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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

UC Davis Pepper Spray, Joke Photo Collection

This is a truly horrifying event. And a brazenly open manifestation of the police state we now live in. However, a good joke going viral is worth a thousand protests. No one will forget this %$#hole again.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

China: No More Cheap Labor-CONSEQUENCES

I've been talking about this for the past two years, but I'm glad to see it gaining some traction.  Given the typical demand and supply curves, the most obvious way for companies to make profits is to lower the costs of production.  Right?  Simple economics.  There are two ways to do that: Technology and Cheap Labor.  Western democracies have done both, no need to explain that.

Politicians and pundits have used this fact on both sides of the aisle, often for conflicting purposes.  If its not the mexicans stealing jobs, it's the factory jobs getting outsourced to Asia, Bangladesh, India, etc. And everywhere the ray gun of capitalism is fired, populations are roughly enslaved--forced to work in deplorable conditions for a pittance.

At first, this doesn't seem so bad.  Factories often provide certain amenities (even the terrible ones) to its tenant-workers, room and board (taken from their already meager salaries,) minimal healthcare (cuts and scrapes).  In some countries where the local economies have been demolished through autocratic rule and farm-based economies are reduced to corporate serfdoms, this can often even lift up the population. Wage slavery, after all, requires enough sustenance to keep those brown and yellow hands a flutter with activity.

However, global capitalism (globalism) has for the past twenty years made a practice of finding the absolute perfect site for production of each part in the line.  A Dell computer, for example has its genesis in a spider web of nations, back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean several times.  How is this efficient production? I apologize for the shoddy map, my business textbooks had a much better one.  Every time the price of labor goes up in one country those lines change.  Of course, there are reasons NOT to change as well.  Overall stability is a big one.  No one will be building any factories in Afghanistan anytime soon (unless they're refining Opium).  Security in monetary systems are imperative as well.  If a dictator can seize your profits on a whim, then building a factory in North Korea may well be out too. (I was going to say Libyia, oh well).

Regardless, there comes a point, when the sheer amount of dollars (even when it disproportionately favors "the Haves" begins to lift up the local economy regardless of everyone's efforts.  Kennedy coined this phrase, though its been used repeatedly by the right recently: call it, "a rising tide lifts all ships."  It's not that things get better-because they get worse (see Apple factories), but reforms must be made. I've been wondering why that works out, and I think its because even when you funnel that supreme wealth into a tiny 1%, enough humane, reform minded people are able to be educated, and see how things work outside of the system, that they campaign for change. Usually the children of scientists, doctors, and lawyers, who are all trained in the humanistic doctrines of liberalism, because there would be no knowledge without equality and fraternity.

But I digress again, keep it together Ravingleftatic.

The point is--rising costs of production will change the game of globalism entirely.  Those changes will be endemic, and could be dangerous, causing market instability, currency fluctiatons and trade inequities.  Still, this is the time to do it.  No one will notice in a market that drops and raises 300 points a day.

But more on this later.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Great Op-Ed by John Paul Rollert

I just wanted to share this one.  Very eloquently worded.

John Paul Rollert

Friday, November 4, 2011

Goncharov's Oblamov - A Ravingleftatic If Ever There Was One

This is a great quote, from Ivan Goncharov's Oblamov, which I read in college under a fantastic Russian Lit professor:

What about humanity, pray? Writers like yourself try to write only with the head. What? Do you suppose the intellect can work separately from the heart? Why, the intellect needs love to fertilize it. Rather, stretch out your hand to the fallen and raise him, weep over him if he is lost beyond recall, but in no case make sport of him, for he is one to whom there should be extended only compassion. See in him yourself, and act accordingly. That done, I will read you, and bow my head before you.

Alex Pareene on the State of Journalism

I usually enjoy Alex Pareene's columns, he seems to be a true Ravingleftatic.  Today he commented on an article in Politico that was written terribly.  It reminded me of two articles I reviewed here based on their terrible writing/and or journalism.  It's fun and easy to pick out terribly written articles on all the major news aggregators, but I'd like to comment on a thought I had after reading Pareene's diatribe.

I'm an amateur writer, clearly.  And I've noticed it in my own writing.  If I know I have to write a piece for submission somewhere, I unintentionally beef up the "sound byte" text. You know the stuff that you expect to see in articles, and hear on TV?  Pareene quoted a good example:

"Rival Democratic and Republican jobs bills failed in the Senate on Thursday, the latest sign of the partisan gridlock gripping Washington as Americans look for relief from high unemployment and a sagging economy."

Let's parse this: 

Fact: Rival Democratic and Republican jobs bills failed in the Senate on Thursday

Filler: the latest sign of the partisan gridlock gripping Washington as Americans look for relief from high unemployment and a sagging economy

Now it turns out, says Pareene that even the Fact portion of that statement is incorrect.  But look at that vomitous, regurgitated, claptrap in the second half of the sentence. If I didn't have much to say, and I had to submit an article, I'd use terms like "partisan gridlock," "plagueing America," "the Washington Elite," feeling up a "sagging economy," supported by "the tax payers."  This is careless, terrible writing.  And that is the subject of this post: there is an urge in all of us to regurgitate that which we think our audience expects to hear. Even if we don't believe it, or agree with it.

Next time you watch a comedy, and that comedy shows a news broadcast, listen to the words the writers have chosen, (not the content, the words, the phrases) they're all chosen because we've been trained to know "newspeak."  All we need to hear are certain key phrases and we go on point like a dog guarding the house.  Our brain's instantly say, "this must be news," "this must be true," "Who can I tell?"

But our audiences aren't dumb, even when we treat them that way.  And reading such terms in an article that purports to report and not opine, are misleading.  It assumes facts!  Already in that article, we are told without getting a chance to argue that partisan gridlock is real, it's bad, and that it's equally spread across the entirety of the political scene.  Reinforcement of these Fauxnorms is dangerous in a highly contested political climate such as ours.  It's a bit like the old joke:  "Do you still beat your wife?"