February 6

Paul Krugman Is Too Chicken

kray-kray-krugman

Paul Krugman may be learning from his mistakes.  Mistakes in the form of world economic predictions have usually come back to bite him in the ass, so he’s now going out on a limb to just not make them anymore.   In his most recent article, A Game Of Chicken, his own inner chicken forces him to remain silent on what will happen at the “moment of truth” between Germany and Greece and the European Central Bank.  But, if he were a real prognosticator, he should already know what the European Central Bank will do to Greece and Germany when debts come calling.  He has no problem, though, of telling us the cause of the current crisis:

“Like all too many crises, the new Greek crisis stems, ultimately, from political pandering. It’s the kind of thing that happens when politicians tell voters what they want to hear, make promises that can’t be fulfilled, and then can’t bring themselves to face reality and make the hard choices they’ve been pretending can be avoided.

I am, of course, talking about Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and her colleagues.”

Of course, the bad guys are the ones with all the extra money.  Continuing with his practice of the backhand insult flanking maneuver, he goes even further by absolving Greece and cementing blame on those Nazi bastards:

“It’s true that Greece got itself into trouble through irresponsible borrowing (although this irresponsible borrowing wouldn’t have been possible without equally irresponsible lending).”

and racist liars in their complaining about debtors:

“…German politicians have never explained the math to their constituents. Instead, they’ve taken the lazy path: moralizing about the irresponsibility of borrowers, declaring that debts must and will be paid in full, playing into stereotypes about shiftless southern Europeans.”

So, Germany is the bad guy because they’re a donor nation, frugal, and productive.  Greece can’t help itself, so they shouldn’t have to pay back their debt.   Case closed, according to Krugman.   Germany should just have to deal with it and tell their people the truth:  that they have to take one for the team so that the whole region doesn’t collapse.    No doubt his consistent leftist philosophy dictates an identical stance on Israel and an Iranian atomic bomb, but I digress.   In Krugman’s world, Germany should have known better than to make extra money available.  Extra money is made from raping those that have none, so the undeserving are deserving of the extra money made.  See how reflexive that is?   It’s like an equation that balances itself, and Krugman is perfectly poised in the middle, ready to tell us what is happening instead of what’s going to happen.    He can’t even muster enough courage to tell us what should happen – and that used to be his forte.

I’ll be the one to crawl out on the limb here and tell you what will happen:  Germany will lose, Greece will receive a special grecian formula of quantitative easing, and politicians will continue to promise things they cannot deliver.  Blame will be shifted from the debtors to the producers and capitalism will be root of all problems.  Krugman will then post a column that says he got everything right and everyone else got it wrong.  I can’t wait.

 

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January 15

Obama Skips Unity Rally, Pardon My French

Ted Cruz and Fareed Zacharia can suck it.  This entire story about the Unity rally really grinds my gears.  If they (Cruz, and his ilk) don’t like this country, they should find a door and not let it hit them in the ass on their way out.  Is everything about Obama an opportunity to shame him for political posturing?  Is there a Republican conspiracy to defame the president even in times of worthless show of public, photo-op solidarity?   Signs point to yes.    Their criticism of Obama, the White House leadership, and American policy in general regarding Obama’s not showing up at the Unity Rally in Paris is a house of cards waiting to fall down upon them.  And I am the wind.

The fact that the White House felt the need to apologize, though, makes this non-blunder into a fiasco.  There should have been no apology, no mis-handling of the response, and no compromise.  Obama’s comments that we stand behind the French people was sufficient.  Why?  Because we don’t need to show up  for a hand-holding, we-shall-overcome singing rally down the avenue.   We march against terrorism every day.  Please pardon my French, but did you motherfuckers hear what I am saying?

WE MARCH AGAINST TERRORISM EVERY DAY.US_10th_Mountain_Division_soldiers_in_Afghanistan

So who the fuck are you to tell us we’re wrong for not sending our favorite son to play patty-cake in the middle of the rue?   Our sons are already marching while froggy, foul-feathered friends skipped to-my-lou and made googly-eyes at the cameras.   10,000  police cordoned off half of Paris to keep them safe while our marchers tried to keep the rest of the world’s terrorists at bay.   No doubt few of the French police had done two tours in Afghanistan, were shouldering 100 pounds packs, or had to worry about IED’s during that pompous pep rally.   Really, I cannot not insert enough french-laden free speech here.  This ‘incident’ enrages me to the point of pure patriotism.  And it should have done the same for Cruz.  It was a perfect moment to stand up for our president, our resolve, and our honor, no matter what one’s policies or political party affiliation might be.

And because of Cruz’s idiotic diatribe, I’m now forced to defend Obama.  That makes me even more incensed.  A man, who’s policies I do not agree with most of the time, got it right in this instance.    And what if he had attended – what would Cruz have said then?  Probably that he wasted another million taxpayer dollars to attend a pointless rally in France.  Nice going, Cruz, way to play politics like a bitch.

Dear Mr. Cruz and all others who think Obama should have shown up for this rally,

THIS is how we march against terrorism, bitch.

Afghanistan_1318746c

No songs, no hand-holding, just marching.  We march while the rest of the world has the freedom to question where, how, and why we’re marching.  We don’t stop, we don’t lie down, we don’t need to answer to a bunch of whiny, singing twits.  We are not perfect, but we are the mountaintop.  We march everyday to protect the bell of freedom.  The rest of the world gets to ring it at our expense.

So, Fuck you, Ted Cruz, you’ve shown why you are not worthy of the Presidency.  Take your cards and go home.

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January 4

Rush May Be Racist, But James Bond Is Still A White Guy

Olivier as Bond

“My name’s Bond, James Bond.”

It’s not always that old, fat, white guy you hate that’s the most racist in the neighborhood.  You know, the one that’s more racist than you are and you can point to him and call him the bad guy while you slink away, unscathed.   I’m talking about the guilt-ridden white people who need a champion, behind whom they can hide their own racist opinions and make themselves feel better for their own brand of racism.  Case in point is the recent article  in Film Magazine (link) by which highlights the recent backlash against Limbaugh for being racist (again).   Wait, does that make ME a racist for assuming Sam is a white guy?   Probably, but then, we’re all a little bit racist.   That’s why I’m always wary of those who claim to be champions of racial justice.  They’re usually pointing out someone else to avoid their own blame.   Believe me, I take all the credit for my racist tendencies.  I know I’m a sinner, and I have the balls to admit it – unlike Sam-Wise Elf-Ling who wrote a racist article about James Bond, calls Rush Limbaugh a racist, and spews out his own brand of racism in the process.

Limbaugh recently stated that James Bond is a “white, Scottish guy, period,” in reference to some who are calling for a new, black James Bond.  In his article, Eifling writes that Idris Elba would make a great James Bond and that he is black.  Eifling claims Rush’s discounting of Elba for the role because of his skin color is a racist act, then demands someone of color be put into the role – as if that act is not racist in nature.   Then, he muddles his argument by citing proportions of ticket sales versus racial representation in the general population, further suggesting a colorful leading man might help slumping sales in the movie industry.    I would argue that better quality stories and scripts would be a bigger help, but I digress.   The popular media mantra is that Multi-culturalism makes everything better,  regardless of the actual numbers or the income.  Funny, but I’ve never seen a Brad Pitt turn down a 20 million dollar deal because they didn’t give it to a black guy, have you?    The ticket sales argument is that 64% of the population are white yet bring in only 54% of movie revenue.  I’m, not sure where Eifling went to business school, but 54% of marketshare far outweighs any other demographic.  Although the proportion isn’t equal, it’s still the main focus of a trillion dollar industry.  It has to be because that’s the demographic that makes the most money and still has the broadest appeal.   But then,  leftism is never about business, it’s about social justice.  Social justice makes everything better – no matter how many people, or profits, have to suffer.

Eifling also adds that white people have portrayed people of color in the past, cites egregious examples of overtly racist characters, and uses this as an argument to let a black guy play a white guy in a movie.   Unfortunately, no one sees the hypocrisy here, or remembers recent outcry against whites playing roles of color in the past.  His premise is that whites have played colored roles, so blacks should get to play white roles.  But not that a black actor should dress up in whiteface and be the new James Bond, rather that audiences must be forced to accept the new James Bond as black.   So, is the argument against racism or is the argument for some type of social revenge?  It seems, to me, to be an overt attempt to use a racist act to counter past racist acts – but I don’t think I can give Eifling the benefit of being smart enough to understand this underlying psychological motivation, nor the nullification of the logic in his own argument.  In fact, the only thing  Eifling’s got right in his article/rant is that James Bond is not Scottish.  However, Fleming believed the character to be decidedly un-Scotlike and disapproved Connery for the role, but changed his mind after the success of the movies(link).  So Fleming changed his mind, eventually, which makes Eifling wrong again.

Now, I have no problem with Elba being the new James Bond.  He’s a great actor, and a suave personality that would make a great James Bond-like character.   The problem is that James Bond IS white.  The man who created James Bond, Ian Fleming, created bond in his own image.  I happen to be a Bond fan, a literary one, not the movie character. Having read the entire series of Fleming books multiple times, I may be a better authority than someone like Eifling, who has probably never cracked a Fleming title save for Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang when he was a kid.   Bond is a British secret service agent in the midst of the cold war era in the 40’s and 50’s.  A black man trying to act as a covert agent in Europe, Russia, and traverse the social circles of aristocracy and espionage throughout the world in this time period is going to stick out like a sore thumb.   So, changing the “real”, bibical, or literary Bond into a black guy just doesn’t work.   The Bond character is too well defined as a British white guy, so there’s really no room for social justice to repay the debt of world racism in this instance.    No one can argue that Injun Joe should be changed to a white guy, or Tonto should be turned into an aboriginal Australian for shits and grins to make the world a better, racist free place.  Should Tom Sawyer be Chinese?  Should Captain Kirk be a green alien?  If you need to repay a racist guilt debt, I guess yes.  Otherwise, characters were probably created in the visage that was intended.   When we become far enough removed from them and the stories become timeless, such as a Shakespearean tale, then let’s talk seriously about redefining race roles in theatre.

But when it all comes down to brass tacks,  I don’t own James Bond.  The Broccoli family does, and they can do whatever they want with the character.  I may not like it, but that’s none of my business.  It’s a free country and if they want to cow tow to popular culture jackasses like Eifling and make James Bond into a Latino, so be it.   If they do it well, I’ll pay money to see it.   And let’s just say that the bar for the character in cinematic history isn’t that high, so I’d expect a modicum of intelligent writing could do wonders to refresh the franchise.    One wonders why Saltzman and Broccoli didn’t do the following a few decades ago when Connery wanted more money and they fired him:

Make Bond a code-name.  The original character has been morphed from a 50’s era, mild mannered spy into a modern-day super-action hero character.  He really has nothing to do with the original story line that defined him in the cold war era.  Flemming was dead when Connery demanded more money, so they should have morphed the character then to avoid the greedy, old, white actor trap.    The characters of M and Q have changed a few times because M is just a code name for the head of the secret service, Q for the Quartermaster.  Let Bond be the code name for the 007 position.  That way we can have a continuity of the name and role while the face can change at will.   Bond can now be resurrected from bibical canon and you can write any backstory you choose.   He can then span the timelines without having to be 89 years old when he fights Osama sixty years after dismantling SMERSH.  So go ahead, turn Bond black – just don’t apocryphally re-invent him and his back story as a black man.  Use some of the talented, overpaid imagineers to come up with a reason as to why he’s now black, or chicano, or of nordic descent.  But remember,  if you try to shove it down my throat while calling me a racist, I may throw it up in your face.

And one more “fact” Elfman got wrong:   His list of Bond actors omits the best Bond of all – George Lazenby.   This glaring omission proves he knows nothing about the Bond character or it’s history.  He’s a movie reviewer and should know better, or at least know more, but his glee to enact social justice outweighs his prudence as a journalist.   A shyster and non-actor, Lazenby, bamboozled his way into being hired as a Bond replacement.  He starred in one film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which is the only movie to stay closest to the novel it was based on.  Lazenby played a perfect Bond, and Savalas a perfect Blofeld.  Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about and should have all their opinions of Bond invalidated out of hand.  In the books, which most of you have never read, he’s a real person with foibles, misgivings, real aches and psychological pains that are glossed over by the superhero movie persona.  I’d love to see a retelling more true to the original character.   And in those tales, he just happens to be a white guy.

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December 11

The Meaning of Investment

 

beanie baby bad investment

A Bad Investment

Communication is the basis of a society and how we get things done.  Communication can take many forms:  documents, drawings, symbols, numbers, and words.  The words of language have, in large part, specific meanings and a commonality of definition that allows us to communicate with each other.   So, when I see words being used to define things opposite of their original meaning I get extremely distressed.  Nothing good can come of it and it may lead us to riot, chaos, and eventually, destruction of society altogether.   Case in point is the constant and purposeful modern mis-usage of the word “investment”.

In modern media, the word “investment” has been re-defined to mean something that is expensive.   I have seen this use of the word every day on television, in magazines, and in my local paper.    I’m sure there’s more than mere coincidence that its increase in use is inversely proportional to the closeness of the holiday shopping season, but I digress.   In real life, “investment” and “expensive” are not synonyms.   Some investments may be expensive, but not all.  And things that are expensive are not always investments.

Here are some of the items I’ve seen just today:  $1000 handbags called “investments” on a news/television program, a $50k automobile as an “investment” in a local paper, and $1M boat as an “investment” in a magazine.    Nothing could be further from the truth.  Absolutely none of those items will be worth more after purchasing them .

TheFreeDictionary.com’s definition of “investment” is as follows:  Property or another possession acquired for future financial return or benefit.   But the trinkets we are being told to buy in advertising are not investments, they are luxuries.   They will not accrue in value or have any potential to pay off future dividends as real investments can.  They will only depreciate.   Luxuries are not things we need, they are things that make us happy.  So, shouldn’t those things be good enough to make us happy to purchase them on their own?  Shouldn’t they not have to be talked up as an “investment” as an additional incentive for us to buy them?    Yes, they should and the word “investment” has been misconstrued, and re-defined to trick you psychologically.  I should know – I used to be a salesperson who sold high ticket items.   One of the first things we learned to do was explain to our customers that these expensive luxuries were “investments”, when there was no possible way they would make money from them in future outlays.   The psychological block that made a person want to save their money is lifted when they believe they will get a future return for parting with a large sum of money right now.   Now the use of the word in this way pervades every aspect of popular culture, not just the seedy showroom floor.

The word is used to make a consumer feel good about buying something “expensive” because calling it an “investment” implies that it will accrue value over time or allow you to profit.  It softens the blow of forking over hard earned money for something you don’t really need in the first place.   So remember this anytime someone comes to you and wants you to make an “investment” in the future.  Remember this the next time you hear about student loan forgiveness as an “investment” in our nation’s future, subsidies in housing and Obamacare as “investments” in America   –  Remember that somebody’s just trying to sell you something you don’t need.

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November 12

16 year-olds should never be allowed to vote

the LA times is a rag I clean my windows with

16 year-olds should never be allowed to vote

if newsprint had clickbait, then this story in the LA Times on election day would be at the top of a ‘Ten dumb Democrat ideas’ list.   A 16-year-old is as good as an 18-year-old — or a 40-year-old — at votingis an Op-Ed piece by Larry Steinberg with a lazy argument that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.   Yes, they are as good at the physical act of voting.  Heck, I think 16 year-olds can tie their own shoes as well as I can, but it doesn’t mean they are qualified to make a decision on everyone’s future.

Larry seems to think that 16 year-olds  ,” are perfectly capable of making informed and reasoned political decisions”, and are being , “denied the privilege of voting.”  That statement tells me immediately that LArry does not know enough 16 year-olds and doesn’t remember being one himself.   He seems to think we know a lot more about adolescents than we used to, no doubt from his own ‘research’, so, therefore, they should make decisions on who should make laws and enforce policy.   His rationale?

“Over the last 40 years, there has been occasional discussion in the United States about lowering the voting age, an idea that has been gaining popularity around the world. In parts of Europe and much of South America the voting age is 16 or 17. The United Kingdom is debating allowing 16-year-olds to vote, and the discussion has picked up steam following Scotland’s recent referendum on independence, in which those 16 and older were permitted to vote — and did so in great numbers. Studies of elections in countries that permit 16-year-olds to vote on state and local matters find high turnout in this age group as well.”

I don’t know where he’s lived in America for the last 40 years, but  it may have been an insane asylum.   I can’t think of a single, rational person (or one who is capable of abstract thought) that has raised this idea over the last 40 years in America, so, I’m starting to think that all of Larry’s friends may be imaginary.  At the very least, I must believe that Larry has no children who are of this age, nor spent any time with groups of them for any period of time.

16-year-olds are interested in a few things.  Things like cars, sex, spending money, and sex.  Not necessarily in that order.  In very few instances are they able to determine what is best for them, their future,  or best for society in general.  I don’t care how hot or cold their cognition is, they simply have not had the life experience necessary to make adult decisions.  Decisions like paying the phone bill,  taking out a mortgage, buying a car they can afford to maintain, paying income taxes.   Why don’t they think about these things?  Because their parents are still doing their laundry, paying for the roof over their heads,  saving for their college funds.   Teenagers don’t worry about saving for retirement, life insurance,  or filling out a schedule C.  Why should they be allowed to make political decisions that affect those aspects of life?   They shouldn’t, and there’s no good argument otherwise.  Larry’s argument consists of a few non-salient points:

- Some people have thought about letting 16 year-olds to vote

-Some countries have let them

-The age of majority is a blurry line

-They usually have a good turnout

-Some bullshit about hot and cold cognition

My wife is an English teacher and I’ve been privileged to read some of her student’s work.  I even taught high school for a time and can honestly say I’ve read better arguments from actual 16 year-olds.   I’d still never allow them to vote in anything other than their own sphere of influence which is their own high school.   Maybe, one in 50 is competent and lucid enough about his own existence to be granted the privilege of voting, but that’s a high estimate.   I’m guessing psychology professors have not much else to do but sit around and think up absurd theories and rationales for them to justify their phony baloney jobs and compensate for not being real doctors.  Unfortunately, to the detriment of thinking people, Larry has a bullhorn in the LA Times where he can broadcast crazy ideas to the world via the internets for free and act scholarly.

Just read his ‘scientific’, and contradictory description of the abilities of a 16 year-old mind while exercising “Cold-Cognition”:

Cold cognition is relevant to matters such as voting or granting informed consent for medical procedures, for example. Adolescents can gather evidence, consult with others and take time before making a decision. Adolescents may make bad choices, but statistically speaking, they won’t make them any more often than adults.

Informed consent on what a surgeon will do to your body in an immediate sense is a lifetime of difference than what a politician will do to your future safety, wealth , and freedom.  A 16 year old has no real concept of the latter, only the former. And even regarding the former, he doesn’t know much.  He doesn’t really understand his own mortality or the effects of medical treatment because he thinks he’s going to live forever.   Next, Larry completely contradicts himself in the following paragraph:

A later age of majority is more sensible for matters that involve hot cognition, such as driving, drinking and criminal responsibility. Here the circumstances are usually those that bring out the worst in adolescents’ judgment — they frequently pit the temptation of immediate rewards against the prudent consideration of long-term costs, and occur when people are emotionally aroused, and are influenced by their peers. For these sorts of matters, the age of legal adulthood ought to be 18.

Temptation of immediate reward versus long term costs.  Immediate reward is exactly what drives 16 year-olds, NOT long term costs .  And that’s exactly what you need to overcome to be considered an adult and make voting decisions that affect other adults.    Something tells me Larry has recently written a paper on the Cold-Hot thingy and wants to promote it in the local paper.  But his lack of honesty and argument has done nothing to convince me that this is a real idea.    If anything, Larry has convinced me the age of majority should be INCREASED to 21 years of age.  No drinking, no involuntary conscription, and no voting until 21.  Or, at least, no voting until you’re no longer claimed as a dependent on your parent’s tax return.   Larry should take his research and go back to the asylum, where the inmates are obviously running the place.  And that’s exactly what we’d have if all the 16-17 year-olds got to vote.

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