Tuesday, September 25, 2007

sieg heil!

view this and weep for we are accelerating down the slippery slope of fascism.

link is to a video of the student being tazered after asking a question to john kerry. what a fucking tool.

many people applauded too, which is the truly horrific part.

interesting interview

as a 'failed' economist, i still occasionally find myself with an ear for 'real' economists, alan greenspan in particular lately, i guess as a result of his massive book promotion campaign.

well, after linking over to alternet through nina's blog posting on credit/maxed out, i saw this article/interview/debate by amy goodman and naomi klein with alan greenspan.

i have to hand it to him for agreeing to the interview/debate, but he failed to adequately address the issues raised by klein. it seems apparent to me, from the text, that greenspan is an old school inhabitant of the ivory tower without any concept of sustainability. he keeps using the tired argument that capitalism as we know it has created the most wealth ever and that the system is working great. he doesn't recognize the shortsightedness of rapid resource depletion, especially one as critical as fossil fuel. he doesn't realize that there is no substitute for oil. not in the time frame used by economists to rationalize resource depletion.

greenspan doesn't have the well being of ALL in mind. he still thinks we will grow our way to eliminating poverty. he had the gall to refer to populist politics as shortsighted. what a laugh!

he in effect excuses crony capitalism as a part of human nature. he recognizes it and yet doesn't take the next step of saying it is criminal. he was the greatest for the captains of capital, he was the worst for the common man.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

report on this week's forum

well, this week was interesting, very interesting.

to start with, i'm not sure when it happened but as i was pulling the trailer along, i noticed it seemed unusually heavy. at first i thought i was just feeling sluggish, but later it turns out the trailer had a flat, probably for most of the ride down there. not a big deal, though.

at the site, a couple bikes were parked in our spot, again, but no big deal. i proceeded to set up. i knew dan and courtney weren't going to be there but after tom, no one was showing up. charles did after awhile and then a group of 5 or 6 people carrying ron paul signs showed up. the one guy had stopped by before. so they kicked it off, eager to spread the message of ron paul.

i knew ron paul was against the war but i was not as aware of some of the other things with which i agree, like bringing american troops home from other parts of the world, such as korea, getting the government out of american's private lives, ending corporate rule. i guess there are many aspects of the libertarian viewpoint with which i, as a member of the far left, can agree with. (as charles noted, greens can be called socialist libertarians) to be sure there are aspects i don't agree with, but wrt the forum, i felt almost vindicated and validated more than ever before. iow, what these ron paul supporters illustrated was that the possibility for consensus on some very important and critical issues amongst ordinary people is indeed vast and that the forum is a good way to establish that.

well, the rp party left after awhile and we remaining few carried on a little while, eventually devolving into a casual discussion without keeping time. at which point i proceeded to fix the flat and get something to eat.

it was another beautiful morning, wish you were there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

email to rep. hooley

Dear Congresswoman Hooley,

I was not there to greet you when you stopped by to speak about the Willamette, but I wanted to be. Perhaps next time.

I'm writing today to express to you my outrage at the Blackwater situation in Iraq and the privatization of the military in general. I don't think private firms should receive no-bid government contracts and be able to act above any law.

The fact that we have devolved to the point of having mercenary forces suggests yet another parallel to the fall of Rome.

Please do what you can to bring Blackwater criminals to justice and end the practice of hiring mercenary forces.

Thank you for your sincere efforts on behalf of the people of the 5th district of Oregon.

measure 50

measure 50 does two things, it creates a huge disincentive to smoke and it funds healthcare for children. looking long term, the less people smoke, the less healthcare funding, from this source. presumably the goal is to minimize smoking to zero, so eventually, this source of funding will wither to nothing.

in the meantime, however, it is a regressive tax because let's face it, low-income folk are more likely to be smokers than middle and upper class (by definition) conformists. they set the standards for participation in society.

addiction to nicotine is insane. i know that its not good, that its quite horrible, in fact. the cancer risk and heart disease, emphysema, etc. and i feel the social stigma and shame, i feel the financial burden, believe me, and yet i find it hard to even summon the desire to actually quit. actually do it once and for all. when i think about quitting i'm filled with dread. but that's addiction right?

the cigarette satisfies immediately... and i suppose that's what we've become accustomed to here in America. we have collectively bought into the notion that we can be satisfied now and pay for it later. only now the bills are starting to come due and unforeseen costs are starting to add up. is that what freedom is about? the freedom to live for today, come what may? or is the better freedom to be able to not buy another pack of smokes for the rest of your life?

i'm not saying that since America is addicted to a number of things, such as cheap and abundant petroleum products for example, i have an excuse to keep smoking. but clearly addiction is complex and defeating it is no simple matter. and you can't begin to defeat it unless you first recognize it. i suppose one good thing w has done is to make it official that we are addicted to oil.

i need to quit once and for all, but its difficult. what is the best way to defeat addiction?

back to measure 50. i don't know, it seems like another band-aid approach to providing funding for health care for children, in this instance, but if it can help me quit (part of the funds go to stop-smoking programs) then maybe its worth it. on the other hand, it might give me another justification to smoke. you know, that warm fuzzy feeling that while satisfying your craving you're also funding healthcare for children. will this let us off the hook? in effect legitimizing smokers as contributing members of society? wishful thinking.

help me quit

Monday, September 17, 2007

on 'fresh air' today

i listen to the radio program 'fresh air' on occasion and today the interviewee was one Bud Krogh, who was a lawyer in the Nixon administration. he recently wrote a book entitled Integrity, and he seems like a wise man. Check out the interview here if you have the time. I really liked how he said that in critical circumstances, you have to trust your gut instinct. Having lived and participated and been indicted and jailed for his actions during the nixon administration, he regretted not having the wherewithal to do the right thing when the situation demanded it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

return of the rain

yes, it seems that summer is over. we've been 'treated' to a fairly intense downpour this evening.

a few notes on junk pop culture.

wife and i went to see Dragon Wars. we went because its the first major motion picture to be released in America that was directed by a Korean director. man what a let down. this was one of the worst movies i've ever seen, which, granted isn't saying much because i haven't seen many movies in general, but it was bad. it was embarrassing. filled with bad acting, a joke of a plot and script, excessive violence and just bad, bad decisions throughout. it was like a really bad b movie, with crazy computer graphics. that was the only good thing about it.

yes, i'll admit, we've been watching the emmys tonight and if you didn't catch it, Sally Field won an award and during her thank you speech, she railed against the war, at which point, Fox promptly censored her.

Colbert and Stewart did a great segment, as only they can do, on the wastefulness of the emmys.

Saturday's forum was good. we went past 1:00 and there were a couple great musical acts which was a nice change, in addition to new speakers. a woman said she would be heading over to the stadium later (during the beaver game) to demonstrate for impeachment. so around 3:30 i headed down there with my guitar to try to find them and just hang out and maybe play some tunes. i didn't see them so started riding back down to the riverfront to try to find people to jam with. i didn't get very far as i came across a man named mike who was collecting cans and bottles, who saw my guitar and practically begged me to play it. i obliged and had a beer with him and his friends. it turns out he recently had his guitar stolen and had a serious jones just to play some licks. he is really good and played some great music. i thought of my old guitar collecting dust and decided to kick it down to mike. why not? so after playing a few tunes and letting his friends all play a little bit, i went home and got the old 'conqueror' (of fingertips) and rode back down and jammed a little more. mike has serious chops, but his buddy greg could hold down pretty good too. he played some blues while i tried soloing a little, which was fun. their other buddy dennis was great too, man i wish i knew how to play 'war pigs' because he had the vocals down pat. turns out dennis was the man who was shot by a low life frat boy whilst dumpster diving. furthermore, dennis is suing the little prick (or the frat?) for $2.7 M! I sure hope he wins and gets a break from living on the streets or wherever.

well, its back to work tomorrow. yippee skippy, as my old boss used to say.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

petraeus report

i've been listening to the testimony/questioning this week of general petraeus and don't really have much to say regarding it. i'm not really sure why i bothered to listen, but it really makes you wonder about our cynicism and if perhaps people like the general, the congresspeople and senators really are decent people doing the best they can on behalf of their constituents and not just corporate tools/oligarchical puppets. maybe they are honest people deceived into thinking they are working for the people when in fact they are corporate tools.

i didn't really think about it when i put on my moveon.org t-shirt today, but when it started getting warmer and i took off the sweatshirt, i felt a little funny about it. after work i checked my email, and of course moveon.org sent out an email statement so i clicked on the link for the ad in the nyt that asks general petraeus or general betray us? after looking at it and thinking about it, i don't think there's anything wrong with questioning the integrity of anyone connected with the administration, an administration that used up the last tiny bit of credibility it had long ago. but i do think moveon may have made a tactical mistake in this case. its not going to play well in the mainstream.

one notable snippet is how the general referred to ground troops as 'assets'. i mean yeah, soldiers are assets in a military operation but for chrissake, they're first and foremost people and i was disgusted with referring to them as 'assets' as if they are just so many cogs in the machine. but indeed, that is what they are and what the vast majority of us are. economists regard labor as a unit of the production process. it takes this many units of labor and this many units of capital to produce whatever. bullshit. this needs to change. workers are people, human beings dammit and equally deserving of full consideration as the shareholders, board members and stock traders. soldiers are not just assets, they are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters. to describe them as assets is demeaning and dehumanizing. i guess that's why they do it. another reality distorting euphemism like collateral damage.

i think the highlight for me was when a congressman from Hawaii pointed out the war is for oil and i want to further investigate who he is, what exactly he said and what he was talking about because i didn't catch it all.

Monday, September 10, 2007

no end in sight

this is the preview for the documentary mentioned in the previous post. check it out.

m. williamson

a few years ago i read a book of essays compiled by this author about what the world could be like.

tonight i came across this blog entry, which is a few months old but a good read nonetheless. the movie/documentary looks interesting also and i'm surprised i haven't heard of it already.

check it out here, please.

here's to a great week everybody.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

corvallis open forum celebrates one year anniversary

the actual one year anniversary was a few weeks ago but we celebrated last night with delicious food, beverage and music making. what a great party!

its funny though. most of the people who came to the party didn't come to the forum today. oh well. it was kind of rough getting up today and getting down there after partying all night.

i wonder if we'll make it another year. i hope so.