Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bosses stealing from the poor. Maybe Marx was right.

It's gotten bad in America. If you thought the greed and scandals of the 90's was over, think again. It's so bad the Wall Street Journal is coming out against it.

Folks like John Stossel may think it's ok to play the 'red card' still, but it's not just critics of capitalism that are concerned this time.

What the defenders of capitalism are so upset about is the impact of executive retirement pay on the viability of retirement systems in general.

With one of the best incentives for long term loyalty missing, what can the prognosis be for the long term viability of the established order?

Check out these WSJ headlines:

Hidden Burden As Workers' Pensions Wither,
Those for Executives Flourish

Companies Run Up Big IOUs, Mostly Obscured, to Grant Bosses a Lucrative Benefit

The Billion-Dollar Liability

"The Managerial Revolution" accounts for the failure of lassie-faire capitalism to develop into socialism. What doesn't make sense is why owners have allowed this insurrection to proceed to the point that the managers are now become owners of capital themselves.

"Benefits for executives now account for a significant share of pension obligations in the U.S., an average of 8% at the companies above. Sometimes a company's obligation for a single executive's pension approaches $100 million."

We could be just living in another 'Robber Baron' period in history. But I have an alternative theory. First, I would contend that the peace bought by capitalists during the great depression is coming to an end. America is caught up in a globalization movement that lowers wage demands by the poor. The managerial class has become truly decadent. Even the outrageous legal golden parachutes aren't enough. Many CEO's are willing to bend the law for the near billion dollar payouts.

Second, witness the middle class destroyed. All we have to do is watch the fall of General Motors. We are slowly being split more and more into the "haves and have-nots." Most of the new 'information' jobs pay much less than manufacturing jobs. The pension system most people rely on in retirement is dangerously underfunded. And most experts agree that the pension system is dead.

It's not only the middle class that is in danger, many of the rich are watching their profits being syphoned off by the class they put in charge of making profits for them. What sort of system is the new managerial class ushering in for us? A system which brings with it low pay for most, criminal pay for the highly educated elites who manage . Those elites will bring with them a overly confrontational and broad system of monitoring for the average worker and consumer. We must hope that the next mangerial revolution fails.

Marx on the destruction of capital:

As soon as this process of transformation has sufficiently decomposed the old society from top to bottom, as soon as the laborers are turned into proletariat, ... as well as the further expropriation of private proprietors, takes a new form. That which is now to be expropriated is no longer the laborer working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting many laborers. This expropriation is accomplished by the action of the immanent laws of capitalistic production itself, by the centralization of capital. One capitalist always kills many. Hand in hand with this centralization, or this expropriation of many capitalists by few, develop, on an ever-extending scale, the co-operative form of the labor-process, the conscious technical application of science, the methodical cultivation of the soil, the transformation of the instruments of labor into instruments of labor only usable in common, the economizing of all means of production by their use as means of production of combined, socialized labor, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world-market, and with this, the international character of the capitalistic regime.

Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working-class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labor at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. Thus integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Greg Palast interviews Hugo Chavez.

The Progressive. Greg Palast. Hugo. Need I say more?

"You’d think George Bush would get down on his knees and kiss Hugo Chávez’s behind. Not only has Chávez delivered cheap oil to the Bronx and other poor communities in the United States. And not only did he offer to bring aid to the victims of Katrina. In my interview with the president of Venezuela on March 28, he made Bush the following astonishing offer: Chávez would drop the price of oil to $50 a barrel, “not too high, a fair price,” he said—a third less than the $75 a barrel for oil recently posted on the spot market. That would bring down the price at the pump by about a buck, from $3 to $2 a gallon."

Here is an article critical of Hugo.

That Chavez is applauded by many people, especially the poor, is not necessarily a sign of democracy; many revolutionary leaders are popular, at least in the beginning of their rule, before their promises have ended in misery and bloodshed.

The left has a proud tradition of defending political freedoms, at home and abroad. But this tradition is in danger of being lost when western intellectuals indulge in power worship. Applause for autocrats undermines the morale of people who insist on fighting for their freedoms Leftists were largely sympathetic, and rightly so, to critics of Berlusconi and Thaksin, even though neither was a dictator. Both did, of course, support American foreign policy. But when democracy is endangered, the left should be equally hard on rulers who oppose the US. Failure to do so encourages authoritarianism everywhere, including in the West itself, where the frivolous behaviour of a dogmatic left has already allowed neoconservatives to steal all the best lines.

Is Hugo the new Castro? Try this PDF.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I must be homesick.

I must be homesick. I am watching Sunstroke. Sunstroke is a lifetime movie that stars Jane Seymour. I am watching Sunstroke only because it is set in Arizona.

IMDB offers a review of the movie...

"Seymour uses a southern American accent, which raises her pitch when she yells, making her sound more ferocious in one scene that she normally appears. She is styled with tight clothes and baring flesh, sweating, and trying a sultry eyes half closed look, but sensuality only works when the person doesn't make it so contrived. Seymour is also seen dancing, has sex in a public swimming pool, and gets one camp line `You've reached the line. Don't cross it'."

I can't believe I came to that line...and crossed it myself. I bet you are expecting a tirade on the crappiness of the Lifetime Movie Network. You'll get no such pleasure here, sir.

First, Jane Seymour looks totally hot. Like an older but less tanned Rebecca Gayheart. My affection for Noxema commercial girls knows no boundaries.

Now Jane is what I call classy. And if you know anything about classy, you know classy can never be described as classy. Jane could affect a Southern twang to her voice and dress in skin tight mini-dresses, but every cowboy in the room would never buy her as anything but "high faluting gal."

No matter how many Space Operas she makes, Jane can not play modern. Even in the original Battlestar Galactica you had a sneaky impression that Seymour's character was straight outta the time of the ancient Greeks. Jane Seymour should have been born in the 1700's. She needs servants and bustiers.

I dream about Jane Seymour. I see Ms. Seymour continually fingering and twirling an umbrella under a July 4th sky while the 1812 overture plays in the background. But I lack imagination that way. Maybe it's a purple umbrella and Rebecca Gayheart is there. Rebecca's hair is up. But not for long. Soon, there is a twist of her head and her long flowing curls are released.

Maybe that was just a little too much info for some...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bathos Cosmology 203

Every once in a while even creative types run out of ideas. That's why Family Ties did two clip shows a season. What you don't know know about clip shows is that they require just as much energy and creativity as regular programing.

So you could get mad at me rehashing all my previous posts, or you could just understand that 'this is the summer' and a clip show beats a re-run anyday.

And now a list of Things about this site.

According to the Bathos Mythology:

  • Tom Cruise is the Devil
  • Objectivists eat puppies.
  • Fat chicks carry cake on themselves at all times and use it to tempt me to kiss them.
  • I hear voices
  • I think that PETA members are worse than serial killers.

People I hate, in no particular order.

  1. Oprah
  2. G.W. Bush
  3. Tom Cruise
  4. Ayn Rand
  5. Dr. Phill
  6. Will Wheaton
  7. Uncle Joe
  8. God-untill he heals someone with an amputee
  9. Jan Brewer
  10. Maryln Vos Savant

People I inexplicably admire:

  1. Larry King
  2. The guy who invented the artificial heart for putting up with his wife.

Odd obsessions:

  1. D.L. Rosenhan's experiment
  2. U.S. invasion of Panama
  3. Voo Doo Science
  4. Hugo Chavez
  5. corporate personhood

A letter of Sympathy for Mrs. Steve Nash.

It's tough out there for a NBA wife. I bet all you NBA wives hang out together. Since you probably do, I bet you all probably haven't stopped talking about 'The Mark Cuban incident.'

Mark Cuban is a billionare NBA team owner who forces his wives' girlfriends to go all 'strip club' on him.

I guess the obvious question is does Steve make any of your girlfriends give him lap dances? Or is this just something that the wives of NBA owners have to put up with and not players wives? If he doesn't make any of your girlfriends give lap dances, do you think it's just because he thinks all your girls are ugly? Or is it some law in Canada that all lap dances have to be done in French and/or English? I guess that law is pretty tough to follow for Paraguayans.

I sure hope it's the former and not the latter unless the latter is owners' wives in which case I meant them.

This post is dedicated to Lisa Loeb and the prospect of running a joke into the ground.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Basic Cosmology.

You may remember a post on my blog a while back called "Memoirs of 30 year old?"

Well I am in the process of going through some of my old stuff and editing it. Those of you guys who got a kick out of it the first time might wanna check out the edited version.

The narrative flow is a bit better, but since you have nothing to compare it to you could just go an earlier version I found HERE to see it.

The newer version is closer to my initial intention, make sure to check out the links I have added. It's like when those amateur editors re-did the Phantom Menace. Not like when Lucas fucked with the original Star Wars.

I have attempted fixing up my two posts with the most views...

Jessica Hawn

Steve Nash Hates His Fake Girlfriend

What else have I changed?

Well, for starters I am no longer employing random colors in my text. I now use color to denote a link to another site. I am trying to use different font sizes to show emotion now.

This post is dedicated to Molly, Foxxy and Jezzebel.

Attack of the INFP:

"Rewrites are no problem—INFP's often love to revise. Writing tends to be lengthy and they fall in love with the words. May assume readers know more than they do or agree with their theses."

I thought that was just because I was a bad writer, apparently it is also a charcter flaw.

"Because they empathize so strongly with others, may soften the message too much."

You may not believe it but I do it.

"They can always find a more clever phrasing, so may have trouble letting go."

I still haven't let go. Some of you may noticed that I have changed this post 7 times.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Is it Hugo ChÃvez's interventions in his neighboring states that is leading Venezuela towards confrontation with the U.S.?

"Some sort of showdown seems ultimately inevitable."

So writes Phil Gunson in an essay for Open Democracy about Hugo Chavez and the current American administration.


"The reason is clear: the man the US press loves to call a leftist firebrand practices a uniquely bruising and unconventional style of diplomacy."

Chavez is said to have fired professional diplomats and replaced them with "revolutionary cadres" who have "a limited grasp of foreign affairs." Must I point out how similar Mr. Bush is with Chavez in this respect. Bush's appointment of Bolton to the U. N. and Paul Wolfowitz's selection as head of the World Bank seemed to have little to do with 'diplomatic relations' and everything to do with loyalty to the President.

Chavez has also doled out cheap oil and favors to the particulars that he favors throughout the Southern Hemisphere. It is Chavez's intention to reverse the Monroe Doctrine and replace America's influence with his own that infuuriates the current administration and is truly leading Venezuela towards confrontation with the USA.

When one considers the history of American interventionism in the southern half of the Americas "30 military interventions and 47 covert or indirect operations in Latin America since 1846" maybe limiting the U.S. is a good idea.

But what if Chavez's 'Socialism for the 21st Century' really is just a replacement of one Hegemony with another? For that we need a detailed look at the motivations and effects of Chavez in his own land. And that is a whole other post! Coming soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Discretion. A word not perhaps in the Redneck's Dictionary.

The first rule about writing about discretion should be to actually practice discretion in the course of that writing. That first rule of discretion was ignored by the makers of Uncle Ray's Potato Chips.

Uncle Ray's is sold locally here in Palmetto in convenience stores. Uncle Ray is originally from Detroit.

"Uncle Ray started in business in 1965 out of the back seat of his 1961 Dodge Dart. A self made man who never went to college, Ray made and sold chip dips, popcorn and shrimp cocktail sauce to local bars and store in the Detroit area."

Uncle Ray's redneck outlook fits quite well here in middle Florida, but producing quality snacks wasn't enough for Uncle Ray.

"Late one night in 1999, Ray woke up from a sound sleep. He had the urge to sit down at his kitchen table and write about his life's memories. He began to write the first three chapters to the many stores you now read of the back of our products."

Ray has completed over 30 chapters of The Life and Times of Uncle Ray. He feels compelled to send a message to those eating his product.

'If someone was ever contemplating suicide, drugs, stealing, or what ever life's troubles bring you, I want you to know that you are not alone'. 'Everyone has bad days and I want to be there with a message'. He had the urge to sit down at his kitchen table and write about his life's memories. He began to write the first three chapters to the many stores you now read of the back of our products."

I was lucky to come across Chapter 8 of Uncle Ray's story, it deals with discretion.

"One day during a family reunion, Bob and our two cousins went skinny dipping in the creek a quarter of a mile upstream. As I was three years younger, just a pup at 11, they told me to get lost."

I think only a redneck could decide to tell a story about 'discretion', and then use a story about the 'negative consequences' of skinny dipping with cousins at least 14 years of age. I know it's the south, so a lot of people have probably had that experience and think nothing of it. But in the future Uncle Ray, consider keeping your insest a dirty family secret, I promise I will.

Monday, June 12, 2006

This week in posts. Updated with Thisness.

But is string theory true? "Peter Woit, a mathematician at Columbia University, has challenged the entire string-theory discipline by proclaiming that its topic is not a genuine theory at all and that many of its exponents do not understand the complex mathematics it employs."

"In the latest issue of "Psychology of Women Quarterly", researchers find that men rate themselves and the women they just interacted with higher on sexual traits, such as flirtatiousness, than women rate men. The authors find that after a five-minute conversation with a stranger of the opposite gender, men were more likely to interpret ambiguous or friendly behavior as indicating sexual interest. "The findings suggest that men generally think in more sexual terms than women," the authors explain."

If you are between the ages of 18 and 29 you probably have a tattoo. That's why I don't have one, I am an individual. The AP " That total rises to nearly one in three for the 18-to-29 set. Just about half - 48 percent - in that age category had either a tattoo or piercing."

This is scary, This is sad, This is cool. This is cooler.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

She Freak-awfully bad (but awesome) remake of "Freaks"

A few years back I was introduced by a friend to one of the freakiest movies of all time. The appropriately titled Freaks.

Now normally if this friend told you he discovered a movie or music you began to worry. You worried like a leper running through barb wire.

But in this case Cardshark's taste for the 'bizarre' actually paid off. Freaks is a top 100 movie by anyone's standard. The film uses real life "circus freaks" and frankly still has the power to shock modern audiences 74 years later.

The folks over at YesbutnobutYes have discovered a 1967 film by David F. Friedman

"a highly inferior update on Todd Browning's classic horror film. Fantastic footage of a real carnival and some nice shots of classic sideshow banners are appealing, but for me the highlight is a scene about 90 seconds in that demonstrates how to woo a woman. "

Click here for the video sample of the movie. It is so worth it!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

You knew I had to blog about this.

Jodie Sweetin A Full House star-but not one of the Olsen twins- "has put an end to years of unemployment by signing on to host a strip show on Fuse, Pants-Off Dance-Off."

I guess you can take the Meth out from head of the Child Star, but not the Meth Head cracker ho' out of Jodie. She is pictured here with her co-star Candace Cameron who just like her brother went all Christian "Way of the Jedi" on us.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What is so scary about Venezuela?

'They' are very busy trying to convince you that Venezuela is the next great Evil of our times. Which is crazy because I thought Venezuela was just full of beauty queens and American white collar criminals fleeing extradition.

The Mainstream Media has been complicit in Bush's orchestrated attempts to portray Venezuela as a threat to the United States. Let us put aside (for now) our well founded fears of invasion by surgically enhanced super beauty bots operating from super secret beauty boot camps. Instead, we offer up today's complicit talking head trying to scare you: CNN's Lou Dobbs. Dobbs' show today had a report about how "strong man" Hugo Chavez has a chance to influence elections in this country due to a company called Sequoia Voting Systems. MMM sounds scary.

According to VoterTrustUSA and the LATimes Sequoia:

"supplied the hardware (converted Olivetti lottery machines) and software used in Venezuela's hotly disputed recall election of president Hugo Chavez in 2004. Despite pre-election polls that indicated Chavez would lose the recall vote by over 55%, he coasted home the victor. Sounds a lot like Georgia in 2002 and Ohio in 2004 and 2005, doesn't it? Of course when you own 28% of the software company that counted the votes, it might help - echoes of Senator Chuck Hagel's "upset" of popular Ben Nelson in Nebraska when Hagel's voting machine company counted over 80% of Nebraska's votes. "

I'd like to make it known that I am not some kind of knee-jerk communist who will defend any socialist at any cost. I have become quite disillusioned with Mr. Chavez, despite his many goodwill acts towards poor Americans. And I don't like it when companies that manufacture and service election machines are part of the political apparatus. [Diebold is a home grown corporation and an example here in America with Republican cronies running it.] I am not a fan of Diebold's or Sequoia's touch screen voting machines, as you probably well know. And I find it deplorable that Chavez would attempt to use these machines.

Given all that I just don't think that Chavez will cut off our oil, invade his neighbors, or attack the U.S. It's quite silly how Chavez and Castro are made into Demi-gods we need to be on the alert for. But that is how the MSM has framed the situation. Even when commenting on big issues like election fraud we are told it is the result of foreign adversaries rather than the internal enemies of democracy.

Chavez is not the cause of policies in the US that allow corporations be they foreign or domestic to have so called 'proprietary rights' over their election code. Chavez may be profiting from our glorious leaders decision to go with 'paperless trails' and touchscreen voting booths, but he can't be blamed for their adoption.

Chavez is often given the Master Status of tyrant or anti-democrat despite many other instances where the MSM does not characterize other leaders with worse records similarly. For instance Russian leader Vladimir Putin is rarely described as a strong-man in the MSM or by Bush. Yet he is engaged in the same kind of questionable anti-democratic processes as Chavez. It is simply disingenuous to insert leader of the Venezuelan people as 'enemy' rather than coming to terms with the many problems to be found in America's democracy.

I'll continue to follow this story and I hope to make my thesis a little more clear and provide a few more examples to illustrate what I think are reactionary elements in our society who use the 'fear' card not to legitimately demonize an anti-democratic leader but as a force to stifle dissent.