Monday, February 16, 2015

Democracy, What a Concept

I have a code id by doze, and clogging is not conducive to blogging on this outrageously freezing (windchill is Minus 20) Presidents Day.

In case anyone is out there, and wants to vent on anything at all, political, cultural, or nonsensical, have at it. Let's celebrate bottom-up democracy instead of George Washington's plump bottom on his horse.

I did manage to paste up a comment on Paul Krugman's column in the wee hours, when I awoke to medicate my sinuses. He wrote on Greece, which I'd serendipitously been reading up on over the weekend and jotting down notes... so deep thinking was not required at 3:30 a.m EST., when New York Times columns now ridiculously appear.

 Greece might seem like it's far away and not relevant to us, but since we're all in this together on the precarious little planet being plundered by the same interconnected global oligarchic psychopaths, we all must stick together. I am hope-hope-hoping that following the lead of Syriza, the Green Party will come into its own this election cycle. And if Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders jump in, all the better. Because flawed and imperfect as they may be, they are anti-corruption. The thought of a Hillary versus Jeb neoliberal slime-pit fills me with alternating bouts of apathy and despair and disgust.

Krugman, meanwhile, writes that at least Greece won't be militarily invaded if it refuses to pay its bills. I wouldn't be so sure about that, given the voracious appetites of the Military Industrial Complex and its current stampede on Ukraine. Colonization by neoliberal forces is still invasion, still an assault on humanity. But he is right about Weimar Germany and its aftermath being an object lesson. My reply:
Europe's austerians should take a lesson from FDR's New Deal, which not only lifted the US out of depression but served to thwart the tide of fascism then washing over Europe. You'd think that Germany in particular would also remember the Marshall Plan, whose generosity and spirit of forgiveness helped save Western Europe for democracy, even as it rebuilt infrastructure and lives after World War II.
The assault of the Troika on Greece is indeed a war, a war by the amoral oligarchs who control the globalized, financialized political system. The latest crisis is the direct result of the avarice of these same unregulated players who caused the whole economic catastrophe to begin with. That they're now punishing regular people is both tragic and laughable, since the Greeks (at least before many of them lost jobs through no fault of their own) work more hours than in most other European nations. Indeed, the predators of finance capital are propagandizing, blaming the victims, and pitting disparate groups of people against one another -- Weimar deja vu all over again. And we know how that turned out.
The Troika would rather that people suffer than whole nations succeed, together. What individual investors and employers might gain temporarily by inflicting pain on others will inevitably harm them too, as well as do lasting damage to their beloved markets.
 The plutonomy's motto that "a rising tide lifts all yachts" sounds cute until everybody drowns. Even the pathocrats.


Zee said...

I hope that you're feeling better soon. It's bad enough being as cold as you are in upstate NY at the moment, without being ill, to boot!

I don't know what you're doing to "medicate [your] sinuses"--probably OTC decongenstants, nothing wrong with that--but have you considered sinus "irrigation" to further clear things up, if you don't already do so?

It's pretty gross (to me, at least), but it really works to help relieve both my allergy and cold symptoms. I have to do it daily now, owing to some recent sinus and ear problems of my own:

If you do try it, make sure that you use commercially distilled or thoroughly boiled water, however.

Denis Neville said...

It is a strange world, a world full of miseries.

Why did God give us sinuses?

A strange question for an atheist to ask, but I find myself wondering this during this time of desperation as my head feels like it's going to explode, my teeth hurt, my face hurts, my burning nasal passages are blocked, now unresponsive to the usual over-the-counter decongestants and saline irrigations, forcing me to resort to mouth breathing, which was designed for eating, not breathing, resulting in a parched mouth and throat and chapped lips.

The misery of miserable hours, over and over again. I would trade my ravaged sinuses and suffering for anything in the world at this point.

Jeff! Jeff! Jeff!

Lots of smoke produced lots of cancer. Less smoke produced less cancer. The effects were seen in the globally despite differences in lifestyle, diet, and the like. The weight of evidence was heavy. Who could deny all that? The merchants of doubt, that’s who.

Big tobacco is just one example of larger evils at work in society.

Call it the “tobacco strategy,” the tobacco industry’s shift from rich, developed nations to low- and middle-income countries. With tobacco use declining in wealthier countries, tobacco companies are spending tens of billions of dollars a year on advertising, marketing, and sponsorship, much of it to increase sales in developing countries. They also brought their legal and financial clout to bear to block the implementation of anti-smoking regulations in such places, using litigation to threaten low- and middle-income countries.

Thank you John Oliver and his team, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) for doing what no other news network dares to do:

Karen Garcia said...

Zee, thanks for your good wishes, and Denis, sorry to learn you are a fellow sufferer. I've been snorting Afrin decongestant (sparingly, because it tends to produce a chronic rebound effect) and popping ibuprofen. I'll resort to the saline flush at the first sign of grossiosity. So far so good....

Jay–Ottawa said...

Why did God give us sinuses? To separate the winter wheat from the chaff.

Stand back while I exercise my bragging rights.

First of all, yesterday was the 50th anniversary of our relatively new national flag––you know, the one with the big red maple leaf, instead of the previous weak-tea UK version of a flag. (Of course, we still swear allegiance to the Queen.) Anyway, seems like our maple leaf flag celebration beat your President’s Day by one day. Ha-ha.


You really want to compare red noses with a Canadian? Did you know that Ottawa is regularly in the top three of the globe’s coldest national capitals? Colder than Moscow all the time. Google it if you don’t believe me. My money is in our coming in first for the big chill this year.

Now for our weather report, which, as our cold-weather brethren from Minnesota like to say on Prairie Home Companion, accounts for our noble and sturdy character. In summer time, the distance between Ottawa and the North Pole is calculated to be nearly 3,000 miles, except however during the half year of our extended winter when Ottawa then gravitates to within 100 miles from the North Pole.

It’s all due to something pretty technical within the Polar Vortex Theory. Seems like the vortex not only pinches noses, it compresses maps, especially in the Mercator projection, which only makes it LOOK like Ottawa is all of 3,000 miles south of the pole. If that’s difficult to grasp by you kilometer illiterates south of the border, all will be made clear when you get your bods up here anytime during the Canadian Season of––brace for an untranslatable First Nations term––“NovDecJanFebMarandthefirsthalfofApr.”

Yes, but how about the relief thanks to the January thaw, you ask? Don’t know what you’re talking about. What’s the word from Puxatony Pete? I don’t think he ventures this close the North Pole.

Just how cold is it? Well, for the past two weeks we’ve been approaching, on and off, minus (–) 40 wind chills. Don’t be frightened, the First Nations people have taught us how to cope. The math literate among you are immediately thinking, aha!, I should specify whether that wind chill is in Fahrenheit or Centigrade. But then you recall that the two temperature systems crisscross at –40. So –40 F is the same as –40 Centigrade.

Damn! Gotta go. That moose is back again trying to butt his way though our picture window.

Bert Gold, Frederick Maryland said...

Nose spray is addicting. I kicked mine last year cold turkey. Doc gave me a script for Montelukast. But, now I'm off that too.

Roger Cohen and I conversed on his column acknowledging that the west is at war with Islam (and Islam is at war with the West). I congratulated him for coming to his senses. It only took 59 years.

What a stupendous disappointment Barack Obama has been, even if David Axelrod thinks he's beloved. Really, folks, the guy could have done something other than trying to convince us that we aren't at war with Islam, we're at war with incivility. When Islam is civil we clearly aren't at war with it. But, that's more the exception than the rule.

Read Roger's column. He's no right winger.

stranger in a strange land said...

The perception of a nefarious, nebulous, permanent enemy is exactly what the globalist-war-industry-machine craves the most. Roger Cohen's column yesterday asserted yet again what the powers-that-be have been telling us for some time:

Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia