Thursday, October 30, 2008
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.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Palin blessing echoed extreme strategy
ALAN BORAAS COMMENT
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.Alan Boraas is a professor of anthropology at Kenai Peninsula College.
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.
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 " ...church, 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.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-lane-and-michael-oreskes/what-the-framers-knew-and_b_136012.html 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?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
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!"
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
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.
Bad vote on gay marriage a wake-up call at American River College
By Marcos Bretón - firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
Friday, October 03, 2008
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
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.