Densha Gaijin: Or Drunken Fun With The Japanese Train System And Other Atrocities

For those not well versed in either the Japanese language or not a giant Anime nerd the title is a joke off the TV show Densha Otoko (Train Man) and the phrase Baka Gaijin (stupid foreigner, sometimes it’s an implied Stupid American since they are the most common of the foreigners here discounting the Koreans).

Anyhoo back to the drunken fun that was my weekend.  So on Friday night The Exploited were playing at ACB Hall in Shinjuku in Tokyo.  The part of Shinjuku I was in was Kabuki-cho an area known for music clubs, hostess bars, massage parlors and the Yakuza.  Half of it’s a red-light district but they have a lot of clubs for music and a lot of bands play there.  It’s a nice place, it’s like Roppongi only a lot cheaper and with class.  Kabuki-cho was the model for the fictional town Kamuro-cho the setting for the video game Yakuza (the greatest thing in video games since Tetris), and if you have played the game you can tell.

While downing several beers at a Korean restaurant that was nestled in the heart of the love motel section of town I had the useless urge to play with a fortune machine on the table, yeah it was probably a waste of 100 yen ($1) but I was bored.  Anyway since I didn’t pay any attention to what it was before I popped in my coin I didn’t pay attention to the zodiac signs on the side and instantly picked the wrong one.  The nice waiter who was Korean but was obviously a native Japanese speaker asked me if I could read Katakana, I can’t so he read it for me, well suffice it to say that this was my lucky day, it wasn’t.  It couldn’t be since everything else that had happened so far that day was canned dog shit but I wasn’t paying attention, it was my lucky day!  OK for the record I don’t buy all that zodiac BS anyway it was just fun and I was having it.  Before I paid the check I realized that I had put my money in the wrong slot and that this was not my fortune but really who cares, it’s all the same thing right and it was time for more wandering around till the concert started so off to explore did I went.

kabukicho1-thumb

While exploring the town I nerded out quite a bit at my joy of being in the middle of what was the model for theater square and other settings in the game Yakuza, sadly I didn’t have a camera on me so no pictures were taken (not that you care), but such is the life I live, lucky for me I can steal pictures off the Internets.  Mind you the Yakuza thing is only interesting if you’re a drunken nerd with too much time on his hands (something I at least don’t look like as long as I am standing next to my friends who are much worse, like my version of a girl’s fat friend), You might not care.  You should but you don’t.  And right now you are  probably still wondering why you read anything from this skid-mark on the information superhighway, but like always, I digress…

Kabuki-cho

Well the concert was fun, I think the Exploited played every other song they ever wrote.   It was fun, I drank, I moshed and even got the chance to sing along with several songs, well parts anyway, everyone in the front row got to do that but really how many times in your life do you get handed the mic and allowed to sing a refrain from Porno Slut, Sex & Violence or The Massacre?  So I was happy and filled with booze.  It was a good night and that’s when things got fun in the other sense I often use the term in.

Time to go home, it’s a little late and I don’t think I will be able to make the last train home so I have two options.  Try to get down to Roppongi and try to crash at my friend’s apartment or I go to Yokohama and either hole up at my friends bar until he gets off work and scam a rid home from him when he gets off work or at least hole up till 5 in the morning till I can get the first morning train home.

I chose option C.

I decided to go for the Yokohama option unfortunately I got on the wrong train.  Well it was the right train, just going the wrong way.  By the time I realized my mistake I was very far away from my intended destination, I had no idea where I was but I knew I wasn’t even in Tokyo anymore, I wasn’t even in the right Prefecture (it’s like a County). I was a little sloshed, I can’t afford a taxi home, and my Japanese is not what I would call good.  So what do I do, well I jump off at the next stop and run around the train station looking to see if there was a train going towards any of my original destinations, there wasn’t, I was fucked.  Or was I?  This is Japan, they all learn English in school, although they can’t all speak it very well but can usually read it to some extent, but there is always someone.  Plus even when no one can speak a word they love to drink and I have spent many hours dragged around to bars by a group of Japanese when barely anyone knew what was being said.  Drinking is the national sport, not Sumo or baseball it’s drinking.  I needed to find a bar.  Bars in Japan often stay open all night so people can drink till 5am when the first trains start running especially on Friday and Saturday nights.  I needed a bar, but I didn’t know the area and from what I saw from the windows on the train I didn’t see the neon lights that usually tell you that there is an area around with a  lot of bars or clubs.  What to do.  Well it’s easy walk the hell out of the station and turn right, yep there it was an entire strip of bars and clubs I was home free, I was saved, I was…

OH FUCK!

It’s bad, this wasn’t a strip of bars it was a strip of hostess bars, and this could be a problem.  A hostess bar is a bar staffed with attractive woman whose whole point it taking you money, and I didn’t have enough to spend the next 5 hours in one just to hole up.  The basic point of one of these bars is you pay by the hour and you get to talk to an attractive woman and she tries to get you to buy her overpriced drinks and stay as long as they can get money out of you.  The problem is some of these places are very expensive.  They also don’t always let foreigners in since they don’t speak Japanese very well and that doesn’t helpthem get your money since the girls are there to talk to you and pretend to be nice even if they hate you.  If the bar is staffed with foreign girls you sometimes can’t get in because they get embarrassed working there if people from their home country come in.  Either way it was going to be expensive and I might not have a hideout.  I knew I couldn’t get into most of them since while walking down the street the guys that work at the places trying to get people to come in were not paying any attention to me, hinting that I wasn’t welcome.  That didn’t matter I was looking for a real bar and I didn’t see one, it was looking bleak.  Then I hit the jackpot, someone approached me and asked me if I wanted to go into his bar, he said “it’s cool we have girls that speak English”, I politely tried to tell him I would either need to find an ATM (something I had already failed to find) or preferably I needed a regular bar (my first choice).  A little confused he told one of the girls working there to talk to me, she spoke English and was from someplace in South America, I think Columbia, I’m not sure but she was cute and since all my experiences with Columbian woman have taught me that Columbia is filled with very attractive woman, I just assumed she was Columbian.  Anyway I told her my problems and that I wanted a normal bar to go, I apologized to her since she was helping me and would not be getting the money she would have been hoping to score off my drunken ass for her bar but I was on a mission.  Lucky for me she told me were the closet place was. I had passed it, but it wasn’t hard to do since it was in the basement of this building surrounded by hostess bars and didn’t have a large sign, but now I knew and knowing is half the battle (the other half is killing the other bastard before he kills you). So it was off to my haven.

Now I told you the bar was in the basement but this isn’t the kind of place you find in America, Japanese put as much crap into every single building they can in Tokyo – and from my experience everywhere else – since it’s so crowded so a Japanese bar in a basement isn’t a shit hole usually.  Most music clubs are in basements, and many bars, and this was a nice bar.  Granted all the patrons turned around and looked at me funny, since it was an area of town you don’t get many foreigners in and by this time the black eye I had acquired at the concert was starting to show.  I looked out-of-place.  Lucky for me everyone was inquisitive, not hostile and they had Red Stripe, I was safe.  Granted most people couldn’t speak English so it was amusing as I tried to explain how I ended up there for a bit till someone showed up who was fluent in English and explained it to everyone.  To say the least everyone had a very good laugh at my expense but I made friends, by the end of the night we were all singing along to the Clash and yelling Kampai (cheers in Japanese).    All in all it was a good time, and eventually sometime the next day I was finally able to get home and go to sleep around 1 in the afternoon since I was strung out on all the nights booze and the energy drinks I was chugging to keep myself awake for the very, very long ride home.

Is this the end of the story?  OH hellz no.  That was just the build up.  Time for making fun of the Japanese train system.  I love it, it is so nice, especially in a country that I do everything I can not to drive in (and not just because my car sucks).  Really it’s nice because it’s easy to get around and there is a train station always close (at least 20 minute walk).  The problem with it is that you sometimes have a tendency to fall asleep, the Japanese have this built-in alarm clock that forces them to wake up at their exact stop no matter how drunk they are.  Where I, once asleep (even if sober) will not wake up and that is how the fun begins.  Many times have I fallen asleep and  found myself very far from my intended destination, the funny thing is that the train will go to the end of the line and start going the other way so when you wake up you have no idea of the trains direction and have to jump off at the next stop to find out if you are going the right way.  Sometime you are sometimes you are not.  The thing is sometimes you find yourself so far in the other direct you realize that it’s going to take you an hour just to get back to place you started at (and you stop was another 25 minute past that), this is bad, and frightening since you know you have the next hour and a half to fall asleep and start the whole thing again.

missed your stop

Sleeping on the train is normal, everyone does it but remember using other people as a pillow is very, very bad form.  The rudest of all train sleeping is using an old ladies shoulder as a pillow, it’s wrong, that’s someone’s grandmother you bastard!  However while the rest of the train looks at you like you are a serial killer or a Democrat, from my experience the old woman doesn’t seem to mind, or at least doesn’t show that she does.  Why is this?  I can only assume that her grandmotherly instincts kick in and that she feels sorry for you young tired ass.  The last time I pulled this one I woke up kind of startled and feeling bad only for the nice lady to pat my head and say something like “It’s OK son, just go back to sleep” with an amused smile on her face, my friend laughing at me on how funny it looked and the rest of the train doing what all Japanese do while on the train and pretend they are in a bubble and nothing is going on no matter how much they might want to slap me or try to get the school girls phone number (even if they are forty).  So I did what any polite person would have done and went right back to sleeping on my new Japanese grandmothers shoulder.  Yes I am a terrible person.  Mostly because I think I forgot to visit on her birthday this year…

drunk on the train

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Malcolm X On Democrats

With all this talk about race in the joke that is our “Post racial” nation I thought I would add to the fun.  I can’t say I agree with much of what Malcolm X said or stood for,  but he does at times make very good points.  This is one of them.

Everything That’s Wrong With The US System

I know I spend quite a bit of time here complaining about the problems with the US government especially when it comes to the scumsuckers that we call out “Elected Officials”, and I must say I am fairly good at it I believe.  However I do sometimes get a chance to read things that make my analysis look downright Sophomoric (and not just the curse words and bad jokes), and open my eyes to things I had not thought of or noticed.  This is one of those articles.  I will post the whole thing and hope the nice people at FrontPageMag.com don’t try to come after me for it.

“What is American Corporatism?”  By: Robert Locke

“We are probably heading into some economic heavy weather which will spur needed debate on what’s right and wrong with our economy. This will require our being clear about what kind of economy we really have. I have mentioned before that we increasingly live not in a capitalist society but in a corporatist one, and I would like to flesh out this notion.

What is corporatism? In a (somewhat inaccurate) phrase, socialism for the bourgeois. It has the outward form of capitalism in that it preserves private ownership and private management, but with a crucial difference: as under socialism, government guarantees the flow of material goods, which under true capitalism it does not. In classical capitalism, what has been called the “night-watchman” state, government’s role in the economy is simply to prevent force or fraud from disrupting the autonomous operation of the free market. The market is trusted to provide. Under corporatism, it is not, instead being systematically manipulated to deliver goods to political constituencies. This now includes basically everyone from the economic elite to ordinary consumers.

Unlike socialism, corporatism understands that direct government ownership of the means of production does not work, except in the limiting case of infrastructure.  But it does not represent a half-way condition between capitalism and socialism. This is what the West European nations, with their mixed economies in which government owned whole industries, tried to create until Thatcherism. Corporatism blends socialism and capitalism not by giving each control of different parts of the economy, but by combining socialism’s promise of a government-guaranteed flow of material goods with capitalism’s private ownership and management.

What makes corporatism so politically irresistible is that it is attractive not just to the mass electorate, but to the economic elite as well. Big business, whatever its casuists at the Wall Street Journal editorial page may pretend, likes big government, except when big government gets greedy and tries to renegotiate the division of spoils. Although big business was an historic adversary of the introduction of the corporatist state, it eventually found common ground with it. The first thing big business has in common with big government is managerialism. The technocratic manager, who deals in impersonal mass aggregates, organizes through bureaucracy, and rules through expertise without assuming personal responsibility, is common to both. The second thing big business likes about big government is that it has a competitive advantage over small business in doing business with it and negotiating favors. Big government, in turn, likes big business because it is manageable; it does what it is told. It is much easier to impose affirmative action or racial sensitivity training on AT&T than on 50,000 corner stores. This is why big business has become a key enforcer of political correctness. The final thing big business likes about big government is that, unlike small government, it is powerful enough to socialize costs in exchange for a share of the profits.

The key historical moments in the development of American corporatism can be easily traced. It got its start from the realization, during the Progressive period around 1900, that the night-watchman state was too weak to make the large corporate actors of the economy play fair. The crucial premise that enters here is that the capitalist economy cannot be trusted to be self-regulating, as it previously had been. This collapse of trust was also implicit in the 1913 creation of the Federal Reserve system. What the Great Depression did was destroy a second kind of trust: that the economy would reliably deliver material goods without government intervention. With these two different kinds of trust gone, corporatism becomes not only worthwhile, but necessary. Crucially, it becomes psychologically necessary, independently of whether government can deliver on its promises, because people instinctively turn to government as their protector.

Anyone who is serious about getting rid of corporatism must explain how they are going to restore these two kinds of trust or persuade people to live without them. In particular, it is almost certainly useless, as verified by the fact that government has grown under every postwar Republican administration, to try to nibble away at big government without renegotiating the social contract that underlies it. If we don’t have a plan to renegotiate this social contract, we must face the fact that the electorate will demand that it be respected. Newt Gingrich, who thought that the failure of Clinton’s health plan signified the electorate’s rejection of “socialism,” learned this the hard way.

Clearly, the New Deal was the biggest jump forward into corporatism, though this was not fully understood at the time. Many people, both pro and con, misunderstood it as a move towards socialism.  As is well known, Roosevelt was an empiricist, not a systematic thinker, and many elements of the New Deal that were tried, such as the notorious National Recovery Administration, were rightly discarded. But the fundamental proposition, that government should take responsibility for ensuring the flow of material goods to the people, was rapidly embraced by the American people, which continues to embrace it today whether it admits it or not. When people demand that the government “do something” about a falling stock market, they are playing at capitalism while practicing corporatism.

The fundamental essence of corporatism is not technocratic but moral: what does government have the responsibility to do? What do people have the right to demand be done for them?

The economic Left likes corporatism for three reasons:

1.   It satisfies its lust for power.

2.    It makes possible attempts to redistribute income.

3.   It enables them to practice #2 while remaining personally affluent.

The economic Right likes corporatism for three different reasons:

1.   It enables them to realize capitalist profits while unloading some of the costs and risks onto the state.

2.  The ability to intertwine government and business enables them to shape government policy to their liking.

3.  They believe the corporatist state can deliver social peace and minimize costly disruptions.

This process has been described as “socializing the losses, privatizing the profits” by its leftist critics, who also call parts of it corporate welfare. What they don’t get is that in a society which grants the fundamental premise that government should take care of everybody, government will, and big business is part of “everybody.” Most economic arguments today are not between a socialistic ideal and a capitalistic one, as many seem to believe, but are arguments within the corporatist consensus. This consensus is incapable of gelling into a unitary consensus because it is supported by the two sides for different reasons. There is also no public, coherent ideology of corporatism because almost no-one is willing to admit they believe in it.

Let’s look at some specific examples of corporatism:

1.  The Export-Import Bank. This government agency helps finance exports of American products. The aim, laudable enough, is to create jobs in the US. But there is still the problem that doing this requires the government to consume capital, which might have created more jobs, (or just more wealth) if it had been allocated elsewhere. So this is classic corporatism: government allocating capital to private industry on the basis of political favoritism.

2.  Agricultural price-supports. Contrary to myth, most of the money goes to agribusiness, not small farmers.

3.  Industrial bailouts, like the recent one of the airlines. People do not trust the market to provide the airline service they think they “need.” The truth is this country has more carriers than the market can support and a few should be allowed to die. No-one who really believes in free-market economics accepts the argument that jobs can be saved in the long run in this fashion.

4.  Corporate bankruptcy law. This law assigns an artificial value, not supported by economics, to keeping dying companies alive, rather than letting the carcasses of competition’s losers nourish the winners. It is responsible, for example, for preventing a needed cull of the airline business by letting Continental Airlines pass through its protections not once but twice.

5.  Tariffs, quotas, and other trade restrictions. These transfer wealth from consumers to producers in the affected industries, whatever their other possible merits.

6.  Affirmative action is generally viewed as a social-policy question rather than an economic-policy one, but it fits neatly into the corporatist model: government forces private industry to distribute jobs to a favored political constituency. If people really believed in markets, they would realize that irrational discrimination imposes a cost on employers, who therefore already have an incentive not to engage in it.

7.  Fannie Mae, the government agency which raises money for mortgage loans in the private capital markets. This agency has deliberately been spinning out loans to sub-par borrowers who are doomed to default on them. It has become a major prop holding up real-estate prices, and is thus a key culprit in the ongoing mortgage bubble. Conservatives accept it on the grounds that home ownership makes people more conservative. But this may not be true forever if private ownership of housing becomes a public entitlement. This is part of an ongoing phenomenon that corporatism helps to drive: the erosion of the determination of political preferences by the ownership of property.

8.  Sallie Mae, the government agency which supervises student loans. The government has a system of directly-financed public universities, but is has also in effect annexed private universities. Cleverly, it uses a relatively small amount of public money to package the flow of a much larger amount of private capital to tuition. The principal problem with this is that it has become a subsidy machine for the spiraling cost of higher education. There is also the problem that any institution receiving federal funds becomes susceptible to regulations that otherwise wouldn’t be legal. Bribes-if-you-do are a much less disruptive means of manipulating behavior than sanctions-if-you-don’t, and corporatism hates disruption and loves business as usual.  One way to interpret corporatism is as a systematic way for government to distribute bribes for submission to its authority.

9.   In local government, corporatism is principally a matter of real estate. Let’s take New York as an example, just because I know it best and the pattern is clearest here, though similar dynamics work in other locales to a greater or lesser degree. Basically, real estate development here has become so over-regulated and over-taxed that it is virtually impossible to do profitably without government help. Government is aware that it has strangled development, but still wants it to occur because voters want jobs, campaign contributors want their projects, and projects create patronage opportunities for politicians. Therefore, government selectively lifts the burden of taxation and regulation on certain projects to push them into the black. It does this with tax abatements, loan guarantees, zoning changes, condemnations, outright subsidies, tax-exempt bond issues, exemption from regulations, and selective public infrastructure investments. As a result, only projects with political support can happen, and every skyscraper is a monument to the political deals that enabled it to get built. The result is capitalist in the sense of being privately owned, but it is not a free market. Government is expected by developers to keep a steady flow of profits going (while keeping politically-unconnected competitors out of the game.) It is expected by construction unions to keep a steady flow of construction jobs. It is expected by the public to deliver shiny new skyscrapers full of jobs.

10.  In science and technology, corporatism principally takes the form of federal government financing of research expenditures whose value is difficult for the private sector to capture on its own. Government pays for universities to provide industry with the raw feedstock of new discoveries that can be commercialized. State governments have entered this game on a lesser scale. Tax credits for research and development may also be interpreted as a public subsidy.

11.  In the capital markets, the quintessential corporatist institution is the Federal Reserve Bank. Legally, it is not technically a government agency at all but a cartel of private banks. Prior to 1913, the maintenance of a viable capital market in the U.S. was not a government responsibility.  From the 30’s to the 70’s, the Fed tried to institute the grand corporatist project of Keynesianism, but abandoned it when inflation proved it unworkable. Nevertheless, the responsibilities of the Fed have tended to grow as people expect it, for example, to bail out a falling stock market with cheap credit, as I have mentioned before.

12.  Bankers are quite well aware that they can make speculative loans to financially weak nations and count on being bailed out by the government if anything goes wrong. Naturally, this creates a moral hazard, not to mention a misallocation of capital. But given that the Left wants to see capital allocated to the Third World, the Right wants banks to be profitable, and the public fears a crash, the bankers can always count on a bailout.

One can see how corporatism is likely to expand in the future. The privatization of Social Security is off for now, but remains inevitable, simply because there is no sustainable way to provide for a future income stream other than saving money now. But the stock market decline of the past few years has destroyed public trust that this market will always provide a reliable store of value, meaning that people will inevitably turn to government to make it provide one. What form this will take, cannot be predicted, but any privatization of Social Security will be accompanied by some governmental mechanism to stabilize investments. At best, this may mean diversification requirements. At worst, it may mean some horrible politicization of the capital markets.

The concept of corporatism provides a good way to analyze the failure of HillaryCare. With its attempt to involve private insurance companies, this plan clearly made a (clumsy) attempt to conform to the corporatist model. It was supported by big companies like GM, which saw it as a way to offload its huge health-care costs. Fundamentally, I think it would have worked if it hadn’t been such an arrogant, secretive, heavy-handed, all-at-once undertaking. We are gradually getting the corporatist equivalent of socialized medicine in this country anyway. Corporatized medicine will mean nominally private health plans for the employed that are so heavily regulated in what they can charge and what they must provide that they might as well be run by government. It will mean requirements for all businesses to give their employees health coverage (something big business will love because it will destroy a lot of their small-business competitors.) It will mean regulation of drug prices, which will eventually make drug companies wards of the state. Lastly, Medicare and Medicaid will expand, with the help of state plans, to cover whomever is left, with a tacit subsidy to emergency rooms to cover the last dregs.

As I said, all these can be viewed as ways in which the corporatist state buys people’s cooperation. But one cannot play this game without becoming susceptible to it, so that people buy the state’s cooperation, too. Naturally, this produces the partly-valid complaint that we have a government for sale to the highest bidder. But in a society where people, institutions, and social groups are politically for sale to the highest bidder, what else could one possibly expect?

Both Right and Left like corporatism in practice and are very cozy with it. But they are also ambivalent about it in theory, because it contradicts many of their cherished ideological beliefs.  At the level of ideological self-characterization, neither side has fully grasped what corporatism is nor can quite bring itself to admit that it endorses it. Thus in its utterances, the intellectual Left is still reflexively anti-corporate and the Right anti-government. Part of the twisted genius of Bill Clinton was that he came closer to admitting we live in a corporatist society than any previous president. Bush, who made his personal fortune off a public-private deal concerning a stadium, is just as good at playing the game in practice, but on the ideological plane he mistakenly thinks that what the corporatist synthesis takes from socialism is “compassion.” Hence his painfully sincere efforts to be politically correct and nice about everybody, since he intuitively grasps that Americans will not accept the rhetoric of pure capitalism.

Realizing that our society is corporatist is the key to undoing many conservative misunderstandings. For example, we tend to be puzzled when the rich support the Left, which under classical capitalism they generally didn’t. But in a society where government takes care of business, they often have a lot to gain from big government. Not to mention the fact that whole classes of the wealthy, i.e. lawyers, doctors, lobbyists, environmental consultants, defense contractors and others, make their money either helping people deal with government or are indirectly funded by government. Ownership of property used to make people conservative because they intuitively grasped that the means of the conservation of property were bound up with the means of the conservation of everything else: religious orthodoxy to social mores to cultural tradition to the Constitution. But now that corporatism has co-opted threats to property ownership, they don’t feel the need for these things anymore.

I consider it highly unlikely that corporatism can be overthrown, though objectionable parts of it can certainly be fought. I will discuss what it means to be conservative in a corporatist environment in a future article. The key thing for us to understand is that many of our assumptions about what furthers our cause and what doesn’t were derived under the conditions of a more capitalist society and increasingly no longer hold.”

Now while I will admit I go after liberals (in the new American definition of the term not the Traditional definition) a lot more than I do the conservatives (since some of them suck less) both parties are in on this con job and voting is usually picking the lesser of two evil or the moron that promises you the best swag, it’s time to stop it.  Here’s the thing, while Mr. Locke considers “it highly unlikely that corporatism can be overthrown” I don’t want to feed the crocodile, I want to shoot the bloody swap monster in the head.  I hate Statism no matter what form, and while this form is more benign than Fascism, Communism and Socialism it is no less an affront to our liberty and must be destroyed.  We need to wake up, stop letting yourselves be bought off by the politicians 40 pieces of silver.    I started my ideas for fixing some of the mess here, however some of them I have rethought and I will adjust them in a future post since I don’t think the original is enough.

We are probably heading into some economic heavy weather which will spur needed debate on what’s right and wrong with our economy. This will require our being clear about what kind of economy we really have. I have mentioned before that we increasingly live not in a capitalist society but in a corporatist one, and I would like to flesh out this notion.

What is corporatism? In a (somewhat inaccurate) phrase, socialism for the bourgeois. It has the outward form of capitalism in that it preserves private ownership and private management, but with a crucial difference: as under socialism, government guarantees the flow of material goods, which under true capitalism it does not. In classical capitalism, what has been called the “night-watchman” state, government’s role in the economy is simply to prevent force or fraud from disrupting the autonomous operation of the free market. The market is trusted to provide. Under corporatism, it is not, instead being systematically manipulated to deliver goods to political constituencies. This now includes basically everyone from the economic elite to ordinary consumers.

Unlike socialism, corporatism understands that direct government ownership of the means of production does not work, except in the limiting case of infrastructure.1 But it does not represent a half-way condition between capitalism and socialism. This is what the West European nations, with their mixed economies in which government owned whole industries, tried to create until Thatcherism. Corporatism blends socialism and capitalism not by giving each control of different parts of the economy, but by combining socialism’s promise of a government-guaranteed flow of material goods with capitalism’s private ownership and management.

What makes corporatism so politically irresistible is that it is attractive not just to the mass electorate, but to the economic elite as well. Big business, whatever its casuists at the Wall Street Journal editorial page may pretend, likes big government, except when big government gets greedy and tries to renegotiate the division of spoils. Although big business was an historic adversary of the introduction of the corporatist state, it eventually found common ground with it. The first thing big business has in common with big government is managerialism. The technocratic manager, who deals in impersonal mass aggregates, organizes through bureaucracy, and rules through expertise without assuming personal responsibility, is common to both. The second thing big business likes about big government is that it has a competitive advantage over small business in doing business with it and negotiating favors. Big government, in turn, likes big business because it is manageable; it does what it is told. It is much easier to impose affirmative action or racial sensitivity training on AT&T than on 50,000 corner stores. This is why big business has become a key enforcer of political correctness. The final thing big business likes about big government is that, unlike small government, it is powerful enough to socialize costs in exchange for a share of the profits.

The key historical moments in the development of American corporatism can be easily traced. It got its start from the realization, during the Progressive period around 1900, that the night-watchman state was too weak to make the large corporate actors of the economy play fair. The crucial premise that enters here is that the capitalist economy cannot be trusted to be self-regulating, as it previously had been. This collapse of trust was also implicit in the 1913 creation of the Federal Reserve system. What the Great Depression did was destroy a second kind of trust: that the economy would reliably deliver material goods without government intervention. With these two different kinds of trust gone, corporatism becomes not only worthwhile, but necessary. Crucially, it becomes psychologically necessary, independently of whether government can deliver on its promises, because people instinctively turn to government as their protector.

Anyone who is serious about getting rid of corporatism must explain how they are going to restore these two kinds of trust or persuade people to live without them. In particular, it is almost certainly useless, as verified by the fact that government has grown under every postwar Republican administration, to try to nibble away at big government without renegotiating the social contract that underlies it. If we don’t have a plan to renegotiate this social contract, we must face the fact that the electorate will demand that it be respected. Newt Gingrich, who thought that the failure of Clinton’s health plan signified the electorate’s rejection of “socialism,” learned this the hard way.

Clearly, the New Deal was the biggest jump forward into corporatism, though this was not fully understood at the time. Many people, both pro and con, misunderstood it as a move towards socialism.2 As is well known, Roosevelt was an empiricist, not a systematic thinker, and many elements of the New Deal that were tried, such as the notorious National Recovery Administration, were rightly discarded. But the fundamental proposition, that government should take responsibility for ensuring the flow of material goods to the people, was rapidly embraced by the American people, which continues to embrace it today whether it admits it or not. When people demand that the government “do something” about a falling stock market, they are playing at capitalism while practicing corporatism.

The fundamental essence of corporatism is not technocratic but moral: what does government have the responsibility to do? What do people have the right to demand be done for them?

The economic Left likes corporatism for three reasons:

  1. It satisfies its lust for power.
  2. It makes possible attempts to redistribute income.
  3. It enables them to practice #2 while remaining personally affluent.

The economic Right likes corporatism for three different reasons:

  1. It enables them to realize capitalist profits while unloading some of the costs and risks onto the state.
  2. The ability to intertwine government and business enables them to shape government policy to their liking.
  3. They believe the corporatist state can deliver social peace and minimize costly disruptions.

This process has been described as “socializing the losses, privatizing the profits” by its leftist critics, who also call parts of it corporate welfare. What they don’t get is that in a society which grants the fundamental premise that government should take care of everybody, government will, and big business is part of “everybody.” Most economic arguments today are not between a socialistic ideal and a capitalistic one, as many seem to believe, but are arguments within the corporatist consensus. This consensus is incapable of gelling into a unitary consensus because it is supported by the two sides for different reasons. There is also no public, coherent ideology of corporatism because almost no-one is willing to admit they believe in it. Let’s look at some specific examples of corporatism:

  1. The Export-Import Bank. This government agency helps finance exports of American products. The aim, laudable enough, is to create jobs in the US. But there is still the problem that doing this requires the government to consume capital, which might have created more jobs, (or just more wealth) if it had been allocated elsewhere. So this is classic corporatism: government allocating capital to private industry on the basis of political favoritism.
  2. Agricultural price-supports. Contrary to myth, most of the money goes to agribusiness, not small farmers.
  3. Industrial bailouts, like the recent one of the airlines. People do not trust the market to provide the airline service they think they “need.” The truth is this country has more carriers than the market can support and a few should be allowed to die. No-one who really believes in free-market economics accepts the argument that jobs can be saved in the long run in this fashion.
  4. Corporate bankruptcy law. This law assigns an artificial value, not supported by economics, to keeping dying companies alive, rather than letting the carcasses of competition’s losers nourish the winners. It is responsible, for example, for preventing a needed cull of the airline business by letting Continental Airlines pass through its protections not once but twice.
  5. Tariffs, quotas, and other trade restrictions. These transfer wealth from consumers to producers in the affected industries, whatever their other possible merits.
  6. Affirmative action is generally viewed as a social-policy question rather than an economic-policy one, but it fits neatly into the corporatist model: government forces private industry to distribute jobs to a favored political constituency. If people really believed in markets, they would realize that irrational discrimination imposes a cost on employers, who therefore already have an incentive not to engage in it.
  7. Fannie Mae, the government agency which raises money for mortgage loans in the private capital markets. This agency has deliberately been spinning out loans to sub-par borrowers who are doomed to default on them. It has become a major prop holding up real-estate prices, and is thus a key culprit in the ongoing mortgage bubble. Conservatives accept it on the grounds that home ownership makes people more conservative. But this may not be true forever if private ownership of housing becomes a public entitlement. This is part of an ongoing phenomenon that corporatism helps to drive: the erosion of the determination of political preferences by the ownership of property.3
  8. Sallie Mae, the government agency which supervises student loans. The government has a system of directly-financed public universities, but is has also in effect annexed private universities. Cleverly, it uses a relatively small amount of public money to package the flow of a much larger amount of private capital to tuition. The principal problem with this is that it has become a subsidy machine for the spiraling cost of higher education. There is also the problem that any institution receiving federal funds becomes susceptible to regulations that otherwise wouldn’t be legal. Bribes-if-you-do are a much less disruptive means of manipulating behavior than sanctions-if-you-don’t, and corporatism hates disruption and loves business as usual.4 One way to interpret corporatism is as a systematic way for government to distribute bribes for submission to its authority.
  9. In local government, corporatism is principally a matter of real estate. Let’s take New York as an example, just because I know it best and the pattern is clearest here, though similar dynamics work in other locales to a greater or lesser degree. Basically, real estate development here has become so over-regulated and over-taxed that it is virtually impossible to do profitably without government help. Government is aware that it has strangled development, but still wants it to occur because voters want jobs, campaign contributors want their projects, and projects create patronage opportunities for politicians. Therefore, government selectively lifts the burden of taxation and regulation on certain projects to push them into the black. It does this with tax abatements, loan guarantees, zoning changes, condemnations, outright subsidies, tax-exempt bond issues, exemption from regulations, and selective public infrastructure investments. As a result, only projects with political support can happen, and every skyscraper is a monument to the political deals that enabled it to get built. The result is capitalist in the sense of being privately owned, but it is not a free market. Government is expected by developers to keep a steady flow of profits going (while keeping politically-unconnected competitors out of the game.) It is expected by construction unions to keep a steady flow of construction jobs. It is expected by the public to deliver shiny new skyscrapers full of jobs.
  10. In science and technology, corporatism principally takes the form of federal government financing of research expenditures whose value is difficult for the private sector to capture on its own. Government pays for universities to provide industry with the raw feedstock of new discoveries that can be commercialized. State governments have entered this game on a lesser scale. Tax credits for research and development may also be interpreted as a public subsidy.
  11. In the capital markets, the quintessential corporatist institution is the Federal Reserve Bank. Legally, it is not technically a government agency at all but a cartel of private banks. Prior to 1913, the maintenance of a viable capital market in the U.S. was not a government responsibility.5 From the 30’s to the 70’s, the Fed tried to institute the grand corporatist project of Keynesianism, but abandoned it when inflation proved it unworkable. Nevertheless, the responsibilities of the Fed have tended to grow as people expect it, for example, to bail out a falling stock market with cheap credit, as I have mentioned before.
  12. Bankers are quite well aware that they can make speculative loans to financially weak nations and count on being bailed out by the government if anything goes wrong. Naturally, this creates a moral hazard, not to mention a misallocation of capital. But given that the Left wants to see capital allocated to the Third World, the Right wants banks to be profitable, and the public fears a crash, the bankers can always count on a bailout.

One can see how corporatism is likely to expand in the future. The privatization of Social Security is off for now, but remains inevitable, simply because there is no sustainable way to provide for a future income stream other than saving money now. But the stock market decline of the past few years has destroyed public trust that this market will always provide a reliable store of value, meaning that people will inevitably turn to government to make it provide one. What form this will take, cannot be predicted, but any privatization of Social Security will be accompanied by some governmental mechanism to stabilize investments. At best, this may mean diversification requirements. At worst, it may mean some horrible politicization of the capital markets.

The concept of corporatism provides a good way to analyze the failure of HillaryCare. With its attempt to involve private insurance companies, this plan clearly made a (clumsy) attempt to conform to the corporatist model. It was supported by big companies like GM, which saw it as a way to offload its huge health-care costs. Fundamentally, I think it would have worked if it hadn’t been such an arrogant, secretive, heavy-handed, all-at-once undertaking. We are gradually getting the corporatist equivalent of socialized medicine in this country anyway. Corporatized medicine will mean nominally private health plans for the employed that are so heavily regulated in what they can charge and what they must provide that they might as well be run by government. It will mean requirements for all businesses to give their employees health coverage (something big business will love because it will destroy a lot of their small-business competitors.) It will mean regulation of drug prices, which will eventually make drug companies wards of the state. Lastly, Medicare and Medicaid will expand, with the help of state plans, to cover whomever is left, with a tacit subsidy to emergency rooms to cover the last dregs.

As I said, all these can be viewed as ways in which the corporatist state buys people’s cooperation. But one cannot play this game without becoming susceptible to it, so that people buy the state’s cooperation, too. Naturally, this produces the partly-valid complaint that we have a government for sale to the highest bidder. But in a society where people, institutions, and social groups are politically for sale to the highest bidder, what else could one possibly expect?

Both Right and Left like corporatism in practice and are very cozy with it. But they are also ambivalent about it in theory, because it contradicts many of their cherished ideological beliefs.6 At the level of ideological self-characterization, neither side has fully grasped what corporatism is nor can quite bring itself to admit that it endorses it. Thus in its utterances, the intellectual Left is still reflexively anti-corporate and the Right anti-government. Part of the twisted genius of Bill Clinton was that he came closer to admitting we live in a corporatist society than any previous president. Bush, who made his personal fortune off a public-private deal concerning a stadium, is just as good at playing the game in practice, but on the ideological plane he mistakenly thinks that what the corporatist synthesis takes from socialism is “compassion.” Hence his painfully sincere efforts to be politically correct and nice about everybody, since he intuitively grasps that Americans will not accept the rhetoric of pure capitalism.

Realizing that our society is corporatist is the key to undoing many conservative misunderstandings. For example, we tend to be puzzled when the rich support the Left, which under classical capitalism they generally didn’t. But in a society where government takes care of business, they often have a lot to gain from big government. Not to mention the fact that whole classes of the wealthy, i.e. lawyers, doctors, lobbyists, environmental consultants, defense contractors and others, make their money either helping people deal with government or are indirectly funded by government. Ownership of property used to make people conservative because they intuitively grasped that the means of the conservation of property were bound up with the means of the conservation of everything else: religious orthodoxy to social mores to cultural tradition to the Constitution. But now that corporatism has co-opted threats to property ownership, they don’t feel the need for these things anymore.

I consider it highly unlikely that corporatism can be overthrown, though objectionable parts of it can certainly be fought. I will discuss what it means to be conservative in a corporatist environment in a future article. The key thing for us to understand is that many of our assumptions about what furthers our cause and what doesn’t were derived under the conditions of a more capitalist society and increasingly no longer hold.


1 This is not to say that government is necessarily the most efficient owner of infrastructure; I am well aware of the arguments for private toll roads and investor-owned utilities. It’s just that, compared with the state-owned steel mills and supermarkets of pre-Thatcher Europe or the Soviet Union, they are not obvious failures. The quality, cost and productivity of publicly-owned utilities compares acceptably to privately-owned ones. And privatization of natural monopolies has problems of its own, as we saw in the California electricity crisis, even if these problems are caused by politics and do not refute the free-market ideal itself.
2 The final irony of corporatism is that it represents the triumph of the one 20th-Century ideology that is considered so utterly discredited that most educated people don’t even bother to learn what it believed about economics: fascism. The exact means by which the end was carried out were very different in Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, Hitler’s Germany, or Tojo’s Japan, and the manner was occluded by a lot of violence caused by other things, but the fundamental dynamic is the same as here: government assumed responsibility for guaranteeing the flow of material goods by private means after public confidence in the market’s ability to do this collapsed. The fascists did it to avert communism. We did it for less desperate reasons, but the idea is similar. (The German and Japanese Nazis were not fascists, strictly speaking, but the core of their economics, separate from their use of plunder, was similar. See my article on what the
Nazis were really about.)
3 See my review of BoBos in Paradise. The Republican share of the rich vote is declining.
4 The political class loves corporatism because it enables them to establish themselves in stable, profitable brokerage-relationships in which they manage the exchange of favors between government and the public in exchange for political support. This is a much easier way to stay in office than focusing their efforts on contentious issues and the public’s fickle opinions about them.
5 This responsibility devolved in practice onto the Morgan Bank on Wall Street, which organized ad-hoc groups of banks to stabilize markets and enforce standards when needed. See the fascinating account in Ron Chernow’s The House of Morgan.
6 The recently faddish book Empire is an attempt to understand global corporatism from a neo-Marxist point of view. Although rich in hit-or-miss insights, its Marxist assumptions prevent it from getting it right. Marxists have been observing the emergence of corporatism, and desperately trying to update Marxism to accommodate it, for a long time now, the most philosophically interesting attempt being that of Jürgen Habermas in Legitimation Crisis. Such attempts can only be accurate insofar as they pass out of Marxism entirely.

Japanese Prime Minister’s Wife Abducted By Aliens: No Word Yet On E.T.’s Views Concerning North Korean Nuclear Proliferation

alien

OK, I admit I failed to get up to speed on the current election cycle in my new homeland, I knew there was an election coming up and every time I told myself I was going to do some research on what was going on and the candidates from my local district I just didn’t, instead I have spent my time alternating bullshiting with my friends at happy hour and going to local punk shows.  On the day before the election rather than pay attention I went to a hardcore and metal music festival in Shibuya had some beers, broke my nose in the pit and slept off the whole thing on election day.  To be fair I’m not a citizen of Japan or a member of ACORN so I can’t vote in Japanese elections but since I live here I should pay more attention.

Anyhoo,  a quick look at Japanese Politics.  Japan has a Parliamentary  system with a written Constitution.  Japan has many different political parties – I will go over some but not all – it has been dominated by one for most of the last 60 years the Liberal Democratic Party or LDP.

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP):

The LDP is considered the “conservative” party however this should not be confused with the American definition of political conservatism.  The LDP is more like a European conservative party rather than the American definition that really means Traditional Liberal.  Although there are divisions and some of them are more in line with Traditional Liberal economic values.   The LDP was an amalgamation of several different parties larger and smaller with different agendas and ideals but united at the time by two main things; the distaste for Communism and cooperation with the United States economically militarily and in foreign policy.

The main base of LDP support was in large cities, business interests, nationalist groups (although they are the fringe now but they still play some part on policy making) and the Yakuza (who much like ACORN could always be counted on to rig the vote a bit, although unlike ACORN they are honest about it).  While the LDP’s policies do allow for a large export market they also have a lot of protectionist policies resulting in this like rice being twice as expensive in Japan as it should be to keep cheaper foreign imports from overtaking the Japanese rice market.  basically other than some of the members of the LDP supporting more economic liberalism and the repeal of the 9th Amendment to the Japanese constitution (real needed change) for them most part they are the status quo and like shoving all the moderate Republicans and Democrats in the US into the same party.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DJP):

The DJP is a center-left  party (think moderate and Blue Dog Democrats).  They  Support smaller government tax cuts and more economic liberalism with some social welfare programs pacifism and a more independent relationship with the US on foreign policy.

Social Democratic Party (SDP):

Socialists, that’s what you need to know.  Some of their more moderate members fled to the DJP.  They hate the US and any support for the US.  Massive welfare state, pacifism and all the other silly things people think up when stoned.

People’s New Party (PNP):

Similar to Traditional Liberal parties, might help form a coalition with the moderate members of the DJP.

Happiness Realization Party (HRP):

Possibly crazy, but fun and they have good points.  They are for economic liberalism, lower taxes (a flat tax) and the repeal of the 9th Amendment.  They support a strong stance against North Korea and China (on nuclear weapons and China’s support of North Korea and their military buildup).  They support immigration (something most parties don’t) in order to stop the low birthrate in Japan and encouraging the Japanese population to have more children.  They also support total nuclear disarmament  in the world (pie in sky).  To a point they sometimes sound like hippies (without the socialism, communism and pacifism, if guns were legal in Japan they would probably have them), a religious cult, John Locke and the Dalai Lama all rolled into one.

Your Party:

Started by disaffected members of the LDP – It’s so small it barely qualifies as a party under Japanese law – the Your Party believes in small government releasing most control to local governments and drastically reducing the size of the Japanese government and political class.  it’s essentially a Traditionally Liberal party.  And while blunt and to the point they could use a better name.

If it was up to me I wouldn’t bother with most of the Japanese political parties and make a new party using people from the Your Party,  the sane parts of the Happiness Realization Party,  People’s New Party, and some of the disaffected members of the LDP and DJP. If you want to know why it’s because the Japanese government needs a lot of reforms, they need to get rid of the high confiscatory taxation system, the overly large bureaucracy , the protectionist policies, deal with the low birthrates by either allowing more immigration mixed with encouraging  the native Japanese to have more children and get ride of the pacifist foreign policies enshrined in the 9th Amendment (something I will write on later).  Granted it doesn’t matter what I think very much since I’m not a Japanese citizen and can’t start a new party, however if there are any female Japanese citizens out there willing to help me become a citizen please go here.

Anyhoo, time for the fun part (the part I make fun of people).  Well there was this big election (I slept through)  and the DJP won and the new Prime Minister is Yukio Hatoyama.  Now I don’t usually like to use peoples family against them but the guys wife Miyuki Hatoyama is bat-shit crazy.

“Miyuki Hatoyama, wife of Japan’s Prime Minister-elect, Yukio Hatoyama, is a lifestyle guru, a macrobiotics enthusiast, an author of cookery books, a retired actress, a divorcee, and a fearless clothes horse for garments of her own creation, including a skirt made from Hawaiian coffee sacks. But there is more, much more. She has traveled to the planet Venus. And she was once abducted by aliens.

The 62-year-old also knew Tom Cruise in a former incarnation – when he was Japanese – and is now looking forward to making a Hollywood movie with him. “I believe he’d get it if I said to him, ‘Long time no see’, when we meet,” she said in a recent interview. But it is her claim in a book entitled “Very Strange Things I’ve Encountered” that she was abducted by aliens while she slept one night 20 years ago, that has suddenly drawn attention following last Sunday’s poll.

“While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus,” she explains in the tome she published last year. “It was a very beautiful place, and it was very green.”

Lets take this one at a time.

Lifestyle Guru:

This can only mean one of two things.  A con-man that dupes morons out of their money for advice about life or in the case they are not a con-man hippie asshole and lunatic that thinks they know more about life than everyone else living it.  In her case I will go with the second one.

Macrobiotics Enthusiast:

I don’t eat right and suffer from a protein deficiency.

Skirt Made From Hawaiian Coffee Sacks:

Bat-shit crazy…

Knowing Tom Cruse in a Past Life when He was Japanese:

See Crazy people flock together no matter how many times they are reincarnated.  Further more I think she is proud of it, I can’t believe people would be proud to know this version of Tom Cruse was the old version that much better?

Traveling to Venus and Alien Abduction:

Really Bat-shit crazy.  Granted it’s at least a change from the usual way Japanese woman get abducted since it was aliens for once rather than the North Koreans.  I’m not going to bother with the environmental conditions on Venus and how it would kill you because I guess if you are abducted by aliens they would have the technology to keep you alive on Venus.  What I will ask is why would aliens abduct this lady and take her on vacation to Venus.  Granted she was quite attractive in her youth but still wouldn’t an intergalactic trip to Venus to impress an earth girl be a little expensive and don’t the aliens have chicks on their planet they could be hitting on much cheaper?

Does the new Prime Minister really believe all this crap or does he just go along with it because his wife is cute?  I’m not going to hold it against the guy if it’s the second reason since men will put up with amazing amounts of BS from a woman they find attractive, and even more amounts of BS if they are in love with said crazy girl, but if you were supposed to be the Prime Minister you think you would keep her from the microphone or out of interviews.  I dated enough crazy women in my life to understand where people are coming from, there is fun crazy, and the stab you in the middle of the night crazy, and the first one isn’t so bad.  The thing is that if the guy really believes all his wife’s weird crap Japan might have a problem since that would mean he is also crazy, and that is never good in elected officials.

Next time I might actually talk about the policies of the new Prime Minister  but for now the alien abduction thig was too good to pass up.

Sad But True

Japanese Cartoon Porn

It’s funny, and sort of sad, but it’s very true…  Anyway more fun from Japan I give you this house.

japan_upsidedown_house

I want…

The Obama Cult In Our Schools And Propaganda For Our Children

obama

This is what propaganda in our schools looks like:

“A school principal has apologized for showing a video at an assembly that a politically conservative group leader is calling “radical, leftist propaganda.”

Children at Eagle Bay Elementary School in Farmington were shown a short video called “I pledge” on Aug. 28. The video opens with an image of President Barack Obama and part of a speech in which he says, “Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.” The video then features celebrities making pledges about how they will help the president and the world — and that’s where some say the problem lies.  Many pledges, such as supporting local food banks, smiling more, and caring for the elderly are noncontroversial. But other pledges, such as “to never give anyone the finger when I’m driving again,” “to sell my obnoxious car and buy a hybrid” and to advance stem cell research cross the line, some say.”

I’m not going to say all the things they “pledge” are bad but it really is just propaganda for Obama, not to mention the video itself is kind of creepy.  It should not be used in a school because it really is just propaganda, yes some of the causes are worthwhile but it’s still propaganda and should not have been shown in a school, unless they are teaching the kids about how propaganda works.  Plus did it take Obama getting elected to “Be a better mother”?  No you should already have been doing that, if it takes Obama to get you to want to be a better mother you are an unfit parent.  Obama is the President not a cult leader, I know he is both, but he is only supposed to be one of those things and cult leader isn’t it.

I know some people don’t think this is propaganda and even if some of the “pledges” are benign one of  the “pledges” is  “to be of service to Barack Obama”, that’s propaganda, and the worst kind.  We are Americans, we do not serve the President or any elected official they serve us!  That is how this country was founded and that is how it is supposed to stay strong.  Only in dictatorships are the people supposed to “serve” their leaders.     If you want to live in a dictatorship move to one, don’t try it here, the people that founded this country and wrote the Constitution specifically put the Second Amendment in there to make sure this country could not become one.  Instead of trying to live up to the ideals of our own country we are slowly killing ourselves and letting the government take away all our rights, but not only are we letting it happen we are helping the people that want to enslave us buy letting them shill propaganda to our children, and in some cases makeing the propaganda ourselves.

If you don’t see the problem here you need to lay off the Kool-Aid and wake up.  I know in the comments section of the article people dismissed it because some of the things people were saying in the video are not bad, that’s not the point just because some things are  non-controversial there was a lot that was, you are only paying attention to what you want to hear and not the whole thing.  Wake up people, there is a cult of personality around Obama, it’s not a good thing, that’s how dictators are born and how they maintain power when they are not killing people.

And on the 8th of September Obama wants to address all our Nations school children.  Rather than write a second post about that or continue with that one I will send you over to Afrocity who already has a good one on that little piece of Big Brothering.

“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”  – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

We Are The Thieves We’ve Been Waiting For! Part 2.

So I posted an article (blog, commentary, diatribe, ect) about the wonderfully screwed up Cash For Clunkers fiasco where the government isn’t upholding it’s end of the bargain and not paying the car dealerships what is owes them and causing many of them be be even more financially strained than they already are.  Well time for even more fun:

“A $300 million cash-for-clunkers-type federal program to boost sales of energy-efficient home appliances provides a glimmer of hope for beleaguered makers of washing machines and dishwashers…”

Great, the government couldn’t even pay up on the Cash For Clunkers BS and now they are going to pull the same thing with your washing machine or dishwasher.

“Beginning late this fall, the program authorizes rebates of $50 to $200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances. The money is part of the broader economic stimulus bill passed earlier this year. Program details will vary by state, and the Energy Dept. has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for states to file formal applications. The Energy Dept. expects the bulk of the $300 million to be awarded by the end of November. (Unlike the clunkers auto program, consumers won’t have to trade in their old appliances.)”

Wow they won’t have to trade in the old one, who cares, that’s not the really issue.  The issue is that not only is this not constitutional but the government refused to pay up on their last BS rebate program what makes anyone think they will pay up on this one?  They won’t, so if you sell appliances and are even thinking about this stop it right now before it’s too late.

And to Obama and all the people thinking up this crap, stop it right now.  Here is the best advice you will ever get:

Anything you think of doing, no matter how large or small, no matter how good it sounds do the opposite.