TPP Stands For: It's Payback Time (Or Something Like That)

When asked if I like Barry Obama I rudely respond with a question. “Are you republican?” If they say, “No, I’m a Democrat,” then I respond thus: He’s ok, but I’m very disappointed. If they respond, “Yes, I’m a Republican,” I respond thus: I love him. With that in mind, dear worst-reader, I’m disappointed in Barry-O because:

  1. He’s from Chicago
  2. He’s (obviously) naive
  3. I wanted Hillary but took him when #americant females showed how much they hate their own kind
  4. Neo-Liberalism

Which brings me to TPP and the ridiculous stance he’s taking on it. Btw, the difference between Democrat and Republican is quite simple. It is a question of fun-ideology that dates back to the founding of what could have been a great nation. But since #americant decided to go the way of the neanderthal-reactionary über-conservative mind-set post Reagonomics, its current iteration of radical politics, which should be of no surprise to anyone, is really nothing more than a big, super, über-mess that will require the same amount of time to get out of that it took to get in to. Barry-O is literally stuck between a rock and, well, being from (schooled neo-liberal) Chicago. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not generalising here. Of course I don’t mean all Chicagoens. Actually I mean just one: Milton Friedman. Friedman is the father of the economic ideology that has perverted politics for the better part of the last thirty years. And nomatter how bad Friedman’s economics are, no one seems to get it. And since no one seems to get it–or has never gotten it–it’s payback time. All of the “business” that has sold-out the country has to be paid for–eventually. Eventually is now. Hence, Barry-O can’t rationalise the true meaning of the TPP–nor could his predecessor Bill-O with NAFTA. The TPP (and NAFTA), btw, is not a trade agreement but is instead a treaty among a few powerful economies and a few fledgling, wannabe, weak economies. Good luck suckers. Rant on. -Tommi

Source: Backlash Against TPP Grows as Leaked Text Reveals Increased Corporate Control of Public Health | Democracy Now!

Voucher Me This

monopoly board have no fear
Why is it that Neo-liberals aka followers of Milton Friedman are obsessed with government spending? I ask the question because I recently saw a video of Friedman blathering about his concept of a voucher school system (yeah, just google it) and that was somehow compounded when I read a few moments later that the United Mistakes dysfunctional congress was cutting Amtrak funding in the wake of a terrible accident that could have been prevented if there was proper funding. Continue reading “Voucher Me This”

Like Not Like

So. Like. I’m sitting on a bus last summer. I’m traveling from Salisbury, MD, to Wilmington, DE. In Wilmington a train takes me to NYC where I enjoy an afternoon and an overnight in one of my favourite places on the planet. To worst-writer there is nothing more tranquil than walking around NYC until I feel like my legs are gonna fall off. That’s pretty much all I do when I go on these trips. (Ok, sometimes I see a play or three.) What a way to get away, eh! And during this trip I make special effort to get as inebriated as possible on account I need to get family issues off my mind. The thing is to get drunk without becoming a public nuisance. That goes without saying. So. With full flask in my jacket pocket the travel can begin. Usually the flask gets me to NYC where I then proceed to refill it via hotel mini bars. I also stop in various places for other forms of sustenance–you know, food and sometimes brief but intense conversation. Cause when I’m alone all I do is think about the world, my meaningless worst-writing career and sometimes the asses of wannabe beauties that seem to line the streets of mid-town Manhattan. Getting drunk in NYC, to me, is like traveling the world just like how I wish I could do it all the time. Get on a plane and go to Madrid, Egypt, India, Mauritius, Bangkok, Manilla, San Fran, etc. Yeah. Whatever. But since I have to settle for the multi-culti of NYC, I’m good. ¶There is one thing lingering with me from last summer’s trip, though. On the bus to Wilmington I got in a conversation with a young man from South Carolina. He was bussing it to Boston and also planning an overnight in NYC. Of course, after hearing his plans I didn’t tell him my plans on account I knew that if I did he would push the poor student bullshit my way and next thing I know I’d be putting him up for a night. Instead, I got him to talk to me about his politics. That always a great way to get rid of people when you’d rather be alone. He was, of course, a right-winger and I got him to monologue about what he thinks of Barry Obama, money and the woman he someday wants to own as his wife. The problem was his monologue was emptying fast and I started to get worried. There simply isn’t much substance in what this young #americant college frat republican boy had to say which means that one can’t kill a lot of time  avoiding whatever it is he has to say. When he rant out, we were still an hour from Wilmington. Before I could get another question in–I wanted to try and see if he could talk about Saint Ronal Reagan–he asked me about my politics. Which brings me to this post, dear worst-reader. When ever a stranger asks me about my politics I usually try and figure out how right-wing they are first. Once I know that then I know how to go about talking about my (political) leanings. With left-wing folk I usually get provocative and say that I don’t like Barry. With right wingers, though, who usually have the intellect of lunkheads (hence such a once great nation can come up politicians like S. Palin), I usually say I love Barry. From there it’s all about… Let the confrontation begin. ¶I won’t go into detail about arguing with right wingers why I like Barry. What’s more interesting than conversations with lunkheads, is how one converses with those who think they are on the same plain. And so. As a liberal. When ever I talk to progressives or Dems, I usually just come out with it and say it loud: I do not like Barry Obama. Once the shock & awe passes, I then start talking about how I wanted Hillary in 2008. I wanted her to get the Whitehouse so that, simply by her presence, she could make all those really, really stupid white men, especially idiots like Newt Gingrich, squeal like the pigs they are for impeaching Bill Clinton. That impeachment to me was one of the worst things that #americant has ever done. I mean, it was worse than the trial-that-never-was of Richard Nixon. And then I add that Barry is too naive a man to be president. He’s naive because, even though he’s been abroad in his life, he is clueless to what’s really going on in this world. And that’s not even the important part of why I don’t like him. I don’t like him because he’s from Chicago–and I don’t mean the city. Obama is obviously a believer in neoliberalism, i.e. Milton Friedman. That was one of my arguments back in 2007 when it looked like Barry was gonna clean (the Dem) house. I know. Bill and Hillary aren’t much better–since the predecessor to things like the TPP (see links below), NAFTA, were put through on their watch, which are also, probably, part of the Chicago school. It’s obvious that the Democratic party is suffering under an identity crisis that could be called republican-lite. Yet I still have hope that someone soon might come along and shine the light. Obviously Barry ain’t the one to do that. Hence, he’s for TPP and that scares me more than him being from Chicago. Oh well. I still voted for him twice and would do it again if the party so wishes. With that in mind. I really love the US political system. No where else in the world is there as much clarity about how Das Volk thinks. Anywho. Be afraid of TPP because Barry is gonna do his damnedest to make it happen. May your god save us all. Rant on. -Tommi

Links:

TPP | Wiki

The Story of TPP, by Robert Reich | YouTube

The Few Who Would Not Play The Game

“Then these are the basic rules of a government in a free society: to provide a means whereby we can modify the rules, mediate differences among us on the meaning of the rules, and to enforce compliance with the rules on the part of those few who would otherwise not play the game.” -Milton Friedman, Government As Rule Maker and Umpire, Capitalism and Freedom Fortieth Anniversary Edition

Boomerang Them Germans

Boomerang by Michael Lewis

What is a boomerang and how does it apply to the problems of a world faced with replacing productivity and creativity with speculative finance? Without looking it up on Wiki, I recall a boomerang being a hunting tool. Aborigines used it to stun or deliver a debilitating injury to their prey in order to approach it and then administer the kill. Obviously there is a political underlying reality to what has facilitated the West’s financial woes but that isn’t best exemplified in a primitive hunting stick that returns if it misses its target and ultimately ends up becoming more a toy than a useful tool.

Today, dear worst reader, we talk about Boomerang by Michael Lewis. And even if it doesn’t matter – and it might not come across that way as you read on – I love this book. In fact, it’s the second by Lewis I’ve read, and I loved the first just as much. He has a knack for writing short, precise books that get right to the point and he does it in a pleasurable way. So. With niceties behind us… Although I try to steer away from being a critic and/or a reviewer, there are a few things I have to criticize about Boomerang. First, to me, Mr. Lewis should stick with calling this book “The Meltdown Tour” like the Kindle edition I have or “Travels in the New Third World” which (I think) is part of the title for the US version. Of course, being the successful writer that Mr. Lewis is also means that he can hop-skip and jump around the world trying to find interesting ways to explain our doom and call his book anything he wants. Yet, I still have to ask: Who would ever think to write something on this subject matter in the form of a travel journal? Great idear, dude.

Even if the boomerang metaphor doesn’t really fit, I get what Lewis is trying to say with it. And, as I’ll explain in a sec, it might be better applied to something/somewhere else. I reckon throwing something into the air and having it magically/automatically return to you is kind of a catcher. It’s just that I think he’s looking for something along the lines of ‘what goes around comes around.’ Or perhaps it’s more like ‘you reap what you sew.’ Nomatter. I simply disagree that the financial woes in our debt ridden western world can be explained and/or understood from the point-of-view that it’s all about something we did (in the past) which is now coming back around to bite us in the ass. Unless, of course, the boomerang worked as it was intended to work. I digress.

The thing that most people miss when contemplating wall street is that the west has replacedidears such as merit and achievement, and if you go even further law, with a new kind of hereditary entitlement. That’s right, I’m referring to the type of entitlement that the Enlightenment tried to get rid of. One of the tricks used to cause this re-establishment of entitlement has culminated in the simple act of commoditizing EVERYTHING. Hence the misunderstanding that there is a wall street and a main street. Wall street is simply the entitlement that all main street is trying to get at. Main street has happily and joyously enabled wall street and I would even go so far as to say that it’s done so more than partisan politics has. Welcome to the new world-order formula of consume equals survive by any means necessary.

Put another way, if you really want to get ahead today and/or move beyond just making a living you either have to be a Bill Gates or a in-the-right-place, at-the-right-time bond trader for a company like Goldman Sachs. The beginning of this new century proves more than in any other time that working for a living, that is, actually earning something, has gone the way of the dinosaur. All that’s left for us now is speculation and debt. And these two things are like a boomerang, I guess. Lewis writes: “When you borrow a lot of money to create a false prosperity, you import the future into the present.” Ok. I guess that’s what goes around comes around. Or? Anywho. Having grown up in this gluttonous do-nothing, achieve-nothing yet get-ahead world (fail-upwards) only one question comes to mind: how did it get like this?  The dawn and the hey-day of the industrial era was not about the likes of Henry Ford or Thomas Edison maintaining fortunes by speculating on derivatives that are based on debt that was created by selling-off a nations production capacity. The problem with all this Tommi-contemplation, stirred by Michael Lewis’ book, is that I know the answer(s) as much as I know the nose on my face. Yet who really wants to know noses? I digress again.

As stated, this is my second book by Michael Lewis and I’m digging this guy more and more. Lewis has a unique ability to intertwine journalism with story telling. So. If you want to know how the western world’s debt problems are intertwined with wall street shenanigans Michael Lewis is for you. The best part of it is that you’re gonna get the added bonus of not only having a quick education in the trickery of world finance but also some insight into the character and personality of nation-states that seem to compete with one another just like toddlers in a sandbox where the toys they fight and bicker over are “securitized fish”* and other financial derivatives.

The book has five chapters, each detailing deadbeat countries and their debt woes. Lewis starts his travels with Iceland, then moves on to Greece, followed by Ireland, Germany and ends with California where a somewhat strange but interesting interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger is inserted. The thing that bothered about this book is how Lewis included Germany in his story as though it too is a deadbeat nation. Obviously, all the places Lewis visited have serious debt and finance problems, including Germany. Yet, comparatively, the only one that seems to be able to manage the problem is Germany. So it doesn’t make much sense to me why Lewis didn’t put a little more effort into setting the Germans aside.

Maybe I’m biased because I live here, but if you ask for Tommi’s humble opinion, Germany shouldn’t be lobbed in with countries that are basically nothing more than borderline madhouses (what can you expect from a country (Iceland) that believes Milton Friedman could be an architect of a new economy?) or criminal enterprises (the Greek government). The west has gone through various experiments in economics and politics in the last (insert # years here). As angry as I might be with my choice of expatriation country and these friggin’ Krauts, there is one thing that you can’t take away from the Germans. Post-WW2 Germany is probably the only country that has been clearly run/governed by the word of law like no other country. Forgive me for generalizing here, but Germany doesn’t just interpret law or use law for the sake of providing advantage(s) to politics (government) or interest groups (corporations); all of which is the basis for American’t and other Anglo-driven countries to have such run-amok economies. You would think that some kind of praise is deserved for how Germany, as a country, has conducted itself since the advent of the Euro and the advent of the anglo way of living beyond ones means. While all Anglo influenced countries consume themselves into deeper and deeper holes of credit/debt, I can barely find stores in Germany where I can use my mastercard to buy stuff – and it’s 2012! For reasons too obvious and outdated, people insist on trying to drag down these Krauts or just lob them into the same Eurowasteland pot.

One thing fascinating with this book is how Lewis provides a few short examples of the differences between Germans and Anglos, especially in the realm of world finance. (And this is, btw, IMHO, the subject that Lewis could have gotten into a bit more in order to set the Germans aside.) But all is not rosey. What he fails to say is that, as bad as the “Landesbank” scandals (2008) were, the Germans could never go as far as the Irish or the Greeks. Or does he say that? Yes. Actually he does say that. My bad. He just doesn’t expand on such a revelation enough. He writes, “The Germans took the rules at their face value: they looked into the history of triple-A-rated bonds and accepted the official story that triple-A-rated bonds were completely risk-free.” And then he says, “Others do not behave as Germans do: others lie.” Sure, the Landesbank traders bought into subprime up to the day that the market crashed, making them somewhat gullible, but they did so because they thought they could trust the US, and more importantly, the obviously corrupt, biased and down-right stupid Anglo-driven rating agencies.

Why Lewis fails to differentiate Germany from the deadbeats is not a mystery to me. In fact, it’s one of the reason I don’t watch BBC or CNN anymore. I just can’t bare to hear all this anti-German talk as though it’s the early 20th century all over again. I mean, seriously. Up until WW2 Germany was on the verge of becoming a super power beyond, at the time, anyone’s belief – and we all know what that culminated in. Since then these Krauts have worked their asses off and have gallantly abided by the Marshall Plan and its doctrine of commerce good, war and divisiveness bad. Now that they have given up their beloved Deutsche Mark, even accepted idiotic mafia-like southern Eurowasteland liars into the fold, no one seems to want to credit Germany for actually doing a pretty good job at economically leading this whole mess. Btw, at the same time they also managed to integrate their own deadbeat former soviet other-half into the country. Somebody stand up and say: Alaaf!

So, are people afraid that the world may someday replace English with German? Oh! Did I just stumble upon the answer? The Anglo-fear makes no sense to me – unless you watch the BBC cover the demise and failure of the sold-out British economy. But then again, Lewis says this about Krauts, and when I first read it, I was seriously pissed: “For the Germans the euro isn’t just a currency. It’s a device for flushing away the past. It’s another Holocaust Memorial.” Come on. Are you serious? What do these Krauts have to do? Because of who they are, their past, and how they concurrently conduct themselves, they still must face this level of patronizing as though the sandbox of little children had some kind of scary superman in it that just might represent, at the least, a different way of doing things. Be afraid, people. Z’Germans are coming!

Anyway. I really enjoyed this book, even though I think Lewis is a bit naive and perhaps lazy when it comes to the part about Germany. But what the heck. At least I learned more than I thought I already knew about the gullibility of Germans. This is great read – even if you’re skeptical of the German way of doing things. Write on, Lewis.

Links:

 

Rant on.

-Tommi-

 

* “The fish had not only been privatized, they had been securitized.” -Michael Lewis, from the chapter about Iceland and how fisherman turned away from the sea for careers in speculative finance.

The (Non) Shock Doctrine

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

If you haven’t discerned by now, I finished Naomi Klein’s book.  I’m proud to say that I read it in two days. Seriously. It has a million and a half pages, although I might have counted a few twice. Here a few bullets to ease you into my world of writing about all things worst and “The Shock Doctrine”.

• Wow.

• A Wonderful, meticulously researched book.

• A great new take on the issue and/or question of the result of twentieth century mixing of all-things-politics and all-things-economic.

• Very wordy and sometimes repetitive but well structured and extremely informative.

• I wish the author would have put a bit more from her own head (or thoughts) into this book. The constant barrage of well-researched and foot-noted/end-noted information was at times distracting – but in the end its what saved the book for me. To some, so much fact-checking might be distracting but at least you can find solace in that this book is not an academic textbook, although it feels like one. Perhaps that’s more reason to think twice about why this book (to me) was saved by the foot-notes.

• Although she is (or claims to be) a journalist, more often than not, while reading this, I hoped she would/could turn into a philosopher or, perhaps, at the least, a political scientist with a tendency to über dramatize. The book could use a lot more touchy-feelie like what she acieved with her previous book “No Logo.” With that in mind, I did find myself tearing up a bit while reading the chapters about Thailand and New Orleans and even those chapters about Pinochet.

• At the risk of being repetative, this book is missing the thing that “No Logo” had. No Logo, by way of a very simple premise, was a wonderfully creative way of questioning corporatism in the west and especially in The United Mistakes of American’t. To me, that simple premise was poetic in No Logo. Unfortunately, there’s nothing poetic about The Shock Doctrine and there is really no simple premise to this new book – even though Ms. Klein sells it with a great blurp/blurb at the cost of a what many people consider a great economist – Milton Friedman.

• What this book delivers is Naomi Klein and her well researched fact after a fact after fact on the ills of bad capitalism and bad politics.

• Professionalism = Obedience.

• Career = Lifestyle

• Survival = Consumer

 

I feel it necessary, due to the political and wing-nut positions that underly The Shock Doctrine, my responsibility to inform you, dear worst-reader, of my political and worldly convictions – or at least a small part of them. And keep in mind, this is no way a “coming out”. First. I’m a capitalist. Second. Capitalism is not a political system and a democratic society should not rely on it for either managing government or creating policy. Capitalism must never be in front of individual liberty; it must be subordinate to it. The problems rational people face today is that capitalism has gone awry and that is coinciding very conveniently with politics doing the same. Some people attribute this very acute problem to money and how elected officials acquire money to get elected. I do not make that connection – alone. For me, the problem of politics and it now being in the hands of capitalism is that voters have long since jumped on the apathy wagon and are incapable of getting off it. Hence, by default, there is no place for rational people to make important decisions regarding government policies. Here we have the quagmire of survival based on consuming – you know, the chestnut Ronald Reagan opened during his reign. Unfortunately Naomi Klein is very good at pointing fingers regarding capitalism, but that’s about all she does.

Now get this. The biggest problem with The Shock Doctrine is that it focuses too much on criticizing something that doesn’t really exist and the rest of the time it tries to create a bunch of bogeymen. Too often Naomi Klein comes across as someone with a vendetta and by doing so gets lost. This is the deep trap that most leftists fall in these days. For example. Did the west do bad things in South America? You betcha! Did the United Mistakes manipulate South East Asia and thereby directly cause the slaughter in East Timor? Uhhhhh… Yep. How did Saddam get WMDs? The questions go on and on. And the answers are all the same. But. We are not just the champions of multiple choice tests issued by those who can see only one color or pattern or frame. Again. Klein wants to criticize capitalism alone and yet she never once even manages a peep about what to replace it with. Indeed. I know what it’s like to cut something down and never make something grow.

Focused as she is, Naomi Klein pretty much misses her chance to nail capitalism as it’s being exploited at the beginning of this new century. She even fails to address the “politics” or the idear of participatory democracy and how that has kinda taken advantage of capitalism. She then also misses any chance of providing some insight into how to deal with all the bogeymen that she puts on various pedestals. The one thing that Ms. Klein gets right is her referencing twentieth century political and economic antics and how that has enabled and fostered totalitarian corporatism. But she doesn’t quite put it that way. I would think that most people who choose to read this book already know about the demon of corporatism – which, ironically, is a term I think she coined – at least for a certain generation – by writing a book that to me was ground breaking: “No Logo”.

The Shock Doctrine would have been better served if she would have continued where No Logo left off. I kind of miss her rebel with a cause attitude which was all over ”No Logo”. Instead, she gives us/you fact after fact after fact about bad politics and worse capitalism – most of the fun of which is in her footnotes – which only failed writers with nothing better to do will actually read. Only at the end of the book does she allude to the idea that something needs to be done to get this system-gone-awry back on a somewhat more (can I use this word?) egalitarian track. But then the book just ends. I guess she ran out of facts – or footnotes.

Now get this. While reading this book I was completely withdrawn from all things Orwellian. Seriously. That says a lot. Orwell is usually with me 22×7 or when I have a book in my face. Ever since I became an expatriate, living in the old country that so motivated Orwell to come up with Big Brother, utopia has held a special place in each deep thought I’ve had. Even though you couldn’t tell by looking at me, I have a lot of deep thoughts during the day. Yet Naomi Klein made me take a break from Orwell. After reading two of her books and a few articles I started to wonder how Klein made no connection to George Orwell in her various criticisms of e.g. welfare capitalism. But then again, that might not be such a bad thing. I’m not sure if a lot of people could handle Orwell and Klein. What else then is she supposed to do with all this research if not dwell on the idear of dystopia?

I think I have answer. The Shock Doctrine seems to pander to overly ambitious PhD theses writers in either the humanities or social sciences or it attempts to bridge the gap that is college educated-idiocracy that makes-up the demographically profitable side of Pareto’s Principle (aka the 80/20 rule) in all this consumer chaos. And, yes, ultimately, I believe that it is the college educated that are the ones making things so bad in this world. Remember, if you are one of the few that actually manage to get a college education and then, on top of that, manage to get a ”career”, what else can you do with your life but… Shut the F-up and buy things and be your own narcotic? But Klein doesn’t even go there.

Here a quote from a letter from Aldous Huxley to George Orwell in 1949 regarding 1984. Huxley and Orwell had it down back then and their thoughts should have served as seeds for Ms. Klein and all the idiot careerist college grads that read The Shock Doctrine and then think, “Yeah, she’s right and then go back to their comfort- zone, status-quo corporate careers being automaton lemmings.

”Within the next generation (the baby boomers!) I believe that the worlds leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient as instruments of government then clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience.”

I hate to say this because it is very pretentious of me, but, what the heck: I have the feeling that Ms. Klein is out of her league and might have rushed her new book to print. Dont get me wrong. I enjoyed reading it even though I’m aware of most the stuff she writes about. Ms. Klein’s research is impeccable and extremely useful. But as a book that is supposed to have a narrative, she misses the boat. There is only so much you can do retelling the news.

So. Where’s the poetry? It’s lost.

For Aldus Huxley in 1949 to suggest people in the future will earn their living in the realm of corporate servitude is what I mean when I say that Ms. Klein lacks anything poetic in this very large work of research. I heard in an interview with her that she lived for a year in Argentina as part of her quest to research/write this book. Then came the Iraq war. She said in the interview that she got side-tracked and continued her research in Iraq. If she was in Argentina to research the negativity of fundamentalist capitalism from Milton Friedman (aka Bogeyman #1) and the so-called Chicago School and all it did in South America, well, yeah, I guess she really did get side-tracked by continuing her work/research in Iraq. I think she gets lost in one mess-a-potamia ( South America) and then gets lost in another mess-a-potamia (Iraq) and the key word is lost.

Are all things lost? Beyond the geo-political aspect of Ms. Klein’s critical work she has one other problem. To me she blatantly affronts Milton Friedman and numerous others. In fact, she seems almost obsessed with bogeymen. Friedman does not deserve so much of Ms. Kleins attention in this book – unless she’s trying to attack academia – which I wish she would as that might just give this book a narrative. Also. Even if Donald (Bogeyman #2) Rumsfeld was schooled by Friedman you ultimately can’t blame the teacher for what the student does. Friedman was either a good teacher or a bad teacher – he cannot be anything more. (But thank goodness he’s gone!) In fact, of all the nation-state evil deeds done in (recent) history and of all the bogeymen we know about, I’m not aware of anyone trying to condemn their teachers. Who taught Nixon? Who taught Kissinger? Heck, who taught Mother Theresa? It just doesn’t make sense.

Since Friedman has entered this arena, let me say this in that special pretentious way that only I can. I do not like Milton Friedman. In fact, I think he’s a cruel joke. I first heard of Friedman when that dimwit politician Ronald Reagan used to carry around “Capitalism and Freedom”. I have read Friedman’s book, in fact I’ve read it twice in a span of fifteen years. This is what I have to say about this book and almost everything Friedman stands for. The negative impact of Friedman-ism (or the Chicago School), especially on the baby-boomer generation, can be compared to measuring radioactive fallout and half-life. History will have its way with Friedman and the pseudo-fascism that he’s enabled in the name of freedom and capitalism. But. As I calm myself and recall what it took to get me to re-read his infamous book, I have to admit that, given a second thought or two, there are a few things/idears that Friedman came up with that might not be so inherently evil. I won’t get into that here, but if you’re interested in what it might entail, just read the first two chapters of Capitalism and Freedom and burn the rest.

One thing I’ve gathered over the years about Milton Friedman is that he believed in liberty – and even I’m not cynical enough to believe that his liberty was only about corporate liberty. Friedman’s problem – and what Naomi Klein fails to consider – was that he was an elite academic entrenched in theory. He was nothing but a fuckin school teacher who never earned a living from the/a ”free market” that he preached about. Maybe that in itself is worth criticizing – or laughing at. Either way, there is no reason for Naomi Klein to turn Friedman into 666. I went through American public schooling – and a bit of college (until Reagan made college impossible for me and millions of others from the low-middle-classes). Seriously. I had some pretty whacked-out teachers. I dont blame one of those teachers for all my failure today. Ok. I’ve rambled enough on that.

Klein spends too little time on issues like human behavior, collectivism, social ignorance, merit-less achievement, serfdom, or even modern media driven politics. These are all the things and more that will make up the end of Rome – I mean, American’t. Instead Klein likes torture and describing Sadistic behavior – which ain’t about to be expelled from man’s mind – no matter how many pages you write. She should spend at least a bit of time talking about the level of ignorance and stupidity that has become the American’t Way of Living – lived by American’ts. I just don’t see how it’s worthwhile to only blame the elites for American’t problems. Maybe next time Klein should spend more research time in rural redneck areas of American’t to figure out what’s really wrong with the globalized freakshow. Just figure out what makes all the morons tick and why/how they come to always vote against their own best interests. And then she can tell us how the elites laugh at the whole show.

I believe that liberty is something that has to be politically protected and obviously shielded from those who would take it away. It is a matter of inalienable rights – which some of us have heard mentioned in a relatively famous document, although the intention of such words in the past might not be the same today. I also believe that capitalism can co-exist with a participatory democratic system. The keyword being participatory. Noami Klein should have addressed what capitalism could be in her book instead of just dogging on it and showing her disdain for certain influential people. If she would have gone that route then we would hit it off because I think, well, she’s hot. Instead, the system she criticizes isn’t the problem, and I wonder if she’s ever going to address what the problem really is – she almost got it in No Logo. Even if you continually call it things like disaster capitalism or vulture capitalists, monetary whiplash, casino capitalism, great creative cauldron of capitalism, Friedman-ism, Chicago School Capitalism, etc, etc. None of that matters because you cant take it all out of the context of what is real in the world today. There is not just a fight of things evil or of things terroristic or trying to protect the environment or being social or saving the fucking whales. We are in a struggle of survival and that struggle is being sanctioned completely and utterly by SUV-driving ignorance in ALL aspects of humanity – by both rulers and followers who vote for their rulers.

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Rant on.

-tgs-