Thursday, October 22, 2009

Down at the Graveyard: Light Thoughts about Grave Matters

OK. let's just collect all the clinches, puns, etc. about graveyards and bury them once and for all.

I was talking to the Superintendent at the cemetery:

How's business? I said.

Oh, just great. In fact, people are dying to get in.

Is that so?

Yeah, besides that there are people dying today who never died before.

No kidding! You do a good job here, I bet.

Yeah, well, we've never had any complaints for any of our tenants. Nobody has ever tried to get out.

What's it like working in a cemetery?

Well, its' awfully quiet. No loud music. No wild parties,  Late at night, it's pretty dead around here.

What do you do if a prospective customer complains about a plot?

Oh, we'd start digging into it and not stop till  we got to the bottom of it.

But aren't a lot more people getting cremated these days? Does that hurt business here?

Well, you know, more people are thinking outside the box, and that is a grave problem for us.

Do you have any worries at all?

Oh yes,  I do have a few worries, but I  think about them for a while and then just bury them.

You like working here, on the whole?

Oh yeah. And undertakers are wonderful people, very loyal and trustworthy. I can assure you  they will be the last to let you down.

Myths of Capitalist Apologists: Now and Then

At a conference in London, a Goldman Sachs international adviser, Brian Griffiths, praised inequality. As his company was putting aside $16.7 billion for compensation and benefits in the first nine months of 2009, up 46 percent from a year earlier, Griffiths told us not to worry. "We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all," he said. (Robert Reich)

Oh Yeah, well in the old days his ancestral myth makers said that the lower classes needed the goad of starvation to make them work, thus justifying subsistence wages.

I have never understood that last claim, since the same myth makers insist that the rich need the goad of greater income and wealth to persuade them to  work, invest, and create jobs.

Could it be that the lure of higher wages might  also make the poor work and work harder? Or are we common folks a different form of humanity who need different incentives?

These capitalist myths are all crap and baloney, I

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Work of Christ

Signs of Plutocracy

On every front: derivatives regulation, the proposed Consumer Financial Product Agency, new limits on commodities trading, the administration's initial proposals have encountered overwhelming opposition from lobbyists and been eviscerated as they inch through Congress.


This agrees every other analysis I have seen. Obama and Geithner bark but so far have not bitten except in mostly harmless ways. Congressional leaders express outrage. Congress roars as if in childbirth with an elephant but seems to be bringing forth a relatively harmless mouse.

You want a reason why the bills to regulate banks are being gutted? Just look at the money the financial institutions give Democrats. Check out how much Goldman Sachs and the like have given Obama.

Was it Will Rogers who said he was tired of people criticizing Congress. Why, he said, we have the best Congress money can buy!

OK, I suppose this condemnation has to be qualified a little given the announcement just made that severe pay cuts have been ordered for some big banks -- but not Goldman Sachs and J. P. Morgan Chase, who have repaid their direct TARP funds. But they benefit from other government programs and guarantees that enable them to make big profits with little risk. So, I insist that the plutocracy is still largely intact and capable of great mischief to the masses of us average folks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

No Moral Equivalency Between Israel and the Palestinians

Once again today a defender of Israel assumed Israel's right of defense against Hamas attacks. Of course, but only if you assume initially a moral equality between the two at the present moment.

I reject that assumption because of the events of 1948, when Israel forcibly expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, and 1967, when Israel considerably expanded its borders. Granted, enough guilt is real on both sides since Israel became a state in 1947. But the fact remains that Israel today occupies territory not originally given them and has been an oppressor of the weaker Palestinians for all these decades.

While all  Palestinian violence against Israel is futile and to be deplored, no way can the two be considered as being on initially equal terms at the present, so that any attack by Hamas or other Palestinians is a justification for severe retribution in the name of self-defense.

Yet that is the unquestioned assumption we see over and over in this country. It must be challenged in the name of justice.