Lets Start Fixing the Economy, Thoughtfully


We have the rare opportunity to change our economic paradigm, from one designed in the 18th century and tinkered with, to a new 21st century model. Our entire method of raising, allocating, and spending has to become more democratic. We have suffered from severely overcapitalizing our economy as a whole since industrialization. We need to reevaluate what and which function are public and which are private.

Example: the car industry, as a model going forward. Presupposing an affirmative need for this industry in our country, the Federal government should do these things
1. Create a unit at the Commerce Dept. that can buy publicly traded securities. 2. Buy Chrysler, Ford, and GM, lock stock and barrel. 3. Separate the assets and liabilities. 4. The former corporate liabilities to be parceled out to agency sub units for debt liquidation, pension guaranty. and federal employee health insurance. 5. Determine approximately how much of a car industry America needs and retain a total number of plants and employees to do it. The federal gov’t retains ownership of the plants which are then leased by the companies. 6. The restructured, lean companies are each offered to the public through an IPO, whose proceeds are then used to fund the agencies ongoing activities.

This can be done with airlines, other critical industries, and renders moot anti-trust issues, as the new owners, the feds, can contractually obligate companies to some behaviors. Additionally long term planning instead of quarter by quarter stock manipulation becomes a vehicle of real value production.

Marching Thru Georgia


The conflict in Georgia as described in the news is without context or background. First, here’s a linguistic map of the area.


The Ossetian’s are culturally related to Persians, the Georgians are Orthodox Christians. The Ossetia’s and Georgians have not gotten along, for a very long time, going back to the wars between Rome/Byzantium and Parthia/Persia. So, this goes way back, old old hatreds. Russian troops have done in Ossetia, the same thing we have done in Kosovo. Just as Tibetans want to be free of China, Ossetian’s want to be free of Georgians. As do the Abkhaz people, in the other area of “Georgia” that wants self government. The Ossetia’s know independence is unsustainable, but they prefer the remote and light hand of Russia to the close and heavy hand of Georgia. Let it go.

Georgia is physically as close to Russia as Cuba is to the U.S. The Russians appreciate our interference in Georgia probably as much as we appreciate their interference in Cuba. The United States has no national interests in Georgia; Russia does. Push comes to shove, we won’t go to war for Georgia and should therefore not indicate or imply that we would, it makes the Georgian’s take excessive risks. The oil pipeline doesn’t rise to a national interest of ours, it was never realistic to begin with, because it was predicated on a straight line graph prediction that Russia would remain at the nadir of power similar to the late 90’s.

Straight line predictions are almost never right, and Russia was bound to recover, as it has done before. Students of Russian history know that in 1917, Russia government collapsed the country fell apart in chaos, revolution and civil war. Twenty Eight years later in 1945 they were the greatest land power on the planet. They had beaten the vaunted German Wehrmacht and planted their flags in nine capital cities. They conquered Manchuria and Korea, a territory as large as Western Europe in around three weeks. This easily surpasses the early Wehrmacht success in Poland and France. And they stopped. And they proved reasonable over Finland. Russia will have Abkhazia and Ossetia, the real question is will they have Georgia proper too. Russia wins any fight over that.

We Americans need to take stock, of our true national interests and the real world. The nonsensical chest thumping since the fall of the USSR has cost us a lot. Missed opportunities, unproductive ill will, diminution of goodwill, and failure. The fall of the USSR and its meaning has not sunk in too many in the U.S., I’m looking at you Dick Cheney, but that is its own blog topic. Our attempts to apply a different standard to our actions than the actions of other countries is pointless feel good rhetoric. Our national geographic and historical ignorance serve us ill. NATO has got to pull back to Western European countries only, in this I include the Baltic States, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Croatia, and exclude Turkey and Greece. See, the funny thing is we are actually less powerful, not more powerful with the USSR gone. Against the USSR/East bloc we could assert ourselves with cheap nukes. Against a chaotic world, we can only assert ourselves with infantry, and we don’t have nearly enough, not remotely. The stink of our foreign policy failures is rife. Let’s not further add to the list.

The Legacy of President Wilson


Wilson’s legacy is multi-faceted, with each of the pieces bad. 1. Going to war without a vital interest at stake. 2. Elevating abstract ideals, over real world empiricism. 3. Double-think: expanding segregation while speaking of national self determination, democracy, and freedom. 4. Unconstitutional imprisonment and silencing of dissenters. 5. Refusing to acknowledge failure, as though reality can be influenced in such a manner. There is more, but time and space are limited. The current President comes right out of the Wilsonian vision, or as I call it, delusion: John McCain too. Barack Obama seems a practical man, a pragmatist and an optimist too. Time will tell.

My definitions of the four cardinal political positions, and a complaint


Conservatism: The idea that obligation is one way and flows from the individual to societal organs.

Liberalism: The idea that obligation is one way flowing from societal organs to the individual.

Libertarianism: The idea that there are no obligations at all.

communitarianism: The idea that obligation is reciprocal and dynamic.

There is much discussion in Western political thought of rights, as though they exist separate and apart from the real world in an abstract and ideal state, and become sullied by reality. The fact is there are no natural rights. In nature successful reproduction is all that counts. No creature of the wild is as foolish as man, to think it is entitled to anything.

Yet we crave assurance. We wish to be fed though we grow no food. We wish to have shelter though we construct no building. We wish to be clothed though we make none. Economic productivity has reached such an unheard of rarefied prosperity that we are lost: mentally and emotionally lost in obsolete ways of thinking and behaving. In times of shortage it makes sense to take actions that become ludicrous in times of plenty. We have a pre-industrial way of allocating resources and managing governance with an economy that spews out finished goods in historically unimaginable quantities, and allows for instant communication, also historically unimaginable. And we are miserable with pointless work and stress, frightened of bogeymen that will take this prosperity away, and ignorant about ourselves and world. Our greatest injuries are self inflicted. Our current political system and mindset in America are our problem. Like Rome, and the other great states of the past our enemies are ourselves, and the outsiders can only hurt us once we have weakened ourselves.

I am so weary of the vacuous and dumb rhetoric that passes for political discourse in our age. It is cold comfort that most of the world is more screwed up than are we. At our founding some very reasonable men did a remarkably good job of fashioning a political solution, why can’t we? We must get rid of the idolification of the Constitution, and get rid of the dead hand o the priesthood like vested interests that grasp to themselves decision making authority.

We need a new government.

Bishop Joseph Butler said:


“Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be: why then, should we desire to be deceived?”

On Criminality


The words of Gary W. Potter, Professor of Criminal Justice and Police Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, in writing about the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s, illuminates some central premises: “There is precious little difference between those people who society designates as respectable and law abiding and those people society castigates as hoodlums and thugs. The world of corporate finance and corporate capital is as criminogenic and probably more criminogenic than any poverty-wracked slum neighborhood. The distinctions drawn between business, politics, and organized crime are at best artificial and in reality irrelevant. Rather than being dysfunctions, corporate crime, white-collar crime, organized crime, and political corruption are mainstays of American political-economic life.”

Fact and Instinct


“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.” — Bertrand Russell