Archive for September, 2008

Troy Davis

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Troy Davis, a black man, is due to be executed in Georgia tonight. Seven of nine witnesses against him have changed or recanted their testimony. There is no other evidence against him. The Georgia Board of Paroles has refused to grant clemency. Today the Georgia Supreme Court refused to grant a stay until the US Supreme Court can look at the case. Have these people no shame?

The loss here of course is greatest for Troy Davis and his family.

But there is also a tremendous loss for all Americans. The likelihood that an innocent person is about to be executed should have us all shaking in our boots. If the legal process is unable to prevent such a miscarriage of justice we should be questioning why anyone would think we have such a great system of government.

Another Other Boondoggle

Friday, September 19th, 2008

I suggest we should be thinking of the theft of our national treasure. Remember when the uber-capitalists, neo-liberals and neo-cons were explaining how the fall of the Soviet Union proved that “socialism does not work”?

“Oh, it’s just a loan.”

No, it’s a bet.

Whether it wins or loses, it doesn’t change the fact that the government is gambling at capitalism’s casino’s. And the rules favor the house.

The win would be that capitalism so successfully captures the public financing stream (not just the bailout, but contracts) that it can share the take later and everyone is happy, excepting of course the public that may happen to be awake at any particular moment.

Financing a gamble with public money.

From the makers of these deals is absent any sense that the rules are more important than the money to be made.

Look at the triumph of capitalism from today’s perspective. Our leaders have just used our national treasure to provide to hand out credit to capitalists, to back up capitalism, so they can continue to be capitalists. It was necessary to socialize capitalism to prevent capitalism from failing.

(How nicely parallel to the capitalismization, to say the liberation of free enterprise, that has occurred in many hither-to-fore communist or Socialist nation states. If they had not liberalized the economy, their socialism would have failed. So what if that is only because of the abuses the capitalists have visited upon the socialists; the brutality of the capitalist is of the human brute – same as that of the socialist brute. Socialism theory has to accept that predatory aspect of capitalism, just as it must accept that corrupt office holders are naturally parasitic to socialism. Noting that the vast swarming sea of corrupt American office holders preys upon our fundamental nationalize social aspect – i.e. cooperative self governance.)

Back to the instant case.

If they had not provided this socialistic support for capitalism, not only would capitalism have failed, but the general public would have been painfully aware of the failure.

On the other hand, with such awareness, we would soon end up with national health care, viable public transportation, alternative energy projects, better gardens, and possibly other great benefits that are gained when people realize that – although competition can be a wonderful thing – there are some things to be gained by cooperation. We gain by working together on the furnishing for the whole the necessities of each. Working together, we realize that whatever our problems, we are all in the same boat. And, if we really care about the future, together, that can be not such a horrible thing.

Until now it has been acceptable to our leaders that they have a great health care system, but that the masses fend for themselves. Our leaders fly around the country as needed, but the masses have trouble finding a bus to take them to the next town or trains to go across the country. (Thank you petroleum lobby.)

At this point the great debate between what parts of our economy should be in the public sphere, and what parts to remain private, can be reintroduced – minus much of the rhetorical baggage around the “proven failure of socialism”. Today there is a proven failure of capitalism to balance that garbage.

How about we socialize the basic Infrastructure of our society, and leave the bells and whistles to capitalist innovation? At least in the broad strokes. The middle stuff we can negotiate. Our socialized orators in the houses of state can earn their lunches.

We may not realize it, but such socialism of the fundamentals the basic trend of civilization that we inherit from the sufferings of our ancestors as they learned the lessons of the past. We have public roads, mostly. We have public water supplies, public parks, public police (ideally), public military (increasingly being privatized). So why not clear the air with a new discussion of these matters, but without all the crap arguments dissing all socialism, per se?

The basis of right-wing capitalist rhetoric is falling like trees falling in the forest. The proponents of pure capitalism lost their argument long ago. The proponents of deregulated capitalism (Reagan, Thatcher, et al – privatizers) lost their argument quite recently. But, them with the bucks are not talking much about it right now. Shhhh. Tippi-toe. “Stay the course. Don’t sell. Could go up.” They would like to sneak out with as much loot as they can, before the general public wakes up.

The commercial media are dogs that did not bark.

Woof. Woof.

Convincing Investors Not to Sell

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

My favorite piece of stock market advice is a corollary to the first rule most people learn – buy low, sell high.

But then the question comes, What if the price doesn’t go up?

So my favorite piece of market advice is, In that case do not have bought. I understand the math.

I heard on NPR yesterday an investment adviser. What should an investor do? The reporter asked, Is it time to get out?

Before the stock adviser verbalized an answer, she privately laughed at the question. Some of the laugh leaked out, and it told a little story by itself.

She said, oh no, it already much too late to sell.

Did we hear the reporter swallow hard?

As for why it is too late, that is because you never know when the turn-around will come. That is what she said. She said that the market price anticipates the economic recovery by six months or so.

So if we accept that six month idea, and imagine that this is the bottom – then we would be thinking that recovery is set for about six months out from now. So we would buy now, low.

But, is the recovery six months out? I think that from the point of view of those who were sold on the idea that the poor economy is mostly the result of an image problem, that the idea that six months from now the economy will be recovering is looking, more and more, less promising.

Let’s look at the fundamentals, as they say. But, since looking at their idea of the fundamentals obviously hasn’t done a lot of them a lot of good, let’s look at a different set of fundamentals.

Since about 1970 the rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting poorer. The social disparity between the position of the rich and that of the poor has been getting worse for over a generation. This is fundamental.

Another fundamental is the huge piece of our budget sucked up by the military-industrial-academic complex, in all its projects and intricacies. This after nearly everyone predicted that there would be a great peace dividend after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. I subscribed to several of their trade journals at the time, and distinctly remember a featured editorial pointing out the the impending peril to the aerospace electronics industry. Very matter of fact, with no trace of compassion for humanity at large.

Military production is not only production that produces none of humanity’s daily needs: It produces bads, not goods. (I am impervious to the idea that today’s military spending is in any measure some kind of actual defense. Today we need defense from the military related conglomerations and cohorts that have attached themselves to the public trough, claiming it as their own, pooping all over the place at the same time.)

Intelligent people see that what goes around comes around. There are natural principles involved. Einstein’s comment that we cannot at the same time prepare for nuclear war, and also prevent it, says it all. It goes for all levels. That’s why we teach our kids not to fight with each other. It is absolutely fundamental.

Now, in the highly industrialized society in which we live, as more and more people are drawn away from the forms of primary production that come naturally to the human race, into more highly elaborated social and cultural contrivances, with associated social niches, the whole thing becomes much more fragile as its complexity grows beyond human comprehension. It becomes unable to make an orderly retreat to more fundamental forms. The higher-order complexities of the social order decay. It stinks. That is what we are smelling these days as the radio issues reports on the economy.

Is globalization of industrial production viable? How does the recent wide-ranging integration of global economies factor into the current situation?

Can an empire gain full spectrum dominance of the globe? If it could, would that be a good thing? Some people want to know the answers to these questions. There is only one way to really find out, and they are trying their best to manifest an answer by trial and error.

Can a country founded upon constitutional democratic ideals be successfully converted to an imperial system? What degree of hypocrisy, sham, cynicism and irony must be present before someone mainstream dares to speak the obvious?

The media was told a year ago that to point out the crash is to cause the crash, so your middle-class investor, the one trusting investment advisers, does not appreciate the situation.

Are the advisers “in”? Do they wish to be out. “The queue for the lifeboat is forming behind me.” But she doesn’t have to say that, because the small investors didn’t get the message that the ship is sinking.

Among investment advisers, who really believes that next month will be better than this month?

Stop the damn wars. Stop manufacturing the means of warfare. Quit selling our kids’ future for filthy lucre. Then, or six months later, I’ll bet things start to pick up.