Monday, November 19, 2012

November sun

Daisy knows what to do with a sunny table in the dining room this time of year.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day again

Military service is the ultimate endorsement of the concept that your government knows what's best. Otherwise why would it be worth the potential sacrifice of your life?

Those who serve are frequently brave and noble. That does not mean the causes in which they are expended are always equally so.

Honor those who served, for the reasons they thought they were serving. Cherish the times it was true. But never deny that not every call to arms really manages to serve a higher purpose and a better future. In a better future we wouldn't spend so much time trying to kill each other.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Process of elimination

As I left my driveway to vote this morning I realized I was already a dead man. I passed more than one sign for the candidate I did not support, proving that my vote had already been cancelled out. But if I did not cancel out one of theirs I would not have done all I could to support victory for the side I choose.

In the final tally the margin is what matters. The majority of voters have to go out and fall in single combat to allow a few survivors on one side to stand as the margin of victory. Fortunately, the death is only metaphorical. You could count yourself as part of the margin rather than the anonymous pile of bodies on which it stands, if it makes you feel better. Just make sure you get out there and add to one group or another.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Job Creators and Risk

When I hear that rich people are taking a big risk every time they invest in a company I have to ask, "What's the risk? That you'll lose all your money and end up living in the same squalor you want the rest of us to accept? You SHOULD be scared. Welcome to our world, schmuck."

The so-called job creators don't create jobs because they want to. They create them because they have to. If these business leaders could clone themselves or get robots to do the work they would, without hesitation. I worked for someone like that. He really had done every job in the place, though not as well as he thought he did. He could certainly fill in for everyone from floor rat to sewing machine operator to bookkeeper. Therefore, every employee who filled such a position was a necessary evil, taken on only because the owner couldn't split himself into enough parts to get things done simultaneously.

The whole thing about employees was summed up perfectly the other night on Shark Tank when a budding business woman wanted investors to help her advance with her multipurpose baby product. She said outright that she wanted to use her shark money to move her production to Asia because it cost her too much in the United States. It's a mark of business savvy to embrace the fact that your product will have to be made in another country. Not even a neophyte pretends that they will operate a factory here.

Could Americans possibly become so well educated and well informed that all the millions of us in the work force could find excellent large incomes owning and managing companies all over the world? Imagine: no one would have to toil at grubby, exhausting jobs except for the losers who had to be groundskeepers, restaurant help, garbage collectors, bedpan jockeys, and all the other menial tasks that can't really be automated or outsourced. The vast majority of us, with college degrees and great instincts would take over the upper income brackets in the global economy because we're just that darn good. Who needs a middle class based on the need to actually make anything in this country? There will be managers and there will be the thieving, lazy scum who work for them. Prepare to be chiseled: your pay, your benefits, your social safety net are all not only negotiable, they're contemptible, unworthy of a free people joyously competing for everything in their free market.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Say Obama wins...

Say Barack Obama wins the election. The country won't suddenly start to improve faster than its current crawl. Just losing the election will not suddenly turn the masters of the Republican party into productive partners to synthesize a solid plan to build a sustainable civilization in this country.

The strategists of the Republican party would move forward from an Obama victory to make sure his second term went so badly that any Democratic successor would have little chance to get into office.

The first goal for Republicans will be to retain or regain control of Congress after whatever happens to their Congressional minions in 2012. Focus will shift immediately from the presidential contest now ending to the congressional races in 2014.

From 2014 to 2016, Republican propaganda will need to target contested Congressional seats and the presidency.

To keep people believing in the power of investment, the controllers of wealth must try to keep the investment markets looking good. Simultaneously they will have to restrict job growth and middle class prosperity so people feel like the economy is failing.  It's not just a matter of trying to convince people that a bowl of chocolate ice cream is actually shit. Corporate interests need to shut down job growth wherever possible and jack the prices on commodities, particularly fuels, to keep the cost of living high. Tactics like downsizing help increase corporate profitability while increasing unemployment and stressing the middle class.

This is absolutely not a reason to vote for Mitt Romney. That would simply hasten the deeper entrenchment of corporate power. We might as well try to throw a few logs in front of their train while we can. Just don't expect a sudden surge of progress because we made the right choice now. It has to counteract many poor choices preceding it and try to set the direction for good decisions going forward. That means discussing everything and critiquing (as distinct from merely criticizing) even your allies.

One reason the left has had to move to the right is to provide what the former right no longer does. As the right goes farther and farther to a more distant wingtip, rational minds from the left have had to explore the conservative positions they abandoned. At one time the two parties might have been close enough to come up with real constructive criticism and a stronger solution to national problems. Instead what passes for compromise now is just a box of jagged fragments of opposing points of view thrown together in ill-tempered concession.

Prove me wrong, people.