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Monday, September 26, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

We Who Are Your Closest Friends

[Note- I heard this on Keillor's 'Writer's Almanac"; it is simply brilliant in its smoldering effectiveness. There are sometimes in our lives, narcissistic personalities who see themselves as victims, who view their lives as a fateful target and who exhaust us with constant emotional demands of their squid-like ego they keep ensconced in a grainy twisted clamshell.-Dagoog]
We Who Are Your Closest Friends
Phillip Lopate

We who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting,
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
discontent and
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Views of the Movie "Atlas Shrugged"

View One. The Tea Party Express.

Normally we're not too focused on what movies are playing in local cinemas, but the release of Atlas Shrugged The Movie (based on Ayn Rand's monumental book) has become a seminal event in the tea party movement.

And we've got some good news to report to you on the success of this movie that has liberal film critics up in arms.

In its debut weekend, Atlas Shrugged surprised everyone, grossing more in ticket sales per movie screen than any other movie save the hit family movie, "Rio."

And this week, Atlas Shrugged expands - from 299 screens last weekend to 423+ screens this weekend.  You can find the closest movie theater showing the film near you - FIND MOVIE THEATER HERE

The movie, like the book, serves as a wake up call to the dangers posed when governments take on too much power and subvert the will and freedom of the individual.  Specifically, it showcases what happens when entrepreneurship and free market principles are deemed to be unseemly and unacceptable to Big Government.

When you watch the movie you'll feel like you could be watching the real-live events of today, not a fictionalized account written by Ayn Rand some 60+ years ago.

And the fact that this movie touches on many of the problems we face today, and that we in the tea party movement are fighting, explains why so many liberal movie critics have slammed this movie and urged people not to see it.   They don't want you to see this movie, because they don't want you to see the truth about what is happening in America today.

Michael Phillips, writing in the Los Angeles Times, complained about the film's "tea-stained politics."
Peter Travers in RollingStones vented, "Who's the idiot responsible for this fiasco?" Roger Ebert gave the film just 1-star and whined:  "And now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault."
Peter Debruge incorporated a swipe at Fox News Channel in his review for Variety, writing that: "...Atlas Shrugged" becomes a series of polite policy conversations interrupted by Fox News-style updates whenever exposition is called for..."

Yes, we get it, liberal film critics.  You all can't stand free markets, and you can't stand that there is a film out there that echoes many of the same evils that the tea party movement here in America is fighting against.

You can see the movie for yourself this weekend, and in the process angry a Big Government, autocratic, liberal.  Watch it again, even if you've already seen it once.  Oh, and  be sure to take a friend with you too.

To find the nearest cinema showing "Atlas Shrugged" - JUST CLICK HERE.

View 2.  The Washington Post.

By Michael Gerson, Thursday, April 21, 8:00 PM
The movie “Atlas Shrugged,” adapted from Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel by the same name, is a triumph of cinematic irony. A work that lectures us endlessly on the moral superiority of heroic achievement is itself a model of mediocrity. In this, the film perfectly reflects both the novel and the mind behind it.
Rand is something of a cultural phenomenon — the author of potboilers who became an ethical and political philosopher, a libertarian heroine. But Rand’s distinctive mix of expressive egotism, free love and free-market metallurgy does not hold up very well on the screen. The emotional center of the movie is the success of high-speed rail — oddly similar to a proposal in Barack Obama’s last State of the Union address. All of the characters are ideological puppets. Visionary, comely capitalists are assaulted by sniveling government planners, smirking lobbyists, nagging wives, rented scientists and cynical humanitarians. When characters begin disappearing — on strike against the servility and inferiority of the masses — one does not question their wisdom in leaving the movie.
None of the characters expresses a hint of sympathetic human emotion — which is precisely the point. Rand’s novels are vehicles for a system of thought known as Objectivism. Rand developed this philosophy at the length of Tolstoy, with the intellectual pretensions of Hegel, but it can be summarized on a napkin. Reason is everything. Religion is a fraud. Selfishness is a virtue. Altruism is a crime against human excellence. Self-sacrifice is weakness. Weakness is contemptible. “The Objectivist ethics, in essence,” said Rand, “hold that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.”
If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence. Many of us experienced a few unfortunate years of invincible self-involvement, testing moral boundaries and prone to stormy egotism and hero worship. Usually one grows out of it, eventually discovering that the quality of our lives is tied to the benefit of others. Rand’s achievement was to turn a phase into a philosophy, as attractive as an outbreak of acne.
The appeal of Ayn Rand to conservatives is both considerable and inexplicable. Modern conservatism was largely defined by Ronald Reagan’s faith in the people instead of elites. Rand regarded the people as “looters” and “parasites.” She was a strenuous advocate for class warfare, except that she took the side of a mythical class of capitalist supermen. Rand, in fact, pronounced herself “profoundly opposed” to Reagan’s presidential candidacy, since he did not meet her exacting ideological standards.
Rand cherished a particular disdain for Christianity. The cross, she said, is “the symbol of the sacrifice of the ideal to the nonideal. . . . It is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used. That is torture.” Yet some conservatives marked Holy Week by attending and embracing “Atlas Shrugged.”
Reaction to Rand draws a line in political theory. Some believe with Rand that all government is coercion and theft — the tearing-down of the strong for the benefit of the undeserving. Others believe that government has a limited but noble role in helping the most vulnerable in society — not motivated by egalitarianism, which is destructive, but by compassion, which is human. And some root this duty in God’s particular concern for the vulnerable and undeserving, which eventually includes us all. This is the message of Easter, and it is inconsistent with the gospel of Rand.
Many libertarians trace their inspiration to Rand’s novels, while sometimes distancing themselves from Objectivism. But both libertarians and Objectivists are moved by the mania of a single idea — a freedom indistinguishable from selfishness. This unbalanced emphasis on one element of political theory — at the expense of other public goals such as justice and equal opportunity — is the evidence of a rigid ideology. Socialists take a similar path, embracing equality as an absolute value. Both ideologies have led good people into supporting policies with serious human costs.
Conservatives have been generally suspicious of all ideologies, preferring long practice and moral tradition to utopian schemes of left or right. And Rand is nothing if not utopian. In “Atlas Shrugged,” she refers to her libertarian valley of the blessed as Atlantis.
It is an attractive place, which does not exist, and those who seek it drown.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oil Tax Winners & Losers

Anchorage Daily News

In any language, oil tax haste a bad idea
COMPASS: Other points of view


(04/16/11 19:01:50)
Scott Hawkins' compass piece attacking the Senate ("Senate stands idle as pipeline dries up," April 14) for resisting lobbyists pushing for oil tax breaks is a classic piece of rhetoric and should be studied in all classrooms for its flaws.
First, Hawkins commits the fallacy of "argumentis ad populum" by treating us to a dog-and-pony parade of all tax-break supporters.
Next comes a false premise, which also poisons the well: "ACES is not working" is the premise. It is a "policy disaster" and is based on "punitive tax hikes."
Then Hawkins commits the error of "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" or confusing a correlation with a causation -- specifically, that a drop in production on the North Slope is tied to ACES. It isn't. The governor's own charts show a long decline since the 1980s.
Then he "appeals to authority" -- quoting Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan of all people -- and sauces his rhetorical salad throughout with ridicule: the Senate is "out of touch," "obtuse," "sits on its hands."
He ends with arguments of emotive persuasion, fear: "oil pipeline close to shutting down."
Of particular note is his angry rejection of "study." He is angry that the Senate wants to study the issue. This seems odd coming from an economist, which he once was, but I guess it is understandable coming from a businessman beholden to the industry, which he now is.
The "studies" that Hawkins contemptuously rejects are precisely what is required by the fiduciary trust embedded in the oath of office that the senators took, to uphold our state constitution (e.g., Title VIII) and to look out for our collective interests, not just those of Mr. Hawkins.
There were so many red flags on the field of play during this debate over oil tax cuts that for the Senate to do anything less than deliberate would be an abrogation of their responsibility; Sen. Gary Stevens and his colleagues deserve applause rather than ridicule.
One red flag in particular has not been talked about much but deserves to be mentioned. The governor hired a consultant to review the House version of the tax break in February. The consultant is Richard Ruggiero with Gaffney, Cline & Associates of Houston, Texas. Here is a summary of what he told the House Resources Committee:
The companies may or may not invest the proceeds of their tax cuts in Alaska. There are no guarantees. Mr. Ruggiero wisely took no position on HB 110. Instead he presented a range of possibilities based on his reading of the bill. If Sean Parnell's gamble pays off and the oil companies vigorously reinvest in Alaska's fields, the state could realize $210 billion over the life of the fields; if, however, they reinvested those tax-break dollars elsewhere, the state would lose $20 billion over the next 15-20 years. In so many words, Mr. Ruggiero was telling us that HB 110 (and its companion Senate bill) is a crapshoot.
Since then, a new analysis reveals a somewhat more pessimistic view of the crapshoot. Mr. Ruggiero gets wiser by the day.
On April 13, Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) produced a preliminary cost-benefit analysis of the effects Conoco Phillips' proposed $5 billion investment if HB 110 were implemented.
As Sen. Wielechowski put it: "Essentially ... Alaskans are being asked to give up $13.5 billion ... in exchange for about $3.2 billion in new state revenues (from new oil production). I don't know many CEOs who would be OK with a deal like that."
Now back to Mr. Hawkins and his echo chamber of real and alleged supporters. They all would be more intellectually honest to say that they need the state and future Alaskans to lose so they can win. That way, when they all leave us to follow Big Oil out of Alaska to work in some other center of global investments funded partly by our dollars, we won't take it personally.

Elstun Lauesen is a lifelong Alaskan, financial development consultant and former socioeconomic officer with the state Pipeline Coordinator's Office.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let The Big Dog Out!

Big Dipper Oil & Gas. Have you heard of it? It operates here in Alaska. It owns Billions of Barrels of oil and it owns trillions and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. It pays you a dividend every year. Unlike Conoco-Phillips that claims to be “Alaska’s Oil and Gas Company”, Big Dipper Oil & Gas really is. Big Dipper Oil Company or “Big Dog” is, of course, the State of Alaska.
Now let’s see a show of hands: how many Alaskans have received a dividend directly from Conoco-Phillips? Ok…I see a few of you out there. How many of you receive a dividend directly from he State of Alaska. Do you get it now?
There is only one oil company that cares about maximizing benefits to Alaskans; there is only one Oil Company that gives a fig about Alaska’s ‘public interest’ and that is the Big Dog.
All the other companies are up here pretending to be our friends because they want what the Big Dog’s got. Oh, they spend a pretty penny on the gauzy lens and inspirational music, showing our First People in moving shots and lots of neighborly faces talking sincerely for the camera. But in the end, when the easy money is gone, so will they. As Walter Hickel once told a reluctant ARCO regarding undeveloped leases: “You drill ‘em or I will!”
Wally Hickel went eyeball-to-eyeball with the industry and the industry blinked.
Now that was a CEO of Big Dog that all of us Alaskans could be proud of.
Contrast THAT CEO to Sean Parnell. It appears to me that the main reason Governor Parnell can’t go eyeball to eyeball with the industry is that the Governor closes his eyes when he kisses.
Here are a few facts that haven’t been made in other articles on the Governor’s proposed Tax rollback for the Oil Companies:
·      A consultant hired by the Administration, Rich Ruggiero, of Gaffney, Cline & Associates of Houston, Texas, told the House Resource committee last month that he couldn’t endorse the Governor’s bill, but could only give an up and down scenario; In other words: it’s a crap shoot. 
·      Conoco-Phillips most recent 10-K report openly discusses its plans for the next 5 years: sell old assets, buy-back shares, enhance shareholder equity and invest in proven, emerging ventures.
·      Over 47% of new hires for Alaskan oil fields have come from outside the state. Let’s make certain that any employment deal that may be struck is not just an assurance of jobs, but hires inside Alaska and the best way to ensure that is through a project-labor agreement and a unionized workforce.
·      None of these oil companies are standing still, they are all investing to meet the changing future and so should we. $2 B worth of holes in the ground, if the desired reinvestment is realized, would rerun the last 20 years but would not diversify or transform our economy for a new century. Perhaps a $250 M a year University-Conoco partnership that would effectively shift their Research and Development unit to Alaska from Texas would look like more sincere investment than some vague promise to spend $5 B of our dollars enhancing oil production.
The bottom line is that our oil and gas future should be driven by Alaska’s real Oil and Gas Company and NOT by someone else. Alaskan’s don’t care how they do it ‘Outside’? It’s time we prove it.

Elstun Lauesen is an economic development consultant, writer, and lifelong observer of the Alaskan political scene.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How To Bargain With An Oil Company For Its Tax Break

If Conoco-Phillips wants a 40% reduction in oil taxes in Alaska, here is what I would ask for in return: Move CP's R & D unit to Alaska and finance it with part of the tax roll back. Alaskans have this crazy notion that if only the oil companies invest in field exploration and development that the next 30 years will be jut like the last 30. Well--that ain't gonna happen. Why? Because it is not in the interest of the growth in their stockholder's return on equity that they go back to the future--they are going forward to the future and they are going to finance part of that acceleration with our Tax dollars. These Corporations aren't going to stand still; they are dynamic and they are going to change and Alaska should be positioned to change as well--right alongside them. So, here is my modest proposal--if CP wants a 40% reduction in its tax burden in Alaska, we will propose that they bring their Research and Development subsidiary up here and capitalize advancements in emerging technologies right here in Alaska. The profile of their Research and Development unit can be found on page 22 of their current 10-K Report. As part of their investment in research, CP is currently making significant investments in University Research in Colorado and Texas. In Financial Note 23, Pp 130 of the 10-K report, R&D expenses were roughly $230 M in 2010. At that level of funding, and assuming a $750 M annual tax benefit for Conoco Phillips from lowering their taxes, those investments from our tax breaks could anchor a significant R&D backbone within our University System, fund quality support jobs and still leave enough money for significant investment in Alaskan fields.
Technology Development
Our Technology group focuses on developing new business opportunities designed to provide future growth prospects for ConocoPhillips. Focus areas include advanced hydrocarbon processes, energy efficiency technologies, new petroleum-based products, renewable fuels and carbon capture and conversion technologies. We are progressing the technology development of second-generation biofuels with Iowa State University, the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels and Archer Daniels Midland. We have also established a relationship with the University of Texas Energy Institute to collaborate on emerging technologies. Internally, we are continuing to evaluate wind, solar and geothermal investment opportunities.
In early 2011, we announced we will partner with General Electric Capital and NRG Energy, Inc., to form a new joint venture, Energy Technology Ventures (ETV), which will focus on development of next generation energy technology. ETV will invest in, and offer commercial collaboration opportunities to, venture- and growth-stage energy technology companies in the renewable power generation, smart grid, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, emission controls and biofuels sectors.
In addition, we are equal co-venturers with General Electric Company in a Global Water Sustainability Center in Qatar, which researches and develops water solutions for the petroleum, petrochemical, municipal and agricultural sectors.
We offer a gasification technology (E-Gas™) that uses petroleum coke, coal, and other low-value hydrocarbons as feedstock, resulting in high-value synthesis gas used for a slate of products, including power, substitute natural gas (SNG), hydrogen and chemicals. This clean, efficient technology facilitates carbon capture and storage, as well as minimizes criteria pollutant emissions and reduces water consumption. E-Gas™ Technology has been utilized in commercial applications since 1987 and is currently licensed to several third parties. We have also licensed E-Gas™ to third parties in Asia and North America, and are pursuing several additional licensing opportunities.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Parnell's Own Advisor Refuses To Endorse HB 110

This is an excerpt from the Teamster's Legislative Newsletter:

"The Governor has said the state would continue to receive its fair share of revenue, while establishing a secure investment climate for our industry. A consultant hired by the Administration, Rich Ruggiero, stated in his testimony last week to the House Resource committee that he was not endorsing the Governor’s bill, but did give an up and down scenario. If the legislature passes HB 110 the upside could result in companies redoubling investment on the North Slope and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) and they will continue to operate through 2050. His downside scenario is the legislators cut taxes and the companies don’t invest, and TAPS stops flowing sometime before 2030. If TAPS last longer, the state could receive $210 billion dollars in tax revenues or lose $20 billion dollars over the next 15 to 20 years by reducing taxes without an effect. According to Ruggiero, if companies want to take Alaska oil and reinvest somewhere else, then the state should get its share, if they want to develop the North Slope then the state should encourage the companies to do so. The bill, with a few amendments, moved out of House Resources on February 28th."

Richard Ruggiero LNG Manager
Gaffney , Cline & Associates
1360 Post Oak Blvd # 2500
Houston, Texas 77056

713 850 9955
United States
GCA is an international advisory firm focused on the provision of integrated technical and managerial services and independent advice to all sectors of the oil and Gas Industry.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hey America! Know Thyself; Know thy Enemy...

Speaking Truth To Power is often invoked when one describes a face-off between a David against a Goliath. 'The Little Guy' for example, facing a Big Government Bureaucrat or a whistle-blower confronting a Big Corporate Fat Cat. It is less often used when the abuser of power is the people themselves. In this case, the power is free speech. The abuse of that power is fomenting fear and civil disorder. Perpetrators may be on the Right and Left sides of the political spectrum. But unlike the hypocrites over at Fox, I don't pretend to be 'fair and balanced' in this analysis because what I see is a nation careening horribly off-center and despite a handful of leftward debaters shouting themselves hoarse, there is a lynch mob rumbling through the country and it is on the Right. Well I have a few things to say to this mob before they swamp the Commons and hang Truth from sea to shining sea.

1. Smell the rope. Break away from your bubble of talk radio and Fox News long enough to look at who is funding all the PACS and Think Tanks. These are the guys who are feeding you the rope. Do you smell that oil? Don't you smell that expensive cologne?
2. Know thyself. Are you a millionaire? Are you a corporate fat cat? Do you really need 'deregulation' and tax breaks for the rich? Are you really a victim of government overreach or the failure of government to protect citizens against Billionaire Ponzi-schemes?
3. Know thy enemy: Worried about the Illuminati and the Bilderbergers? I am more worried about the Koch Brothers and Massey energy. Don't waste your energy stewing about mythical beasts and chimera who may create some comic-book Armageddon, the real enemy wants you to work for next to nothing and kill yourself in unsafe, unregulated  workplaces.
4. Know Reality. The Right Wing mob lives in a parallel universe. Over a third of self-identified Republicans believe that President Obama is a Muslim. Over half of self-identified Republicans believe that our democratically-elected President is working against the best interests of the United States. Almost a quarter of Self-Identified Republicans believe that President Obama is not a U.S. Citizen. Political snake oil is being peddled by the likes of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck characterizing President Obama as socialist when he is anything but socialist. Rush Limbaugh refers to the President as Imam Hussein Obama.
5. To thine own Self be True: So who is your real enemy? Who is your real friend? What is the source of your anger, discontent and problems anyway? Are you REALLY a victim?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Shades of the Thirties in Battle Against Unions |

 M2K note: The image pasted into this lead for the excellent historical perspective by Dick Meister is an illustration of the messaging to support Roosevelt's intervention with the labor strife largely fomented by Capitalists in the 1930s. It shows "Dr. Uncle Sam" booting out the Capitalist lackey in his top hat and giving nurture to Labor. Among other things, Roosevelt pushed the National Labor Relations Act and he ensured collective bargaining throughout the War. "We need labor to win the war" he said. Isn't that true today? We sure as hell need a Roosevelt now.


By now, there can be no doubting it: What's happening in Wisconsin is one of the most important labor developments in decades. It's of major importance to unions and their members, of major importance to working people generally - of major importance to us all.

In many ways, it's the 1930s again. Just as then, workers and their political allies and other supporters are demonstrating, picketing, marching, striking and otherwise forcefully demanding the basic civil right of collective bargaining - the unfettered right for workers' representatives to negotiate with employers on setting their wages, hours and working conditions.

Shades of the Thirties in Battle Against Unions |

Letter from Here: Note to Gov. Walker: Think the people are going away just because you locked them out?

Letter from Here: Note to Gov. Walker: Think the people are going away just because you locked them out?

Scott Walker Studying Up on How to Close the Capitol | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Scott Walker Studying Up on How to Close the Capitol | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Revolver Map!

Cool Java App I just posted to the left. You can post it on your site as keeps track of visitors. Note I have been back 3 or 4 times since I embedded the code.

Tea Party Governor Walker An Incompetent Ideologue

Walker’s Gone, But We Are Still Stuck With His Bills:
But it was Scott Walker who got all the presents, and the tax payers who got stuck with the bills.
In the fall of 2009, as our elected leaders were hashing out the 2010 budget, Scott Walker included a plan to privatize the security guards at the Courthouse and other buildings. The Board rejected that idea and cut it out of their budget. Walker used his Frankenstein veto pen to reinstate the privatization. Again, the Board overrode his veto.
But after 2010 started, Walker declared a fiscal emergency and went ahead and privatized the guards, giving a lucrative contract to Wackenhut, over the protests of the County Board.
To make matters even worse, Walker bungled the whole thing.
First, he didn’t county on the professionalism of the county guards, who stayed on duty to the bitter end. So Walker had county security guards as well as the Wackenhut guards on duty at the same posts. To top it off, he also had Sheriff Deputies on duty, some on overtime, at the same posts.
Secondly, the jobs he took from Milwaukee County citizens ended up going to people from Chicago and Florida. The it turned out that one of the Wackenhut supervisors had a criminal history, including inappropriate sexual conduct, all while he was the police chief for Manawa.
Despite Walker’s claims that it would save tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars, the reality was that it barely made it to $70,000.
And now, even that small savings has been obliterated, because Walker, as he is prone to do, overstepped his authority and the whole thing was done illegally.
The unions took the matter to arbitration, and the ruling of the arbitration came out late today. It was in the favor of the unions.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Found Metanoia2k rant from August, 2008

Responding to the linked piece.

"Oh for crying out loud, another Bush apologist lards on the grease to help the club footed Bush II legacy squeeze into the princess slipper of history. Poor misunderstood George. According to Rosen, the administration "... tries to get its message out but not vigorously or shrewdly enough to actually succeed. Abysmal marketing has plagued the White House since Bush took office in 2001..." Are we talking about the same Bush Administration that rode roughshod over a meek and compliant media establishment in the run-up to the war in Iraq? Here I am talking about the calculated campaign of lies and distortion that attended Undersecretary of State Richard Feith's selling of the Iraq-Al-Qaida connection based on a series of discredited articles by New York Times Columnist William Saffire. I am also referring to the now infamous manipulation of New York Times reporter Judith Miller who beat the drums for the discredited Weapons of Mass Destruction litany that helped lay the groundwork for the Iraq invasion. I am also referring to the collusion between Scooter Libby and Nationally Syndicated Columnist Robert Novak in the outing of Valerie Plame in order to wreak vengeance on administration critic Ambassador Joseph Wilson. It would be more accurate to say that, when it matters most to George Bush, the media is there for him. If the media isn't "there" for him on his good deeds, perhaps that initiative doesn't matter so much to him that the infamous White House PR machine hasn't been committed to the story. It is just as likely, however, that the PR machine is adrift due to resignation, indictment or imprisonment. Perhaps, too, there is a recently found skepticism on the part of a media that, struggling to overcome years of manipulation by the Bush Administration is chary to hail his percieved success lest they learn, as is so often the case with the Bushniks, that things are not as they appear. The most that George Bush can hope for in terms of legacy is to avoid being tried for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. -m2k"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Meditation on Madison: Dictator Reagan Deposed After 30 Years of Rule!

A conservative friend of mine seemed shocked when I likened the revolt in Madison, Wisconsin to the uprising in Cairo, Egypt. "That's absurd" he said. We don't live in a dictatorship. Why, you even have Obama as president!"

I granted him that things did appear to be different on the surface. We have freedoms of theory. We have freedom of the theory. We are an open and tolerant theory. And, importantly, we have the rights of free association and theory.

But beneath the theoretical surface of rights and freedoms, there has been a collusion of powerful forces working to fundamentally alter everything that we are taught is great about this country: a generation ago, C Wright Mills called them the Power Elite. The Occult Right-Wing calls them The Illuminati. I call it The Reagan Revolution. The bad news, folks, is that they won 30 years ago and have been instituting changes so fundamental that our freedoms are now merely symbolic gestures under a capitalist and corporatist dictatorship. In that context, President Obama is merely the caretaker of the fundamental power structure put in place 30 years ago that reduces citizenship to consumerism, speech to money, free association to the marketplace and labor a simple commodity in the provision of service. The 'social contract'? That has been reduced to a mere side agreement of the greater duty of society to serve the profit interests of corporatist strategists, planners, lawyers and CPAs.

The good news? Madison, Wisconsin.

The service class has become the slave class. In a world where manufacturing competes with 3rd world salaries and the corporatist benefits from high unemployment to keep wages and salaries low, labor is a bargain and the Dictatorship of Corporatariate wrought by the Reagan revolution wants to keep it that way.

The Republican Party, the Party of Reagan, has now become ideologically pure--beyond even Ronald Reagan's imaginings. I don't think, in fact, that Ronald Reagan would approve of what his Party has become. He was, after all, a genial proxy for a lot of powerful forces that revolved in, out and through his administration.

The transformation of the Republican Party is the important work of high-level corporate manipulators and capitalists with no particular ideology other than greed who have struck an alliance with ideologues and libertarians to frame the speech that reduces the social democrat's world view to a joke. "Where from the government and we're here to help" Hahahaha. Funny. "Government IS the problem" Reagan famously said. In so doing, he effectively neutralized the ONLY social institution with the power to provide checks and balances to the corporatists whose agenda is to privatise profit, socialize costs, and turn Americans into an uncritical mass of drones and consumers. The only regulation that the corporatists want to see are the toilet habits of their workers and spending habits of their consumers. Under the Dictatorship of the Corporariate the only questions the Elite want you to ask is 'what's on sale', 'what colors do they come in', and "how much to supersize?"

Under the Reagan Revolution life became precious in the womb, but once that fetus exits the womb, he or she better not ask for the right of free assembly, the right to collectively bargain, the right for decent health care or the right to a decent pension. Under the Reagan Revolution the Supreme Court has determined that money is a form of speech and Corporations are the same as persons. Thanks to the Billions contributed by the Corporatists (like the Koch Brothers and Richard Mellon Scaife) they have pushed the Reagan revolution and its lexicon into media echo-chamber and a manufactured patriotism that, ironically, serves the interests of a crown corporation (BP) more than the Commonweal. The Tea Party serves like the Jack-booted thugs of the Dictatorship. The likes of Limbaugh, Palin, etc. are the propaganda ministers. But guess what. It isn't going to work. The era of Reagan is coming to an end.

The people who refused to join the manufactured revolution of the Corporatists are summonsing an old-fashioned American populism that we haven't seen for some time.

We are seeing it in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Dictatorship of the Corporariate under Reaganovich and the Republicanskya has gone about as far as astroturf, money and borderline personalities can get them.

The Reign of the Dictator Reagan is ending in Madison just like we saw Mubarak fall in Cairo. And just like Cairo is inspiring revolution throughout the Middle East, I pray that Madison inspires the same throughout America.