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Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

“Death by Inches” Superb Rant on Payroll Holiday Tax Extension

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2011 at 1:52 am

 

(Liberty Park (formerly Zucotti Park), New York, October 5, 2011)

I am not sure of the etiquette/plagiarism/libel whatever legal consequences of reprinting a most excellent New York Times reader comment as a quasi “guest post” of this blog, but surely creative commons will endorse me on this, as well as “Death by Inches” him or herself.

S/he is the most reader recommended, for a reason.  But due to it being a holiday and the crappy “new”-ish Times comment system, she won’t get all the readership s/he deserves.  So, in response to “Lessons Learned in Congress, or a Sign of Things to Come?” , a citizen named “Death by Inches,”  of Arkansas, birthplace of former president Clinton, wrote:

Well kiss my you know what! The Republicans CAN do something fast when enough Americans start calling them all the bad names they so richly deserve.

They want us to think this governing thing is like brain surgery….oh, takes a long long time, is very hard, us small persons just wouldn’t understand it. Uh huh! Now we see if enough people start throwing verbal rocks at their heads they’ll snap to in a hurry and do the job we pay them to do. Occupy, please take note!

These are very serious times. Last thing we need is a bunch of clowns attaching boat anchors to every piece of legislation just because they don’t like the black guy. Us Americans are barely smart enough to see through this ploy, but finally at long last we’re starting to and our yelps for help finally got through just in time for Christmas.

We’re tired of sneaky legislation. We’re tired of political stunts. We’re tired of theatrics. We’re tired of talentless little men & women better suited for Wal-Mart middle management using us as stakes in a bizarre poker game which has replaced good government.

Let Congress take this Christmas break to crawl back home and think about their sins. You’re so horrible, people all over the country are Occupying parks & streets to protest how you’ve ruined this country. Pay attention or prepare for the worst because it’s ever so easy to paint our Congress with the Mubarak-Gaddafi-Putin brush. Silly Wisconsin Governors should also make note. We Are Sick Of You!

~~~~~~

Well-said.  I could wake up to that again in the morning!

Three more great notes to go out on: Why the Republican Crackup is Bad for America and a most illuminating example of why Wikipedia may add more to your comprehension than conventional encyclopedias of yore.  The discussion here of the Socialist Party of America shows the long-standing tension with third parties in the (still young) U.S. system of democracy—yet the reasons for the Socialist Party surge of the early 20th century remain the reasons many are looking for a third party today. From the article:

LaFollette declined to lead a third party, however, seeking to protect those progressives elected nominally as Republicans and Democrats. LaFollette declared that the primary issue of the 1924 campaign was the breaking of the “combined power of the private monopoly system over the political and economic life of the American people.”

Mmmmm…..how has that “private monopoly system” been doing in the last 90 years?

So, too, this article shows how many decades old is the confusion and mistaking of socialism for  fascism, in this case regarding The New Deal.  They are opposites, but members of each opposing camp accuse the other of being the polar opposite of who they are (see Krugman, re: Romney, “The Post-Truth Campaign”)–but somehow all those reversals just add to the confusion, rather than canceling each other out…

And, lastly, may I recommend reading Jack London’s dystopian novel, _The Iron Heel_, as apparently hundreds of thousands of Egyptians who overthrew Mubarak last year claim inspiration from.   It was never mentioned in my English class, where _Call of the Wild_ was obligatory reading.   But I find it to be the perfect complement to the movie, _Inside Job_.   Both pieces may make 2012 a “happy-ish” new year….may they fuel the growth of the Occupy Everywhere (against Oligarchy) movement!

 

 

 

 

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Suburban Mom, “Al,” & Hysterical Toddler, “Kay,” “Disappeared” from White House Grounds

In 2012 NDAA, The Disappeared, War On Error on December 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm

As a nation that always looks forward, never back, there is no need for the collective wailing and moaning happening across YouTube (thanks, Sardonicky commenter, Will)  and the blogosphere regarding the oh-so-dryly named, “2012 National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA)–Just like the best gifts come in the smallest packages, so do the most tyrannical bills come with the most innocuous names.

No, if an abuse occurs long enough, you are supposed to stop complaining about it.  That is the American way.  That is why, ho hum, another day, another VA Tech shooting, or state-sponsored execution– just as we have long, long ago stopped mourning the killing-as-planned massacre that occurs in ghettos.  The reason the NRA minority won’t allow gun control in this country is because rampant gun violence dovetails nicely with Grover Norquist and the Koch brother’s plans to have all the poor (and now, formerly middle class) people kill each other, so that neither they, nor their congressional lackeys, will be accused of having blood on their hands by suppressing the vote and withholding food stamps, WIC nutrition, unemployment benefits, basic education, and healthcare.

I learned this truth early on, when, as a nursing student in 1998, I was lamenting to my instructor about how many people in my own immediate circle of friends and family were having endless hardship due to the “pre-existing condition” clause in their health insurance.  I was told that “pre-existing conditions” was “so passe” and such old news.   Never mind the now untold millions who are crippled more by healthcare debt than they ever were debilitated by any particular disease, another decade and a half later.  If it happens long enough, it just becomes part of society, and doesn’t matter.   Just like slavery was not always front and center of hot-button issues for the 85+ years it endured in the U.S. before being officially abolished.  Nor was women’s suffrage or the ending of child labor in factories….

But back to NDAA, or No, I Didn’t Activate the Antithesis of the 6th & 14th Amendments to the Constitution, says Mr. Constitutional Professor President…

Given that the war in Iraq is now “officially ended” (due to the Iraqi government refusing to grant immunity to American soldiers to stand trial in Iraqi court for war crimes) and we not only found no weapons of mass destruction, save the marines who killed civilians as casually as sipping a cup of coffee ,  we also never got anything but the murkiest definition of who this “Al-Qaeda” is.   The only clear thing is,  “Al-Qaeda” is one of those names that leads to infinite spelling challenges, much as slain dictator K-Daffy’s name challenged us.   Leading to the next rule of thumb–if it is tricky to spell, it can be cast as a wide drag net.

So if there’s Al-Kihdah in Afghanistan, and Al and Kay, duh! in Iraq, and there’s “sleeper cells” all over the world….well, then it makes perfect sense to start looking for that durn Al and Kay right here, given that we’re banished in I-rack (up too many civilian deaths).  And that, my friends, is where mother Al (short for Allison) was spotted with her 2-year-old daughter, Kay— in front of the ultra-surveilled sidewalk in front of the U.S. White House.

Seems that Kay was having a hissy because her sippy cup was confiscated by a mega (no more para) military guard, who demanded it due to the suspicious nature of it being possible bomb-making material.   Her screaming was declared “belligerence” which was then accelerated to a charge “aggravated assault” on the eardrums of the guards (only guards are allowed to use the scream machine to disperse civilians).  And, with that, she and her mother (who by that point was also screaming), were summarily escorted down the rabbit hole of the security octopus apparatus, into an unmarked vehicle, to be taken to an unnamed prison, to be given no unnamed lawyer, nor chance to represent themselves before any unnamed judge.

When a citizen journalist with a cell phone asked the guard what their names were, he replied, “Al-Kayda in Amerika”–dangerous “enemy combatants” whom you will be hearing about for the next 3 years on FauX news:  “Al-Kayda in Amerika Apprehended at White House Gate!”

So, you see, this new law is not something to mourn–it’s cause for celebration!   It will in fact make it easier than ever for us to declare we are winning the war on terror by catching more bogus “terrorists” on trumped up charges,  after we fatigued from winning the “war on drugs” for a few decades.   For every “win” in the “war on error”  (any error being yours, not mine, declares any sadistical guard in a foul mood that day) means we have more to fear and should be on even MORE heightened alert for “retaliation” attacks.  It’s a self-perpetuating war with no end in sight, the best kind of war  for a society that relies on a military-industrial war machine to churn out GDP growth numbers!  (One of the most apt but upsetting Vietnam era protest signs was of a wounded Vietnamese child with the caption “Our Gross Domestic Product”).

Cheer up–you might be arrested just in time for the holidays!  It will wash your unemployment worries away….

Go back to milking! We're all once and future terrorists....

Biorhythms, Not Algorithms!

In Better Shoppers, Demand Side Vs. Supply Side on December 3, 2011 at 2:25 am

The monstrous hydra, or virtue invulnerable

Weren’t  “Quants” responsible for crashing  the global economy in 2008, partially thanks to some incomprehensible algorithm—one that, although designed by humans, seemed more like a ten-headed hydra, multiplying the mortgage mess that unleashed algorithmic fear into every bank account, public and private, in the world?

According to Wikipedia, In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm Listeni/ˈælɡərɪðəm/ is an effective method expressed as a finite list[1] of well-defined instructions[2] for calculating a function.[3]

And according to The New York Times, such finite list of well-defined instructions boils down to their Trusted Commenters.  (TC just might become the penultimate PC!)  According to a reader response, a Sasha Koren of the Times flatly states, “Commenters selected to be invited to the program are chosen by algorithm based on comment history.”

Did they rely on a panel of humans, taken from both inside the Times’ corporate regime, and outside– loyal readers and commenters, some of whom have  years’ long relationships with the paper–to have a lively debate about the pros and cons of a new commenting system, let alone a 2-tiered one among a highly engaged, highly politicized and opinionated group of readers, some of whom take this Democratic ideals stuff a titch more seriously than our wildly stratified society suggests others do?

No.  That would only make sense to people who might have less optimism about the ability of computers to let us know what we really want, after that minor detail of the   world economy crash in 2008.   Obviously, no one who designed the algorithm seemed to know or care what a tizzy some people have been in, year after year, over the outright shredding of our Constitution–They haven’t noticed that some of us see that regime changes are not abating the whole sale of our rights to the highest bidders who have purchased our government to procure their rights at our expense.

No, it seems painfully clear that neither Jill Abramson, nor any people who make the decisions that matter at the Times, EVER read our comments.   I am certain we got our answer with the 900 screeching reader comments of horror about the new format, and the lack of substantive response from anyone.  The 1% are absolutely immune to us, even if all their algorithms kill us 99% to the point that they have no business because we are all dead.

Every stupid decision by our elected officials that keeps people unemployed means there is one less derivative to derive, one less service to sell, including a subscription to the NYTimes.  But in a typical conservative “it’s all supply side, not demand side” economic view, the Times shoots itself in the foot by moving to a comment format that gives them a lucrative contract with Facebook and Twitter–at the expense of losing its unique readership, who are so anti-Facebok and anti-Twitter to the point of possibly vindicating the existence of that elusive anti-matter the physicists are always searching for.  The Times thinks the supply of advertising hits from Facebook and Twitter is going to more than offset the loss of demand from loyal users.   And the users, I believe, declared that, liberal and conservative, they were The 99% to prove such supply-side economics wrong–you can’t supply advertising to an audience that doesn’t exist because they’ve left.

Yet, every real truth teller has the curse of being accurate, but never being believed–the world’s most authentic Cassandra being Paul Krugman—and I can only believe he, too, read those 900 comments about the new system and just exploded his eyeballs out at how the Times is, yet again, committing suicide.   The loss of Bob Herbert,  Frank Rich,  the paywall, and now this.   The new audience The Times may attract is not necessarily going to worry as much about whether we have any vestige of Democracy left in this shop-a-holic horror show of pollution, sprawl and Oligarchy—and that may be exactly whom the Times is trying to woo–an audience who worries less about the problems of the world and are BETTER SHOPPERS.

Turns out the Times couldn’t data-mine our comments as well with the old system.  But linking your family/personal info on Facebook to your innermost political thoughts?  I can just see the Amazon offerings now–the Anti-Liberal Whoopee Cushion for frustrated Conservatives who need to squash something to prove Government is always the problem, never the solution.    And, just in time for Christmas:   The Job Creator’s Field Guide to the 99%,  to  illuminate to the 1% all the shapes and stripes and forms of misery we come in, and what habitats, such as OWS protests, bridges, tops of trees (stragglers of OWS in LA lingered there after the camp was busted by police) we may be spotted at.

Never mind that the Times will  thus be indistinguishable from every other paper out there, which have been merged, blended, folded, sold, and spit out as frat-boy playgrounds (see the downfall of the Tribune story, well chronicled in The Times….).   They were the last eensy teensy conscience and speck of hope that this wholly market -saturated consumer mania “society” had any place where the willing could converge to re-define Democracy, or at least idealism, among the faithful, among those not eaten alive by cynicism.  Some of the comments on Sardonicky expressed such lament best, especially an anonymous one.

Given that we do not know how the internet will be transformed, or transmogrified, in 2 or 50 years, given all sorts of regime changes, and even, possibly, the utter annihilation of any vestige of Democracy, I still think it’s not a bad idea to use a pseudonym on the internet.   There are just too many variables for anyone to really know, or safely predict.  Even as people Facebook themselves away, and future generations may not even know what a book was.  But losing the amiable, friendly, democratic and non-commercial commenting platform at the Times surely seems ominous for losing one of the few spots where Democracy might have re-grown from the ashes….

“We’ll Occupy” Theme Song With “Love Boat” Reverberations

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I absolutely love how auto-suggest on YouTube simply will not, WILL NOT, auto-suggest “I’ll Occupy” when you start to type it into their white box.  They want to suggest I watch all sorts of other videos, “Because you watched: ‘I Will Survive'” —But since I watched  “I’ll Occupy” ,  YouTube does not suggest I watch any other related videos!  They shall not be indicted in court one day for having facilitated a world-wide peaceful internet revolution, no sirreee!

I found this video last night thanks to the Pottersville Blogging Against Fascism, and it is just so excellent, I want to feature it too.  Also to feature Jasiri X’s  “Occupy (We the 99)”– though I still think his “What if The Tea Party Was Black” and “Real Gangsta’s” remain hits of the century.  (Apparently I can’t link Jasiri X on this blog but you can type it into YouTube to watch it).

Gotta love “The Love Boat” reverberations in the background of  I’ll Occupy/I Will Survive—reminds me of being a kid, when watching t.v. was a once-a-week, whole family event, rather than an omnipresent wall in people’s homes.  I thought my parents were so hip to let me watch *MASH* and  “The Love Boat” with them!