Radically Inept
Thursday, February 26, 2004
  This is still in response to some emails that I can't post here, but I think the response may be entertaining:

Well, in response to both, I think I'm opting for the Gulag in Iraq or Afghanistan. At least it pays well, and maybe I'll learn a few things. Besides, it appears my options so far are DC, or the Left Coast. Both are way too expensive in my opinion, though I love northern California, and I really do like the cultural aspects of DC, i.e. the museums, symphonies, etc. But, I really hate what has happened to DC. The crime rate is so high, I mean the number of lobbyists there is so extreme, you never know who in the restaurant w/ you is in fact stealing you blind. I happen to agree w/ Franken on this one: I've only ever been robbed by rich white people, with the exception of who ever stole my jeep for a joy ride. At least, I don't think they were rich. I do think they were white, since it appears that most black youths can't drive stick, and seem to have no interest in going four wheeling in the country where the jeep was finally recovered. That might sound a little like racial profiling, but I think the stats would back me up on this one. Besides, I think on the whole the US military is a far better class of people to be associating with.

The Stern thing is a joke. Clear Channel only had him in six markets, and Infinity Broadcasting, which is going to continue to carry his show, has him in 75 markets. Poor Stern...But, you know, I think his show sucks.

As to living in a commune, or what ever, I have two friends who are developers helping me locate property in Northern GA, and western NC. I want fifty acres, ideally, and will settle for twenty if the property has water rights. So far, one is quoting me at $2200/acre in NC, and the other is quoting me $1200/acre in North East GA. The popular areas are now commanding $8-14K/acre. So, if employment does come thru, I'm locking in on something. My dream is to not have to tie in to the grid or other utilities, and to be as self sustainable as possible, though I can assure you I won't farm (goats stink!). Also, no drive way. If you don't know where it is, you don't need to drop by. I do think I'd like it better in NM or TX, because again, ideally, I'd like to be 100 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart and 200 miles from the nearest mall. And, fast food can just go to hell for all I care. Like Lori has said, once a month we leave a check under a rock by the mail box for the guy that delivers that month's groceries...Alright, but I am allowed to dream.

In contrast, the other alternative we have discussed is moving directly into one of the local towns in the metro area. The idea here is, you could walk to the grocery store, pub, restaurant, library, etc. and not have to drive (I hate driving in this city). And, it would have to be a condo or a town house because I hate having to do home maintenance on my weekends. Decatur, actually seems like a great area, but you can't touch the property for under several $100K or even higher.

And, as to military hardware being destroyed, I think you're being somewhat nearsighted and mean spirited. We have to destroy this stuff so Baby Bush can collect a sizable inheritance when Papa Bush dies and leaves his Carlyle Group holdings to his heirs. Too bad for Osama that his family was bought out (forced out) a month after 9/11.

By the way, where is Osama, anyway? The guy has to get kidney dialysis on a regular basis. How many dialysis machines are in Afghanistan and Pakistan? We just can't watch the hospitals? Oh well, I guess I'm just not CIA trained, and I'm sure they have their reasons for not watching these places. 
  This is in response to a conversation of which many of you will only see this side do to constraints imposed by a third party, but I think the statements below will hold on their own:

Yeah, there are thugs of all stripes. This is another one where I don't feel that race is the issue. Rather, it's a culture that is going to hell. Marriage across all lines, is almost a thing of the past. And, of those that get married, I think the stat is 50% end in divorce. Economically, most Americans are financially strapped to the point were both parents have to work. Now, many of the people I know resent it when I say that a large part of wage stagnation in America is the entry of women in large numbers into the work force. When you double the size of labor available, there is no pressure on the employers to raise wages. Add to this an invasion of immigrants desperate for any job, and again, there is no pressure to raise wages. The former was originally a matter of choice, and the latter is due to a failed enforcement regime. Staying w/ the latter for a moment, the answer to illegal aliens is not guarding the border, but to severely fine, and perhaps imprison, employers who hire illegal aliens. This includes the lilly white suburbanites who hire illegal aliens for domestic help. If there are no jobs available here to these people, they have no motivation to come here. Further, once these people are removed from the work force, there will be pressure to raise wages, because the services are still needed and/or desired. 'Jobs that nobody wants' is a complete fallacy, once these jobs pay a living wage, Americans will want them.

Going back to the former, entry of women into the work force, is not nearly so simple an issue. Many are there by choice, and in our country, they should have that choice. If there is a market for skills, and they can compete, there is no legal reason to deny them that entry. On the other hand, many of the women in the work place are (excuse me if I switch tenses occasionally, I don't have the time to formulate a better piece right now) there by economic necessity. I'm sure many would love to have a spouse that works an 8hr a day job which provides sufficient income for the family. Again, this is not a problem with a simple solution, but let me do a slight review as to how it occurred. First of all, there has always been a segment of the female population in this country that worked, but it was after WWII when a steady increase began. This occurred for a host of reasons, I'll only address a couple here. One reason was that following WWII, there was a very real reduction in eligible bachelors as so many had died in the war. This was especially true in communities where the local National Guard units decimated in battle. Anyway, the point here is that many women had to work to support themselves. Later, as the US became more affluent, many married women just worked part time for a little extra spending money for the family. The unintended consequence here, was that it led to wage depression. First of all, these part timers brought work place skills learned during the Rosie the Riveter program, again during WWII, but were willing to work for less as this was only for extra spending money. Employers faced with the choice of hiring a male whom they had to pay wages substantial enough to support a family, versus a woman who was willing to work for less, since presumably her husband provided the 'real' financial support, hired the woman. So men, to compete in the same market, had to begin to except lower wages for the same job that used to pay enough to support a family.

I put much of the blame for this on a corporate mentality that puts profit before anything else, but then that is truly what they are supposed to do. There's this huge misconception promoted by many of the elites, that corporation create jobs. No, they create profits. Jobs are overhead to be cut or reduced as soon as possible, to do less is not maximizing efficiency. Tommy Hillfiger may well be the perfect corporate model. He is a one man operation. All of his products are produced by other companies. He does not own any of the means of production and has no employees (well, he may have an assistant, or something). Everything is outsourced. I think it was Fruit of the Loom that made the shirts, and someone else the pants. He has reduced his overhead to the point of extreme efficiency. And, he's a good example of another reason for the current jobs situation. Most of his outsourced production is done overseas. Which brings us to yet another problem; the value of jobs hear will not rise as long as people else where are willing to work for less, and bringing the products from overseas remains cheap or gets even cheaper. Our wages will rise only when the cheapest available labor begins to match our 'standard' , which in fact, should drop at the same time. That was poorly worded. Our wages will go down, and the overseas wages will go up, until a balance is reached. And, frankly, there's not a damn thing that can realistically be done about it. The times, they are a changin'.

Anyway, I want to get to this point quickly. Anyone that wants me to flesh this out further, let me know. Low wages mean everyone has to work. So, between single parents, and parents where both have to work (often at least one is working two jobs), there is no one left to raise the kids except the TV. And with few exceptions, what it teaches is absolute amorality if not immorality. Even the commercials promote the idea that it is okay to lie to other family members, and that the kids are smarter then the parents. Corporations looking to boost sales, have for years marketed to youth, and the lowest common denominator. This is efficient capitalism, and they have no morals outside of increasing their returns on investment and maximizing profit. Television today would shock anyone who died before the 70's. Granted much of the turmoil of the 60's and 70's was a reaction to the very real hypocrisy in our society, but it may well be that the hypocrisy itself, was actually good for us. At least we pretended to have morals even if we failed to live up to them. Now, the pervasive attitude is once your rich no ones cares about the dead bodies buried in the past. This really has always been true, but we used to at least pretend that the path up should be a moral one. It is the attitude that has changed. In fact, it was the 70's when 'if it feels good do it' became a mantra and 'Looking Out for Number #1' was a huge best seller, and an indicator that we were now putting individual desires ahead of the collective good. Again, it was the attitude that changed more then the reality of the situation.

I will come to the issue of race later. Right now I have some cover letters to compose. 
  ABCNEWS.com : Richard Perle Resigns From Advisory Panel 
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
  In keeping with the idea that this blog, in contrast to Rogue Analyst, is more of a personal page, I thought I'd also post personal information if I think it might be of interest.

It looks like my spending time at Manuel's Tavern has finally paid off, but not in the way I expected. Last night, one of the people, Jim (no last name until I ask if he minds), I've met by going on Tuesdays (the "Local Democratic Government in Exile" night) introduced me to a guy, Lou Zambrana, Zambrana Engineering, who is working on 'zero foot print ', sustainable technologies and green energy for the military and other government entities. Anyway, turns out he knows a lot of people, mostly at engineering firms, who have government support contracts in Iraq. When he found out I was ex-military and willing (desiring) to go to Iraq as a contractor, he offered to help me. So today, between his conference calls to close a major deal, he personally put calls in to some major engineering contract firms for me. I even got to talk salary with one of the guys hiring for DynCorp Home/CSC: Consulting, Systems Integration and Outsourcing[this job might mean I leave country within a couple of weeks or less (I told him I could be available by Friday)].

So, I'm excited and might even see Jorge over there pretty soon. One of the best things is that Lori understands my desire (compulsion) to get over where the action is! Hell, she knew the job was dangerous when she took it (for Super Chicken fans see first listing at http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/5991/sounds.htm). As a lot you may know, I've said for the past year I'd rather go to a war zone then commute in Atlanta, DC, San Francisco, etc. So, unless someone's offering me a job where I can telecommute, I'd rather take a chance at a bullet/RPG then die from a heart attack from road rage. I am really prone to road rage. It's sad, I know. I used to love driving, and I still do on lower trafficked back roads, but driving in this congestion makes me absolutely nuts. I try to be Zen-like, but idiots (anyone who doesn't drive like I want them to) make me scream and shout. A couple of cars I've owned in the past have had dents in the roof from me punching the ceiling of the car. I admit it, I suffer from a serious problem here. 12 step program, maybe?

Besides, I really do want to see/experience what's going on over there for myself. If I can contribute to getting our troops home sooner, and help the Iraqi citizenry take control of their own country, well I think that's worth something. Well, okay, there's also a serious problem finding jobs here, and I figure this 'peace' is going to require our presence for a long time. 
  I don't know, and I won't bother to do the research required to vet this, but it really wouldn't surprise me too much: baltimoresun.com - New book on NSA sheds light on secrets. It is little old; it's funny how you miss some things.

And then there's this that I got via Juan Cole * Informed Comment *: Democracy Now! | Publishers Face Prison For Editing Articles from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya or Cuba. This one is a little scary in the first amendment area, but if you read the article, it also appears somewhat stupid:

"It is very peculiar. You can divide the so-called services into two categories; one is the traditional peer review function whereby noted scientists in given fields are asked by our editors, who are also experts, to review a given article and make a judgment about it, whether it is publishable or not, whether it's important work, and also to offer comments that might improve the work. The second category has to do with what is regarded as copy editing and this means, of course, correcting grammar, rewriting some sentences in minor ways, changing punctuation, and conforming the material to a given style guideline. Curiously, the OFAC ruling when it came out in late September seemed to permit peer review, but very definitely prohibited this copy editing function. We had clarification from OFAC that probably peer review is indeed permissible and does not violate the trade embargo."

Wait, I can't correct the spelling, but I can peer review the work? Who wrote this? And, if I ever learn how to indent quotes, I won't have to use quotation marks. 
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