Copyright Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved. Powered by Blogger.

Friday, March 30, 2012

News Factoids for February & March 2012

Barack Obama began his campaign for re-election with a video about his accomplishments in the first three years: "Five years ago, we started a movement for change ..." [4:32] on Youtube

Arizona's Republican-led Legislature has written H.C.R. 2065 to put a referendum on the ballot to lower the state's minumum wage from $7.65 per hour and pay teens and young adults as little as $4.65 per hour.

The value of the minimum wage has gone up 21 percent since 1990; the cost of living has increased 67 percent since 1990. ~~ Economic Policy Institute, July 2011

Here's exactly why the price of gasoline has gone up, per Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida: "Congress deregulated oil traders in December 2000."

For further detail, click on this blog's short report on the subject "Root Cause of High Gas prices" posted on February 25th

Toward the end of February, many polls were showing President Obama getting re-elected by as many as ten or fifteen points. Lots of new messes might show up during this election year, especially since the Republican fascists have no scruples whatsoever, but I am predicting (right here and for the record) that Barack Obama will get his second term in office by a landslide of 60-40.

"Television journalism's most pathological mutation, Fox News, propagandizes for the Republican right as faithfully, slickly, and humorlessly as Russian state television does for Vladimir Putin." ~~ Hendrick Herzberg

At the beginning of March, Bank of America pulled the ATM machines from local Valero gas stations, which leaves only one official Bank of America ATM in Los Lunas (12 miles away from me) to serve the 70,000 residents of Valencia County. The next closest Bank of America branch is 30 miles from me in Albuquerque's South Valley. (Good thing that I already began moving banking matters to the local U.S. Bank branch last year.)

The dainty 'Mormon fritillary' butterflies are dying off in Colorado's Rockies because earlier snowmelts are killing off the wild flowers that they feed on.
~~ per LiveScience

“The Republican Party is the 'special olympics' for politicians.” ~~ G.E. Nordell

I finally saw Oscar-nominated "The Tree of Life" at the local library. Terrence Malick is the greatest living director of cinema in America. The only guys who come close are Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, but their narrative styles are nothing like the absolute poetry of Malick's innovative masterpiece.

Copyright 2012 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Sunday, March 25, 2012

WM Essay #98: "Jesus vs. Pseudo-Christians"

No problem here stipulating that there was an individual in history named Jesus, even that he was a carpenter in Nazareth. It is probable that he walked around Judea (where Israel is today) giving speeches, otherwise nobody in that illiterate society would have noticed him nor would versions of his speeches have been written down by the scribes.

The supernatural aspects of the Jesus story are not stipulated here, and anyway are not relevant, except that millions of people are stuck in the magical thinking provided to them by the purveyors of magical thinking.

There are probably not more than a handful of actual practicing Christians on the planet at this time. The word 'christian' is defined as someone who lives their life according to the principles of the New Testament character Jesus of Nazareth, who was given the title 'Christ' in that book. ('Christ' is the Greek word for 'anointed', meaning the same as the Hebrew word 'Messiah', which really means nothing more than 'leader'.)

Take care of the poor? The poor of today are not taken care of. The poor of today are exploited, with many governments allowing dangerous and inhumane environments, with token 'dollar-a-day' wages so they cannot be chastised for condoning abject slavery.

Heal the sick? Modern pseudo-christians prefer to dismantle Obamacare, which isn't that good a solution anyway, because the pseudo-christians prevented and continue to prevent all progress in healthcare, women's rights, safety in the workplace, food & drug safety, etc.

Pollute the environment? Jesus would not do that.

Maybe you should compare his Matthew 25:40 statement "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" with slavery in Africa and Asia, with Mitt Romney's "I don't care about poor people', with poison 'fracking' fluids injected into the ground, with the billions of tons of garbage killing the Pacific Ocean, with cutting the minimum wage in America.

What would Jesus do? Not that.

Pre-emptive war? Constant saber-rattling about North Korea and Iran and Pakistan and Israel? Jesus would not. Even though Jesus never called himself the Prince of Peace, the actions and statements on record were all about non-violence, so anyone acting as a warmonger cannot call themselves 'christian'.

The historical Jesus ran the moneychangers out of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, a rare tale that is included in all four Gospel accounts. Compare that to modern pseudo-christians who worship Wall Street – ticker reports on every news channel – and there is even a bronze bull on Wall Street as stand-in for the golden calf of the Israelites.

Three of the Gospels relate the quotation “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”. Millionaires and billionaires are disqualified, according to the words of Jesus himself.

It is also probable that the reason that magical Jesus has not returned is that the institutions operating in the name of christianity have worked very hard to create a physical and moral cesspool here on Planet Earth. Humanity at large does not qualify for that Kingdom that Jesus talked about.

The Beatitudes were not about making it tougher for people to make a living, that would be Economic Darwinism. The pseudo-christians on the right insist on 'survival of the fittest', which in practice is the time-worn practices of the barbarians – might makes right, the Oligarchy deserves to rule the planet by 'divine right', and anybody in opposition is beaten, killed, or banished.

Or would Jesus side with the Progressive Movement? "Everybody is better off when everybody is better off."

The record gives evidence that Jesus was about the rights of the people to assemble (the Romans and Pharisees felt threatened by his large crowds), the right of free speech, freedom of religion, collective survival (Loaves and Fishes, anyone?), and non-violence.

But the pseudo-christians will have none of that. Kill all the buffalo! Exterminate the homing pigeon and the whale and the tuna and the salmon! Set uniformed goon squads against peaceful Occupy Movement protesters! Foreclose on families who were sold usurious mortgages by banks – and by god protect the banks from any consequences or regulation! Steal elections across America. Buy politicians for further nefarious ends!

Lie and lie again and loot and cheat and steal are not principles of anyone in the New Testament. Even Judas Iscariot had a conscience – eventually.

The Declaration of Independence created a new model for existence, a new possible future for Mankind. What made the United States special was the attempt by a people to be better than previous societies, to declare their right to give it a try, King of England be damned! The historical Forefathers didn't get it all right – slaves were accorded three-fifths the worth of free men, women demanded the vote and it took 150 years to happen – but the design was intended to capture and maintain and expand on the 'unalienable rights' that were prevented by monarchies and despots and barbarian oligarchs.

Freedom is an idea, it is a promise. Freedom is never guaranteed, it must be protected and nurtured like a flame against the whirlwind. Freedom is something that an individual or a group or a society can only be for or against. There is no middle ground. And the funny thing about rights is that rights exist only when they exist for everyone. Martin Luther King nailed it: “Until all are free, none are free.”

The very sad thing about life in modern America is that half the population wants oppression, for themselves and for the world. They vote for fascism (under the false label Conservative or Republican), and they work very hard to destroy the teetering freedoms that provide the facade that the United States is a free country.

Registered as a Republican? Jesus would not approve.

Copyright 2012 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Thursday, March 22, 2012

WM Essay #97: Reason-Based Social Security

The intended result of the implementation of Reason-Based Taxation in federal and state and local jurisdictions is that revenues match the fiscal budget, and that the national debt is being paid down.

Since the oligarchs own 65 percent of everything and the wealthy class owns 85 percent of everything, Congress needs only to revise the tax code so that each bracket pays for the services that they receive from government.

In Reason-Based Taxation, the oligarchs are levied for 65 percent of the Defense Department budget, and for 65 percent of the budgets for Commerce, Labor, Education, Interior, Transportation, Homeland Security, Justice, Health – in fact, their share of each and every bureau and service and department. The larger wealthy class pays for 85 percent of all the above.

The remaining 15 percent is spread among the weakened middle class, and the bottom 40 percent of the population pays only their social security and local taxes.

* *          * *          * *          * *

This latter thought is what triggered a new concept, which is the topic of this essay.

A sizable portion of the poor class and of the working poor class will not get much return from their social security program benefits, because their lifetime wages and the subsequent contributions to social security were so meager.

And people who live in the panic-ridden 'cash only' economy may never pay anything into social security, from having no regular jobs or being off-record, i.e. paid 'under the table'. These people cannot expect to retire in any sense of the word.

Here's the new idea: What if anybody could pay into their social security account at any time – without having to earn a paycheck. Poor people or rich people, no difference. Much better odds than the numbers racket or lotto games or casinos: the social security program has always guaranteed its payout.

Any dollars contributed directly by any citizen or legal resident to his/her social securiy account would be added to the social security database for that year precisely as if it were receipt of social security tax coming by way of an employer payroll system.

Reason is the only frontier left.

Copyright 2012 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Getting Lazy?

Don't know if I am getting lazy, or if this is a function of getting old. But I decided to give up, or at least back off from, the world of fiction writing. I still will (and do) obey my longtime rule that "I do not argue with my Muse" – whatever shows up to my mind to be written gets written, and then simply filed away.

The year 2012 is critical in the political realm, so I plan more-direct activity there, such as being an official Delegate to last weekend's Democratic Party of New Mexico state pre-primary convention, all day last Saturday up in Albuquerque.

That leaves daily concern for my bookstore websites, the main philosophy website, and the satellite sites Meaning & Purpose and Reason-Based Taxation and The United Federation of Indentured Servants.

Further Rick Walker, P.I. detective novels will have to wait, mainly because I have no skills in marketing. Although non-fiction, the memoir "Hollywood Tales: An Entertainment" is also on hold.

A parallel category to fiction is my various screenplays which include:
"El TigrĂ³n" {online synopsis} - script completed;
"Nostalgia" {online synopsis} - treatment available;
the "Little Hero" rock musical feature - script completed;
the "Sacre Merde!" comedy feature - treatment available.
. . . and lots more ideas that likely will never be put on film.

Thanks for listening. Life moves on. I better get back to work.

“Where there is oppression, Liberty must light the dark.”

“Battling ignorance and apathy and magical thinking is a full-time job.”

Copyright 2012 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 2012 Quotations

"The Republican Party is the 'special olympics' for politicians."
~~ G.E. Nordell

"Our culture peculiarly honors the act of blaming, which it takes as the sign of virtue and intellect."
~~ Lionel Trilling [1905-75]

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
~~ Thornton Wilder [1897-1975]

"The tavern chair is the throne of human felicity."
~~ Dr. Samuel Johnson [1709-84]

"The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person."
~~ Quentin Crisp [1908-99]

"Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it."
~~ Langston Hughes [1902-67]

"A smile is the shortest distance between two people."
~~ Victor Borge [1909-2000]

"The first 40 years of life give us the text; the next 30 supply the commentary."
~~ Arthur Schopenhauer [1788-1860]

"Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forego an advantage."
~~ Benjamin Disraeli [1804-81]

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
~~ Mahatma Gandhi [1869-1948]

"We can never be sure that the opinion ]that] we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and even if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still."
~~ John Stuart Mill [1806-73]

"It's too bad [that] the people who really know how to run the country are so busy cutting hair and driving taxis."
~~ George Burns [1896-1996]

"A graceful taunt is worth a thousand insults."
~~ lawyer Louis Nizer [1902-94]

"The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less."
~~ Eldridge Cleaver [1935-98]

"Ideology is just a pejorative word for principles in which you happen not to believe."
~~ Lexington column in "The Economist"

"Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures, and that is character."
~~ Horace Greeley [1811-72]

"We must learn to love life without ever trusting it."
~~ G.K. Chesterton [1874-1936]

"Woman was God's second mistake."
~~ Friedrich Nietzsche [1844-1900]

"To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi."
~~ William Faulkner [1897-1962]

"The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned."
~~ bookseller Lewis Micheaux [1885-1976]
in "The Black Power Mixtape" docufilm [2011]

“I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute . . . To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”
~~ Rick Santorum
"Rick Santorum makes me want to throw up."
~~ Spokane, Washington blogger 'duroc'

"Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
~~ Thomas Alva Edison [1847-1931]

"Chastity – the most unnatural of all the sexual perversions."
~~ Aldous Huxley [1894-1963]

"Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route."
~~ columnist Molly Ivins [1944-2007]

"If you survive long enough, you are revered, rather like an old building."
~~ Katharine Hepburn [1907-2003]

"They failed because they did not start with a dream."
~~ Nick Shakespeare

"Men are more often bribed by their loyalties and ambitions than by money."
~~ Robert H. Jackson [1892-1954], U.S. Supreme Court Justice 1941-54

"What looks like tomorrow's problem is rarely the real problem when tomorrow rolls around."
~~ journalist James Fallows

"All our life is but a mass of habits."
~~ William James [1842-1910]

"Worry is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere."
~~ Erma Bombeck [1927-96]

"The difference between what we are doing and what we are capable of doing would solve most of the world's problems."
~~ Mahatma Gandhi [1869-1948]

"There is a dilemma, to reconcile three time scales: in the short term, the economy; in the middle range, global well-being generally; and, in the long range, the environment."
~~ Matthieu Ricard

"Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise."
~~ Thomas Gray [1716-71]

"They only call it class war when we fight back."
~~ cover art of Z Magazine

"Readers should be led into temptation."
~~ Anthony Lane, New Yorker Magazine reviewer

"One sits and beats an old tin can lard pail / One beats and beats for that which one believes"
~~ poet Wallace Stevens [1879-1955]

"Reality is a dirty word for me. There's too much of it about."
~~ director Ken Russell [1927-2011]

"Learn from the masses, and then teach them."
~~ Chairman Mao Tse-tung [1893-1976]

"Take my country forward."
~~ Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

"Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture."
~~ aviator Amelia Earhart [1897-1937]

"Every time I make a picture the critics' estimate of American public taste goes down ten percent."
~~ Cecil B. DeMille [1881-1959]

"Easy reading is damn hard writing."
~~ Nathaniel Hawthorne [1804-64]

{each set of posted quotations are then posted at the Working Minds website, alphabetical by author}