Showing posts from 2008

The Subtleties of Human Sacrifice, Not So Subtle

Here's the latest LA Times front page full of irony. Three major stories here, at least considered major by the Times judgment. The biggest is the one about the California attorney general, Jerry Brown, formally arguing the case that Proposition 8, an initiative that put into the state constitution the words "Marriage is only between a man and a woman"--is a violation of basic human rights. I wonder if he'd just as easily proclaim that prohibitions against rape or child molestation are a violation of basic human rights. Nah, I didn't think so. I guess I just wonder where he gets the idea that sodomy is okay. The answer is nowhere. The only place where it is acceptable and from which come all sorts of strident sophistry in favor of it is the minds of "progressives," and because there are enough of them, not a lot really, but enough, then it is pronounced a human right. Seems quite democratic, that's for sure--it must be good. Because so many of those

The Industry Standard for Usury Deception

It's kind of interesting, the two big financial stories of the day, placed side-by-side on all the newspapers and newssites. The two stories: The assessment of the fallout from major investment player Bernard Madoff's elaborate Ponzi operation, and the Federal Reserve's slashing the federal funds rate to a quarter of a percent-- which is, for all intents and purposes, zero. For those who dare to look at these items through the eyes of Christ, they may actually see the insidious ways imaginative deception is used as the chief tool of World operatives sworn to sustain expansive levels of human sacrifice. It is funny to think how many people bought into Madoff's promise of 13% return on their investment--I'd even heard that those hit the hardest were residents of West Palm Beach in Florida, I mean, wasn't this the same bunch ridiculed for their inability to cast a ballot in 2000? Hey, gotta make sure my retirement is really secure . In its simplest terms, Madoff go

Perfectly Fine Value Extraction

Happened to come across a story in my morning LA Times about a charitable group formed from the Service Employees International Union. In two of the charity's four years it raised $165,000 to be used to help members get low-income housing. Well, as you can imagine, none of that money went to the recipients, all of it went for expenses and overhead. A couple of problems arise from this "travesty of justice." One is that every institutionalized charity must cover its operating expenses or you have no recipient benefits. Don't have a building and laborers to process things? The money can't get places to begin with. It is almost as if a charity must declare, "We must have x amount of money before we can actually make other monies available." This is just plain business reality. The second problem comes from an inherent condition of "charity." In looking all around I don't see much about this condition addressed. For context I came across anoth

"It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's SUPER Hillary!"

My family and I recently spent a week in Walt Disney World, and there is enough Catholicist Nation fodder there for a writing episode at another time. I will admit much of it is quite fun, and after we returned from a six-day binge we had to detox. I popped in a wonderful film, The Incredibles , something my children have seen a half-a-dozen times but I’d only seen once, back when it was in the theaters. As I watched it I was intrigued by its similarity to Watchmen , which I’d webzined on last month. I have to believe Brad Bird, the guy who put The Incredibles together, had to have been very familiar with Watchmen , because the Pixar film is a virtual children’s version of the classic graphic novel. At one point in The Incredibles the superheroes are outlawed because they are saving people who don’t want to be saved. What do you think about this idea? I ask my Government students this discussion question: “We all have a right not to be beat up for no reason. But what do you think if

The Ordained Imagination Catastrophizer

A recent book by Barbara Oakley titled Evil Genes tried to work out the details of how innate genetic information can make someone psychotic, or, as the politically correct crowd would have us instead say, "exhibit antisocial personality behavior." She takes great pains to describe the characteristics of individuals who frequently through history have made their way into high level political positions--you know, the Hitlers and Maos and the rest of 'em-- and wonders how such people can position themselves to be so shamelessly Machiavellian, or as she calls it, "successfully sinister." What a harrowing term. Successfully sinister . How can you be that sinister and that successful at the same time? Naturally this conundrum possessed Oakley to look into it a bit, as many have through the ages -- I mean, wow, it does happen so often. While her thinking is engaging, she doesn't offer much beyond lots of anecdotes and neuroscientific jargon. Few seem to see the

The Value Extraction Cure

In looking at the financial crisis upon us I can't stop reading about how the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And then everyone dives right on into the horror anyway. "U-u-um, y-y-y-yeah, I'm not afraid-nn-nn-duhduhduh lions and tigers and bears oh my ." All kinds of neat solutions are spit out by World operatives and inhabitants alike, all prefaced by the standard "Here's what really needs to happen," and all falling into one of two categories: (a) a rehashed way to do oppressive World-directed law enforcement--not a bad thing for those who like being whacked by the law, or (b) some foolish idiocy spit out by someone seeking attention. I've written dozens of times that the only cure to the malady is Jesus Christ. It's not just me saying this. It's flat what it is. The problem is He not the wuss Jesus Christ most people think about, the guy who's just another one of the religious club gods people like to hang on the wall. This

The Reality of Value Enhancement

Today economics columnist Robert Samuelson wrote a piece called "The Engine of Mayhem." In some ways it was one of those typical "This is really what the problem is" pieces, yet Samuelson has a way of plainly elucidating what happens in markets. He brought up a novel term for the wild misassessment of value going on out there right now. It is appropriate to flesh this out especially on a day when the Dow got the biggest bounce in history, jumping over 900 points, an 11% increase. This exuberance doesn't mean everything's fine, it actually means everything is just as unstable. Samuelson's term was deleveraging , the practice of too quick a call for capital instead of debt. He concludes by pointing out that the financial system in place now is "inherently fragile" and what is needed is one with "firmer foundations." What this means most plainly is this. People are realizing that a whole lot of powerful financial people have lied about h

Value Extractors After Putting on the Stunned Look Now Having a Bit More of the Kinder and Gentler Look

I enjoy plucking out the front page of the Los Angeles Times and putting it here on the web. I hope that the plain pretext will get people to see the folly of World affairs management. The photograph there was particularly striking. As the Dow hovered precariously at 8,000 on Friday (oh it seemed like yesterday it was stretching stratospherically past 14,000, didn't it?), all the most powerful of powerful finance ministers were meeting to hash out things. The U.S. guys had already decided they were going to use some of the "bailout" money to buy U.S. banks, so I don't know what's with the screaming headline. In fact, the U.S. pretty much "owns" every company anyway, whether it's a bank or not. Whenever a business becomes incorporated, it cedes control over itself to the incorporating entity. All the laws and by-laws of the governing authority are now preeminent, and any thought that you have some substantial management autonomy is because you are bri

The Value Extractors Remain Stunned-Looking

Today was the first weekday after the federal government finally authorized the dissemination of 700 billion pieces of green rectangular paper to its good-buddy exploiters, and the Dow responded with an appropriate clunk, dropping below 10,000 points for the first time in four years. At one point the drop was 800, a bigger plunge than last Monday's, but it rallied a bit late. Since its high of 14,000-and-change a few months ago, it has lost 30% of its value. But goodness gracious! I thought Caesar's magnificent decree that worthless people were worth $700 billion was supposed to get people fired up to not be worthless? What happened golly-gee-whiz-whillickers??? Isn't Henry Paulson up to the job of being United States Hedge Fund Manager, deftly pooling the nation's future productive capacity as leverage? When Congress passed this thing Friday, you heard a whole batch of Congresspersons say pretty-much what U.S. Senator from California Dianne Feinstein said about her af

Value Extractors Even More Stunned

I'd like to humbly recommend a new word for placement in the English lexicon, if I may. The word is dismendacity . Please, allow me. Mendacity is the practice of willfully furthering falsehood, and the prefix dis- always means to go against, to reduce, to take apart. With the new word in place, one may be a bit more edified when analyzing today's World events. Let's look, shall we? By a narrow margin the House of Representatives voted down the infamous $700 billion "bailout package." Even as they tarried the stock market was beginning its record plunge, ending up 777 points down on the day, a precipitous 7% drop. (What's with all the 7's? Must be something biblical. Well, that in a minute.) Enough members of Congress refused to bless it simply because they saw that they were about to compel their consituents to hand over gobs of money to enable rank irresponsibility. Financiers and Wall Street gurus of all stripes lent (whoa, lent , how are they doing le

Stunned Credit Contracters

As the current economic "meltdown" progresses, two axioms are confidently spouted by power brokers both political and economic: "We must restore confidence in the market," and "We must prevent a serious contraction of credit." Everyone hears them often and we all breathe a sigh of relief because it seems these guys really know what's going on and they're on the job to fix it. But what do these two statements really mean? What exactly is "confidence in the market," as if our trust must be in the place where buyers and sellers meet? For that is all that a market is, a place where buyers and sellers meet. Is there something wrong with that--are the market seats too lumpy? Are the market floors a bit too slippery? The lights in the market just too bright? Air conditioning doesn't work properly? No, it is not the market that is at fault. It is the people who do business there . And why does "confidence" in those people need to b

The Stunned Value Extractors Circle the Wagons

A good friend of mine is a young financial analyst at Bank of America. We meet for a meal occasionally and talk about the things of the World. I've been interested in particular in his take on what I've written about value assessment . What is interesting is that even as a devout Christian himself, he very graciously confesses he just does not get what I'm writing, all of what I'm saying is just way over his head. He's even told me, "I just look at the plain words of the Bible." This should bewilder me because this is precisely what I am doing. But I understand. I understand why, as smart as he is, he is oblivious to what the World does: My friend has been fully indoctrinated in the things of the World by those who are sworn to keep him looking at only the World. Many profound truths have emerged from the economic whirlpool in which the country is drowning right now. I submit that these truths are some of the simplest to understand, but I will say that it

The Stunned Value Extractor Show

This promotional photograph was issued yesterday for the premiere of another boffo Broadway hit. The spotlight hit the rising curtain and... Oooo! There they all were! The star-studded cast of that spectacular production We're All Really Upset About All This and We'll Really Take Care of Business This Time, Really . An historic week on Wall Street has been capped by this entertainment extravaganza. Hey, it's the weekend! They're all there, the SEC chairman, Treasury secretary, and Fed chairman, deftly playing the parts of all the king's men working valiantly to put Humpty together again. Of course headlining the event are the most powerful legislative leaders, center stage, representing Humpty. Humpty. As in Humpty Dumpty your average Joe and Josephine American, proud World inhabitants. The story so far: Poor poor Humpty needs to be rescued from his toxic behavior. Because Humpty is so prone to fall off walls, and to push others off walls too, he definitely

So What Is It With Stunned Value Extractors?

To get the full context of this post, I invite you to read my post from yesterday . This is sort of an addendum to that piece. I left my keyboard yesterday thinking about how much I wear my heart on my sleeve. Some of me thought "You blew it Dave. You slipped too much emotion into the issue. Let the facts speak for themselves." The other parts of me just thought, "So what. This is you, what you want, how you feel about that." I also felt uncomfortable getting across the idea that I'm convinced no one understands the way Gods economy works. I have very good friends who I know do get it. The thing that makes me sad (oh no emotions again) is that it is very hard to see where people in some measured way are truly acting on what Jesus said. Actually being ungrafted to the World . I can only think of His words in Luke, there at the end of chapter six: "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?" Yes, I confess there are times I don't do wha

Stunned Value Extractors

Before teaching my Advanced Placement U.S. Government class the very first period of the day on Monday, I peeked at MSNBC's news site to catch any up-to-the-minute stories. Here was the headline I saw screeching across the top: "Markets Stunned by Lehman Bros. and Merrill Lynch." After my students filed into class, I displayed this on my TV screen and told them this: "I'm stunned that they are stunned. Come on, what were they thinking?" The they to whom I refer are indeed all the people who misassessed things so much that the current economic collapse is unfolding. I further explained this for my students using an illustration about a lender cheerfully handing over a home loan with $3,000-a-month mortgage payments to a gleefully willing guy earning $1,000 a month. These people are stunned ? My students laughed at the abject folly of this. Everyone is now beholding the idiocy of valuing things by the World, yet no one knows squat about what to do. Last nigh

The Latest Feature in the 9/11 Extravaganza

It is 9/11 and the common sentiment is that we commemorate things today with solemn events and quite contemplation. I wonder how many think at all about how much our "imaginations are catastrophized," a term Tupper Saussy coined to describe precisely what World operatives are still doing to a large extent with grandiose 9/11 mythology. Here is the latest that I saw: This is the memorial for the Pentagon victims, and right when I saw this photograph I could not help but think, "airport runway lights." You tell me, does this not look like runway lights for an jet airliner to land right into the Pentagon building? Could this be a subliminal suggestion that we are to believe that what hit the Pentagon on 9/11 was actually an airliner? Furthermore shouldn't this be interpreted as a subtle message about the bright glory of a work which effectively mobilized the nation to battle evildoers on a grander scale? The latest about 9/11 is from the National Institute of Stand

The Value Extractors at Work

This past summer I was visiting my father and we were out on the patio enjoying dinner discussing economic issues. The conversation drifted toward the question of why the dollar is so weak, and I offered some standard economese to explain. Eventually I got to the core reason any currency is valued as it is: It has to do with the way people perceive value, and a currency is merely a reflection of that value assessment on a macro scale. My stepmother couldn't understand. She wondered how that could be when our productive capacity in the U.S. is still so much stronger than that of other countries, particularly in Europe where the Euro has seemed to be doing a gleeful trampling dance on the sprawling dollar. In today's Los Angeles Times Tom Petruno's column bears out incisively the exact point I was making. The dollar is making a comeback and the key reason has to do with perceived value . His main point is that the dollar is appearing attractive again because people are seeing

Politically Correct Rage

This week the Republicans are planning to "tone down" their national convention festivities, since ribald partying would be quite unfashionable when a hurricane threatens the Gulf Coast states. Never mind that people are dying all over the place at the hands of people who lie, cheat, steal, murder, exploit... If it's a big thing that'll be in the papers everywhere, and you're a politician of any stripe, then you've got to make big whoop-tee-do about how adept you are at championing whatever good thing you can do to stop it. Or help it. Or whatever you're supposed to do with it. Now this kind of behavior doesn't particularly rankle me. It used to when I put my faith in the World System and sought entertainment from its elaborate film and stage productions. This is what Cain's agents do, it's their nature. What does steam me a bit is when people who say they follow Christ sign up with this World System and then rage against anyone who calls them

Little Caesars

The latest from the presidential campaign front is the appearance of both Barack Obama and John McCain at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. Apparently it was an event of such magnitude it got splashed all over the front of the Los Angeles Times: Each candidate made his case separately from the other, and I believe Rick Warren took turns asking each a number of questions. From the little that I read and heard, the candidates assumed their most pious countenance--obviously one which would appeal to evangelical and modestly conservative sensibilities--and spewed the typical vetted answers. Is it possible that this is all perfectly reasonable behavior by perfectly well-meaning Christian folk? To listen thoughtfully to responses from those seeking the highest political office in the land? To think deeply about who will do the best job leading the country? Isn't this really a most noble endeavor? Aren't we supposed to have a say in who has some measure of authority in critically i

High Level Value Extraction

We've been out and about since I've had some time off, and at one hotel stop I picked up a Wall Street Journal . I've never really read it before, but as I skimmed through this issue--this past Monday the 4th's, by the way--I was amazed at the breadth of material about the highest, greatest, deepest, and--as such, most repulsive value extraction there is. Certainly a publication that goes into great detail about the goings-ons of the commercial and financial realm can't help but quite frequently elaborate on the most upscale human sacrifice practices of the day. Just wanted to briefly mention a couple of articles in the mix there, both in the "Money & Investing" section. First there on the front was a story about how many hedge funds are taking a hit. Nothing really in it about how or why except that they simply guessed wrong about a number of things, like, for instance, the "unforeseen" jump in oil prices that hit some overseas stock markets

The Perfect Rationality of Irrationality, Erratum

Whoops, I blew it in my last blog post. This morning I blogged on how everything everyone does is rational, everything. There is nothing that is irrational, not a single thing. Then I made a mistake that belied my claim, and I wanted to clear it up here. First, read that post, just below this one, and see if you can spot the error in my logic. Oh, it is a perfectly rational error, and I'll explain that momentarily. Halfway through that post I cited one of those questions asked through the ages. That question was: What is it that is reasonable, and how does one know that? If my premise is true that everything is rational--which I firmly believe that it is true and any discussion about it would certainly bear that out--then guess what? Everything is reasonable, so the question "What is reasonable?" implies that something is unreasonable, a meaningless proposition given the premise. The question should be "What is it that is righteous ?" In the context of the blog

The Perfect Rationality of Irrationality

A relatively new book by MIT professor Dan Ariely has caught my fancy. It is another of those "Freakanomics" type economics exposes where everything about why people decide to do what they do is thoroughly explained in an easy-to-read way. This particular treatment is called Predictably Irrational , and with it Ariely tries to share how so many things we do are irrational and by gosh why on earth would we do such irrational things? The answer is that we don't . Nothing we do is irrational. Not a single thing. In fact Ariely, when trying to say "Here's an irrational thing look how irrational!" actually shows how perfectly and, yes, predictably rational every single thing any given individual does. The real question is this: Is any particular decision any given individual makes righteous? The reason no one ever asks that question is because that would require some kind of moral judgment, and that, as we all know, is absolutely prohibited. That would mean

So Who Is It Then? Who Stores Your Value? It Is Someone...

Peeked at The Newshour tonight on PBS and saw Judy Woodruff interview Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd. She asked some pressing questions to a bubbly financial exec who seemed to be going out of his way to distance himself from his company's abysmal performance. Of course none of Woodruff's questions were of any consequence since she herself is a masterful World mouthpiece for further devotion to Caesar. The mere practice of addressing Mudd with such deep concern-- squinting those eyes to sear his soul, turning her head for that penetrating inquiry, jabbing that pencil in the air in front of her-- announces to all World inhabitants that this is serious business, this management of their sin. A telling part of this fact was in one question I want to share here. It was something like, "Has Fannie Mae for some time set itself up to evade regulation? How do you answer that?" Mudd effervescently responded by saying that he was all for the new regulation that Congress was puttin