The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Month: September 2011 Page 1 of 2

The reason many liberal and progressive elites

hate the occupy wall street folks is simple: they have bypassed the old left leadership.  The old left is not making any money off this, is not leading it, so they hate it because it challenges them.

The old left exists to bring in money and keep paying themselves.  This is as true of union leadership as it is of the majority of environmental organizations.  The leadership of almost all of these organizations is deeply corrupt.  All they care about is whether they can fundraise off of something.  If they can’t, they despise it.  They will, and do, regularly sell out of the interests of their own supposed constituents, in order to make their personal lives easier, to get richer, and to keep hobnobbing with important people.

Movements which bypass the old left, like Occupy Wall Wall Street or Wikileaks, or Anonymous, are MORE of a threat to the old left leadership than the right wing, the Tea Party or the Republicans.  Those forces are all good for the old left, they use fear of them to drive donations, and to convince their followers to vote Democratic, for which they are then rewarded with access, pats on the back and small amounts of money. A genuine left wing alternative to the old left leadership is an existential threat to them, and thus they attack them.

The literature of our time: Memoirs

I just finished a little book called  Pandora’s Seed.  It discusses the effects of the agricultural revolution, and how, specifically, those changes are effecting us now and will in the next 100 odd years.  It’s not a great book, but it has some useful information, especially in the first three chapters.  It quickly loses focus after that.

It is also an exemplar of something that I’ve been noticing for the past decade or so.  Virtually every non-fiction book that I read which isn’t a textbook is half a memoir.  They contain huge personal anecdotes, they contain extraneous information which is irrelevant to the subject matter. I don’t care if the guy who discovered X is blond and energetic with wind blown salt and pepper hair and a way of bobbing his head that is reminiscent of macaws.  Nor do I care about your plane journey or the woman who died on it, it’s not relevant.  It does not matter.  Nor do I care about the beautiful aquamarine bay.  It’s not relevant.  Stop wasting my time.

The virtually mandatory writing advice of the day is to make everything “a story” and to personalize everything.  Now, I agree that stories are good, but there are many types of stories.  Stop sticking your personal story into the story of innovation, or agriculture, or whatever else it is.  Anecdotes should illustrate something larger, if used at all.

This is new.  The great books of a generation or two ago, say Jacobs “Life and Death of Great American Cities”, did not do this.

I feel like almost every non fiction book I read these days is a good two or three times longer than its actual, real, content justifies.  They meander, they plod, they slough off on tangents which are, well, tangential.

Again, this is not to say that anecdotes and stories are bad, just that they must be well chosen. It is very rare that a non-biography should include a lot about the author’s life.  And every book should not be a memoir.

Just stop, already.  Say what you have to say, make your story about the subject of your book, not about you or about “the intense green eyed scientist in the rumpled lab-coat.”

It’s padding. It wastes the author’s time and the reader’s time.


The minds of China’s elites tend to get concentrated by such events…

… as this:

The demonstration turned violent after villagers were turned away and told to raise the issue with their local Communist party cadre, but were unable to locate any party officials. “Village officials didn’t show up to give us an explanation . . . so we went to their office and smashed it up,” said one man. The enraged villagers also attacked structures in the industrial park…

On Thursday afternoon scores of policemen retaliated. Video footage obtained by the Financial Times showed police getting out of armoured cars and other vehicles and chasing anyone who happened to be on the streets. A 15-year-old boy returning from school was beaten and kicked by two policemen.

Villagers said that two children had been taken to hospital bleeding profusely and that a 13-year-old girl had gone missing. A frail woman in her eighties said she too was attacked by police. In response, infuriated residents of Wukan attacked the police station and overturned police cars.

This sort of thing is pretty routine in China.

The Fed 400 Billion “Twisting”

program is designed to give money to banks.  It will succeed, just like prior Fed quantitative easing (QE) succeeded.  Some money will also slosh out to other parts of the financial system.  It will have no significant effect on the economy, because it is not designed to do so, any more than QE was.

Tax Increases on the Rich

are not going pass. Period. Obama is doing this so he can look like a liberal, because he knows it won’t pass. If he wanted this sort of policy, he needed to do it in his first few months.  He didn’t and he doesn’t, this is re-election positioning. If you are treating it as anything else, you are being played.

Oh, and while I approve of the “Wall Street Occupation” it isn’t going to do a damn thing unless it costs Wall Street large amounts of money.  Which would require different tactics than are being used.  Still, it’s a start.

How to fix Europe’s Financial Crisis

It’s not complicated.  It’s just unthinkable.

1) Let the banks go under if they’re bankrupt.  Make their private owners take the losses.

2) Refloat the banks, this will cost a TON less than having governments pay of private losses.

3) For countries with “unsustainable” debts after doing this, roll the debts over into 100 year bonds at 1% interest.  If the bondholders don’t like that, that’s just too bad.  No, they won’t “strike”, neither Iceland nor Argentina have any trouble getting loans.

There are other things which should be done, but that’s the basics.  This is not complicated.  It just requires being willing to stick the bill for the financial crisis with the people who caused it, financial elites.

Oh, and every economy can’t be Germany.  Everyone can’t be in a trade surplus.


is a day which should be a reminder of how fear can make a people give up their liberties and prosperity and, in response to an atrocity, commit worse atrocities.

Ontario NDP leader promises no income tax raises

Guess I just gave my last donation to the Ontario NDP while she’s leader.  If I want Tory policies, I’ll vote for the real thing.

Although I am looking forward to the next fundraising call.

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