The Nobel Door Prize December 15, 2009Posted by voolavex in carbon emmissions, global warming, green, Pakistan, Politics, Politics & Religion, war.
Tags: Afghani, Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Copenhagen, greed, green, Nobel Door Prize, Nobel Prize, Obama, Paki, Pakistan, Sadam, Stockholm, Union Carbide, W, Woburn
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Taking stock of Stockholm and Copenhagen in the last week has led me to some conclusions that may not sound very patriotic, but honesty should not be usurped by mislaid love of country. You can love your country without loving some of what is done in its name. The same goes for your neighbor.
Copenhagen. In order to speed greed you have to be able to use every tool you have to get there. Greed is a global goal. Or the spoils of greed. And why not – I think we have reached a tipping point (thank you MG) where all the fingers in all the dikes are not going to make enough of an impact to save much of anything. Sounds hopeless but it may be more truth than anyone can bear to utter. I was green in the 70’s – what fun being laughed out of conversations about destroying the planet and the small steps that could be taken to slow this down. And if that wasn’t annoying enough – being green was expensive (as it is now) and impeded by the newest in living better through chemistry. No one cared about Three Mile Island or Union Carbide or the Woburn Cancer Cluster. A few (hundred thousand) souls were a small sacrifice for Big Biz to absorb in the pursuit of money. Collateral damage without even a war. That was 40 years ago.
We have made huge strides in our pursuit of the Money and the Brand. As Pogo said “We have met the enemy and he is us”. He is. No one wants to lower emissions by charter. If they sign up then they have to be responsible and we cannot have that and corporate sovereignty. Copenhagen was not quite what we had in mind. So while the planet slimes and slurps and melts and freezes and generally goes the way of a Styrofoam cup – there is good news too – we have found water on the Moon. Get ready to play the collectible, limited edition of Lunar Monopoly.
Stockholm. White tie is never unpleasant to see. And President Obama looked wonderful and a little confused in his as he accepted the Nobel Prize.
But the point is this: Any president in 2009 has inherited 8 years of a war without a point. Obama is doing what Sadam-obsessed W should have continued to do when he deployed Oct 7 2001. Instead he drained our country of soldier’s blood to get an imaginary enemy. We are now back to square one/Oct 7 2001 when the target was Al Qaeda in Afghani/Pakistan. He is merely doing – and not something I like either – what W should have done and won.
I am not sure Mr. Obama should have won the Nobel Peace Prize. I doubt he thinks so either. And as he sends troops into no-win Afghanistan it is an even harder accolade to accept or deserve. Ah well. Unfortunately they do not yet have a Nobel War Prize. Or a Nobel Door Prize.
We Must Not Close Gitmo November 14, 2008Posted by voolavex in Politics & Religion, Uncategorized.
Tags: Alan Greenspan, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, Bush, capitalists, car, cell, Cheney, crooks, Cuba, detainees, Fed, future, Gitmo, greed, Guantanamo, hedge funds, income, John Galt, objectivism, Objectvism, political, Rumsfeld, slammer, Valerie Plame, Yaron Brook
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Washington, D.C. –“Despite overwhelming evidence that government policies caused the current financial crisis, Congress is blaming businessmen,” said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “What’s worse, the capitalists who have been shackled with unprecedented regulatory burdens are unable to defend themselves morally. Though the events are different, this pattern of abuse and submission is straight out of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
“The cycle starts with government intervening into the economy and imposing regulations and controls on business. This distorts the free market, leading to economic dislocations. When the problems caused by these distortions inevitably follow, everyone blames the free market and its greedy capitalists. The proposed solution? More government controls. Over the years, conservative critics of creeping government have repeatedly exposed this illogic but have always been helpless to explain why the cycle keeps repeating, decade after decade.
“The pattern keeps recurring because businessmen are willing to take the blame. From capitalism’s inception, its defenders have been morally disarmed by the widespread view that self-interest is morally suspect, and disinterested service to others is a moral ideal. So each new spate of controls has been grudgingly accepted as a fair price to pay for society’s toleration of the selfish pursuit of profit.
“Atlas Shrugged depicted a society in economic collapse due to this recurring cycle, and today’s parallels are obvious. Government manipulation of money, credit, and lending standards over several decades caused the mess we’re in. Now, the offered solution is more of the poison that sickened the economy–more bailouts, more cheap money, more government-guaranteed loans, and above all, more regulations.
“This chronic cycle will not end until businessmen accept that their production of profit is neither immoral nor amoral–it is the capstone of moral virtue. Once they shrug off the role of scapegoat, businessmen can demand with moral certitude that government punish fraud and enforce contracts but refrain from interfering with voluntary trades among consenting adults.
“When America’s markets are finally free of all coercion–in other words, when laissez-faire is achieved–financial crises such as the one we’re experiencing will never happen again.”
Basing the current crisis on this rationale is not going to produce many guilty pleas in Federal Courts. But there will be trials and there will be verdicts and yes, Virginia, people will go to jail.
Why not turn the ugly history of Gitmo into a place that houses the people that did this to our nation – not alleged enemy combatants – but greedy, cheating, lying men and women who should know what it’s like to lose your home, your family, your income, your future, your sanity as you fill their bottomless pit of greed. Let them live in a little bitty cell – like the family car has become an itty bitty cell for the unemployed, disenfranchised, hopeless and homeless taxpayers of this country. I would suggest a dress code – jumpsuits of khaki and oxford blue. And cheap tacky slip-ons. Nutritious food with no flavor and no variety. No wine. No bottled water. Minimal health care ( just like everyone else’s) and no Ayn Rand tomes. Let them know that Atlas has indeed shrugged and it has all landed on them. Envision these detainees in the tropical splendor of Cuba’s southeastern shores hunting endlessly for John Galt as they try to jump start the engine of the world perpetually in motion but only in their direction.
Guantanamo Prison Camp is too symbolic and too perfect to be closed and made into a museum – who would actually visit it owing to its location and the situation in Cuba? But as a slammer. It’s just perfect. Please share your thoughts on this idea.
And, if you are fans, supporters or believers in Ayn Rand and her Objectivism – you are welcome to comment – but I am personally not interested in her philosophy. I have read her books and taken in her website and considered her views. She is not my cup of tea. I will read your comments but I will not post screeds, rants, apologies or propaganda on her ideas. Sorry – but I did it once before and I found it distasteful.
Inflammation at Tiffany’s August 6, 2008Posted by voolavex in Uncategorized.
Tags: corporate, eBay, Elsa Peretti, greed, Silver, tarnish, Tiffany's
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Tiffany & Co made gift giving and jewelry buying a no brainer in 1974 when they signed Elsa Peretti to their company and started what became a very engaging habit for me since then. I am not a jewelry lover per se (fancy diamonds and Mikimoto pearls notwithstanding) but Elsa’s perfect silver designs spoke to me in two words “Buy me”. And I did. In New York and Los Angeles. The prices were ridiculously low even for the times – it was easy to go to the Elsa case and buy something for $20. From the age of 14 I bought my daughter Tiffany for every special occasion. My best friend and I made countless trips there in 33 years answering Elsa’s simple call. Corporate owners came and went and until about 1998 it beat out Disneyland for the happiest place on Earth. And then something happened and they broke my heart (and my one stop jewelry shopping).
It started with the chains which got noticably short – not shorter because there were few long ones on anything anymore . What might have hung gracefully mid-chest was now sitting around the clavicles. Then came the crummy silk cord; replacing in many cases any chain at all. Years back their long, finished silk cord came in a range of colors – I still have two. At first this new cord just tied and good luck if it fell off. I believe now it may have a clasp – not much of an improvement but I assume there were complaints. Repairs and reshines? These also used to be gratis or inexpensive for customers. Now there’s a price chart. And on the subject of prices – I wish I knew where to start . At this writing silver is a little over $16.00/oz – and slowly going down. This is the everyday low price for anyone who buys silver today. And while the prices of Elsa increased- she stayed affordable. True they clopped along with times but the place was still packed with 20-Somethings buying Elsa -affording Elsa – Elsa with integrity- a little piece of style icon we could all afford. Even when Avon ( you know Ding Dong) owned it, the bean crunchers seemed to be reasonable; balancing prices with the joy of lots of happy customers. And then one day not too long ago, a big holding company knocked it over and threw out the welcome mat, inscribed with GREED in big letters. Selection narrowed, prices soared (and after all silver is silver – Tiffany shoppers are paying for style and hallmark) and then, as if nothing worse could happen – quality changed.
Eight Belles’ Death Knell May 5, 2008Posted by voolavex in Uncategorized.
Tags: Churchill Downs, cruelty, death, Eight Belles, greed, horse racing, Royal Ascot, royalty, Run for the Roses, Sport of Kings
My mother rode horses when she was girl in high school and so did I. Mine, however, was a very brief foray into the equestrian world. Clearly not for me. From the first day the idea of putting in and then pulling something in an animal’s mouth to make it obey made me very uneasy. I was 14 and had no idea about very much – but this just didn’t seem right. Years later we had a Shetland pony, Cashew, when my siblings were kids. He threw people. I never said a word (I was an adult by then) but I secretly admired and respected him for his unwillingness to become a broken fool. My brother now owns a racehorse that lives a quiet life in a safe home with lots of freedom to be just a horse. He rescued her. I love him for that.
It is hard to reconcile a horse running fine and free with being broken and bridled for the needs of men. It is even more disturbing when it serves no purpose other than spectator sport and its life partner greed. I don’t think horses like it. I don’t imagine they believe – as some would like to us think- that they are doing something majestic when they Run for the Roses or go to Royal Ascot. I think – given a choice – they would rather run free and allow their foals to do the same. I resent the conjecture of owners, trainers and racing fans that horses “like” being driven to run on command and are forced – daily – to train for something that is so obviously not good for their health. I think this in the same way I don’t think Greyhounds “like” chasing Swifty. But it is easier to rescue a Greyhound than a horse and the stakes in dog racing are clearly less high end .
There is something both fascinating and repugnant about horse races. From the touts at the fence to the Royal Box at Ascot – the sport attracts extremes from the corner to the crown. Yet it all boils down to the same issue – cruelty to animals who cannot protest or advocate for themselves. When Eight Belles laid down to die on the turf at Churchill Downs she illustrated – in all its tragic proportions just how cruel racing is. Her huge, tired body – raced to death on those beautiful, delicate legs – died for money and glory – not for herself but for the people who stole her life.
It is quite one thing for humans to ask their bodies to run and jump and perform to the extremes required by sport – they have the ability to stop when they decide to stop. Animals do not have that choice. Eight Belles stopped too and because did, there was no win yesterday. There was only an ugly, unnecessary, public death of a beautiful creature. We can be grateful perhaps that she was euthanized – had it been another time she would have been shot to put her out of her misery. So the answer to the question; “they shoot horses, don’t they?” is yes, but it starts before they are born.
Eight Belles’ death should make us all stop and think about The Sport of Kings for what it really is. Just an upscale blood sport that ennobles no one.
NB – Sorry for the on and off run-on graphs. This is a WordPress problem and they are trying to fix it.