Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kristallnacht in our century?

Almost unbelievably, an old Alabama Redneck in a button-down shirt has called on all true Americans to throw rocks through the windows of democratic party offices anywhere in the nation. The other night some like-minded bonehead in upstate New York actually did throw a brick though the front glass at the local democratic party. Other windows were broken in other places across the nation within a day or two.

Tonight Rachel Maddow ran a story on MSNBC about this Redneck. He got the publicity that he wanted through that airing I'm sure. This Redneck got his five minutes of fame. Rachel Maddow was truly disturbed by the guy and his agenda of rocks for democrats and for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Since the Civil war, the American south and west have regrettably given life to many deranged rednecks like this guy. The redneck could even be in government. Like Texas Representative Randy Neugebauer, known as the "Babykiller"screamer. Or the junior Senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn who threatens revenge on any lowly Representative who votes with other House democrats for health care. Those slightly sleazy government rednecks would probably laugh this Redneck off with a "Ho, ho ho." and a "Hah, hah, hah."

Neugebauer would probably say "He's really harmless. Don't worry. No one'll listen to him."

Is that what you would say about the dozens of Branch Davidians in Waco who were killed in the fire begun by their psychotic leader, Koresh.

Or Coburn would probably say "He's just a misguided old farmer. He's not one of those Arab terrorists that Cheney and Bush warned us about."

Is that what you said about Timothy McVeigh, Senator Coburn?

Get real. This Redneck guy is a terrorist, and worse, he is a traitor. This Redneck is as dangerous as the kluxers who murdered the three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964. This Redneck is as deadly as James Earl Ray who murdered Martin Luther King. This Redneck walks and talks and spews revenge just like Timothy McVeigh who bombed the Federal building in Tulsa or Koresh from the cult in Waco. This Redneck rages just like a Brownshirt from the Wiemar Republic just before the National Socialists took over in Germany in the 1930s.

This Redneck is a fascist. He advocates violence against all people of different political beliefs than he. He wants his followers to break windows on the 19th of April. That was the day McVeigh killed all the people in the Tulsa building. This must stop now. His name is Mike Vanderboegh. He lives outside of Birmingham. He has a blog calling for violence just like the brownshirts of Germany did in Kristallnacht in another century.

Please note here that I was born, raised and educated in the American South. I have a New Orleans accent. Many of my forebears were rednecks and farmers. Some were educated and a bit enlightened and some not. Over many years, I have avowed many times my fidelity and love for this legendary part of America.

My Father and five Uncles served in the war that stopped the brownshirts in Europe and their counterparts in Asia. A lot of truly good men died in that war. True heroes and patriots. Later, other brothers and friends of mine were heroes because they put their lives on the line against the rednecks who bombed churches and murdered people in the south in civil rights times.

Where is the FBI? This Redneck is calling for terrorist actions. He and his followers are terrorists who drive pickups and carry pistols for pretense. He and his followers are an atrocity in the making. They must be stopped now.

His name is Mike Vanderboegh. He lives outside of Birmingham. He has a blog calling for violence just like the brownshirts of Germany did in Kristallnacht in another century.

If you want, the FBI's telephone number in Washington is (202) 278-2000.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Money Talks...

Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832)

"Money talks, bullshit walks." That little piece of good advice was taught to me many years ago by a savvy New York movie producer.
Government and Money lead to a problem: Why is it that any form of money like a kwai, a pound, a yen, or a buck has no real identification? Therein is a truth that goes deeper than the silk-laced paper note in your wallet, the balance in your Quicken check register, or the absolute value of your biggest asset. Some money has also been called a quid, or a shilling, or an RMB, or a sou. But money has no name really. No name at all.

There's no DNA to money. There's no address to money.

Money is secret. Money is hidden. Money is encrypted. Money is not transparent.

Money travels where it wants to go without question.

Money is a John Doe with a passport to anywhere.

The anonymity of money is the reason we have the drug trade and the drug lords in Afghanistan and Colombia. Anonymity is also the reason we have Wall Street Goodfellas who pay themselves bonuses of millions and millions of US dollars. That no name money can be quickly and easily hidden away in any amount. All those unknown, mysterious Goodfellas must hold discretely numbered bank accounts in Switzerland, or the Bahamas, or Singapore. If no name money was invented in the last century, the CIA and the NSA certainly would have been the originators of the brand to expedite their nefarious schemes across the world.

Now some history of economics. No name money is the reason we have
modern economic theory going all the way back to Jean-Baptiste Say (whose name was a tip of the hat to his protestant upbringing in a nation of papists) and to Adam Smith and his "The Wealth of Nations" and to Harriet Martineau and all the other early philosophers. In 1803 Say said that "in the market place money is completely neutral," and in Econ-101-speak "Good money always drives Bad money from the market place." This is also known as Gresham's Law, but it actually goes way back to classical Greek drama in a play called "The Frogs" by Aristophanes.

Jean-Baptiste Say thought of the economy as a product-driven market place. By all rights and by the grace of our godly traditions, our modern market place has transformed itself into a no name money-driven one.
Our no name money-driven market place is guided by unseen no name monetary policies from people like Milton Friedmann and Alan Greenspan the powerful purveyors of laissez-faire everything.

To record no name money amounts in our world we use discrete numbers as in discrete mathematics.
That means you must have an integer value for your bucks. That is 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. It's like a stairway: one step to the next is a jump of some discrete amount. There is nothing in between stair number one and stair number two. So an amount of US$ 25.00 cannot be smaller or larger than the zero cents at the end of the figure except for some US property taxes in "mils" or tenths of a cent. US$ 25.00 is exactly twenty five bucks and nothing else. It's like one of the ten commandments from the Muslim-Christian-Judeo sutras. It is what it is, and you better not change one "i" or one "t" or else.

Some of our Know Nothing republicans in Washington who strive to stop health reform have named some no name money as "Good" and some no name money as "Bad." They affirm that they cannot vote for the present bill because it provides for government sponsored abortions. But that is incorrect because the present bill states that you can make two different payments for your health insurance. The first "Good Money" payment excludes reproductive health care. A second, separate "Bad Money" payment can be made for the reproductive policy. That separate policy may provide for abortions if needed.*

So by the new Say's law of the land, we now have two different kinds of money: buck #1 ("Good Money") provides for a strange, religiously correct health care that meets the pompous demands of our Cheap-rent "C" Street Ticklers coalition. And another buck #2 ("Bad Money") can be used to buy a policy that allows for coverage for an abortion, if needed, and other female abdominal procedures.
This is counting angels on the head of a pin. This is mediaeval. This is a little nuts.

What all this goes to is the anonymity of money. We need to get money out in the open for a good airing. And some re-naming. No hiding it in a numbered account. No working around the rules.
We need to see clearly how much money is controlled by each and every person in public office in the entire nation. Otherwise you cannot run office. And we need to require the shareholders of every financial corporation in the United States to closely regulate how much money the execs pay themselves. The shareholders. Not the executives.

And the no name money those financial executives control is to be named and it is to be clearly open for public viewing.

We need to stop transfers of no name money to off-shore banks for the purpose of hiding the no name money.

We need to open the books of non-profit corporations like every religious org so that the public can see why we are granting those orgs special dispensations like no taxes.

The way to do all this is to name the no name money. Everyone wants privacy. But not everyone can have it. Sorry, the good of the nation is at stake here.

* Remember "Separate but Equal" schools for black and white people under the infamous Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling by the racist US Supreme court in the 1890's.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hardscrabble Economics Part III



Looking at 2010, the year of the tiger, let us now have some light of reason about China and the Chinese people. How will our nation deal with the nation of China in the world market place? All the people of the world are watching and judging the products and services of our nation.

While some republicans and many myopic entertainment news people here in the USA endlessly debate the merits of "big" government the Chinese continue to pump up their infrastructure and invest in the future of their nation. The historical record gives us a fitting name for those old guard republicans who delight in obstructing our government. In the 1850's the republicans proudly called themselves "Know Nothings."

Some Chinese people I knew in Beijing in 2007 told me that infrastructure was the most important priority for their nation. There is talk by some USA cable news pundits that the Chinese economy will certainly soon "stall." Believe me, there is zero chance that the Chinese people will allow their economy to "stall." Just like the people of the USA, the people of China simply want a better life for themselves and their families.

In our recent past we have a capitalism of government financed research into things like high-tech devices and high-speed communication and high-speed transportation. The good old gigantic US government invested in NASA (1958), and DARPA (1958), and the interstate highway system (1956). NASA gave us integrated circuits. DARPA gave us the internet. And we all must have driven forever on the Interstate commuting somewhere here or there.

All this came about under the guidance of our good, genuine Soldier-Politician, President Eisenhower.

Ike was our last helpful republican in the oval office.

Yes, we do miss him don't we? Good old Ike oversaw the rise to imperium of the iconic, capitalistic American military-industrial complex.

While our Tea Party people and Know-Nothing republicans sling slurs and pose for the cable TV news the Chinese are building... not debating... a new high-speed rail system of thousands of miles to link all the major cities of their entire nation.

What do those Tea Party and Know-Nothing types want for us here in the USA?

Those "keep-our-government-little-so-our-small-minds-can-easily-understand" types have only allowed the congress to budget a few miles of high-speed rail from Tampa to Orlando, Florida probably as lip service to Disney World and Mickey Mouse.

So is our dear old USA doomed to downsize into something more "mouselike" if we continue down this path of fear and denial of thinking and doing the big ideas? Now more than at any time in the history of our republic do we need all the people to think big. The modern world is a strongly competitive place. We as a people must raise the bar and strongly get moving into the future.