Thursday, January 08, 2015
1. Be glad you have self-esteem. Most of us older folks didn't at your age and it took us half our adult lives to develop it. Imagine what we could have done without having that burden on our backs.
2. You are entitled to something better than flipping burgers. Everyone is. There is enough wealth to provide everyone with a decent paying job. Trouble is people like Gates have taken most of that wealth for themselves.
3. Don't fall for propaganda that pits one generation against another – either by belittling your generation or putting down ours.
4. Don't let anyone sneer at you for your environmental concerns. You will be living with the negative effects of climate change not us. We will be dead.
5. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something. Our generation had our fill of that.
6. Yes, life is unfair. But not innately so. If life is unfair it is because the system you live under is unjust
7. If the system we live under can't live up to your expectations, then get rid of it. Change it to one more suited to your needs and aspirations.
8. Don't feel guilty about living with your parents because speculation has made rents and mortgages too high for you to afford on your MacJob wages. Until about 1950 all young folks lived at home. They even had a name for it. It was called a family.
9. For those of you who did not have an emotionally healthy upbringing and are suffering from the results of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse and neglect, don't let it destroy you. It can be overcome – otherwise you wouldn't have so many of us oldsters around. And don't let anyone – especially billionaire blowhards belittle your suffering.
10. Don't individualize your problems. They are social in nature and not your fault.
11. In unity there is strength. Work together to make a better world for you and all living creatures.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Two Cows - Lessons in Economics
This is an oldie from 2006, but is still applicable
The “Lessons In Economics” based on cows is an old Internet joke, but it has a definite right-wing bias. I have written my own version to rectify this.
I have two cows. I form a corporation. With the investment raised I buy a bull and soon produce a herd. The cows work long hours for lousy feed, have no medical insurance and only get a weeks vacation. I sell my milk at a loss and under-cut the other farmers, putting them out of business. Thus, I get their pasture and cows, adding them to my farm. Some stubborn farmers remain, but I use eminent domain to take their pasture. My cows revolt and form a union. I get the police to beat them and break the union. The leader of the cows union is arrested on a host of bogus charges, tortured and given 90 years in prison. Then I discover milk is cheaper in India, fire all the cows, build a Gated Community on the pasture land and import milk from India. The government gives me a patent for Potable Bovine Liquid and a copyright on the name “Milk” and thanks to the WTO I now have a global monopoly on the sale and production of milk.
I have two cows. I form a corporation. The Federal Government gives me $200,000,000 with which I buy most the cows in the country. Then I sell all the cows, take my money and move to the USA.
18th Century English Capitalist
I have two cows. But I notice there are a lot of wild cows in England, grazing on their own pasture land. So I tell my friends in Parliament about this and they pass an Enclosure Act and drive the wild cows off the land which is then deeded to me. I become very wealthy. But all those wild cows wandering the roads mooing for fodder are a problem, so I get my friends in government to arrest the cows and transport them to the Colonies where they work on my farms that the Crown has so kindly granted me. But most of the wild cows die and those that don’t run away and join the Indians. I hear there is a good supply of big, tough cows in Africa so I take a ship and gather them up. Mind you, about half die en route back to the Colonies, but, there’s millions more where they came from. The African cows sometimes revolt, but burning the leaders alive or hanging them by the udders usually helps restore order. I develop a three-way trade; fodder from England, cows from Africa and Colonial milk back to England, but soon find the African cow trade to be the most profitable of the three. Of course, from time to time the cows try to take over a ship or the damned Frenchies try to grab them, but the Royal Navy is always there to help me. By now, I have bought a title, (Lord Fucinarsle) a seat in Parliament and a 50 room Country House, which is rather nice. In my spare time I write letters to The Times on the “Virtues of Free Enterprise” and “The Need to Control the Lower Orders” and am planning a new business venture - selling opium to the Chinese!
I have two cows. I complain to the Fuhrer about this and he offers to sell me cows expropriated from Jews, communists and other sub-humans at below market price, provided I kick-back an amount to the Party. I experiment on my now very large herd and find that thru the application of torture I can double milk production. This combined with slave labor makes me a very wealthy man. But alas, the forces of International Judeo-Bolshevism triumph over the Fatherland and I am forced to flee. Luckily, the Vatican smuggles me out and I end up in Paraguay. In the midst of this mongrel and degenerate race I begin my dairy farm anew. Then one day a man from the CIA comes by. I am so pleased to be once more among gentlemen who share my Christian faith and implacable hatred of cultural Jew-Bolshevism and miscegenation that I sign on immediately. After a number of adventure-filled years overthrowing socialist-infested democracies, I end up with my old friend Klaus Barbie, creating the international cocaine cartel, so important during the Iran-Contra days. Now retired in the USA, from time to time the School of the Americas has me teach “The Art of Cow Torture” to South American Latifundists to improve their milk production.
I have two cows. I get together with other farmers and buy a bull which we share. Our herds grow. Our animals are treated with ethical standards and we farm organically. We also form a cooperative to buy feed and equipment and a cooperative dairy to process the milk, make butter and yogurt and market these products. At the same time we develop a credit union which helps local people set up small cheese production as well as a host of other small spin-off industries. The American capitalists hear of our success and the US Government declares us a nest of communist terrorists funded by Hugo Chavez and a threat to democracy. Soon Cowntras are infiltrating our herds, poisoning the milk and murdering the calves.
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
That Four Letter Word, Work
The Oxford English Dictionary definition of work: actions, doings, task, actions involving effort or exertion directed at a definite end.
One way our economic system is totally screwed up has to do with what is considered work. Note well, the dictionary says work consists of effort or action with a purpose. This means any physical or mental activity with an end result in mind is work. Hence, playing the violin is work, as is making breakfast, studying philosophy, pulling weeds in the garden or volunteering for a community organization.
Pretty straight forward eh? But not in our idiot economic system. How so? Suppose you are on welfare and volunteer 30 hours a week at a seniors residence, or you are a stay-at-home parent. The capitalist system, or rather its shills, do not consider you to be working. The notion of work has been distorted, changed from purposeful effort, to solely that which brings monetary reward. Everything else, even working 16 hours a day as a volunteer, is considered non-work, and hence of not much value to society.
Sick eh? But hang on, it gets worse. While the aforementioned volunteering welfare recipient is considered a parasite, even though she is doing something very beneficial, if she instead worked in a napalm factory, she would be considered a useful member of society! Doing something that ends up killing people is OK, helping them is not.
In a capitalist society wage labour is the only form of work that is directly profitable for the capitalist. Hence, the need to denigrate all other forms of work, as these forms threaten the ability to exploit labour. But in the real world, the one that exists outside of that concocted by those fantasy-spinners, the "economists", so much of what is valuable in life is done freely and without monetary compensation as the ultimate goal.
Society would collapse without this important form of work. Think what would happen if no one raised their children, looked after their houses and yards, or volunteered for the innumerable groups and associations that keep the societal wheels turning. If the system had to pay for all of this non-paid work, there wouldn't be enough money to do so.
In the long term, we ought to abolish the wage system as the IWW has demanded since 1905. In the meantime, a Guaranteed Annual Income would help reestablish work in its authentic sense. Everyone would get the GAI and there would be much more freedom to work at what people were really interested in doing.
While on the topic of work, it is necessary to talk about "laziness." People who are less willing to engage in what the sheeple consider "real work", ie wage labour, are denigrated as lazy. However, I have never met a lazy person. People who sit around and no nothing are usually suffering from depression. There is also a type of sociopath who sponges off people. But most people deemed lazy by the sheeple are usually those who want to do something other than slave for a boss. Take bohemians, or the contemporary equivalent. They spend most of their waking hours writing, painting, creating music, studying etc. The sheeple consider them "lazy long-haired bums", yet after they are dead, these same haters will idolize them as "creative geniuses." Laziness is a myth, and was concocted to malign and control those people whose interests and work does not have an immediate or obvious monetary aspect.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Stateless Democracy - How Kurdish Women Liberated Democracy from the State
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Warning to Neo-Con Liars
The ex-Stalinist MORNING STAR, the Trotskyist, Committe For a Workers International, SWP-UK, the 4th International, the International Marxist Tendency, the independent socialist Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste and La Bataille Socialiste, all the anarchist and syndicalist tendencies I can find, ALL support the Kurdish people in their struggle against the IS, giving critical support (or better) to the PKK and the Syrian Kurdish YPG. Indeed non-Kurdish militants are fighting right now in Kobane along side the Kurds.
So usual journalistic suspects, let's not hear any bellowing that the left refused to support the Kurds or was soft on ISIS. right here you are proven wrong before you even utter your filth!
Friday, October 03, 2014
A 25 Year Economic Depression?
A CIA analyst says that the stock market is close to having a 70% down-turn - a 25 year long depression and the demise of the American Empire will result. (*) Will this happen? Maybe not as soon as he says, but you can't go on printing money and creating stock bubbles without crashing at some point. The way I see it, the crash could come any time now within in the next 5 years.
A 25 year depression? That we should be so lucky! Lucky you say, given all the suffering that such an event would entail? Well, if you want to see suffering, think run-away climate change. This could result in the loss of hundreds of millions, even billions of lives. If something isn't done in the 10-20 year window of opportunity we have, that nightmare scenario will certainly unfold. Everyone other than Koch-rotted climate change deniers knows this, but nothing is being done to offset this coming disaster.
We, the people, simply don't have the strength to force through the necessary economic changes. Our sociopathic ruling classes simply ignore the mass protests and go on as ever. If we get serious they use state terror to crush us. (We see this already in Canada, with non-violent environmental protestors criminally slandered as a “terrorist threat.”)
One important result of the 2008 Crisis was a free fall in the use of petroleum. The price of a barrel fell from $140 to $42. Admittedly, the higher price was in part a result of speculation, but this speculation was in itself based on the hope of a higher demand. What happened in 2008 was that people began driving less to save money. The masses of unemployed also didn't have a job to drive to. The lower demand for goods also meant less petroleum use, both in the manufacturing processes (think oil-based plastics) and in transportation of those products. This fall off in demand will occur in the coming crisis.
Shale and tar sand oil was, and will be, negatively effected. This form of oil production needs about $80 a barrel to be profitable. Below that and they fold up shop. Furthermore, the tar sands are themselves a major source of CO2.
With the Economic Crisis Chapter 2, the whole developed world becomes like Cuba enduring the the Yanqui economic blockade and the loss of Russian sugar purchases. People cease buying, recycling and repairing become the norm. Creative individuals discover that new products can be produced locally in small shops and vast factories and corporate agglomerations are unnecessary, indeed an impediment to a rational system. Urban farming spreads. Local currencies are created to replace the worthless official money. People leave the suburbs for the cities or villages and the most wasteful way of living ever devised is abandoned. The global economy continues to contract, and in a virtuous circle ever further reduces the production of atmospheric CO2.
A lengthy and deep depression, by reducing CO2 emissions may well be the action that buys us more time, enough time to finally get our act together and change the system and create a sustainable, steady state economy. Perhaps we can avoid the horrors of run-away climate change. (This is the first time I have felt anything positive in years.)
The depression may well be a factor in speeding up the process of social and economic change. As of this moment, in spite of the hard times, the austerity and endless war-mongering, the majority of the population sit on their hands. Yet, surveys show this same majority are not at all happy with the present conditions. They are just fence sitting. Yet, many of them continue to vote for their worst enemies and the people demonstrating in the streets are only a minority. Perhaps they sit back out of fear, hanging on to what they have. Perhaps it is like the situation of the frog in the gradually heating pot of water, the negative effects haven't reached them yet. A second major shock should knock them off that fence into active opposition. (**)
Once the vast majority are in open opposition, the system is going down the same road that East Germany took in 1989. State terror, so useful against minorities, - think the suppression of Occupy in the USA - becomes a dangerous option against majorities. It will only serve to further inflame them. Support for the system could end up reduced to the elite and their lackeys. At this point the political system would collapse and could be replaced by the new forms of democracy that have been gestating over the last three decades or more.
** It is true that some of this opposition may gravitate to the nationalist or fascist right, but that is a topic for another discussion – too long for a footnote!
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
The Joys of Neo-Liberalism
From 1947 to 1973, Latin America experienced a 70% rise in real wages per capita. States had the capacity to both distribute wealth and sustain growth. They showed no need to subscribe wholesale to the capitalism that dominated the American economic scene
Between the Reagan and Clinton administrations (1980 to 1998), Latin America’s average per capita income did not increase at all.
Looking at Latin America’s poverty from the 1960s on evinces something more: about 10% of the region’s denizens were destitute by today’s subsistence standards of less than 2$ a day; however, by 1996, a third of Latin America was poor by the same standards. After just two decades of changes in international trade, ownership and sundry laws, 165 million Latin Americans were impoverished. Unfortunately, by 2005, regional poverty had increased from its 1996 levels, numbering 220 million poor. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/12/latin-america-and-the-us-techno-empire/