Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Bain Capital Paradigm

In a recent NPR piece presidential candidate Mitt Romney briefly weighed in with his perspective on the conversation and growing concern about income inequality: “I think it's fine to talk about those things [income inequality] in quiet rooms…”

Unpacked, this is a jaw-dropping window on his and his 1% ilk’s Bain Capital paradigm. It is identical to the “don’t worry your pretty little heads about it” school of thought, differing only in the percentage it disenfranchises, 99% rather than 50%. It endorses a paradigm in which the 99% of us are best suited to “quietly” slinging burgers for minimum wage, so that the 1% can be left to consider the issue of income inequality in “quiet” boardrooms as an agenda item between votes on outsourcing jobs, reneging on retirement obligations, and increasing executive compensation; in “quiet” private club libraries while sipping brandy and between banter about recent developments in offshoring profits for tax benefits and desirable locations for a 4th house; in “quiet” lobbyist offices between developing strategies to gut the social safety net and to hamstring essential government functions.

Finally, there is, perhaps, just a whiff of fear in Romney’s sentiment, a concern that the 1% is sensing loss of control over their “quiet” domination of the income inequality conversation. I hope I’m right and that his fear becomes ever more palpable.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not a Category of Problems I'm Concerned With

I humbly submit for your consideration a new texting acronym: NCPICW (Not a Category of Problems I’m Concerned With); typically used as a sarcastic, grossly understated indication of a lack of sympathy for a matter brought up by one of the parties to a conversation.

Sample usage:

Party 1: Dude, we should so go protest Joe Paterno’s firing.

Party 2: NCPICW.

Party 1: Oh.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Alleged Christian

An Open Letter to the NPR Ombudsman,

This piece says of Governor Rick Perry:

“He is open about his deep Christian faith.”

NPR needs to be much more careful about how it presents such information in order to eliminate its obvious liberal, lamestream-media, bias. Recently, Fox commentator Bill O’ Reilly in discussing Breivik’s acts of terrorism in Norway and their obvious precedents, Mussolini’s dictatorship and Nidal Hasan’s bloody mayhem, clearly articulated that the standards of whether someone is reported by the media as affiliated with any particular faith should be both ad hoc and post hoc using a “no true Scotsman” analysis in combination with assessment of business card content.

To avoid maligning Christianity in accordance with these standards, the media including NPR must prepare its reports so that anyone, including of course Gov. Perry, can at any future time be credibly identified as unequivocally not-Christian, if some act(s) of his or hers eventually falls afoul of the criteria that Mr. O’Reilly and his fellow faith affiliation arbiters apply ad hoc and post hoc. Unqualified declarations of the faith affiliation of individuals in the media such as the one I have pointed out here can be used subsequent to such determinations to associate not-Christians as representative of the faith and thus those media outlets become, at a minimum, unwitting participants in what O’Reilly has identified as the “movement in the American media to diminish and marginalize the Christian philosophy.”

In keeping with this principle I urge NPR to revise its journalistic standards immediately to reflect that statements such as the one I quoted above shall be written as:

“He is open about his ALLEGEDLY deep Christian faith.”

‘Allegedly’ is written in caps in my example only to call your attention to its addition to the sentence in question. It can, of course, be in lower case in actual reports based on NPR’s usual capitalization standards.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter,

J@ne Futzinfarb,

Alleged Agnostic

Monday, August 1, 2011

America, It Was A Good Run Wasn't It?

They have learned well from our wealthy elite. What the Tea Party has completed is a straightforward leveraged buyout of America. Using the minimal capital of their role as a minority fringe in one party in one house of congress, they have exploited their opponents’ weaknesses - basic decency, moderate expectations, acting in the common interest, compromise - and aggressively leveraged the many-fold larger full faith and credit of the U.S. government to force themselves into a controlling management position, intent on profit, political and otherwise. In this position, and in order to realize their profits through a devastated national economy that will be blamed on their political opposition, they now require the U.S. to enact their management model, austerity. And if the subject of the buyout, the U.S., goes bankrupt, is destroyed, well too bad, their game isn’t for the weak, it’s all in the ideologically pure spirit of creative destruction. It’s a model that has worked wonderfully for our private sector economy, delivering the developed world’s greatest income inequality over the past four decades, why not simply implement it on a national scale? America, we had a pretty good run there for a couple hundred years, didn’t we?

Sunday, July 24, 2011


This seems to me yet more evidence of the inexorable decline and increasing hollowness of our current economic model – our biggest rewards, obscene compensation, seem directed almost exclusively to those who are siphoning wildly inequitable rewards through mere structure, simply by virtue of their proximity to, intimate connections with, and greedy manipulation of massive resource flows: CEO’s of patent troll “enterprises” as in the linked piece but also hedge fund managers, CEO’s of health insurance companies, media magnates who pervert and undermine journalism, predatory lenders, corporations that find “clever” ways of avoiding their responsibilities for taxes, to workers and to their communities, CEO’s who actively undermine confidence in government while – often corruptly - profiting from privatization of its functions, and the suites upon suites of lawyers and lobbyists and sinecured legislators undergirding and enabling all this. It’s obviously an unsustainable model, and when it collapses it will mean real pain and suffering for all (or at least most). It’s cliché but also unfortunately rings true: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! These people are compensated so obscenely for not understanding, that the rest of us need to find some way to save us and to save them from themselves. Good luck with that.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Libertarian Summer Camp

Here is something that shines a bright contextual light on much of the current simmering libertarian delusion. The piece describes a libertarian summer camp that reminds us of nothing so much as one of those “Renaissance Faire”[s], where everyone gets to imagine that they are the lords and the ladies and the white knights. In both cases, their reimagining is explicitly designed to simply ignore the infrastructural ugly realities: the stench of raw sewage, the bloodletting, the suffering of the many for the temporary benefit of the few, the institutionalized inequities, the ignorance and the disease and the privation and the famine. So yes libertarians, by all means go play dress-up at your summer camp, but please stop trying to inflict on the rest of us the grim dystopia that would result from the realization of your adolescent willful fantasy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Which I Apologize to Lumbering, Oblivious, Slack-Jawed Troglodytes Everywhere for Insulting Them

Hey NOMA warriors. Yes, all you brave little NOMA warriors so disgusted that Richard Dawkins critiques religion without having committed decades of his life to theological exegesis; so offended that Sam Harris paints all religions with the broad brush of fundamentalist willful ignorance without having worshipped with your eminently reasonable clergy and congregation; so hurt that someone, anyone, from the reason/science magisterium has had the temerity to glance across your beloved magisterial divide only to register and point out the gaping hollowness on the other side. Where, NOMA warriors, is your critique of, your outrage for, your bitter invective directed at this troglodyte who has lumbered, oblivious and slack-jawed, willfully ignorant of reason and science and apparently even compassion, from the faith side of the magisterial divide, and bent on wreaking untold damage:

A lot of what Beard knows he learned in church. One Congressman, talking about global warming, recently said that God wouldn't allow man to do anything to destroy the planet. Beard told me, "It is the height of hubris to think we could." I asked him about nuclear war. He said: "How did Hiroshima and Nagasaki work out? We destroyed that, but here we are, 60 years later and they are tremendously effective and livable cities. Yes, it was pretty horrible," he said, "But, can we recover? Of course we can."…Beard believes that "God is not capricious. He's given us a creation that is dynamically stable. We are not going to run out of anything."

Where is your opprobrium for inappropriately wandering across the magisterial divide now, now where it really matters because life as we know it on this planet hangs in the balance? Where are your calls to GTFOOTMYS? I thought not. Your silence belies the utter shallowness of your concerns.