Archive for the ‘C.O.A.T. – Religion’ category

What Thing Will Happen To Us?

November 25, 2008

All the financial rescue plans are based upon a conceit.

It is this: That the world outside of the numbers will remain as it is.

That conceit alone can kill all of us.

The People of the Abyss by Jack London
(first published by Macmillan, 1903)

Chapter 8: the Carter and the Carpenter

The Carter had buried his wife and children, with the exception of one son, who grew to manhood and helped him in his little business. Then the thing happened. The son, a man of thirty-one, died of the smallpox. No sooner was this over than the father came down with fever and went to the hospital for three months. Then he was done for. He came out weak, debilitated, no strong young son to stand by him, his little business gone glimmering, and not a farthing. The thing had happened, and the game was up. No chance for an old man to start again. Friends all poor and unable to help. He had tried for work when they were putting up the stands for the first Coronation parade. ‘An’ I got fair sick of the answer; “No! no! no!” It rang in my ears at night when I tried to sleep, always the same, “No! no! no!”‘ Only the past week he had answered an advertisement in Hackney, and on giving his age was told, ‘Oh, too old, too old by far.’

Chapter 9: The Spike

It seems that not only the man who becomes old is punished for his involuntary misfortune, but likewise the man who is struck by disease or accident. Later on, I talked with another man, — ‘Ginger’ we called him, who stood at the head of the line — a sure indication that he had been waiting since one o’clock. A year before, one day, while in the employ of a fish dealer, he was carrying a heavy box of fish which was too much for him. Result: ‘something broke,’ and there was the box on the ground, and he on the ground beside it.

At the first hospital, whither he was immediately carried, they said it was a rupture, reduced the swelling, gave him some vaseline to rub on it, kept him four hours, and told him to get along. But he was not on the streets more than two or three hours when he was down on his back again. This time he went to another hospital and was patched up. But the point is, the employer did nothing, positively nothing, for the man injured in his employment, and even refused him ‘a light job now and again,’ when he came out. As far as Ginger is concerned, he is a broken man. His only chance to earn a living was by heavy work. He is now incapable of performing heavy work, and from now until he dies, the spike, the peg, and the streets are all he can look forward to in the way of food and shelter. The thing happened — that is all. He put his back under too great a load of fish, and his chance for happiness in life was crossed off the books.

Chapter 17: Inefficiency

As an illustration of how a good worker may suddenly become inefficient, and what then happens to him, I am tempted to give the case of M’Garry, a man thirty-two years of age, and an inmate of the workhouse. The extracts are quoted from the annual report of the trade union:

I worked at Sullivan’s place in Widnes, better known as the British Alkali Chemical Works. I was working in a shed, and I had to cross the yard. It was ten o’clock at night, and there was no light about. While crossing the yard I felt something take hold of my leg and screw it off. I became unconscious; I didn’t know what became of me for a day or two. On the following Sunday night I came to my senses, and found myself in the hospital. I asked the nurse what was to do with my legs, and she told me both legs were off.

There was a stationary crank in the yard, let into the ground; the hole was 18 inches long, 15 inches deep, and 15 inches wide. The crank revolved in the hole three revolutions a minute. There was no fence or covering over the hole. Since my accident they have stopped it altogether, and have covered the hole up with a piece of sheet iron . . . . They gave me £25. They didn’t reckon that as compensation; they said it was only for charity’s sake. Out of that I paid £9 for a machine by which to wheel myself about.

I was laboring at the time I got my legs off. I got twenty-four shillings a week, rather better pay than the other men, because I used to take shifts. When there was heavy work, to be done I used to be picked out to do it. Mr. Manton, the manager, visited me at the hospital several times. When I was getting better, I asked him if he would be able to find me a job. He told me not to trouble myself, as the firm was not cold-hearted. I would be right enough in any case . . . . Mr. Manton stopped coming to see me; and the last time, he said he thought of asking the directors to give me a fifty-pound note, so I could go home to my friends in Ireland.

Poor M’Garry! He received rather better pay than the other men because he was ambitious and took shifts, and when heavy work was to be done he was the man picked out to do it. And then the thing happened, and he went into the workhouse. The alternative to the workhouse is to go home to Ireland and burden his friends for the rest of his life. Comment is superfluous.

Chapter 18: Wages

All of which is hard enough. But the thing happens; the husband and father breaks his leg or his neck. No 9 cents a day per mouth for food is coming in; no 9 1/2 mills’ worth of bread per meal; and, at the end of the week, no $1.50 for rent. So out they must go, to the streets or the workhouse, or to a miserable den, somewhere, in which the mother will desperately endeavor to hold the family together on the 10 shillings she may possibly be able to earn.

Chapter 21: The Precariousness of Life

Old age, of course, makes pauperism. And then there is the accident, the thing happening, the death or disablement of the husband, father, and bread-winner. Here is a man, with a wife and three children, living on the ticklish security of twenty shillings ($5.00) per week — and there are hundreds of thousands of such families in London. Perforce, to even half exist, they must live up to the last penny of it, so that a week’s wages, $5.00, is all that stands between this family and pauperism or starvation. The thing happens, the father is struck down, and what then? A mother with three children can do little or nothing. Either she must hand her children over to society as juvenile paupers, in order to be free to do something adequate for herself, or she must go to the sweat-shops for work which she can perform in the vile den possible to her reduced income. But with the sweat-shops, married women who eke out their husband’s earnings, and single women who have but themselves miserably to support, determine the scale of wages. And this scale of wages, so determined, is so low that the mother and her three children can live only in positive beastliness and semi-starvation, till decay and death end their suffering.

And:

Yet this mother and her three children we are considering, have done no wrong that they should be so punished. They have not sinned. The thing happened, that is all; the husband, father, and bread-winner, was struck down. There is no guarding against it. It is fortuitous. A family stands so many chances of escaping the bottom of the Abyss, and so many chances of falling plump down to it. The chance is reducible to cold, pitiless figures, and a few of these figures will not be out of place.

And:

To the young working-man or working-woman, or married couple, there is no assurance of happy or healthy middle life, nor of solvent old age. Work as they will, they cannot make their future secure. It is all a matter of chance. Everything depends upon the thing happening, the thing with which they have nothing to do. Precaution cannot fend it off, nor can wiles evade it. If they remain on the industrial battlefield they must face it and take their chance against heavy odds. Of course, if they are favorably made and are not tied by kinship duties, they may run away from the industrial battlefield. In which event, the safest thing the man can do is to join the army; and for the woman, possibly, to become a Red Cross nurse or go into a nunnery. In either case they must forego home and children and all that makes life worth living and old age other than a nightmare.

Chapter 22: Suicide

Misfortune and misery are very potent in turning people’s heads, and drive one person to the lunatic asylum, and another to the morgue or the gallows. When the thing happens, and the father and husband, for all of his love for wife and children and his willingness to work, can get no work to do, it is a simple matter for his reason to totter and the light within his brain go out. And it is especially simple when it is taken into consideration that his body is ravaged by innutrition and disease, in addition to his soul being torn by the sight of his suffering wife and little ones.

And:

Frank Cavilla lived and worked as a house decorator in London. He is described as a good workman, a steady fellow, and not given to drink, while all his neighbors unite in testifying that he was a gentle and affectionate husband and father.

His wife, Hannah Cavilla, was a big, handsome, light-hearted woman. She saw to it that his children were sent neat and clean (the neighbors all remarked the fact) to the Childeric Road Board School. And so, with such a man, so blessed, working steadily and living temperately, all went well, and the goose hung high.

Then the thing happened. He worked for a Mr. Beck, builder, and lived in one of his master’s houses in Trundley Road, Mr. Beck was thrown from his trap and killed. The thing was an unruly horse, and, as I say, it happened. Cavilla had to seek fresh employment and find another house.

This occurred eighteen months ago. For eighteen months he fought the big fight. He got rooms in a little house on Batavia Road, but could not make both ends meet. Steady work could not be obtained. He struggled manfully at casual employment of all sorts, his wife and four children starving before his eyes. He starved himself, and grew weak, and fell ill. This was three months ago, and then there was absolutely no food at all. They made no complaint, spoke no word; but poor folk know. The housewives of Batavia Road sent them food, but so respectable were the Cavillas that the food was sent anonymously, mysteriously, so as not to hurt their pride.

The thing had happened. He had fought, and starved, and suffered for eighteen months. He got up one September morning, early. He opened his pocket-knife. He cut the throat of his wife, Hannah Cavilla, aged thirty-three. He cut the throat of his first-born, Frank, aged twelve. He cut the throat of his son, Walter, aged eight. He cut the throat of his daughter, Nellie, aged four. He cut the throat of his youngest-born, Ernest, aged sixteen months. Then he watched beside the dead all day until the evening, when the police came, and he told them to put a penny in the slot of the gas-meter in order that they might have light to see.

Out of order, but a fitting climax:

Chapter 19: The Ghetto

The application of the Golden Rule determines that East London is an unfit place in which to live. Where you would not have your own babe live, and develop, and gather to itself knowledge of life and the things of life, is not a fit place for the babes of other men to live, and develop, and gather to themselves knowledge of life and the things of life. It is a simple thing, this Golden Rule, and all that is required. Political economy and the survival of the fittest can go hang if they say otherwise. What is not good enough for you is not good enough for other men, and there’s no more to be said.

Emphasis by me throughout.

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Quote: Isaac Asimov

October 27, 2008

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what’s right.

Isaac Asimov

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #319: A-Bonds

October 6, 2008

An Asia bond could save us from the dollar

Asia has an opportunity to save itself, and the world economy, from the crushing excesses of Wall Street. China and Japan, with other Asian countries holding substantial surplus reserves, should act now to create an Asia bond to contain the fallout from a weak dollar.

They’re beginning to ask That Question.

I wouldn’t want to be God:

I would rather bet on China’s authorities – who ignored the prediction offered 18 months ago by Hank Paulson, the US Treasury secretary, that they risked trillions of dollars in lost economic potential unless they freed their capital markets. That seems wiser than praying to God that the US soon finds a credible model of economic growth and for regulation of financial institutions.

Emphasis added by me.

Look at that. Crooked Chinese Communist leaders are deemed more trustworthy than God!

Talk about bad PR!

WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit!

September 23, 2008

Malaysian blogger to be detained for two years: wife

Malaysia’s most prominent blogger has been ordered to spend two years in detention under internal security laws after being accused of insulting Islam, his wife said Tuesday.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin, a government critic and founder of the Malaysia Today website, has been sent to the Kamunting detention centre in northern Perak state on the order of the home minister, his wife Marina Lee Abdullah told AFP.

His arrest earlier this month was part of a crackdown amid a political crisis in Malaysia, as Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi faces calls to quit from within his cabinet and a mounting challenge by the opposition.

“(Police) said my husband has been sent to Kamunting this morning and that he will remain there for two years with no trial. This is the worst news I can receive but we will keep fighting for his release,” Marina said.

Raja Petra’s lawyer Amarjit Sidhu said the government had pulled a “mean, dirty trick” by issuing the detention order the night before a scheduled court hearing on Tuesday to secure his release.

“The government can now hide behind a veil of secrecy because they do not have to disclose reasons for detaining him,” he told AFP.

We take it for granted.

Don’t!

And if you see a product with Made In Malaysia on it, don’t buy it!

Boycott Malaysia.

Previously here:

Takiji Kobayashi: Writer’s Revenge
Apple And A Tale Of Two Bannings
Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!
They’d Just Shoot Me!
Michael Savage Laughed Out Of Court
Michael Savage, Crybaby

Stop Sarah Palin! Still!

September 17, 2008

The pastor who clashed with Palin

Forget all this chatter about whether or not she knows what the Bush doctrine is. That’s trivial. The real disturbing thing about Sarah is her mind-set. It’s her underlying belief system that will influence how she responds in an international crisis, if she’s ever in that position, and has the full might of the U.S. military in her hands. She gave some indication of that thinking in her ABC interview, when she suggested how willing she would be to go to war with Russia.

Alaskans liked that certitude when she was dealing with corrupt politicians and the oil industry — and there is something admirable about it. But when you’re dealing with a complex and dangerous world as commander in chief, that’s a different story.

Emphasis added by me.

I had to come back to this one more time.

That about says it all.

Personally, I believe economically we will be in such distress that the very idea of putting McCain in the White House will be unthinkable by the majority of voters.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #207

September 16, 2008

Telegraph.co.uk has the keenest writer on finance, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. I’ve been following him for months. For the past two weeks, he’s been silent. That worried me, so I emailed. He was on holiday. Now he is back in fine form right from the start:

Who’s next after Lehman Brothers is fed to the wolves?

The hunting packs switched instantly to AIG yesterday, driving down its shares by 70pc in early trading. The world’s biggest insurer is suddenly on the brink of collapse as well. The killer virus is striking deep into a whole new sector of the financial system.

“This is a potentially very dangerous situation,” said Professor Tim Congdon from the London School of Economics.

“Banking system capital is being wiped out. The risk is that this could lead to a contraction of credit and set off a self-reinforcing downward spiral, leading to the sort of debt-deflation we saw in the 1930s.

Emphasis added by me.

That’s understatement. You’ll see Ambrose agrees, later.

When creditors cut off funding to Bear Stearns in March, the Fed reacted with dramatic speed. It invoked nuclear powers under Article 13 (3) of its charter, allowing it – in “unusual and exigent circumstances” – to take credit liabilities on to its own books for the first time since the Roosevelt era.

It was fiercely criticised for rescuing Wall Street from its own folly, but the risk was a meltdown in the vast, untested market for derivatives. Bear Stearns alone had over $13 trillion in contracts, with heavy exposure to the turbo-charged CDS credit swaps that so terrify the New York Fed.

Red Alert emphasis added by me.

OK, that’s the first time I’ve read a number that big pertaining to this Armageddon. The highest I’ve read before — and it was scary enough back then — was five trillion dollars. And that was the grand total of Armageddon. Now suddenly another seven trillion comes out of the woodwork?!!? Just how many trillions of dollars are actually in jeopardy here as the final total?!

With the tail risk of a derivatives Chernobyl out of the way, the Fed and the Treasury at last feel safe enough to strike a blow against moral hazard. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

Unlike mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, broker dealers are not crucial pillars of the US housing market. Lehman is an optimal candidate for ritual sacrifice.

While the appearances of free market discipline have been upheld, the reality of the weekend events is a further lurch towards socialism, or state capitalism if you prefer.

Emphasis added by me.

Superficially, one can blame Lehman and its ilk for the excesses that led to this crisis.

However, the root cause lies in the actions of governments across the Western world. They held interest rates too low for much of the past two decades, and encouraged the debt burden to explode to unprecedented levels.

This reckless experiment has left our societies acutely vulnerable to a sudden reversal of debt issuance, or ”deleveraging” as it is known. The ferocious purge now under way will come at a high human cost. Millions in Britain, Europe, the US, and the rest of the world will lose their jobs over the next two years, through no fault of their own.

Emphasis added by me. I’d make that hundreds of millions of people.

Having caused this crisis, it would now be remiss for governments to pursue a policy of strict debt liquidation in the name of capitalist purity.

As the bankruptcies mount, the state will have an obligation to step in to preserve social stability. If that means the temporary nationalisation of large chunks of the Western economy, so be it.

Emphasis added by me.

That might work over in Europe. But we have politicians here who are 100% batfuck insane. They will lie for God, they will kill in the name of ideology and feel holy about it, and they will see a starving populace as undergoing the Wrath of God for their sins. This is not the kind of leadership that can — or will — do any good.

Are any of you beginning to understand the outer dimensions of this yet?

All prior Chronicles of Depression 2.0 posts. Read them before you must.

Politics: Pastors Defiant, Librarians Muzzled

September 10, 2008

Ban on Political Endorsements by Pastors Targeted

CHICAGO — Declaring that clergy have a constitutional right to endorse political candidates from their pulpits, the socially conservative Alliance Defense Fund is recruiting several dozen pastors to do just that on Sept. 28, in defiance of Internal Revenue Service rules.

The effort by the Arizona-based legal consortium is designed to trigger an IRS investigation that ADF lawyers would then challenge in federal court. The ultimate goal is to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a 54-year-old ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt houses of worship.

“For so long, there has been this cloud of intimidation over the church,” ADF attorney Erik Stanley said. “It is the job of the pastors of America to debate the proper role of church in society. It’s not for the government to mandate the role of church in society.

Yet an opposing collection of Christian and Jewish clergy will petition the IRS today to stop the protest before it starts, calling the ADF’s “Pulpit Initiative” an assault on the rule of law and the separation of church and state.

Emphasis added by me.

So let me get this straight. This group believes that this proclamation from Jesus Christ Himself isn’t good enough for them:

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

Matthew 22:15-22

No, they know better than the One they proclaim to follow!

Meanwhile, librarians are being shunted off their regular forum onto a separate one in order to comply with their tax-exempt status:

ALA Pushes Political Discussion to ALA-APA, but Some Grumble

In response to concerns raised about the legality of “political speech” engaged in by the American Library Association (ALA), precipitated by much discussion of Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her interaction with the Wasilla, AK, library, ALA officials have found a solution—though not all ALA Councilors welcome it.

According to a message posted Friday by ALA president Jim Rettig, the ALA-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), which operates under different Internal Revenue Service rules, can legally provide a forum for such discussions. Thus an ALA-APA Forum discussion has been opened, to ALA members and others, “to discuss mutual issues of interest to librarians and other library workers, including political issues and candidates.”

Rettig’s message noted, “ALA, because of its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, is expressly and absolutely prohibited by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code from engaging in ‘political speech.’ This means that ALA resources, including electronic discussion lists, blogs and wikis, cannot be used for ‘the support of, or opposition to, a candidate for public office.'”

Emphasis added by me.

Isn’t that a twist: the guardians of intellectual freedom are complying with the law while a bunch of self-appointed “godians” are Satan-powered defiant!

It’s time for Churches who want to open their yaps about Caesar to render unto Caesar!