Friday, February 27, 2009

Pointing outward.

Much of our political thought involves imagining undeserving people who are getting benefits at our expense. It works in two directions. Whether you imagine shiftless unemployed people who nevertheless manage to go to doctors and send their kids to school, or fat-cat bank executives flying down to the VI for 'retreats' on their yachts on the government dime, the process of imagining itself drives our emotional reaction and eventually our voting behavior.
I only say this because, while its easy to demonize "bank shareholders" as deserving what they get, the truth is that many 'shareholders' are in fact Mutual Funds that are holding the retirement savings of millions of ordinary Americans.
Much of what we face now will be a matter of allocating discomfort so that we feel we're rising and falling together, but the process of pointing outward to decide who should be hurting hasn't helped us so far and won't help us in the long run.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Watching the speech

I have to admit that while watching Obama speak, I found myself wondering how he thought he was going to pull off everything he was describing. All this stimulus, all this bank bolstering AND a reduced deficit?

I'd even be interested in Republican counterarguments except for one rather important detail. They don't believe a word of their own arguments. The key to balancing any budget including our Federal one is to spend less than you take in. While pretending that the Democrats want to spend more than they take in, the Republicans instead insist on taking in less than they spend. Add to that, their record of keeping the GWOT off-budget and you have a perfect formula for graft and dishonesty.

I don't know how Obama is going to manage to reduce the deficit but stopping lying is certainly a good first step.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Unlikely Planet

In just about the time it takes to draw a single breath
A vision found its way into my mind
It wasn't very much now Not a case of life or death
But it really seemed important at the time

I saw a distant planet Way out there in space
A whole lot like the one that we are on
But I noticed one big difference as I walked around the place
I couldn't see any fighting going on

So I walked up to a stranger The first one I could find
And I asked him how it was that this could be
At first he looked at me as if he thought I'd lost my mind
But then he answered simply "History"

He told me that they once had wars that nations lost and won
And everybody feared the next attack
Until someone discovered that it wasn't any fun
If the people you were killing didn't fight back

Well the changes happened slowly as changes always do
But common sense soon won out over strife
And do unto your brother as you want done unto you
Became the accepted way of life

So now you've heard my story of the planet out in space
But I guess that it was just a foolish thought
For who out there will listen to an idea so out of place
As we gear up for the next war to be fought.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the (economic) Bomb

I have often marvelled at how anything aquires value. An object is worth exactly what you can get someone to pay you for it. Therefore all 'value' is, is a consensus opinion on what something is worth. This can be quite unrelated to the costs associated with producing the said item.
So while it is true that we have been selling vapor for the last 30 years and paying for it with equally gaseous currency, as long as there is a sufficient consensus to agree that the illusion is worth maintaining, then it will remain in everyone's interest to continue to insist that the Emperor's outfit is resplendent. That is why I don't think our economy will actually collapse. It's built on a psychological effect for its foundation and there are too many vested interests who will do whatever is necessary to maintain their position.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My Theology in a nutshell:

(as posted on Facebook)

I have always held that the Universe should be credited at having least as much consciousness as it's contents. I therefore don't call myself an atheist. Beyond that......

All I mean is that if we strip away the limitations of our own viewpoints - stuck in time, looking out from inside our own skulls, then there is plenty of room within the physical Universe for what we would call God. I like to think of the Universe itself as in the process of discovering its own existence and we are tools in that endeavor.
Life is the interface through which molecules can learn of stars