09-23-08 1:00Ethical Capitalism


American Workers.

60% ( 90 million) pay federal taxes.

10% ( 9 million) pay 70% of all federal taxes.

How can one have the audacity to say they should pay more? They already pay more then their fair share.

How is this fair?

It is more than fair, because the businesses that allow people to make this kind of money are entirely dependent on the society in which they function. They wouldn't have this money without us and they need to keep the society that supports them functioning if they want to keep any of their wealth. The society has to work, or their wealth is useless, as you can see right now.

It's also fair because when you are wealthy beyond reason, you have absolutely no moral claim to say that you "earned" all that money, and that it is "yours," and no one elses. "Money" is a social contract, and it belongs to the society as a whole to use to run their economy with. It doesn't work when it all gets stuck in the rich guy's pocket, and just because he lays claim to it doesn't make it "his."

Lastly, it is hardly an unfair "hardship" to a billionaire to put a big chunk of money back into circulation. He already has more plasma screen TVs and private jets and luxury than he could ever even appreciate. He doesn't need it. Everyone else does.

Looking for Logic: How can you say that? Rich people have earned their money...

No fucking way. No one person could possibly do ninety billion dollars worth of work in a single lifetime. All they did was convince some bank to put their name on it through bizarre financial schemes. That insane amount of money may not even really exist, let alone exist as the sole possession of one guy who's only exertion is attending a board meeting twice a year.

Looking for Logic: People are under no obligation to support people whom are not as smart, not as ambitious and not as savvy.....

They most certainly are. First of all, you don't have to be smart, ambitious or savvy to be a human being entitled to eat. Second of all, money needs to circulate through society for the system to work. When the rich guy hoards it, the economy breaks, like now.

Looking for Logic: ......having to give away half of one's money also is not an incentive for the rich to get richer....

Why the fuck should the rich get richer?

Looking for Logic:Every cent my husband I have, we have worked our asses off to get it...

You are not super wealthy.

Looking for Logic: and if some schmoe cannot find a way to support themselves, that is not my problem.....it is their problem.....

No, you are selfish, that is your problem.

Looking for Logic: Some people I just wanna schmack upside the head with ATLAS SHRUGGED.

Atlas Shrugged was amoral.

Looking for Logic: Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave!

Good. Her ideas are selfish, unworkable crap.

Aura: Is amoral necessarily bad? Or did you mean immoral?

First of all, I mean exactly what I say.

Secondly, YES, amoral is bad. It means acting selfishly with reckless disregard for the consequences.

Crushing others to get ahead is both amoral and immoral.

Aura: The economy is not failing today because of rich people, it is failing today because the government has gotten involved.

No, the government is now getting involved because it is failing today because of rich people.

The rich were so fucking greedy they could not be satisfied with owning 95 percent of all the world's wealth. They thought they needed even more. It's sick.

Aura: And the rich are smart, they worked the system to keep them rich...

If they were smart they wouldn't have gamed the system until it broke.

Aura: It is the government that is keeping them rich, not capitalism.

It is the government who is now trying to keep them rich by handing them the rest of the money after they already lost most of it.

Aura: I agree with you that these guys were super greedy, but they simply used the rules in which they were living.

That is why you can't let the guys who have the money make the rules about how the money works and decide who the money belongs to. They make rules that favor themselves and decide that they have more of it than they do.

Aura: When the government gets involved they can make money without assuming any risk and just get richer while we, the tax payer foot the bill.

Look, somebody has to "get involved" to regulate the system and provide oversight. I think they should have done that first. Then they wouldn't need to provide a bailout now.

Aura: This goes against the very nature of capitalism, the tax payer should never assume the risk.

That I can see. But the "nature of capitalism" is essentially amoral. "Ethical capitalism" would be a better system. The government needs to enforce the ethical rules of capitalism just like they enforce the ethical rules - the laws - that govern all other public behavior.

Aura: The government has been involved since the great depression...FDIC ring a bell?

They have not been involved enough. Reagan started the deregulation which allowed all these shady derivative schemes to proliferate with no oversight.

Woodbabe: Lets go ahead and call bullshit right here.

In 1999 Bill Clinton signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, a move which allowed Weill to create Citigroup.

True. Big mistake. The repeal of Glass-Steagall is a huge part of the problem.

But I would never laud Clinton for this despicable act, or claim it was the right thing to do just because he's a Democrat. I never said the Dems are blameless. I said that the rich were mostly to blame and in 1999 Clinton was their tool of the moment to further their greed. The massive tax cuts and the "don't-ask-don't-tell" financial policies of the Bush era were their next offensive.

Woodbabe: The repeal of one of the most important pieces of legislation in this nation's history came about as a result of another Clinton "triangulation," the wobbling attempt to find the middle of the road that has somehow managed to pass for a philosophy with many Democrats for over two decades.

You know, I do agree with this. I don't really regard Clinton as a Democrat. He's a Centrist - God, those are even worse.

Woodbabe: I hear ya!

Aura: Can you elaborate more on your ethical capitalism?

Ethical capitalism is basically pragmatic, rather than moral. It simply acknowledges that "money" is a social contract that belongs to the society as a whole, as a system to distribute resources. As a social system, above all, the economy has to work. Whatever oversight or constraints are required to keep the system working are an essential part of the system.

Our economy is not working in several ways.

Plenty of people who work full time are not paid enough to support themselves and their families. An ethical capitalist system would require a living wage. Supporting the workers as members of society takes precedent over larger profits.

Good advanced education is a requirement for success, but it's not provided, and in fact it is a huge financial burden (loans) to all except the most dazzling participants (scholarships). An ethical capitalism would make every effort to provide education to anyone who wants it, as much as they want. Getting everyone educated takes precedent over schools turning a profit.

A healthy populace is essential, yet advanced medical care is far beyond the reach of many poor-to-average citizens. In ethical capitalsim, everyone would have access to the medical care they need for good health regardless of their financial status. Health would be seen to take precedent over profit.


It's not really complex. My Sweetie came up with a good rule of thumb when he described how his family distributes the food at Thanksgiving: "Everybody gets firsts before anybody gets seconds."

It certainly seems ethical to me to meet the needs of all before lavishing out the extras on a few. Once everyone has a basic meal dished out, THEN the greedy can tear each other to shreads to get the most second helpings.

Ava: Raver, I have to think that what you really hate is free will.

Your freedom to do your "will" ends at the line where it causes another person suffering. Do you have a problem with that?

Aura: I disagree that money is a social contract that belongs to society as a whole.

Money is not a thing. It's an idea. We can make it be whatever we want. We need to make it be something that works better.

Aura: That smacks of communism which has failed over and over again.

First of all, just because something reminds you of communism doesn't make it communism. I never suggested removing personal ownership or that everyone should get paid the same or any other piece of communist dogma.

Secondly, what failed in the Soviet Union was not communism, it was militarism and dictatorship.

Lastly, China is "communist" and look who's coming out on top right now?

History may examine the downfall of America and suggest that capitalism has failed.

In the end, both pure capitalism and pure communism are oppression - one, oppression by the rich, the other, oppression by the state.

The best system would incorporate the ideas that work from BOTH philosphies - competition and achievement from capitalism, cooperation and social responsibility from socialism - using the pieces which work and discarding the dogma.

Looking for Logic: "....you have a sense of entitlement that is like a disease..."

What did I ever say I was entitled to?

Looking for Logic: I live in a country where I was promised that the only thing I was entitled too was the "fruits of my labor"...

First of all, if you are earning a wage or a salary, the actual "fruits of your labor" are not going to you. They are going to someone else, your employer. He just scrapes a little off the top to give back to you.

Secondly, why do you think that the magical money schemes used to pump up the bank balances of the super-wealthy constitute labor? How much labor does it take to call your broker?

There is no labor on this earth that is worth the billions the wealthy are hoarding.

Looking for Logic: ....no one else is entitled to my fruit!

I would say that you certainly have a sense of entitlement.

Looking for Logic: ...and will end up being the ruin of our country....

Why don't you pick up a newspaper and take a look at who is actually ruining your country, as we speak? You think I broke the money?

Aura: You always have some very interesting ideas, what would money be that would work better?

Ethical Capitalism. Social Democracy.

Aura: Money turns people into something bad, I would rather be happy here at the bottom and not have to worry about it.

You are a very wise lady.

Beth Fitz: Why do some people have this false idea that the rich "work hard for the money"?

So, one day Boone Pickens is sitting out by the pool at one of his twelve estates. A lovely lady one sixth his age is manicuring his toenails and he has been drinking 50-year-old Chivas Regal Royal Salute since 10:01 am. ($10,000 per bottle.) His personal assistant comes out to the pool and says, "Congratulations, sir! Your broker just called. You earned forty million dollars today on the hostile takeover of Conglomco!"

Boone Pickens says, "I did? Great."

I don't see how he could possibly be said to have earned that money. He didn't work for it, didn't process it, didn't make any decisions about it and didn't even know he was "earning" it. How could this possibly be considered the fruit of his labor?

Ava: You need to seriously reconsider who the greedy people are.

So, the guy who is trying to get one house is greedier than the guy with ten houses. I see.

Ava: If a person can afford ten houses, I don't see a thing at all wrong with that. It actually makes me smile at the thought of all the people who would be employed to build those ten houses. :)

I didn't say there was anything "wrong" with it. I was just implying that it was greedier than the person who just wants one house. As long as you like greed then it presents no dilemma at all.

Ava: No body stuck a gun to any one's head and forced them to finance purchases they could not really afford.

Do you think the bank should approve every loan application?

Ava: No.

So, the bank should turn down some loan applications. Why?

Ava: You are seriously asking this question?

Yes. You say that the bank should accept some loan applications and turn down others. Why?

Ava: The guidelines should have remained along the lines of a conventional loan. Excellent credit, twenty percent down....... If someone did not meet those guidelines they should not have been approved for the loan.


Ava: I should have known a liberal moon bat like you would be using China as a positive model for socialism.

Wrong. I was using them as an example of a communist nation that hasn't failed yet. We may fail before they do.

Ava: In my eyes they are a failure.

It's not your call. And it's strictly a side point. I have never advocated communism.

Ava: How is it not my call?

We are not in charge of the world. Our opinion that China is a failure is not the determining factor of whether they are a failure. They have very robust economic indicators, much stronger and more stable than our own right now. Some might consider that a success.

In fact, I thought you considered financial success to be a real measure of merit. If they are richer than us, doesn't that mean that they worked harder and made better decisions? It actually makes me smile at the thought of all the people who would be employed to build all those ten billion houses of theirs. :-)

Ava: You should not stereotype conservatives.

You should not stereotype moon bats.

Beth Fitz: Some of the hardest-working people out there are middle class. They're not rich.

The hardest working people I know are migrant fruit pickers. They do back-breaking hand labor in the hot sun for fourteen hours a day, every day. They have no labor protection, no sick time, no overtime. They are far below the poverty line - they make only a few dollars a day.

I'm curious to get some more opinions on this. At least one person has said that if Boone Pickens' broker manages a hostile takeover of Conglomco to the tune of forty million dollars, that constitutes "earning" for Boone. The forty million counts as the "fruit" of Boone's labor because "he was in the position to earn his money."

Well, suppose the forty million that Boone just earned came from liquidating the pensions of all the Conglomco retirees. They worked their whole lives to accumulate this money and were counting on it to retire without hardship, but now it's gone.

Does Boone now have a stronger claim to this forty million? He earned for himself in seconds what it took thousands of people years to acquire. Is this the fruit of Boone's labor? Is it fair?

Aura: Is it fair to liquidate someone's pension fund? Not on the surface, but now lets turn it around and say that since T Boone Pickens is interested in natural gas and alternative energy he invests all that forty million into research. That research discovers a form of energy that is cheap and clean. The price of energy drops to a very affordable level and creates jobs for thousands. Thousands of people who would have otherwise been on welfare are now employed and the average person can afford the price of energy to travel, heat, cool. The price of food drops, etc. This is the way capitalism is supposed to work.

Well, that's a pretty big if. I doubt it will be much comfort to those who just lost their pensions.

But I see exactly where you are coming from and I really appreciate such an intelligent, well-thought out reply. You are really a joy to have discussions with.

Aura: Thanks, you too!

Beth Fitz: Sure, it's great that he could possibly use that money to create thousands of new jobs--those people are going to need those jobs since their retirement money is gone & they'll be working until the day they die.

Here's another take on it. Suppose the scenario occured to Sheldon Anderson instead of Boone Pickens. Anderson is a casino magnate who amassed his fortune from peoples' gambling losses. Some of his biggest philanthropic efforts in the last decade were contributions towards the election campaigns of George W. Bush.

Now, he has the forty million dollars from the liquidated Conglomco pensions. He will probably use the money to build another hotel casino. Did he earn it? Is it fair?

Aura: I detest gambling, I want to be upfront about that because it does shape my answer. I personally will gamble and have, but I often find the people who most often gamble are those with the least funds to do so. I don't have a problem with Las Vegas, but I do have a problem that every city in the country has a casino in it now. It used to be special to go to Las Vegas, and it was usually people who could afford to gamble, but now everyone has access. Sorry, I had to get that out otherwise you may wonder why I answer that way.

I think casinos and casino magnates earn their money in a unethical way, off the backs of people who can't afford it. Sure a new casino does bring in jobs and the city makes a great deal of money off of it (which is why they approve it). But this hardly makes up for the loss of pensions. What good has come out of taking money from people who are so desperate that they will resort to using credit cards to gamble with? I find it even more sick that cities, like Detroit, are so hungry for money, they don't mind that it is the underprivileged that will be going there. So did he earn it, well I guess he must be working hard to have a successful casino, but does he deserve it? NO. And no, it isn't fair.

Thanks for another thoughtful answer.

I think the problem is that money is just so completely fungible. If Boone Pickens got the money, a mere forty million would be just a drop in the bucket for all the billions that he has. There would be no way to suggest that that forty million was the same forty million he will use for the energy research. In fact if he wasn't planning to fund the research anyway, a paltry forty million extra would probably not tip him over.

The forty million would be so much more useful to the economy if the Conglomco pensioners just got to keep it. It would keep them comfortable for the hard-earned retirement years they spent their lives working towards. And they would spend it, all of it, for living expenses, so it would go to support the stores and businesses in their own home town. Those store and business owners would also spend it, and it would create value for people again and again.

Lumping it into the personal fortune of any one super rich man almost insures that it will do NOTHING, except float back and forth in bizarre banking and investment schemes, designed only to make larger numbers. It has practically no value at all left as money once it gets into the banking scheme cycle.

That is why, when Wall Street starting looking around to see where all the money went, they couldn't find it. Giving it to the super-wealthy made it disappear.

Money is a tool for trading value. Abusing it ruins its effectiveness as a tool. It cripples the entire society.

I just can't see how anyone can say that the super-wealthy have any right to that money just because their broker can convince a bank to put their name on it. There is nothing a man can do to "earn" the right to crush everyone else just to satiate his own poisoned greed.

Clara Will: Listen to you! Guys like Warren Buffet have made consistently good investment decisions! They earned every single penny!

That's not to say everyone with money earned it fairly themselves. Some people inherited it. Some are drug lords. Some are legal, but unethical and greedy.

But to claim that NONE of them earned it fairly is just plain envy.

Only if you want money.

09-22-08 11:58Conservative Screed


this is one of the popular journals right now.  i like it, but it's too true to be funny.

Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.
*1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
*2007 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again.  Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario :
Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
*1957 - Crowd gathers.  Mark wins.  Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
*2007 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark.  Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
*1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
*2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse.  Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang.  State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison.  Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.


It's not true or funny.

This is a typical conservative rant, implying that Democrats have been ruining the country with their pansy ways and always coddling the bad guy.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the Republicans have actually been running the country and they have run it into the ground. They are about to give the bad guys $750 billion dollars.

The Conservative ideology that this screed represents is greedy, violent, and racist. Their policies are garbage which never work.

Frankly I am apalled that you could still support this hollow ideology of failure by posting this crap. Especially while the entire economy is in chaos because conservatives broke the money.

Lauren:yeah, a lot of it is true. it may be a little bit exaggerated, but true none the less.

Well, sure. But who cares? True or not, none of this is the problem.

The problem is that the team that wants you to support them so teens can have gunracks in their cars is the same team who destroyed the economy. The team who talks up spanking, fist fights and whippings, is also the team who fumbled the ball in Iraq.

All of this whining is meant to distract you from the fact that the conservatives running this country are morally bankrupt and utterly incompetent.

This whole screed is nothing but a smokescreen.

Just for the record:

I'm not a friend of the democrats, either. They are pansies, at least that much is true.

09-22-08 11:11Cheating

Lauren: If your husband cheated on you, would you stay?

Would you be willing to work it out or is cheating a "deal breaker"?

We have discussed what would happen if one of us wanted to have sex with someone else. We didn't come to any conclusions, because it's just so impossible to imagine how that kind of scenario would arise, with who, under what circumstances.

What we did decide, though, is that the real betrayal is in the lying and the deception it takes to keep the sex a secret. We both decided that if it came up, we would discuss it openly before anything happened, and decide what it meant, and how to handle it, together.

Frankly, sometimes I have wished he had a mistress so that I could get more done than entertaining him in bed all day! It doesn't really bother me to contemplate that. But I couldn't bear the idea that he might actually fall for another woman, enjoy her company more than mine, and want to live with her instead of me. And I know that if you start out with the former, it's easy to get caught up in the emotions and end up feeling the latter.

So, the short answer is, I have no clue. But I do know that we have made honesty, rather than strict fidelity, the keystone. As long as we're honest about it, and we're still happy living and spending our time together, I don't think it would necessarily have to spell the end of our relationship.

Lauren: Not me! I'd be outta there in a minute.

Paula: Hell no I wouldn't stay. I'd take everything - including his dog - and head to my parents' house.

Rennie:I would not stay with a cheating husband. That is most certainly a deal breaker. I know a lot of women would stay and work things out but I just don't get that. How do you fix that?

Well now, I'll share a story with you.

My husband and I met when he was passing through my city on his way to Burning Man. He was a DJ, and was introduced to me at a rave by a mutual friend who thought we would hit it off.

Needless to say, we did. We went back to my place and spent the whole weekend there together. We fell in love immediately and decided that I would move to his state to live with him as soon as possible. Then, sadly, the newfound love of my life had to rejoin the rest of his travelling group and head on down the road with them to Burning Man.

Fast forward a few months. I had dropped my life, packed up and moved three states over to be with my new love. It seemed so worth it - this man was everything, everything I had wanted in a partner. Ultra smart, calm and balanced, good looking, sense of humor, easy going and great to spend time with. Liked cool music, knew everything about every subject. Really generous in bed. Everything. I loved his town, I loved his family, I loved his house. And I just loved him so much! I never knew a relationship could be so wonderful!

Well, not long after I moved in, he let me know that just a couple of days after he met me, he met a woman at Burning Man and had sex with her.

What!? I was stunned. He had just had sex with me a few days before, he had said he loved me and wanted to be with me forever, and then he goes and immediately sleeps with another lady! I was consumed with jealousy! I wanted to pack my bags and fly straight home to mother!

But, what could I do?

For one thing, we had only known each other about three days when this happened. We knew we were in love, we were seriously planning to spend the rest of our lives together, but we hadn't even discussed a fidelity commitment.

For another thing, she was gone, out of his life; he would most likely never see her again.

Most of all, the story he told of how it came about was rather moving. The woman was an artist, like me, and J. went to see her to have his Black Rock Ranger garb custom-painted. The woman painted his shirt, but he noticed that she seemed sad, distracted and lonely.

A dust storm came up, as they often do on the playa, and they sat in her tent to wait it out. They got to talking, and she confided that she was feeling lonely and unlovable because of her weight. J. loves women, and he loves helping. The story he told me, of helping this sad, fat woman to feel wanted and desirable and sexy by making love to her, was very sweet and touching, and I could really understand it.

Most importantly, as an artist, I could literally see the difference it had made in this woman's life. He showed me the work she did. The shirt that she had painted beforehand was okay, but the art was clumsy and lacked focus. The incredible mural she painted after the sex, however, was skilled, clever and really beautiful. I could plainly see that she had regained her self worth, just by looking at her art.

So, I shrugged, and I said I understood.

He was so relieved! He didn't want to throw away our life together either, but he wanted to be honest. We talked about it, and we decided that it wasn't a problem. We decided to be open and understanding and honest about everything as we moved forward. I decided to continue to trust him, and us.

It was the best decision I ever made. It's ten years later and we have three fantastic kids and J. is still the light of my life and the apple of my eye. I am totally crazy about him. Living with a man who is Enlightened is like a magical adventure that really happens! I couldn't imagine a more serene existence than by his side. I am completely at peace with my decision.

Relationships can be hard. But politeness and consideration make the journey fun. Honesty and compassion bridge the gaps. Forgiveness smooths out the bumps.

It's worth it.

KimKarnes: Wow. Thank you for sharing this.

Okie: wow raver......i am at a losss for words!!! that is actually a very beuitful story!!!! i am glad it worked out for u guys.

Okie: Great story and I agree.

09-22-08 7:11The Bailout

I can't believe these guys.

The world's richest men have all suddenly lost everything. All of the imaginary power they weilded was rendered inoperable at a stroke, as a result of their own insatiable greed.

And what do they expect us to do? They expect us to give them all of our money so they can be rich again!

DON'T DO IT. Fight the bailout.

We already gave them all our other money. What did they do? They lost it!

I'd like to tell those fat crapheads that if they want money, they should go get a fucking job!

09-22-08 7:11Market Crash Today

LookingforLogic: Wow, have you seen Zeitgeist? Have you heard about the Amero, and the New World order? I just bet this is happening! What do you think?

Undoubtedly, some people are working to accomplish this. But no one has to go along with it.

The film "Zeitgeist" was mainly about how moneyed interests are trying to control the world, using the traps of religion, nationalism and money.

However, there is a very easy way to slip out of the traps and controls that religion, nationalism and money present. This can be done by practicing non-attachment.

Religions can only control your mind if you long for what they are promising and fear what they are threatening. Nationalism can only stir you to war if you cling to the idea that the people of your country are factually superior to, or at least, separate from, the rest of humanity. And the moneyed interests can only manipulate you if you play their game by striving to acquire ever larger quantities of wealth.

In other words, some people may be trying to control the world, but it is easy to slip out of their traps if you are not grasping after the bait.

LookingforLogic: Wow, I think I love you.

LeahMaria: Do you think our government is plan microchipping us like this behind closed doors without letting the American people know about it?

Yeah, like our government could DO something.

LeahMaria: And if there is truth to all this, I think by the time people wake and realize what is happening, it's going to be too late.

Don't panic. They can't make us agree to do it.

Borders, and lines on a map, are just as imaginary as money. At any time, they are just what we say they are, nothing more. If we don't like where they are trying to put borders, or take away borders, we don't have to accept it.

Ellie: Frankly, you are right on a fundamental level. There is no money and there are no real borders. You certainly cannot see the border from outer space.

However. However. Perception is everything. As with all things, actual reality is meaningless.

It's not. People playing with pretend reality eventually have to abandon it because it doesn't work. That's why this whole imaginary economy is crashing down.

Ellie: Perception is stronger than reality and is stronger than truth IMO.

Ellie, I know where you are coming from, but this is 100 percent wrong. Your perception that you can flap your arms and fly will never be strong enough to save you when you fall off of an actual building. Reality is HARD. That's what makes it real. It is absolutely inescapable. What you think means nothing to it. It is what it is.

Ellie: I dont think that the majority of people on this planet are critical thinkers.

Yes, but YOU are. The pretend reality will only affect those who fall for it. If you don't buy the lie, YOU don't have to suffer along with the people who do.

And, luckily, you really only need to worry about you, and those close to you. Let the rest of the world fly into a panic and trade fake money ten ways from Sunday to try to make it be real. It's a lot of sound and fury, it signifies nothing.

These kinds of crises come and go. In the ensuing panic, some people get crushed. Many others suffer hardship. But that doesn't have to be you, or your family.

Hunker down. If you have the means, buy and store some extra food. Practically the ONLY thing you really need to get by in reality is the food.

Ellie: Me? Im panicking.

My friend, the day to panic is when men are at your door with guns. Not before. It will only make you act precipitiously.

You are probably physically safe right now. So, take a deep breath. Look at the situation calmly and take measured steps to protect only what is real - like food and shelter.

Another good thing to do is reach out to your immediate neighbors. If there was an acute crisis in your immediate area, these are the people you will be facing it with.

If you stay calm, you can ride out the panic, and work with other reality-based people to get things working again.

In the last big crash, FDR said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." He was right.

This is one of those moments.

Ellie: Social "truths" are based more in perception than in actual absolute truths.

Sure they are. But real truths are far more reliable. If you have to choose, go with the real stuff.

Ellie: I can only buy so much...

You don't need too much right now. Just stock up on the staples and comfort foods your kids really like, enough to get you past this immediate crisis. Food-hoarding (ie, psychological) shortages usually resolve themselves within a few weeks.

Ellie: Thats why i say its only a few that can walk away and recognize the truth for what it actually is.

Be one of these.

Ellie: my immediate neighbours will turn on me if the "men with guns" come to our doors.

I'm sorry to hear that. In times of crises, natural disasters, etc., there are always great stories that emerge about people banding together to get through it, helping each other out. It's just as natural a response as fighting...maybe more so.

But again, that is not today, or in the immediate future. There is nothing to panic about at this moment.

And, crises usually pass. When this one does, maybe you should get to know your neighbors better, or get better neighbors.

Ellie: Even my husband thinks I'm crazy...then really, where is the "reality" you speak of.

Ellie, it is right in front of your face. You are it and you are in it.

Ellie: But what about everyone else? Most people dont see the truth.

That's not your problem. Most people are nowhere near you. They have to deal with their problems where they are. You have to deal with yours where you are.

Ellie: Im not worried about weeks worth of food. Weeks im covered.

That's good to hear. That gives you breathing space to see what happens and figure out what your options are over the longer term. At least you know you'll be okay if the general panic of the moment sets off near-term hoarding.

Ellie: I'm not worried about myself. I'm worried about the doofus who ends up impinging on my life.

That why I said hunker down. Keep your head low and you may not be bothered by the doofus.

Ellie: Im not selling my house every 6 mos to get "good neighbours".

Then it looks like your stuck with option number one, building better relations with the ones you have. It can't hurt. Those people who are physically near you have way more impact on your physical safety than all the billions of weirdos everywhere else.

Ellie: Im more jaded than you with regards to humans and what they are capable of.

Well, try it anyway. What have you got to lose?

Ellie: LOL. Maybe im older.

How old are you?

Ellie: I think you are more postive about people than i am lol.

Im 41. You?

Forty-and-a-half. I guess you are older...just!

I could tell I wasn't talkin' to somebody who just fell of the haytruck yesterday. :-)

The upshot of all this is simple - keep your head.

It's true that this crisis may bring a lot of change. Destroying the world's economy is a pretty big deal.

But as long as you have your loved ones safe with you, and you have food, you can be pretty sure you are not going to lose anything that really matters.

09-21-08 7:11Money

Michelle: What's happening with the economy!? I know...something is not right...

This is as clear a description as I've been able to find:

"It's about [the banks] taking on too much leverage and borrowing to take on the risk and borrowing again and borrowing again, 25 to 30 times the amount of capital. ... They had to basically back the borrowing that they were doing. ... There was no transparency to the Fed, to the SEC, to the Treasury, to anyone who would have even bothered to look as to how much of a catastrophe was being created, so that when anything fell, whether it was the subprime mortgage or whether it was a credit complex security, it was all below a pile of immense interlocked, incestuous borrowing, and that's what is bringing down the entire banking system."

As these high-rolling gamblers are losing all their banks' money, it comes to the taxpayer to bail them out. A better use of the money, says Michael Hudson, professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and an economic adviser to Rep. Dennis Kucinich, would be to "save these 4 million homeowners from defaulting and being kicked out of their houses. Now they're going to be kicked out of the houses. The houses will be vacant. The cities are going to [lose] property taxes, they're going to have to cut back local expenditures, local infrastructure. The economy is being sacrificed to pay the gamblers."

Read more here: Wall Street Socialists

The vampires have gorged on the bloodfest. And all for what? To get more money.

Is that what matters?

It's sickening.

The worst part is, all these trillions of dollars of money don't even exist. They are not bills, or backed by gold; they have NO physicality. They don't exist anywhere, except as a number on a computer screen, and an agreement between us and them that that is how much they have.

Well, I don't agree. No person did seventeen billion dollars worth of work this year.

If that's a guy's profit from the banking scam, it's fucking fake. It's not really money - it's not coming from anywhere. It was just conjured up out of insane banking schemes. He doesn't really have it. It's in...a bank. But the bank doesn't have it.

The banks who owe his bank don't have it either. Nobody has it.

It's worthless. Unplug the computer and it's gone.

Money is imaginary.

But...people give up everything in their life for it.

Those guys with money only have power over you to the extent that you crave their juicy imaginary bait, the "money."

I'm going to give up money. Fuck it. It's a trap.

Michelle: Did you hear that Chinese companies are bidding on a few of these brokerage houses to "help" buy them out?

The Chinese don't have the money either. I'm telling you guys, it never existed! All the money that got "lost" in this scam was imaginary. One bad data backup and it's gone. Boo hoo.

Boy, I sure thought someone would have noticed me saying that all the money is imaginary! But it's not news. All of your stocks, bonds, pensions, hedge funds, IRAs, certificates of deposit, liens, etc. are just an imaginary amount that you have convinced some bank you are entitled to, nothing more. Completely make-believe.

The only thing that actually has any value is your home and the land it's on. That's why it's called Real Estate.

Michelle: yeah i knew that but it is a really hard concept to wrap your mind around.

In biblical times, the Hebrews had a tradition that every fifty years or so, ALL debts would be forgiven, erased. It was called the Jubilee.

Why did they do this? Because they were pretty smart about money, and they knew that money systems often spiral out of control. The money becomes worth much less than it was - inflation - and the debts get massively expanded when people trade "owsies" back and forth.

So, once every couple of generations, all debt was forgiven to reset the economy.

It is no less necessary now than then.

Michelle: Exactly. This money is fake. It's all coming from thin air. The money you have in your pocket and in the bank is completely worthless. It's not money. It's nothing more than a paper receipt.

What I have been thinking about lately is what's going to happen the the FDIC. You bank somewhere that is FDIC insured and it makes you feel better knowing your "money" is safe. But the FDIC can't handle something like this on a massive scale.

As I said, the "money" that disappeared wasn't real, that's why it's gone. So...easy come, easy go.

Sad to say, though, the main thing America has lost in this debacle is our credibility. People used to say, "But...it's America, they're good for it." That will not happen as much in the future.

That's the real tragedy, because we have been running on credibility for the last fifty years.

09-21-08 7:11Dinosaurs

Michelle: I have heard that some people out there don't believe that dinosaurs ever walked this earth! What do you think?

I don't "believe" it per se. I don't consider it a matter of faith.

However my assessment is that the dinosaur hypothesis is a good explanation for the fossil evidence.

Free Girl: even the bible mentions Large animals that drink the river of Jordon and reach the top of the oak tree. However I do not think the earth is millions of years old...

Why do you think geologists claim it is millions of years old?

Free Girl: ...and everything in science can be explained by the word of God.

You mean like quantum probability densities corresponding to the wavefunctions of an electron in a hydrogen atom possessing definite energy and angular momentum?

How so?

Andrea: i totally would have copied off of you in science class.

Ellie: Thats it. I am officially proclaiming my undying love for Raver.

Its official.


P.S. Its quite simple. I luv you lol.

You consistently have *THE* best responses on that entire group. THE best. !

09-21-08 6:11Greatest Fear

Michelle: I'm afraid of spiders! Never could stand them, never will. Do you have any phobias?


I have to take a book with me everywhere so if I have even an instant of downtime I can read instead of doing nothing. Doing nothing is terrifying.

This is the main reason why I became a Buddhist. Meditation is exactly practice of doing nothing and being bored. That's what makes it such a challenge. So, I'm learning to get over it.

I attended a 10-day meditation retreat - no talking, no thinking, just ten continuous days of nothing. I survived, somehow, but I admit I didn't meditate the whole time. I read books to myself in my head.

09-21-08 5:11The Race Card

Free Girl: Can't Obama and the liberals just get over it? The race issue is dead. Slavery was a long, long time ago! Why is Obama always playing the race card?

The reason racial issues are still important is because slavery was so horrific, and such an affront to what we claim to hold dear in this country - equality - that it has taken generations just to come to terms with the cognitive dissonance. Even when slavery was ended, an institutionalized caste system still existed, right up until the Civil Rights legislation of the sixties. Jim Crow, ritual pollution, and segregation are barely behind us. The effects linger to this day. Anyone who insists that race plays no role in our society is in denial.

Free Girl: THE GOP is not talking about it.

The GOP is in denial.

Free Girl: Obama is a baby killer...

The Republicans have done nothing to stop the killing. All they do is wave a fetus in your face to distract you while they rape your economy.

Free Girl: ...a GOD hater...

Unfortunately, he's not. He's a Christian. Too bad. But even if he was, if GOD doesn't like it He needs to say so Himself and stop cowering behind you. GOD is a wuss.

Free Girl:....and a socialist...

Heaven knows "socialism" is evil incarnate. Just look at that hellhole, Sweden.

Free Girl:...who will ruin the free market and or country will suffer great loss if he wins.

Haven't you been paying attention? The country is already suffering a great loss. Our financial institutions are in a state of near collapse because a tiny group of selfish fucks used the "free market" to indulge in the most savage, heinous, bloated greedfest ever known to humankind. If the "free market" means that the rich are free take everything they can get, any way they can get it, and everyone else can go fucking starve, then what good is it? "Ruining" it would be a step up.

Read more in the Archives.