Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I see this scene as a movie, in black and white.
The labor unions and govt seem to me two cinema noir gangsters.
They collaborate on the heist of public funds until the final scene.
The jackpot turns out to be fake bills.
Then they shoot each other.
Both die in the end.
Have you seen this movie? Appears we are all going to see it very soon. Refer you to this week's cover stories in BOTH Barrons and Forbes on the coming and certain (muni) bond crisis. They can beat the drums in Madison, very entertaining, I love percussion music, but the markets will decide. Bankruptcy, and the shareholders, and the bondholders, and then the pension holders (and the dollar holders, i.e. all of us) will be reset at or near zero. Things that can't be so easily "reset," i.e. gold, oil, corn, wheat, anything "real," will stay the same, but the pricing of it in dollars old or new is another matter. We will be the new Uruguay or Zimbabwe. Or as someone put it, the USSA.
This movie will flash on Internet screens around the globe and will happen like the Mideast -- all in one day, like a blizzard or hurricane.
Just like the Wall St crisis -- greed all around: banksters, politicians, unions, public -- the "something for nothing" political party, and that includes all Americans (except Ron Paul), ends very, very badly. (We have a new mayor in Chicago today, the old one sold our assets for expenses, no one cared. Ho hum. Someday when the markets say "enough" we'll care.)
Mene mene tekel upsharim, we have been weighed in the balances and found wanting....
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Some days ago we engaged the widely-traveled, literate, lover of the arts, and always thoughtful Mr. Rod Gibbs in a discussion of the raging social phenomenon known as "Facebook," and we found his views thought-provoking. The exchange proved to be too brief, and so we upped the ante by saying if he would put pen to paper and fully develop his conception of the never-mentioned downside of the FB phenom we would immortalize his thoughts, right here. He said he would, and being a man of his word, he did, and we share his well-aimed, and well-timed rant here:
MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WEB
By Roderick Gibbs
Sunday, February 06, 2011
“There comes a time in the affairs of men when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation” said Mark Twain. The asinine situation (on the Jersey Shore or otherwise) has arrived now that Facebook has passed Google as the most popular internet site.
No doubt Facebook is used for mercantile purposes by capitalist vendors and buyers alike, however, the main purpose seems to be to look into the monitor or screen and see the self-reflection and self-referential image. In short, like many other societies , e.g. the Romans who admired their visages in their latifundia pool before they went to the vomitorium to purge for another round before the barbarians came out of the East, we are a nation of narcissists. Now there are benefits to this but mainly for the Chinese, large corporations, and Republicans who can manipulate those looking in the mirror but not the present past or future reality. The Russians have seen what America is looking at and has rushed to invest in Facebook so this ephemeral media is now worth more than 50 billion. See http://www.facebook.com/press/releases.php?p=103711
The founder of Facebook was living as a Harvard dorm dweeb when he stole the idea from two bright twins. Now the grown version who claims he was popular with the girls but has relationship issues sets the agenda for an infantilized nation. TIME names him the man of the year, probably to appeal to “younger readers” who don’t know who previous gravitas cover boys were like Franklin Roosevelt, Hitler, and Eisenhower.
We must invoke George Orwell who wrote, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine about stomping on a human face forever.” Voted into office recently were Tea Party members who had a blurred vision of the future which involves having tea and eating their cake too. They do not care about the nation’s health but are choosing to have free congressional health coverage. They want their taxes cut – especially for the rich of Wall Street and themselves but care nothing about the deficit except to cut education and social security. They can only narcissistically talk about their own little microcosm and how proud they are about using Twitter and Facebook to keep their constituents informed about their seeming desire to follow the Constitution but yet dismantling the lower class safety net.
Camus described culture as “the cry of men in the face of destiny.” Facebook is an anti-cultural force along with cell phones since it focuses on the self to the exclusion of learning about the world and truly knowing others face to face. Yes, there can be a call for a gathering but without the education and real knowledge behind an event the validity is compromised.
Of course, I could be wrong. Karl Lagerfeld has declared “Facebook is a flawless object” It is flawless for a merchandizing machine who deals only in overpriced bits of cloth. A French woman wrote that on Facebook people “create a person they want to be. I don’t see the harm in that sort of dreaming” So is it not Jay Gatsby’s and John Boehner’s strongest goal to create a new persona – the ultimate American Dream. Just mentioning the American Dream can bring tears to Boehner’s eyes. Though giving that to young people in the Dream Act is not his cup of tea or sympathy.
But here’s the rub, dear reader: If we only dream for ourselves then we sleep without a sense of humanity. And yes we can have friends on Facebook though we can “Defriend” them with Jimmy Kimmel Live. Aristotle said,” A friend to all is a friend to none.” but that is Greek to Faceits. The neurotic desire to have more artificial friends and be constantly in somebody else’s life is paradoxically a denial of true self. True self is knowing who you are and being able to leave the ego aside and confront the world in creative and honest ways.