Saturday, March 31, 2007

03.31.07 – The Dismal Science Redux, Wal-Mart Espionage, Deconstructing Exurbia

Deconstructing the Dismal Science
“Economic theory and economic fact have long since parted company. And since we structure the world according to the theories of economists, this imperils just about everything.” Some thoughts on the disconnect between liberal democrat notions of economic theory and the reality out here, by Barry Lind in the American Prospect. (Free subscription required)

Big (Box) Brother
“It reads like a cold war thriller: The spy follows the suspects through several countries, ending up in Guatemala City, where he takes a room across the hall from his quarry. Finally, after four days of surveillance, including some patient ear-to-the-keyhole work, he is able to report back to headquarters that he has the goods on them. They’re guilty! But this isn’t a John Le CarrĂ© novel, and the powerful institution pulling the strings wasn’t the USSR or the CIA. It was Wal-Mart, and the two suspects weren’t carrying plans for a shoulder-launched H-bomb. Their crime was “fraternization.” One of them, James W. Lynn, a Wal-Mart factory inspection manager, was traveling with a female subordinate, with whom he allegedly enjoyed some intimate moments behind closed doors. At least the company spy reported hearing “moans and sighs” within the woman’s room.Now you may wonder why a company so famously cheap that it requires its same-sex teams to share hotel rooms while on the road would invest in international espionage to ferret out mixed-sex fraternizers. Unless, as Lynn argues, they were really after him for what is a far worse crime in Wal-Mart’s books: Openly criticizing the conditions he found in Central American factories supplying Wal-Mart stores.”

I suppose Wal-Mart has the right to spy on their people, but why do they?

Exurbia: Built on Paradox and Hypocrisy
“This situation is thick with paradox and hypocrisy; in supporting a draconian immigration crackdown, right-wing white America is rebelling against the builders of the modern-day fundamentalist-anarchist paradises that so many of its voters find so enticing. Just as the Hebrew slaves built the pyramids for the pharaoh, Mexican slaves built exurbia for white, middle-class America.”

Friday, March 30, 2007

03.30.07 - Somalia: They Should've Left Well Enough Alone

The US, UN, AU and all the other meddlesome actors on the international stage, that is. I see now by this story from the BBC that the violence and chaos level in the new Somali state is way, way worse than existed when the Somalis lived in stateless anarchy. Go figger? And yet the Brit news and analysis types think this progress. Like we anarchists like to say, "the best state is no state at all."

03.30.07 - Emma Goldman Had a Pretty Smile

Emma Goldman, age 21.

Why is it I wonder that whenever Emma Goldman's pic appears in an article the author always uses images of her as a very old woman? They don't usually do this with men do they? Maybe it just bothers me more because it seems to most eyes that men age better. Is this unconscious sexism on my part or some unnamed aspect of human psycho-biology. Who knows? Anyhow, I like this pic of EG better.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

03.29.07 "Good Government" Not in the GOP's DNA?

"The third is that the alternative reality conveyed by the Republican media -- Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk -- has created a Republican activist base that is genuinely not reality-based, and from which the current generation of Republican pols is disproportionately drawn. And the fourth, pertaining specifically to the inability of the administration to stop politicizing government, is that good government is just not in their DNA. Bush and Rove are no more inclined to create a government based on such impartial values as law and science than they are to set up collective farms." Says a Washington Post blogger anyhow.

But is that really such a bad thing? I am cynical enough to say that the government that runs the state, (any state), is mainly concerned about it's own organizational maintenance, the care and feeding of it's political base, and maintaining it's hold on power; any good it does after tending to those goals first is coincidence or luck. How I see it any way.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

03.07.07 – Nostalgia for the “Good Old Days” is Bullsh*t

Whether it’s the 1950’s, 60’s or ‘80s that you pine for, remember this; times have always been tough for the average American. To get anywhere at all requires a lot of preparation, effort, sweat, and a good dose of luck.

“Yet the very conservatives who marvel at the efficiency of our new, more mobile economy and extol the ‘flexibility’ of our workforce", say one Washington Post blogger, "decry the flexibility of the personal lives of American workers. The right-wing ideologues who have championed outsourcing, offshoring and union-busting, who have celebrated the same changes that have condemned American workers to lives of financial instability, piously lament the decline of family stability that has followed these economic changes as the night the day.

American conservatism is a house divided against itself. It applauds the radicalism of the economic changes of the past four decades -- the dismantling, say, of the American steel industry (and the job and income security that it once provided) in the cause of greater efficiency. It decries the decline of social and familial stability over that time -- the traditional, married working-class families, say, that once filled all those churches in the hills and hollows in what is now the smaller, post-working-class Pittsburgh."