I just finished reading some Hegel. It was his “Reason In History” translated by Robert S. Hartman. Hegel seems to think that there is a spirit that forms and idea and that idea is worked out as reason in historical reality in the form of the state and all its accoutrements.
Idealistic, perhaps, he talks a little about the dialectic and a lot about the spirit and what is and what is not historical. He considers pre-state formations of tribes to be outside of the scope of reason or outside of the dynamic in which the spirit evolves or realizes itself. He mentions the image of the Phoenix as a good idea of how society is transformed to the next level.
He was writing in a time of much ferment in Europe when ideals unleashed by the French Revolution were transforming the way people thought of their societies. He has nothing to say about the industrial revolution that was also shaking the foundations of society and he has a lot to say about religion as part of the highest form of justification for the state. Ultimately he sees the needs of the spirit being realized by the state in general and by the great men in history who are able to act outside of the petty mores of their time but who embrace and realize the demands of spirit for change. People like Cesar, Alexander and Napoleon are mentioned.
He does a little comparative cultural study of the Homeric Greek tales vis the Indian tales I assume he means the Mahabharata or the Ramayana, he doesn’t specify and dismisses Indian civilization as not being in the historical process. He defines the growth of freedom of humanity in the state as the need of reason and thus of spirit. India with its caste system fails in his book. But he does not take into account the effect of British Mercantilism, he does not mention the influence of Islam at all, and briefly surveys Confucianism and Taoism, where he gives China higher marks but does not give them credit either for the march of reason.
In fact one gets the impression of a very Euro centric view, with an appreciation that there is knowledge to be found in the orient but not much credit and African and American civilizations are not mentioned at all.
I can see how he was hired by the Prussian state as its official philosopher, he did state that the society as it stood was the highest evolution of spirit and the idea and that would make a ruler happy. But any deeper reading would lead one to believe that history was on the march and that each civilization would be overthrown in its day by the next stage in the generation of the ideal of spirit in history. An unsettling thought indeed.
To quote “If freedom implies the consent of each individual, then of course only the subjective aspect is meant. From this Principal follows as a matter of course that no law is valid except by the agreement of all. This implies that the majority decides; hence the minority must yield to the majority. But already Rousseau has remarked that this means the absence of freedom, for the will of the minority is disregarded. In the Polish Diet all decisions had to be unanimous and it was from this kind of freedom that the state perished. Moreover, it is a dangerous and false preposition that the people alone has reason and insight and knows what is right; for each popular faction can set itself up as the People. What constitutes the state is a matter of trained intelligence, not a matter of “the people”.
Then he goes to speak a little about the mechanics of voting, and makes this statement.
“The state is an abstract entity which has its - merely general- reality in the citizens. But it is real, and the merely general existence must be translated into individual will and activity.”
“Thus the distinction between commanding and obeying seems necessary for the very function of the state. Hence one recommends-as a matter of purely external necessity, which is in opposition to the nature of freedom in its abstract aspect-that the constitution should at least be so framed that the citizens have to obey as little as possible and the authorities are allowed to command as little as possible.”
He then talks about the three different forms of government monarchic, aristocratic, and democratic.
“The problem, in in such collisions (of interests), therefore is to determine the best constitution, namely, that institution, organization, or mechanism of government which most securely guarantees the purpose of the state.”
He goes on to briefly discuss the goals of a state and a constitution and brings up Plato, Fenelon, and Herodotus discussing the Persians.
“Today the constitution of a country and people is not regarded as so entirely dependent upon free choice. The underlying, but abstractly entertained conception of freedom has resulted in the Republic’s being quite universally regarded-in theory-as the only just and true constitution.”
He goes on to mention how even monarchs include republican principals in the modern (19Th century) era.
“The state is the idea of Spirit in the externality of human will and its freedom. It therefore is essentially the medium of historical change, and the stages of the Idea represent in it various principles.”
He goes on to state that we can learn from the art and philosophy of the past but not from their political principles that were unique to their situations.
I get the feeling that he is dancing between telling his students that yes they are right to want to move ahead to some higher form of freedom but he has to be careful not to piss of the Prussian paymasters. He seems to be on the side of the world changers but is on the payroll of the status quo.
We will never know exactly this book was written posthumously from his lecture notes and student notes. This particular translation was written just after world war two and in the height of the cold war when the Hegelian Marxists were struggling with the Adam Smith/Keynesians over mastery of the planet.
Marx and his buddies dumped the religious content from Hegel but kept the concept of the idea in history, they simply made it the material forces of dialectical materialism. I am not so sure that was a smart move. It might have seemed scientific in the heady days of 19Th century positivism and the belief in the cult of science. But now as we face planetary extinction we must look at the spiritual aspect of what Hegel was saying.
Now I have to get back to Kant, that is some heavy reading.
What do you want from a guy out of work? I can rail or get philosophical.
Archive for February, 2009
I just finished reading some Hegel. It was his “Reason In History” translated by Robert S. Hartman. Hegel seems to think that there is a spirit that forms and idea and that idea is worked out as reason in historical reality in the form of the state and all its accoutrements.
I don’t have much to say about the shooting in Oakland. The BART cop obviously was not the man for the job. If you are stupid enough to shoot someone in the head for no reason, you don’t deserve to be in a position to be holding a gun.
Here is a bit of info from the group trying to get a little justice around that issue.
“Oakland Town Halls to Recall DA Orloff
by Justice for Oscar Grant - Ministry of Information ( mosque26bmoi [at] gmail.com )
Friday Feb 27Th, 2009 2:53 PM
Justice for Oscar Grant - I AM OSCAR GRANT
Next Town Hall Meeting: Saturday, March 7Th, 2009
Thank you to everyone who has continued to support our efforts to bring Justice to Oscar Grant.
Our next Town Hall meeting is Saturday, March 7Th, at 4pm. We will not be meeting tomorrow, Saturday, February 28Th.
Come back ready for our next steps to recall D.A. Orloff. Bring your friends, family, and neighbors. 80,000 signatures are needed. Our unity is more important than ever.
Weekly Organizing Meetings
Every Saturday 4 pm - 6 pm
Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church
807 27Th Ave, Oakland
Caravan for Justice II!
Destination: Sacramento, CA
1. Recall D.A. Tom Orloff
2. Fire and Replace BART Police Chief Gary Gee
3. Create citizen review board for BART police
4. End killing of unarmed suspects
Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan Speaking on Justice for Oscar Grant Live in Oakland 2.17.09
Caravan for Justice 2.19.09
For more info: (510) 436-0205
Join Our Mailing List: http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102412884184 ”
Well it is short and to the point.
I am dealing with a lot of issues, like how badly the American health care system sucks. I got terminated for standing up to the boss. He must have been planning to get rid of me for a while, but now he is trying to screw me out of my unemployment benefits and that means my health care… what a lousy cheap bastard. If you ever get to meet this guy his name is Masoud Nikravan, he is a real slime ball, use a 50 foot apparatus and stay as far away as you can.
Unless you are a hunter the only use I can see for weapons is in self defence and right now we need to prepare for revolution. Personally I don’t think we stand a chance with weapons as long as the state has the military and police on their side. But at least they have to think twice before they come in to get you when they have decided to shut us up for good. Lets hope we win over the troops before the powers that be end our freedom of speech for good.
This is a week old a friend of mine sent it to me. It has been bouncing around the internet, this is the first I have read of it and it is pretty shocking.
“Protest looms as US is set to deport 30,000 Haitians
Wed Feb 18, 1:19 pm ET
MIAMI (AFP) – Activists called a protest for Saturday as the United States moved closer to carrying out deportation orders for more than 30,000 Haitians.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman said Tuesday that deportation orders have been processed for 30,299 Haitians and hundreds have been put in detention centers or on electronic monitoring at home in preparation for deportation.
“Last week we had nationally 30,299 Haitians on final order of removal, meaning that an Immigration judge ordered them to be deported from the United States,” said spokeswoman Nicole Navas.
Meanwhile 598 Haitians are detained and 243 (have) electronic monitoring, Navas explained.
US authorities complain that deportations have been dragged out because the Haitian government has failed to provide proper documentation for the trips while insisting it is not in any shape to handle a major return of refugees.
Haiti’s consul general in Miami Ralph Latortue did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“People are terrified, very afraid, especially those who have children and do not want to go back to Haiti,” said Gepsie Metellus, director of “Sant La”, a social aid network in Miami’s Little Haiti district.
Activists and immigrants alike have called a protest rally for Saturday at Broward Transitional Center, in Broward county just north of Miami, said activist Marleine Bastien.
They are demanding an end to arrests and an end to deportations of Haitians, the right to work and the release of the hundreds of Haitians held in detention centers across the country.
Immigration is a sensitive issue in the Miami area, home to at least 800,000 Cuban-Americans. Haitians and immigrants from other Latin American countries deeply resent that when Cubans arrive in Miami they are immediately given the right to stay and work, a blanket red-carpet welcome given to citizens of no other country.
Copyright © 2009 Agence France Presse.”
From Yahoo we have more links on the subject.
“An HLLN Urgent Action Appeal:Urge the Obama Team to grant TPS to Haitians nationals Folks, we need you to re-start sending letters out to Homeland Security chief,Janet Napolitano; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama urging that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) be granted to Haiti.The inauguration is over and matters have not changed at all for Haitians.Below we post three recent articles urging that TPS be granted to Haiti. As one article states “Barack Obama becomes president, and Haitians with deportation orders are put on notice: You’re outta here!” This cannot remain unchallenged and there is no Network out here more
concerned about fair treatment to Haitians than this Ezili’s HLLNetwork.So please, take a moment, one and all, to send a letter to the Obama Team.The sample letter is copied below. Address and contact numbers are on our website at:HLLN SAMPLE LETTER Asking President Obama to=20Assist Haiti’s Recovery Efforts by Granting Haitian nationals TPShttp://www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/
HLLN Urgent Action Appeal - Ask President Obama to help in Haiti’s Recovery Efforts by granting TPS to Haitian nationals CALL , WRITE and/or FAX PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARYRODHAM CLINTON AND HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF,
JANET NAPOLITANO IMMEDIATELY (Sample letter follows). Send a copy of your letter to your local congressional representative also asking they write to President OBAMA asking for TPS and a halt to all deportations to Haiti, with a copy of the media. For contact info for your congressional rep and local and national media.- Another Contact for your elected officialhttp://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtmlLocal and national mediahttp://www.margueritelaurent.com/contactinformation/local-national-media.html*Sample Letter The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States The White House Washington, DC 20500Phone: 202
456-1111Fax: 202-456-2461The Honorable Janet Napolitano Secretary, Department of Homeland Security2001 Independence Ave, SW Washington, DC 20528Phone: 202-282-8000Fax: 202-282-8401Homeland Security Comment Line: 202 282 8495The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520Phone: 202-647-4000DATE: ____, 2009Dear President Barack Obama/ Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton / Secretary Janet Napolitano Please designate the country of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) fora period of 18 months with specifications to stop all deportations to Haiti.In 2008, hurricanes and storms devastated Haiti, and presidential candidate Barack Obama stated:“I also urge the United
States to work in partnership with President Rene Preval and the new Haitian government … to immediately assemble a task force on reconstruction and recovery to begin work as soon as the storms pass…Together, we can help Haiti recover from this terrible series of storms and renew efforts to bring hope and opportunity to the people of Haiti.”Today, deportations to storm-ravage Haiti continue. When the US deports an income earner to storm-ravaged Haiti, this decreases remittances and further impoverished family members. Diaspora remittances are the most effective and direct aid to the Haitian poor in Haiti.In 2002 TPS was renewed for Nicaraguan and Honduran immigrants because of continuing difficulties caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. At this point, Haiti’s in much worse shape than Central Americans were at the time. Haitians in
the United States should receive equal treatment and protection. Haiti qualifies for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and should be granted this disaster relief.Four tropical storms and hurricanes battered Haiti during last year’s harvest season, killing almost 1,000 people nationwide, decimating Haiti’s agriculture and causing $1 billion in damage to irrigation, bridges and roads. Mudslides Still cover entire towns. Houses are flooded. Schools have collapsed on children and people are starving. It’s inhumane to deport Haitian back to Haiti under these devastating conditions, where they will find no home, no employment, no food, no personal safety and security.TPS was established to provide protection to people who are temporarily unable to return to their homelands. Please help the people in Haiti by permitting their friends and relatives in the
United States to remain here and to continue to send support to a nation in severe crisis. Please affirm the United States tradition of caring for and protecting persons in vulnerable situations by granting TPS and/or stopping all deportations through Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) or any equivalent administrative or executive ruling, with a specification to stop ALL deportations and provide work permits to Haitian Nationals.Sincerely,Your name________Address ____________Phone and e-mail number_________________ _________________________________Contact:Contact for your elected officialhttp://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml
Recommended links for HLLN’s Campaign Two: Equal Treatment for Haitian Refugees, stop deportations, grant TPS, justice for the ill treated Haitian Asylum seekershttp://www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/
Forwarded by Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network Haiti Policy Statement for the Obama Teamhttp://www.ezilidanto.com/An HLLN Urgent Action Appeal:Urge the Obama Team to grant TPS to Haitians nationalshttp://www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/
February 4, 2009
Half-Hour for Haiti: Tell President Obama to Stop Deporting Haitians
The Petition to Free Ronald Dauphin has over 500 signatures now.. Thanks to everyone who signed. We are halfway to our goal of 1000 signatures, and Ronald is still in jail. So please sign if you have not done so. Last week’s panel discussion in Boston, “Change Haiti Can Believe In” with Actor Matt Damon, Dr. Paul Farmer, State Rep.. Linda Dorcena Forry, Amy Goodman and IJDH Director Brian Concannon Jr. will be broadcast on WBUR radio in Boston (90.9) this Sunday at 8 PM. You can also watch it anytime on the web, click here.
Next Tuesday, February 10, the Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast will host a talk by Brian Concannon on Haiti’s justice system in Jersey City. Click here for more details.
Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced H.R.331 , a bill “To establish the Independent Commission on the 2004 Coup d’Etat in the Republic of Haiti.” The bill has 10 co-sponsors already we’ll have an alert on it soon.
This week’s action: In December, the Bush Administration resumed deportations to Haiti. The deportations had been halted in October, because Haiti was reeling from the hurricanes of August and September. Unfortunately Haiti is still reeling, from the hurricanes and now from increased hung er as food that would have been ready for harvest the last few months was destroyed in the storms. But the U.S. immigration system keeps sending people back, often breaking up families here to do so. See three good recent articles from the Miami Herald:Deportations Slide under Obama’s Radar (January 28), Haitians Snubbed Again in bid for TPS (January 8), and Inhumane to Deport Haitians, Rep. Alcee Hastings (Op-Ed) ( December 29, 2008).
We need to show the Obama Administration that deporting Haitians is one of the failed policies of the past that he has pledged to reverse. A coalition of religious, solidarity, labor, immigration and Haitian organizations in South Florida have put their heads together, and drafted a letter urging President Obama to immediately stop the deportations. They are asking all of us to sign on. The letter is below, please sign it at:http://www.petitiononline.com/TPS2009/petition.html.
To: President Barack H. Obama
January 30, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
RE: The Administration Should Urgently Stay Deportations to Haiti
Dear President Obama:
First, congratulations on your new job. Immigrant communities look forward to working with your administration. Certainly you have many pressing priorities. We are compelled, however, to bring to your attention a life or death matter: Haitian deportees face hunger, homelessness and unemployment, if not worse, in the wake of four killer storms that further devastated our hemisphere’s poorest nation. We urge you to immediately stay deportations to Haiti pending review of U.S. immigration policy toward Haitians.
These deportations are inhumane and, we believe, contrary to your administration’s values of fairness, transparency and respect for human rights. Please consider:
• The former administration stayed deportations to Haiti in September only to resume them abruptly in December without notice or reasonable explanation. This was a last-minute Department of Homeland Security policy reversal. It should not stand.
• Conditions in Haiti remain abysmal. The storms destroyed 15 percent of its GDP—the equivalent of eight to 10 Hurricane Katrina’s hitting the U.S. in one month. Yesterday the State Department renewed warnings to not to travel to Haiti due to the “destructive impact” of the storms.
• Staying the deportations is in the interest of the U.S. Sending more people in need of food and shelter will further burden the Haitian government, which already is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the natural disaster. Deportees only delay recovery efforts. Meanwhile, Haitians who remain here would continue to send remittances, encouraging relatives to stay in Haiti and help rebuild their country.
• These deportations tear apart families, hurting U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. Vialine Jean Paul, 34, married a U.S. citizen. Their 7-year-old, U.S-born daughter is being treated for a chronic viral infection. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Ms. Jean Paul to buy plane tickets for herself and her daughter to go to Haiti on February 9. Her dilemma: Should she put her daughter at risk of malaria, hepatitis, cholera, malnutrition and uncertain medical care in Haiti or leave her sick daughter behind?
Across America, many want our government to stand with the Haitian people. Haiti still needs U.S. help. Please help by immediately staying deportations to Haiti and undoing the last administration’s late-term policy reversal. It is the fair and decent course of action.
Fanm Ayisyen Nan
Women of Miami
Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center
Florida Immigrant Coalition
Randolph P. McGrorty
Chief Executive Officer
Catholic Charities Legal Services
UNITE for Dignity
Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition
Fr. Reginald Jean-Mary
Notre Dame d’Haiti Mission
Grace Haitian United Methodist Church
For more information about the Half-Hour For Haiti program, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) or human rights in Haiti, see our website, www.HaitiJustice.org.. To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts (about 2 per month), send an email to HalfHour4Haiti@ijdh..org.
<><><> the end / el fin / tamat <><><>
Pretty bad stuff, not since the government rounded up so many of the Arabs and Persians right after 9/11 have I heard of such persecution, other than the ongoing war against immigrants from Latin America.
Yesterday President Obama gave his speech. He talked about health care reform among other things.
How are we going to do it? Nancy Pelosi on MSNBC says it is essential, to Rachel Maddow. If they are going to have entitlement reform it is dependent on health care reform.
Now I am hoping it is going to be based on national health care.
Paul Krugman is afraid that the bank bail out plan is becoming a repeat of what the Japanese did in the 90’s, with zombie banks and malaise. Krugman wants write downs and something more serious. Krugman was ready for the president to move to national health care or at least that was his hope in an interview on Keith Olbermann.
I watched highlights of Obama’s speech care of UTUBE and the Obama people. It was interesting to see him call for everyone to go back to school. Now if the government picks up the tab, sign me up. But don’t ask me to go into more debt into an education system that is just as antiquated and inept as the medical system. In America it is all about money and the rest of us get to pick up the crumbs.
We need a national free education system and a national free health care system. There is enough wealth here, we just have to capture it and not let it go. The problem is as soon as you put the squeeze on the rich to make them pay they slime on out to another country that will let them keep all their filthy lucre. What we need is world socialist revolution so the bastards will have to go to the moon to keep their stolen goods from the peoples of the world. We have suffered enough. Revolution now!!!!
OK I am ranting, but I just lost my job and damn it I am tired of half measures, getting fired for trying to start a union is no fun!! It is worse when the bosses simply cover it up by making up some other excuse so that there is nothing I can do about it but go collect unemployment with my tail between my legs. It just makes me fed up with this country where everything is for the rich and the little guy gets screwed. Sounds like a cliche, but I feel it where the sun don’t shine. Gary Rumor out…
I got canned from my job today, It was funny, my boss got so pissed at me he threatened to kill me. What did I do, I just called him on his holier than thou attitude and told him he was an asshole. That turned a 3 day suspension into a termination. It is not that I have anything against Persians, I just don’t like the way people get when the pressure is on. This one just wanted everyone to go along with his program, cut wages, cut hours, cut benefits, instead of getting imaginative, they get uptight.
I was too, I was tense, I was cutting back myself, cutting out the expensive government drugs, replacing them with less expensive ones that my Doctor prescribes. I was feeling that poverty vibe like old cold sweat. It was making it hard to sleep. I refused to give in to it, I turned punk rock on it and said fuck you fate, kiss my mother fucking ass, I will not bow down to fear and let it drive me from my sense of self.
But the media drone on about the stock market collapses. There we are, all under pressure and we want it all to end. But I was looking for a chance to make the hurt go away, but I fucked it up and got into it with the boss instead of sucking it up, that whole pride thing. We were going to have a union, all I had to do was to hang on for a couple more days and perhaps it would happen with me there. But I had to call him on it, perhaps he had set it up for me, perhaps I set myself up. All I know is the spirit moved me to anger and there I was daring that rich fuck to go ahead and try to kill me….and he is not even a bad one, just a small time hustler trying to make it for his family in a land that was not his own. I can sympathise, I did for 4 years, I was paid to. But when the voice of history begins to ring in your head and heart, well you have to follow, even if it makes you into a bit of a Taxi Driver.
I am reading Hegel’s “Reason In History”. Its got the idea of history. It seems that Hegel got a lot of people like Marx all excited, even called himself a young Hegelian.
But right now what I see is exploding paradigms and the power people don’t know what to do and they are beginning to talk desperately about nationalizing the banks and the threat of revolt among the masses. Ha, masses in revolt, in America? They would rather send 100,000 radicals into the FEMA camps before they let an organized rebellion take place. Every time we go for it, when a few of us begin to make some plans some rat sneaks in and cries to the man. And there we are, starting all over again but will we be able to play the game, pretend that it doesn’t matter any more. Who knows? But when the troops refuse to fire and the cops refuse to arrest, then the game is up and we have a chance. We just have to keep the faith alive and take what we can back when we can. Just remember it is not to get a new boss, its to end the reign of bosses.
Maybe this time the idea of history is pushing us to reality while the politicians are trying their damnedest to keep us down. And you know I don’t mind getting fired, I am glad to be out of that small minded pressure cooker, but it sure would have been nice to see that bastard of a boss cry when we voted in the union. Not that that is the ultimate answer, but it is a start, and if we are ever going to build a fair and just world, ya got to start somewhere. I may be too much of an anarchist to join, but maybe the rest of them, the workers left behind in that hell hole, that little pressure cooker of human fear and anxiety, perhaps they will join the union and take that step. I will be there to encourage them, but will it work? I don’t know. If it does it will force that place to grow up and start getting serious about being more than a means for a family suck just enough wealth out of that company for their own benefit and selfishly leaving the employees only the choice of putting up with it or leaving. I say unionize and let the force of history take over.
A couple of days ago it was my boss, yelling at me to hurry up and get a project done and then getting mad at me for working overtime. I finally just had to tell him to fuck off. The next day I went to the Doctors to get something to help me keep from losing my cool. But nothing really beats that satisfied feeling of righteous indignation, it is just tough in this economy to be jobless.
But who knows either I will have a job on Monday or I will be among the undead…er unemployed.
Today I went to one of my usual places to buy groceries but I noticed that they had no produce from the USA. It was almost all Mexican grown, or even from Holland or New Zealand. Now I won’t buy European food ever since I heard from Helen Caldicott, famous anti nuke doctor from Australia on Democracy Now, that there is strontium 90 in all the food there gratis from Chernobyl and it will be a few centuries before the European land mass is radiation free enough not to have to worry about it getting into your system.
I was buying a lot from Trader Joe’s, that is the place I went to today, but I couldn’t find any American produce except for some tomatoes. Now I live in California, the number one agricultural state in the US. How is it they could not find any food here, especially when we have a burgeoning farmers market movement.
I started going there a lot when the workers at Ralph’s went on strike a few years back.
I put up with their lack of a union because they had good healthy food at reasonable prices. But then I found out that they were anti union. And then I began to wonder why all the Chilean, and Mexican fresh food. And I decided that I had had it. Enough of this supporting slave labor over seas and out side of the country just to help some capitalist get rich. I decided local farmers and union or mom and pop shops would get my support. But to hell with yuppie anti union sweatshops that masquerade as hip places to spend your hard earned dollars.
If they were a worker run coop and they made a deal with a worker run coop in another part of the world to exchange for their produce, then I could understand. But to simply support another cheesy capitalist spitting on the American farm workers who just happen to be fighting for better wages and a decent workplace, well I don’t want to be part of it if I can help it.
So I say boycott the Trader Joe’s or should we call them Trader Hos of the world until they get unionized and support local and union farmers.
Real Power To The People!!
Oh and I ran into some LaRouchites today in front of the Ralph’s market. They were trying to give away their literature and trying to get a petition going to impeach Pelosi. Last year they had one to Impeach Bush. I don’t know if they are simply catholic Impeachers or just can’t make up their minds who to impeach. Personally I think LaRouche is a slimy turncoat who started out as a Trotskyist labor organizer, formed the SDS Labor Group in the sixties and then in the seventies shifted into some right wing neo-corporate-Nazi mumbo jumbo. Show me the money Mr LaRouche!!! I have no time for those people who are trying to sell hard working Americans on their crackpot ideas and get idealistic kids to front for them. Lyndon LaRouche you deserve to be in jail. oh, but you are, for credit card fraud. Good for you. Now we just need to deprogram your followers.
OK, I am on the rag today, I haven’t had sex in a while and I am off of the government drugs I used to take and I have been avoiding the good homegrown. Maybe that is what I need. Anyway I spoke for a few hours today with a nice new age type of person, she grew up in Sedona, AZ, where the new age never died… I don’t hold it against her, but the arguments sounded like something I might have heard 30 years ago. And oldie but goo-die, you know that rap, we are each responsible for our reality. Tell that to the poor Afghan that just got blown to bits by an American bomb attack on another so called terrorist target. Oops we are sorry they were women and children. Fuckers. that is another reason why I think we can’t let up, we can’t just give Obama a pass. He is still fighting the corporate wars for them and dumping shit loads of our tax dollars to prop up the lifestyles of soon to be kicked in the ass formerly rich if the American people get pissed off enough. And that is the Rumor Report for today.
There was a cartoon in the NY Post that compared the chimp shot in Connecticut earlier this week to the stimulus plan. Al Sharpton calls it first racist and secondly implying that the stimulus plan should be shot dead.
The Rupert Murdock owned NY Post simply called Al Sharpton a publicity hound.
But Keith Olbermann on MSNBC mentioned that both Bush and Obama have been compared to chimps. They both have big ears, but there is no other point of comparison. One is solving problems that the other created or so it seems. We shall see if there aren’t a whole new set of problems. The republican obstructionists and the wall street wreckers seem to want to make sure Obama and the democrats fail.
Now as a radical and a revolutionary I am faced with a dilemma. I don’t want to see the worlds people suffering needlessly. On the other hand there are those who want to see the situation pushed to the limit. We wanted to push that until the people shout out in anger and indignation and take what is theirs.
For instance where I work the boss has restricted overtime and increased the percentage we have to pay for our health insurance in effect a pay cut. In response we have contacted the local union to se what we can do to correct the situation. We as workers need to do what we have to, just as the bosses do. It is called class war. Something that the Democrats try to hide and the Republicans try to make fun of, but fear the most.
So I am faced with a situation do I cheer on Obama, and the beginning of socialism in America by decree or do I hope the people will take it. It would be better for the people to take it because things that people take and earn, they appreciate more.
The Obama administration is going to give something like $75 billion for a bailout of those who are facing a foreclosure. The American people who are suffering will lap it up like candy, the poor who are being helped as Daniel Shore noted today on NPR are being helped almost by stealth since it is not politically correct to help the poor and hasn’t been since the Reagan administration when he made fun of those who would try to use the government as a means to right social wrongs. Perhaps Reagan was a secret communist, trying to push the American people into resistance, by kicking them like dogs, perhaps he was hoping to awaken a little class pride.
Hard to say, anyway that was what a lot of my anarchist and Marxist friends said. But if they gambled on Reagan radicalizing them, they were wrong. Oh a few punk rockers became anti Reagan youth, and the entire black and brown inner city community became victims of an insane government plan to tax the poor through crack cocaine to fund the secret CIA war on communism when the Democrats in Congress grew petulant and cut off funding.
Whatever we now are faced with one of those classic crisis’s in capitalism that Marx predicted 150 years ago. We will be faced with the choice of falling under another spell of falsehood and deception or push through for the whole package a world of truly free people relating beyond the bondage of capital. It is our choice.
On another matter we have Israel our little devilish alter American Ego out there causing trouble in the rest of the world. Here is an interesting story from the Middle East Times about the Mossad in Iran.
“Mossad’s Dirty Secrets in Iran
By MEL FRYKBERG (Middle East Times)Published: February 18, 2009
Ali Ashtari, a 45-year-old tradesman in electronic merchandise who supplied electronic devices to military bases and research centers is seen in a Revolutionary Court in Tehran on June 28, 2008. Ashtari was found guilty of sending “sensitive information on military, defense and research centers” to Israel. His alleged confession says Mossad gave him $50,000 to supply internet cables and satellite phones to “special customers” in the hope of enabling Israel to spy on their communications. JERUSALEM — As the Israeli government continues to express concern about U.S. President Barack Obama’s desire to hold dialogue with Tehran a British media report has accused Israel of sponsoring subversive political groups and sabotage in Iran as well as assassinating a number of Iranian scientists.
According to The Telegraph Western intelligence sources have stated that Tel Aviv is using front companies and double agents to disrupt Iran’s illicit weapons project as an alternative to direct military strikes.
This comes in the wake of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warning senior military figures that Iran’s continued nuclear program development could pose and “existential threat to the Jewish state.”
Barak made the allegations during a meeting with top Israeli military commanders on Monday as he prepared them psychologically for what could be Israel taking unilateral action against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government.
Barak explained that not only did the threat come from the regime in Tehran itself but also from the groups that are supported by Iran such as the Lebanese resistance organization Hezbollah and the Palestinian movement Hamas, which controls Gaza.
“It will be very difficult to stop the trickling of nuclear capabilities, even if primitive, to terrorist organizations,” he said.
The defense minister also warned that once the Obama administration began to negotiate with Iran any military strike would become that much more difficult as he said Tehran would engage in steps and gestures aimed at obfuscating the issue of its nuclear program.
Meanwhile The Telegraph’s report came against the background of Israeli officials privately acknowledging that the new U.S. administration was unlikely to approve any air attack on Iran.
According to a report in The New York Times several months ago, the George W. Bush administration, too, prevented an Israeli Air Force (AIF) strike on Tehran’s alleged nuclear installation in Natanz.
American journalist James Risen reported recently that the CIA and Mossad had co-planned a number of sabotage operations against the Iranian program, including damaging power lines to nuclear sites in order to cause harm to computer systems and equipment.
Israel’s plan is to delay Iran’s development of nuclear weapons for as long as possible. Ultimately Tel Aviv acknowledges that this strategy will not prevent the Islamic republic’s nuclear arsenal from becoming a reality, only delay it.
“Disruption is designed to slow progress on the program, done in such a way that they don’t realize what’s happening. You are never going to stop it,” a former CIA officer on Iran was quoted as saying.
“The goal is delay, delay, delay until you can come up with some other solution or approach,” he added.
“We certainly don’t want the current Iranian government to have those weapons. It’s a good policy, short of taking them out militarily, which probably carries unacceptable risks.”
And another strategy the Israelis and American intelligence agencies have been involved with is the assassination of key figures involved in Iran’s nuclear program.
Aardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran’s Isfahan uranium plant died in mysterious circumstances in 2007. It was reported that “gas poisoning” had lead to his demise.
But there have been a number of other individuals involved in the procurement and enrichment process in both Iran and Europe who have met premature ends at what is believed to be Israeli hit squads or agents working for the Israelis.
“With cooperation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key human assets involved in the nuclear program and in sabotaging the Iranian nuclear supply chain,” said Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst with Stratfor, the U.S. private intelligence company with strong government security connections.
“As U.S.-Israeli relations are bound to come under strain over the Obama administration’s outreach to Iran, and as the political atmosphere grows in complexity, an intensification of Israeli covert activity against Iran is likely to result,” she added.
This would not be the first time Israeli agents were involved in assassinating scientists involved in developing the nuclear arsenal of countries Tel Aviv did not want to see acquire them.
Gerald Bull, a Canadian scientist, was the world’s greatest expert on barrel ballistics. Israel had made several unsuccessful attempts to buy his expertise, but Bull had made clear his disdain for the Jewish state.
He instead offered his services to Saddam Hussein to build a super gun capable of launching shells containing nuclear, chemical or biological warheads from Iraq directly into Israel.
In 1989 Saddam ordered three of the weapons to be built at a cost of $20 million while Bull was retained as a consultant. The project was codenamed Babylon.
Former Mossad head Nahum Admoni consulted with Israeli premier Yitzhak Shamir and both men agreed Bull had to die.
On Mar. 22, 1990, three men drove a hired car to Bull’s apartment in Brussels. As the 61-year-old Bull opened the door, he received five bullets in his head and neck according to the book “Gideon’s Spies” by Gordon Thomas.”
Well we all know the Mossad plays tough. Israel is the little bad boy of the world, America Junior… Enough for today. All we wanted was to be loved… Right?
This is something I heard on Ian Masters show today on KPFK, he stated that Nancy Pelosi was attempting to end network neutrality in supporting some of what the large corporations want by stripping out net neutrality provisions in the funds available for improving internet access in remote areas.
I searched the internet to find some hard facts and found this on Internet News.com.
“February 13, 2009
By Kenneth Corbin
Stimulus Endgame: House and Senate OK Billions for Broadband
UPDATED: Broadband tax cuts out, Net neutrality provisions intact with the bill heading to the president’s desk.
After twin floor debates flush with partisan rancor, the House and Senate today passed the economic stimulus package that would send billions of dollars to broadband expansion and other IT initiatives. President Obama could sign the $787 billion bill into law as early as Monday.
The IT provisions in the bill include $7.2 billion for broadband network expansion in rural and under served areas, as well as $19 billion for health IT initiatives and $4.5 billion for smart-grid technology. It would also allocate $650 million for the government-run program to help consumers pay for the converter boxes they will need to keep older TV sets working once broadcasters shut off analog signals in favor-of all digital transmissions.
In crafting the final language of the broadband portion of the bill, the conference struck provisions from the Senate version that would have offered tax credits to ISPs for building networks with baseline speed requirements. Now, all of the money for broadband in the bill would be allocated in the form of grants and loans. It also does not set minimum speed requirements, but directs the agency administering the bulk of the funding to give priority to network projects that will deliver faster speeds.
The broadband provisions of the stimulus bill represent a significant victory for the advocacy groups championing Net neutrality.
The lion’s share of the broadband provisions require the network operators to adhere to “nondiscrimination and network interconnection obligations” that would be determined by the administration overseeing the grants.
A controversial amendment opposed by the Net neutrality groups also failed to make the final cut. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had introduced a provision that would have amended the Net neutrality language to allow for “reasonable network management practices such as deterring unlawful activity, including child pornography and copyright infringement.”
That amendment, supported by the entertainment industry, would have allowed ISPs to apply content-filtering technology to their networks to screen for illegal content. For groups like Public Knowledge, that would have mistakenly cast ISPs in the role of “copyright cops.” The group has also warned that filtering technologies carry a margin of error, which would lead to some legal content getting blocked, a condition it says is tantamount to a violation of free speech.
Striking the Feinstein amendment from the stimulus bill is certainly a victory for Public Knowledge and others, but Art Brodsky, the group’s communications director, believes that the fight over content filtering for copyright violations, backed by the entertainment industry, is far from over.
“We expect the issue to surface again,” Brodsky told InternetNews.com.
The bill would allocate $4.7 billion to create a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program to be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a division of the Commerce Department.
The money is intended to promote network enhancements in under served parts of the country, as well as education and training programs aimed at spurring demand for broadband services.
The bill would require the NTIA to administer all of the funds by the end of fiscal 2010. Companies would be obligated to “substantially complete” their network expansion projects within two years after receiving grant money. Groups taking stimulus grants would also be required to provide the NTIA and key House and Senate committees with progress updates on their projects every 90 days.
The federal funding would be capped at 80 percent of the total cost of a project, though it provides the NTIA with some latitude in granting exceptions in cases where an applicant demonstrates a compelling financial need.
For rural areas, where broadband deployment has been hindered by the prohibitive cost of building networks for a sparse base of subscribers spread over long distances, the bill would allocate $2.5 billion to an agency within the Department of Agriculture to spur new high-speed networks.
For a project to be eligible for loans and grants from the Rural Utilities Service, 75 percent of its coverage area would have to be rural and without existing broadband service.
To guard against double-dipping, areas that stand to benefit from network-expansion projects funded by the NTIA would be ineligible for loans or grants under the rural broadband program.
The bill would also require the Federal Communications Commission to develop and report to Congress a plan for a national broadband strategy within a year.”
On PC World there was this comment about medical care provisions to upgrade the technology of medical record keeping used by doctors.
“This HITECH Act — and $17 billion down-payment – is a grand first act toward establishing pervasive electronic health records throughout the U.S. Salting the mine with incentives for Medicare and Medicaid patients surely gets providers using HIT and building an EHR infrastructure (along with streamlining care for seniors and uninsured.)
But, will that Medicare/Medicaid dose be enough to change the system for everyone else, most especially those in their teens, 20’s and 30’s who will benefit most from wellness, preventive care, and complete medical records over their lifetimes? How will such efforts expand beyond rural areas and selected populations? Are we ready to start creating portable records for uninsured children, or are we going to let them slip through the cracks in our imperfect information environment? The goal of comprehensive care first requires comprehensive records.”
I am an advocate of single payer health care and with the cost of medical care skyrocketing so that even people with so called decent health insurance putting off care as I have had to because of the cost.
Where are we going? The government is spending a lot of money basically fixing pot holes. When will we get needed sweeping radical change? When people see that fixing potholes is simply not enough.
Here is portions of an article from the Huffington Post
“More Than a Band-Aid for Health Care Reform, Single-Payer is the Solution
As the global economic crisis deepens, our broken health care system continues to neglect an increasing number of uninsured Americans, which will top 50 million this year. Tens of millions more who have health insurance still cannot afford the care they need. The resulting illness from inadequate health coverage will lead to missed days of work and lost jobs, making it harder for us to recover from the recession.
Two weeks ago, the House passed President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, which includes $127 billion in federal funding to expand Medicaid and subsidize health insurance for the unemployed. Most of this has been retained in the Senate version of the bill as well.
These measures are a prelude to Obama’s proposal for comprehensive health care reform, which will likely boil down to increased regulation of the private insurance industry and subsidies for the poor and middle-class to purchase coverage. Some Democrats will fight to include a competing public plan. However, a weak public plan in our current system could easily become a dumping ground for patients with costly and unprofitable illness who are already shunned by private insurers.
There is a better solution that will expand health care access to all Americans and also help our struggling economy: eliminate private health insurance and create a single-payer system that automatically covers everyone under one national health insurance plan. A single-payer system would be funded by progressive income taxation, rather than unaffordable premiums or employer contributions that distort labor markets and leave workers tied to undesirable jobs. It would also address the fundamental problem of costs.
Private health insurers drive up health care spending with unnecessary overhead - high executive salaries, decreased cost-efficiency from smaller insured groups, and profit. They also increase administrative costs for hospitals and physicians who must deal with hundreds of different insurance plans. As a result, Americans spend 31 cents of every health care dollar on administrative costs, by far the highest rate in the world and much higher than the 17 cents spent in Canada.
Further driving up costs is the unrestricted use of expensive and unproven technology and medications. Such waste is best controlled with a centralized system of payment, as has been done successfully by the Veterans Health Administration. A single-payer system would eliminate enough excess spending to provide every American with the same high-quality coverage, without spending more money than we already do.
China recently announced plans to spend $123 billion to provide universal health care for its 1.3 billion citizens. Two decades after free-market reforms dismantled their system of non-profit rural-based care, drugs and visits with physicians are now unaffordable for most of the poor, who often incur crippling debts to pay for care. Chinese economists argue that providing government funding for universal coverage is important for productivity. Also, not having to worry about catastrophic health care costs encourages people to consume rather than save, providing a direct boost to the economy. These same arguments apply to the United States, where half of all personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures are caused by medical bills.
Many politicians agree that a single-payer system is the best way to eliminate wasteful spending and provide health care to every American, but argue that we cannot win a battle with the narrow interests that defend our broken system. To quote President Obama during his inauguration speech: “Stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” The economic recession and hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate bailouts and stimulus spending have changed everything. It is finally time for us to move to a single-payer system.
James Floyd, M.D., is an internist and health researcher with Public Citizen.”
More and more doctors are going for single payer, just as financial experts are going for nationalizing the banks. We can only hope the politicians catch up.
On another note Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut has managed to get much tougher pay caps implemented in the Stimulus package for companies that take TARP money. This was reported in Politico.
Dodd banker pay cap one-ups Obama
By CAROL E. LEE | 2/15/09 12:44 PM EST
CHICAGO — President Obama recently strutted out new rules restricting “shameful” executive compensation packages at corporations receiving government funds, and followed up with populist tough-talk aimed at “a culture of narrow self-interest” on Wall Street.
Then Congress one-upped him.
Now Obama’s signature $787 billion economic stimulus bill includes restrictions to executive compensation that go much further than the ones he made a show of announcing just ten days ago — and that ended up in the final bill over his administration’s strong objections.
The new rules, introduced by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), mark one of the major concessions Obama made in the last days of wrangling over the stimulus package he is expected to sign into law on Tuesday in Denver.
Administration officials were at the forefront of some heavy lobbying against them, arguing that they could encourage executives to leave for much higher-paying jobs at firms that hadn’t received government funds, and ultimately slow the flow of credit by creating an incentive for banks to repay bailout funds before they have enough capital of their own with which to provide loans.
Dodd responded to the criticism of the restrictions in a statement to Politico on Saturday evening.
“The current job market should deter employees from leaving, and if they do, there are many qualified replacements,” he said.
“In addition, federal regulators have broad supervisory authority to require banks to keep appropriate levels of capital. The banks are subject to strict supervision, so the Treasury Department and bank regulators will be able to determine well in advance if a bank’s departure from the program would result in problems to the system.”
Noting that taxpayers are upset about excessive compensation at firms receiving government funds, Dodd added, “These modest changes are about restoring their confidence. I plan to continue to monitor the TARP program closely, including these new provisions.”
Funny the administration wants a window dressing set of restrictions. Dodd, from a state where many of these Wall Street financiers live, and my own home state, should know better than to piss off these people, but he is gambling that more residents of Connecticut will support his getting tough than the few fat cats who live in the more exclusive communities. Lets see how long it takes for them to figure out loopholes.
William Greider has reported that there is a move to loot social security.
“Obama Will Fight with Us to Quash the Campaign to Loot Social Security — Right?
By William Greider, The Nation. Posted February 14, 2009.
Behind closed doors, powerful interests are pushing Obama to tap Social Security to pay for bank bailouts. How he responds will shape his presidency.
Governing elites in Washington and Wall Street have devised a fiendishly clever “grand bargain” they want President Obama to embrace in the name of “fiscal responsibility.” The government, they argue, having spent billions on bailing out the banks, can recover its costs by looting the Social Security system. They are also targeting Medicare and Medicaid. The pitch sounds preposterous to millions of ordinary working people anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years. But an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea–Washington’s leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly.”
He goes on to say how the government borrows regularly from Social Security to reduce the deficit but it has to pay back these loans.
“Uncle Sam owes these trillions to Social Security retirees and has to pay it back or look like just another deadbeat. That risk is the only “crisis” facing Social Security. It is the real reason powerful interests are so anxious to cut benefits. Social Security is not broke–not even close. It can sustain its obligations for roughly forty years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, even if nothing is changed. Even reports by the system’s conservative trustees say it has no problem until 2041 (that report is signed by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the guy who bailed out the bankers). During the coming decade, however, the system will need to start drawing on its reserve surpluses to pay for benefits as boomers retire in greater numbers.
But if the government cuts the benefits first, it can push off repayment far into the future, and possibly forever. Otherwise, government has to borrow the money by selling government bonds or extend the Social Security tax to cover incomes above the current $107,000 ceiling. Obama endorses the latter option.
Follow the bouncing ball: Washington first cuts taxes on the well-to-do, then offsets the revenue loss by raising taxes on the working class and tells folks it is saving their money for future retirement. But Washington spends the money on other stuff, so when workers need it for their retirement, they are told, Sorry, we can’t afford it.
Federal budget analysts try to brush aside these facts by claiming the government is merely “borrowing from itself” when it dips into Social Security. But that is a substantive falsehood. Government doesn’t own this money. It essentially acts as the fiduciary, holding this wealth in trust for the “beneficial owners,” the people who paid the taxes. This is the bait and switch the establishment intends to execute.”
You can see the rest of the story on today’s alternet.
What we need is to nationalize the banking industry and finance in general, have accountants who are qualified to go in and check their books and write off the bad debt and reopen the institutions that are worth keeping as community banks run as coops for the people who live and work in each community providing safe places for financial exchanges and loans for investments in production and other social needs.
The entire speculative financial system needs to be reined in and brought under tight public scrutiny. If someone has an idea and wants capital to invest in it the money should come from community banks that have boards of directors who represent all sectors of the community, or from a special government fund set up for such purposes. Using the stock market to finance speculation is in my mind a destructive use of the peoples wealth. We must always remember that wealth is a social product of the aggregate of all of a peoples productivity in this and past lives. It is not the property of some capitalist speculator and we need to end that mode of the generation of wealth with all its attendant social distortions, booms and busts. We need a rational planned economy run not by captains of industry and financial speculators but by the people who are the producers of the wealth. The must be elected, re-callable officials who act as the trustees of this social wealth a government that acts as a socially responsible body reflecting the interests and needs of the people at large.
This means a social democracy, with experts hired to perform functions as required and compensated as is socially determined.
There may not be an easy path to this but it must come from the people who are willing to stand up for their rights and for a more equitable distribution of the social wealth. It should not go to capitalist speculators but to representative bodies of the people who may appoint specialists or not as they wish to direct the surplus after the basic needs are taken care of. But the basics of health, housing, clothing, transport, education and food should be considered social necessities and taken care of first with the surplus for research and development and then perhaps space exploration and more sophisticated communication devices, manufacturing processes etc being dedicated as is allowed by the community as a whole.
The various workplaces, municipalities, county, state and federal bodies must reflect the social needs of the producers and their dependants, ie the sick, students, mentally unfit, elderly and young.
This may be called council communism, workers control, social democracy, whatever you want, but as society evolves into more complex forms it must develop more sophisticated methods of determining how surplus value is distributed. Under capitalism we have had markets and investors, under state capitalism we have had bureaucrats. Neither is efficient or effective. They both have distortions, inefficiencies and produce uneven development.
The problem with democratic control has been one of a lack of efficient methods of development as well as resistance from elites who manipulate others to block the implementation by fear mongering through racism, nationalism, elitism, etc.
But in this age of instant communications and access via the internet and cell phone technology there is no reason why we cannot have direct democracy. Just as congress is notified when there is a vote so can we each be notified for a vote on relevant issues of whatever constituent body we belong via cell phone with a GPS system. If the government can use cell phones to survey us simply by making sure software has been downloaded into our cell phone to insure we cannot turn it off when it says it is off, such technology can be turned into a vehicle for democratic process.
We can also use technology to register opinions, as well as votes, it all exists as things stand all we need to do is to implement process and programing to make it a reality for all interested humans and if we could figure out how to communicate with other life forms we could add their votes.
That would be something if we could have the opinions of dolphins and whales and birds, and our cat and dog as to the environmental efficacy of a new technology. It would certainly change the ethical basis for the consumption of meat if we could communicate intelligently with cows and get their opinions. Talk about Animal Farm, but I am postulating beyond the present.
What is realistic is that humans can communicate intelligently and have devised the technology for instant processing of information and therefore direct democracy is practical in the same way that is was in ancient Athens. Now do we want that? There would certainly be the problem of a lack of expertise on issues, although we can comprehend an amazing amount of data, just look at sports nuts with their statistical knowledge of teams, or gambling experts or stock market players, it is simply a matter of developing a skill. But there is the issue of interest and time, not everyone will have the time or interest to devote to every issue and that can be as much a burden on the public if there was constant bombardment of issues to vote on, so there has to be some degree of delegation, automation of rote processes, and summarization of issues for people who are too busy in other areas to become fully proficient in political process. But that is all a matter of detail and there must be an insistence on due diligence on the part of the new explaining class, these would probably emerge out of the media, journalists already have certain skills and this could be a way to revive the flagging fortunes of journalists, they now become a commentary class and explaining class in the democratic process, an integration of the function of the 4th estate in government. The problem is of course maintaining transparency, access to raw data to anyone who has an interest to investigate beyond the summaries prepared for votes and also an independent ombudsman class whose job it is to investigate failures of process. With much of the data stream out of the hands of personal interest there would be less ability to corrupt. But there will always be the temptation for demogogary and deliberate falsification on the part of those who have an axe to grind or an interest in a particular view especialy when there is an economic incentive.
But if society is restructured so that wealth is shared, that there is not incentive economically to want to corrupt the system to gain an advantage that way then there is the matter of power mongering and that can be limited by the recall process, and if there is a constant debate alive in society then there will be little chance for a power hungry demagogue to take control. Ancient Athens had its share of those, witness the foolish expedition to conquer Syracuse and the prolonged war with Sparta.
Some had tried to reproduce ancient Athens and Sparta as rivals as the model for the USA and Soviet Union rivalry in the 20th century. Fortunately that analogy never held water and now we must admit that we have a unique situation in history where democracy can be direct and immediate. Workplace decisions can be made by the workers on all levels, community decisions can be made on all levels. There will be no need for private capitalism except perhaps in small ventures.
But what of fundamental differences, such as over religion. People go to war normally because there is some demagogue who is going to gain some advantage by inflaming the passions of otherwise reasonable people. If the profit in such venture is taken out by a lack of financial incentive then that leaves only blind prejudice and as we all become more educated and informed we can only hope that such tendencies die out and become the domain of specialists interested in ancient ways of thinking.
There is no need for a god of Israel or an Allah or a Vishnu or what have you except as the private conceit of an individual. On the other hand there are greater beings that may exist on other dimensions of reality that would seem to be gods to us just as we may seem to be to an ant. We cannot assume that simply because we have out grown irrational and childish fears of the dark and the unknown that we are alone in the universe or that there are not more intelligent and organized bodies out there that have made their presence known only in a manner that was interpreted as supernatural by those who saw some profit in such concepts as a means of social control.
It is easy to tell people that god said don’t do this or that, when there may be a perfectly rational reason to do or not to do something but calling in an unseen deity may simply be an intellectual expedient. Like Moses leading a group of former slaves from captivity to an unknown land crossing a dessert in the process, he could have said, no partying, it wastes precious resources, causes unneeded fights etc, but it was easier to come up with the 10 commandments and label the author a god, when there had been a Pharoah. It also would give some kind of a moral boost to his band to call themselves gods Chosen people when the went to Canaan to kick out the previous inhabitants, a lot better for justification than to say we are runaway slaves who want your land.
Simply to say the Bible is a massive work of propaganda might be overstating the case, but it certainly is a book that describes how a group of people managed to maintain group cohesion in a tough world. Whether they were justified is another matter, but they left a record and that has been enshrined as the justification for everything from the enslavement of millions of Africans to the civil rights movement to the attempts to force women to give birth to unwanted children.
Personally I will simply say that there may have been alien interventions at points in human history that have been described and the interference of the gods, but for the most part I will leave that field to those star gazers who look for alien life, people like the SETI Project. And out of body experience researchers and tribal medicine men.
And that is all I have to say about that today, happy valentines all.
This is it, the Obama stimulus plan is passed in the Senate. Obama’s chief financial advisor Larry Summers was on Bloomberg being interviewed about the financial cleanup where the interviewer asked if there would be a possibility of using the Swedish Plan and nationalize the worst of the banks. Summers hedged on that question. Same as when he was asked about firing CEO’s that would not cooperate. He said that was up to the stockholders but that there would be times that when they would have to act. On the housing crisis Summers said the administration would focus on helping people pay their mortgages. He mentioned the $50 billion dollars in the stimulus package.
This morning on Democracy Now “Robert Kuttner and Michael Hudson on the Obama Administration’s $789 Billion Economic Stimulus Package and $2.5 Trillion Bank Recovery Plans” to quote their website.
Hudson claimed that the government is spending $15 trillion bailing out the financial industry and that it is a parasite and should be allowed to fail. Kuttner claims that the plan needs to be even bigger and we should nationalize the banks like what FDR did. He also pointed out that Obama needs to take on the housing crisis and help home owners.
Today on CSPAN Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski spoke of the government spending over $7 trillion since the beginning of 2008 on this financial crisis, during the senate vote. She was opposed to the stimulus because it is too much. She mentioned how the Department of Energy had a budget of $28 billion last year and now was getting $45 billion in the stimulus package, they simply did not have the ability to spend the money intelligently in a short period of time. It made me think of the billions air freighted in cash to Iraq that was delivered in wheel barrows to people who simply made it all disappear under the Bush administration. We certainly don’t want that.
On Bloomberg TV show Taking Stock, Dan Greenhaus of Miller Tabak said that there were lots of ways to give out the money and he mentioned giving everyone $100 in cash as one method. He thinks Geitner needs to come up with specific proposals. The market is not impressed according to John Murphy of Stockscharts.com. He said that in the great depression only Gold stocks and T-bills did well in the stock market, and gold is going to do the same now.
Dan Greenhaus said the banks are too busy dealing with the problem debt to make moves and there may need to be a nationalization of the banks to get rid of the bad debt.
Earlier on Bloomberg Wilbur Ross of W.L. Ross & Co, a Private Equity investor who specializes in distressed company acquisition said that there were so many opportunities now that there are almost too many. He noted that Americans had lost $5.5 Trillion in value in their homes in the last year. That is huge, He noted that the top 10 banks had to write off $500 Billion in debt in the last year. He blamed the Bush administration for dealing with symptoms and not the cause of the problem which was the housing market for him. This guy plays with the big boys and he seems to know his stuff, he is sitting pretty in this market and he said the second mistake of the Bush administration was letting Lehman Brothers go down, that was what put the focus on the financial industry instead of where it should have been. I am assuming he means the housing market.
Well back to the senate where CSPAN had Chris Dodd democrat senator of Connecticut who railed against the stock brokers who were complaining about not getting their bonuses under the Obama plan. He said they were really out of touch with the average American and he noted that the stimulus package had removed the requirement that the $50 Billion be spent on helping people with their mortgages. So that means we have to trust the government to do the right thing. Great.