The Financial Crisis Explained?

“In short, on April 2, 2009, the President signed a communiqué that essentially turns over financial control of the country, and the planet, to a handful of central bankers, who, besides dictating policy covering everything from your retirement income to shareholder rights, will additionally have access to your health and education records.”

–Bruce Wiseman, “Hitler’s Bank Goes Global”

My dad sent me a link to this guy (of whom I’ve never heard) who lays out the banking crisis as a plan to unseat the U.S. dollar as the basic unit of international money. It’s not a long read, and interesting as it maps how what might be considered typical banking and political shenanigans were exploited.

The quote above comes from the second article in the series and is of particular interest to me (and I’d think to anyone who values our Constitutional Republic). The President basically gave the keys to the country to a foreign bank. (And this is not a political issue; Bush would doubtless have done the same thing.)

Much like socialism, it’s come to pass that having a group of ultra-powerful private bankers run a country’s economy is just the norm for the world today. Politicians, of course, just want to spend money, not think about it, so they just let someone else do the thinking for them.

The question of whether or not the President’s actions are legal and binding is a separate one, and the crucial one for all of us: Wiseman issues a call to action for everyone to make sure their representatives know that what the President signs is essentially a treaty and needs to be ratified by Congress.

Anyone have Glenn Beck’s number?

Thanksgiving

Lord, every year we gather here
To eat around this table
Give us the strength to stomach as much
As fast as we are able

Bless this food to our use though
Communication’s useless
Don’t let me drink too much wine
Lord, you know how I get ruthless

Let us somehow get through this meal
Without that bad old feeling
With history and memory
And home cooking revealing

Remind us that we’re all grown up
Adults, no longer children
Now it’s our kids who spill the milk
And our turn to wanna kill them

I look around and recognize
A sister and a brother
We rarely see our parents now
We hardly see each other

On this auspicious occasion
This special family dinner
If I argue with a loved one
Lord, please make me the winner

All this food looks and smells so good
But I can hardly taste it
The sense of something has been lost
There’s no way to replace it

After the meal, switch on the game
There’s just a few more seconds
But I’m so tired, I need a nap
The guest bedroom bed beckons

I fall asleep, I have a dream
And it is the family
Nothing bad has happened yet
And everyone is happy

Mother and father both still young
And naturally they love us
We’re all lying on a lawn at night
Watching the stars above us

Lord, every year we gather here
To eat around this table
Give us the strength to stomach as much
As fast as we are able

–Loudon Wainwright III (video)

Are The Chinese The New Japanese?

Actually, my first question is: Have I become ultraconservative or prude or something?

Let me back up. If you haven’t seen this ad for an inflatable bra from China, you should. I first thought it was Japanese because, hey, you know: Japan. Also, the women there seem to have trouble interesting the men in coming out of their parents’ basements while China is suffering a shortage of women, thanks to population control policies.

But, of course, Japanese sounds nothing like Chinese.

It does make me wonder if China is the new Japan. Remember when everyone was panicked about the Japanese taking over? Not so much any more, eh? Also, the Chinese—despite the crushing hand of whatever form of government they have—seem to be getting weirder and weirder.

The other thing that jarred me, though, was the use of the phrase “God’s hands”. That’s right: This bra company is making the “She’s Mine” bra which uses “God’s hands” to lift up and mash a woman’s breasts together. (Nice touch: adjustable to various cup sizes. After all, a girl wants to be appreciated for her other features as well. Just not always.)

But…God’s hands? Really? Isn’t that the very definition of “profane”? I mean, I’m more amused than anything. After all, the Chinese know what’s profane to the Chinese, right? And the Chinese have never seemed to have the same sort of relationship with God as Western civilization has.

Still. Odd.

Inappropriate Advertising

Far from being intrusive, I’ve actually found that I enjoy Google Mail’s targeted ads. (And yeah, I know they’re evil. A company who’s first motto is “don’t be evil” virtually had to turn out that way, didn’t it?)

I’ve written about the spam, for example, and it’s sort of interesting trying to figure out what the targets in this so-called targeted advertising is. But now Gmail has presented this ad for the Baader-Meinhoff movie with the tag, “The revolution is reborn!” Er, maybe it was “reignited”. (I don’t know what caused Gmail to put that ad up, but it changed and I can’t get it back now.)

Wait, what? Nooooo. I hope the point of that movie was that revolutionaries were dumb thugs using political ideology as an excuse for bad behavior.

I mean, even if you’re an ideological fellow traveler, I would hope this movie served more as an embarrassment than a rallying cry.

“The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” -V.I. Lenin

I tend to agree of late that the very term “Capitalism” is Marx’s socialist framing of what is, in essence, freedom, and that we’re poorer for using the term to describe free markets.

By the way, it was Marx who infected economics—by all rights a hard science with immutable laws—with politics and turned it into the morass it is today.

Jerky jerk-face.

Happy Thanksgiving From The ‘Strom

Another movie review shortly: Fantastic Mr. Fox! What if Wes Anderson made a kids movie?

Also, some more home DVR stories.

And I made the ultimate sacrifice* and bought the next three Friday The 13th movies off of Ebay so I can continue my series. (*Sacrifice totaling $8.)

Also I’ve been notified I’m going not be an employee much longer. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Happy Thanksgiving To All!

Geek Jobs (bumped and updated)

Back when Computer Gaming World magazine was still in print, you’d occasionally get stories about how some flack was talking about how their new graphics engine was enhanced to give Lara Croft an especially realistic butt jiggle.

As a programmer, it always amazes me that some programmers get paid to, you know, program butt jiggle. Or breast jiggle. And, now: pubic hair.

Regarding this pubic hair, the first thing that occurred to me was: Well, now, actors gain and lose weight all the time, they dye and cut their hair or grow it out, was it really so hard to go without “grooming” for a few weeks to get a more “natural” look?

Then I read the part of the article where it mentions “brazilians” and wondered exactly how close up (and on what body parts) this movie was gonna get.

Then it occurred to me that a computer programmer probably wrote a “pubic hair” routine that’s going to be used.

And it struck me what an odd world we live in.

I was also reminded of something Ralph Bakshi said about when he was animating his adult features. To paraphrase, he said that it was nearly impossible to get animators who could do nudity. They would either be too timid, prudish or giggling—or they’d be heavy breathing and too worked up to draw.

Fortunately, programmers mainly have to type.

Update: See what I mean?

In the boardroom of human expression, several would-be clichés are tested out.

Winner: When you assume, you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”.

Runner-up (socialists only): When you consume, you make “cons” out of “u” and “me”.

Winner: There is no “I” in “team”.

Runner-up: “Team” is made of “meat”.

Winner: Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t: you’re right.

Runner-up: Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t: Management will stop you.

Winner: Think outside the box.

Runner-up: Don’t you love the wallpaper in here?

Winner: At the end of the day…

Runner-up: At the end of the lunch break…

(I started—and stopped—this a year-and-a-half ago. No idea why I thought it would be good to post now.)

So Many Chemicals, So Little Time

One of my favorite quacks—and I use that term affectionately is a lady named Hulda Clark. She has a theory that all diseases are the result of chemicals and parasites (using the term “parasites” to mean any bacteria, virus, fungus or actual worm). More specifically, that what goes wrong is that modern chemicals interact with parasites and cause them to go through their life cycles in “the wrong place”.

So, while your body may be able to handle Ascaris going through your intestines, if it gets into your liver and interacts with propyl alcohol, bang, you get cancer. I may have that muddled. But the basic idea is there: wrong organism, wrong place, wrong chemical — disease.

Of course, the only thing more common than propyl alcohol is Ascaris, so it’s hard to get clean. However, I met many people whom she had cured of “terminal” cancer when I went to her clinic. (Not just cancer, either. And whatever her motivations are, greed does not seem to be among them.)

I thought of her fondly while reading this Pop Sci article on chemicals. We carry around, literally, thousands of different chemicals, largely unknown both in terms of how they affect us singly and how they interact with each other. That’s before we get around to medicating ourselves.

There are a few mentalities that I find interesting, which that tiny webspace illustrates. First, there’s the idea that “this it the new normal”, according to a scientist in D.C. Keep that in mind: It doesn’t really matter if these chemicals are going to kill you, don’t expect anyone to acknowledge anything too challenging. (And getting rid of these chemicals would be very challenging indeed.)

Second, there’s the idea that “we’re living longer so we must be doing something right”. Well, not really: What if shortened life spans in previous centuries had to do with cosmic rays? I’m just pulling that out of thin air, but it shared thin-airspace with “we must be doing something right”.

Third, there’s the comment that, well, whatever the issue is, it’s too trivial to waste time on. It’s only a few extra sick kids after all—this idea is based on the example of leukemia used by the article’s author—and we’d do better to use that money for helping kids presumably not killed by exposure to chemicals. (Interestingly, the name on the comment is “Shannon Love”. ChicagoBoyz’ Shannon Love spurred a very early post. Dunno if it’s the same one.)

There’s a certain class of people who absolutely hate “quacks”, where “quack” is defined as anyone who doesn’t conform to the current conventional medical wisdom. On the other hand, I consider Ignaz Semmelweiss sort of the patron saint of this blog.

Clark is an interesting person. Very nerdy. Into research. I would have liked to question her on certain things about her philosophy (in which I see certain apparent contradictions). But to me the question of “does it work” is junior to the question “why does it work?”

And since I used her “zapper"—a device that cycles a low level current at various frequencies through your body to kill these parasites—to quickly knock out some debilitating allergies that had been plaguing me for years, I’m less inclined to worry about those contradictions. She could be completely wrong, but I still can breathe.

Today Is Not That Day, Part 6: Bonus Deluxe Edition

For those of you who haven’t followed this blog for a long time, this post may be your introduction to “Today Is Not That Day”. T.I.N.T.D. is a theory I have that one day I will say to myself, “Gee, I wish I sent my kids to school.”

Maybe it’ll be when Oprah visits the local middle school, or the President issues an executive order for homeschoolers to be round up and shot. Who knows? Until then, there a lot of reasons why Today Is Not That Day.

13% of the girls in this high school are pregnant. I love the reportage, too: “Some would say that movies, TV, videogames, lazy parents and lax discipline may all be to blame.” Apparently, the notion that the place they spend eight hours a day might have something to do with it is so absurd, “some” wouldn’t even say it! I’m not sure, but I think this is the school that is going to open a nursery across the street.

But it’s the dances, and the sweet, romantic gang-rapes that homeschooled kids miss out on the most. (Actually, there are homeschool dances; after dance rapes, not so much.) Sometimes I think kids would be safer in an actual prison.

It’s not all lax discipline, though. There’s always zero tolerance to the rescue! Saving our beleaguered bureaucrats from having to think. It’s so much easier to expel kids, you know: Just to be safe. (And slavish adherence to stupid rules is way more prevalent than rape, and probably more pervasively damaging to an institution that purports to educate.)

Finally, here’s a funny and interesting 20 minute lecture by Sir Ken Robinson about schools and the stifling of creativity. I don’t agree with everything he says, but the basic principle—that schools were meant to encourage one way of thinking and only on limited topics—I think is undeniable. (Thank God for teachers who are smarter than that, but the institution itself is designed to create workers for tomorrow’s industrial economy. If “tomorrow” is ca. 1859.)

So, until the next day that is not that day: Question authority!