Equality in Plunder

Today is International Women’s Day and predictably we’re seeing articles on a dearth of women in management positions. On Bloomberg today there’s an article about how activist investors – guys like Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb – don’t appoint women board members when they take over the companies. Naturally, the article laments the situation while the corporate raiders, those who bother with a comment, give us platitudes about seeing a ‘bigger picture.’

Bloomberg writers, whether by lack of curiosity or adherence to the party line, refused to looked at the issue from another perspective. They never question is it right for women, or anyone, to possess that kind of capacity for destruction. All they care about is equality, even if that equality means access to the tools that sow that destruction. Activist investing, if you’re not familiar with the term, refers to a practice of taking over the management of an existing company, stripping it of any value, firing its employees and then bragging to shareholders about ‘efficiency’. Complaining about the lack of women in that kind of position is like complaining about Jeffrey Dahmer (the serial killer) not hiring female assistants.

This article reminded me of another short-sighted lament in business circles about the lack of women at World Economic Forum at Davos. Cathy O’Neil (mathbabe) made a good point about it earlier this year. Why, instead of pointing out the corruption on modern-day business elites, one encourages women and minorities to join them? Is it because the task of defending the indefensible becomes easier when it is done by a few strategically placed blacks, women and gays? Does it absolve the old white rich guys who are pulling the strings behind the scenes, when they can point at ‘diversity’ at their control panel?

No one questions the price of that kind of ‘equality’. I once heard an adage about the difference between white and black women. It said that white women seek equality; black women seek justice. Indeed, white women strive to get into that corner office so that they, too, can plunder the world like the guys did for centuries. Black women, on the other hand, can smell a rat here, and thus reject the entire system that only perpetuates the injustice. Like planets or a light beam that are at a safe distance from a massive gravitational object, they are uncorrupted by its gravitational force. White women, on the other hand, usually are. Thus black women, unlike white women, are under no illusion about this whole corrupt scheme. Just some food for thought.

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Tea Partiers and the Constitution

Tea Parties have a strange love-hate relationship with the Constitution.

I think they have some sort of their own version of the Constitution, just like Conservatives have their own idealized version of the 1950s or Reagan or like any of us have our own idealized memories of childhood. Sober analysis would conclude that it’s not like times were better, but perhaps it was just that we were younger.

So I downloaded the full text of the Constitution in an attempt to see where do they get their talking points. To begin, I searched for the word “religion” in the text, given the recent demand by Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell, delivered with an air of knowing superiority during her debate, to know where in the Constitution there’s a separation of church and state. The word “religion” did come up once in the text. In the context of “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any Office or Public Trust under the United States”. Further, in the First Amendment, is the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion”. I have to give her that – she really did believe that there’s a mention of God or Jesus in the Constitution, because she looked like a child who just found out that there’s no Santa Claus. When her opponent quoted the First amendment it was like an unpleasant revelation to her. I hope that the first thing she did after the debate is to go and check the text to see it with her own eyes.

Many Tea Parties, without fully knowing what the Constitution actually contains, nonetheless like to throw weighty words around, especially when asked a practical question, for example how to balance the budget. You will be hearing words like “tyranny”, “Founding Fathers”, “Constitution”, “God-given rights” without actually getting an answer to your question. In fact many conservatives like to mock liberals for deriving their rights from the Government. Liberals, those spineless fucks, you see, take the rights mercifully granted to them by the omnipotent Government while the steel-balled conservatives themselves insist that all rights are God-given. They conveniently forget that the enforcement of God-given rights is still the job of the dreadful Government. Rights have to be protected and even though I would love to carry a gun around all the time in case I need to dispute, say, a claim from my insurer, I hire a Government to do that for me. Sure, they mostly suck, they tax you, they grow corrupt with time, but the alternative is a do-it-yourself Wild West. Don’t get me wrong, I, of all people, would succeed in a kill-or-be-killed setting like this, but the point is why not hire somebody else to do the enforcement job for you, while you can engage in, say, some money making or world saving? Besides, every 2 or 4 years you have a recourse against the Government in form of election. It’s amusing to hear all those yells of “tyranny” and calls to “violent rebellion” from middle-aged middle class nearing retirement who, for way too long, had a boot of Socialism planted firmly on their necks! But no more! Down with Socialism!

Funny, how I always digress in my writings. I do like to rant though, if you haven’t noticed.

So anyway, a Tea Party rally would not be a Tea Party rally without some dude in a tricorner hat waving the copy of the Constitution. But now I wonder whether they just like the original document or all of those amendments that came afterwards. If they just like the original then they would have to admit that they would repeal the subsequent amendments, like giving women the right to vote or abolishing slavery or granting citizenship to persons who are born here. Some brave and honest tea parties, like Rand Paul, would repeal the 14th amendment, for example. At least he’s honest and I give him kudos for that. I only wish that he went all the way – calling for repeal of all of the amendments, instead of picking and choosing only the ones he likes. That’s where I have a problem with the tea partiers supposed love of the Constitution. They love it but they want it changed. They imagine things to be in the Constitution that are not actually there. They choose to ignore some inconvenient articles. This problem can be solved if they just write their own Tea Party version of the Constitution. Just to give you a few highlights: Abolish federal income tax (Sharon Angle); Establish the presence of Christian God in state affairs (Christine O’Donnell, Sarah Palin); Abolish Department of Education and a right to citizenship for those born here (Rand Paul). And wave this document instead – that will keep you honest.

After watching that Christine O’Donnell video I thought that it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. No matter how civil a society we’re bound to have citizens who have no idea what the Constitution is all about and have their own fantasies about what’s in it. But to have a public official who runs for office not to have a clue about one of the most important cornerstones of the current law, the establishment clause, is sad and even scary. It does not necessarily show her stupidity, although she’s pretty ignorant, unable to name even Roe v Wade – the mandatory pet peeve of any self-respecting conservative – as an example of Supreme Court decision she disagrees with (not because she agrees with it, but because she doesn’t know what the fuck that is!), it shows her inability to think. If she truly believed that government does not guarantee the separation of church and state, then what particular church does the government have in mind? And just to be on the safe side – to check with herself to make sure that she belongs to that particular brand of religion. Because, you know, she a Catholic after all, and Catholics used to be, shall we say, frowned upon, in the good ol’ days.

Don’t be a sucker

“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.”

Sinclair Lewis

I’ve known this quote for quite a while but I always resisted using it in my blog, because I’d like to avoid using loaded words. But since the Right has bend the rules of the game so much that they have no shame comparing Obama to a Nazi – I had to come down from my high horse and get into dirty combat. I’m a small time crook. My profits are modest, my aspirations – laughable. Every day I have to coexist with a number of suckers and sometimes on a bad day when my guard is down I become a sucker myself. My poker winnings are in direct proportion to the number of fish at the table. My trading profits depend on the herd mentality of other players. I used to be upset when someone makes a stupid play and beat me with one-outer at the poker table or when everyone is buying when in my opinion they should be selling, but I got over it. Instead I learned to embrace it. Now I congratulate and cheer and encourage stupid behavior among my fellow players. I make sure to say ‘Nice hand’ or ‘Well done’ to a sucker to promote incorrect play. Why fight it if you can take advantage of it?

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Southern Trip Part Three (Selma and Montgomery)

“Whitey just gave you another vehicle to oppress yourself.”

Joanne Bland, a local Selma woman.

Selma was not in my original plans, but I decided to make a detour there on the way to Montgomery and it was one of the most interesting parts of the trip. Selma was a site of 1965 civil rights marches from there to Montgomery. On the day that became known as “Bloody Sunday” a bunch of marchers were attacked by police as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge.

Edmund Pettus Bridge

As I rolled into town, and it’s a very small town, you can’t really get lost in there, I ended up right at the foot of that infamous bridge, which is where I parked my car. The electric tableau on some local bank branch showed 103F degrees. The place was, already predictably, quite dead. I thought just a few quick pictures and I’m outta here. But just as I thought that, I saw a small group of protesters near the bridge and decided to check it out. I thought wait a minute, protesters in Selma in 2010? Could it be that the time stopped there? I proceeded towards them.

(Long post below the cut)

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