Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Sunday, 24 November 2013 at 17h 13m 11s
JFK 1962 quote
[T]he great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but
the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our
forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of
opinion without the discomfort of thought.
Mythology distracts us everywhere—in government as in business, in politics as in economics, in
foreign affairs as in domestic affairs. But today I want to particularly consider the myth and
reality in our national economy. In recent months many have come to feel, as I do, that the dialog
between the parties—between business and government, between the government and the public—is
clogged by illusion and platitude and fails to reflect the true realities of contemporary American
-- John F. Kennedy 
hat tip to Digby.
The above is just a small piece of a larger and longer speech, read the entire speech here.
Here's the first take down of the economic mythology pushed by the oligarchs of Kennedy's day.
Please note the sophistication of the slap down.
Let us take first the question of the size and shape of government. The myth here is that government
is big, and bad—and steadily getting bigger and worse. Obviously this myth has some excuse for
existence. It is true that in recent history each new administration has spent much more money than
its predecessor. Thus President Roosevelt outspent President Hoover, and with allowances for the
special case of the Second World War, President Truman outspent President Roosevelt. Just to prove
that this was not a partisan matter, President Eisenhower then outspent President Truman by the
handsome figure of $182 billion. It is even possible, some think, that this trend may continue.
But does it follow from this that big government is growing relatively bigger? It does not—for the
fact is for the last 15 years, the Federal Government—and also the Federal debt—and also the Federal
bureaucracy—have grown less rapidly than the economy as a whole. If we leave defense and space
expenditures aside, the Federal Government since the Second World War has expanded less than any
other major sector of our national life—less than industry, less than commerce, less than
agriculture, less than higher education, and very much less than the noise about big government.
The truth about big government is the truth about any other great activity—it is complex. Certainly
it is true that size brings dangers—but it is also true that size can bring benefits. Here at Yale
which has contributed so much to our national progress in science and medicine, it may be proper for
me to mention one great and little noticed expansion of government which has brought strength to our
whole society—the new role of our Federal Government as the major patron of research in science and
in medicine. Few people realize that in 1961, in support of all university research in science and
medicine, three dollars out of every four came from the Federal Government. I need hardly point out
that this has taken place without undue enlargement of Government control—that American scientists
remain second to none in their independence and in their individualism.
I am not suggesting that Federal expenditures cannot bring some measure of control. The whole thrust
of Federal expenditures in agriculture have been related by purpose and design to control, as a
means of dealing with the problems created by our farmers and our growing productivity. Each sector,
my point is, of activity must be approached on its own merits and in terms of specific national
needs. Generalities in regard to federal expenditures, therefore, can be misleading—each case,
science, urban renewal, education, agriculture, natural resources, each case must be determined on
its merits if we are to profit from our unrivaled ability to combine the strength of public and
And the smack about debt and deficits was present back in 1962 just as it is still to this very day
Still in the area of fiscal policy, let me say a word about deficits. The myth persists that Federal
deficits create inflation and budget surpluses prevent it. Yet sizeable budget surpluses after the
war did not prevent inflation, and persistent deficits for the last several years have not upset our
basic price stability. Obviously deficits are sometimes dangerous—and so are surpluses. But honest
assessment plainly requires a more sophisticated view than the old and automatic cliche that
deficits automatically bring inflation.
There are myths also about our public debt. It is widely supposed that this debt is growing at a
dangerously rapid rate. In fact, both the debt per person and the debt as a proportion of our gross
national product have declined sharply since the Second World War. In absolute terms the national
debt since the end of World War II has increased only 8 percent, while private debt was increasing
305 percent, and the debts of State and local governments—on whom people frequently suggest we
should place additional burdens—the debts of State and local governments have increased 378 percent.
Moreover, debts, public and private, are neither good nor bad, in and of themselves. Borrowing can
lead to over-extension and collapse—but it can also lead to expansion and strength. There is no
single, simple slogan in this field that we can trust.
And next, we have Kennedy addressing the Confidence fairy, which has been in the playbook of the
oligarchs since the Civil War.
Finally, I come to the problem of confidence. Confidence is a matter of myth and also a matter of
truth—and this time let me take the truth of the matter first.
It is true—and of high importance—that the prosperity of this country depends on the assurance that
all major elements within it will live up to their responsibilities. If business were to neglect its
obligations to the public, if labor were blind to all public responsibility, above all, if
government were to abandon its obvious—and statutory—duty of watchful concern for our economic
health-if any of these things should happen, then confidence might well be weakened and the danger
of stagnation would increase. This is the true issue of confidence.
But there is also the false issue—and its simplest form is the assertion that any and all
unfavorable turns of the speculative wheel—however temporary and however plainly speculative in
character—are the result of, and I quote, "a lack of confidence in the national administration."
This I must tell you, while comforting, is not wholly true. Worse, it obscures the reality—which is
also simple. The solid ground of mutual confidence is the necessary partnership of government with
all of the sectors of our society in the steady quest for economic progress.
Corporate plans are not based on a political confidence in party leaders but on an economic
confidence in the Nation's ability to invest and produce and consume. Business had full confidence
in the administrations in power in 1929, 1954, 1958, and 1960—but this was not enough to prevent
recession when business lacked full confidence in the economy. What matters is the capacity of the
Nation as a whole to deal with its economic problems and its opportunities.
The stereotypes I have been discussing distract our attention and divide our effort. These
stereotypes do our Nation a disservice, not just because they are exhausted and irrelevant, but
above all because they are misleading—because they stand in the way of the solution of hard and
complicated facts. It is not new that past debates should obscure present realities. But the damage
of such a false dialogue is greater today than ever before simply because today the safety of all
the world—the very future of freedom—depends as never before upon the sensible and clearheaded
management of the domestic affairs of the United States.
The truth is that oligarchy will always say it needs "confidence" in order to "invest" or spend its
massive pile of idle wealth for anything other than itself. Without "confidence" the oligarchs will
spend a lot of money and fund a lot of activities that appear independent, to say a lot of nasty
irrelevant and deceptive things about the government and government officials the oligarchs don't
like unless they bend over backwards doing every single thing the oligarchy pays them to do.
Such officials are then called reasonable, non-partisan, practical or fair-minded, and then suddenly
find themselves with a lot of mainstream press interested in their opinions and day to day affairs.
|Sunday, 10 November 2013 at 17h 14m 38s
The difference between Democrats and Republicans
The above graphic is the jobs added (blue) or jobs lost (red) per month. Notice that the turn
around in Red happened right after April or May of 2009 -- the first 4 months of the Obama
Competence has it's value. As disappointing to the promise as the Obama administration has been over
the last 6 years, the basic competence of the government has vastly improved. Cronies and
bureaucrats will still exist, but the level of competency will not become compromised because all
Democrats believe in the value and possibility of government, so they have a level of respect for
the integrity of government that is impossible with the Rethuglican's.
Republicans do not like government, and some of them hate government. They utter cute phrases like
"The government is the problem" and when they are in government they appoint corrupt idiots who
serve the purpose of discrediting the government that is supposed to be the problem. They make loud
noises about cutting microscopic budgets that help poor people and/or the middle class, but say
nothing, or wax patriotic about vastly expensive military or privatization schemes that very often
have no merit or purpose other than to pad the profits of some insider/connected firm. Then they
are repaid by the same consortium of business interests with huge yearly consulting fees after
retiring from 16 years service in the government. It's not about free markets, so much as it is
about a free ride to wealth. Save maybe a tiny few who are naive fools, all of the Republicans are
craven political opportunists.
The Democrats on the other hand are more sophisticated in their sophistry. Some call themselves
"practical" which really means they are hesitant to vote against what the big money interests want.
I think they probably constitute 30 or 40% of the party. The other 70 or 60 percent are real
people or genuinely concerned thoughtful citizens. Some of these will get sucked up into the
corruption, because money and power will and does change people, but not all will fall into the
clutches of the vicious oligarchy. A few will even be able to ignore the pressures of media and the
framing of events that is part of the systematic war perpetrated on the American mind by the
oligarchy every single day.
A few. But hey, I'll take 10, 20, or 30 percent over ZERO any day of the week.
|Sunday, 10 November 2013 at 17h 50m 15s
Social Mobility in the United States per Country or Municipality
The chance a child raised in the bottom fifth (the lowest 20%) of income that rose into the top
fifth (upper 20%) of income.
The graph is a New York Times graphic [ Click here ] from a Harvard study released last summer.
The study can be found HERE .
It's called the Equality of Opportunity Project.
Here's a list of more than 10% from the cities with the largest commuting zones --along with Los
Angeles, Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Memphis.
- Bakersfield California 12.4
- Santa Barbara California 11.8
- Salt Lake City Utah 11.5
- San Francisco California 11.2
- San Jose California 11.2
- Des Moines Iowa 11.1
- Scranton Pennsylvania 11.1
- Toms River New Jersey 10.6
- Seattle Washington 10.4
- San Diego California 10.4
- Santa Rosa California 10.3
- Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 10.3
- Modesto California 10.2
- Madison Wisconsin 10.2
- Reading Pennsylvania 10.2
- Honolulu Hawaii 10.1
- Sacramento California 10
Los Angeles California 9.6
New Orleans Louisiana 6.3%
Detroit Michigan 5.1%
Atlanta Georgia 4.0%
Memphis Tennessee 2.6%
Look at San Francisco and San Jose, ranked 4th & 5th, at 11.2 percent. 8 cities in the above list
are from California. Calfornia also represents half
of the complete list above 10% (regardless of size) that isn't part of the Dakota Shale Oil
economy. All the regions with 4% or below are in the deep south, where God is king and poverty
means you are lazy, so why should God-fearing working citizens pay taxes to the welfare state when
people should have the choice to give to charity?
Hmmm, yea that's why you morons hover around 4% and have the worst system of institutionalized
poverty in the entire nation. This is why the rest of the nation has rates above 6 percent. This
is why all those poor folk who live in your regions move somewhere else. What happened? You got
rid of welfare programs and pre-school or after school program subsidies because you thought it made
people dependent on big government and more prone to stay impoverished. Instead the opposite happens.
This is why people live in California. Economic Opportunity and social mobility are at the highest
levels of the entire nation. The economy is also very diversified, and isn't dominated by any one
industry or based on temporary resource extraction profits but on an
economic infrastructure in which the state government actually invests with taxes. Californians as a
whole support building the necessary economic infrastructure and Californians also vote at high
levels to support spending on infrastructure, whether its' roads, education, irrigation canals,
ports, bridges, transportation networks, airports, recreation centers or environmental conservation.
If you want a list of all Metropolitan Areas (regardless of size) , Click here
If you want a list for the top 100 largest cities with the largest commuting zones, Click here
|Sunday, 10 November 2013 at 16h 41m 34s
War is Fun
Here's a poem I wrote last Thursday.
War is Fun
War is fun
fun fun fun
go get a joystick
and shoot a gun
pretend like you're superior
and when you die
it's just another turn
push the button
and start again
because war is fun
no moral hazard for the babies you kill
no sentimental attachment to the comrades who die
it's just a fucking button man
just push the fucking button man
get that interactive thrill
cuz war is fun
war hidden behind a flat screen Liquid crystal display
war summed up into points
and little trinkets that stack up on the side of the screen
to remind you of just how awesome
war is cool
and you are a stud
a veritable video game monster
this real world stuff is for the birds
you can go beyond the trivial burdens of life and die
because you are the Coptic warrior
the Truth Seeker
or whatever you call yourself
the computer code will nevertheless flatter you all the time
scripted by the humans who wrote it
and now it rotates and repeats the same message
and the entity that is your self
is just a nondescript sequence of forgotten events no one will ever see or share
like figments of your imagination
it isn't your imagination
because you aren't imagining a fucking thing
all of the images you see are outside of your brain
all the sounds
all of the words
are programmed and saved on the hard drive
you are just a follower who gives it's eyeballs to the master in exchange
for a mirage.
|Wednesday, 23 October 2013 at 1h 22m 20s
Sorry about the lapse
Yea I know, it's been more than 30 days since my last blog post. Oh dear, I missed out on commenting
about the obvious insanity of some fools who call themselves Republicans.
I've been doing my job as a teacher of 156 high school students and practicing guitar, and so lately
that's enough for what I can handle. Not that it takes much effort to type a blog post, it's just
that the mental energy created when I engage in these expository essays has been too much for me to
handle as of the last 6 weeks or so. I still read the press and the various blogs I like to check
out, but that hasn't translated into a blog post.
If you've paid attention over the last decade to this blog, there are periods of time every year
when I go dark. Then suddenly I react with a spate of blogs and become more consistent. That's
about ready to happen, and this is probably the first in some more regular postings.
|Sunday, 25 August 2013 at 16h 26m 46s
The ridiculousness of it all
Click here for the whats
up on the NSA / Homeland Security spying megalopolis that is evolving.
Read the comments too. Here is a copy of a comment I liked.
evil is evil 08.24.13 at 6:12 am
Now we will get back to the witches’ trials. Tie them up. Throw them in deep water, if they
float they are guilty and are burned alive. If they sink, they are innocent, and get a xian burial.
Polygraph tests have all of the reliability of drug sniffing dogs (proven beyond a doubt to
respond strictly to the movements of their handlers) and witch sniffers in Africa.
I’ve had 3 polygraph tests in my life. Passed all of them with flying colors and guilty as sin
on every evaluation. Sociopaths can beat any polygraph. I had to tell the “polygraph operator” in
the second “evaluation” where she was supposed to attach the contacts to my skins. Then I coached
her in the correct ways to phrase the questions so the only answer had to be yes or no. If I had
attach the correct points and started asking her questions, I’d have had her confessing to killing
Fire every person that pretends to be a polygraph operator. They are all on high paid welfare
and produce nothing but misery for innocent people and have no credibility with we sociopaths that
can fly past them.
Find one single instance of a polygraph outing a traitor and I will consider believing that they
have some use. You will never find one.
Nor will you find a successful NSA operation. If they had a stone cold solid proof of their
usefulness on one single operation, the leaks on those successes would be pouring out cast in solid
gold. What a waste of time, material and treasure. Fire them all, send them home on full pay and
allowances and save money by not paying the exorbitant fees they are paying the Internet providers
for what should cost pennies a day.
Agee was a hero. Ellsberg is a hero. Assange is a hero. Manning is a hero. Snowden is a hero.
The NSA, CIA and the alphabet soup people are all traitors to the constitution, their oaths of
office and their fellow americans. Offer them a promotion and they would pimp their mothers for a
Exactly. These methods of algorithmic spying are going to have so many false positives that the
authorities are going to waste countless money and time chasing ghosts and innocent people. The
innocent people will have added costs and pain and suffering. All of the terrorists (both internal
and external, white supremacist groups and international extremists) were ferreted out by
traditional methods, not by the spying apparatus. The effectiveness is less than 10%.
What it's really all about is to provide the elite with a means to keep track of those persons and
groups from which they feel most threatened. Union leaders, journalists, true patriots (like Al
Gore and Brad Friedman -- both of whom were 'spied' upon), and
organizers, for instance. The spokepeople who say otherwise, are delusional (Diane Feinstein), or
(in the case of Clapper) deliberately lying.
Quiggin | Crooked Timber | 24 August 2013]
|Saturday, 17 August 2013 at 18h 36m 57s
NSA privacy violations
Click here for the Washington Post timeline of NSA privacy violations. There
are plenty of links and other related stories too.
Keep in mind that this stuff is confusing and bureaucratic on purpose. The people who run these
entities are from a small group of interconnected families and friends of the families, or hired
jackals who do the dirty deeds knowing they will have payback for life. It's not an obvious
aristocracy, and is more like a governing class akin to what this country saw in the latter post
civil war 1800's when government patronage was all about kickbacks and bribery schemes that were
used to fund the party war chests.
|Saturday, 17 August 2013 at 18h 17m 21s
The Debunked and Reused bad arguments against common sense
This goes back to the early 18th century, and the ideas of David Ricardi, and were then refuted in
the same way they can be refuted today.
Here goes. At the systemic level, all those businesses who pay minimum wage will have a labor
increase. Prices might rise, but not necessarily, because in a competitive market, the incentive to
raise prices will become tempered by the incentive to keep and woo customers. Some businesses will
absorb more of the increased labor costs than others, but all businesses will absorb at least some
of the labor costs, because otherwise they would lose revenue by raising prices since consumers will
for the most part shop where goods are cheaper.
People who assume raising the minimum wage kills jobs forget that the cost of labor is not the
motivation behind hiring someone for a job. If there is a revenue stream available, a business will
hire the necessary labor in which to manage the revenue stream. Profits are not going to decrease,
and if they do, such profits might decrease by barely 0.1 percent, and then only in the short term.
Once the market readjusts to the cost of labor, the profit margins will slowly revert back to normal
levels. As Ricardi showed 200 years ago, profit margins are not affected by the cost of labor.
Profit margins are affected by the cost of supplies, resources, transportation, and mismanagement --
not the cost of
This is an old argument used by the unenlightened elite to justify their foolish exploitation of the
masses. A rising tide can lift all boats, but only if the wealthy are willing to invest in the
distribution of mass society. An elite that prefers to insolate itself and procreate within itself
(like some Chinese and Russian monarchies of the not so distant past) will impoverish the masses and
blindly misunderstand the problem.
|Friday, 12 July 2013 at 21h 4m 2s
Two July Rookie's that I'm very high on
Stats for Darin Ruf .
Minors+MLB 2012 ... 34 2B, 41 homers, 67/114 BB/SO ... 620 PA
Minors only 2011 ... 44 2B, 20 homers, 67/108 BB/S0 ... 629 PA
This year in 83 games at triple A, Ruf had 22 doubles and 7 homers before the call up.
His track record in the minors is a solid .300 hitter, save for one stint of 20 games in early 2011
when he batted .239. He also has an 18% strike out rate and a 10 percent walk rate.
In his 6 games so far, 19 PA, he's got 6 hits and 3 walks with 8 strikeouts. Half of the 6 hits are
extra base hits, 2 doubles and 1 home run. So far only 2 balls that he hits have become outs,
which does point to a little luck on one or two singles, so he could have a .250 batting average
instead of .375. The strikeout percentage is also 42% but it's only 19 plate appearances, and if
these rates hold, I think getting 20 doubles and 10 homers in the remaining 70 games is what the low
end potential can be.
Ruf will also have both OF and 1B eligibility in 4 more games.
The guy looks like he has an idea of the strike zone and looks better later in the game after he's
seen a few pitches. He appears to have the capacity to learn and make adjustments and looks like a
solid hitter to me, and with lots of power potential that you can't ignore. Look at those minor
leagues stats for the last 2 years. That 2012 year when he hit 41 home runs was in the East coast
league -- i.e., not inflated by the dry, high desert air from a lot of the Western league teams.
The power is real.
Howard is out for at least 6 weeks. He won't be in the picture until late August, early September.
The rumors of a Michael/Delmon Young trade notwithstanding.
In a 12 team points league … I'm all in with Ruf as a last OF/UTL spot.
Stats for Brad Miller.
In 3 years and 5 different stops in the minors, Miller has hit no less than .294, and has clips of
.415, .339, .320, and .356 in the other 4 stops. His ISO is in between .150 and .180 which is great
power for a shortstop. More specifically, during 137 games last year, Miller crashed 40 doubles and
15 homers, at a .325 clip with a 74/105 BB/SO.
In 13 games and 56 PA at the MLB level this year, he is hitting .286 with 14 hits, 5 doubles and
two triples, and a 7/13 BB/SO. That means 22 balls he hit became outs in 13 games. With a 20% Line
drive rate, 4 of those 22 balls hit into play could have been doubles and triples save for the good
defense that caught the balls. So he could have 18 hits out of 49 at bats, or .367 average.
In those 56 plate appearances, he has swung and missed 11.2% of his swings but he makes contact
90.4% of the time when the ball is in the strike zone. He is also swinging 37% of the time at
pitches outside the strike zone, which is above average on the negative side (Pedro Alvarez
territory, who has 38.7%) but since the strike zone contact is 90%, Miller is probably just an
anxious rookie. So far the batting eye and the .300 hitter cannot be discounted by the peripheral
He's also got 2 steals in those 13 games, and though he is not a huge SB threat, Miller did go 23
for 30 in 137 games of the 2012 minor league season.
I think he's gonna stick at the top of the Mariners lineup. The Mariners are also a much better
offensive team this year, even if Franklin goes down with a knee injury. At the shortstop position,
there aren't many better chances to get a guy who has the potential of a Jean Segura without the
surplus of stolen bases. Milwaukee and Seattle score the same number of runs, and Seattle is a
better team right now.
Take the plunge.
|Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 22h 27m 21s
Subsidizing foreign military regimes
Do you realize how many foreign national regimes the United States tax payers subsidize? It's more
We give the Egyptian military 1.5 billion.
Hmm ... but instead the government elites cut education and unemployment insurance.
Of course military contractors get the bulk of 1.5 billion in contracts for weapons, and much of the
"aid" to foreign regimes is packaged in such a way that it gets spent on some contract to provide
weapons or security "services". Aid to Columbia, for instance consists of a lot of sales of
helicopters, jeeps, and automatic guns.
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS