Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

"It takes a deep obliviousness to reality for an ardent Bush supporter to be sounding the alarm about the "nanny state" at the same time that his beloved president and party are solicitously spoon-feeding their wailing Wall Street brat out of a $700 billion jar of Gerber's."

Gary Kamiya writing in Salon on The Republican Shipwreck

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fun Political Ads

For Obama:

For McCain

See more Hayden Panettiere videos at Funny or Die

Monday, October 13, 2008

I just wouldn't want one to marry my sister

One of my well-worn soapboxes concerns Corporate Personhood. An introduction to a 19th-century Supreme Court Case (Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific Railroad) asserted personhood for corporations and various subsequent rulings have continued the proposition. What this means is that corporations enjoy, among other things, the right of free speech. The danger is that this personhood carries with it the implicit acceptance into our society of non-human entities.

A society is shaped by it's members, indirectly through the leaders we choose (either by election or acclaim) or directly through our behavior and our acceptance, or not, of the behavior of other members of our society. Each member's internal moral compass reflects what they consider acceptable, and is in turn calibrated by what society considers acceptable.

But Corporations do not have a moral compass. They have no concept of right or wrong, only legal and illegal. They are, in effect, sociopathic. In a purely human society, sociopaths would be culled because their behavior is so antithetical to the functioning of society. But in our brave new world they are allowed to be members of, and continue to influence, our society.

Corporations, aside from having no moral compass, have another interesting difference from the human members of our society: life span. Few people can expect to live past 100, no matter how well they take care of themselves, but corporations can and do live for 150 years or more.

A third major difference? Wealth. The richest man in the country cannot hold a candle to the richest corporation.

So, we've accepted into our society a race of rich, immortal, psychopaths. What could be wrong with that?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The First Debate

We cracked open a bottle of wine, put out some cheese and fresh-baked pumpernickel bread and sat down for an evening with the candidates. Overall I thought it was a good debate, which to me is a back-and-forth discussion of the issues. I want the participants to tell me, the viewer, what they are going to do about Iran, Afghanistan, Oil, The Economy; but more importantly, show me that they know what they are talking about. So for me, the winner is the one who accomplishes that.

To that extent, I'd have to say that Obama won. Obviously, I'm biased. But I'm also capable of independent thought. A part of me was watching this debate through the eyes of someone not predisposed to vote either way. That part of me saw Obama as Presidential and McCain as Senatorial. By that I mean that I can see Barack sitting in the Oval Office, taking advice, and making a command decision; whereas I can see McCain sitting at a conference table giving advice and working to achieve consensus or at least get what he wants. Nothing I have seen from McCain says 'Leader' in any way; at best it says 'Manager' and one you don't want to cross.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wanda on Politics

Wanda Sykes on the tonight show. Very funny stuff.

Compensation Caps

Hank Paulson has been adamant that there can be no cap on the executive compensation for any company participating in the bailout. His reasoning? Because they might not participate. Now on the face of it, this seems absolutely laughable. You don't want to take the handout from the man on the street, because he insists you agree to kick your habit? Okay, that's less money we need to handout to the Wall Street beggars.

But that's actually not the reason. The reason is that he wants to hold auctions for the toxic securities, and the more companies that participate, the better chance of setting a fair market value on them. His worry is that companies who are not in dire straights, but do have these securities will opt to take their chances. That diminishes the number of companies participating and leaves this toxic waste out there.

How about this idea: Regulations that limit the compensation of any employee of a publicly traded corporation to a multiple of the lowest compensated employee of that corporation? Compensation would include salary (in any form), stock (in any form), or any other remuneration which the corporation reports. IE., if the multiple is set at, say, 100, then if the salary of the lowest paid employee is $35,000 then the CEO could receive $3,500,000. If the CEO wants options on 100,000 shares of stock, then the janitor needs to receive 1,000.

That removes the disincentive to participate in Paulson's We-Pay-Cash-For-Your-Unwanteds" nonsense.

The best approach is probably to put the regulations in place as fast as possible (this is an emergency, remember?). Then slow walk the Bailout until after the election or when Paulson's head explodes, whichever comes first.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Section 8

For those of you not horrified enough with the Economic Patriot Act, I offer for your consideration Section 8 of said legislation. It reads, in its entirety:

"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."


No, more than "WOW".

Holy Fucking Shit!

So, we're saying that Henry Paulson can do whatever he wants with $700,000,000,000.00. Whatever. He. Wants.

If he decides that the best bailout plan is to buy Fiji and move his family there, so be it. Sure, we might be pissed, but we're prevented, BY LAW, from doing anything about it.

But he wouldn't do something like that. Really? Why Not? In the world of corporate capitalism there is no "Right" or "Wrong"; there is "Legal" and "Illegal". We're about to make it Legal for a captain of American capitalism to do whatever he wants with almost a Trillion dollars of our money!