Thursday, April 28, 2011

Green Retort

If only Americans would eat better food. Like broccoli. I stopped at a Shop-N-Go in New Jersey and I picked up some crowns. And today, I'm having crowns for breakfast. Good Morning.

It would be so much healthier if we were to eat broccoli for breakfast. I am talking about raw crowns but people eat horrible processed things. This is what you find in the "service station" or the "convenience store." The colorful outlets.

You know what I mean. I'm talking about the kind of food we call processed --- full of oils and sugars. Don't forget the flavor. And now --- color! There you go! Now wrap it up in a nice colorful package; people have to notice it. They won't be able not to. And, that way you can "compete" with the other corporations. Who are your enemy of course. That's one brutal competition to be sure. To be king of this mountain of junk --- the slag heap.

Now there's a term I remember from youth. It's vernacular but in my younger days at least we knew it was necessary to think. Big loss there. We never thought that use of mind would have a time limit. But now there's no point. Yes, I know the term's vernacular, mountain, slag, whatever, but even if we used the vernacular to get the point across I think it's alright to use vernacular you know, because it is speech, and in speech, the mind had a real point to look to.

On the other hand, YOU can go get yourself killed; and that's what'll happen, buddy, if you do not eat your broccolli for breakfast. You, buddy, can eat junk food, buddy. You do not have to think; you have that right. That is your right. Why you should think? That is so last season -- and out of style seasoning is something you no longer use anyways. You can go kill yourself with yer junk food. Your stomach does not have a mind. It does not control the capacity called choice. The one that makes choices is you yourself; you have made your choice and I'm not going to intervene. Except to say,

............Good morning. And,

____________________...............Wake Up..............._________________

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Product Line

We are witness not only to candy canes, flying saucers, blogging, and other excesses but also: to the astounding success of capitalism and diversity, religious tolerance and modernity. This is our system of liberal modernity, as it can be called, which, it must be said, can be conceptually opposed to what one highly accomplished Georgetown University scholar calls "puritanism" (I am not sure I am exactly duplicating his intent, or his context, so I wont give the name), or, more broadly, to any kind of rigid, fundamentalist or conformist, or single-themed regime. (Yeah! -- puritans, in beards. NO! -- I just dissed Solzhenitsyn, Allen Ginsburg and the Amish. Confucius anyone? Berlin had it correct: liberal modernity is "maddening")
But why does this liberal modernity work? I hold that choice works only when the individual appropriates one. It only works when the individual gets his own choice. He also wraps it up, takes it home with him/her. "Choice" does not exist on a shelf. It exists when it becomes part of an individual life. This consumer-commercial life is satisfying when we bring it home. The puppy looks cute in the store too but it's a different matter when you take her home. Then your kids can be happy; then it can shit on the rug.
If you did not bring it home? None of this could happen. No point in letting it sit in the store forever, anyway. But I am not saying that if you bring Barbie home, she comes to life. And I am not saying the pet shop should not be subject to regulation (i.e. when the puppy is still in the store!). I'm not saying any of that. I am asking why this "choice" or what is called liberal modernity exists.
I'm asking why do stars come out of Merlin's beard and he isn't a puritan after all but a saint.
I'm saying the consumer product works because we can take it home --- we can make it a part of our lives.

Wealthy Decision Makers - That's Rich

Rich people never have to pay for their mistakes. They can pay (s.i.c.) their way out of anything they do. Although they speak of their mistakes and lessons learned, something is missing.
They are facile. The speeches that concern notions of ethics, their talk of moral choices --- it is more than facile. It is a decency of talk. Talk is cheap -- very, very cheap. When morality is limited... we do not see any expenditiure of energy, meaning real energy; meaning in a physical sense of work, sweat. That involves also imperfection. Imperfection. It is the normal mileau.
So, imperf. is the environment we are working in; I want to see something physical happening here. Something expended (-not money). Pay in sweat.
I want you to do some work.
Exploiting labor is no longer fashionable, but, for a limited period of time capitalism meant that persons exchanged something. What do we mean by that? By "exchange"?
By living, by expending labor, we built this house. Now it is imperfect, but the time has come to define what it is --- or , how it shall be used.
We need to bring into focus the world we have created. You don't do it only in words. Note again that the humans they are imperfect (Neitzche said that).

Because we are imperfect, we act. In acting we build things. One imperfect person meets another. There is friction, or interaction, or something like a toehold on sticky paper --- something like that. There are friction. But the inconsistency and frictions are what give us toeholds, like those strip things on the stairs.
Not to mention drama. Feminists, say Butler, do not (should not) create a category out of "women" . We do not buy our way out of our moral responsibilities, or make excuses.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

U. S. Policy. Maybe. So Far As We Know.

75 shot by "govt. 'armed gangs'." (1) As in Libya, the police and/or army is massacring its people. This is their tactic to retain power -- they resort to direct violence, attempting to intimidate their own people by shooting into crowds or shooting whomever they have a whim to.
We do not necessarily need to regard this as abnormal behavior, or call it "abnormal." The Syrian government has maintained public order, for years. During those years life in Ssyria was what would have been termed "normal." How could these persons doing the shooting have become suddenly abnormal? They are the same persons as they were the day before. They may be showing their true colors. But they are no more abnormal now than they were before.
In 1932 the Germans were respectable persons. In a few years a raging menace.
Sen. Lindsay Graham now suggests we bomb Tripoli to make Ghaddafi's inner circle "wonder if this is their last day." (This is more or less the meaning, I might not have an exact quote) Is that abnormal? He is suggesting to kill various persons. This does not bother him.
He is a Republican and he is from the South. And he doesn't mind killing people.
Is there any reason to believe that Sen. Lindsey Graham is any different from Ghaddafi, or Syrian President Bashar? --- except that he is "our" guy and not "their" guy? If there is any distinction between one killer and the other --- what is it? Who can specify what that is? Sen. Graham is saying this just because he feels like it. He does not know Muhammar Ghaddafi (I am presuming this in my mind). Nor has Ghaddafi attacked Americans --- on our soil. There is no indication he will do that, so what gives Graham the right to?
Candy Crowley interpreted Graham's comments to suggest that he wants the inner circle around Ghaddafi to (you know -- peel off or) defect.
I do not get that either. Defect to what, exactly? Being Graham's friend? --- now that Graham has tried to kill them they will be friends? That is how a dictator thinks. Or maybe they will turn more pro-U.S. after escaping by happenstance from the bombs our side dropped?

I think he's a Southern-fried asshole, actually! OK; That's what I think. That's my impression about Graham, from hearing his pasty face utter a few words on international T. V. or on CNN. But I am not going to try to kill him, I have no business doing that.

I think it would be better if someone showed a little sense. In our (U.S.) lack of a precise and principled policy (not to mention our lack of having a few more marbles in our heads), we should have limited ourselves to protecting civilians. That was the whole idea, as the govt. obtained an agreement with the Arab League to "protect civilians." We had the right idea, but I think that now we are going too far. If we have to move to protect civilians that is fine; but do so in a principled manner.

As a nation, we need to decide who we are. It is because we don't know or did not do it that we decide to fudge and change things all the time.

-- - - - -- -

(1) The sequence of words enquoted taken off the television screen, as a caption displayed by CNN

Monday, April 25, 2011

Economists Say...

It is USA Today that informs us this morning that (nearly) eight out of ten economists say they are less optimistic than they were three months ago. Americans are usually very optimistic. This is brought home to us when we read Barbara Ehrenreich's latest book, "Bright-Sided," which underlines optimist by means of contrast, sort of the way the 9-11 attacks clarified or should have clarified what our real values are and so forth.
But, if they are less "optimistic," as the news put it, what really is the other side of that optimism? Only a few obscure writers are discussing a "Capitalism v.2" or a "re-framing of capitalism."
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the whole cause of the lack of optimism is put down to "high energy prices."
That is it? No more?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday, April 24 - U. S. Libya Policy

On o4-o6 this blog commented on the Libya situation. I will make more comments on another post in the next few days, but here is a link for the meantime:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What Kind?

The Republican candidates, whom CNN says are "coy" about committing, do not seem to have any ideas. They do not seem to be strong candidates. The United States has evolved a certain kind of society. I definitely believe that. The problem is only that we do not know exactly what kind it is.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Let Thou Surf

Here is the site I just was on:
...I was looking for a China site --- looking for maybe a site from China and trying to avoid something predictable in the sense of U.S. State dept., or CIA fact book, etc. I arrived at the above web site:
The recent power plant accident in Japan, like the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago, calls for "deep reflection" ... Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today

Well, I thought I had arrived in China but he is Sec-Gen of the U.N. I don't recognize name fast enuf and I am still thinking he be Chinaman. I thought it was someone in the Chinese leadership --- that kind of thing. You know the dictators? Leaders of China? But it was the U.N! Ooops! Easy mistake for an American maybe.
I thought it was a leader in China who was calling for "deep reflection", amongst his people, probably on their own nuclear facilities. The problem was that I was all geared up to receive propaganda from China. I thought I was already there, due to my intentional screening process, involving Google. How many mistakes did I make?

Anyway, now you know how my mind works! It's all out on the table. Platter? Flat Screen? What do you call those things? It's a flat screen. Display? Flat Screen Display? I used to know the abbreviation back when the "soft" screens first came out and I saw them on display in stores. LCD? Anyway --- All their names sound alike. Huh?

While it is a nice phrase, "deep reflection," I think the Chinese leadership should enter into deep reflection on the matter of ---- or subject of ---- human rights ---- or whatever you call it ---- ---- I think that it is the matter of what right and wrong are. That is what is involved. Some persons get that and some don't. You know? Then it occurs to me that it is the governments do not get it. Hoo boy! Am I in trouble yet?
... Well, I think we should know right from wrong. Is that simplistic? I know there are a lot of subtleties once you get deeper into it --- speaking of "deeper" as we were --- but seems to me that some just have not gotten to the right/wrong issue in the first place.

But there have been repeated calls for the world's most populous country's leadership, or dictatorship --- whichever is the word --- to act within what are called basic values, on things like respect for human life, or basic values like not beating and killing people. Little things like that, which we should know are wrong.
So I am saying they do not "know right from wrong," which functions as a cliche, too, just like "deep reflection" does. All of this needs, apparently, "deep reflection" on the part of the ruling elements in China who are really practicing barbarianism in the more basic variety. How can they not know they are mistreating Tibet, and other peoples? How? Unless ...they do not know right from wrong.

Deep reflection: Bush (not H.W.) also said things like that, saying he was reflecting "deeply" on things. Sounds like the same thing. Let me tellest thou how deep I be. I think he said that type of stuff, saying him so deep and all. He was really thinking deeply, caring deeply. Oh yeah, nice phrase; how do we know it means anything? This computer has phrases and word, in a sense ---- all I would do is press a button...what does it mean if a machine said it?

This is my comment for today, trying to keep some topics in your face, that maybe you should be thinking of. Maybe we should make sure we keep some of these topics in our minds, not to mention up on the flat screens out there in cyberspace.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I was looking at this conservative Blog, you see...

Here's a blogger blogging on capitalism.

I read someone today who said that Jesus must have been a socialist, because he didn’t seek profit, which is the hallmark of capitalism. Instead, gave away his time, energy and skills to those who could not pay. Since he didn’t have a profit motive, he must have been a capitalist. QED. It was a classic case of conflating socialism with generosity.

Socialism is, in fact, the opposite of generosity...

A capitalist gives away things free. I at first tried to email the person, whom I feel as a female. But, I notice I have to be "logged in" and it is a "word" system I need to log into in order to communicate with this blogging entity. So, I reverted to here. I don't think mine restricts anyone like that --- as far as I know. (I checked. I want to enable this one. "Anyone: anybody in the whole wide world can leave comments" You aren't going to ask me whether I checked if I DID that, are you?!!!)

So, I am "communicating" to "bookworm room" but on my own bloggie thing. There is no "about" section that I could find. I do not know the author's gender. I "feel" a female. Is this getting wordy?

My view, which I have developed here and elsewhere, is that: Capitalism is a social institution, not a private one.

In the end, this blogger (gender unknown) gives "her" idea of what an ideal society would be like:

"...a humane state allowing humans to go about their business, and a social and moral structure that encourages those with the most to reach out, without state coercion, to help those with the least."

The author defines her ideal state. Nice. What makes it a humane state? Capitalism is our main structure, now in jeopardy. How do we create a "humane state"? Without modifying and correcting problems in capitalism?

Here is "her" full ending.

Jesus wasn’t a socialist. When he said “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s,” he fully understood the separation between our spiritual and moral impulses on the one hand, and the dictates of a state on the other hand. Ideally, the people’s adherence to both Caesar and God is a mutually beneficially system, with a humane state allowing humans to go about their business, and a social and moral structure that encourages those with the most to reach out, without state coercion, to help those with the least.

Was he a capitalist, then?
Is capitalism part of the state?

I agree with the blogger in so far as government-administered sharing or state sharing is not the same thing as the "spiritual and moral", or private charity, which would be a kind of generosity based on personal choice. I also agree that this is an important distinction.

What, then, is "redistribution"? What is the difference between a malfunctioning capitalism and a healthy capitalism? What is it that even this blogger, in this very blog, calls "a healthy capitalist society"?

Here is that part:
in a healthy capitalist society, they have the moral impulse to give

This means that in a properly functioning i.e. healthy capitalist society, individuals will give on their own but this will take place, she says, privately because the government does not do charity work. I think maybe capitalism should do some giving, if not through taxes maybe some other way. Why should private individuals have to straighten it all out, when business is part of the problem? Even if I give charity I am not correcting problems created by the capitalistic system in the hands of a few corporations buying up everything from everybody. But for the blogger charity begins at home, and not within the government's domain. And yet, in a democracy, we are the government. Why should our policies only take place within society --- meaning the private or personal level. There is this big, massive entity called the economy. Why just ignore that?

This blog of hers implies that charity takes place privately, not publicly. OK. Where does capitalism take place, then? It take place publicly. So, if you want "less government," you want less capitalism because capitalism is like a kind of government. So...take some products from the production facility and use them in a separated, distinct way, according to some distinct plan, creating a two-part economy.

...I was looking at this conservative blog, you see, this one conservo blog with rather good thinking on capitalism, but, of course, not getting it as well as I do...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Big Road

____ ___ _ _
Americans are transfixed by cause and effect in the form of these human activities connected to commerce.
____ ___ _ _
I noticed in school that they use the term "behavior" a lot in them textbooks. This morning I wondered how to gloss the term "behavior." Here's what came out of me. I was sitting on the balcony of a motel and I wrote down my thoughts looking out over a highway where the trucks roll. Bob Dylan always says, slowly. He always says the trucks roll slowly. (So sorry: sings)

As my fellow travelers on this journey, I hope y' enjoy my words:
Americans --- transfixed by the unfolding commercial scene around them. It's a better object of fascination than anything Europe has to offer

Commerciality means to be drawn into something ... empty

This means that, for all of that time that Americans have been looking at themselves, they have never had any idea what they are looking at

Sucked into a vortex and the advertising industry tracks the ignorance

I'd sat in two cafe's and a B. King in my time in this sleepy little New York Washington Irving-type town. Each one is totally different --- here what I mean is that the coffee venues were different -- from one another. When I watch New York persons I tend to think they have more humanity or culture or something --- more than others in this country. All of that considered, I do not think America or Americans are meaningless --- how could they be meaningless? How could anyone be?

But then, if they are not, which one theme is it that we share? What is the theme of this here country? Although no one knows what the real theme is, cultures usually have themes, and the theme is common to persons of the culture. What is the mutuality of the American culture? (not merely that we are all wrapped around an empty core...fascinated with the cause and effect of a commercial, that won't do ...that doesn't work)

Every place has its meaning; America must as well. Commerciality builds up the seeming, the apparent meaning. Around that empty core. At some point, you have to admit the core is empty (old immigrant jokes about the "nail soup" - that's relevant here). Americans have hearts. All do. All persons do. And peoples (cultures) do too.

America/US is a culture whose hearts were freed up by a big, open land. And they are persons full of hope.

But if the system remains connected to empty meaningless commerciality we are going to have a problem.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cravings -- For Cream cheese and white CAstle ; Or, "What we Like"

What do we like?

We like overcoming difficulties and we have many of them to overcome.
The Left movement is dedicated largely to overcoming difficulties, so the Right side -- I mean in it's extremist manifestation -- is dedicated to saying that there aren't any.

Difficulties, I mean. There aren't any. But you do ask deep, probing questions.

Everything is OK, for difficulties are irrational.

Right-wingers ask deep probing questions which are really dedicated to one specific goal. The question are to demonstrate how once we possess the associated answers there are no more questions or difficulties. So, the difficulties just disappear.

* * *

When life is a pickle overcoming difficulties becomes a theme and hope springs eternal. Obama knew tha. And Bush, having blown his wad or shot his shotgun off(ooops! Cheney!! A co-incidence! I swear!), Obama chose to emphasize "change." It was hope's turn. "Hope's Turn" -- now isn't that a movie or something?

When we are experiencing difficulties, we "like" -- we WANT things.

The Old Windbag

(Although this is a rather strong criticism of Hillary Clinton, it does not automatically follow that the author must be a conservative.)

The self-promoting over-the-hill sleazebag "Hillary" who is unable to find her policy towards Egypt, Libya or any other country, once said: "It Takes A Village." With enough persons invoking the concept of "community" (and here I recommend the scholarly book, "A Body of Individuals," by Sue-Im Lee, for more on "community"), it starts to "sound good." Community - not unlike the Village thing - could become a kind of catchword. Try it: "community."

Are you feeling anything yet? (if you are, there is more to consider: is it a "real" community feeling or a "fake" one? Maybe "only your hairdresser knows for sure." And if you are too young to get it, there's always the Memorex commercial -- or am I just hopeless/dated?)

You can tell from some of Hillary's earlier books -- and, (I didn't actually read "It Takes...", but I looked at a couple of 'em: like the one I got from a conservative type of church's basement sale, for five dollars, in Arizona)-- and, you can tell that Clinton always behaved like a marketer, and in fact seems to be one. Hill is a self-promoter; it's woven right in; it seemed to come naturally to her and it was embedded as it were in the text of the books. That is why I say that she was a big advertiser or self-promoter. Now we see how hollow it all is.

Of course some are dead (Libya, Afghanistan - drone -- get it yet?). [Maybe Nugent has a comment here? -- About how war is necessary? Thanks, Ted. I think I'll just fill in your drivel for myself, OK? -- Or did I hurt yer little feelings...]

I would characterize the U. S. air strikes using foreign policy parlance, as: overly ambitious. It is good that we intervened. I wanted that. But there is only so much we can do; some things we can do and some things we really cannot. We cannot, for example, stop the government (Libya) forces on the ground from entering persons' homes. No, I don't think so. This recent U. S. intervention was not well-considered. (Which seems more or less consistent with recent history) There were other, more skillful things that the U. S. could have done to engage Libya, to make various offers, to increase communication, etc. --- not just merely killing a few persons. But the U. S. does not seem to be able to wrap its mind around any deeper methods that respect the human complexity of the situation.

I would honestly ask: What is the problem? I think it is that of the professional class, and I think that the professional class that we presently employ in government does not have the requisite culture, knowledge, and depth to formulate policy worthy of a world leader. They lack class, would be shorter way to say that. The greatness of the United States, assuming that this once existed, does not lie in the willingness to use violence. Neither does it lie in "the people" somehow cut off in the wild, having no access to their institutions. The willingness to use violence is not a special feature of a democratic state. The special feature of a democratic state is its ability to project a good government, which is to say project something of real quality, onto its own institutions, and the greatness is in the culture, depth and knowledge of those institutions.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Great Blog: 78 (1)

Great Blog: 78 (1)
I have no idea what this is. It said "create a link," so I did it. I edited this literary post a little. So go there then...

Libya and Libyans

Those who fight:

#Palestinion intifada in the 70's
#People in Madison, WI, last month
#Libyans "last two weeks)

There's nothing more heroic and admirable than fighting against the forces of oppression.

I do not doubt that the cause is heroic, but whether these struggles actually make the world a better place, is what is in doubt.
Mostly, human beings are rotten little pools of corruption (with little wisps of smoke emerging from their foreheads or eyebrows). If you give persons a chance to be corrupt they will be. Capitalism, which is to say in its current "free" state or state of freedom, or license, where its operations are not continually observed, monitored and governed, lets corruption spread like a virus. And, people will be corrupt.
It's a corrupt world. Let's face it. Revolutions are like sit-comes -- splashes of excitement and entertainment.
I feel deeply and passionately the U. S. must express its core valuews here. The U. S. should, in my opinion, publicly support the values or principles of the Libyans (you know: the ones we should support, not the ones we shouldn't). You know what I mean, the Libyans.
Jackson Pollack "expressed" himself by throwing paint at a flat surface. What was that supposed ta prove? I don't know, but it's very important that we do it.
You need to do it genuinely of course -- sincerely. The sincerity is actually the most important thing of all, in any case.

There is no comparison -- none -- between the Libyans and the Libyan regimes, or between the nice, and educated, persons in Wisconsin and the arrogant businessmen of Wisconsin -- or the stupid and brutal people in Wisconsin. No commensurability, no comparison: between my fellow Judaic persons in Israel who are murderers of Palestinians (or bulldozers of homes) and a sincere, nice example of a Palestinian Arab. But I am also realistic about ultimate chances for truly redemptive outcomes. Look what happened in S. Africe, Vietnam, Poland, etc. Not that much changes. The whole world also didn't change. But those persons or principals should receive all of our support; and, that support we give must be sincere.
Obama should say more in support of Libyans, not less: so should other political figures.

Category: "Book Reviews"

Suskind - A Hope in the Unseen

Ron Suskind depicts persons -- as well as their personal relationships. He is one of the best writers. Having a dense style; but the more I read him, the more I get used to him, until he seems an old friend. Very few writers can do that.

I have no relationships.

R. Kennedy - Sellout

"Don't sell out" is an easy thing to say. He opens with the notion of group identity. His preface states, in the second sentence, the obvious. Blacks -- like other groups -- have a strong group identity.
And the whites, influenced by "democracy" but in reality by capitalism, pretend that the obvious has been obliterated -- not, in reality, obfuscated.

Now, of course, R. Kennedy is not going to say that. He would be at risk to piss a lot of persons off. Wouldn't he?
Kennedy is totally, 100% ruling class. He ought to write one called "How to Get Along with White People." Instead he writes book with a different kind of title: title words for his books are, for example, "Nigger" ("the strange career of a troublesome word") and "Sellout" (The Politics of Racial Betrayal").

What's the difference between Suskind and Kennedy?

Kennedy uses words to manipulate language while Suskind uses words as signs, to depict what life is really like, or, (equivalently and alternatively) to get into experience.
Kennedy's words merely refer to other words. Suskind's words refer to life. What life is is always subject to opinion and disagreement, but, there is a distinction there between two ways of writing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Category: "Book Review"

Schulz "succeeded." Yea!! ____ we all want to succeed____. The book, "Onward," now out, supposedly tells all: the whole, true story of: how he did stuff. It's a marketing miracle! Each page is a revelation. I read one --- the kind with the big lettering on it. So I read about three words (*) of it, and I looked at the cover. And...?

"Onward" to where exactly? Onward where? "Onward" latteland. This guy is so transparent.

When I cracked the covers open, standing by the rickety cardboard/metal display, it was so new and excitingly (sic) that I closed it immediate-ly to return more than properly to my velvet seat and not the other thing of standing by the counter, near the display (so rickety, Howard!).

At every turn of the page this is a book that crackles with excitement I am certain. Yes it actually crackles. It is new and fresh. Really, I mean! I kid you not, baby.

p.s. Everyone knows you go to Starbucks precisely because ---- there is nowhere else.

To go.
(*) Okay: sentences.