The 99% Solution

The target isn’t “the rich”

October 29th 2011

 A few days ago, Michael Moore, the documentarian and author, wrote a piece for his blog entitled “Life Among the 1%”

Moore, who has gross income – or is it just revenues? – in the region of $50 million since 1989, qualifies as a one percenter.

Now somehow, in the heads of the apologists of the GOP, that means that the 99%ers are supposed to hate Michael Moore. The idea is that he’s an eeevil plutocrat who, true to his class, feels entitled to strip America of all her assets, giving nothing in return. An idle coupon clipper who feels his justification lies in his inherited wealth. A speculator who leaves millions in poverty so he can make untold millions jacking up the price of daily necessities for personal profit. Maybe he sends hundreds of lobbyists to persuade Congress not to pass laws that might impact insurance companies, such as a decent health care program, or to understand the profits of war make a few thousand dead American kids more than worth while.

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Oh Say Can you c?

The Standard Model comes under question

October 22nd 2011

The Standard Model has been a mainstay of physics for over one hundred years. A lot of it has been empirically demonstrated through a variety of experiments, and never shown to be false. For ANY theory to last that long without serious challenge is amazing, especially given how much our knowledge of the universe has expanded in just the past twenty years.
As a result, the Standard Model has gotten a little frayed around the edges. In fact, recent events pose the possibility that after all this time, physicists may have to discard Einstein and start from scratch, a truly shocking possibility.
A little over ten years ago, I discussed some of the problems I was having in coming to grips with modern physics in an essay entitled “…Well, if you say so” I acknowledged then, as now, that I do not possess the math skills needed to really understand the equations that underlie the Standard Model, although I’m in better shape then most people in that I know the three laws of Kepler and Newton, can work out the Lorentz Contractions, and possess a basic working understanding of Special Relativity.
In short, I have just enough knowledge to be a danger to myself.
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Crash 2012

Fighting the coming Great Depression

October 8th 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has spent the past year assuring people that the Euro would not collapse, and then that it could not collapse, and then that it must not collapse, is now reduced to hoping “the Americans won’t let it collapse.” To that end, he put in a lot of phone time with Barack Obama over this Columbus Day weekend.

That he is doing so tells us several things. The Euro is in immediate trouble. Merckel’s effort to contain a revolt among the right wing members of her parliament is unraveling. And the recent downgrades to Spain and Greece are sending shockwaves through the markets, even as they defy economic gravity.

Obama’s response, if any, will tell us what the investment sector in the US wants to see happen. Normally it would be politically impossible for Obama to get a bailout package for Europe through Congress. With the American economy on the ropes, he would have a revolt on his hands.

And nobody except the fundamentalist morons of the Church of Saint Rand think that the financial sector is capable of following its own best interests. The meltdown three years ago pretty much assured all and one that they couldn’t and wouldn’t. Even their top acolyte, Greenspan the Rationally Inexuberant essentially admitted that the markets couldn’t tie their own shoelaces.

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Water Wars

Alabama has a new crop of blind boys

October 8th 2011

 The California economy is still in the crapper, thanks partly to the ongoing world crisis in capitalism and thanks partly to thirty years of Republican insistence that taxpayers not be forced to pay for the items they wanted. As a result, California put a lot of needed growth items on credit in the form of state bonds, and because a lot of them were via the state initiative process – best described as brain surgery with a sledge hammer – it took an already bad economic situation and made it far worse.

Why Jerry Brown would even want to be governor again at a time like this is something of a mystery. As his predecessors discovered, governors don’t have much power to fix things, but they will get blamed for them in any event. Arnie could have been working on “Terminator 10” right now and getting compared to William Shatner. But no, he had to be a governor, and his reputation suffered as a result.

Brown is just as captured in that as Arnie was, but Brown at least brings a measure of idealism and humanity to the job that Arnie could do only sporadically. It was largely due to his pressure that he was able to shepherd California’s version of the “Dream Act” through the State Lege, and sign it today.

As the name suggests, it’s similar to the Dream Act George W. Bush proposed that would allow undocumented aliens residing in the region to be eligible for funding for college. One of the few good things Bush ever proposed, it tacitly recognized that America owed something to the people who come here and do the jobs most Americans won’t do, and that it was flat-out wrong to punish the children of these people by refusing them educational aid.

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Occupy Wall Street

Occupy America

October 6th 2011

 I’ve just come back from reading the responses of a group of right wingers who were discoursing – if that’s the word for it – on the #OccupyWallStreet movement. These same people, who loudly cheered the demonstrations by the so-called Tea Party in 2009, are now utterly furious that this motley collection of “grubby, out-of-work hippies” are doing much the same thing. One even compared the moral worth of the two groups by noting that a lot less Teabaggers got arrested, compared to the Occupiers. That sort of led to a discussion on what sorts of behavior warrant arrest, and if Teabaggers, with their guns and placards comparing Obama to Hitler or the Joker, were really much better a group of protesters than the Occupiers, who usually showed a higher ability to spell their messages correctly, if nothing else.

Of course, it overlooks the basic fact that whereas the Tea Party never was anything more than a phony grass roots ad campaign cooked up by the Koch Brothers and Faux News, the Occupiers, with their slogan “We are the 99%”, actually do represent a groundswell of sentiment in America.

And that has the Teabaggers, dupes of the wealthy elite the Occupiers oppose, very nervous and upset. How dare this rabble publicly disrespect the Masters?

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