Stat Counter

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wall Street: Same Mistake Twice?

A year since the bankruptcy of Lehman Bros. plunged the U.S. into a massive financial crisis, Andrew Ross Sorkin of the NYTimes stated on Charlie Rose last night that to date, despite windstorms of rhetoric, no new regulatory restrictions have been imposed on Wall Street by the federal government and that hedge funds, money market funds, investment banks and other traders are venturing back into high-risk operations and the trading of newly fabricated and highly complex financial products, these activities said to be capable of producing a new crash as big as last year's, when trillions of dollars of personal savings were permanently lost and the economy as a whole came to close to plunging into a major depression.

This is a clear indication of the role gross irrationality plays in our national life. Addiction to the profit motive to the exclusion of all other values is like an addiction to crack, a pathology in which even the instinct for self-preservation is lost. As a wise person said: "Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Trouble With Artificial Economic Scarcity

Some of the hyper-rich, i.e. the upper 1 percent of the U.$. population that possesses 40 percent of the nation's wealth, as reported by Howard Zinn, are undoubtedly intelligent, hard-working, and, with the exception of their congenital blindness to the suffering artificial scarcity imposes on the working class, decent people, but as a whole the country club class can be classified as an enemy of rationality. It is not rational that the assets of this society are distributed in such a way that 47 million people have zero health insurance, resulting in an estimated 18,000 unnecessary deaths a year, according to press reports, and pushing the federal government toward bankruptcy. Wealth in this country needs to be redistributed via the tax code -- but that would require elected officials who are not funded by the hyper-rich, which is never going to happen without campaign finance reform that would enact public funding of all federal elections. Artificial scarcity exists to a large degree because of the enormous concentration of assets in that narrow, uppermost 1 percent, causing the rest of the members of society to fight among themselves in fierce competition for the remaining assets, this competition leading them to overlook the fact that the working class as a whole is being ripped off to an almost unbelievable extent.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guideline for U.$. Foreign Policy

Coleman McCarthy: "You can fight fire with fire or you can fight fire with water."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Cause of Our Pain

"According to the Buddha, the cause of the angst in our lives is to be found in the patterns of clinging and aversion that dominate our minds and govern our actions. From moment to moment, we are driven by the desire to prolong or gain pleasurable experiences and the desire to get rid of or avoid pain. So enmeshed have we become in patterns of desire and avoidance that these patterns have assumed lives of their own and come to control our lives. We do not act in clear awareness, but under the control of often unconscious drives and emotions. Our actions, rather than satisfying our desires, often result in further frustration and antagonism."

The solution?

Zazen, as explained in the works of Alan Watts.

Zen, Peter Oldmeadow (Sydney: Lansdowne, 2001), p. 10.

Not to mention, for millions of Americans, the lack of medical insurance.

America, snap out of it!

- Rick

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Enormous Income Inequality in U.S.

H. Zinn writes that from 1944 to 1961 the distribution of wealth in the United States "had not changed much: the lowest fifth of the families received 5 percent of all the income; the highest fifth received 45 percent of all the income. In 1953, 1.6 percent of the adult population owned more than 80 percent of the corporate stock and nearly 90 percent of the corporate bonds. About 200 hundred giant corporations--one tenth of one percent of all corporations--controlled about 60 percent of the manufacturing wealth of the nation."

A People's History, pp. 441-42.

Barry repeatedly talked about income inequality during his campaign for the presidency, saying it was the greatest it has been since the Great Depression.

Haven't heard him use the phrase once since he took office.

On health care reform, I was surprised to see a clip of Ted Kennedy on TV roaring that health care was a right, not a privilege -- in 1978! The fundamental reason reform is needed was clearly articulated a long time ago. The power of the insurance and pharmaceutical industry lobbyists to strangle necessary public policy is astonishing.

To provide health care as a for-profit business is inhumane and vile. In a civilized society, health care is a universal, inalienable human right. If one loses one's health, "liberty and the pursuit of happiness" instantaneously evaporate, and in a not insignificant number of cases, God help us, "life" itself vanishes. Press reports indicate that the lack of universal health insurance in the U.S. causes more than 10,000 unnecessary deaths a year.

How Much Is Enough?

Have finished another draft of the screenplay COCKED & LOADED and have realized that I could go on rewriting this thing till the day I die. Henry James: "A work of art isn't finished, it is abandoned." Okay, but when? If I put it aside for a month and go back to it, I know I'll feel compelled to touch up all kinds of things. How much work is enough? Alexander Pope would let his poems "age" for four years before looking at them one final time prior publication, to help fight the writer's greatest fear--fear of embarrassment.

Currently rewriting second screenplay, THE MURDER PORTFOLIO.