- Bankers, both commercial and investment: They get bailed out if things go south.
- Insurance Companies: As long as they get their premiums, particularly medical, it matters not how they screw patients and docs alike.
- Hospital execs: Using grossly overpriced and inefficient software to run their hospitals, it’s ok as long as expenses are passed on to patients.
- Religious leaders: Paradise awaits but never arrives.
- Defense contractors: Dealing in death while keeping hands clean.
- Economists: The dismal science that’s not a science. 50/50 chance of being right.
- Judges: Forever separate from the cases they decide on.
- Government Bureaucrats: Hidden in the endless realm of governmental complexification, bad policy goes unpunished unless it’s so bad, somebody has to take the hit.
- Politicians, including presidents: Remain forever separate from catastrophic economic and foreign policy initiatives as long as they get reelected. Nam, Iraq Libya and Afghanistan
- The MIC/Military Industrial Complex: They own the politicians so endless war makes lots of money while people and countries die. Nam, Iraq Libya and Afghanistan ...
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
The kleroterion was a stone thing that you stuck names in. Then you ran come colored balls through a tube, and the row/column the white ball landed on would be the ‘winners’. Animation via TedEd
Back in 2015, BRT posted a piece titled Sortition = Equality by Lot, whereby citizens of ancient Athens were randomly selected by lot to run the government for X amount of time, the only true way democracy can actually happen as the notion of "electing" specific individuals goes away, thus eliminating the creation of a defacto ruling oligarchy, a situation that has plagued the US for over 200 years.
Sortition, election by lot, a method of choosing public officials in some ancient Greek city-states. It was used especially in the Athenian democracy, from which most information about the practice is derived. With few exceptions, all magistrates were chosen by lot, beginning with the archons in 487–486 bc; likewise the Boule (council) of 500 and the juries of the law courts were chosen by lot. The practice of sortition obviated electoral races and provided for the regular turnover of officeholders. The operations of government were thus not in the hands of experts, but, through the system of sortition, the Athenian democracy provided at least some practical political education for its citizens.
Seems more people are starting to ask why sortition cannot be the law of the land in the US given just how corrupt, expensive and inept our government has come to be.
The Greeks called this system of random access democracy sortition. Think for a moment how sortition would look in the modern world. It would basically look like jury duty. You’d go to vote and instead of selecting the local lord or drug lord, you’d put your own name in, if you wanted. There’d be no campaigning, no advertising, just go home and watch the lottery results. Then you’d end up with a Parliament that literally represented the people.
You’d immediately get 50% women’s representation, no quotas required. You’d immediately get far more poor and middle-class people represented, and much fewer millionaires. You’d immediately get more minorities represented (still within the racist ways we define citizenship).
Sortition actually leads to a far more representative democracy than Representative Democracy. And representation matters. What we have now is a bunch of rich people maybe deciding to do something for the masses, whose lives they really cannot understand and who aren’t even in the room. Under sortition the poor, etc would simply be in the room, able to speak for themselves.
Sounds like a plan to me.
Monday, December 28, 2020
All things, especially living ones, are marinating in the river of time. We see and understand that our bodies will wear out and we will die. At least that’s how it looks through the lens of Western science, where all things come to an end, winding down in a final surrender to entropy. But there’s another perspective, surprisingly in harmony with science, that helps us revisit that huge and ancient terror—fear of time itself—in a new and perhaps even reassuring way. And that is the perspective offered by Buddhism.
For Buddhists, the “center cannot hold,” as the poet W.B. Yeats pointed out, because it doesn’t exist as something rigidly separate from everything else. Nothing is permanent and unchanging, ourselves included. Attempting to cling to a solid, immutable core of a self is a fool’s errand because time not only creates anarchy, it provides the unavoidable matrix within which everything—animate and inanimate, sentient and insensate—ebbs and flows.
As Buddhists see it, all organisms are necessarily, unavoidably—even marvelously and gloriously—impermanent. In Sanskrit, the word for impermanence is anitya. To understand anitya is to achieve something remarkable: opening a door onto the accord between modern western science and ancient eastern wisdom.
The Tao rules. :)
Sunday, December 27, 2020
Friday, December 25, 2020
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Well, we all know that Biden won but we also know chaos incarnate in the guise of The Donald reigns supreme until January 20 whereupon the worst president in history finally goes, either voluntarily or not depending on how deep Trump's insanity happens to be at that point in time.
For starters ...
Trump’s final weeks in office are creating chaos for Congress, which will return next week for a possible government shutdown as it holds an unusual holiday session to vote to override the president’s veto of an annual defense bill.
Trump’s surprise opposition to a COVID-19 relief and omnibus spending package means the government could shut down on Tuesday, days before runoff elections in Georgia that will determine the Senate majority.
It gets better.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), referring to House Republicans, said on a Wednesday conference call that he felt “Trump threw us under the bus” given he was absent from negotiations only to undercut the relief bill after it had passed.
Trump abruptly upending the relief deal is just his latest break with Republicans in Congress.
The president on Wednesday followed through on his threat to veto the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after complaining it did not repeal an unrelated policy that offers protections for social media companies. Both chambers of Congress passed the bill with enough votes to override a veto.
Trump also made waves on Tuesday and Wednesday by announcing two batches of pardons for controversial allies, including Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Charles Kushner and former Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). Collins and Hunter were two of Trump's earliest supporters in Congress, and both pleaded guilty to various corruption charges.
“This is rotten to the core,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), one of the more outspoken Trump critics in the Senate GOP conference, said in response to the pardons of Manafort and Stone.
Endgame. The repugs let this crap happen. Over a hundred supported sedition regarding Trump's attempt to overturn the election and yet they still remain in office because the dems are gutless while the country remains at sea with an inept and corrupt governing body that no longer knows how to govern. BRT has talked about this travesty for YEARS and now this inability to do anything of consequence to save American democracy has arrived. Will our country survive?
"No one knows, do one?" - Fats Waller.
Friday, November 27, 2020
Saturday, November 07, 2020
Thursday, November 05, 2020
Final thoughts on the wonderful election of 2020 and how the Democrats blew it yet again. As a result, nothing will change. We will still continue to love Israel. We will still continue to wage never-ending war to feed the maw of the MIC. We will continue to demonize Russia and ... we will still be under the control of McConnell, the de facto President of the United States with term limits remaining but a dream and the monstrosity known as the tax code will continue to game the system for the rich and powerful while increasing inequality to levels far beyond the the Gilded Age. Oh, I forgot, Glass-Steagall will never come back.
Backgrounder: Bernie was screwed twice by queen Hillary, first with help from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the second with the DNC even though Bernie won the right to be the Democratic nominee to be President both times. In 2016, the entitled queen lost, running a horrible campaign while the party ran on celebrity endorsements and no coherent policy iniatives set in place to explain to people why the should vote democratic. In 2020, complicit with a corrupt press, the strategy comprised of bashing Trump 24/7, spouting never ending slogans and again, no viable policy initiatives put forth. What comes to mind here, the dems knew Bernie would win but Wall Street and the despised super delegates denied him a second time as a traditional candidate was considered to be the better choice as the elite only care about ... their money and not the welfare of the country.
Now think Bernie, Mr. Policy incarnate and ... respect from Trumpers and The Donald himself as they knew he was the real deal. With him as candidate, the senate would have gone blue and the house would gain more Democrats.
Bernie’s denial, the work of corrupt and inept fools running things, disallowed a politician who’s competent and actually honest with the guts to discuss the 3rd rail issue of Israel, going after taxes of the power elite and challenging the MIC’s policy of never ending war.
... The Saturday morning after the convention in July, I called Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign. He wasted no words. He told me the Democratic Party was broke and $2 million in debt.
That wasn’t true, he said. Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books. Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign—and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.
It gets way better.
The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.
“Wait,” I said. “That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?”
He was wrong. The upstart senator’s rise sparked a “Stop Kefauver” movement by Democratic Party leaders and led by sitting President Harry S. Truman that resulted in the nation’s last convention that wasn’t decided on the first ballot.
The resistance foreshadowed the current “Stop Bernie” fervor in the Democratic establishment about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the democratic socialist who has emerged as the front-runner for the nomination. On Thursday, the New York Times reported that dozens of Democratic Party officials said they would oppose the nomination of Sanders if he arrives at the convention in Milwaukee in July without the majority of delegates needed.
Biden won, thank god. I'm praying he will do well, the nation's counting on it but I still say it's time for the progressives to take over now, beginning in 2022. As a note of real hope, many more repugs in the senate are running for, of course, reelection than the dems in 2022, thus making it possible for the party of the donkey to take back the senate and eliminate Mitch as the retched de facto president of the United States.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
The special boost for recruited athletes, known as preferential admission, can be equivalent to hundreds of SAT points. According to The Washington Post, Harvard, which typically admits approximately 5 percent of its applicants, reports acceptance rates as high as 88 percent for athletes endorsed by its coaches. “Parents see the numbers,” says Luke Walton, an Olympic rower and the founder of Rower Academy, a San Diego–based recruiting consultancy for high-school crew athletes. “They see that if their child can get the backing of a coach, they are likely to get in. That’s a shiny object—a fishing lure for parents. They look at that and say: ‘That’s the answer. Sports is the answer.’ Along with the ability to pay 70-80K per year to get Harvey into Harvard.
This bucolic frenzy of the monied class pushing their kids to the max with emphasis on sports in order to get into highly rated colleges is slowly going away thanks to COVID-19, the ongoing 2020 great depression and the real possibility of economic collapse due to the harsh reality of fixed cost's and how they apply to virtually every business in America including higher ed. Consider that the nation is in the grip of the 2nd/3rd wave and the fact kids are not in school paying exorbitant tuitions shows how strongly fixed costs are embedded whereby you have to have 100% paying customers to cover fixed costs and make a profit. This is obviously not happening. End result, said colleges try to survive by lowering tuitions, which won't work, due to fixed costs, forget profits forever, or vastly increase the number of students, which also won't work because of the aforementioned fixed costs must keep pace with the larger enrollment which means finding more customers to cover costs and make a profit becomes a Wicked Problem.
Here's another dose of realty ...
The global economy was teetering on the edge of recession and financial implosion long before the pandemic appeared. Ending the pandemic cannot restore an illusion of "growth" that masked a hollowed out, fragile, brittle global economy.
Unfortunately, central banks can't "print" experienced doctors or nurses. When the front line of healthcare workers is depleted by illness and burnout, there are no substitutes or Big Tech robots-to-the-rescue. The healthcare system we've optimized for "creating shareholder value" (i.e. unlimited greed pathologically pursued by any means available) will break down and that will be that.
Central banks can't "print" creditworthy borrowers, solvent companies, real-world collateral, risk-free "investing," oil, jobs, trust in failed institutions, social cohesion or anything else of importance that is now scarce.
The belief that central banks printing currency can "buy/fix" everything that's broken, lost or scarce is the ultimate in denial, fantasy and magical thinking. All that was unsustainably fragile, corrupt and brittle is unraveling, and thinking that ending the lockdowns, approving a vaccine, etc. will stave off causality is the supreme indulgence in denial, fantasy and magical thinking.
The bloodbath begins ...as profits disappear.
Ohio Wesleyan University is eliminating 18 majors. The University of Florida’s trustees this month took the first steps toward letting the school furlough faculty. The University of California, Berkeley, has paused admissions to its Ph.D. programs in anthropology, sociology and art history.
As it resurges across the country, the coronavirus is forcing universities large and small to make deep and possibly lasting cuts to close widening budget shortfalls. By one estimate, the pandemic has cost colleges at least $120 billion, with even Harvard University, despite its $41.9 billion endowment, reporting a $10 million deficit that has prompted belt tightening.
Lastly ... remember, COVID-19 is just the warmup for, you guessed it. Global Warming.
Saturday, October 24, 2020
All the world’s a stage,And all the men and women merely players;They have their exits and their entrances;And one man in his time plays many parts,His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;And then the whining school-boy, with his satchelAnd shining morning face, creeping like snailUnwillingly to school. And then the lover,Sighing like furnace, with a woeful balladMade to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,Seeking the bubble reputationEven in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,Full of wise saws and modern instances;And so he plays his part. The sixth age shiftsInto the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wideFor his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,Turning again toward childish treble, pipesAnd whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,That ends this strange eventful history,Is second childishness and mere oblivion;Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
As you like it - Shankespeare
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
- The flood of immigrants to Europe thanks to the destruction of Lybia by the US and ...
- The elimination of the separation of church and state in America thanks to the Robert's supreme court.
Pedestrians walk along Marseille's Old Port as the town hall is lit up in the French Tricolor to honor slain teacher Samuel Paty, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. French history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris, by an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen refugee, who was later shot dead by police. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)