Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Saturday, 22 September 2007 at 14h 11m 51s|
Today I come home, and right outside my apartment building, in the 12 foot by 9
foot long corridor where the mailboxes are located, there were 4 Korean Jehovah
Witnesses. The youngest, a 35-ish gentleman wearing a suit and tie, asked me
if I was Korean when I walked by and greeted them. Now I look nothing like
Korean, so I joked that he was a "comedian." Everyone laughed.
Now of course, I knew and anticipated that the young man was actually trying to
find a way to have a discussion about God or something religious. And sure
enough, the Korean man approached me and asked me if "I thought God was
responsible for all of the modern ills and crises," holding up an "Awake"
magazine with a darkened fireman figure amidst a fiery background, the
title "Is God responsible for the crisis of modern times?"
Eerie Halloween music came to my imagination. Quick, the time has come to
worship God before Armaggedom brings doom to all mankind.
I smiled though, and shared with the gentlemen my own perspective.
"No, we are responsible. All of us. The Great Spirit runs through things,
pervades all things, big and small. We are all connected to, not disjoint from,
the Great Spirit. If we perhaps see a reflection of ourselves in the crises of
modernity, it is only because we ourselves have disconnected from the Great
I continued. "I think you and I see things similarly in a lot of ways, but we
are however, not 100% in agreement on everything. But I respect what you do."
I then smiled, and the Korean gentlemen bowed, in that Asian way that conveys
|Friday, 14 September 2007 at 17h 2m 31s|
My life's philosophy
The great spirit runs through all things, large and small, pervading
everything, surrounding all things, connected to all things like a thread,
everyone and everything attached but yet not attached, connected and yet still
disjoint. Separation occurs through lack of understanding, from confusion,
from the misunderstanding of an original fear, from an insecurity concealed
which has transfigured into an alterego. The great spirit -- what some would
trivialise as "God" -- is everywhere, connecting everyone,and yet the
dissolution of the human race exists and remains ongoing. All of us are
equally responsible for the relationship we have with the inate unity, but
nevertheless, our awareness may not be coexistent with the fundamental truths
of our actual existence. And yet the spirit which runs through all things great
and small still exists.
I have a phrase that I repeat to myself everytime I meditate. Here it is.
"Oh great spirit, please come down into me and show me the things about myself
that I can not see, and teach me the ways to make the most beneficial
influences upon all persons and things."
I've been doing this kind of meditation since I was 22 years old.
Psst. Don't tell anyone. I'm 38 years old.
|Wednesday, 5 September 2007 at 21h 52m 41s|
Nawlins Napsters 2007 edition
Last year, the Nawlins Napsters won the 2006 Yahoo league.
This year ? We'll have to see. My two stud pitchers have hit the injury
knockout -- Cole Hamels and Erik Bedard. I made a stupid trade to grab Julio
Lugo that cost me Justin Verlander, so I deserve to lose. But baseball is
funny. I might get lucky.
Anyway, here are the standings and playoff schedule.
At least I was first place.
By the way, my good friend Chris is Chris Carthage. He's beat my butt bad both
times we met all year, and next week we might meet for the final rematch.
Dum da dump dump. Dum da dump dump duhnnnnnnn duhn.
Sound of a cool Pink Panther theme jazz beat ....
That includes you Kristen.
|Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 15h 25m 23s|
Responding to idiots
This is a response I made to some commentary
wedded to a defunct societal analysis. His moniker is "Capitalism rules",
which for him is just a cheeky campaign button. He's too cool to read the
books and get an education. He'll just strip a few slick quotes, and act like
You don't know what Capitalism is or even understand the "rules" you think
For you the rules get to change when they enable the creation of the
aristocracy of wealth accumulation at the expense of how the system allocates
the wealth. This is a fact of life, not some glorified "-ism." I know this is
hard for you to understand because you confuse a mantra of economic phrases
with an understanding of economic interaction.
In other words you really don't know what you are talking about.
For a perfect example of your retarded analysis, consider your pathetic spin on
Thom Hartmann's point that the Minnesota Republican tax cuts are a symptom of
the Reagan legacy.
They [the Minnesota Democratic legislators] would want to raise taxes. That
is what dems do, tax and spend.
They had plenty of money in their treasury but they did not want to allocate
any of it for their infrastructure.
Repeating the same slogan does not give strength to your argument. Investments
are necessary for the health and well-being of our nation so that local and
regional business can compete; AND so that our citizens can efficiently (note:
economic word) participate in society in a beneficial manner. Simplifying this
reality by calling it "tax and spend" indicates the short-term stupidity of how
you are a moron.
Here's an analogy. You refuse to spend money on toothpaste so you can have
extra cash for mixed drinks on Friday night. Then when your teeth fall out at
age 50 you blame everyone but yourself, including your fellow citizens who
tried to warn you.
You obviously do not understand the definition of "allocate." If you subtract
1 from 3 you get 2. If you do not raise taxes to pay for increased
investments, the money you "allocate" has to come from somewhere else. But you
can't replace the expensive radiator with the spare tire in the truck.
Likewise you can't skim or close other important investments in order
to "allocate" funds that should have come from a tax increase. That's why not
one Republican administration was ever able to cut "spending." It's more
difficult than your one-celled brain can contemplate.
And how much money are we really talking about here? How many people would
spend $50 a year for necessary investments? If you make more than $80,000 a
year after taxes, would you really see a $500 increase in taxes ($79,500
instead of $80,000) because that is essentially what the vetoed tax increase
came to. But instead, it's better to let the teeth rot because you are too
cheap to spend $3 a month on the toothpaste.
People like you are not only pugnaciously ignorant, but also short-sighted and
selfish. You don't care about this country. All you want to do is rub 2
pennies together and get a dime. The philosophical nonsense you spew is just a
justification for the corporate forms of oligarchy and greedy billionaires who
Get over yourself CApitalism Rules. All you know is a hand-full of memorized
phrases, like frozen sperm cells, completely irrelevant, stale, and out of
|Monday, 20 August 2007 at 21h 20m 45s|
The purpose of prayer is the leftover remnants of a tribal
group members bonded together for purposes of survival or warfare. Dancing
around fires, tribal celebrations and rituals are a way for the group members
to bond together for the purposes of achieving a plentiful hunt or to prepare
for the battle with the invading tribe. This primitive communication system
eventually transferred to ritualization of death, either to enhance the road to
the afterlife or to symbolize the end.
Prayer has evolved in the modern world from these atavistic routes. However,
now that man has become vastly different from the roving bands of early
hominids, culture has replaced the primitive supernatural reference frames.
Understanding has become scientific and logical. Prayer has now become so far
removed from the origins that it can take a vicarious narcissitic turn in the
minds of some individuals who consider themselves religious... BECAUSE
communing with the great entity via suggestive direct communication to an
external other being is absolutely preposterous. Substitute desires and dreams
for prayers, then fill in the blank to the sentence "God answers your ______."
As if God's purpose is to please and serve your self-serving opinions.
This is a complete misunderstanding of God, in my opinion.
|Friday, 10 August 2007 at 10h 9m 58s|
The myths of Rudy Giuliani
Meet Rudy Giuliani.
He wants to be President, and his been touring the speaker circuit since 2001
making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to tout himself as a hero. So
dedicated to his speaking revenue, Rudy couldn't find time to work with the
Commission on Iraq and was fired. Money from speaking arrangements talking
about responsibility is more important to Giuliani than actually being
But you should read a recent Village Voice article by Giuliani
expert Wayne Barrett.
|Thursday, 9 August 2007 at 12h 42m 25s|
"Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain
— John Maynard Keynes
"The only thing that can console one for being poor is extravagance."
— Oscar Wilde
"It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have
— Ken Hubbard
"The key to making money in stocks is not to get scared out of them."
— Peter Lynch
"If you owe the bank $100 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100
million, that's the bank's problem."
— JP Getty
"You try to be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are
— Warren Buffett
"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing."
— Oscar Wilde
"A gold miner is a liar standing beside a hole in the ground."
— Mark Twain
|Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 13h 33m 1s|
My letter to Philip Bronstein, SF Chronicle editor in chief
Yesterday, you do a front
story on how Rumsfeld said there was "no cover-up" on the Tillman affair.
Here is the last paragraph:
"An Army investigation, announced yesterday by Army Secretary Pete Geren,
singled out Gen. Philip Kensinger, head of the Army's special operations
forces, for misleading investigators in the Tillman case. He received a letter
of censure and could be demoted from a three-star to a two-star general."
That was the only mention of Philip Kensinger in your article. There is no
mention that Kensinger ignored the congressional subpoena after publicly
stating he would do so.
Here is what Henry Waxman said in his opening statement:
"General Kensinger refused to appear today. His attorney informed the committee
that General Kensinger would not testify voluntarily, and if issued a subpoena
would seek to evade service. The committee did issue a subpoena to General
Kensinger earlier this week, but US Marshals have been unable to locate or
That statement occurred before 3pm. Was your deadline before 3pm or are you
and the newspaper called the Chronicle not interested in getting the whole
truth, rather than tiny morsels that get spun completely out of context?
The story is not that Rumsfeld says this and Congress persons say that. Your
article was just a gossip sheet, in which you meakly pose the issues and then
follow with a culled quote from some dissembling politician.
Here is an example. After you quote Rumsfeld explaining why he couldn't
remember by saying that there are 3 million personnel you follow with these two
oddly paired paragraphs.
"But lawmakers pointed out that Tillman was not an average soldier - he was
arguably the most famous soldier deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. When he made
headlines for giving up a multimillion-dollar contract with the National
Football League's Arizona Cardinals to enlist with the Army Rangers, Rumsfeld
had sent him a personal note, saying, "It is a proud and patriotic thing you
Some Republicans came to Rumsfeld's defense. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., called the
former defense secretary a hero for his response to the Sept. 11 attacks, and
said, "From the information you've provided, I don't see a cover-up."
Don't you find it wierd that that "lawmakers" who "pointed out" a few facts are
rebutted by the personal opinion of Rep. John Mica who analyzes the "provided"
information and says he doesn't "see" a cover-up. Well, hell, most criminals
don't "provide" you with the evidence. That's why you have investigations.
There is no mention about the doctor who did the original autopsy, no
information about that doctor's opinion, and no statement of the relevant
important details. Or did the uber-editors at the Chronicle censor that
information as "controversial" ?
Good god sir, when the statements of fact become controversial, we are no
longer free to have access to the truth. If your newspaper cannot provide the
information necessary to understand events, than what exactly is the purpose of
your newspaper, sir?
This is not news, and it is not even informative or relevant. It is shoddy
gossip at best, and deliberate obfuscation of the facts at worst.
With all due respect,
|Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 10h 50m 17s|
Economic myths and public financing of elections
Another economic myth that has forgotten its ancestors and
mainstream as a fact. Increased corporate taxes do not get entirely passed
onto consumers. This is the justification used for not raising taxes or
closing loopholes in the tax system that enable a lot of corporations (I'll
have to look up the exact percentage) with a 0% tax rate. The current
corporate average tax rate is 7%.
The argument is simple. If Corporation A goes from tax rate "a" percent to tax
rate "b" percent, that corporation will pass on the added increase to its
customers by raising prices. However this is actually not true, as was known
in the 1700s by both Riccardo and Adam Smith. Total sales are a function of a
price that cause a total amount of persons who will make a regular purchase.
In a competitive environment where the quality of one product is not very
different from the quality of another, price is the main variable which
determines total sales. When the price raises, the number of total sales will
decrease, unless every single competitor raises prices exactly the same way.
It is this ability of competitors to absorb some of tax increase which
inhibits the corporations to pass on the tax increases to their customer,
because regaining lost sales is more difficult to overcome than absorbing a
small decrease in profits.
Those companies which raise their prices too much -- ie, pass on too much of
the tax increase -- will be vulnerable to the competitors who absorb more of
the tax increase. A competitor who absorbs more of the tax increase can
actually capture increased sales that will increase revenue.
The point is that in a competitive market, a tax increase cannot get passed
onto the consumer. In an oligarchical market (such as our energy industry),
where there are a small number of large firms, it is easier to pass on all tax
increases by raising prices, because customers will have no economic choice.
But even still, most customers will not change their market behavior due to
small increases in price. That a cup of coffee that used to be 75 cents is now
90 cents will not cause the coffee drinkers to go elsewhere, unless the cafe
across the street charges only 80 cents, but even still, loyalty is worth 10
cents for a large number of persons. That loyalty isn't always worth 10 cents
resolves again the proof that costs can't be pass on completely to customers.
Raising taxes however is a necessity when social investments like education and
economic infrastructure are in need. Our current federal government (and
in particular) has wasted the funds on crony capitalism (defense & FEMA
contractors), defunding the agencies (the SEC, IRS, FDA, ...) that protect us,
or selling off pieces of the government (National Parks.) Go to google and do
a news search on "sinkhole" and you will discover that there are at least 3
sinkholes a day somewhere in the United States.
This is why we need public funding of elections, so that politicians are not
paid for by people who influence what the government does for their own self-
serving ends. Public funding would actually be cheaper because it could be
organized and allocated based on a candidates ability to raise a certain
minimum of small individual donations. Television and radio networks would be
forced to offer so much time on the public airwaves, divided equally between
all candidates. Newspaper and periodical advertizements would be offered only
so much space, divided equally between all candidates. Debates would be
organized in every single district, with travel expenses of the candidates paid
for by the elections commission.
I don't have all the answers, but there are plenty of different ways of having
elections without the monetary influence which will not enable our leaders to
hide their true selves beneath public relations media campaigns.
|Saturday, 14 July 2007 at 14h 26m 27s|
The takeover has begun
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS