2008-09-28

what's so crazy?

what's so crazy
about living in peace
with our neighbors
without a military empire
all over the world?

what's so crazy
about protecting individual rights
and freedom of speech?

what's so crazy
about ending the
expensive,
ineffective,
and invasive
war on drugs?

what's so crazy
about having a monetary system
that's based in reality
that anyone can understand?

what's so crazy
about at least talking about these things
in the debates for our elected officials?

who's actually crazy here?

2008-09-27

world domination

We're on the way to it. Starting with our very own food company!

belated 9-11 commute log

My commute brings me right around the site of the old World Trade Center in downtown NYC. Every year on 9-11, there's some big hubbub. This year I took a few pictures and grabbed a few flyers from my commute experience, which I'm sharing here.

2008-09-26

bailout reading

Here is the source for a lot of what I'm reading on the bailout. It's the most consistent explanation I've come across. It breaks things down without getting caught up in fuzzy abstract things that are all mysterious.

Warning: you may find that reading this carefully and with an open mind is a lot like taking the red pill. Best to be well grounded in preparation. I'm not kidding.

wamu shrine

On the way home tonight I passed by the local Washington Mutual branch. It was late, so it was closed of course, and there was this memorial someone had constructed on the corner of the building, complete with candles and personal messages. I thought it was pretty funny.



2008-09-25

real debate

Both major presidential candidates support the bailout. All the third party candidates oppose it. Our debate doesn't include this issue, and it's pretty fucking important. The lesser-of-evils choice we're presented is looking more and more transparent..

2008-09-24

more fear mongering

Bush Tries to Scare Congress into Giving Him More Authority Again.


Section 8. Review: Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency. [from Paulson's proposed legislation]


WMDs in Iraq. Eep! Attack!

(a few bazillion dollars later) where'd the WMDs go?

Subprime Mortgages will destroy our entire economy. Eep! Bailout!

(a few bazillion dollars later) where'd all our wealth go?

Maybe the media isn't really giving us the other side of the story.

2008-09-20

reliable investments

In this economic environment, what I'm looking for is a reliable investment.

the truth can wait

Commentary on this article from the ny times.

Paulson's argument: the government has to act now to prop up the markets, whether or not it has a clue what it's doing. Remember the tragic passage of the Patriot Act? Amongst dire circumstances and fear, the government grabs some power from its citizens that it'll never willingly let go of. That time it was civil liberties, this time it's financial liberties.

"This is a critical debate for another day," Mr. Paulson said.


Here's my favorite:

President Bush said, "There will be ample opportunity to debate the origins of this problem. Now is the time to solve it."


That goes to show how different he and I think. How the hell are you going to solve the problem without understanding something about where it comes from? It turns out, what you're doing to "solve" the problem may well be making it worse.

"Our system of free enterprise rests on the conviction that the federal government should interfere in the marketplace only when necessary [a.k.a whenever I say so]," the president said. "Given the precarious state of today's financial markets --- and their vital importance to the daily lives of the American people --- government intervention is not only warranted, it is essential."


As one of my coworkers is fond of saying this week: we now live in communist Russia! Fuck it, lets move to Russia where we're at least open about the fact that we're communists.

As Ron Paul is fond of saying lately: Congress might as well go home, since they're not appropriating the money anymore --- that would be too old-fashioned. In these modern times, the fed and treasury just print and spend it directly!

night at the grocery

I go to the grocery in the afternoon. Organic produce section. Loads of plums and peaches, without clear pricing as usual. I load up on both, head to the dairy section, then checkout. When I get my receipt: organic plums, $1.49/lb. I got 3.53 lb for only $5.26. 16 plums. Sweet! I have to go back and really load up, and freeze 'em for the off season!

It's 11:50pm, and I'm outside the apartment bringing the bike inside. Wait, I was going to get those plums! Thank God I live in America, the grocery is bound to be open.

Cool breeze washes over me as I zoom to the grocery store. Forget locking up the bike, there's nobody here to steal it at this hour. Peek at the hours: what's this? Closes at midnight? That leaves me 5 minutes. Go inside, hand on the shopping basket, vector planned: straight to plums, then checkout line. "Attention shoppers, the store is now closing, please head to checkout." I'll only need a minute to fill up a bag and head to checkout, but wait---dang! no wallet.

Foiled.

Tomorrow, plums, you shall be mine!

2008-09-17

a personal peek inside ye olde communism

An acquaintance of mine was telling me yesterday all about his experience with communism. He grew up in communist Poland and managed to escape when he was fairly young (his sister came later, mother not).

Here are a couple of interesting bits of emphasis he put on his experiences and those of his family:

2008-09-16

Republocrats!

Ah, political season is clearly here.



Reminds me of the ol' JibJab video of Kerry and Bush last time around. A wee bit of criticism for this one: there are some parts where it's hard to make out what they're saying.

2008-09-14

Milton Friedman on Limited Government

This video touches on a lot of critical ideas that seem to be missing from the politics of today. I think a lot of people who consider themselves educated haven't really considered this perspective very seriously.

Excerpt:


Professor Friedman let me ask you what may turn out to be a long and rather convoluted question. You've said that the objectives of the people who have created social security programs, the people who want to provide for the aged, who want to provide for the poor, who want to achieve objectives that have been identified with minimum wage and social security, that the objectives were valid and you share them. Now, if you share them, how would you have achieved those objectives?

Friedman: The only way you can achieve them. In my opinion, which is by voluntary cooperative action. You see I think there's been one underlying basic fallacy in this whole set of social security and welfare measures. And that is the fallacy --- this is at the bottom of it --- the fallacy that it is feasible and possible to do good with other people's money. Now you see that view has two flaws. If I'm going to do good with other people's money I first have to take it away from them. That means, that the welfare state philosophy of doing good with other people's money, at it's very bottom, is a philosophy of violence and coercion. It's against freedom, because I have to use force to get the money. In the second place, very few people spend money as carefully as they spend their own [...]


How are we ever going to achieve peace and prosperity through violence and coercion? It doesn't make any sense, sillies!

nObama for me

Some reasons not to vote for either of the major presidential candidates this year:


  • War. This was the one reason I considered supporting Obama after Ron Paul dropped out. I figured a strong anti-war stance was the most important issue to me. Since then I've discovered: Obama has voted repeatedly to fund the war in Iraq. He wants to put more troops in Afghanistan, and "do something" about Darfur. And he's an imperialist---nowhere in his platform does he discuss any substantive foreign policy changes, such as withdrawing troops from Germany, Japan, Korea, or anywhere else around the world (we have 700ish bases, I think). In fact, he only seems to differ from the Republicans in small details about where to put troops, and rhetoric about diplomacy.

  • Economy. Have the Republicans got any better position on that? Let's see, there's some disagreement over taxation: one party says the highest bracket should be 34%, and the other 38%. Real big difference there! As far as big bailouts and the fed, both sides seem pretty much the same there---pro-bailouts, pro-fed. Looking at the voting record of both candidates, there's little hope for any reduction in spending.

  • Freedom. Well, civil liberties in particular. Since 9-11, these have been getting flushed down the toilet disturbingly quickly. We've seen the suspension of Habeus Corpus, illegal search & seizure, and freedom of speech trodden all over (remember the "freedom of speech zones?"). How do the two candidates measure up here? There's not much point in looking at differences: both support the Patriot act, both supported the FISA bill. Neither even mentions civil liberties on their website's list of "issues". Yet many of the people I talk to identify this as one of their greatest concerns.

  • Energy. Both stand by the ridiculous notion that the government is going to somehow buy our way out of our energy woes, by spending a bunch of money on some particular technology. They differ greatly of course: McCain is for expanding domestic oil production, and Obama's for "clean coal". How's that for choices.



The media has managed, as they usually do, to turn this thing into a horse race where "differences" between the candidates are magnified until we lose sight of what a real choice would look like. And somehow people have been fooled into holding their nose and voting for the least-bad candidate out of fear of "wasting their vote". I think that's rather backwards: wasting your vote is voting for one of the two major party candidates.

2008-09-12

forked

confused. unable to make decisions. think i can make a decision, but then when that decision leads to the next decision, i'm frozen again. stuck, frozen. don't know what i want. can see many possibilities, but don't know which road to take. limbo.

the world won't wait for me to make up my mind. if i don't make it up, i'm choosing something. forks go by and i choose a route whether i do it consciously it or not. i am aware of the forks passing, but i can't figure out how to evaluate one route versus the other. i just don't fucking know, and don't have time to figure it out. coin flip?

2008-09-08

farewell, old friend

I've had this backpack since high school. It's had zipper problems for over a year, and now it's worn a hole through the bottom. I guess this probably seems trivial to most people -- throw it out and get a new one. But that's not something that I do very often with my personal stuff. (I'm all into wabi-sabi).





Into the garbage with ye!

2008-09-07

the popcorn

that's right, 36 pounds of it! my tummy hurts just thinking about it (or is that from the gigantic bowl I just finished eating..?)

zero gravity!

5000 bucks will buy you 7-8 minutes of zero gravity via parabolic flight. Neat.

2008-09-06

how strong are you?

are you ready to go crazy? what does that mean? how about letting go of your inhibitions and letting the nonsense that's inside flow on out? you're just a transient quantum energy bubble anyway, so why take yourself so seriously? your existence is because of a whole bunch of random events. logic and reason make no sense.

you're just a crazy fuck that can neither love or be loved; too selfish, not to mention crazy. can you write crazy and not be crazy? apart is together. war is peace. freedom is slavery.

how about Cincinnati? predictable? less lonely for sure. lonely. maybe that's all there is to togetherness, and it doesn't really matter who what or when, just love the one you're with, Stephen Stills. why wait? today you are alive, right now you feel how you do, and there's no telling how you'll feel tomorrow.

oh wait. cause & effect. it sure seems to exist. sometimes it can even be harnessed into happiness. but is it just an illusion? swim around in random bullshit goo of "how i feel right now" or submit to a greater external framework of cause & effect? cause & effect: hurt (cause) implies various defensive measures (effect), such as fight or flight. can random goo and cause & effect both and neither exist? just somewhere in between? isn't that just saying that random goo wins? Shinji-kun!

and so, punk, sometimes it seems like freedom exists, and you'd better step up to the fucking plate and take some responsibility. don't be a dick. look in from the outside once in a fucking while. if you decide cause & effect doesn't exist, that's fine but you'd better be ready for the effects of that decision. or maybe not, cheater.

2008-09-05

Sarah Palin Gender Card

I'm no liberal, and yet. It is imperative that you see this:

a bird

I had an unusual experience this morning. I was walking to work in the usual way, somewhere near Broad and Wall streets in downtown Manhattan. All the usual things were happening; horns honking, people selling newspapers, construction, and lots of commuters like me hurrying off to their desk jobs. And then..

A bird chirped.

My immediate thought was, "whoa, I guess spring is here now!". This thought was followed by, "no wait, it's the end of summer. Huh."

I guess that we don't get a lot of birds here in downtown Manhattan, because it really caught my attention. The bird (or birds, I never saw it/them) chirped a few more times while I was on my way, as if to rub it in.

Hello, I work in an urban, natureless, city-place.