After all, everyone knows that upscale stores only have independently wealthy capitalists working behind the counter. No good working class people here! To have a business address in the more expensive areas of New York guarantees that you are doing well! Businesses never fail in the rich areas of New York, so losing a few days business won't have any real consequences for the businesses. Really!
"About 1,000 union workers and other protesters marched on a Fifth Avenue Gap store, walking past a string of opulent shops to demonstrate against the globalization of industry.
"The global economy does not work for the working people," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney told attendees at a working families forum before the demonstration. "This is why we are here — to challenge Enron economics here and abroad.""
Who the hell does he think he's fooling? The global economy works to the stage where the 1000 workers who followed him on parade could afford to take time off work to come to his protest. How many workers 200 years ago could have afforded to ditch work for a day or two? How many farmers 300 years ago could leave their farms unattended for two or three weeks a year while they went on vacation?
His followers could afford to travel and stay in New York. They can afford to pay the union dues he charges them for the privilege of working in a closed union shop. They can afford the taxes charged by two or three levels of government, and after that they can still afford to eat, clothe themselves and buy teevees and cars.
The global economy works just fine, Mr. Sweeny. It's your ideas that don't and that have been holding back the entire world from the freedom and prosperity it could achieve.
"Anyway, the only real-life space program I'm interested in is the one where I get a wookie co-pilot, piles of guns with no stupid "stun" settings, and a fast ship set up to smuggle wine past those UN/EU killjoys. I guess that would lean toward Rand Simberg's plan for privatized space travel. "
Yup. That pretty much sums up my feeling about it. Why the hell would you want to live in a mini united nations wearing lycra when you could hot rod around the galaxy in your own ship with a converted Mauser on your hip?
"I also want to blow up that planet of Furbies who ruined the third Star Wars movie ... before PETA gets over there. The PETA ship will come out of hyperspace and find nothing but pelts floating around. "
Reminds me of a gamer I knew in university, her catchphrase was "Burn Ewok! Burn!"
Also on Samizdata, Alex Knapp of Heretical Ideas details why Star Trek Kirk Style was pro- freedom.
"Let's talk about real Star Trek. I'm talking about the NCC-1701, which cruised around the cosmos not only exploring new worlds, but finding new tyrannies - and crushing them. Is your world controlled by an over-intelligent super-computer? No problem--Kirk and co. will destroy it. Been trapped in a never-ending cycle of war because you fight by computer instead of the real way? Kirk and co. takes care of it. Are Klingon's arming your rival clan's? Not to worry--Kirk will give you guns, too, so you can protect your families. Benign interventionism, favoring democracy."
Isn't it amazing how much that sounds like the program that Bush has laid out for the US? " finding new tyrannies - and crushing them", "Benign interventionism, favoring democracy." Go read the whole thing.
And yes, I do link to the "Star Trek is totalitarian" stuff because it gets a rise out of the other GMC members. If any of you monkeys want to rebut their arguments, go for it. I'll post it. or just get yer own blog.
Still, this cartoon explanation of the Quebec saga is far too good not to pass on. It is about a dozen strips long, so use of the navigation tool under the comic is needed.
For as long as I can remeber, one of the reasons cited for the weakness of the Canadian dollar over the last twenty five years was the risk of Quebec separation. Given that the threat has been effectively laid to rest (for the moment?), shouldn't we have recovered some of that loss? Shouldn't the dollar become stronger as a result?
I think that the reduced risk has already been taken into account in the dollar's price. The decline caused by other factors has swamped any improvement. If Quebec separation had never left the national agenda, the dollar would have fallen further than it has already. If Separation does become a hot issue again, watch for your loonies to get even skinnier.
Which would be the trigger for the Monkey Circle to adopt "Plan C".
Okay, I'm being unreasonable. It's probably just that the book is in such heavy demand in the U.S that they can't spare any to send north of the border. I'll go back to watching for Black Helicopters now.
On the other hand, Dave Schifflet of NRO has an article on the difficulty right-leaning authors have getting into publication in the US.
I've picked the book up, and it is definitely a tome. It has that nice heavy feel to it. Fine paper, good sized. Footnoted out the wazzoo. Imagine that, an author who not only provides his sources to the extent that they take up a quarter of the book, but wants you to check his work. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, because as previously mentioned, I should be studying.
This Tome would make an excellent Tool of Learnin' for the Monkey Cause to use on Idiotarians, a.k.a Anti-Darwinians/Darwin Donors (as they are known to the Monkey Circle)
"British television: the subtle propaganda of the relentless socialist meta-context
Here's a poser for today - Have any fellow bloggers come across an example on a television drama programme in the UK which has ever portrayed a businessman or woman in straightforwardly good light, with no qualifications, ifs or buts? I haven't. Check out the average British soap shown mid-evening to see what I am getting at. It is pure negativity towards any activity remotely creative or positive. And of course we soak it up because when coming home from a hard day at the office, factory or wherever, our mental faculties are at their least sharp.
The same challenge applies to American or Canadian TV. Monty Burns comes immediately to mind as the stereotypical businessman. If any other group were portrayed so consistenly in such a negative fashion, there would be protest groups putting pressure on the advertisers. Can't the advertisers put pressure on themselves to get some respect?
Samizdata Headline of the Day
"Star Trek: more stories about Lycra Totalitarianism"
Well, at least the protesters of protest.net are being honest about it. (Not really, maybe they were hacked?)
February 28th 2002
Time 6:00 pm
Title Communal Howling at the Moon
New York, New Jersey
Topic / Issue Fascism & Imperialism
Sponsor The Coalition to Ignore Reality
The Coalition to Ignore Reality calls on all sentient beings to join hands, paws, and other appendages in symbolic resistance to the wealth creation in the developing world while safely living the good life in the First World. We call for immediate suspension of the laws of mathematics to allow people of mediocrity, inability and foolishness to earn as much as all those who did their homework while the rest of us listened to forgettable music and masturbated late into the afternoon.
That's probably the most truth they've been allowed to print in a while. The whole effort to scold Mugable and perhaps put sanctions on him and maybe freeze his foreign assets was ridiculous. Mugabe doesn't care about the sanctions, as he isn't the one who is going to feel their brunt. He's already demonstrated that the condition of his people doesn't matter to him. Given a choice of retaining power or his foreign bank accounts he isn't going to have to think very long about it.
It's interesting to compare the UK's approach to Mugabe and the US' approach to Afghanistan. The UK's approach has been a typical display of the diplomacy of the pre September era. The UK has bought its concerns to an international body (the Commonwealth) with the intent of obtaining multilateral agreement and taking diplomatic action. This is the same course that bought us the continued violence in the Balkans for most of the '90s. Expressions of concern, requests for sanctions and requesting the expulsion of the offending country from world bodies aren't going to do any good whatsoever. It seems that the UK has determined that if these measures worked against South Africa in the 80s then they're bound to work against another African state.
Imagine the US had followed the world's demands and submitted its plan to attack the Taleban and Al-Queda to the UN for approval. The US forms a coalition for the military action it intends to take and gives each partner an equal share of the decision making authority. Had this happened, the odds are the Taleban would still be ruling Kabul and Bin Laden would be plotting his next attack.
If the UK well and truly objects to what Mugabe is doing, it doesn't need the permission of the other Commonwealth members to throw the book at him. The UK can impose sanctions, seize his assets within their reach and bring pressure on other individual countries as necessary. The 90's dream of united multilateral action being able to solve problems isn't dead yet, but the recent US action in Afghanistan shows how effective unilateral action can be.
What has AOL done for me? Given me more CD-shaped coasters than I know what to do with, installed an icon on my desktop for "FREE AOL Sign up!" when I loaded a game from a "classic" computer game package. No matter how I've tried, the icon just won't die. I consider this to be a form of graffitti.
"It would be nice if these people showed some sensitivity and did this somewhere else: maybe Afghanistan. Get 'em outta here, we're still bringing out body parts."
As I understand it, the protesters blame capitalism for keeping the developing world in poverty. So, if that is so, then logically, removing capitalism should mean that the people of the developing world would achieve a better standard of living.
Fortunately, there is such a paradise! Come on down North Korea!
Get an issue of the Boston Globe, the Herald News, or another Massachusetts daily newspaper. Find an article about each of the Republican or Democrat candidates for Governor. Find a proposal or program advocated by each candidate. Clip them out.
Take a bottle of 'White-Out' and blot out each candidate's name. And 'white-out' the word "Democrat" or "Republican" -- if it's even mentioned.
Take these political proposals or programs and put them in front of 10 people chosen at random. Ask each person to correctly match the candidate for Governor with his or her proposal or program.
They won't be able to do it.
Why do these candidates fail the 'White-Out' Test?
Because their positions, proposals, and programs blur and blend into the same Big Government mush."
As I first read Bush's State of the Union Address last night, this test came to mind. On the political and economic issues discussed in the speech (except for the war), the speech fails the test utterly. Much of it could have been written by the Democrats.
One final observation on the speech and then I'll stop.
"We will prevail in the war, and we will defeat this recession."
I would have preferred this: "We will prevail in the war, and you will defeat this recession."
Why? because it would have put things in appropriate order. The Government exists to first and foremost to defend the people. The people themselves will be the ones who will determine the fate of the economy. The government has no place in this process. Changing that one word would have sent an amazingly different message.
From The Onion, via Rand Simberg of Transterrestrial Musings.
On a more serious note, the idea that unregulated capitalism always leads to monopolies is one of the most persistent ideas of our time. It's also an idea with very little evidence to support it. If one looks around, most of the monopolies that exist owe their status to government mandate and legislation. Hydro companies, telephone utilities and Air Canada are good examples.
Ever since the economists of the Ninteenth Century pronounced monopoly as the logical outcome of free markets, their opinion has acted as an excuse to control markets. How many examples of unregulated markets have turned into harmful monopolies? Hell, how many unregulated markets have there been? If Marx was wrong about communism and socialism, perhaps he just might have been wrong about monopoly? Gee, it's not as if he would have wanted to portray capitalism as being bad, right?
Most Canadians I know subscribe to the monopolistic view of capitalism and believe that there should be regulation and gov't control in "important" sectors of the economy. Deregulation of companies like Bell or utilities is an idea that meets extreme skepticism.
Well, does anyone really want to go back to what long-distance phone rates were like when Bell had a CRTC imposed monopoly on the service?
I'm all in favour of deregulating the utilities and other gov't monopolies, under certain conditions, that is, no conditions. If deregulation ends up requiring the company to operate under even more rules than they did before, then it isn't really deregulation. California for example, where the power companies signed themselves into long term contracts on what they could charge their customers. They made windfall profits when energy prices were dirt cheap because of the minimum prices they got from consumers which were far above their cost. When energy prices rose above the caps they'd agreed to, then the California energy crisis began.
Regulation is a either or choice, sort of like being on the subway. You're safe on the platform or you're going places in the train. If you try to keep one foot on the platform and one on the train, things are going to get messy.
Home Monkey forwarded this story to me regarding his second plane of existence, Everquest. Apparently the players of this online game are generating their own economy with already has a Per-Capita GDP just behind that of Russia!
I am still going to stay the Holy Hell away from playing this game. I know myself well enough to be aware of the danger to everything I hope to achieve with my time. Of course, any temptation that EverQuest poses pales to the danger posed by their new product, Star Wars Galaxies. (I tried to post the link, but loading the site repeatedly killed my computer. Perhaps the world is attempting to tell me something. It's for the best, really.)
Robin Brown: I suggest we sue "Big Earth," for all of the debilitating effects of gravity. First, there are the thousands of injuries each year caused by gravity. Second, there are the long-term effects of gravity, such as wrinkles, sagging stomachs and inactivity forced upon people by the force of gravity.
For decades, "keeping the people down" has been synonymous with oppression, but people have never understood the truth they spoke. The earth and its irrational insistence on gravity (which it could at least attempt to mitigate by divesting itself of large amounts of nonessential mass, I mean what does the earth need so much rock in the core for, anyway?) have caused untold suffering to people around the world and hampered progress and equality. Think what we could achieve without gravity to hold us back! We could all fly and would be free to perform athletically as we should! If gravity is to be continued, at the very least the earth should pay reparations to the rest of us.
I'm convinced I have a case. I expect to be in front of the Supreme Court of Canada within weeks.
Would seven people have died if the Kobel brothers had put chlorine in the water as was required by their jobs?
That omission was the start of the tragedy. If they had done their job, there would not have been the deaths that followed. One of the summary points of the report is wrong in my opinion. It states;
"The provincial government's budget reductions made it less likely that the MOE (Ministry of the Environment) would have identified both the need for continuous monitors at Well 5 and the improper operating practices of the Walkerton PUC." (p5)
The report goes on to note that the Walkerton PUC had routinely falsified reports on chlorine residuals for twenty years(p7). Even with the budget that the MOE had before the Harris gov't came to power they had failed to identify any problems over the previous sixteen years. On what grounds is it reasonable to conclude that the MOE would have been more effective between 1996 and 2000 without budget restraints than they had been for the previous sixteen years?
Back in April when the Anti-Capitalists were demonstrating (rioting) at the Quebec City Summit, I couldn't believe the basic premise of their activities: "vandalism is not violence". Breaking windows, burning, graffitti and looting were simply legitimate methods of political protest.
I wonder, if Anti- abortionists bombed an abortion clinic while it was closed for the night, would that be considered a legitimate political protest by the Anti Capitalists? After all, a clinic is just a building filled with equipment. It's just private property, right?
If a person were to throw a rock through Naomi Klein's window while yelling a denounciation of her politics, would she say "hmm, I think this person has a legitimate issue with what I am doing to the world"? Would she pick up the phone instead and scream for the police? The former is what her followers claim to expect of the world leaders they attempt to intimidate.
I'm very interested to see if the cultural changes that have occured post-september affect the reaction to their protests. Perhaps the residents of New York will not be pushed around in the same fashion that other cities have been at previous protests.
I have nothing but respect for the people of the help desk, as you might have guessed by the title of this post. They make the magic box work. You are never going to see here the kind of posts that Steven DenBeste makes on a regular basis about technical specs of different computers and programs. I know not, and I know I know not.
....To Daimian Penny of Daimnation! for linking to me! Of course, in a nation where people say "thank you" to ATMs and to elevators that open for them, I feel the need to find something more sincere than plain old thank you. I'm a bit stumped.
Welcome to anyone coming over from Daimnation! It's a pleasure to have you visit!
Just because the Princes of the House of Saud don't lounge around in fatigues or pose with an AK-47 does not make them worthy of being our friends.
Apparently, the majority of the detainees at Guantanamo are Saudis. Just curious, how much of Europe's oil comes from Saudi Arabia? Might wanting to please the Saudis have anything to do with their loud protestations over the detainments in Cuba? Not to mention that U.S. civilian and military merchandise exports to the country in 2000 were reported to have totaled $6.23 billion. Might Europe hope to pick up some of that business if there is a rift between the US and the House of Saud?
"The swearing-in took place in Nicaragua's National Baseball Stadium. About 15,000 people sat for hours under a scorching sun and 90-degree heat to pay tribute to democracy. Ninety-three percent of eligible Nicaraguans had voted in the elections; Bolaños had beaten Ortega by 14 points. On this day, the people were there to inaugurate a new president and celebrate the triumph over Sandinista left-wing totalitarianism and the corruption of past governments.
"As the 11-member U.S. delegation was announced, the crowd erupted into cheers and chants of 'U.S.A.' Some people waved American flags."
Via Tim Blair, Australian wunderblogger. There's so much good stuff on his site today. In particular, the way he inserts himself into transcrips of media reports. Check it out.
Perhaps the Americans should demand any prisoners we take from us on grounds of our brutal treatment of Somali prisoners back in the early 90's? Torture and murder should be of far greater concern to the international community than shaving detainees and providing them with food, medical attention and the Koran.
The opening title of the Mechwarrior 4 soundtrack seems to be a perfect fit for an opening theme Tom's Star Trek campaign. If you want a copy, don't even bother trying Indigo/chapters. Amazon all the way. Speaking of which, check these other prices for stuff there like Tome and Blood for D+D, or the Star Wars sourcebook: Dark Side or even the core rulebook. Can you feel the seductive power of your credit cards? Hmmm. credit cards are definitely of the Dark Side: quicker, easier, more seductive. Plus, they always extract a greater price in the long run.