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Archive for October 2011

Forget Buyer’s Remorse – We’re Suffering From Seller’s Remorse Too

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The rise of materialism that has metastasized into a religion over the last 30 years has a number of oddly pagan side-effects, not least of which is obsessive hoarding. That ¬†has led to the rise of that eyesore of American life known as storage facilities. It’s well known that the ancient Egyptians would entomb the dead with their cherished belongings in the hopes of making their after=life as comfortable as possible. We’ve gone one step further. We simply entomb the chattels we don’t want to make our current lives more palatable. Bizarre.

The truth is that in these hard times, those unwanted impulse purchases that once seemed so central to who we were at that moment still have value to others. They can be sold, traded or given away. They can be given new life, rather than being buried at great cost to the owner. So go into your storage facilities and turn them into wannas. Because it’s almost certain they’re on another user’s got list.

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Written by coolrebel

October 30, 2011 at 8:48 pm

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A Pavlovian Response To Global Warming

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First of all, let’s bring back the more precise description for what the world is experiencing. Yes, it’s “climate change”, but more specifically, it’s “global warming”. If you remember, “climate change” is a creation of the Bush spin team – it has the mark of Luntz on it ‘cos it’s so darned seamless, simple, insidious and clever – to offset the growing concern about how hot it’s getting here on Planet Earth.

Turns out he won. We need to point out that ‘change’ can be small, big, good or bad. So the term is about as useful as the, I don’t know, United States Congress.

Now onto the body of this post.

It’s pretty simple.

Global Warming isn’t just possible. It’s almost certain. The chances that we can reverse the onset of negative feedback that will lead to catastrophe are slim. Not because they’re not possible to avert, but because for us to stop them, we have to do stuff that requires all of us to change the way we live, eat, buy, sell, heat our homes, get around, power our electronic stuff, and make stuff, and make serious sacrifices in the process.

Not going to happen.

So what we need is to start creating agencies within say the UN (or a new world body that’s actually useful), and between national government, trading federations, and all the way down to communities, that start planning for the onset of disaster, and helping to mitigate and manage it Sea walls, insulation for homes, agricultural advances, national security planning, resource management, disease control. You name it.

And if we do that, people might actually respond.

If they see all these preparations for catastrophe, humans – being the funny contrarian bods they are – might say, why prepare for disaster? Why not try and avert it instead? Seems like the best way to deal with the problem before it’s too late.

Woof woof.

Written by coolrebel

October 23, 2011 at 7:19 am

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Time for a Seniors Revolt?

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Chaotic General Assemblies, Stewed sleeping bags, Sodden cardboard signs and an awful lot of rent-an-outrage young people does not a modern revolution make.

But imagine this. With Medicare and Social Security under threat, and the fabric of the social contract fraying badly from abuse, willful ignorance, and financial starvation, it’s really time that there was a Senior’s Revolt. If enough seniors On Social Security occupied parks, served blue plate specials and hot tea by respectful hippies, the Koch brothers and their dark hordes would back down faster than a coyote facing a rabid rooster.

Written by coolrebel

October 23, 2011 at 7:07 am

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How to Stop The Rich Getting Richer

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The rich get richer because we keep buying crap from the companies the rich invest in which makes them richer. If we stop buying crap from companies that make the rich richer the rich won’t get richer. Bing!

Written by coolrebel

October 23, 2011 at 6:59 am

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Egypt and Libya – A Grand Alliance in the Making?

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The Arab Spring is giving way to a rather uncertain winter. In Egypt, the Brotherhood is bubbling, the Army is busy containing, and the people are getting restless for the change promised by the departure and trial of Mubarak. In next door Libya, the echo of the bullet that liberated the rebels from the world’s most bizarre pariah of a dictator will soon give way to reality. A fractious and bloody civil war is almost certain to ensue in this colonial afterthought of a country, that’s never known anything but a lunatic totalitarianism.

In the vacuum of Gaddafi’s death the tribal, factional power-grab will be a nasty affair, made worse by the release of a powerful Islamist faction, the rise of tribal and city militias, a split between East and west, deep distrust of collaborators, a thirst for revenge, a big pot of black gold, and a strategic position just to the south of very vulnerable Southern Europe. NATO is gone in a few days, and the Libyans will be left to their own devices, their only support being the stirring and useless rhetoric of democratic idealism. They badly need a national army but won’t get one for decades. Without a cohesive national force to rely on, securing Western oilfields will be tough sledding and the Islamists will take full advantage of that weakness to impoverish and destabilize Libya, so Allah can pick up the pieces and give succor to a disheveled and desperate population.

Meanwhile, links between heavily armed Islamists in Libya, now free of Gaddafi’s yolk, and the Bedouin and fringe Islamists in Egypt and Sinai, will add to the headaches of an Egyptian Army that dreams of making money and playing with its armored American toys while the people get one wall away from lynching six Israeli security officials in their embassy and causing all out war. The Army would like a democracy that they can control, but worry that won’t be possible. They’d like to remove the State of Emergency Egypt has been laboring under for decades but dare not loosen their grip, especially now the Coptics are readying their own protective militias against the bubbling Islamic fundamentalism.

So what is a self-respecting Supreme Military Council to do protect itself from the gnawing threat of having to fire on its own masses? What can prevent a conflagration that will force the Egyptian Army to watch as tourists avoid the place like the plague, and foreign aid dwindles, sending Egypt into a turmoil that could easily make it the next Pakistan?

The answer is simple. Get control of Libyan Oil.

Libya’s oil is plentiful, high quality, and available. ¬†Invading your neighbor is kind of outre these days, so it has to be something a little – well – smarter. One possibility is for the Egyptian Army to offer itself as the ‘stopgap’ security force protecting Libyan oil from ‘domestic and foreign threats’ until the Libyans raise their own army. Of course, that will never happen, so the Egyptians will be there – with the full support of the oil-thirsty West – for years, decades perhaps. In that time, the Egyptians could be paid for Libyan stability in oil, shoring up Cairo’s foreign trade accounts and enabling it to pay for handouts to the mob to stop them rebelling against Egypt’s military rulers. It’s a win-win-win for everyone. The Libyan National Transitional Council gets protection for its only asset, and the ability to protect itself against Islamism with a thoroughly Arab solution. The Egyptians get oil on the cheap to buy-off their mob and shore up their sagging economy, get to protect themselves from Libyan Islamist incursions by going after the bad guys before they hit Egyptian soil, protecting Egyptian security and Tourism. And as for the West, they get a security force to protect the Libyan oil supply, stabilize world prices during a very soft economic patch, and help maintain stability in North Africa, which will also help Tunisia, and even Morocco.

It’s almost certain that none of this will come to pass, because there almost never is a plan, but it’s fun to conjecture that this could be a rather interesting solution to a problem that’s going to be a thorn in America and Europe’s side for many years to come.

Written by coolrebel

October 22, 2011 at 11:14 am

The Savagery of the Average

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Much of the work of Democratic Political Consultants is done for them by the GOP penchant for cannibalistic frenzy during its primaries. All the President’s political team has to do is sit back and watch the endless debates to get more than enough ammunition with which to lay low the unlucky winner of this slamfest.

By the time the GOP anoints its winner, he (or still vaguely possible, she) could be carrying around so much dirt that their room for maneuver against the President would be severely hampered. Not only that, but each candidate’s attempt to win the “I’m more conservative than you” pissing contest means they have to endlessly contort themselves into even more bizarre and thoroughly other-worldly pronouncements that will leave all but the reddest of red-meat crackers utterly cold.

The latest fun is to be had at the expense of Herman Cain’s economic “plan”, a cockamamie platform so utterly devoid of any connection to reality as to be the work of a madman and a pretty dumb one at that. Rick Perry’s side-stepped the proposal entirely, while Michelle Bachmann implied that a 9% income tax rate was actually too high and that going back to the 7% rate when income tax was first levied in 1913 would be the way to go.

Next up. Ron Paul swings for the fences with a plan to repeal the tax code. Period. After all he is a Libertarian.

Written by coolrebel

October 18, 2011 at 11:38 pm

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The Strange Case of the Self-Destructing GOP

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Jon Huntsman, clearly the most electable candidate among the current GOP line-up is lucky if he breaks 3% support among primary voters. The campaign of Newt Gingrich, once seen as a GOP powerhouse with the brains and wit to out-debate even the President, is in zombie mode. Flatlined, but still walking. Meanwhile the only voice of reason in the line-up, Mitt Romney, who’s bizarrely managing to shake off charges of outright insincerity is being buffeted by the latest flavor of the month – if they last that long. Bachmann, Perry and now Cain have shown that in the eyes of the GOP faithful at least, Romney is a man in whom they have little faith.

Why is the GOP so incapable of choosing someone to take on President Obama? After all, the economy is in the toilet, and the White House has played its political cards so cautiously that now there’s out and out rebellion on the far left and right, which both crave an economic populism that Obama is only now, belatedly, beginning to deliver.

The answer is that the leadership of the GOP has become utterly decoupled from its voters, both in the mainstream and the ‘base’. There’s been a headlong flight to independent status among voters, which it looks increasingly likely – after a shaky summer – that Obama will be able to control.

For all its messaging skills, the GOP’s is no longer the once vaunted election-winning machine it was. And there’s not much that Rove, Luntz, Fox and other sundry messaging gurus can do about it.

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Jon Huntsman campaign nearly broke – Political Hotsheet – CBS News
Former Utah governor’s campaign vows to continue despite having just $327,000 on hand and $890,000 in debt Read more by Brian Montopoli on CBS News’ Political Hotsheet.

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Written by coolrebel

October 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm

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