12 January 2008

title?.......we don't need no stinking title!

Sort of sets the tone for this "post". I cannot even come up with a damn title for it. Well, hang on and let's see where this thing goes. It is most likely going to piss off some people. Well, better to be pissed off than to be pissed on.
I would say that this is going to be a more or less general "listing" of shit that has got me pissed. Off, on, or other wise.
Take the American economy..........somebody PLEASE take it and fix the damn thing! It is broken, maybe permanently, but damn certain broken big time. Oh, but wait folks, it is getting worse. Yes sir folks, this "bust" is not over yet by any means. I am going to give a link to the best yet, article about this current bust of our economy. It was at the Counterpunch web site this weekend and well worth your time to read if you give a shit about what is left of the US economy and our financial future. Here it is; www.counterpunch.org/toussaint01122008.html . Read this and then tell me how all is well with our economy and we can now all sleep tight at night. Yeah, sure.
My persona; views, this whole mess started way back when a "new" investment type made the scene. It is/was called a derivative. Financial derivatives, the main source of our troubles today. When these things first appeared I was watching "Wall Street Week" with good old Louis Rukeyser. He mentioned them during the broadcast and said to all watching that he had no idea what they were. I remember also, that his best advice was to never invest in things or a company that you knew little or nothing about. For example, if you have no idea what a diesel engine is or is used for, do not invest in Caterpillar. Makes sense to me. So, his advice on derivatives back then, don't bother with them. Nobody knew what they were. Well, now we know what they are. A scam. Not quite a pyramid scheme nor a Ponzi scam, but a fraud nonetheless.
Oh, but wait. Now we have even more "unknowable" things to invest in. We have SIV's, CDO's, and others I forget. SIV's are Structured Investment Vehicles. OK, what ever those are. CDO's are Collateralized Debt Obligations, another mouthful but unknowable to the average investor. The way world markets have gone of late, they are also seemingly unknowable to the "investor class" also. These two, and there are others, are just variations on derivatives. In my opinion, they are made up things that have no real value. They are pure paper "assets", if one stretches the definition of assets far enough. Apparently, the stretch wasn't too much for the "big" investors and the big banks.
Now, the CDO's are sort of tied some how to the mortgage market. This is how the housing bubble busting has brought down the rest of the financial markets to some extent. Also the "sub prime" loans did in many of the greedy banks as well. On one hand, the "common" folks might see the banks hitting a "bad patch" and let out a cheer. After all, it does feel good when the "big" guys stumble and have a hard time paying their bills for a change. The only thing is, like every other time the "big" guys get into trouble, it is the "little" guys who will, in the end have to bail them out. Think back a few years to the first time Chrysler almost went bye-bye, think the Savings and Loan scandal. Yes sir, we, the tax payers, will have to pay to save the big bankers. Of course it will somehow be made to be our "national duty" or some other such bullshit.
To me, the one thing America always had over the old Soviet Union, was that in America, a business could fail. That meant that business could take chances, experiment. Now, if the experiment went South, well, so might the business. But THAT is what made our country great. In the old Soviet Union, a failing business was likely to be propped up by the government. It was all for propaganda of course. That way, America could not say, "Oh, see how companies are failing in the Soviet Union". While they could point to America and say, honestly, that many companies here did in fact fail. But it still made America the better of the two, because, as I said, it allowed for and encouraged, experimentation, new ideas and processes.
Well, that worked only up to a point. Back all those years ago, America could not let Chrysler fail. Why, how would that look on the resume of old Lee Iacocca? The guy who gave us the "Mustang" could not be a failure. No sir, the tax payer HAD to bail him out. While that money was repaid in time, it still sent the wrong message. Now, today, Chrysler is in financial trouble again. One small(?) problem for them this time, America doesn't have the cash to help them. We cannot even pay for the Bush wars with our own money. We are fighting two illegal wars of choice with borrowed money. Our biggest creditor, China. Think on that the next time you buy your goodies at Wal-Mart.
I pick on old Wal-Mart just because they sell so much "made in China" stuff and they ARE an easy target and I'm a senior citizen and disabled so I'll take an easy shot now and then. Yes, many other companies,stores, etc, sell tons of "made in China" goods also. As I said, Wal-Mart IS an easy mark.
The way we allow the mess with the Palestinians and Israel to continue pisses me off to no end. Why do we, who claim to be for freedom and democracy, allow this to continue? We let the Zionists who run Israel get away with anything they wish when they "deal" with the Palestinians. The American attitude seems to be that if the Palestinians give up something, maybe the Israelis will give them more freedom. What do the Palestinians HAVE that they could give up? They do not control anything at all. They do not control their own access to any place in the region, they have no airport, no sea port, they cannot use roads that are designated "Israeli Only", they have no economy, they do not control their water supply even. In reality, the Palestinians have NOTHING. Nothing to give up, nothing to lose, just plain simple nothing. Well, sure they do have their lives, such as they are. Anybody want to trade a Palestinian his/her life for yours? I bet not. I sure as hell would not want to live as they are forced to do. Gaza is the worlds largest prison, if not in fact, at least in effect. Who would want to live like that? Why does America continue to, not just allow this, but support the Zionist government that does this? AIPAC? Money? What? Complex deal isn't it? Maybe if America cut off foreign aid to ALL countries, we'd see real change towards peace there. It's a thought. Might even work.
It won't happen though. Why not? Religion. Many so-called Christians see greater Israel as a requirement for the return of Jesus and the end of the world. Well, what about the billions of people on this planet who don't believe in Jesus or Christianity? We get screwed just because some book says this is how things are supposed to be? That sure as hell sucks shit. How does anybody know that the Bible is correct? You do NOT know. You cannot know. There are other books from other religions that make a very different claim. How can anybody know that those books are correct? How can anybody know if ANY religious book is correct? You cannot possibly know with any real, honest certainty. Nobody knows who wrote these books. Most of them were written long after the main characters were dead and buried. Also, many of them are basically a rework of much older stories from earlier civilizations and religions. So, it is impossible to KNOW that any of these books are true or not. It all comes down to what you believe. Also, no "average" human being reads many of these books in the original language in which they were written. The books have been translated, and we all know that things DO get lost in an y translation. Again, you CANNOT know that any of these books are correct.
Religion is all belief, nothing more. My personal opinion. If this upsets you, well, so be it. Did I stub your toes on this one? Well, if you ever come back this way again, wear steel toed work boots. This is MY personal opinion and I am allowed to express it. I am sick of all this "religious" crap of which religion is the "true" religion. None of them are. They have ALL changed over time from the absolute original.
Along a similar line, what gives America the "right" to tell other countries how to govern themselves? Where the hell do "we" get off with this shit? This does fit in with my "bitch" about religion in fact. How so? Well, Americans (at least a good number of them) make the claim that this is a Christian nation.Really? Well I know some little bit about Christianity. I admit that is it nearly 50 years ago that Christianity and I started to part company and by the time I got back from Vietnam in 1971, we had parted finally and completely., but I do remember a few things fromChristianity even today. Now, it may be that I just see the hypocrisy in the way this "Christianity" of America is put into practice, we shall see.
If America IS a Christian nation, why does it go about business in a very un-Christian way? For example, our government runs around the world telling other countries how to do their governing. "We" tell other folks how they should "take care of their own" in their country. Well, we don't do a very good job of that here for our own do we? How can "we" get away with this when there are some 46 million Americans who have NO health care? When there are millions of homeless here in America. Many of those homeless are American military veterans! This is how "we" support our troops?
This is the "Christian" way?
Our government goes off to other countries and kills their people, for whatever reason, it doesn't really matter in the end, dead is dead. Doesn't Christianity teach us to "love our enemies"? Doesn't it tech to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? Maybe "we" secretly wish to have foreign troops invade us and go around killing our fellow Americans?
How do you square our national behavior with being a Christian nation? I don't see how it can be done without huge doses of lies and bullshit. If America acts like a Christian nation, I will remain a heathen forever. Hell, at least I am honest about this.
America does NOT have a "mission from God". The only folks who ever had a true "mission from God" were the Blues Brothers in the original movie. Period. America does NOT have such a mission. If this country did have such a mission, we should have universal health care, free education through college level, a decent minimum wage, honest government, and a military for defence ONLY. Then, and only then, could "we" claim to be some shining example of a Christian nation and THEN we might set off to HELP the rest of the world to acieve what we had done. Not one single milli-second before that time. America goes off saying how dirty the other folks house is, while ours is a total mess. What absolute hypocricy! And it is the DUTY of every Christian to change this shit. Take care of your own first. Take care of EVERY American before you start to even try to help the rest of the world. Until you do this, you are fake Christians in my opinion.
Oh, and one more thing. STOP telling ME that I MUST believe in Jesus. Bull crap. I can believe what ever I choose to believe or not believe. If you have found "the one true" religion, great. I am very happy for you. Just don't try to convince me that I must believe it also.
Live and let live. I do NOT try to get anybody to believe as I do, please do me the same favor. Do unto others, etc. I try to live that way, now it is the turn of all you religious folks to do the same.
semper fi

11 January 2008

Iran and the "real id"

Well, Iran has made it back into the US news again. Yes, I am slow in this reply to the "latest" news(?) about Iran. I figure it is best to wait a few days and let things sort themselves out rather than do a Faux Noise type comment immediately without benefit of really knowing what happened. So, for that, I guess you can call me reactionary or un-American or at least anti-Faux Noise (aka Fox News).
The entire "affair" now seems to have been a manufactured job. Many of the commentaries have pointed out that the audio does not match up with the video. Well, what the hell you folks want? The bloody damn neo-cons want another war, this time with Iran. They will do whatever it requires to get that war. We, who still think for ourselves, must do whatever we can to prevent this from happening.
The neo-crazies are the REAL anti-Americans here people. The neo-cons hate our freedoms. They despise OUR constitution also. Oh, they "talk" about democracy and freedoms, but only if THEY control everything. If we follow their "rule", then all will be well in the world.
Bullshit! The neo-con "plan" is for American dominance of the entire world. With them in charge of it all. They are a lunatic bunch of homicidal maniacs, but they will never do any actual fighting. No sir, the dying and fighting are the "jobs" of the "lower classes" of Americans. The neo-cons are too pure to be involved in the actual goddamn dirty work of actually fighting the wars they wish for. Fucking chicken shits is what they really are. Goddamn school yard bullies, nothing more than all talk and no guts for the job when push comes to shove. Fucking cowards, that is your precious neo-cons. Cheney included as number one coward. No balls at all. Five fucking deferments? You bet, he had "other priorities" during Vietnam. Hell so did ALL the troops in Vietnam. We called those priorities, getting back home in one piece.
Now, I have no problem with an honest coward. Some folks just have no stomach for hard, dirty work. But an honest person will admit this up front. The neo-cons are dishonest. They talk big, but never will get their lilly white hands dirty. Hell no, that is what the kids of the working class and poor folks are for. Clean up the mess made by the neo-cons. Well, time to cut them loose. Let the neo-crazies fight their own fucking wars. Bet there will be way fewer wars that way.
Now this "real id" crap. People born after 1964 are to be looked at closely when they apply for a drivers license, or get one renewed. Us old folks, like me, who were born before then won't see any change for some years down the line.
This is, we are told, to make it harder for illegal aliens to get a drivers license. Oh joy. They are here folks. They have jobs here and kids in our schools. Why the big deal over drivers licenses? Well, Homie Land (in)Security has to do something to justify the huge amounts of funding it gets every year. Building that border fence won't take that much money and won't take too long to build, so, the drivers license deal is born.
Actually, this "real id" is not a new thing. It has been around for some time now. Sort of an "on then off then on again" type of thing.
We should all be against this crap. Do we really want to be like some foreign countries? The kind like in some movies, where every time you go out and about, some fool with a uniform (think your average rent-a-cop) can stop you and ask for "Your papers please"? Do we, in America want that sort of bullshit? I do NOT!
People, we are becoming way too paranoid. This is America. We supposedly love our freedoms. This crap will limit our freedoms. It is more government bullshit and will NOT in any way make any of us one bit safer.
Just my 2 cents for today.
semper fi