Social Security, or otherwise screwing with the safety-net, such as it is.

The GREEDY, OLEAGINOUS PERVERTS (the GOP) with the Chimperor at their head, tried that in ’04-05, after a SUCCESSFUL election season, and were still roundly beaten back by Dim MINORITIES in both Houses -- and by a massive PUBLIC outcry and resistance.

I've thought and said all along the GOP THREW the ’08 election. It was dead obvious when Palin went on the ticket. They were goin' under the bus...Which was tough on John McCain. "Bombin' Johnny," the jet pilot, was always a fusty ol' fart, but he's really got stupid mean since 2008. He DESPERATELY WANTED to be President, and surpass his father's military accomplishments: President outranks Admiral.

As to the coming election, I think The GOPhux probably throw this one, too. There is no candidate in their Clown Car who is worth the effort and expense of stealing it for.

BUT: In Twenty-Sixteen, with the blame for all the troubles of the previous (by then) FORTY years, including the FIRST REALLY OBVIOUS EVIDENCE OF THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE, once and for all firmly affixed to the shoulders of America’s “first Black” president and his “party” of "the Losers," the GOP'll swoop back in with Bush/Cheney, redivivus!

JEB Bush and LIZ Cheney: Slogan "Bush/Cheney -- Together AGAIN!" Now THAT could revive irony.

It's all about what Gregory Bateson called "differences that make a difference." The thing to remember is Obama was ‘elected’ principally because he was NOT a "white, male Republican,” and because of a genius "branding" campaign that skillfully made it SEEM that THAT actually mattered.

(Freudian Aside: Do ALL these people have "father" issues? O's a fatherless child, W was either 1) avenging or 2) out-doing his father (or BOTH)...The Clenis was fatherless, too. McCain's father was a highly decorated Admiral ( an Arabic word, fyi ). GHWBush's daddy was a Nazi. The fruit falleth not far from the tree, and all that? It might be a useful thing to do to examine candidates for president in light of their relations with their parents. Just sayin.)

As The Cookie Crumbles (Vid): Trials

Good MORNING! Fellow Cookie Crumblers!

Of ALL the questions that dog "ThePrez," almost three years into his tenure, nne of the most persistent and vexing is this:

"WHY DIDN'T St. Barry prosecute bloody-handed, murderous, immoral miscreant/agents of the Bushevik regime for their freely admitted mal-and misfeasances in office?"

Many are perplexed by the seeming paradox of the Chimperor Bush and his organ-grinder pal, Dick Cheney, (among scores of OTHER malefactors from that regime) who are currently BOTH...NOT IN JAIL, And bragging in books and lectures of their criminal misdeeds, without any apparent fear of legal consequences.

Why DO these often admitted CRIMES go unrebuked and unpunished...

Good question! I am not a lawyer, but I can think of at least FOUR plausible--though far from compelling--reasons.

1) No precedent--Nobody'd ever done it before: Not what Bush had done, not what Obama was being ASKED to do. You have no idea how daunting that fact is.

...There were NO rules, no governing authorities, no laws, nothing.

Anmd then, of what would they be accused?

And what would be the implictions of such accusations, anyway?

That sort of thing makes lawyers, PARTICULARLY "Constitutional scholars," quite uneasy.

2) No "case"--Assuredly the defense would have argued as follows:
"Hey! There was a war going on! It was justified! The safety of the country was imperiled! There were terrorists in every airplane, train and bus. They were trying to DESTROY us. They hated us for our freedoms. It was an international jihad, with robed, fiercely mustachio'd, scimitar-wielding assassins at the very GATES of the city!
If the Busheviks pled "national emergency," they could've hidden the evidence and said they were acting in 'public interest'.

3) No "jury"--would convict 'em. Even getting past the defense arguments, remember more than 30% of people still approve what the GOPhux did. Thirty percent of a 12-person jury is 3.6 people. Between one-in-three and one-in-four of potential jurors would ALREADY bve predisposed to acquit. You only need ONE to nullify; and

4) No gutz: If he'd gone after them, the GOP'd have lynched Obummer after his term, whenEVER it ended. St. Barry's a pragmatist. He knows, as well as anybody else, that every President since Roosevelt has been the author of 'war-crimes.' Hell, the Ecru Crusader's ALREADY committed every crime Bush did, and then some, in AfPak, with his drones. The first HINT that St. Barry was aiming to bring the Busheviks to the bar of justice, the GOPhux long knives would have come out--as they may, in any case, regardless...

The Head Hippie has decided to postpone the Hippie News and Stuff til TUESDAY, to take his own leisure from the labors of assembling and editing and posting the program. BE SURE to tune in TUESDAY, around 4pm EDT, for the next Edition of "Hippie News and Stuff..."

Til then, see ya at the BEACH, hippies...


Friday, September 2, 2011

As The Cookie Crumbles: Two Guns

(WWH, 9/2/11) Two gun-related stories from "fact-checking" sources on Thursday morning's F-book inspired me to engage in a bit of practical propaganda. I want to start a slanderous rumor!

First, there was the story from Arizona that the GOPhux in Pima County, AZ, home of the nearly assassinated Rep, Gabby Giffords, were auctioning off a Glock handgun to raise money for the coming campaigns.

This was followed, in short order, by a report from a local scion of Politifact that the GOPhux in Oregon were auctioning off an AR-15 combat-style assault rifle to help finance their forthcoming campaigns. (In this, in Oregon, the GOPhux are not alone: the state office of some NRA spin-off is raffling off FIVE of the things.)

The Politifact piece deemed the charges "Mostly True." What the fuck? Did the GOPhux just auction off the ammo and a couple of banana-clips, I wondered? How is something like that "Mostly True?" Did money change hands? Did the weapon?

Yes, and yes, to both questions.

Turns out the Politifact folks quibbled over the term "assault rifle." Technically," an "assault" rifle must be capable of full-on, rock'n'roll, auto--blazing--matic--and not merely one-shot-at-a-time, semi-automatic--firing. (Confession: Full-on, rock'n'roll, 3-5-second-burst auto IS a gas.)

But that was just the summary of my vexation. It began with the "Glock piece" in Arizona, and the utter contempt it mirrored. It seemed to me to be callousness of the most troglodytic, male-patriarchal, repressive, regressive, passive/aggressive ASSWHOLE kind.

To reflect that contempt, and to satirize it, I commented, in essence:
"I heard the GOPhux Party of Pima County, AZ, is auctioning off Jarred Loughner's Glock in Gifford's district in AZ.

Gettin' the boy a furlough from jail to pull the lucky number, too."
It was patently not true, of course. Were the GOPhux of Pima County actually humans, they might have accused me of slander. Then a reader corrected me, taking at face value my intentional mistake of naming the weapon to be Loughner's, which it almost certainly COULDN'T be, it now reposing, empty and harmless (or so one hopes) in the evidence locker of some AZ DA.

And in the reminder from that reader, I caught a glimpse of something useful: that's how propaganda works. It is utterly immaterial whether it contains a grain of, or the whole, truth. It plants the idea. And then, behind the surge of familiarity that follows the employment of the "Big Lie" strategy, the idea soon BECOMES truth by virtue of endless reiteration.

So I am repeating it.
"I heard the GOPhux Party of Pima County, AZ, is auctioning off Jarred Loughner's Glock in Gifford's district in AZ.
Gettin' the boy a furlough from jail to pull the lucky number, too."
Help me make it viral. I would fucking LOVE to watch that meme take off...

*Top Image: Field-stripped, AR-15 "Hello-kitty."
**Next Image: Really! You don't wanna know...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

As The Cookie Crumbles: One Swing

As the season creeps into autumn, again, I was both surprised and delighted that "Labor Day," our ONLY national nod to "working people," was still on the calendar.

This long decade, now, I have harbored the wary suspicion that there would arise a movement to turn the end-of-summer holiday into some annual display of faux-patriotic, maudlin, bathetic banality, and supplant "Labor Day" with the exceptionalist equivalent of "9/11 Martyrs' Day." It could still happen, but I especially dreaded the up-welling of lugubrious patriotism and other mawkish remembrances of the the forth-coming Tenth Anniversary, and we seem to have dodged THAT bullet, at least.

Workers in MOST of the REST of the world enjoy to a far greater extent than ANY American "workers" things like universal, virtually free health care--and all that it entails, including long-term stipends when injury prevents work--plus alternative energy sources, good, safe, reliable transport services, and better working conditions than do MOST Murkins. But given what services they enjoy for the taxes they pay, far fewer of them complain nearly as much or as loudly or as venomously about it as do Murkins.

Speaking of frames: Why is taxation a "burden?" To me, taxes are "dues," friends. You pay your dues. Or think of it like the Association fees at the biggest condo in the world: Keeps the lawns mowed, and the wrought iron painted, and the streets swept clean. The management company might suck porta-potties through a flavo-straw, but that doesn't invalidate the duty to contribute.

That 'duty' is what Locke, Rousseau, and them other enlightenment fellers--including, as a matter of fact, most of our Founders--were talking about, with the "social contract." Ya can't "reify" it, but it exists, still, like the tacit agreements we all inhabit, about language and custom. It is negotiable, in what MLK optimistically called the "long arc of justice."

A useful example is labor rights. The Labor movement all over the world fought throughout the 19th and the first 50 years into the 20th Centuries to achieve the position that, in labor-management relations, there was a PRESUMPTION of the workers' right to collective bargaining.

Largely un/under-reported in the country's "popular" history is the fact that, over those 150 years, some uncounted dozens of thousands of ordinary workers, laborers, and 'hands, perished under the tender mercies of the gunsels and thugs employed by the Owners to prevent the workers' organizing. Countless thousands more were injured in confrontations, all over the country, between workers and Rangers, state militias, Pinkertons, the National Guard and even the Army.

And not workers alone were murdered and injured. Their families, too, suffered death and grievous hurt, at the hands of the hired criminals in the Owners' employ. Vide, Ludlow, Colorado, 1914.

So, now that the Owners are actively discarding those hard-won and deadly-fought advances in workers' rights, reversing the arc of justice of 150 years and innumerable bodies, why would it be exceptional to exact BACK from the Owners some of the same price that workers paid to win their rights in the first place?

But I could compromise. I'm a reasonable fellow. All I REALLY want is one swing: with an open hand, or a closed fist, or a sock-full of quarters: just one swing, to wipe that fucking smirk off their sneering fucking gobs.