The Brothers Karamazov

"Actually, people sometimes talk about man's 'bestial' cruelty, but that is being terribly unjust and offensive to the beasts..."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Monday, December 29, 2008


November, 2024

(This month only)

$50, 000 CASH
(Note: President Of The United States BONUS requirements:
35 years or older, native born citizen, 14 years residency
required. Sorry folks, it's the law.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

In Support of War

Or How the Anti-war Community Came to Love War

The earnest but essentially futile effort by the anti-war community over decades, even centuries, suggest a new approach is in order. Nothing is working. By using spoil-sport methods and banding about the dread Peace word, the message has fallen on deaf ears. What has been consistently overlooked is the propensity for young men and, alas, a few misguided young women, to be so convinced of personal immortality they cannot hear anything to the contrary. This elementary fact of life has enabled every army in history to exist.

To accomplish our purpose we must begin to glorify war; the uniforms, the comradery and feats of daring-do. We must speak constantly of the nobility of armed effort in behalf of ones country and family, ones friends and loved ones; we all know the language. But this talk must not come from the usual suspects. It must be noised about enthusiastically, nay zealously, by the anti-war community.

This 180 turn will not go unnoticed by the old guard supporters of the status quo.
Resentment will quickly follow astonishment as a rush to defend turf is sure to ensue. After all, who are the true believers here, and what are these usurpers up to anyway? When the cacophony builds and the jingoism crescendo reaches critical mass, and it will, the time will be ripe for the next step which is...

Compromise! Yes! That's the key. The anti-war folks agree to go back to the old stance if...
the establishment agrees to one small change in the Military Code. If they do this one thing, both sides return to the old position. Not such a big change, really, simply tweeking a number, that's all. Will they agree?

Do this and we have detente. Change the minimum age for entry into any of the armed services to thirty-five...and reinstate the draft! That's all. Then loose the dogs-of- war to your hearts content and the movement will shut up. That we promise, (our mission will be accomplished).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Well, we screwed up this time...big time. We had a century or more to get it right or it least to give it our best shot. But the time has passed, all those precious years wasted and we didn't even really try toward the end.

A flashback. 1950. Stalwart explorers had been breaking new trails for decades . Starting with Freud, Adler and especially the Swiss wizard from Thurgau Canton, Carl Gustav Jung. They were getting closer all the time. Closer to a description of mankind free from pious dungeon and secular waffling that just might lead to something real. Like maybe a clear picture of what constitutes a human being after millennial layers of obfuscation and exploitation are removed.

Alas, it was not to be. Close but no cigar. A powerful new distraction had been released affecting the brave world of human psychology. What was heard abroad was the sound of hot potatoes dropping as the media rushed to their new darling. The old guys and their big complicated ideas were abandoned never again to occupy even page six.

Miltown, that wonderful happy compound, had been invented in New Jersey. Hallelujah! It would prove to be second only to the discovery of fire in the minds and hearts of millions. Especially to the second tier mind mechanics who had visions of tranking the folks into a modern nirvana.
No more heavy tomes and endless talk. No more professional disdain for those low earning docs who merely sit and listen. Now we can bottle it! Lots and lots of beautiful pills in those charming bottles with the glorious M.D. imprint. Scripus Reignus, hooray. Stop listening and start writing scrip. And as a bonus, stop thinking too. You've done quite enough of that!

With Miltown the folks began to cheer even more loudly for man the consumer. U da' man! My material man! All hail! How happy he is now! See him as he shops. Note how cleverly he consumes Earth's goodies. Homage to the most efficient user-upper of damn near everything. All Hail!

Did this simple compound and those that followed herald the end of the search for the human?
Have the forces of Joyous Consumerism triumphed and Economic Man become the paradigm that prevails? Are we, since that era, content to treat only symptoms and ignore first causes.? It appears so. But then,

Carl Jung cautioned that if we did not soon find a universal understanding of what makes us human the future looked dim. That perhaps we will see a gradual collapse of our material way of life and enter into a time comparable to the Dark Ages. The failure to examine in depth the actual nature of the human as opposed to the arbitrary hunches and dogmas currently in vogue fail to ground mankind within nature and the scheme of things. In no regard are we meeting the future united, prepared and in agreement on what we really are and what we really need . If we couldn't fix things during good times, how on Earth will we do it now?

Start making candles. It could get very dark outside.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It Just Isn't done

Amidst the wailing of voices, alas I'm often among them, who cry out to bring the boys home now, I suddenly remember, whoa, we never do! It just isn't done. They're not back from Germany or Japan yet and WWll is long gone. Or Korea and that's what? Fifty years.

So then I begin to drift back even further Cuba! we're still there. 1901 was it? And Hawaii since 1874, Mexico 1846 (think: California, New Mexico, Arizona et al). Fugetaboutit. Won't happen. Not in my lifetime, for sure. It just isn't done.
And the troops are still in Viet Nam, oops, they kicked us out, I forgot. Cross that one off the list.
So that's it. The grand kids will have to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan, not my job!

But then what about the future?
Will China continue to lend us the money to keep the troops in Japan?
Will the Russians buy back Alaska if we need the dough?
Will the Romans ever leave Sicily? Hmm.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Let Toyota Do It, or Nissan, etc.etc.

NO,don't give them a nickel! Not one red cent! To reward companies in business for a million years who can't make a car anybody wants to own is nutty. Japan rose from the ashes in 1946, never looked back and learned to manufacture cars that lasted, were attractive and got decent miles per.

They are making quality cars, hiring Americans and paying taxes right here in I.O.U.S.A and if we begged, they MIGHT consider taking over our dinosaur companies and resurrecting them. And that would be the free-market coming to the rescue as, so were are hectored, is always best.

Hark! What's that sound? It's the call of the dread Jingo bird. Why it's loud enough to be heard in the Halls of Congress. Will it cause our masters to waver, to waffle, to succumb to its seductive cry? What do you think? Will Toyota and Nissan save the day? Or do our dinos lurch on into oblivion?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

" Herbert Hoover again."

(from "All in the FAMILY" theme music)

I expect some voices raised in praise of the President Elect who cheer "he's the new FDR" may one day sour and croak , "he's the new HCH". The president he comes to resemble may not be Franklin D. Roosevelt after all.
Consider: Herbert C. Hoover elected in '28 installed in "29...Market crashes in the fall.
Barack H. Obama elected in '08 installed in '09... Market ??? in the fall.

Roosevelt was not in office until 1933 so Obama may be channeling Herbert Hoover and not the great hero envisioned by swooning acolytes. He may turn out to be, as Hoover was, brilliant enough to do all the wrong things and then to mark time until the next great savior appears. Or he may be, as was Jack Kennedy, such a breath of air that his failures are given a temporary free pass by history.

Our system today is so flawed and the bias for the status quo so profound the power of the Executive to actually change anything of significance is almost nil. The only hope we have is that a President by strength of character and determination, against all odds, actually tries.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cars Or Us

As James H. Kunstler ruefully remarked ,after the greenest of the Green Summits attended by the elite of concerned and knowledgeable citizenry, the plea was the same as everywhere else in the land: Save our Cars! Please!

No matter how informed or determined to find the best solution the folks are, the mind set is the same: Life without cars is unthinkable.

Get over it people. Car Culture must Die! For us to live. And that does NOT mean living all our lives stuck in a village as folks were wont to be in the not so distant past. No, it means heavy electric rail for long treks, light electric rail all around and out to the edge places and something like golf carts (or bikes, or feet) to get home. That is, if we are lucky and don't totally wipe out trying to save the status quo.

What are the odds we crash out trying to keep the cars? I'd give it 60-40 we that we do considering where we are now and how we view things. If we spend trillions of bucks we don't have saving the banks and car companies (unless they become railway car makers they have a short life span ahead) the grand kids will be so broke they won't have a shot at avoiding a meltdown.

Nothing is on the horizon to indicate at this date any other course will be taken. Not in I.O.U.S.A. Maybe elsewhere people will be smarter and not so broke.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

" D" Word, Good..."P!" Word, Bad

We've had them before, plenty of times. They're nothing new. Each totally different-all totally the same. What we have done though is change the name. Made it seem more, you know, smoother, not so shocking. Like a gentle hand molding a babies pillow. Like a dip in a smooth highway. Like a slight depression but not an illness.

So out with the dread "P" word which sent fear throughout the land many times in the past. Oh, so many times. Dare we say it aloud? Yes, call it by its real name for once. All together now> Ok, it's, it's PANIC! There it's out.

What we have now is what we had starting in the golden past as far back as 1819. PANIC! Money PANIC!

Banks stopped lending then to pay off hugh international debts because we spent too much to purchase Lousiana and people all over the place were dunning us for the money. Sound familiar?
A few years later ,1837, banks stopped lending again. Different reasons, sort of, same result. PANIC!

The we got serial PANICS! starting in 1857 when the railroad bubble burst. The folks playing with soapsuds in those dear bygone days, too? And the results, well you know---pop. The railroads did it again in 1873 and again for the grand finale in 1893. Never could make the iron horse pay its way. Still can't. Maybe someday, but we'll save that for now.

Not one of these major devastating events was caused by anything other than the boys with the big dough getting scared silly and sitting on the money. They PANIC!; then the folks panic.

In 1907 a big deal known as the Banker's Panic irrupted. Targeted the source accurately this time for a change,didn't they?. The bankers did it,duh. But they fixed it just fine by leaving us the Federal Reserve as legacy and we thank Grandpa from our bottoms for that one.(not)

That show was followed by a tommy-gun rapid fire series of PANICS! linked together to form what is now known as , softly now, The Great "D" Word. Now it was tiresome to say PANIC! 1930, PANIC! 1931, PANIC! 1933 etc. sounds like financial hiccups So let's nice it up and call it DEPRESSION, so much calmer than that noisy, ugly "P!" word. And if it lasts a decade...GREAT.

So here we are again, folks. It's late in 2008. Banks getting short of dough...PANIC!...won't lend. Sit on it. The the folks will panic, too, next year. What'll we call this one?


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Triage 2009

Just a short ride down the National Highway but out of sight to most of us due to a stubborn fog lies a scene reminiscent of M.A.S.H just after the helicopters have landed.

The casualties are laid out under the tents as the surgical teams quickly make the rounds deciding each fate. Among the most severe cases presenting is an old familiar warrior and the team sadly concludes that hope is lost. The C.O., Major General Mo "Big Car" Culture is left behind as terminal and the group moves on hoping to save others. A dreadful loss.

Loosely grouped for lack of space around a snack machine in the corridor is a bevy of cooks, clerks and storekeepers suffering from acute shell shock. They are all from Company C, better known as One Big Red Hole, the Consumer Company ,and are referred on to the Psych Unit but the feeling is they will never be the same. The team moves on feeling despondent about all the waste.

Way back in one tent a nerdy bunch from the Signal Corp lie muttering incoherently in the code of their strange language of bytes, bits and daemons. Unable to determine the degree of distress because of communication failure the surgeons prescribe a greatly reduced level of future assignment.
This produces a temporary shock throughout the group as they lapse briefly into reality and see the Web of their lives in tatters and a future of typewriters and pencils.

At last a hopeful note. These can be saved! The surgeons gear up for action and the area is intense with anticipation for a unit of heavy equipment operators show little damage. The prioritization has paid off. This bunch will be up on the rails again and when the trains leave the station will be headed for some much needed R&R.

Oh, no, another disaster. This is a horrible mess. Blood on the floor, gaping wounds abound. An outfit made up of SeaBees and Army Corp of Engineers were careless and hit a big landmine. They are in terrible shape. These stalwart barracks builders may never build again in the same way. Time will tell but the prognosis is bleak. The senior medics all agree that no time should be wasted on these poor souls and they are abandoned.

With General " Big Car" Culture diagnosed as terminal the boys from the Motor Pool have fallen into despair and languish about. The Chaplains try to raise spirits by counseling good cheer and providing pamphlets on Animal Husbandry and Buggy Construction from a nearby Amish settlement.

Now, in the distance, the sound of incoming choppers is detected. Although exhausted from the recent labors the medical teams summon up reserves to face the future. How many this time? Will we lose more irreplaceable troops? A silent prayer spreads among them that the carnage is near an end and above all, that the paymaster battalion is not aboard.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Death of Hip Hop (R.I.P.)

One of the most striking cultural results of the Obama election will be the gradual demise of the mind set that has produced a really bizarre phenomenon.

No longer facing a future that includes, statistically ,a stretch in state prison, the teenage fondness for beltless, oversize, droopy drawers and tentlike Tees, will come to a resounding end and maybe the "gangsta" era will fold as well.

Another welcome change will be the cessation of "the dozens" tricked up on steroids in our time as rap, but remaining still, the work of our old trickster friend, the "signifying monkey".

Jack Kennedy popularized the tee shirt but also sent a dozen fedora hat manufacturers into terminal decline by appearing hatless at his inauguration. Barack Obama will set the fashion from here on in.

I predict a 180 turn, shortly, to an Abe Lincolnesque , pipe stem lean , very serious demeanor look, throughout the hood.

You heard this first from an old white guy who could be all wet

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Body Language (It's the Law)

It may be useful when considering the abortion issue in the context of "The government has no right to tell a women what she may or may not do with her own body" to keep in mind that Governments and other authorities have long made decisions about the control one has of one's person, i.e.:

The Government or other authorities mandate:

1. With whom and when one may marry.
2. the age at which one can have sex.
3. with whom or with what one may or may not have sex.
4. the amount of and opaqueness of body covering required in public
5. the degree of physical intimacy allowed in public
6. the degree and content of "prurient" subjects permitted access
7. the age at which one can marry
8. the nature of sex acts permitted
9. the regulation of mind/mood altering substances
10. prohibition of suicide
11. regulation of birth control devices and practices
12. incarceration for offense
13. execution for offense
14. compulsory military service
15. mobility control i.e. passport, driving license
16. interment control
17. compulsory school attendance
18. chattel slavery(past, slightly)
19. segregation of public toilets
20. when and what foods can or cannot be eaten
21. mandating male/female genital mutilation

and, of course, "Catch 22",
22. permitting the right of choice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


( or how to turn a big immigration mess into a windfall )

If, as a nation, we are sincere about wanting to solve the problem of illegal immigration we must acknowledge honestly what this entails. Among other things, to make it possible for people to immigrate legally.

The class of persons who most often take the underground route to arrive here are precisely those for whom no legal access is available. The annual quota
for impoverished, uneducated, day laborers, who lack English proficiency is exactly zero.

But this is precisely the sort of person in great demand to do the work no one else wants to do; therein the crisis. It's somehow ok to admit numbers of physicians and engineers but those in lesser categories are totally excluded. Of course, if they manage somehow to get here the demand for their services in incredible. .

If it is not possible to come here to work and live within our system legitimately why should people respect our borders knowing jobs await them if they dare cross over?

To begin we should immediately institute a yearly quota of this class of unskilled worker; say one hundred thousand per year. It must be completely open and above board, no secret agenda allowed. But it would be by lottery and open only to persons not residing within the US. In other words, this opportunity is available to people in country of origin and not here.

But it must be fair and principled in all respects. If this is done an additional bonus would be the exodus of many people to home countries to be eligible to participate in the selection.

A proviso would be made and circulated that the US intends to continue this program until one million formerly dispossessed people are accommodated, however each years' quota depends on the prior results being satisfactory to all.

In addition to this being an honest attempt to right a long festering problem it may have another desirable result. The ones who have benefited from taking this route to citizenship may not be inclined to suffer illegal residents jeopardizing hard earned rights and opportunities and thus become a de facto resistance force to illegal immigration over time.

Not only would this sort of program legally provide the worker base to which we have grown accustomed , it could insure the flow of undocumented migrants is checked by the communities involved.

The country has opened itself to unskilled labor many times in the past with good results and now is the time to begin again.

Quoth the Raving



Julius Caesar

Veni,Vedi,Vici...Sidi ( I stuck around )

Uncle Sam


....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

All I know, all any of us know, is what we're told.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

If it walks like a depression, talks like a depression, and looks like a depression; it's a recovery.

...Zero Gravitas

Nice paint job

Nice paint job
Watch your step!

Quoth the Raving

Full scale War in Korea; we called it a Police Action
Police Action in Iraq; we call it a War.

...Zero Gravitas


Gene Pool?

Gene Pool?

Quoth the Raving

Ecology is an impending Black Swan quagmire therefore incorporation is anathema to Economists.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

An incoming US President who does not immediately resign his office after having received eyes-only briefings of what's really going on is hopelessly co-opted or delusional.
....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

We are now a nation of middlemen. What becomes of us if the center cannot hold?

....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving


Why not use some of the red ink to make things Green?

....Zero Gravitas

"Ashes to Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes"