Saturday, May 26, 2012

SILENCE, please!

Language is an attempt  to sculpt the human landscape to our design.

I watched myself this morning facing an intractable human problem; its futility had silenced me.

I, who love to talk, found no words. More cogently, I sought no words.

Why describe when I cannot convince? Why define when I cannot find adherence? Why communicate when confirmation is impossible?

If change is impossible, solution is an illusion. If stasis is inevitable, why expend any life force? Save it for the primary contest: maintaining heartbeat.

I understood why old men age increasingly silent. They have given up on the world; or at least their ability to maneuver it. They know that politics is infinitely elastic and corruptible. Individuals are hopelessly mired in genetic predisposition, and love has gone the way of all soft flesh. Only stubbornness remains. Silence maintains, conserves, focuses energy on defeating the ultimate foe (whom, history has proven, is impervious to argument): death.

But I write?! I expend words, energy, in that way. Am I engaging in self-delusion? Death does not read my blog. Who am I talking to? Myself, obviously. I am my last listener; believing I can change my own human landscape. My last will and testament has yet to be recorded. Even if written on the wind--or an electronic cloud--it is still forming, like the universe itself.

Death shrinks back in the face of self-argument. Talk to self. Others: please remain silent.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

An Instructive Tale

There is a very ancient tale (or if there isn't, there should be) about a great jungle animal named Euro-America. When it was young, Euro-America created many wondrous ways of altering its physical environment and foraging for sustenance. As a result ate very well and grew big.

But after a while its great thoughts and inventions levelled, but it appetites remained huge. So it began to maintain its life style by eating other animals in the jungle, such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, eating them and their basic foods, called raw materials.

Euro-America then sophisticated its tactics, turning to form of cannibalization called world trade and fed its huge appetites in that manner.

Eventually, however (fairly recently, as a matter of fact) those weaker cannibalized animals learned how to defend and assert politics, war and economics. Then, in reaction to that competition, a strange thing happened: unable to cannibalize the other animals through stealing raw materials or world trade, Euro-America--still with its great appetites--began to cannibalize itself! It began eating its own future. It did so though a process called borrowing, or debt.

The recent American  part of this process is interesting. 

After a particularly hearty Euro-American appetite period, right after a world jungle war which it won, the leader/main jockey of the American part of the animal, Lyndon Johnson--in order to pay for America's appetite for "Guns and Butter," started cannibalizing from his own old people's future retirement savings account, its Social Security account, to pay for "G & B."  He took the separate funds that had been set aside for the old animal's future and dumped them in the general government funds, to be spent on the present appetite for an Asian war and the American animal's present health and welfare consumption, called the Great Society.

Following Euro-American animal leaders such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan continued the self-cannibalization process through increased debt. One animal leader, Jimmy Carter, tried to stop the process, trying to ask the people to go on a diet for a while. He introduced the concept of an Era of Limitations. But he was unceremoniously dumped off the back of the animal.

Another leader, Bush I, who dared to--after having promised not to--have the animal's pay more in the present and not mortgage the future for what they desired--a process called increased taxation-- was dumped also.

The next animal leader got lucky; Bill Clinton. "Feeling their (hunger) pain," he was able to fill every one's stomach with hot air: the Euro-American animal felt full on the illusion/hot air (and taxation) of But that air-bubble soon burst (and tax revenues went down)...but the appetites remained...and the self-cannibalizing debt only increased, under both Bush II (they increased greatly) under the present Euro-American animal leader, Obama (under whom they've increased even more). (By the way, animal jockey Clinton was eventually disgraced not for debt but for cannibalizing young females in his own House.)

How long can one eat oneself until one disappears entirely?

Logic would dictate there is a finite amount of self that one can eat...but logic and Keynesian economics--which advances the idea that self-cannibalization of the future is necessary to make you grow bigger in the present--argues otherwise. I hold my breath--and try to keep my own self-devouring mouth shut--as I watch the Euro-America animal devouring itself; watching its arms and legs and torso disappear in an Asian animal--called China's--mouth, so it can get healthy. As it's leaders say at the end of every main address to its own animals: God bless the Euro-American animal.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The War on Women, Gays, Blacks and Latinos

In courting in the 2012 political campaign's unabashedly the votes of women, gays, blacks and Latinos, is the Democratic Obama campaign team running the risk of modern demagoguery (think Huey Long and Joe McCarthy... where Webster's Dictionary defines demagoguery as the "strategy for gaining political power by appealing to the prejudices, emotions, fears, vanities, and expectations of the public?"

The Democratic Party 2012 electoral rallying cry to these voting blocks seems to be: if you vote Republican you will vote for a wholesale return to 1960's and and stultifying homophobia, racism, WASP ism and and sexism.

Is a it really reasonable to assume that America will ever go back to those dark days of prejudice and bigotry in racial and sexual matters, or re-create a society where women will no longer by working side by side with men in the workplace? Aren't those and other progressive and historically inevitable genies already out of the American bottle, never thankfully to be returned? Their re-closeting fears remind me of a Woody Allen joke of his fear of one day returning to the womb and never again seeing the light if day.

In over stressing the potential Republican reactionary ism concerning these hard won social victories, are Democrats perhaps running the risk echoing the father of modern Republican conservatism himself, Barry Goldwater, who famously said when running as the conservative presidential candidate in 1964--"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" (And with that statement was viciously castigated by the left, by the way?)

Is the rallying cry of the Obama campaign 2012 running the risk of sounding all-too-similar in their defence of women, gays, blacks and Latinos to Barry Goldwater in 1964?: I paraphrase, of course, to make my ironic point: "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of the liberty of women, gays, blacks and Latinos is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice in such matters is no virtue!"?? (And in so vigorous and unyielding a series of political positions running the risk of creating a defeating backlash similar to the one Goldwater created for himself in his moral a similar defeat?

November will tell.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


He was trying hard to launch a second career, committing valuable time and money resources. One night he asked me: "What if I'm just wasting my time? What if I wake up one day and find all these efforts and costs meaningless?"

"You will," I said. He looked stunned. I continued: "We all, no matter how successful, wake up one day and feel we've failed. No one I've ever met, from top to bottom of the money/success ladder, has found their life an unalloyed success. We all finally have regrets, a sense of incompleteness, if not hopelessness and meaningfulness. Old age becomes a very harsh mirror when looking back."

"Then I should give up now? Even if I succeed there will always be a gnawing sense of failure?"

"No. Just the opposite. Since we are definitely doomed to lose in any transcendent sense, we are free to play the game with great verve and joy, daily enjoying the thing attempted for its own pleasure. The rule: always do what you love and whether you succeed or fail--which is, as I said, in any larger sense, is irrelevant--you will happiness. The only meaning life has to give you is the pleasure and benefit your efforts give you and others. Successes and achievements do not measure meaning; the meaning is in the pride and self-respect of the effort."

"Looking back, that is what is remembered: I took my shot fully, and had a good time doing it. We don't regret the things we've done; we regret the things we've never tried."

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

For-Profit Media Control of the Electoral Process

One of the major problems of modern American democracy is its dependence on money to run for office. It opens the floodgates for the big money influence of corporations, unions and lobbyists of all sorts to finance all elections.

Why do campaigns need so much money in the first place? Because it costs $$$$$ and more $$$$$ to reach the people.

Next question: what is the major cost of running for office? Answer: Media campaigns; primarily radio and TV.

Final question: who owns radio and TV? The US. THE PEOPLE. We own the airwaves. But we (through our representatives) stupidly give away free access to major media corporations...who then use those cheap airwaves not to enhance public discourse and public policy at election time but to create a political sports spectacle (the horse races of Dem. versus Rep.). Politics has become the modern American Sport of Kings. The Rich are in the Clubhouse controlling...and the rest of us are in the stands, gambling; and losing.

A possible correction: the government shouldn't be so generous dispensing airwaves to media corporations in the first place. Either: (1) continue to allow them to charge what the market will bear for political air-time but charge them more for their access; make them pay a fair price for their 'rights' of usage. Let we the people get a big $$$$ cut of the for-profit Media Giants' political 'air-time- sales/profits...and maybe  use the profit to increase revenues and maybe to pay off some of the National debt); OR (2) restrict the Media Giant's political usage of the airwaves WE INITIALLY OWN by demanding that a major amount of time for campaign advertising and discussion be made available to all national and local political campaigners according to some per unit exposure to the public basis.

Beware: the Internet is next. They will no more be democratized than the 'airwaves' are now. A few Media Giants like Google, Facebook and You Tube will control them; and they will start (if they haven't already) 'monetizing' the political process to their advantage.

The core of the survival of a democratic nation-state is its political system. And what is at the core of a democratic political system: fair and free and honest elections (ones not defined and rigged as horse races).

To a great extent we have the dysfunctional political system and the horrible political class we have because we have shot ourselves in the foot Re: leasing the airwaves. We have given away for free to the for-profit media our national legacy (and are being advised to do it with the Internet...under the diversionary and short-sighted call: "the Internet is free to all"). By doing that we have undermined our elected officials by their constant need to get campaign contributions to buy air-wave time. Take back the airwaves (and quickly get control of the Internet--perhaps China and Iran are not stupid despots in exercising stringent control of their Internet usage; maybe they just not giving away the national store?!)

Democracy trusts the electorate. It should trust the electorate (via the government) to self-interestedly and more profitably participate in what they have already commonly defined as the common property, the airwaves--at least when it comes to what it charges the Media Giants for access. Charge fair-value higher prices for what we own--or demand some free air time in return. A smarter and better political system hangs in the balance. The alternative: America will become a Corporate/Media "Brave New World" and its small coterie of rich for-profit Media leaders driving the electoral process through the expense (and profitability due to low cost purchase of access) of media-buys; while continuing to issue Soma pills (more stupid entertainment and vacuous "fast-breaking" news shows and 'horse-race' talking heads ...the Roman circus) to placate and numb the continually undereducated populace.

Let Capitalism work...for the people.