17 February 2010

Diminishing Marginal Valuation

You see this? Look at this.
This is exactly what I'm always talking about. Everywhere I go these days I see all these damned snakes just lying around everywhere.
I don't think people appreciate the value of a good snake anymore. Used to be it was a big deal to get a snake. Just one! One snake was a big deal. My father took me to get my first snake when I was thirteen. I had saved up for four years for that damn snake, and it was a little one too! Just a tiny little thing only a bit longer than your hand, but I cherished it, I valued it. We knew what went into a snake back then. If my father could see all these snakes going to waste today, why, he would weep I tell you.

Folks today just don't understand the value of snakes They don't understand quality. All these low quality snakes got people thinking they can get a snake anytime they want to and then throw it out when they get bored. They don't understand quality.  My father, now he knew a good snake, he taught me the value of a snake. I'm glad he's not here to see all these damned snakes going to waste.

07 February 2010

The Hipocrisy of Tea

At the Tea Party rally this February 6th in Nashville TN, Sarah Palin suggested that the Tea Party shouldn't get behind one charismatic guy with a teleprompter, attempting to dig Obama but instantly underlining her inability to engage in self analysis. It hardly matters, even more than the Democrats the Republican party is not known for its ability to stick by its oratory guns for more than a magazine or two (pun intended). For example, at the rally Palin suggested that she supported candidates who stood for "personal responsibility" yet blasted Obama for the national deficit, and for apologizing for the US in foreign countries. This boils down to one big denial of the facts:
The Nixon, Reagan and both Bush(1) administration's well documented culpability for the present financial crisis doesn't require taking any personal responsibility for the global financial state. If we consider that the standard of breaking of the unions, deregulation of the financial industry(1)(2), the relaxing of capital gains taxes, and the increasing of income taxes on the poor while decreasing income taxes on the rich all of which were instrumental in the current financial crisis of THE WHOLE WORLD(2) and ocurred under their watch. Mrs. Palin's conveniently spotty memory demonstrates that wevclearly cannot take her or the Teapublican Party at their "personally responsible" "small governement" word. Actually, in case you hadn't noticed Teabags, making an apology generally equates to taking personal responsibility.

Yet somehow we are encouraged to believe that Obama is avoiding responsibility by apologizing for the financial ruin and misery caused by his predecessors (also known as taking personal responsibility for the behavior of other people). In fact, Mrs. Palin herself is well known for her own acceptance of "personal responsibility" considering her political career in Alaska consistently denying responsibility for just about everything that ocurred under her watch as mayor and governor. The examples are numerous and well documented here, just follow the footnotes.(3) As Mrs. Palin's eagerness to avoid taking responsibility for any of these things indicates, politicians as a class aren't generally known for their willingness to take responsibility for anything except bellicosity and success. So that kindof makes Obama a bit of an anomaly as far as responsibility doesn't it Sarah?

A final note of completely missing the point: The Tea Party Movement (official site here) is named after the Boston Tea Party which protested taxation by a government in which they did not have any representation. Unless I'm mistaken, the conservative right has largely controlled US government for 21 of the last 30 years.(4)

Amusingly enough, Palin was reportedly paid 100 grand to speak despite the fact that it's not about any one charismatic person. The founder of the Tea Part movement/website claims that he's sworn to confidentiality. In an act of inspiring personal responsibility, Palin won't say what she's doing with the money, or how much it actually is. Perhaps a 100 grand tricorne hat?

(1) The Democrats too particularly Bill Clinton, I'm just specifically enumerating the "heroes" of the Tea Part and Mrs. Palin including her 2008 presidential running mate, John McCain.
(2) Which makes poor people poorer and rich people richer EVERYWHERE. We're not talking about some bankers losing their jobs and some Americans or Germans getting "on the dole", this has repurcussions among the destitute and aid dependent in Africa, Asia, and everywhere. This financial crisis doesn't just mean layoffs, it means starvation and death for some people.
(3) There are to many to list myself. 
(4) This assumes that you don't count the two Clinton terms, even though the were in line with much of the right-wing agenda.

04 February 2010

Things I Would Like To Say

I would like to tell you I'm sorry.
I'm still a little bit confused and would probably rather remain that way, instead of knowing the whole truth, which I can only surmise would hurt worse than what I've struggled mightily to convince myself were your problems.
You should have tried to talk to me. I know, I'm not the easiest person to approach or understand, but jeeze. I spent months learning to accept and trust you, I'd hoped for the benefit of the doubt at least.
Sorry I didn't say as much.
But it's not easy to say how you feel and ask for what you need, as you know.

03 February 2010

Evolutionary Co-operation

More thoughts on my last post Restriction and Coercion about mutual aid and Public Goods which have no excludability.
One of the arguments I've heard numerous times when I've discussed the possibilities of social anarchism with people is their insistence that human beings are not biologically programmed to co-operate.
I've always held that the competition we see in modern human societies is largely a product of acculturation to capitalism and modern economics, the whole "more-is-better" postulate learned from a young age.
The logic of the detractors seems to run that because we're animals and animals normally compete in the wild, it's normal for humans to compete as well. This theory seems to rely on the definition of competition that prioritizes defeat and elimination, one-or-the-other type exclusivity. But in the animal world, this type of competition is typically inter-species, i.e. food-chain related, carnivores preying upon herbivores etc. While I am certainly no zoologist, I don't suspect that there is much intra-species predation, or competition except in circumstances of extreme social/group pressure, like limited resources and overpopulation for example.(sound familiar?)
If we can be trained to compete for dominance at the expense of one another, couldn't we be re-trained not to? I certainly think so.

Peter Kropotkin is a respected and well known anarchist philosopher who proposed in his book Mutual Aid the theory that mutual aid was as biologically natural to humans as competition.
The well known evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould has written this piece, Kropotkin Was No Crackpot in which he defends the former's hypothesis. I have not read either yet but I post them here to assert that I am not by a long shot alone in this idea, and also to encourage some dialogue because I will be reading them and hopefully commenting in the near future.

02 February 2010

Media Home Entertainment Shirt

My friend Phill and I are both pretty nerdy about old VHS tapes so we made this screenprint design. This is one of the lesser imprints the screen has produced.