Thursday, December 31, 2009

An offense to one is almost never an offense to all.  Most people simply do not care.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Any Societal analysis that fails to consider cultural impacts is inherently flawed.  Reference frames always matter.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Celebrating consumption is akin to cheering while suffocating.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Total hatred makes satire difficult.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Institutional Corruption

1. Institutional corruption negates it own supposed ethics by defining its own failings as acceptable business practices.
2. Despite the accolades, which is the equivalent of celebrating arson, the end result is illegitimate governance and a broken economic system.
3. Only an idiot, a brainless whore (i.e. a member of congress), or a corporate journalist would believe otherwise.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ignorance and naivete offer very little choice.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lies are a form of acceptance.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If you never think for yourself, then you are probably a fanatic.

Friday, December 11, 2009

If you always truly think for yourself, then you are probably a sociopath.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Murder is a statistic.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Slopes and Poisons

From Wanted: Iconoclasts:
Historically, iconoclasm was an 8th-century Byzantine movement in opposition to the religious icons central to Orthodox worship. By smashing icons, the iconoclasts hoped to restore the purity of the church and focus religious belief on the spiritual - they appear to have had similar impulses to those that later inspired Martin Luther to revolt against the decadent Medici papacy. Their opponents, the "iconodules", did not just love images, they were regarded as enslaved to them.
(It's a concise definition.  Nice job.)

Unfortunately, in a mass society driven by its systemic necessities, iconoclasts will be media products.  They will therefore become formulaic and therefore only capable of appealing to the faithful.  Thus divisions are enforced and ghettos are created where none need exist.  Some slopes are steeper than others.

The article continues:
The US mortgage market is even more hopelessly compromised than it was a year ago, with the combination of the home-buyer tax credit and the Federal Housing Administration's lax requirements for only a 3% down-payment producing a new US$1 trillion pile of mortgages that appear to be toxic.
Other damaging policies that were improvised during the crisis are also still in place and show no signs of being reversed. Interest rates are still close to zero; indeed bank "window dressing" was reported on Friday to have driven interest rates on short-term Treasury bills to below zero. The monetary base was doubled in late 2008, a sharper increase than ever before in the history of the Federal Reserve, yet there is no sign of its decline, while the banking system's excess reserves pile up at over $1.2 trillion.
The above illustrates the danger inherent of stressing short term gain over long term considerations.  Resources are limited.  Pretend money only goes so far.  Eventually, after throwing one too many life lines, one runs out of rope.  Maximum Advantage would have it no other way.  And that is its poison.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Those claiming to think for themselves are usually the least likely to do so.  If true, they would not need to verbalize their supposed virtue.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

10 Years Ago: A WTO Memoir Part 4 (Friday, D3)

On Friday, I did not have to teach class, so I went down town.  I don't recall much noteworthy, just walking and marching around, until later that evening during the last confrontation with the police.  A number of people started marching down Pine Street to confront the police.  When it became apparent that the locals, who outnumbered the tourists, had no interest in the WTO.  We were instead very pissed off at the conduct of the police and, near the Paramount Theater, we let them know it.

I was the most vocal.  I started egging the crowd to hurl all sorts of verbal abuse at the pigs.  One dumb bitch, in a Sea Shepard crew jacket (too bad a Macah was present to kick her fat ass), started whining that we were going to ruin Ralph Nader's agreement with city.  I told her that I didn't give a fuck about Ralph Nader.*  "He doesn't even live hear," I said.  Some little prick actually had the balls to start arguing with me, but he scurried off after I told him that I would throw him off the overpass onto I-5 if he didn't shut the fuck up.  The residents laughed and told the "tourists" to piss off and go home.  Many left at that point.  The residents cheered.  Now we only had one group of assholes left to deal with.

We amused ourselves at the expense of the police.  How often can you get away with spewing vile excrement at a cop?  It was a chance to vent.

In response to the taunts, which I mostly led, the police line started to advance slightly before stopping.  I figured that it was time to split, as there was no way I as going to go to jail, but a couple of kids from Bellevue, who had parked the Z28 about 50 feet away offered me a seat in the back of the hatchback if I was willing to stay and finish my tirade.  They were amused by it.  I agreed.  When it became obvious that I had provoked them to far, I threw myself into the trunk and we drove off.  I remember giving the police the finger as the receded into the distance.  Fuck them.

(I will note that I did not take part in any class action lawsuit against the city.  I gave as good as I got.  Consequently, I became too recognizable to the police so I had to stop wearing my favorite hat.  Oh well... it smelled like tear gas anyway.)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

10 Years Ago: A WTO Memoir Part 4 (Thursday, D2)

Once again, after teaching my early afternoon math courses, I made by way back to the C.D. about 3 PM.  As on the previous day, I immediately set off downtown.  Things were quieter this day.  This was probably because, as mention in the last installment, the police had actually used so much tear gas that the whole state had none left.

After stopping by the King County Jail, I made my way toward a planned union event north of downtown.  I therefore attached myself to a demonstration that began in the vicinity of the Labor Temple in Belltown which eventually stopped at the police line at 5th and Pine.  I spoke at length with a few union carpenters who came down off their scaffolding, still wearing their hardhats and tool belts, to join the march.  They were none too happy about being it with teargas while up on those same scaffolding the day before.  Their safety was certainly jeopardized by the actions of the police and they were going to let them know about it.  I had certainly pleased to find others who were of the same mind I was.  Who cares about the WTO when your own police force is rioting in the street?

At 5th and Pine, we let the police know what we felt about their collective conduct in no uncertain terms.  I inquired, "Why was it that I was tear gassed when I was 5 blocks away from a broken window, but when someone is shot dead in the C.D. in front of my house, by the time the police bother to show up, the body has been carted away?"  I told them that in a few days the tourists would be gone, but they would still have to deal with the residents that had been wronged.  As such, I informed them, "If I saw you lying bleeding in the street I would rather piss down your throat than call 911."  The carpenters mainly glared and  fingered their rigging hammers.  Judging my the uncomfortable looks on the faces of the police, I think we made our point.

I don't recall much else noteworthy from that day.   I do remember a discussion among locals concerning whether we should start packing our guns (we all have concealed pistol licenses).  It was agreed that unless the cops escalated then neither would we.  (However, as we were to learn later, some people had been harmed by the chemical warfare.)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

10 Years Ago: A WTO Memoir Part 3 (Wednesday, D1)

After teaching my early afternoon math courses, I made by way back to the C.D. about 3 PM.  I immediately set off downtown, and eventually made my way to the Pike Place Market on 1st Ave.  It was dry.  I ate a Chinese pastry then noticed a group of Union people, mostly Sheet Metal Workers, emerging from the stairs to the lower levels.  I figured I would attach myself to this group.  Blocking traffic, we Marched up Pike Street in the Direction of the "No Protest Zone."  Very quickly, we were confronted by police who ordered us off the streets for illegally blocking the streets.  Before anyone had a chance to respond (even if they had been so inclined), we were met by few rubber bullets, "flash bang" grenades, and massive amounts of tear gas.  It drove us back.  Worst of all, the tear gas was driving people from cars and buses.  People were gasping, chocking and rubbing their eyes.  I ran/retreated toward the market.

The intersection of 1st and Pike was obscured by a thick cloud of tear gas.  I needed to wash out my eyes in the bathroom, which were stinging, but on the way I told the guys who throw fish by the pig, "See that cloud?  That's tear gas.  When it reaches here it's going to ruin your whole stock."  Those guys never threw fish faster.  (They probably owe me one.*)

After washing my eyes, I went to the top level of the market.  Some younger kids were seated for some reason.  As the gas cleared, I made my way back to the intersection of 1st and Pike.  A few demonstrators holding signs were advancing south toward Pine Street.  The police fired tear gas and threw a pair of flash bangs.  The first went off, and blew the sign out of one guy's hand.  The second failed to go off.  We later stuck it into a newspaper box for safe keeping.  (We told a market security officer that it was there.)  Car traffic was at a standstill, and their were a number of pissed off residents (who mainly had nothing to do with any sort of demonstration).  People, including myself, were berating the police for their action.  (I outdid myself in foulness.)  I also egged on people against the police.  I do not like being tear gassed, so I made them pay verbally.  Sensing the general mood, the police withdrew.

It was at this time, I had a conversation with a certain self-described "political activist."  He indicated that he respected my opinion, and was capable of making the pigs pay.  I told him that since they had not escalated to that level, then neither should we.  Psychological warfare and vandalism is one thing, but what he was suggesting was something else.  The shit would hit the fan, and the instigator would be blamed.  He agreed.  I never saw him again.  Looking back, I probably did more to diffuse tensions than a number of other people who would later claim to have done so.

I had wanted to attend a WTO show, featuring Jello Biafra among others, at the Showbox.  It appeared impossible to get in, so I headed east toward the "No Protest Zone."  As the police had the streets blocked past third and wandered over toward the Bon Marche (now Macy's).  The display windows were smashed.  I remember singing,"One day looting at the Bon Marche..."  (ala Harry Belafonte).

I recall berrating a cop for suggesting that "this wouldn't have happened if you people had not started breaking windows."  I told him he was a worthless pig (or some such).

Eventually, I attached myself to another group who ended up marching up to Broadway on Capital Hill.  I was tired and went home when a ride was offered.  As such, I missed the night's police riot on Capital Hill.  However, my two roommates, who worked on Broadway, were present and had kept wooden bullets as souvenirs to prove it.  I did hear about it on AM radio.

Basically, the Seattle Police Department and King County were stretched to the breaking point, so officers had been called in from all over the state.  This meant that small town cops were being asked to do riot duty in the big city.  This will inevitably result in tensions increasing.  In fact, so much tear gas was used on the first two days, the state of Washington actually ran out.

* In 2000, during Ed Bradly's primary campaign, during a stop at the Market, the idiot mayor at his time, Paul Shell was buying fish and said, "Put it on my tab."  He was told he had none.  He lost the 2001 primary.