About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tumors and Boils - the "investment bankers"

Tumors and boils.  {no pictures please!}

The society is a body.  Many cells and tissues “organized” together to compose a greater form of life.  Sometimes a portion of it becomes malignant, or is exposed to invasion.  The body must deal with that compromise of its life. 

The body has stood as metaphor to society for as long as any language has been spoken.  We cross-reference the body and society using the same words.  Both “bodies” share anatomy and physiology – ingesting, digesting, processing, cleansing, growing, dying.  The insults and afflictions, and the salutory or healing processes, can be viewed in parallel. 

The bones and arteries constitute the infrastructure. The nerves mirror the electrical grid.  The hormonal communication reflects the mood of the people in a community.  And of course, food and death, are not even metaphoric.

Most bodies die of inflammation and / or shock.  The same is true of the polity.  The Roman medical encyclopedist Celsus (ca 30 BC–38 AD) described the four cardinal signs of acute inflammation as tumor, dolor, calor, and rubor (swelling, pain, increased heat, and redness).

The blood is to the body as money is to society.  Unimpeded access and distribution of nutrients depends on a sufficient quantity, and a carrying capacity or value, of money.  Unregulated capitalism is like a tumor.  Withheld wealth is like a boil.

A tumor is a swelling in the body.  It may be caused by an overgrowth of neoplastic cells which hoard the blood supply.  Or like a sebaceous cyst it may be hoarding pus or refuse.  In both cases, the swelling is an impedence to the life of the body, and instead of contributing is now simply subtracting the vitality of the organ or organism. 

It is the blood that transports nutrients to the cells.  The vitality of the cell depends upon its access to those nutrients, and the plasmatic exchange.  In society, each individual depends on trade, and the people flourish when there is unimpeded and regular flow of goods and services.  If trade is monopolized, blocked, restricted or over-specialized, society may suffer.  In fact, the marginalization of even one person in a society, or the die-off of a single cell in the body, is a flag of caution.  If a poison kills cells in a living tissue, they can become necrotic and kill the entire organism.  If a man starves in a society, it is a danger sign to everyone in every way, a signal that the vitality of society is in danger. 

A certain number of assaults and insults to the body are expected and natural.  Every society confronts a certain number of stresses and adjustments which must constantly be made.  However, attention must be paid to the threshholds and trends.  For example, if the blood is weak, if nutrients are not going to the cells, or if tumors begin hoarding the nutrients, then the whole body suffers and weakens.  The body must protect itself from threats to its vitality, and must monitor the “growth” of tumor and boils which accumulate poison and compete for the body’s vitality.

A Society which has been attacked by predators from within is like a body which is covered with tumors and boils.    I do not use the term “capitalist” to describe someone who hoards capital – in a sense, such a person is an “anti-capitalist”.  A hoarder is not using the capital – they do not reinvest, they do not add to the growth of the organism.  They often use Debt – and they draw the nutrients out of the blood to “build” their own organism within the organism, a tumor.

A person’s body can be covered with boils inside and on the skin – accumulations of pus, or fatty sebaceous cysts.  A tumor can begin to form in any organ, and its growth can compete with the body, and its independent amalgamation of resources can destroy the integrity of the body.  Even the leakage of the fluids of a benign tumor in the body can be catastrophic, and the unrestricted growth of a malignancy can kill the body. 

When the nutrients or the blood are captured on one place, an unnatural swelling occurs.  There may also be increased pain, heat, and redness.  This “tumor, dolor, calor, and rubor” are flags of inflammation.  The healthy body will respond, or a physician will address, such signs of distress.

We have a society which is under assault.  For example, some of the most primitive tribal people on the planet have been chanting “Death to America!” for decades in groups assembled to pray for our extinction.  They teach youngsters they will go to Heaven as saviours if they die as martyrs.  After a night of drinking alcohol in topless bars, a group of pious young men from Saudi Arabia hi-jacked airliners and flew them into large buildings in 2001.  The killing of an international group of civilians, including people from all over the world, is still celebrated by many of the most primitive tribal people on the planet.

However, that assault did not cripple society.  In some ways, it made the true “society” stronger, closer, larger, and more vital.  New York became recognized as a truly international place.  All over the world, other societies declared their solidarity, and coordinated with America. 

However, the interior of America has not fared as well.  Cysts and tumors have formed.  The blood is restricted and monopolized, and wealth is being hoarded.  In the ten years since 2001, America lost its middle class, and lost its ability to circulate wealth.  By 2007, all of the Big Banks in America had become “investment bankers” dealing in investments with no known market value – “toxic” products.  All of the Big Banks were heavily leveraged in financial products which had been revived from the 1920's.  In the decade run-up to the 1929 Crash, the Congress de-regulated the banking industry and removed consumer protection which had been in place since the Progressive era. 

The free market cannot function without information, which is the hinge which enables “choice” to perform.  A market without money or valuable products is negligible.  A market without information is blind, and the “decisions” made by uninformed consumers are arbitrary.  There may be “growth”, there may be enormous volumes, but it would be like a tumor growing bigger than the body it inhabits.  This is what we saw, what we experienced in 2006-2007, when banks began dealing in huge volumes of toxic waste while claiming they were creating “investments”.

In the decade run-up to the summer of 2008, the Congress de-regulated the banking industry and removed disclosure requirements and accounting standards in the financial industry.  Banking guidelines which had been in effect since the 1930's were disregarded.  All of the largest banks in the United States became “investment” bankers, and then traded in worthless investments – forms of paper the value of which could not be calculated with any certainty.

In the summer of 2008, all of the largest banks in the United States, and their insurers, announced that they were unable to pay obligations which they had entered into.  None of the largest financial institutions could make any loans, and all of trade and all transactions depend upon credit and money.  All levels of government, and all private enterprises, depend on the circulation of money in the same way that every cell depends upon blood circulation.  The large “investment” banks destroyed themselves from the inside – they were not destroyed by the government, by any regulation or by any edict.  Their own CEOs captured them, destroyed them, and then they confronted the government with the collapse of the world, and extorted a bail-out using taxpayer funds.  Curiously, the bail-out funds had to be borrowed, from other banks. 

After receiving the bailout funds, the Large Banks did not loan money.  They suddenly made loans extremely difficult to obtain by consumers or small businesses.  The banks hoarded the capital which they had obtained from taxpayers.  Instead of making loans with the capital, they “used” the capital to buy smaller banks at fire sale prices.  The Big Banks became bigger, at the expense of the taxpayers. 

A tumor can grow and spread by drawing nutrients out of the blood stream, and independent of the functions of the other organs – contributing nothing to the body, but drawing out its vitality.  A boil is a concentration of pus or sebaceous tissue, which often interferes with bodily function and vitality, even if it is not growing or spreading.    The Large Banks of the United States functioned as tumors.  They concentrated capital in larger, and less interactive banking institutions which cut themselves off from trade, small business, or consumer credit.  They bought smaller banks, creating larger boils.  

As a society, we can treat the tumors and boils.  We can stop giving them money, and cut off the blood supply to the tumors.  And we can lance the boils, breaking them up and surgically removing them with a scalpel of anti-trust anti-monopolist free market purging. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Political Historian Clarence Swinney - re Inequality in America

CLARENCE SWINNEY , on June 27th, 2011 at 3:36 am Said:

I have been a political historian since 1991 for Lifeaholics of America. Here is my Bio to show I am no freaknut.
I was amazed to find your forum. It is awesome. It is confirmation of what I believe and write. To bad you cannot replace a Talk Show Host. You are superb and appreciated by this olduglymeanhonest historian.
Phantom Historian
Clarence Swinney is unknown in Burlington as a Political Historian.
He does not discuss politics with family or friends.
In 1991, he was apolitical until he read Haynes Johnson book on Reagan “Sleepwalking Through History”. He voted twice for Reagan and was astonished at all the criminal activities and Reagan policies promoted to cut government but did the opposite. Reagan budgets increased Spending by 80% and Debt by 183%. Reagan had 137 members of his administration investigated/charged with crimes usually about money fraud.

He had never heard the name Bill Clinton until he heard two of three speeches by Clinton at Georgetown University in 1991. He was impressed by the ability to express his views in detail without notes.
He started buying books on politics and has purchased over 500 for his library.
He can verify to have read the equivalent of 1,000(200 page) books in 19 years.
The Google has him listed (3-24-11) with over 300,000 articles. He warns that many are duplication or irrelevant to his writings. His name in your address bar gets 2700 of just his articles He has had articles printed in Business Week, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and many other publications.

His library contains over 500 books, 300 note books filled with data on budgets, debt, deficit,
plus 45,000 pages of articles in his computer file. He has each annual Global Almanac since 1980.
He once had over 200,000 pages stored on pallets in his garage.

He tried to get two books published in 1998. Publishers wanted a huge fee since he was an unknown writer. His two books were : “Clintonomics vs Reaganomics” and “Scumbag Xpress — how to waste 100 million in a failed effort to destroy a presidency”.

He had frequent communication with Gene Lyons of Arkansas Democrat Gazette
and author of “Fools For Scandal-How the press invented Whitewater ”.. Gene co-authored the Book “The Hunting Of The President” which contained information similar to his. It was a nyt best seller.

He has been writing many articles on INEQUALITY IN AMERICA and how Wall Street ultra rich, since 1980, gained control of most of our Wealth, Major Corporations, Media, Banks, Congress and White House.

He writes that today American are unaware of this redistribution of wealth and income that threatens our democracy. Many economists, including former Fed Chairman Greenspan and current chairman Bernanke, have expressed concern over it. it.

Today, 1% own 43% of Total Financial Wealth; 10% own 70%; 20% own 93%; and 80% or 120,000,000 workers own a measly 7%. Since 1980, the top 1% got an increase of 281% in Income and the middle 20% got 25% or less than inflation.

From 2001-2007, the top 1% got two thirds of Total Income Growth and 90% (139,000,000 workers) got 12%. In 2009, the top 1% got 24% of the total individual income. He calls it a third world distribution or a banana republic.

He concludes that this redistribution since 1980 occurred due to many incremental changes and government policies deliberately designed for Wall Street which permitted it to become the world’s largest gambling Casino instead of adding Jobs and Value to the middle class majority standard of living.

Mr. Swinney welcomes comments and lecture requests at: cswinney2@triad.rr.com .
Clarence Swinney Burlington NC

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Epigrams of Political Clarity - La Rochefoucauld (1613- 1680).

   The moral monstrosity of a crime is not reduced because it is bold and skillfully performed.  Nor can a fraud be made acceptable by scale: swindle one person, and you're a cheater ; swindle millions of tax payers, and you get nominated as a candidate to represent an entire political party. 

    If you use borrowed money during times of easy-money to seize one legitimate business, and immediately liquidate its parts and give yourself a huge salary, the de-jobbed employees will despise you.  If you do it to a hundred businesses, and you become a millionaire, others will call you "successful", will admire you for your aggressive self-interest, and nominate you for the Presidency.

Les crimes deviennent innocents, même glorieux, par leur nombre et par leurs qualités; de là vient que les voleries publiques sont des habiletés, et que prendre des provinces injustement s’appelle faire des conquêtes. Le crime a ses héros, ainsi que la vertu.

Crimes are made innocent, even virtuous, by their number and nature; hence public robbery becomes a skillful achievement and wrongful seizure of a province is called conquest. Crime has its heroes no less than virtue has.

Source(s):  François VI, duke de La Rochefoucauld, Reflexions ou sentences et maximmes morales (1665)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Robert Draper Book: GOP's Anti-Obama Campaign Started Night Of Inauguration

“History will remember those who conspired against our President and the nation who elected him, with complete and utter contempt. Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) Dan Lungren (Calif.), Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) Bob Corker (Tenn.).” The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith. Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz. Robert Draper Book: GOP's Anti-Obama Campaign Started Night Of Inauguration