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Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Free Market Macht Frei !

Alan Greenspan has apparently discovered Original Sin; i.e., the propensity of mankind to do evil...even the vaunted business class: The Huffington Post  
The Education of Alan Greenspan  
Donald Cohen Posted October 29, 2008 10:06 PM (EST)  

Greenspan 1963: Writing in Ayn Rand's Objectivist Newsletter, Greenspan declared as myth the idea that businessmen "would attempt to sell unsafe food and drugs, fraudulent securities, and shoddy buildings. It is in the self-interest of every businessman to have a reputation for honest dealings and a quality product." Greenspan 2008: Testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Greenspan recanted: "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders' equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief.... This modern [free market] paradigm held sway for decades. The whole intellectual edifice, however, collapsed in the summer of last year." ... In 1992, the GAO, asked by Democratic Congressman Ed Markey to study the impact of new and complex financial derivatives, concluded presciently that "The sudden failure or abrupt withdrawal from trading of any of these large U.S. dealers could cause liquidity problems in the markets and could also pose risks to others, including federally insured banks and the financial system as a whole. In some cases intervention has and could result in a financial bailout paid for or guaranteed by taxpayers."

I believe this verifies what has been said here that "trickle-down" economics was a specious justification for theft. There is trickle-down, indeed. Trickling...slowly, slowly, oh, so slowly. They even told you the truth: trickling, not flowing...not even a slow flow... a trickle, for heaven's sake! It was and is Theft. Those responsible should be held accountable. Even Reagan.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Will Capitalism Save Us?

Steven Forbes appears to think so. Fact and Comment How Capitalism Will Save Us Steve Forbes 10.22.08, 6:00 PM ET Forbes Magazine dated November 10, 2008 He shows nothing of the sort. It is a preposterous display of erudite blathering, going nowhere, showing nothing. Read it. He recapitulates the story. The only thing it shows me is that our form of Capitalism is systemically prone to such crises every half century or so. The people who paticipate in the economy have no enduring memory nor knowledge to prevent this from happening, so it will happen over and over again. It reminds one of Asimov's Nightfall, where a civilization rises and falls again every 2,000 years when the 4 suns of its planetary system enter complete eclipse, thus driving men mad. This is not a good form of Capitalism. The fact that Greenspan may see all in hindsight, that the causes of the malaise were so easy to spot immediately after they had had their baneful effect, all this indicates that it will happen again. Even though mankind grows through suffering endured, God does not approve of egregious and superfluous suffering which we bring on by our greed. God does not approve of the neglect of the poor. God does not approve of the displacement and dispossession of the aged. The suffering brought about by this economic debacle is more than pain: it is a sin and an affront to God and His love, for He did not will that we suffer this. It was brought about by the cruel Irony our leaders constructed over the last 25 years. As great men spoke of Governments, so also do we speak of the conjunction of Government and Economy, for they are inseparable: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. The old form of Capitalism imperils our Lives, our Liberties, and our Pursuits of Happiness. It endangers our Fortunes, Families, and will degrade our Sacred Honor should we be lulled into the delusional rat-race of letting it re-establish itself for another half century danse macabre of economy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Shipwreck Of Conscience

In The Anchorage Daily News, I read:  
Palin blessing echoed extreme strategy  
Published: October 25th, 2008 12:19 AM Last Modified: October 25th, 2008 03:15 AM

Most who watched the YouTube clip of Rev. Thomas Muthee's "laying on of hands" ritual protecting Gov. Sarah Palin from witches at least raised an eyebrow. Witchcraft is considered hocus pocus by many Americans but has a distinct cultural context in Kenya and other parts of Central Africa where Muthee is from. In pre-colonial central Africa witches were a metaphor of instability, so to be accused of witchcraft meant the individual was somehow threatening to the social order.
African witchcraft took on a similar meaning after missionaries arrived. In rural areas today social progressives are sometimes labeled witches and their accusers are often fundamentalists who hold to traditional tribal practices and reject progressive gender roles and acceptance of modernity. Witchcraft is taken quite seriously; in May of this year 11 people were burned as witches in rural Kenya. One of those killed was a teacher who represented the influence of modernity to villages.

Just why a church in Wasilla, Alaska, would adopt the language of witchcraft to express their belief in a battle of good versus evil is not clear. But even more revealing was Rev. Muthee's summary of the principles of what has come to be called Christian Nationalism, which preceded his "laying on of hands" ritual. Extreme Christian Nationalists not only believe that the United States was founded as a Christian nation but that its institutions should be run entirely by fundamentalist or evangelical Christians. They believe they have a mandate to purge our institutions of "humanists" who believe that humans are in control of their own destiny, progressive Christians and non-Christians. They believe there are seven areas of society that must be controlled, the so-called Seven Mountains Strategy: church, family, education, government and law, media, arts and entertainment and business.

Muthee echoed this Christian Nationalist strategy in his Palin blessing sermon, where he stated, "When we talk about transformation of a society, a community, it's where we see God's Kingdom infiltrate ... seven areas in our society." Muthee went on to describe his version of the Seven Mountains Strategy and when he got to politics he was praying for Gov. Palin.
About 40 percent of the U.S. population describe themselves as fundamentalist or evangelical but not all subscribe to Christian Nationalism. Michelle Goldberg estimates about 10 percent to 15 percent of the U.S. adult population are Christian Nationalists. They are overwhelmingly white and Republican and make up a significant part of the "base" of the party. A number of notable spokesmen of the conservative religious right are associated with Christian Nationalist beliefs, among them Franklin Graham (but not his father Billy), Pat Robertson and Douglas Coe.

Christian Nationalism is a form of American exceptionalism -- the idea that Americans are unique because of our heritage. Christian exceptionalism dates back to Puritan leader John Winthrop. Normally exceptionalism is recognized as the unique founding of the United States built on immigrant pluralism and based on Enlightenment ideals. But Winthrop promoted a different type of exceptionalism. In his "shining city on the hill" sermon Winthrop rejected the equality of religious pluralism and affirmed instead that the United States is a Christian nation built on Christian, not Enlightenment, principles and was to be ruled by Christians.
Winthrop's Puritans also used witchcraft as a means of social control. Many of the Salem "witches" were women breaking from the established gender roles, starting farms of their own and otherwise acting independently. Those 17th century agents of modernity were burned at the stake for their actions, similar to what is happening in Kenya today. It is therefore remarkably interesting that Gov. Palin used the term exceptionalism in her debate with Sen. Biden and quoted Winthrop's "shining city on the hill" metaphor as the model for America in the world. (She actually referenced the source as Ronald Reagan, who used the phrase in his last speech as president. Reagan correctly cited Winthrop.)

Nothing she did as governor suggests Sarah Palin would conduct witch hunts or give voice to seditious Christian Nationalists were she to reach the Oval Office. On the other hand, quoting the father of Christian Nationalism and directly participating in a religious rite protecting her from witchcraft that espoused the Seven Mountains Strategy is a reason to ask questions. The real problem is that no national candidate has been so shielded from the press and scripted (and, it turns out, clothed) as Sarah Palin so it's hard to know what she believes.  
Alan Boraas is a professor of anthropology at Kenai Peninsula College. 

I have quoted the article in its entirety. I believe it is important to know the enemy's face. We have lived in a child's world of make-believe so long, we no longer know where to stand. We have let our so-called leaders destroy our nation, our lives, our families. Within the vacuum that will be created as the vessel called Leviathan: the mighty S.S. American Empire, slips into the ocean deep, we who stand in peril of the sea will be faced with the demons of the times of dissolution, those who will compel belief in ", family, education, government and law, media, arts and entertainment and business." God cares nothing for your earthly concerns of the worldly church, worldly education, worldly government and law, the matters of media, arts, entertainment and business. He cares that we put away the things of childhood and embrace the creation of God in the spirit of the sermon given on the mount, that we give up everything, so that we may gain everything.
We must love the Parable and the Paradox of God's love, the lilies of the field that neither toil nor spin... No more letting the Future be worked into a cruel Irony of Circumstance...where the mighty are thrust down from their towers of Babel, dragging us with them in their destruction. For, indeed, where there are no ones who believe themselves to be "mighty", then there are no thrones from which they be downcast. The horrid religion of Witchery and Compulsion will be our adversary. It is rising now. And this is from the guy who says we cannot speak to God. Well...that is yet another paradox.

New Link: Reading The Signs

I have added a new link. I mean, not entirely, new, but newly esconced into its place of honor in the "Links List". I meant to add it before, so my intention alone renders it not entirely new. It was, so to speak, a missing link, the loss of which has now been rectified. There. Reading The Signs writes well, an action which I merely use for FX, special or otherwise mundane. Writing well is an affectation I can no longer afford, in these day of the world economic crisis. The latest post is It is about illness and wrist watches. Sort of C.S.Lewis' Witches and Wardrobes meets Analogue Watches and some sort of unnamed illness, unnamed but hovering over all the action like some terrible plague, Magic Mountain-like, a Death in Venice slow, slow dance of symptoms and recovery. Recovery there is, accompanied by great photos of trees and sunshine. It does not quite go so far as to have Arno Breker-like warriors and maidens, diaphonously garbed in exciteable areas, standing to drink in the morning sun, all the while striking poses of determination and valor, but it comes quite close. It contains the phrase "...the only thing that helps is a certain concoction of homoeopathic drops – and resting and waiting." Phrases like that resonate like bells in my head. I mean, the Anglo-Saxon, the Latin ("concoction"), and the Greek ("homeopathic") all well woven into and around each other, each tongue supporting and adding to the others, is a fine a capella martini, symphonically shaken and stirred in the soul, and as equally intoxicating. It is also the bane of those whose native tongue is not English, this seamless sewing of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Greek. It is the type of thing I shudder at when stumbling across in Arabic; a true mystery beyond ken. I mean, I have actually had Arabic speakers conjugate wrong verb forms, translate something impossibly, then say the sentence is, after all, untranslatable and cannot be understood by the head, only the heart! Now that is mystification! I am sorry, but I cannot understand a sentence in a short story by Zakaria Tamir, if you come back to me with the fact that certain passages in the Quran are obscure, or the meaning is known to God alone. Anyway, I love the writing. No witches, no wardrobes; an armoire of wonder; an advent calendar of a month of marvels to be opened one by one and enjoyed.

Counting The Days

Eugene Talmadge
We count the days until the election is over. Then we shall count the days until we have left this period of time and all memory of it behind us. I have never seen an election like this. I suppose if you are younger, all elections seem to be pretty much the same: trot out a lot of pastors and reverends, kiss their hands or condemn them to hell; avoid too much policy chit-chat; call your opponent a demon, a communist, a terrorist; operatives mutilating themselves and crying "Black guy!". I am told that the national election is redolent of campaigns in Georgia run by Eugene Talmadge in the 19302 and 1940s. When I was young, each side insulted the other Party, but the did not vilify the individual Americans running for office. Oh, McCarthy did, but that was his sole line of work: vilify, not verify.
And Talmadge was an undisguised white supremacist. His opponents could end up beig vilified by the existing Southern Vituperation of the day. This political process we have is not good. It is broken like everything else about our system. It needs an electorate that will grow up and act like adults to straighten it out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Largesse Oblige

My Evangelical friends love to dwell on Jesus' suffering. I prefer to emphasize his creation of wine, and his expansion of a couple of loaves of bread and some fish to a feast for thousands. He gave without end. He had not the love of money, yet He did not hunger, nor did He deny food to anyone else. Jesus may have died for our sins, but He also lived for our lives.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Story Of The Too-Big-To-Fail Grasshopper And The Ants

Too-big-to-fail is a paradox in the capitalist system. If institutions are too big to fail, and the state must periodically step in to salvage them, then we seem to have punctuated free markets; that is, free markets now and then punctuated or interrupted with periods of socialism. Punctuated socialism so far rewards those who will not manage risk, and punishes those who do, as well as people who pay taxes and save money. It is, in its essence, the story of the Grasshopper and the Ants. Only, now the industrious ants will collectively be taxed and forced to further exertions - probably in the middle of an economic "winter"; i.e., recession - in order that the too-big-to-fail Grasshopper be preserved.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My New Car Of 2008: American Automakers

For 5 weeks, I have been searching for a new car. I have restricted my search to the so-called American Automakers: GM, Ford, and Chrysler. I am not happy. They have incentives for people just coming off car leases, and the standard A/Z plans, where if you work for or have a relative who works for an the company, you get a discount or some other consideration. Message to Car Companies: I refuse to pay one penny more than the next fellow for a new car. In this economy, we have the spectacle of a bewildered old man wandering the streets, his pockets stuffed with the green, trying to give it all away to some supercilious American automaker. So far, they have acted like good Samaritans, gave him a pat on the back and a gentle nudge out the door. I have responded to wondeful ads, only to have my dreams quashed by A, or Z, or present lease. I have explicitly told dealers this. They direct me to the previously-owned lot. What I discovered is a Certified used auto with some good Warranty left is probably, dollar for dollar, a better buy than a new car. Recall that we are supposedly trying to achieve new technology for autos to reduce dependence on foreign oil ( although, now since the price of oil has fallen, people actually are wondering whether we might not just slink back to gas guzzling ). Why would I buy a new car now, when in 3 years, the tech might be very much changed? I mean, my 3 year old will be a clunker or and "old Betsy" which will immediately qualify for historical license plates. By the end of this week, I shall admit all makes of autos to my quest.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Human Nature And Regulations, Checks, And Balances

Absolutely smashing article. What the Framers Knew and Alan Greenspan Didn't
Eric Lane and Michael Oreskes  
Posted October 19, 2008 08:27 PM (EST)

  ...The Framers left us both their document, the Constitution of the United States, and a fundamental lesson in self-government that we could all benefit from recalling: a system which counts on individuals to restrain their self-interest historically fails. But a system that anticipates and encourages the pursuit of self-interest while creating checks on it can succeed magnificently. Or as Madison put it, but what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?

Jim Cramer The Media Equation Jim Cramer Retreats Along With the Dow ...After years of selling the stock market as a reliable path to riches, Mr. Cramer came in for some brutal criticism recently from viewers and competitors. In March, he said Bear Stearns “is not in trouble.” After Bear Stearns tipped over, he wrote in his New York magazine column that the bottom had finally come. “I feel the bear has been tamed, and the worst of the clawing is over,” he said. And on Sept. 15, he hosted his friend Robert Steel, chief executive of Wachovia, and suggested that its $10.71 share price was a bargain. Two weeks later, it was at $1.84. On Oct. 6, he went on the “Today” show on NBC (which, like CNBC, is owned by NBC Universal) and said, “Whatever money you may need for the next five years, please take it out of the stock market. Right now. This week,” he told a surprised Ann Curry. “I do not believe that you should risk those assets in the stock markets.”... I have endless respect for Jim Cramer. I did not have any particular use for him, until one day on Meet The Press, or some other Arthurian quest (i.e., round table ) TV show had him on with the Secretary of Energy, and Cramer sat by incredulously as the Secretary proceeded to speak nonsense about Methanol. With Mr. Cramer, one should always know where one stands, and should feel good about it. This is much superior to one's relationship with such excrescences as Larry Kudlow, whose claims to the bon ton of investment, pretensions to blue bloodedness, and general condescending, paternalistic contempt for everything not in compliance with his agenda are truly worthy of retribution.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

General Powell

General Powell's endorsement covered a number of events which I was not sure he would mention. He did, so, to his credit. All the nasty, racist remarks and pictures that form the consciousness of a certain segment of the country which forms the base of the Republican Party were laid out for all to see, and they were properly condemned. Once again, I state that this party has left us. The Republican Party is not the party of Barry Goldwater and Russell Kirk and William Buckley. There is a mythic narrative of the small town and its virtues and goodness. Even though one may hold up the small town story as an ideal, one must still remember that it is just that, an ideal, not necessarily a present day reality. When the Republican began their decidedly strange talk recently about small towns and the "real" state of Virginia, it was obvious they had lost touch with reality, and now considered the ideal of the small town to actually be small towns scattered about the country: as if every small town somehow were miraculously a model of civic virtue!...perhaps all due to its virtuous smallness!!?? The heat of the campaign may excuse this, and we may consider this not insanity, but heated enthusiasm. The real tragedy is that now the philosophy of the Republican Party is formulated by small minds; somehow "small town" has migrated into and become synonymous to "small mind", and we have the Falwells and the Haggees and the Parsleys of the country formulating Republican strategy; the party of Lincoln and anti-slavery becomes an empty shell whose only creativity is to dance Curious George dolls with Obama hats down the streets of Pennsylvania. McCain and Palin have no philosophy. Their message changes every day. Two weeks ago, it was Joe Six Pack, now it is Joe the Plumber. The Republican Party's philosophy sounds rather as if it were written by Edgar Guest, and a mean-spirited Guest, at that. There will be nothing left of them. After the crash, Haggee will pick up the pieces. If not Haggee, some other small mind blown large by too much stump preaching of the Bible. It will emerge a party of the very elderly, the cranks and paranoids, and those cute and chubby racists we see leering at us on the news.

Brennt Palestine? Settlers burn 3,000 olive trees in southern Nablus October 18, 2008 Nablus / PNN – Fires set by Israeli settlers in southern Nablus olive groves are up this year, reports journalist Ali Daraghmeh. "This year settlers south of the city of Nablus burned about 3,000 olive trees. The settlers are also burning cars and beating farmers. This week four people were hospitalized." Ghassan, a local official in municipal affairs, described "masked gunmen attacking farmers in 33 basin areas in Salfit and 39 in Nablus." Israeli settlements in the West Bank are most often built on hills and then spread down. Palestinian agricultural lands are afflicted from the initial land confiscation to the eventual threat in the basin areas. Fields just beyond those overtaken are particularly dangerous. Officials note that the coordination between the Israeli army and Palestinian residents does not provide security to the farmer. Ghassan said today, "The initial dates for protection were not abided under the pretext of the Jewish holidays and closures. We are in contact with each village under attack by settlements and monitor all ongoing damage. The reports go to the President and Prime Minister." America at present is a country of grifters and scam artists.
Our failure to secure a just end to the Palestine problem is the original sin of our incompetence. The history of the USA since WW II has been big promise and bigger failure.
We act like a nation of greedy and malevolent children who wallow in their ignorance.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Parlement Des Enfants

Churchhill falls asleep as Mr. Stanley Baldwin Speaks

The Right Gets Angry

There has been the suggestion that the Right Wing will be angry if Obama wins. I have been informed by a number of people, however, that the righties are not the only people with guns. (I am glad Miguel Azana is not running for President.) I seem to recall talking about how the Coulter-creature ( Grendels Modor ) was aiming her message like Julius Streicher used to do in Germany. It was obvious way back that righties were prone to violent behavior, and their threat of using it was to be a cudgel to get their way. Remember the posting: "Mr. Torrance, the Democratic Party is trying to bring an outsider into this situation. They are trying to bring in a n-----r cook .

You must take care of them, Mr. Torrance. The management wonders if you can handle it?"

"White man's burden, Grady. White man's burden!"


Lust is not a sin. It is your weakness that is evil. When you lust after someone in your heart, Jesus says that you have sinned. The unspoken desire, the inarticulated action is not evil. Rather it is the tendency we have to recurring weakness that is vile. Our tendency to be weak will destroy us, unless we practice and exercise our tendency to be strong.

Past, Present, Future

I have been thinking. In a universe of conscious beings: The Past and Future are symbolic. The Present is symbol-manipulating, or symbol processing. Hence, it is non-symbolic in the sense that it is not a mere symbolic structure. However, it is deeply involved with symbols, processing them constantly. We are aware of the Present. What of symbolic activity of which we are unaware? It seems to pop in from nowhere: the activity of the subconscious. Is it symbol processing in the Past...or even in the Future? And we are a unaware not because it is somehow separate from us, rather the "Code of Awareness" we use to "Be Aware" of the Present does not exist for actions in the Past or Future. Sorry. Sometimes I feel the need to use this blog as a notebook. Carry on with what you were doing.

Cars & Banks

Yesterday was a holiday. It consisted of driving around and getting estimates on repairs to front CV joints, followed with an afternoon at the banking establishments.
The VW I drive is one of those with the disappearing engine oil. When purchased, it used natural engine oil, derived from hydrocarbons forcibly sucked from the ground. A few years later, VW had the bright idea to alert its happy customers that synthetics was the way to go; synthetic oil in the engine...if you know what's good for you.
Of course, disappearing oil, annoying as it is, is a problem one can live with, support groups are available and one can live a normal life nowadays. However, when the oil "disappears" without a trace of burning or leakage and the oil pressure gauge does not really feel like doing its job, preferring to leave the matter to the Major Alarum System, then you are in peril on the highway.
The Major Alarum System essentially is Christopher Plummer saying "Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!", accompanied by a laser display on the dashboard and a ringing of church bells, a clashing of steel, a neighing of horses, and subliminal images of peasants running on the Odessa steps.
It was designed to get your attention.
In 2007, She-who-must-be-obeyed and myself were driving on historic route 40 through southeastern Pennsylvania when the sirens went off. I looked quickly around for the mushroom cloud, quite sure it was old Conelrad itself on the crystal set, keening us to an untimely death just outside Uniontown, but it was only Major Alarum...or Major Alarm, if you prefer.
I followed the directions and pulled over and stopped the engine. I looked at the engine, checked the oil level, since the disappearing oil was the only known idiosyncrasy of the beastly that time.
Everything was fine.
I started up again. The alarms sounded again. This time the digital display added, "...and we aren't kidding!"
We had passed the Mount Summit Inn about a mile past. We were in those lovely piles of rock that are the foothills of the Appalachians. It would be downhill for a mile or so, but if it were the oil that was the problem, cars can be driven without any oil at all for a bit; not too far, but far enough, and certainly a mile or two was feasible.
We debouched at the Summit, an historic conglomeration which had hosted Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and that treesy-birdy-woodsy guy they used to hang around with.It was a Saturday afternoon in spring and the trees and flora were the color of 2:00 PM.
The next day was the feast of All Mothers. As a rule, not only do businesses close at noon on Saturdays, but people seem to be distinctly preoccupied when the really big holidays come lumbering up the bulwarks at them. The nearest VW dealer was 50 miles away, thus requiring a tow over that distance, leaving the car in their lot without having spoken to anyone, and the hope that they could do something quickly come Monday morning and the working class returned from their Mothers' Day bacchanalia.
Not only did these events conspire against us, but upon inquiring for the names of local mechanics, we received good references for a number of fellows named Zeke, Charlie, and Bubba.
Now their names did not pose a problem. Zeke, in particular, I found to be charming. The problem was that most of these fellows not only were closed for the day, and were getting ready for a big "do" for the old lady on Mothers' Day, and were full up with work for 3 or 4 days already, but to a man they said that working on "them furrin" cars was tough: hard to get parts shipped over from Germany on tramp steamers and all that.
Now I thought, O.K., valid point maybe 40 years ago. Land O'Goshen, foreigners have been selling and manufacturing cars here for a spell now, and it really shouldn't be all that difficult.
I mean, now look, Zeke, I have stood beside your counterparts all over the bloody world, cursing the fiendish designs of American automakers, who have incorporated so many computers and chips on a car that the common man can no longer even do a basic tune-up.
So you are telling me that autos made by outlanders are beyond your abilities?
This was dodgy.
It was not a good omen.
Then, suddenly, a young lady said, "Did you try Joe yet?"
I said no. No Joe.
"He's good."
Good references. Not Angie's List, but from the heart. The young lady looked up the number, and I pounced on the phone.
Now it turns out that this Joe character had a repair shop called not "Joe's Auto Repair", nor even called "Joe's Foreign Car Repair". It was "Joe's GERMAN Car Repair"!
Not only that, but Matt, the fellow that gave me a ride back and forth, was a sort of a VW super geek-expert-knower-of-trivia, who filled the brief rides with a fully catalogued description of the ailments of VWs, with special reference to his 1991 model, which he had bought recently and was still purring along well.
It was the oil. The dealer had not used synthetic oil, sludge had built up, clogging the oil filter, denying the flow of oil to the oil pump...sort of a Domino Effect thingie that we are now so familiar with...or a Cascade Effect...and Avalanche comes to mind, too.
I felt braced to the extreme.
They fixed it Monday. They charged me 1/10 of what it would cost in the big city.
The Summit had let us stay for 1/2 price, feeling sorry for our plight.
There were no limos, nor taxis, nor any other form of transit. We had been stuck at the Summit Inn, not even being able to go 15 miles or so to see Wright's "Falling Water" nearby.
It was a good couple of days.
We hiked and enjoyed the scenery from the hills. The Mount Summit had a golf course, where some ancient rusts stood apart, remnants of the skiing boom just after World War II; before everyone went to Aspen and Vail; a sieur de Malatroit's door to the enchantment of times gone by and our oblivion of them; history of small things and small joys and the ways of mankind.
I loved it.
She-who-must-be-obeyed had formed an opinion somewhat opposite.
She called Phyllida Erskine-Brown to bewail our plight, while I talked with the people working there and learned a bit of the history. I wandered through old rooms and corridors and gazed at old posters and maps of the glory days of the Inn.
Of course, we both had an eerie sentiment of The Overlook when we went to bed, but we did stay out of room 1409, so all was good. I did write a post card to my friend, Michael, saying "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", written about 20 times, filling the blanks and scootching around the corners and margins of the card, until it looked like a mad calligraphy of Tamerlane's heirs So, having finished with the VW, now to the banks.
Of course, She-who-etc. says that I flirt too much with the ladies in the banks. Only the ladies from Delhi at our branch of Bank-too-big-to-fail seem resistant to my charms.
At one bank, a young lady and I whiled the time chatting in Arabic about the election. I said that I was voting Republican, because I just could not get enough of it. Eight years wasn't enough for me.
Of course, she broke out laughing, and so on.
At another, a young lady bank employee and I spoke of poetry and T.S.Eliot. I informed her that the line as actually written by Tommy himself was "...ends not with a bang, but a whimbrel." instead of the now usual "whimper" (sic), a whimbrel being a smallish curlew native to Europe to which Eliot took a fancy after he emigrated.
The grand tour of 3 banks took about 3 hours. Some cried at my withdrawals, so we had to sweeten things with checking deposits. Much lamentation about things in general, and the destruction of the Temple.
Times are tough.
I found that when I was gloom and doom for 2 years, everyone else was magna cum upbeat about stuff. Once Wall Street slipped on that banana peel that had been patiently laying there, and finally gotten that cream pie in the face, I felt more upbeat, but now everyone else has changed sides to pessimism.
Oh, well. It is their right to wallow in the slough of despond for awhile. I had had dibs on it for too long.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

By The Way... case you did not know... Our failures are germane, brotherly and sisterly. They have their mother and father the same, as the loathsome multiple births that they are. Israel and Palestine was the first child of this new era. There will be no surcease of pain until the first sibling: Israel and Palestine, is weaned from drawing at the breast of Grendels Modor, the mother of Grendel, the supernatural source of our demonic fury. We must learn to weave peace, not discord, through the loom of days. (On the Day of Atonement, an old Arab man was driving his car through a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusdalem. Jewish teens attacked him; later Arab rioters stormed through the streets. It must stop. If we can not do this, we can not do anything. This is the first test, and we failed. We have failed every test since then up to the present day, and we are continuing our perfect grade of failures.)

Arabic Philosophy

Mayasaloon has written a good piece on philosophy: To him I wrote: Truly written. Colonialism sought to intrude into countries where there was something of value to exploit.However, they have not yet allowed themselves to make use of Arabic philosophy. To keep interest low, they portrayed Arabic philosophy as you have described in your post. We are now at the very beginning of the time when Arabic philosophy will influence Western philosophy. Since the countries wherein Arabic philosophy resides are no longer under the control of colonialism, the West finds the ideas of Arabic philosophy not quite "pukka" enough for their consumption, and the process is marked by conflict.It will continue to be of interest. note: by "pukka" here, I mean the original idea of "under cooked"; i.e., "half-baked". "Half-baked" would seem to be the appropriate insult a westerner would use to scare people away from the forests of Arabic thought: sort of a "beware! there be dragons here!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

William Ayers

Republicans ( not Conservatives...I still hold Conservatives to be in the mold of Russell Kirk and Barry Goldwater, not Jerry Falwell and John Haggee.) hate William Ayers because he has the odor of the sixties radical about him. William Ayers is a reminder of the idealism that was the Boomers' true path and true goal: a greater and better and more equitable society; an idealism the Boomers' threw away in order to become fabulously wealthy by cheating and scamming ( as seen in their foremost representatives ) and to destroy this society, by bombs or by banks. William Ayers is an affront to the Boomers, for he is a constant reminder that they sold their souls. First some sold their souls to violence. Then the rest turned their backs on their idealism. We see what that loss of soul has wrought now in the desolation spread around us.

Friday, October 10, 2008

October 10 2008: Panic Is Not An Option

We shall stand fast. Those who sought quick and easy profits panic, but we do not have that option. We have seen too much. We know that panic is a nice option, leaving you bereft of your senses, but we do not have that option. We shall stand firm, let the storm blow around us, then pick up the pieces. Faith in God the Sustainer.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Speaking With God 1

Note: To Reading the Signs: my first attempt. I would run into problems if God were to speak. For one thing, speech is used to disagree, to argue, to puzzle, to scam, and to mislead. So also have many people through history argued and mislead over what they believe God has said. If God speaks, it unfortunately is not immediately recognizable as divinely inspired truth. Unless, that is, we are born into a certain religion and learn its beliefs and symbols and icon from our earliest days. Then we may view the world and readily reach back into our accumulated fund of learning and see, hear, touch, and feel the things we have already learned and committed to memory. But this strikes me as a consistent use of symbols over time, from year to year, and not divinely inspired truth. If God were to speak, I would think He speaks to me. I would become arrogant and peremptory. I would shout heresy. I would no longer have feelings and tolerance for the lesser human beings around me, the poor ones who do not have the same privileged speech I have with God. I would pester the Deity for gifts and trinkets. I would believe everything I did was O.K. In fact, if I believed God spoke to me, my incredible arrogance would be as great as if I believed God did not exist at all, but rather all my accomplishments were due to my native genius and shining celebrity. Thus, the attitude of the Atheist and the one who thinks God speaks to him are the same. If God were to speak, I would puzzle over His meaning. I would debate the origin of His Name. I would wonder if "hawah" meant "to be" or "to fall, occur". Thus I could escape the ethical net wherein I must love my brothers and sisters. By speaking...I could evade all moral responsibility, for I could argue on and on forever about meanings, yet never live the way I should. When I wrote about Moral Relativism in the gist of it was that we of the present age were so conflicted and so prone to hatred and discord that when we are presented with the Immoral in the form of dead Palestinian or Israeli children, we can not be silent in awful dread of this slaughter and discover in our silence some new way to hope, but can only perform a perfunctory moment of silence, and then determinedly return to hating and arguing. If one cannot recognize the Immoral, one cannot recognize the Moral. Hence, any talk of Moral Absolutes disappears. God disappears. What is God anymore, except a political partisan in our debates? What good is a God who speaks to an age which cannot tell right from wrong? They will turn the divine words into rhetoric and folly. Yet I fully concur that God speaks. He speaks when our life begins, before we have any ability of speech, yet we understand. God speaks in the language of life and growth, the language of His Creation and its Logic and Grammar, not human speech and its vagaries. To recapture this speech, we have to go back to the time before we spoke: when we were silent.

Osama vs. Uncle Sam

We have met the enemy, and he is us. Americans have destroyed more now than bin Laden ever could have.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

October 7: Seeing The Future

Current Events First thing, the worst time in the present series of events is going to occur in the fall of 2008. I got the sense it was October 2008. Now worst does not mean that the center will not hold and everything falls apart. It just means the in a series of events, this month will have the suckiest. And it may be all our perceptions; that is, this month will be the month of our greatest fear, not necessarily the worst event. It is our consciousness of the event that will determine how bad it is. I for one did not need John McCain to start going ballistic, adding a horrendous campaign to a list of other worries. It was fated to deteriorate until the people woke up. The ongoing series of arrogant and infamous acts could have no other climax than tragedy; think of all mankind's stories along the ironical lines of the Tower of Babel...prides goes into the revolving door before a fall does. It is also fated to get better. It will not be as bad as some think, yet it will be bad enough. It will get better After October, there will be a desultory decline into recession, and some fields will lie fallow, but then, suddenly, Spring shall return. Have faith and do not, under any circumstances, give into despair. Seeing The Future Second, how does one know these things? A long time ago, it dawned on me that the only difference - grammatical difference, at least- between the past, present, and future were the tenses of the verbs we employed: I saw, I see, I shall see. This struck me as not much difference. There had to be a greater difference. I discovered the Present is the verb, alone and unmodified. The Past modifies the verb somehow ( e.g. "did") , as does the Future ( e.g. "will"). How did this indicate a deep and profound distinction between the Present Now and the Past and Future. It is but a symbol, a symbol alone in the Present and modified in the Past and the Future. Furthermore, the past is a fund of memories: ideas, pictures, images, words, stories, digital traces, all of which are symbolic. When I state " I remember seeing Barry Goldwater give his acceptance speech.", I have created a symbolic structure of words embodying a memory. If I had filmed a documentary, the symbolic structure would be the film, an amalgam of words, actions, and images. When I state " I shall see the Detroit Lions win a championship.", I have created a similar symbolic structure of words, and I could have also created a film of the shape of things to come. It is one of many possible future trends, the one above being outrageously improbable. When I state "I am seeing the sun rise over the river.", I have created a symbolic structure to communicate to you my state of being-in-the-world, my actions, my existence which right now is fully engaged in watching the sunrise. Only the Present is fully engaged in the world, and this is a non-symbolic act or state of being. Only the Present is essentialy non-symbolic as well as symbolic; the Present is our escape from our prison or castle or mansion of symbols. This is what I mean when I do a posting on "Carceri d'Invenzione", or Imaginary Prisons: an escape from the old imagery which is no longer life enhancing, rather it now stifles the living. Hence, the importance of the Present. Only in the Present can we either affect or effect Creation, the Universe in its widest sense. That is why we should try to make the Present as good as possible. God should always be the present. This will thus affect the memories: the Past that we recall of this Present; and will also affect the things to come: the Future that we perceive impinging upon us. This is why I do not like referring to the Book of Revelations: all people are feeling a sense of lesser or greater doom, all people sense a great Irony or reversal as we go get a nudge off the pedestal we built for ourselves. This sense of fear is in the Present, and it is as yet non-symbolic. So to talk about this fear, we must get it a suit of clothes, so to speak, and fit it up properly to go out among the populace. Here is where we reach back in the Past, the storehouse of symbols, and grab the first thing that comes by: the Book of Revelations. Now all premonitions of the future will be symbolized by the Apocalypse: the fear being portrayed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the struggle for the good will be armies in battle and wars against the Anti-Christ. This is not helpful most of the time. I have recounted the story of a friend with Millennial expectations, who was amazed to find his own family's life was the sole thing destroyed. Irony was here. Irony in that he thought himself to be godly, and, thus, somewhat secure from the coming wrath. Instead, he was the focus of the bad events. Irony. Picking the correct Symbols to symbolize and, thus, communicate the Past...AND FUTURE is not an easy task. Now I shall stop here, because I hear you ask: does this lunatic actually think we can foresee the future? To be very brief, my answer is yes. Our sense of fear of the future right now is one excellent example. We cannot yet communicate it because we invariably use a worn-out image set or icons or words, none of which has any validity beyond the fact that we have already invoked them hundreds and hundreds of times in our discourse, and they are easily accessible. When I say the old images have no validity, I mean they have no validity as YOU use them. For example, if old symbols and complex structures had any validity, why would I be watching the Evangelicals of America publicly breaking the law and preaching support for John McCain, the adulterer? I can only see that kind of spectacle when the Evangelicals' symbols have been twisted and perverted from eons of abuse. They go to the old memory storehouse, as usual, and pick out the shop worn items that smell of nauseating senility. Faith is alive. It is the basis of the Present, and thus the Past and Future. If I have Faith now, then God's goodness will color all the images of memory, lifting me from the depression of my past failures. If I have Faith now, then God's goodness will glorify all the possible images and words of the Future, curing me from any despair that comes from my sense of fear. As the symbols of the Future slip into the Now of the Present, they will be as roads already made straight , and our problems will be hills made low, and our lives will be valleys brought high. Amen, My Brothers and Sisters.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Who Is WIthout Sin

When Jesus said this business about casting first stones, did He mean that, in conjunction with "judge not, lest ye be judged", we should not judge at all, rather leave it to God.
Or should we not judge others, but we still must judge our own actions.

Of course, it's never clear how God sees things. Sometimes He rewards the sinner and punishes the godly, so we are always tempted not to leave judgement to God and take up the cudgel of justice ourselves. Perhaps there was even more. Perhaps Jesus hinted at the fact that most of the time, we do not even know where evil is coming from, and what we think is judgement is actually obsession and panic and swarm stupidity.
Sacramento Bee  
Bad vote on gay marriage a wake-up call at American River College  
By Marcos Bretón - Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, October 5  
What do you do when a college student tells you he is against gay marriage because he fears the wrath of God? "I think something is going to happen to our nation and our state," said Victor Choban, a student at American River College. Choban said he believes that last summer's destructive fire season was a direct result of the California Supreme Court overturning a ban on same sex-marriage in May. "Right after the judges allowed same-sex marriage to take place against the will of the people, something horrible happened. What a coincidence. God has many ways to punish."

Once again we see the overwhelming sense of Retribution and Reversal, and once again it is not unjust wars and killings, but sexual mores. I shall tell you: It is your own sinfulness that will be punished, not that of someone else. It is you.
You are the center of consciousness of God and the World; you will be punished, you will greet the Four Horsemen when they ride to your door. When you realize this, you will begin to realize the nature of evil.  
You cannot understand evil if you believe it to be something which only other people experience.

You cannot serve God if others are to be punished while you escape punishment, because you have never sinned. This implies you are perfect, and thus are like unto God Himself. Your arrogance will prevent you from seeing the true God, only God as mirrored in your self love.  

Never send to know for whom the fires are set, Mr. Choban, they are set for thee.


Political Pastors and the Whore of Science

On the last weekend of September, about 30 pastors made political speeches for the candidate of their choice. They all picked McCain. They all turned their pulpits, supposedly for the word of Jesus, into platforms for the Republican party, a blasphemy hard to top.  
Politics need to stay out of the pulpit  
By C. JOSHUA VILLINES Sunday, October 05, 2008

  ...These participants in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” sought to challenge IRS regulations that maintain a wall between tax-exempt religious activities and taxable political ones. Citing controversial issues like reproductive freedom and same-sex marriage, they claimed that a biblical mandate required them to take a more activist role in instructing their congregants to choose the candidate who matched their political beliefs. Their actions are yet one more indicator of the degree to which purveyors of a reactionary political agenda have continued to shield their propaganda behind the presumably sacrosanct rhetoric of the church. The decision by these pastors to endorse a particular presidential candidate also demonstrates that the IRS’ distinction, which affirms the right of faith communities to discuss current events in the light of their traditions while denying them tax-exempt status when they move beyond that realm into partisanship, is a wise one. Simply put, stumping for a political candidate is not a religious activity. This becomes obvious when the particular agenda items cited by these pastors and the lobbyists who guide them are held up against the Scriptures and traditions of the Christian faith that they claim to be preserving. In this election cycle, three of the largest issues among socially conservative evangelicals are elimination of access to abortion, prevention of equal rights for gay and lesbian couples, and the teaching of intelligent design in schools.  

There is a lot here. Read the article for Rev. C. Joshua Villines' opinion. You already know mine on Intelligent Design: it is idolatrous polytheism. It is the golden calf of the Evangelicals; Evangelicals who, sensing that their extra-biblical Rapture nonsense was not quite up to snuff, had to come up with a heresy even more appealing to the times. Intelligent Design, up until now, has allowed for the possibility of a second being existing with God before the creation: the Designer. This is more gods than One God. It is Creationism made to look pretty for Science, and to be its whore.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Je M'en Souviens

Or, as the Habitants de Quebec say, I Remember. This reminds them of the battle on the Plains Of Abrhaham. I am going to have a lapel pin made up with " I Remember". I am going to wear it everyday. And it will remind of the infamous Republicans and their entire generation of snakes and vipers. And any Democrats who fill the bill...ditto.

End Of Times

I suppose it is time to write on End of Times again. I had a friend once. A long time ago, he read the Book of Revelations, talking to Evangelicals, and spoke long about the coming end of times. Within a space of 3 years, his wife had a stroke, leaving her unable to take care of two young children. After rehabilitation, she took the children from him after a very nasty divorce. So my friend's end of times did arrive, destroying his family and everything he held dear. It just took a form he was not expecting. He had not imaged it properly, using an old shop-worn image of the end of the world as we know it, when it should have been the end of his world, a much smaller ranger of disaster. If you catch my drift, this is what I have been writing about all this time: the images we have created about End of Times, how they are shaping our lives and futures, and how it will all come true, only not like we thought. The infinite Future has come and suddenly presented us with the potential destruction of our way of life. This is all just less than 5 years after our leaders were bragging how great our Empire of the Sun was. Our readings of Revelations is true, just not the way we thought. The Rapture is correct, just not in the way the simple thought, for those who believe in the simple old-fashioned ways of our corrupt culture of power and compulsion will indeed be left behind. And Tim LaHaye is right, only he did not have the courage to face the horror that wanted to describe itself in his mind. He rushed back to the old and safe images of organized religion. Notice how the Evangelicals take center stage here. They are indeed prisoners of the old Image. All the movies of monsters and violence are going to come to pass, for we have intuited our Future: a future of hatred not love, a future of blood not peace, of exclusivity not community. We see ourselves in movies as zombies, because we are zombies. We are mindless when it comes to things that matter: Shall we have a symbolic and mythic and ideologic structure of life that is Life Enhancing, filled with Love and Charity, or shall our structure of consciousness be nasty, brutish, and short; all too short? Reality is what we make of it. Wall Street and the Rich made a cleavage between themselves and the rest of the people; they created a consciousness of Something from Nothing, wherein they were the creators of wealth, they were the gods of society, they were the absolute leaders of God's world. As happens in every myth and story and narrative we have ever read or heard, they fell. All of mankind's consciousness tells us what to expect from such "Tower of Babel" imagery: reversal and destruction. The Future is the Past, intermediated by the Present. The Present is Real, the Future is symbolic Probability, the Past is symbolic Memory. Thus the importance for making the Present the time of choice: God is good. The Goodness of God will then accept the symbols of the Future and create our wonderful memories of past events. If not, if we insist on blood thirsty images: Columbine, Shock n' Awe, Virginia Tech, Hostel movies glorying in blood, we shall create a future of horrors, and a history of imperial evil. We shall have run from Caligari to Hitler to Falluja to Wall Street and the cycle of disaster will be painfully clear in each step of the way; clear that the evil was remedial if we had changed our consciousness.


I keep receiving mailers and flyers about Obsession. I am under the impresson that it is an expensive perfume. So I rip it open and smell it, only to discover that when I scratch, I cannot sniff, but have ruined a perfectly good frisbee. It is a DVD. Telling me the hitherto unknown truth that there are terrorists in the world. I know what I think it is: now that Governor Palin has been shown not to be an entirely idiotic entity, it is she who will speak of Obsession and how Senator Obama's name sounds suspicious; it is she who will tell the big lies......for she has been shown now to be the real goods; it is Palin who will invoke the terrors of the swarthy, dark, and lesser races; it is Palin the Evangelical who will paint the Muslim world as monolithic and perverse. It is Palin who will lead those Americans who love Israel more than Jews love Israel, for these Americans need the symbol of Israel to fulfill their ideological desires for an End of All Things and the Second Coming, whereas a Jew awaits yet the first coming of the Messiah, the establishment of Israel not necessarily preceeding or succeeding this event. Obsession. Aptly named.

A Catastrophic Failure Of Leadership Après les attentats du 11/9 - Pourquoi l’Amérique doute ? By Marc de Miramon Concerning the Attacks of 11 September 2001, Why Does America have Doubts ? Translated jeudi 2 octobre 2008, par Henry Crapo ...Karl Rove, former strategist of George W. Bush, had summed up in the celebrated formula : "We are an empire now. And when we act, we create our own reality.". I shall bet that you thought the New Reality did not include an economic collapse.

Barkeep, Another Round Of Pardons Here!

In 2004, the head of Goldman Sachs was Henry Paulson, now the Secretary of the Treasury. In Daily Kos: Smoking Gun: How Republicans Destroyed Economy America those that have not cashed out, want to sustain this long enough so they can do so. And they have almost four months when the chief culprit will be dolling out billions as he sees fit, to solve his very own problem, at which time he can return to the same companies and reap the rewards. This is better than a pardon, but the rich Republicans will get it. All of this will be followed by pardons all 'round for the big drinking Wall Streets, Lobbyists, and the Republican riff-raff. Scooter Libby will be pardoned. Jack Abramoff may be pardoned. Things by then will have reached such an impasse that the Great Clueless will figger, what the hey! Tom Delay, Ted Stevens, an entire danse macabre of corruption and greed and hypocrisy. Some will escape to their farms in Paraguay, and Dick Cheney will be on a sunny beach of a country that has no extradition treaty. I guess we may thank heavens that it is a global economy, and sooner or later the decay and destruction will creep along that sunny beach in Petrovillia, and the disease will destroy even the powerful. A Danse Macabre, indeed.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Debate

Governor Palin Makes A Point

Nicely done by both parties. However, I found Gov. Palin's tendency to talk about whatever point she felt she had to, rather than stay to the appointed topic, a bit disconcerting. I was constantly asking myself whether I had misunderstood the question, or whether we had moved on while I slept. This created a not enjoyable sense of discontinuity which I did not like one bit. I would have tuned the thing out, had I any sense. Since we see this in the Malkin-creature: "Sarah Palin is the real deal. Five weeks on the campaign trail, thrust onto the national stage, she rocked tonight's debate. She was warm, fresh, funny, confident, energetic, personable, relentless, and on message." I see that I was correct. To be in a debate and be called fresh and funny and confident, etc., shows that one does not merit forensic gold stars, rather put on a good show. I mean, the Malkin-creature sounds as if she were a judge on American Idol or Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts...or Major Bowes' old show, and judging some cute, tap-dancing little urchin. This is probably adequate for a VP candidate. I do not relish the idea of Gov. Palin having to make a quick decision for which she has not been drilled, however. Furthermore, the Guv sez she will not give interviews to the media anymore. I suppose the Republicans applaud this, but I see it as an extension of the revival of Know-Nothingism, so prominent on the Right these days. She also seems to be totally unaware that her image is being carried everywhere by the media. There is no understanding of the symbols created by words and the symbols created by images. Or maybe there is. The symbolic structures created by word: the philosophy, the logic, the reasonings, of the Right are understood by themselves to be faulty and miscarried. Hence, rely on the symbolic structures created by images: the Guv is hot, she is cool, she is a celebrity. I think that is something the Malkin-creature would approve.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The US Auto Sales Industry

My 1931 Reo
What is the problem with US auto dealers? For 3 weeks, I have been going into dealerships: Saturn, GM, Ford, and Chrysler, and trying to purchase or lease a car. So far, nothing.

I have dealt with Saturn salespeople who disappear the next day, having spent a happy afternoon with me test driving 3 cars, only to be terminated the next morning. Then when I start over again with a new sales person, I am informed that even though I am ready, willing, and able to pay cash right now for a new care, I am not as desirable a prospect as some coming off a lease, either with GM or even Chrysler; they get the extra discount, I do not. We part.
There are no follow up phone calls. Neither side cares anymore. The Ford dealer was distant and professorial, treating me like some callow student who required a great deal of explanation. Illogically as it may be, this did not lead to new, crisp print-outs of quotes on the 2009 Fusion SE, but rather a hodge-podge of pencil marks and scribbling on scraps of paper. I stuck them all in my pockets and left.
I was about to commit myself this Monday past, when the House of Representatives voted down the bail-out, the Dow Jones declined 777 points, and I said why bother. I could get a cab to the soup kitchen. I did e-mail the Ford dealer for some further information. So far, no response.

Chrysler new cars heard my price range and abruptly moved me to Chrysler Previously Owned cars. The man was very good and responsive. However, I do have another Chrysler product, and they have some parts quality issues. They need not act so snobbish to their old customers. The GM man was also good. I looked at an HHR. Previously, I had considered the HHR to look like a hearse in a Popeye cartoon, but She-who-must-be-obeyed took a fancy to it, so there I was. Nice car. Nice people. But, once again the economic uncertainties held me back.
Thus, for new American cars, I have 1 out of 4 satisfactory experiences. I actually begged Saturn to take my money, we could pretend I was coming of a lease, but they laughed pleasantly and indicated the direction of the exit.

Wall Street Gets Drunk

George Bush said that Wall Street got drunk. They also put the bill on our tab. When we went in the other day for a beer or two, Sketchy, the bartender, told me I owed the house $700 Billion! I said times were tuff, and he sez they sure are, glittering at me with his good eye. He sez that they's about ter get a whole lot tougher, if I catch his meaning. I gulped. I pulled out my wallet. Don't laff! There wuz a chance I had someting like a trillion pezozees in it. I mean, there wuz that 500 billion Zimbabwean bank note from last week, and a coupla pasteboards with Jeff Davis' mug shot. I sez ok. Then I flips him the Robert Mugabe, and sez the rest'll be in his paws after my visit to the gents room. He sniffed the bank note like it was moldy cabbage. I managed to duck into a urine deposit & disposal facility, just as I heard Sketchy say, "Wait a min...!". Like scoot, I flip the window up and crib out, hit the ground and roll. I'm like free! Then I look around and hear the breathing of carnivores...and I ain't in Kansas anymore!

Countdown To Oblivious

No matter who wins(?) the debate tonight, this is a great story: Sarah Palin at Yahoo By Jordan Watland September 18, 2008 Sarah Palin's email was hacked yesterday, possibly because she provided the password to someone who asked for it. Good news is, she passed on that chain letter to at least five friends for good luck, she adopted a litter of bulldogs, and she is earning $8 million for the state of Alaska by keeping some money for a Nigerian prince for a couple weeks...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

How Laws Are Made

Neoconservative Memorial 9

Surely you must remember this particular piece of nastiness from Michael Ledeen: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business" Unfortunately, this time we threw the United States against the Wall (Street). Tough luck for neocons.

Quik Fixes

The entire financial fiasco is due to the fact that Congress has not renewed the Bush tax cuts. In fact, there would be a signal amelioration of just about everything if we were to increase those same tax cuts. I am serious. I hear guffaws and hoots from the peanut gallery, but listen: I do not think we have actually given this trickle-down thing a realistic test drive. It has only been a quarter of a century since Reagan; i.e., since the Republicans had a leader with morals, brains, and charisma. He may also have had an odd economic theory, but we should really give it another quarter century.