Sunday, March 29, 2009

Just an Old Photo I Wanted to Post...

Caption: "Romney Looks to Tap the Fudge Packers Union."

Definitely my favorite of the last year or so.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Thought

Simple people see things in simple ways with simple solutions. Complex people see things in complex ways and with complex solutions. Neither are inherently wrong or right. They just are.

Time Spent

For the last couple of months, as I have previously described, I have been dreadfully busy. I'm not going to describe it again so as to not bore you too too much. Suffice to say, it's been interesting. I had been planning to talk a lot about my student teaching. But I never got the time to do that. I'll get to it hopefully this summer as more of a reflective piece. We'll see. I also wanted to do my ranting thing that I find joy in, but haven't had nearly enough time to do that, as you may have seen from the quality of my postings over the past three months or so. Oh well, you'll live and so will I. Regardless, I do intend to think up some more stuff soon... One I will talk about is the value we place on intelligence and the ranking of intelligences. Also, I want to take a look at certain areas that we are woefully forgetting to teach our children about. And, likewise, a rant about drug policy. But, that's for later. Also, in many respects, I have taken to less grammatically stiff prose. So be it. Forgive me for my sentence beginning buts and ands and so on. You'll live, and so will I with a sentence fragment or two as well. At any rate, I'm finding ways to budget my time better and with the extra time I'm forcing into my schedule, I'm going to find something relaxing to do. Fuck knows I need it badly. I don't know what form that will take, but it will certainly not be sleep, although I would like more of that as well. I have an idea, but like I said, we'll see what pans out. In short, since I've figured out the aforementioned (in the last post) I'm going to fix a few mistakes and right a few wrongs and see how far that gets me in terms of happiness. We'll see. But for now, never let things get you down, live your best life regardless of its length or starting point or whatever, and always always always FlyFreeForever.

A Little Under Four Years

A little under four years ago, I set out into a new life and in many ways a new way of life, one that was for the most part devoid of my family and their consistently toxic influences. I did pretty well at it too. It was nice to get away from certain people and their points of view regarding some half dozen of my traits and views. Fast forward about three years or so. Last summer something started bothering me again that struck chords with that past situation I lived in. I didn't realize it at the time, but they had gotten back into my head. I still don't know how or why it happened, but I don't care either. I was lying in bed a few nights ago and it literally popped into my head. I'd figured it out, why I hadn't been really, genuinely happy since about last June. I couldn't believe that they had gotten so far back into my life! Well they're gone from sight and out of mind now. I'll be myself again thank you very much.

Originally I had made a mistake four years ago, a childish one to be sure. I pushed them away to spite them. And it worked for a while too. But as I grew and got older my feelings towards them changed from anger and vindictiveness to something closer to reticent understanding. In doing so, the barrier I erected lost it's power and they flooded back into my business. I realize this now. And in the ensuing years since four past I have come upon a stronger shield, though not realizing it, hadn't used it. Myself. I am my own person and I have to trust myself to make my own decisions for better AND for worse.

So, I'm finished letting their opinions and beliefs backdoor their way into my life and I'm finished letting them have any say in my actions. I am, as I have always been, my own person. It's time I start acting like it. And most importantly of all... I am free.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What Right Wing Politicians Will Never Understand (Well... One of the Things...)

One of the things that right-wing politicians in this nation will never understand is how to properly care for the economic concerns of the middle and lower class. Historically, the political system that they run by today would have for the most part worked the best for them. That is, the idea of Adam Smith's invisible hand controlling the outcome of the economy. In short, what he claims is that the economy should be left to its own devices and that it will regulate itself. (Granted it's slightly more complicated than a one sentence answer, but that will suffice for my argument.) In his time, this was a seemingly viable option because of who was important and how they came to be such and how they almost always remained as such.

You see, that for hundreds of years in European hierarchies, nothing much had changed. Sure, the names varied (albeit usually just by a number or familiar name). But, generally speaking, the wealthy few stayed wealthy and the poor stayed poor. There was no real risk for the wealthy elite to worry about becoming poor. The world that Adam Smith wrote about was one in which the economy could shift from year to year, but in general the wealthy elite remained such regardless of what happened. In his world the invisible hand was good enough, because there was no real threat of a member of the wealthy elite actually losing their status.

Many reasons tell us why. Firstly, because they were landed. That is, they owned land and that land was birthright, and not used in economic dealings. Simply put, even if all else failed, a wealthy elite person could fall back on their land and use it and its labor (or potential army) to amass wealth. Secondly, because the world seemed to be a much larger place. Undoubtedly, the fact that communication was more difficult limited the danger of high risk / quick loss or gain investments.

Regardless of why however, the fact remains that Adam Smith wrote about a situation that was prominent at his time and one that is not particularly relevant today. Today there is a middle class whereas in feudal times and through the Renaissance the idea of a middle class as we know it today (one that has higher than subsistence income) was all but non-existent except in a few cases where it was still quite small. And certainly it was ignorable by Adam Smith and the wealthy elite in Great Britain.

Fast forward to today and the fact that we have a large middle class. While the wealthy elite of today may still (many times) ignore the fact that the middle class exists, many middle class people as well as working class people have taken up this Smithian invisible hand theory for themselves and at a detriment to themselves. For, you see, the middle and lower class today (and always) has something very real to lose under the system (free market capitalism) that Adam Smith describes. The fact is that free market capitalism does work, but it works solely for those who have nothing to lose, those that will always remain rich. The middle and lower classes don't have that guarantee. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The middle and lower classes depend (under free market capitalism) on a continuous bull market. But, when the bubble bursts (as it always does) they are the ones that feel the impact worst because they lose enough to put them back into or below subsistence living.

The fact is that free market capitalism was and may still be the best system for the very rich. But it is not the right system for the rest of the United States today. The middle class is an important part of this nation, because it is something that is decidedly "American". That's not to say that it is systemic of America, but that it is one of the things that we as a nation claim to support: the middle class. Because we are all equal under the law even if others claim we're not. There are those who use their desire for a free market system who claim that we are not because it is in their own best interest to do so. But they shouldn't speak for us.

There are also those who claim that communism is the way to go. Even that it is at the opposite end of the spectrum and therefore must be right. Unfortunately, they are just as wrong as those who are for free market capitalism. Both free market capitalism and strict communism fall to the same flaws: personal interest. Those with power are always looking out for themselves. In free market capitalism rich business owners have all of the power and therefore make all of the decisions that must be made. In strict communism, the government has all of the power and makes all of the decisions and incidentally are also the rich because they own everything. In reality, there is no difference between free market capitalism and communism EXCEPT THE TITLES.

Autonomous regulation, that is regulation by outside powers (i.e. a "separation of powers" or a "system of checks and balances") is the only solution to either system's inherent evil: greed. That's all. Regulation by those whose interest is seeing everyone share equally in the profits and debts of the economy of a nation is the only way that everyone is going to gain equality under any government system. In a capitalistic system, government must regulate business. In a communistic system, business must regulate government. Beneath all of that in both systems must be the voices of everyone else. The average person must give power to the regulator to regulate those who hold wealth.

American conservatives will never understand this because they remain stuck in a Cold War mentality. They will never see that not only are the abuses of each system the same, but in all but name alone, each system is identical down to their smallest flaws. Blame cannot fall on them alone however as American liberals/progressives have remained stuck in that Cold War mentality too. They don't see that they actually hold the same views in this respect as conservatives, but with, again, different names.

* On the graph above, all rights are reserved. FFF, 2009.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Great Balancing Act

There are only two major ways to affect change in this country. The first is the easier at first and the harder as we continue and the second is the opposite. While the latter tends to end smoother, both the former and the latter do nothing but displace the time of struggle for change to either the beginning or the end. Both methods work equally as well in theory, it is the conditions that exist in society that decide which method is best.

First, I'll take the example of public school integration. This is an example of forced change by a figure already in power. The struggle starts at the beginning and slowly calms from there. Remember the Little Rock Nine. The most difficult part was the first step. I won't say it was easy therein out but it was less difficult as time passed, a year, two years, and ten years.

Second, I'll take the civil rights movement in the 1960's. This was a groundswell change, a grassroots movement. It collected power slowly over a period of years and the most difficult challenges only came when the group was big enough to cause actual difficulty for the status quo. It became harder until it reaches a peak, civil rights are (for the most part) achieved, and the difficulties faced slowly recede.

As I said, both ways work equally well. So why is this important? It is important because when trying to get your way, you must realize the situation that you are in. If you have a figure in power that supports you then you take option A; if not, you take option B. To take B Path when A is available is a waste of time because change could happen so much quicker. To take A when B is available could mean the crushing of your movement for years or even decades to come.

Likewise, balance is important. Every movement must have balance. They must have a Malcolm X for every Martin Luther King Jr. There must be an extreme to make the mainstream look more acceptable.

Additionally, we must know our part and stick to it. It we are a radical, we would be damaging to our goals to work with moderates. If we are a moderate, we would be damaging to the credibility of the radicals.

Personally, I would readily admit that I am a radical. I want things to be fixed now. I want to see egalitarianism today. No excuses. No BS. No time to waste. I don't compromise. I don't change. And I don't tolerate the bargaining of my equal rights. Period.

I want a world where no one goes hungry. I want a world where no one goes homeless. I want a world where the health of every person is paramount to profit. I want a world where I can walk down the street with another man and not be sneered at. I want a world united instead of a world divided based on ideology. I want a world where haves and have nots are not permanent categories to which people are stuck. I want a world where every person is treated with respect and dignity regardless of what they believe. Period.

No exceptions. No bargains. No anything. Period.

And that's fine. I won't work with those who are willing to bargain my civil rights, my health, my well being, my food away. I'm going to continue to fight my battles. And not because I think I will win. I know that I probably won't win. But in rejecting moderation and pushing the envelope I pull others towards moderation from the opposite extreme. And, you know what, I'm fine with that. At least for now, we're moving in the right direction.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wearing Fur

Just a short one for tonight...

A vast majority of people who are offended by the wearing of real fur are perfectly fine with people eating beef, pork, chicken, etc. So what does this tell us? That the big moral objection to fur is the fact that people are wearing it instead of eating it. Think about it. Fewer people care about leather than about mink. Maybe if we sat on mink too then there would be more respect for their fur. I don't know. It's just strange to me.

Thursday, March 5, 2009