Friday, October 30, 2009

People of Wal-Mart

by Dick Mac

I have never been in a Wal-Mart, and one of the reasons is that I believe these really are the people you find there.

People of Wal-Mart

The real reason I don't go there is that they have destroyed the American workplace and lowered the bar for all American employers; but, as long as there are people like these, then there will be a Wal-Mart. Everyone who shops at Wal-Mart looks like these people, spiritually, if not physically.












Thursday, October 29, 2009

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This

by Dick Mac

Some days I feel like I should have just stayed in bed.

I don't necessarily feel ill, nor tired, nor defeated or depressed; sometimes I just feel like . . . well . . .

Like it's going to be the kind of day that neither weather, nor prayer, nor hard work will change; it's going to be this kind of a day:










Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How Far?

by Dick Mac

Thanks to modern modes of tranportation, river networks, and roads cut through the rain forest, most of the planet is accessible within two days of travel.

Thanks to a study by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the World Bank, this map has been created to show the least accessible places on the planet.



Top of the list: Tibet, where some locations can take up to three weeks to reach (two of those weeks by foot)!

Infographic of the Day: It's a Small World, Afterall

And see a gallery of maps here: Where's the remotest place on Earth?










Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Semi-Public Option?

by Al Falafal

It is beginning to look like we will soon have some kind of health care reform in this country afterall, within our lifetimes even!

The rational, wide-ranging kind of change we need, however, is only likely to come in increments, if at all. And depending on what part of the country you live in, may not come for you anytime soon.

Only lately has the idea of allowing states to opt out of the public option been floated with any seriousness. On the surface, it seems to me to be a very intriguing compromise on the most contentious issues involved in the shouting matches that have passed for debate. If this is what it takes to get the blue dog Democrats on board with passing health care reform, along with the weary Repugnicans who are only interested in their political survival, might we really be seeing a light at the end of this long, ridiculous tunnel?

If it works out that a reform bill is put forth with a public option "option-out" for those states whose Senators oppose all reason then maybe we should just go for it and let the cards fall where they may. Chances are that once government-sponsored health insurance is up and running in certain states of the country, there will soon be a clamoring of people in the out-opted states who continue to get ripped off by their insurance companies. I would not be surprised if it will be those same loudmouth crazies who spent last summer disrupting town meetings who will be crying about being left out and demanding that they too be included in the government plan as well.






Monday, October 26, 2009

Red Bull New York Ends Season On A High (Wet) Note

by Dick Mac

I took the family to Giants Stadium Saturday night for the final Red Bulls match of the season, and our final match at Giants Stadium. It was pouring rain and we had a blast!

Farewell to Albert Celades, who is retiring from the game.

Good-bye to Giants Stadium. Good riddance to the 2009 season, our worst season ever. Hello Red Bull Arena!

Enjoy the highlight reel, especially the Mbuta goal at the five minute mark:



Live Interior Camera at Red Bull Arena
Live Exterior Camera at Red Bull Arena






Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've been wanting to do this for years . . .

by Dick Mac

I saw Mott The Hoople perform in 1973 or '74 in Boston. I think it was at the Orpheum Theater (which might have been called the Aquarius at the time), or at the Boston Music Hall (now, The Wang Center). At that show, Ariel Bender had already replaced Mickey Ralphs, and Mick Ronson did not appear.

Now, thirty-odd years later, Mott reformed for some shows in London.

Here's a bootleg video of them performing one the greatest Glam anthems of all time:



And, for your viewing pleasure, here is a video of them performing it in the early seventies:



I've been wanting to do this for years!

Thanks to Celia for bringing this to my attention.







Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Think Manny Fits Right In

by Dick Mac

There is often criticism of Manny Ramirez from the hacks that eke out a living as parasites of Major League Baseball (baseball writers). Is there a lower station in life than being an apologist for one of the most embarrassing business models in the history of Western Civilization? All the fake morality, and phony displays of patriotism, and glass ceilings, and cheating, and taxpayer subsidies, and exemption from federal law. MLB is a printing press for money, subsidized by the American taxpayer, and they still can't put their house in order. They can't punish their villains or reward their heroes, they can only focus on television contracts, allow broadcasters to define the boundaries and limitations of the sport, and beg for more welfare.

And then they have Manny Ramirez, and they use him as their foil.

To be clear: I don't give a shit about Manny Ramirez. He's a professional entertainer, a clown, like Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Namath, and he does a damned good job of it!

There are fewer clowns in the entertainment business that offer so much entertainment. Yet, his so-called 'selfish' behavior is criticized while significantly more selfish people in MLB are lionized.

In reality, I think Ramirez embodies the spirit of MLB far more than any other superstar: he's boorish, self-serving, impudent, demanding, and funny-looking. He is everything that Major League Baseball embodies!

Keep it up Manny. You might play for every team before you retire, and they will all pay a pretty penny for you, because you are the embodiment of Major League Baseball!


Ramirez showered instead of watching 9th







Monday, October 19, 2009

Hey! I have an idea . . .

by Dick Mac

(This is fiction based on the wacky father in the picture at the left.)

"Let's build a hot-air balloon in my backyard and use the project as a pilot for a reality television show."

"Why would anyone want to watch a television show about a balloon?"

"People don't watch reality television shows based on the content, they watch based on the people. My wife and I are both good-looking, funny, and talented. We've already been on a couple of reality shows and the producers always say they want us back. But, the real money is in producing the show, not getting the pittance they give to the participants."

"Still, why a hot-air balloon?"

"It's a family thing. We'll base it on a sort of around the world in eighty days thing."

"Where do you get the funding for the cameras and staff?"

"Well, what we need to do is create a sensation about it and draw the attention of sponsors."

"So, hire a publicist, I'm a researcher."

"Exactly! We do the research and get a balloon built and then an incident will bring the media flocking to the story."

"What kind of incident?"

"One of my kids will accidently fly off in the balloon and the media will gobble it up."

"Holy crap, man! You'd let one of your kids fly alone in a homemade hot-air balloon?"

"No, you idiot! We say that the kid is in the balloon, and when it comes down empty, the kid will reappear saying, he was never in the balloon in the first place. The world will feel great because the kid is safe and the Hollywood money people will find out about our idea."

"What does your wife think of this?"

"I haven't told her anything. She's an idiot. She'll do what she's told."

"What?"

"She talks big and looks good, but I've got her in her place."

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm the master of my castle. The wife and kids do what their told."

"Oh! So you think this could work?"

"Of course, I just need you to tell me how to build the hot-air balloon."

"OK."

Sheriff: Balloon boy hoax may have conspirators

Excerpts of 911 call reporting boy is in balloon

Heene Family Pitched Reality Show to TLC






Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shocked, I Tell You, I'm Shocked!

by Dick Mac

There is a scene in Casablanca (which might be the most quotable movie ever made) where the local police chief, Captain Renault played by Claude Rains, stands with a Nazi commander in Rik's American Cafe, announcing that he is surprised to learn that there is gambling inside the establishment, right under his nose.

"Shocked! I'm shocked, I tell you, to learn there is gambling going on here!"

Captain Renault knew perfectly well, of course, that there was gambling going on.

That's how I feel when I hear and read that the inspector general for the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program concludes that billions in bonuses were distributed to the executives who created our economic meltdown because the executives running the Treasury Department didn't do their job. They weren't really paying attention to what the welfare recipients were doing with their rather hefty welfare checks.

Since the Reagan Administration, and more blatantly under reign of Bush II, and continuing with the holy see of Obama, we more and more often put the fox in charge of the hen house.

Timothy Geithner, the current Treasury Secretary, started his career with Kissinger Associates (yes, THAT Kissinger), before embarking on an impressive career in government service. It is easy to focus on Geithner, since we have given away so much money on his watch. More importantly, his predecessor, Henry Paulson, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs.

The bailout started under the Bush II reign, and this culture of corporate welfare, and welfare for the rich, was created by Reagan, in his implementation of trickle-down economic theory. So, Geithner will take the heat, as he should; but we Americans have allowed this culture to continue by our choices of leaders.

Every president since 1980, including St. Obama, has supported the notions of supply-side economic theory: push the money to the top and that will cause the benefits to trickle-down to the rest of us. Cut the taxes of the rich and they will have more money to invest in our great nation, give the remaining tax dollars to private corporations to subsidize the free market, and we will all benefit from more, better jobs, lower prices, more competition, and less regulation.

How's that working for ya?

We've basically set-up socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest of us.

So, is it any surprise that the Treasury Secretary, and the Secretary before him, and the Secretary before him, were not paying attention to the money given to the rich?

The horse is out of the barn. We can't really fix this problem of the money being inappropriately used after the welfare queens receive their welfare checks.

But we can start to change our country. We can stop electing people like Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, and start electing leaders who are interested in restoring America to its place as a world leader with regulated industry that flourishes and a government that serves its people, not just its businesses.

Watchdog Blames Geithner For AIG Bonuses







Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Here We Go Again: Annual Bonuses

by Dick Mac

AIG, the insurance behemoth that played a major role in destroying the economy of Western Civilization, is preparing to give monetary bonuses to staff. How much? $235,000,000.

AIG is a welfare recipient and it baffles me that they have two hundred million dollars to give away. If an individual welfare recipient is seen eating at McDonald's, so-called "conservatives" are out of their minds about welfare queens stealing tax dollars and redouble their efforts to eliminate social welfare programs.

This welfare queen, AIG, suffers little criticism and continues to profiteer with impunity.

In reality (not that reality holds any sway with "conservatives"), AIG is a failed company that should have been auctioned off, lock, stock and barrel, to the highest bidders. Instead, the executives who run the company accept taxpayer money, continue operations as usual, and skim whatever they can for themselves and their closest colleagues.

We will be told that these bonuses are contractual obligations, and I understand that. This points to the overall problem about how financial institutions pay their executive, and I discussed that a couple of weeks ago: pay them what they deserve and give them bonuses when they perform exceptionally (See, Limiting Pay.)

AIG can break those contracts. The executives failed and they should not receive bonuses: contract or not. I would rather AIG spend the $235 million on legal fees defending lawsuits from executives who sue for their contractually-obligated bonuses than to just give the money away and reward those who have destroyed our economy.

Financial institutions have to change the paradigm they use to pay their management. If the CEO deserves $25 million, then pay her the twenty-five million; don't pay her five million then give her a $20,000,000 bonus! It's disingenuous at best, immoral at every level, and possibly fraudulent.

If the financial industry won't change itself, then they will watch Congress make the changes for them.

This makes the people running that industry stupid. STUPID!

Put your house in order! The taxpayers are not going to stop looking.

But, do they need to do anything? Probably not, because they ARE the "conservatives" who support this disaster. The so-called "conservative" working people who were tricked by Ronald Reagan into voting against their own best interests, will complain about abortion and homosexuals, ignore the pillaging of their Treasury, and vote for the guys who will funnel their tax dollars to these guys at AIG!

Who are the fools here?








Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Calling The Bluff

by Dick Mac

Health insurance companies have driven up the price of their policies with impunity for the past thirty years.

These increases have not been implemented to cover the rising cost of medicine, the increases have been to increase the profits only of the insurance companies.

In fact, insurance companies have capped and controlled the profits, incomes, and business practices of doctors and health care administrators across the nation, while increasing the salaries or their own executives and padding the profits of their shareholders.

Don't get me wrong: I am all for executives and shareholders getting their share of things; but, I do not support the increase in compensation and profits while the distribution of resources is diminished.

People are unable to get insurance, the insured pay their premiums at the expense of other necessities, and employers reduce the coverage their employees help pay for. Why? Not because doctors are making a fortune, but so that insurance companies can have more, more, more.

The health insurance companies have threatened that they will increase the cost of insurance if the federal government tries to implement any programs that help the uninsured become insured.

Well, health insurance companies are going to raise our premiums irrespective of our attempts to insure the needy.

If we eliminate all programs that protect citizens from predatory insurance companies, if we give the insurers everything they want, they are still going to raise the cost of our premiums.

Their threat is idle: we already know our premiums will go up.

I hope that Congress will ignore the threats of the insurance companies and continue to work for health coverage for all Americans.

Ignore the threats. Call their bluff!






Monday, October 12, 2009

Matthew Shepard

by Dick Mac

On October 12, 1998, Matthew Shepard died after having been tortured by a couple of homophobic thugs a week earlier on October 6th.

It was not a robbery. It was not a gang-bang. It was not a turf war.

A student at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie, Matthew Sheperd was gay. According to the entry in Wikipedia, he met:

Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson in a bar. McKinney and Henderson offered Shepard a ride in their car. Subsequently, Shepard was robbed, pistol whipped, tortured, tied to a fence in a remote, rural area, and left to die. McKinney and Henderson also found out his address and intended to rob his home. Still tied to the fence, Shepard was discovered 18 hours later by Aaron Kreifels, who initially mistook Shepard for a scarecrow. At the time of discovery, Shepard was still alive, but in a coma.

Shepard suffered fractures to the back of his head and in front of his right ear. He had severe brain stem damage, which affected his body's ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature and other vital functions. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face and neck. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to operate. Shepard never regained consciousness and remained on full life support. As he lay in intensive care, candlelight vigils were held by the people of Laramie.

He was pronounced dead at 12:53 A.M. on October 12, 1998, at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. Police arrested McKinney and Henderson shortly thereafter, finding the bloody gun as well as the victim's shoes and wallet in their truck.
References in original article at wikipedia.org.

Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson killed Shepherd because he was gay. I remember being sickened - literally - when I read that the murderers killed him because he allegedly made sexual advances towards on or both of them.

Can you imagine if every man who made a sexual advance to another person was murdered?

My greatest fear at the time, is that this defense would work; that they would be found not guilty due to temporary insanity because they panicked when confronted with the thought of sex with another man. Eventually, Henderson cut a deal, pleaded guilty, and received two consecutive life sentence. McKinney went to trial and was found guilty. While the jury deliberated about the death penalty, Shepherd's parents brokered a deal to spare McKinney's life and he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.

In spite of the efforts by so-called "conservatives" and the media that drive their movement, elected officials continue to work to pass hate crimes legislation.

Now is the time for you to tell your friends, family, and elected officials that you believe that homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people deserve equal protection under the law.








Friday, October 09, 2009

Guns Don't Kill People . . .

by Dick Mac

(Note: I've received some angry emails about my use of the 'n' word in this post, so I have edited the article by removing it.)

. . . big ugly, right-wing losers who carry side arms to children's events kill people! Or themselves. Or they get killed by other big ugly, right-wing losers in a murder/suicide.

Meleanie Hain, a 31-year-old loser who openly carried a gun to her daughter's soccer match was shot dead either by her own hand or by Scott Hain her 33-year-old loser husband.

They were pronounced dead Wednesday, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a small city about 80 miles west of Philadelphia, where they lived in a lovely home with their 3 children.

The children were home at the time of the murder/suicide, so they witnessed this orgy of Second Amendment abuse, but were unharmed - physically.

So, how does this play out for the right-to-kill lobby and the guns-don't-kill-people-lobby, and the Second-Amendment-gives-me-the-right-to-pack-heat-near-the-black-president crowd? How do they explain this?

Meleanie Hain has been a hero of the right-wing, because she is only packing heat to protect herself (while attending a 5-year-old's soccer match). She's just a regular mom, exercising her regular constitutional rights, in a regular suburb, on a regular day. Just like all the other whacko right-wingers who think they are just regular people.

The truth is that people, companies, and political action committees promoting the notion that packing heat at a soccer match is protected by the Second Amendment are sociopaths. These are the people who make America a dangerous place; but, they think they are just regular people, because they are white, and in debt, and "christian," and they are patriots, and they support the president (well, not the black president), and the troops, and they don't understand how all the homosexuals and Jews have wrecked the world for regular people.

Well, these are not regular people! Those who will tell you that they need a gun at a soccer match are dangerous, unpatriotic, criminals, who need to be chased back under their rocks to watch their televisions and gloat (and bloat) about everybody else being the bad guys.

Meleanie Hain is the living and dying proof of what happens to Americans when they listen to right-wing whackos who want to reduce our once-great America to arguments about guns, homosexuality, abortion, and taxes, while ignoring poverty, illness, obesity, deregulation, white-collar crime, the gutting of the Constitution, the diminishing value of the dollar, and our shrinking role on the world stage.

Wake-up!

The Second Amendment isn't about carrying side arms to children's events or presidential appearance. It's about using your gun to get people like Dick Cheney and George Bush out of power and into prison for destroying your nation!

Your National Guard (your militia) is being used not to protect you, but to monopolize the natural resources of a once-sovereign nation for the benefit of a small group of Texans.

Wake-up!

Turn off Fox News and read. Read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, the Gospels, the Emancipation Proclamation, and see that they discuss the well-being of humans, not the well-being of markets. They talk about fruitfulness not profiteering. They talk about love and safety, not side arms and prejudice. They talk about building a better world, not gutting your government!

Wake up!

Dustin's Gun Blog Article Worshiping Meleanie Hain and Guns

She will be missed in the Pennsylvania gun rights community [Are you fucking kidding me? That's your position on this?]

This blog states that the Hains were having marital problems. Sounds to me like they were having violence and weapons problems.

This sociopath is hosting a Memorial Shoot to benefit the children. WHAT?!?!?! A memorial shoot? This woman, this mother, was killed by a gun! You're memorializing her with a shoot-out? Are you fucking people crazy?

This is about a love story so toxic that no one survives...a tragic tale played out time and again in homes across the country - he abused her, she tried to leave him, and so he killed her. It's not about the tool that he used to accomplish that. This is about a love story? This not about guns? Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!? This is a story about people who worship guns. People who place their 'right' to own guns ahead of their own safety and everyone else's. These people really are sociopaths, bordering on psychopaths. These people have no sense of reality, they are hung-up on their guns.

And why is it that nobody with a gun is ever available to exercise their Second Amendment rights by stopping this sort of tragedy? Why? Because guns create tragedy, they don't prevent it!

Gun-toting Pa. soccer mom, husband found shot dead in apparent murder-suicide

Today would have been John Lennon's 69th birthday, but he was Second Amendmented in the prime of his life. And it's the 42nd Anniversary of the asassination of Che Guevara, a man whose use of guns was dramatically different (not better or worse) from Meleanie Hain's. Still, they are all dead. By guns. Remember, guns don't kill people . . .

OK! I have to stop now!





Thursday, October 08, 2009

Picasso's Guernica and Afghanistan

by Al Falafal


At one time, Contemporary Art seemed to have the power to wake the world up about atrocities of modern war.

Picasso's Guernica has been called the most famous work of modern art of the 20th Century. Whitechapel Art Gallery in East London, which has a long history of presenting timely, provocative, anti-war visual and performing art, presented an event yesterday - October 7, 2009 - in recognition of the eighth anniversary of the Western Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan.

Roger Lloyd Pack, National Theatre actor and well-known for playing Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, joins musician Brian Eno, actor Janie Dee, George Galloway MP and other prominent figures, who will be appearing at an event marking the eighth anniversary of the Afghanistan invasion, taking place beneath the tapestry of Picasso’s painting Guernica, at the Whitechapel Art Gallery on Wednesday 7 October from 11am to 12.30pm. All welcome.

AFGHANISTAN: A HUMAN TRAGEDY
EIGHT YEARS ON, TIME TO GO
CULTURAL, MILITARY AND POLITICAL VOICES SPEAK OUT







Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Czars

by Dick Mac

I once worked with a young man whose nickname was The Czar. I have no idea how he earned the moniker, but when people talk about him today they still refer to him as Czar.

It's an amusing word: czar. It's wholly un-American sounding. It's a word that evokes thoughts of far away places and kings and tyrants. All of my thoughts of czars are relatively negative. None of the Russian czars are, in American culture, presented as great leaders, innovators, or historical figures worthy of glory.

I was surprised the first time I heard the word used to refer to a member of a government staff. It was during the Reagan administration when some guy was installed as the drug czar.

As a drug user, I found this very amusing: a king of drugs! But, that's not what was intended. I got the sense that this would be a person who would be ruthless about his prosecution of drug users, dealers, and importers (with the focus on the users, of course, not the importers). This official would stop at nothing to address the 'drug problem.'

The real drug problem is not the existence, distribution, or use of drugs, but the lack of quality control, distribution methods, and taxation; but, the drug czars do nothing about these issues. Since this czar would not play any role in civilizing the drug trade, his image is draconian. The drug czar was going to round 'em up and lay down the law.

Czars aren't really presented as nice people, they are presented as can-do guys (and they seem to always be men), who mean business, and will take no names or give any quarter. I think all czars are thought of this way; well, maybe not Peter the Great; but, sadly I learned few details of his illustriousness in my limited education.

The title czar is used to make the person sound mean and effective.

Nobody wants to grow-up to be a czar! I think that even my former colleague was a bit surprised to find out he had grown-up to be a czar.

It did not surprise me when this word was used during the Reagan Administration. Reagan effectively militarized his presentation of America, without actually using the military. He pretended we were tough guys, even though Reagan and his vice-president (referred to as a panty-waist by Jimmy Carter) were pretty major sissies, and like most of the conservatives I know, feign a toughness that betrays them in real-life situations. They talk big, they use tough-guy words, and they present an image that makes us believe they will actually get things done. You know the results.

We only need to look at the effectiveness of the drug czars to see that conservatives are always full of crap and never have any real solutions to real problems. During the reign of Reagan's drug czars was born the crack epidemic, which flourished in a thousand points of light during the reign of Bush-The-Pantywaist. Plenty of money has, however, been funnelled to privatized prisons that house people convicted of drug offenses.

Suddenly, the conservatives don't like czars and they don't want the current President to be allowed to have any. Czars, I guess, are reserved for the right-, er, wrong-wing.

Am I the only one who thinks it's odd that Congress suddenly thinks that Presidents shouldn't have advisers? Would Fox News and the congressional conservatives have talked about controlling czars if John McCain had become President? I think not.

Tune-in tomorrow. Perhaps I will discuss tsars.

'Czar' wars pits White House against lawmakers





Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The High Price of Being Gay


by Dick Mac

WNYC broadcast a report about an article in the New York Times that disucsses the financial cost of being gay. This is not a laundry list of the cost of fine china, Sunday brunch, high fashion, expensive vacations, or other stereotypical notions about homosexual lifestyles. This is a thoughful financial analysis about gay people paying more for the American dream.

NEW YORK, NY October 05, 2009 — It costs more to be a gay couple than a married, heterosexual couple according to an analysis by two New York Times writers. Ron Lieber of the Times's "Your Money" column explains why.

Listen to Financial 411: The Cost of Being Gay, by Beth Fertig, at WNYC.org

Read The High Price of Being a Gay Couple, by Tara Siegel Bernard and Ron Lieber, at the New York Time site






Monday, October 05, 2009

Sunday Morning with Michael

by Al Falafal

While getting myself together to go see the early showing of "Capitalism: A Love Story" this Sunday morning I received the note below in an email from the film's Director. I think it is worth sharing . . .


For Those of You on Your Way to Church This Morning ...a note from Michael Moore

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Friends,

I'd like to have a word with those of you who call yourselves Christians (Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Bill Maherists, etc. can read along, too, as much of what I have to say, I'm sure, can be applied to your own spiritual/ethical values).

In my new film I speak for the first time in one of my movies about my own spiritual beliefs. I have always believed that one's religious leanings are deeply personal and should be kept private. After all, we've heard enough yammerin' in the past three decades about how one should "behave," and I have to say I'm pretty burned out on pieties and platitudes considering we are a violent nation who invades other countries and punishes our own for having the audacity to fall on hard times.

I'm also against any proselytizing; I certainly don't want you to join anything I belong to. Also, as a Catholic, I have much to say about the Church as an institution, but I'll leave that for another day (or movie).

Amidst all the Wall Street bad guys and corrupt members of Congress exposed in "Capitalism: A Love Story," I pose a simple question in the movie: "Is capitalism a sin?" I go on to ask, "Would Jesus be a capitalist?" Would he belong to a hedge fund? Would he sell short? Would he approve of a system that has allowed the richest 1% to have more financial wealth than the 95% under them combined?

I have come to believe that there is no getting around the fact that capitalism is opposite everything that Jesus (and Moses and Mohammed and Buddha) taught. All the great religions are clear about one thing: It is evil to take the majority of the pie and leave what's left for everyone to fight over. Jesus said that the rich man would have a very hard time getting into heaven. He told us that we had to be our brother's and sister's keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly. He said that if you failed to house the homeless and feed the hungry, you'd have a hard time finding the pin code to the pearly gates.

I guess that's bad news for us Americans. Here's how we define "Blessed Are the Poor": We now have the highest unemployment rate since 1983. There's a foreclosure filing once every 7.5 seconds. 14,000 people every day lose their health insurance.

At the same time, Wall Street bankers ("Blessed Are the Wealthy"?) are amassing more and more loot -- and they do their best to pay little or no income tax (last year Goldman Sachs' tax rate was a mere 1%!). Would Jesus approve of this? If not, why do we let such an evil system continue? It doesn't seem you can call yourself a Capitalist AND a Christian -- because you cannot love your money AND love your neighbor when you are denying your neighbor the ability to see a doctor just so you can have a better bottom line. That's called "immoral" -- and you are committing a sin when you benefit at the expense of others.

When you are in church this morning, please think about this. I am asking you to allow your "better angels" to come forward. And if you are among the millions of Americans who are struggling to make it from week to week, please know that I promise to do what I can to stop this evil -- and I hope you'll join me in not giving up until everyone has a seat at the table.

Thanks for listening. I'm off to Mass in a few hours. I'll be sure to ask the priest if he thinks J.C. deals in derivatives or credit default swaps. I mean, after all, he must've been good at math. How else did he divide up two loaves of bread and five pieces of fish equally amongst 5,000 people? Either he was the first socialist or his disciples were really bad at packing lunch. Or both.

Yours,
Michael Moore






Friday, October 02, 2009

Health

by Dick Mac

Health care is central to human life.

What kind of people put profit ahead of human life?






Thursday, October 01, 2009

China At 60

by Dick Mac

How did it happen that China, which was once held-up as a paragon of savage Communism is today a shining example of savage Capitalism?

China has never done anything half-way: dictators, mass production, architecture, military development, Kewpie doll manufacturing, poisoned baby food; everything they do, they do all the way.

And although China has changed, it has remained so-much the same.

Let's compare the two patriotic photographs included in this article: Above there is the image of young women revolutionary soldiers and officers. A nearly lovely image that you would not have seen in print prior to Mao's death in 1976. To the right, the standard portrait of the great and glorious Mao, first Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, first President of China, first Chairman of the Central Military Commission, first Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and general first guy of modern China.

These pictures are quite a contrast for me: the first bordering on sexy while the second represents the staid imagery and repressive sensibility of 20th Century Communism. The new China is much more visually interesting than the old.

Is China going sexy on us? Will China be able to produce sex as a commodity as effectively as they have other commodities? Will there be tainted porn? Tainted fashion?

What can we expect from China in the next sixty years? Will there be any real change at the social level. or will socialization just become a commodity as it is in the United States? Will there be another Cultural Revolution that includes fashion from Top Design television shows and music by Hannah Montana? Will women fare better in a new China than they have in Western Civilization or the old China?

I look forward to seeing it all.

Happy Birthday, China!

Remember this wisdom that I am attributing to Chairman Mao: a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.