Obama Declared Worse Than Stalin

Recent polls have confirmed President Obama’s reputation is so bad that nearly 40% of Americans believe he is worse than Joseph Stalin. When pollsters first asked the question, they found that most Americans had never heard of Stalin but, nonetheless, were sure that the President had to be worse. When given detailed background on Joseph Stalin, the figures shot up to 63%.

According to some insider sources, President Obama has made much progress in turning America into a totalitarian state. Moreover, the fact that most of the population has not noticed or realized this is substantial proof that his covert plan to institutionalize totalitarianism has made significant progress. Some Republicans, when pressured by reporters with tethered dobermans, confessed that they had undergone torture when they were forced to listen to the President, much like their children, some of whom have admitted in therapy that they were compelled to listen to the Commander in Chief during their social studies classes in California and other Socialist States.

So too, some reports confirm that Obama has begun plans for an American-style Gulag archipelago with labor camps spread throughout the country, proportionately, reflecting the number of electors per state. California is scheduled to have a total of 55 whereas pathetic Wyoming will only receive three. One journalist indicated that his sources have revealed there has been much discussion in Congress, behind closed doors, over the design of the camps with some arguing for Art Deco, others for Rococo style facilities.

This is all a part of the Reinvestment in America Act which will employ millions of Americans who will then be given permanent employment as guards, kitchen help, and other required staff, such as lawyers and investment counselors. Apparently, rumors about the jobs has already attracted hundreds of thousands of Americans who have begun enrolling in gun clubs in many communities. Republicans have expressed some doubt regarding the plan with the most cynical response coming from Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky, who argued that the plan is too little too late.

Republicans, in a corollary to the Pledge to America, have suggested that Obama’s plan to incarcerate all socialists, progressives, communists, as well as assorted other persons, did not go far enough. They proposed building a fence around the whole state of California and turning it into one giant facility to house Leftists, Gays, felons, the mentally institutionalized and illegal immigrants. They point out that this makes up 80% of the California population already and the job of constructing the electrified fences will be easier since California leads the nation in alternative energy technology.

Democrats did not condemn the plan outright and Harry Reid said he would have to look at the specifics before responding to the Republican plan. Nancy Pelosi, in the spirit of compromise, told one reporter: Labor camps are a good way to deal with unemployment in these times of crisis. Every American deserves a job. When asked about whether internees would be compensated, Congresswoman Pelosi admitted as much, declaring that all those in camps will be given food, water and knitting needles.

Other critics of the President have noted President Obama has refused to respond to charges by the Tea Party over their claim of the disappearance of over 30 million Americans. Tea Party members have theorized that many Americans are unaccounted for and have maintained that there is a grand conspiracy by the federal census to hide this fact. They note, for example, that most invitations to their demonstrations go unanswered and suspect the Obama administration of complicity in these disappearances. Some have said that these 30 million persons may already have been terminated or sold into slave labor to China. Thus the comparisons to Stalin are not without some credibility.

Meanwhile a bill to declare President Obama worse than Stalin has been making the rounds in the halls of Congress and already has 257 cosigners including many Blue Dog Democrats. While some liberal Democrats scoff at such a bill, many moderates admit privately that they do see similarities citing Obama’s paranoia about the bill. Others point to accusations of Obama’s criminal past in Indonesia and Kenya which has remained hidden from most of the public. Evidence of his prior felonious activity can be found on Tea Party websites.

Finally, Fox News has reported that Obama’s refusal to appear on their Network to face tough questioning from Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity leaves the impression that this President is above the law. Spokespersons from Fox revealed that they felt threatened when a demonstration of protestors outside their corporate offices included people of color, even, they asserted, very dark-complexioned persons. They compared this activity to Stalin’s secret police.

The bill to declare Obama worse than Stalin is anticipated to come before the Senate no later than October 31.

Posted in Satire | Leave a comment

American Kakophony, poems by Mikhail Branski

Amerikan Kakophony

© 2014 Mike Mihaljevich

Sounds of Profit

I can't escape the noise
Seeping from apartments
Enveloping me
Like a contagion
Infecting the quietude
I had nursed

How can I think poetic thoughts?
What would philosophers say
Of environs where crickets and
Frogs are hushed
By the sounds of profit?
Age of Materialism, # 3

Materialism has
Become our God
And to the future
We shall be known as
The Indifferent,
The Disdainful
Oblivious before all signs
Of the Collapse.
Nero's electronic accompanists
Playing punkish cacophonies

There will be no dispute
About these generations
Of the selfish & narcissistic
No orgy of cries will arise
To apologize for this
Mega-idiocy of men & minds
Bent on destruction
Who argue like adolescents
And sell ideas at garage sales
To a public too weary to doubt
Anxious for facile answers
Everyone in Amerika (verses #1-4)

I invited everyone in Amerika
To my home
Much to my surprise
They all showed up

I showered them with gifts and dinner
They took the gifts
Without so much as a thank-you
Fought during their repast
Then left without offering to clean up

Their belligerence and rudeness
Upset me
But I knew that it was
Simply poor upbringing
Or at least wanted to believe so

The culture disintegrates daily &

I'm a witness to a montage
Of poignant lunacy which is guzzled
By shameless millions
Robots in Coats & Ties, Version #34

Robots in coats & ties
Purvey their lies & deceptions
In the media marketplace
Vying for the best packaging
While consumers barter
Their common sense
For bits of data to be
Consumed like fast food

Tired tv images waft
Across the nation's air-waves
Wielding distorted images
As passive onlookers suffer
An onslaught of evil incantations
Incarnated into sound & visuals
Sweet words & pretty faces
Meant to sell stale stuff

Our modern-day heroes
Saviors clothed in coats & ties
False messengers of the Gods
Manipulators of mortals
Truly reminiscent of a Greek
Comedy of tragic proportions
And a very foreign policy
An Old Ritual, #2

The Indians said the White man
Spoke with forked tongue
Splitting truth into pieces
Words sliding out of mouth
Like an eel through the slime
Of evil intentions

Soldiers came with Great White Father
Proclamations bearing
Seductive gifts conveying
Warm-hearted assurances
Meant to pacify Indian anxiety
Meant to lure Indian heads into
The noose of suffocating White man ways

Words worming their way
Into the susceptible hearts of a
People unfamiliar with
Investments, profits, and greed
For whom promises need not be written
Or affixed with the signature of a
Witness nor stamped and certified
With an affidavit
Society as an Edsel

Our society is an Edsel
Malfunctioning
Careening down a disintegrating
Highway of superfluous information

Under the stress and strain
Of the twin Gods of materialism and status
Children gaze at their parents
And wonder who they are

Mom, who are you?
Dad, what are you?
Is it any wonder they reach
For symbols of alienated inhabitants
Of the ghetto

But our nobel-prize winning academics
Just don't get it
It's amazing
Adults have bought the line, hook and sinker
Something's wrong
The roof is crumbling, tumbling down
But somehow they don't notice
That the pillars are cracked

And so, we clutch onto each other
Fasten our seat belts
And race down the mountainside
To what we know not
Searching for Truth (Verses # 1-3)

I went searching for truth in newspapers
But all I found
Were the opinions of the rich
Scrawled in peasant blood

I went searching for Truth
Leafing through Newsweek & Time
Examining facts & explanations
But all that stared back at me
Were editorial decision-making
About what could be published
Without jeopardizing the myths
Of the rich & powerful

I went searching for truth
In evening newscasts,
Hoping to read
In between the lines
Of political apologists
But all I could see/hear
Were beautiful people
Repeating a mantra
Of rehearsed lines
Scripted by others
Taking home million dollar paychecks
The Bureaucrat

He orders us about
From the tormented
Cell of his soul
Lashes out at us with
Sweet word-appeals
To our idiocy and falseness
He brings out the worst in us

In his tangled mind
He weaves ideas
He has heard from others
And, smilingly, holds meetings
At which we feign attention
Then walk away wringing
From sleeves anxious perspiration

We are as marionettes
And respond accordingly
Dancing on the stage of his world
Where actions contradict thoughts

Subject to and regulated by
Rules and policies from on high
Bureaucracies are to homo sapiens
As assembly lines are to objects
Golly-Gosh-Gee Whiz Type of Guy

He was bred
To be an administrator
Smooth, diplomatic, tactful, friendly
He had gone to the
Ronald Reagan Finishing School
After attending
Richard Nixon College where
He studied Ethics and wrote a paper
On the Reconciliation of
Truth with Duplicity
For which he received a B+

He was at ease in all situations
Incapable of sterner emotions
Stuck in boyhood,
Say....about 12 years old
He had a great golly-gosh-gee whiz
Attitude that said it all
He was at home in all situations
He loved the pat on the back
The pat on the butt
The pat answer

He agreed with the majority
And convincingly so
With a sincerity
An amiableness
That pushed him to the top
Of the bureaucratic pyramid
Children of Today

Children of today
Slumbering in
A mesmerized stupor
Of evaporated Dreams
Reach out for a meaning
Where none exists

Seeking stability
In a vacuum of ideals
Taught to parley
Their thoughts into cliches
Like vulcanized Indians
They have no retort
Except to report a litany
Rehearsed in classrooms
Land of the Free

In the land of the free
There are some eighty million plus
Hostages of a peculiar mind set

During the day, they venture out
On sorties for their daily sustenance
Only to return to their
Glorified cells to hide from
The nocturnal offspring
Of Ignorance, Karma, & Poverty

In the cities, lurking in all
Neighborhoods, fear is the
Common equalizer
Neighbors are aliens
Fences, driveways demarcate properties
Symbols of private realms
Hiding inside houses
Double and triple locked
Curtains drawn even during the day
Barred windows, warning systems
Neighborhood watch signs
Watch dogs guard possessions and lives
In the land of the free &
Home of the brave
Jellyfish Eyes

It's all liquid to them
Them with the jellyfish eyes
They ogle through the ooze of their minds
And sometimes tangle with Real Thoughts
Not knowing what to make of them

If they met Jesus
They would say something like
Oh yeah, he was hip
But he had a big ego
Yeah, his truth was real deep
I mean, "I am the father"
Waycool, man

Then it's time for a mocha java
Or some yuppie drink
I don't know what the stuff is
I imagine it's made to derange
And rearrange brain cells

(and, still, the pets of materialism
are snorting and injecting goofy ideas;
downloading the latest in babbleonian
newage ideas into their brains and bladders
and spitting and spilling it over goblets
they hold like silver penises,
admiringly praising their erectile structure)
The Nouveau Consumer

I see it all now
Children of the modern aged
Industrialized, consumer-surfeited
Society
Grow up until 7 or 13 to become
Ideal consumer junkies
That mean age required by the beast
Pre-ordained by the profit masters
Of technology

Generations bred in
Narcissistic hedonism
Brain-washed to enjoy
The freedom to buy
Virtually no struggle
Yours for the grasping
Unfettered indulgence
Freedom become license
For nonsense
Unchecked, unthought buying power

Today's freedom lovers are
Tomorrow's consumer-lackeys
Uncle Sam may one day
Want you for cannon fodder

But now needs you for the
Marketplace
You're our only hope: Buy or Die
Space Invaders

I surveyed my apartment
After Christmas
And noted the invasion
I have loss eight cubic feet of space

Aliens stare back unflinchingly
Anchored in terra firma
A newly acquired colony
From which there will be no uprooting

The inanimate snicker contemptuously
And eerily, suck at vital molecules of air
To which I am so slavishly attached

I curse them
They spit back
My thoughts to me
In twisted forms

They convey my addiction to them daily
I hear their whispers during the night
Reminding me of the caricature
That I am
That we all are:
Mere appendages to things
Nothing Untouched

Humans can leave
Nothing untouched
Meddling has become
A psychic addiction
With which to dance away
Life in a meaningless barbarism
Of mazes & dice

Searching for answers
In supermarkets
And entertainment jungles
Aspiring to simple
Juvenile delights,
Deliverance is sought
At the hands of
New Age pseudo-sages

Mini-minds marveling
At all things material
As if to say,

"That will make me happy
"This will make me happy
"And maybe this...
"And that also....
Ad infinitum
Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment

Stolen passwords? Not to worry. Advice about passwords.

The recent theft of a billion user names and passwords by Russian hackers is nothing to worry about as long as you understand a few simple facts and rules.

KNX News Radio Los Angeles (CBS) would have you believe pundits who sell password generator software and other nonsense. KNX is either misreporting or missing the story. They should instead be interviewing qualified representatives at Bank of America, VISA, ETrade and other financial institutions to ask them if passwords can be stolen. The answer is that passwords cannot be stolen because those institutions do not store them.

Sites such as your bank or stock brokerage do not, I repeat, do not, store your password. So no one can steal your password from your bank. What is stored is an encrypted value that is based on your password. That encrypted value could be stolen but, by itself, is useless for logging in. In other words, there is no file at your bank or other reputable financial institution that contains your password so there is nothing to steal.

How, then, is it possible for you to login using your password? The answer is that logging in works by encrypting your password and comparing the result to the stored encrypted value. If they match you get to login, if not your login attempt fails.

The beauty of this scheme, used in UNIX systems since 1969, is that the process is not reversible. Someone could publish the encrypted value on a bill board and that would still not help a hacker login. Only you know your password. The hacker would still have to effectively guess your password in order to get logged in by your bank site.

Don’t store your password on your computer nor in one of those stupid password “vaults” or password generators. Instead, memorize your password. It’s OK to write it down on a piece of paper you tuck away some place.

You should pick a good password that is easy for you to remember but hard to guess. Make it at least 8 or 10 characters long and be something that is not words in a dictionary. One trick I use is to think of a sentence then use the first letter of each word of the sentence as my password. For example “Only you know your password. Don’t store it in a file” would become: oykypdsiiaf. That password is actually fairly easy to type. The phrases I use make my passwords (I have a few) even easier to type. I use phrases about people and things I like so my phrases are almost like rhymes and easy to remember. Mine have more than 10 characters. I usually include a special character (such as a colon or asterisk) although some web sites stupidly refuse to allow special characters.

For sites that are not important (most sites) use a different password than your main passwords you use for important sites. It’s OK to use the same password for all the unimportant sites. I only have about three or four passwords, about three really secure ones (longish, hard to guess) and just one that is shorter and easy to remember that I use for ALL of the sites I just don’t care about that much if someone were to get in.

I hardly ever change my passwords since they are secure to begin with. But when and if I do, I just modify say the first three words of the phrase so it’s easy for me to remember the new password, it being similar to the old one.

There does remain a couple of things to know about as to how hackers can manage to steal passwords and how you can remain confident that you are secure.

One way hackers can steal passwords is by setting up a man-in-the-middle attack that is able to intercept communication between you and your bank. Thankfully, modern protocols use SSL (the same “S”, for “Secure”, as in the little “HTTPS://” prefix you sometimes see in your browser address bar). As long as you communicate with reputable institutions, all login communication is done using SSL which has been engineered to thwart man-in-the-middle attacks. If you ever see a message from your browser that warns you that the Security Certificate of the site you are logging to has not been authenticated, that means you should not connect to that site.

There is also the thorny issue of keystroke snooping. If a hacker can manage to take control of your computer or of the server into which you are logging in (or think you are logging in) at a level where your keystrokes can be recorded, then Houston we have a problem. Such deep attacks are rare but possible. The best way to feel confident one has not been attacked at that level is to keep your computers and devices updated with the latest security updates for your OS and only do important financial transactions with reputable web sites. Personally, I don’t use Norton or McAfee crap. Those things just waste CPU in my view. Instead, I keep my systems up-to-date, I use good passwords as outlined above, and I store important information on reputable sites.

As for LifeLock, see: Amazon not-so-good reviews about LifeLock

Cheers,
Dennis Allard
Santa Monica
August 6, 2014

Posted in Morning Thoughts, Technology | Leave a comment

The Arab Spring has turned into Winter

I feel like a fool when I look back three years to my opinion on the so-called revolution in Libya in 2011. I was somewhat cautious and realistic that the road ahead would not be easy for Arabs who seek “democracy”. But I admit I did not foresee what has happened. Libya has now descended into what amounts to tribal warfare with no new strong man for the U.S. to support.

Yet I shold have foreseen it. It’s what the U.S. always needs. It’s not democracy that helps U.S. interests, it’s power, the power of foreign oligarchies. It’s a strong man.

Like in Iraq where the criminal Maliki was and still is supported by U.S. power and where apparently naive John Kerry, crudely paraphrased, recently stated that he was surprised by how many people don’t like Maliki.

Or in Egypt, where the Egyptian military oligarchy, unhindered and, in fact, supported by the U.S. and amazingly unquestioned by the U.S. main stream media, serves as a recent lesson. The open letter to Obama from leading Arab scholars says it all. The U.S. will ignore this letter and continue to support the Egyptian dictatorship, also supported by Israel, in order to prop up Israel and prevent true democracy from taking place in Egypt. But why?

We’ve had so many lessons. I use “we” tongue in cheek. Whenever you hear someone saying “we”, that is a bad habit of referring to the United States as if it were a unified whole with unified interests. It is not. It is an oligarchy, a plutocracy, controlled by very small numbers of very wealthy people while the masses, including immigrants and foreign labor, do the work to create American wealth that gets distributed to the one per cent.

Back to our lessons of the not so distant past… Mossadegh was assassinated in 1952 with the help of MI6 and the CIA after he committed the sin of nationalizing the oil industry in Iran. We saw what that got “us”, the ruthless shah followed by religious extremists who have become our favorite foes in the region. Democratically elected Arbenz in 1954 Guatemala was ousted with direct assistance of the U.S. Guatemala to this day lives in a legacy of military oligarchy. Similarly, democratically elected Allende had to be removed, and the dictator Pinochet supported, after that socialist bastard Allende and his democratically elected government had the temerity to nationalize our copper mines. I mean just because the copper mines are in Chile does not mean “we” (Anaconda Copper) don’t own them! And after the Vietnam Holocaust where the U.S. killed two million Vietnamese, even after the U.S. lost the war to those valiant Vietnamese, the U.S.-controlled banking system kept a boycott on banking with Vietnam for a couple more decades. Let’s not forget the Sandinistas who wanted to educate the poor and give them land so had to be fought via the illegal support of the Contras, who were in fact terrorists supported by “our” tax dollars. And that list is far from complete. We’re real nice guys, us AMERICANS. We’re so damned right in everything “we” do.

Yet, in the long run, I remain optimistic. Democracies are now emerging in South America thanks to popular revolutions and elections in Bolvia, in Venezuela, in Uruguay, in Ecuador, in Argentina, and even in Chile, which recently cut ties with the apartheid state of Israel.

“They” don’t need “us”. Unlike the advice ofThom Hartmann, a liberal who I do respect, to “give more aid to the governments of Hondurus and El Salvador and Guatemala” [in order to help them help their populace and avoid the need for the recent mass exodus of children to the U.S. border], I have an alternative suggestion. Don’t disrupt the political revolutions that are taking place there. Don’t support the ouster of Zelaya in Honduras. Instead, let the democratic socialist movements alone. Where Mossadegh and Allende and Zelaya would have perhaps succeeded were it not for our interventions against them, if we let the democratic socialist forces prosper, it may end up being they that will show us the way for our own ills here at home.

The Arab Spring was real. That Arab Spring is past, but, as with the cycle of the seasons, the Winter of today will pass and the Spring will return. It is the inevitable march of history and what is right.

Dennis Allard
Santa Moncia
July 28, 2014

Posted in Left, Vents | Leave a comment

Harvest of Empire – the story of Latino immigrants

To understand how European and U.S. empire and imperialism has lead to the immigration of Latinos into the United States, read Harvest of Empire (introduction and excerpts) by Juan Gonzalez .

If you are interested in and concerned by the recent surge in immigrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexican border, you will be interested in reading this book. And you will find that the true history may not be what you thought it was.

You can hear Juan Gonzalez most days on radio where he co-hosts Democracy Now which airs on many radio and internet stations. Democrary Now airs on the KPFK FM Los Angeles radio stream at 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM each week day morning.

Dennis Allard
Santa Monica
July 25, 2014

Posted in Left | Leave a comment

U.S. Military contractors engaged in de facto Human Trafficking

I find this latest report of human tafficking by U.S. military contractors in cahoots with local so-called subcontractors to obtain workers for U.S. bases to be so annoying I had to mirror the Democracy Now/Al Jazeera report here as my small part in spreading the truth.

The U.S. military industrial complex has no soul.

Posted in Left, Morning Thoughts, Vents | Leave a comment

Some facts about Venuezula from TheRealNews

Ironically, the very measures that Venezuela has taken to empower the poor have contributed to a confrontation with the world oligarchy.

I just discovered TheRealNews.com, which published this report and analysis of Latin American democracy in action. [I promise you'll like this -- Ed.]

Old forces are at play In the post-Hugo Chavez period in Venezuela.

Posted in Left, Morning Thoughts | Leave a comment

Albert Einstein was a socialist

Einstein Chalk Many of my liberal friends defend Capitalism, believe that “Hugo Chavez was a dictator”, and think that the radio station I listen to, KPFK, is a bunch of wacko leftists. At times, it makes me question my own beliefs. Am I really wrong in believing in socialism? So it was with a kind of relief when I discovered a fact that makes me feel content and even justified in having my so-called radical views. The fact I discovered is not by itself a reason to believe what I believe. It has taken me a life time to come to my beliefs and I realize how hard it is to change ones beliefs or the beliefs of others. But this fact I discovered somehow made me feel like I no longer have to defend myself to the liberals or the conservatives or the libertarian fundamentalist masses. The fact I discovered is that Albert Einstein was a socialist. I had not known that. Somehow, I felt soothed. If Albert Einstein, one of history’s most accurate thinkers, came to the same views I hold, I can walk a little taller, on surer footing. Einstein outlined his views in his article Why Socialism. Everyone who cares about the current economic crisis should read that article.

Socialism is a dirty word in America. Albert Einstein favored a society in which “the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion”. To some, especially the libertarian fundamentalists, that is a formula for control by government. I disagree. Einstein did not make precise the mechanism by which society owns or plans. I propose a definition of socialism that is consistent with Einstein’s goals for socialism but at first sight sounds as if it contradicts long standing beliefs about what socialism means. Namely, I propose that socialism is a way for more people to own more private property and have more control over their lives.

What is happening in the U.S. and world economy at the outset of the 21st century is that fewer people are owning and controlling the economy. That is Capitalism. A few people own and control, well, pretty much everything.

Is the only alternative to this skewed system of power one in which the government has more control? I think not.

What if, instead, more people owned the land they lived on (were no longer renters), owned more of the company they worked for (so the company was no longer owned by a few large share holders), and people shared ownership of commercial properties and voted on rent levels so that small businesses could thrive instead of enriching land lords of commercial properties? I am proposing that Socialism can be and is compatible with private property ownership. The difference with Capitalism is that under Socialism, as I am proposing, more people both individually and collectively own more things, not less things.

In other words, I acknowledge that “money is power”, to use a well worn phrase. I acknowledge that the structure of society is based on ownership. I do not attempt to deny that structural reality. Under some kind of fantasy “communism” that reality might change but we are not talking about “communism”, we are talking about a form of “socialism”. The socialism I am proposing does not attempt to overturn the structural fact of ownership. Instead, the form of socialism I propose is one that has as the goal to create a more equitable society with broader ownership.

This is not to say that socialism does not involve aspects of a planned economy with major government participation and control. Actually, in our Capitalist economy the government already engages in massive control, the details of which I will not try to enumerate here. So, socialists, unlike libertarian fundamentalists but like most practical Capitalists, are aware that government is both necessary and ultimately a good thing if done right. Socialists stress that there are issues beyond the control of jungle Capitalism that require democratic government planning and tax-based programs (social security, medicare, unemployment, the space program, the military, FDA, etc.).

The move I am proposing for the zeitgeist of socialism is to embrace the notion of private ownership where the ownership is spread to more people, not to fewer. The hard part is, of course, how to achieve this. The answer will not be just to increase taxes, although very progressive taxation is not harmful as shown by the booming US economy post World War II during the 1950s to the 1970s when tax rates on high income was much higher than it is today. The answer will involve major restructuring of laws towards increasing ownership of businesses by workers, strongly limiting rent on principal residences and facilitating purchase of primary residences in lieu of renting, concession models and other means for citizens of a city to take public ownership of commercial property, and nationalization of commodity services such as banks and insurance, removing those from for-profit-for-the-few mode. The people should own the banks and the insurance companies and elect high paid competent individuals to perform administration of those vital services. Measures such as these would take one or two generations to put into effect and most likely will require a new popular party to place them on a party platform. The Republicans and Democrats are not going to do this any time soon, although a venerable Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt, did attempt to point the country in this direction back in 1944 when he proposed his Second Bill of Rights. When will be begin to follow FDR’s and Albert Einstein’s advice?

A good place to read about how to achieve socialism is Democracy at Work.

Dennis Allard
Santa Monica
January 12, 2014

Posted in Left, Morning Thoughts | 1 Comment

No Rent and Distributed Ownership

Today’s morning thought is inspired by an interview of Russell Brand by Jeremy Paxman on the BCC Newsnight program.

I agree with Russel Brand. But. Brand and others on the left who have enough fame to be interviewed by the media need to be more effective in delivering their message.

THE LEFT NEEDS TO STOP BITCHING AND PROMOTE AN EXPLICIT PLATFORM.

Brand wants to reduce economic inequality in society. But interviewer Jeremy Paxman asks a good question… What *is* the solution?

Brand’s humorous response offers no solution. He mentions raising taxes and refers to some vague “alternative political systems” that “should not ignore the needs of the people”.

Russel, get a clue. People cannot guess what changes are needed and most of them are not going to go off and read some book that explains it to them. Here you are, on the air on BBC, the YouTube video has been viewed ten million times, and you offer no platform, no agenda, no specific ideas.

Paxman asks you what your solution would be like.

You respond by saying what it “won’t be like”.

You mention raising taxes and some vague idea about corporations being more responsible.

Ten million views wasted (except you are funny and entertaining so that’s good).

Let me be constructive and ask you to consider some concrete ideas that you and others on the left could promote, explicitly, when offered such opportunities.

To start, we need a platform based on FDR’s Second Bill of Rights. FDR proposed that in his State of the Union address on January 11, 1944!

Let’s get even more radical. I propose the following three changes to society:

(1) Everyone should own part of the company they work for and not just be wage slaves. By law the company should be owned in part by workers who work for the company.

(2) Ban rent on primary residences. Everyone should own their primary residence. The word “Lord” in “Land Lord” comes from feudalism. Let’s get to a point where we no longer have any Lords.

(3) Transform commercial rent to local government owned franchises. There would still be rent but it would be controlled by the local citizenry and benefit the local citizenry rather than a small class of commercial land owners.

Now that is a concrete platform. Please Russel, get some concrete proposals out there on the air. If not these, then something else, but something.

The above proposals are “socialist” you ask? You thought socialists are for government owning everything, right? No, not right. Socialists are for more people owning things, not fewer people owning things. In particular people should have significant ownership in their work place and homes.

You don’t get to an equitable society via charity and the welfare state (although those are necessary temporary measures). No, you get to an equitable society by acknowledging that the “free” market is a place where those with land and money are the ones who are free. Hence the need to shift land and money to more people.

It would not be easy to implement these concepts since implementing them means a transfer of ownership from a small minority to a large majority. That will take time, creativity, and true democracy. The concepts apply to commercial property as well as to homes. Why should a small business owner have to pay rent to a land lord who sucks money out of the economy? Although these ideas are easy to state they will be very hard to implement. But these ideas should at least be on the table.

Returning to the Jeremy Paxon interview of Russell Brand, I think Brand made one general point and two concrete points. The general one is that things are totally screwed up and need to change (there “will” be a revolution). That is obvious and has been stated by many over decades and centuries. The concrete points were the proposal to raise taxes and the observation that the Occupy movement made economic disparity a topic of public discussion. I would argue that is the only thing achieved so far by the Occupy Movement.

As for raising taxes, that does not solve the problem, which is distribution of ownership. One often hears about the screwed distribution of wealth. What does that mean? It means ownership. Ownership of land and of the work place.

We live in a “free market”, which is free to the extent you have power and you have power to the extent you have wealth. The market is free to those who have enough money and power to participate in it. Until more people have more power, i.e. ownership of society, the free market is a useless excuse for the status quo.

Of course we should use taxes (perhaps without need to raise them) to help people and not engage in military conquest. And we should keep the welfare state as a measure of last resort. But we still have a welfare state. How to change that? I encourage pundits such as Brand to bring in the concept of more distributed ownership into their talking points.

Another issue is the banks. Won’t we still all be paying the banks? Yes, so another thing we need to do is nationalize the banks, a topic for future discussion.

In these ways, by distributing ownership, wealth and power in society will belong to more people rather than fewer. It sounds simple and idealistic but it also rings true.

Dennis Allard
Santa Monica
October 27, 2013

Posted in Left, Morning Thoughts | 1 Comment

Chemtrails are really just Contrails

One of the many bogus conspiracy theories speaks of so-called chemtrails.

Chemtrails are actually contrails. Contrails (condensation trails) are water vapor caused by both jet engine exhaust and the Bernoulli effect around a plane’s wings as air is rapidly decompressed and cooled, causing water to condense (due to the laws of Thermodynamics having to do with pressure and temperature). Basically, contrails are man-made clouds (water vapor only) and they are often quite beautiful. It is a pity that some people are naive and ignorant about the true nature of this phenomenon. They are living their lives in needless fear instead of marveling at what is a beautiful thing created by a combination of technology and nature. Contrails are created by a plane moving through the atmosphere under the right atmospheric conditions. You will tend to notice them on days where there are already cirrus clouds being formed due to the same atmospheric conditions but it is possible to see them on clear days if the amount of water in the air at high altitude is just right.

There are two ways contrails form. One is from jet engine exhaust that contains water. Have you ever noticed water dripping from an automobile exhaust on a cold day? Same thing. Warm air holds more water than cold air. As air cools, the evaporated water in the air will condense. (That is one of the reasons that rain is more likely as night falls and the atmosphere cools.) One of the byproducts of combustion engines, including jet engines, is water in the exhaust. As the exhaust leaves the jet engine, it cools so the water in the exhaust will condense into water vapor (a cloud). On some days at some altitudes, that exhaust water is fully absorbed by the atmosphere. On other days, it takes a while to be absorbed so the contrail stays visible for a short period of time. On yet other days, the conditions are such that the water vapor forms into man-made clouds. The same logic applies to natural clouds. Some days clouds appear and others they don’t appear, depending on pressure and temperature of the atmosphere.

The other way contrails form is caused by fluctuations in air pressure around the wings of the airplane. Have you ever released air from a bicycle tire by pressing on the valve and noticed that the air released is very cold and sometimes causes moisture to condense on the valve? Same thing. When a plane wing moves through the air at 500 miles per hour it impacts the air it is moving through. The air is compressed then decompressed, which under the right conditions of moisture content in the air can cause that moisture to condense into contrails.

Contrails are explained in more detail in the Wikipedia article on Contrails.

I put gathered a small collection of links to videos that debunk Chemtrails. These videos are all fairly short and to the point. And of some entertainment value.

There is one popular chemtrail conspiracy video that was proven to be a hoax because the pilot who made the original video later admitted it was a hoax. See: Contrail Science

Cheers,
Dennis Allard
Santa Monica
October 17, 2013

Posted in Morning Thoughts, Technology | 4 Comments