Saturday, December 27, 2008

Two Days Too Late, But Still

Merry Christmas to all and to all who are not Christian -- tough shit, assholes!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Why Aren't There Any Republicans On Star Trek?

"The loan deal requires the companies to quickly reduce their debt by two-thirds, mostly through debt-for-equity swaps, and to reach an agreement with the United Automobile Workers union to cut wages and benefits so they are competitive with those of employees of foreign-based automakers in the United States." (NYTIMES)

As I said earlier, the GOP wasn't going to cooperate with the Democratic majority's bill because it was union friendly. I didn't fully realize that they were also holding out for President Bush to use part of the money already relinquished to him by congress to give the auto industry a mini-bailout, setting the terms of the bailout in conservative, anti-union, pro-business interests. After he leaves office, the mini-bailout will run out, and it will return to Congress on whether or not they should continue to fund the auto-industry the rest of the alloted money.

In other words, Bush just royally screwed us one last time. He has overridden Congress to setup the bailout rules in the interests of big business. One must also wonder, to what extent will we have to cut benefits, safety and pay to stay competitive with foreign automakers that pollute in a wantonness fashion and do not have a unionized or protected workforce? I can hear the executives singing in their meetings "How low can you go!?" and no, it's not some typical bourgeois, homo-erotic office party with limbo.

There won't be much Democrats can do either. Now that Bush has started this devilish process, the Republican party will convince the people through subtle manipulation that, even when the auto-industry is cutting pay and benefits to their workers and still not turning a profit, if Democrats try to deny the auto-industry their money when they fail the terms of the bailout or the terms are ineffective, they will be putting the country at risk. The economy will collapse if the auto-industry companies file for bankruptcy, but feeding them money to artificially sustain them is just delaying the inevitable. Democrats will be obligated to continue to fund the auto-industry even if the money is having no effect; Americans will be convinced to stay the course, and any suggestions otherwise will be deemed reckless by big business and conservatives. We've been forced into a situation where the auto-industry will continue to be funded regardless of whether they meet the terms of the bailout, and the government will continue to bailout the auto-industry until the government deficit breaks newer and newer lows and the economy collapses at a much later date.

Big business has the government by the balls, and thusly, all our balls belong to them. The quasi-Chinese solution to this problem is not going to work; i.e. the government partially controlling and artificially supporting capitalist businesses. Either we go the route of the self-regulation of a free market system and allow the Big 3 auto makers to collapse, leaving room for a new supplier to meet market demands, or we eliminate entirely the executives of the auto-industry that have so poorly run these businesses and have jeopardized our economy and now the sovereignty of our nation. The state should take over this industry, put the leaders of green engineering at the helm, and take the alloted 300 billion and more to use it to completely overhaul all the factories and production towards revolutionary green technology. This would allow total control over this economic sector to artificially induce it into a state of rapid development so we could develop relatively inexpensive, renewable energy vehicles years ahead of other countries -- corner that motherfucking market!

Before you get all hot and bothered in your dungaree overalls, and spit out that piece of hay to yell about "commies!" consider the role NASA has had in our own society and economic system. NASA is not a profitable organization, nor has it ever been. The United States has invested endless amounts of money in the organization to rapidly develop technology that no other country has had; only now, thirty years later, are other countries really catching up and developing the necessary technology to get into space. NASA is an organization that is entirely supported by government funding, and NASA could never exist or come to be in a free market system -- at least fledgling space travel could never be launched by a free market. The demand to go into space does not exist in the general public, just like the demand for green technology does not really exist at a profitable level. You need to artificially create this market by spending billions of dollars on developing the technology to where it's efficient and cheap enough that it can be used by an endless number of people and businesses.

Once NASA develops a way to mine resources cheaply and effectively -- a long way off -- it will no longer need government funding to support itself. Green technology is in the same boat, but it is far more feasible to build a product in the next couple decades that will entirely support itself without government support. The free market cannot effectively bring about green tech demand. A government, preferably our government, needs to invest hundreds of billions, maybe trillions (maybe we could not invade a country for more than a couple decades and save our money?) in developing the technology until the demand is there.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Have You Driven A Ford Lately? No, Because They Suck.

What happened to the American economy? When did it become such a gold-diggin’ ho? We just bailed out the banking system with billions of dollars, and now -- oh gurl, hell no! You are not coming back to me for more money!

Yep, she’s back, and she wants more. Now our auto industry wants government money to avoid its eventual collapse into bankruptcy. They’re asking the government for money, but really, they’re asking for your money -- your tax dollars. Of course, that’s not entirely true because the auto industry executives are asking for a bailout with money the government doesn’t actually have yet; they’re asking for whatever tax money of yours they can have now and a piece of future tax money you’ll be giving to the government. The government cannot provide that money upfront, and it will be borrowing the money from foreign banks.

So to clarify, your tax money now and in the future is going towards paying off the government’s loans borrowed from Chinese banks among other banks to give to the auto-industry.

Americans should stop chanting “USA NUMBAH ONE” whenever they feel patriotic in some clusterfuck. Instead they should shout “DE-FI-CIT ” or maybe “USA NUMBAH ONE BECAUSE OF ARTIFICALLY PRODUCED ECONOMIC POWER BY DEFICIT SPENDING -- HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH MONEY WE OWE FUCKING CHINA -- HOLY SHIT I JUST LOOKED IT UP ON MY IPHONE IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS CHANT AND ITS LIKE 350 BILLION!!!!” Of course, if we pursue these new chants, sports games and political rallies might end in a lot more sobbing and rioting, and there’s nothing patriotic about tears, unless they’re from the eye of a bald eagle, encapsulating the twin towers.

As I write this blog post, the bill the Democrats are trying to push to keep the auto industry alive with a bailout has basically floundered because Republicans refuse to support the bill.

I’m personally conflicted about it, as I was over the bank bailout. On first impression, I was, for the first time in my life, impressed by the Republican refusal to cooperate with the government bailout. I quickly and not surprisingly retracted my feelings realizing the main reason a lot of Republicans are opposed to the Democratic majority’s bill for the bailout was that it was friendly to the auto-industry’s worker unions. Republicans were not standing up to corporate welfare in defense of the tax-payer, but rather, in typical Republican fashion, were attempting to find a way to weaken unions; by weakening unions, it could allow for a significant reduction in workers’ pay, benefits, and safety, allowing for, when the auto industry is revived, industry owners to make a greater profit from car sales.

I’m sympathetic to the Democrats because what they’re attempting to do is to pump as much money as they can into our failing economy in a hope to lessen the economic turmoil and eventually turn the economy around. They’re doing it in a sincere hope that this bump from government will help the economy and keep American jobs for Joe Shmoe (my preferred American everyman -- look, his name rhymes, he’s probably self-employed by his lack of title, and his last name is vaguely Jewish -- true red, white and blue American. Fuck Joe the Plumber.)

But there is a problem with the solution of throwing money at whomever needs it. Democrats are going to be funneling money into an industry that is clearly meant to die. The most outrageous analogy I could think of is using a time-machine to go back to the mass-extinction of the dinosaurs with defibrillators in hand, screaming “live, damn you, live!” as you defibrillate their dino corpses. The American car industry has not been competitive for decades. Conservatives blame the environmental, labor, and safety regulations imposed upon the auto industry by the government, which bumps up the cost of the car manufacturing. In order to turn a profit, American cars are significantly “shittier”, thrown together with cheaper parts so they can be competitively priced next to cars that are made in factories with little regulation.

So, is the solution to curb all regulation and allow for a future auto industry to do whatever it wants to create the best, cheapest cars to out-sell its global competitors? Well, for me, that is not a solution, since I don’t want our country to become 30 percent dimmer because of smog (This is not a joke, China is actually less sunny because of industrial pollution), and I don’t want to be employed in a factory where I don’t make a living wage, have no power to resist unfair treatment, and have the work place be so unsafe that I could have my head chopped off by some low-hanging buzz saw -- hey, I’m pretty tall, and I’m upper middle-class so I’ve never been in a real factory, leading me to believe all factories have giant buzz saws to cut giant blocks of stuff. Well, I suppose if I die prematurely from unsafe work conditions or cancer caused by pollution, it doesn’t really matter. Cars will be so cheap you can bury my ass in some swanky ride with leather seats and a moon-roof -- play Taps on the car horn, please.

A more viable solution is to develop new industries, technologies and ideas. This can only occur with resources, and the government needs to be funneling money into think-tanks with vision that can give laboratories ideas to work on to develop new technologies that can be built in swanky new factories. We need the auto industry to die a grisly death, and this will surely mean further economic depression; but it is actually a necessary failure in order to give the country a chance to rebuild anew. We need this catharsis more than anything. Car production as we know it needs to cease, and car ownership and use as it is in America needs to cease.

The government needs to spend money to help develop electric cars, or something in such a vein, that can run-off cleaner fuels and renewable energy; the technology is there, but it needs to be rapidly advanced to meet American demand. American factories need to take some notes from Japan and other countries, and come up with some of their own ideas, on significantly improving the efficiency of the production process; factories can be smaller, cleaner, more efficient if we just begin to apply some ideas rather than kicking a dead horse -- or investing money in it, whichever… The dollar is the catalyst. And in the interim, there are numerous steps the government can take to help reshape America. All of this requires money and lots of it. We cannot invest billions in a dead industry that will probably die even if we put the money into it; for one, the industry will most likely not do anything significantly different from what they have been doing, leading to their eventual collapse again; the same executives that fucked everything up to begin with are going to still head these companies; the same factories and the same products are going to be produced -- shit nobody is buying. And also, if another country develops a new form of transportation that can run off a cheaper or a renewable energy source, the gas-guzzling car will be to the future what the music cassette is to us now.

I knew I should have bought that Hootie and the Blowfish album on CD rather than cassette in 94. Come on, America, do you want to end up like me, locked in the past listening to Hootie in my giant American shit-wagon? No, no, you don’t.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Coldplay, You're As Cold As Ice

If any of you have read some of my previous "bloggings," you would know that I have a particular, special hatred for Coldplay. My hatred stems from rich and varied reasons, which I won't go into at length. I just wanted to bring up some news I recently stumbled upon about Coldplay.

Apparently, they're being sued by the guitar virtuoso and general tool-bag John Satriani. Satriani has been a prominent and successful musician for quite some time now, and he is easily one of the most recognizable guitar players for anybody who is into musicians that know how to play their instruments (5% of the United States).

Below I offer the link to the story, and I have a youtube clip that pairs the two songs together. I can't even remember the name of the Coldplay song because every single word that comes out of that lead singer's mouth makes me feel like I just witnessed an execution of a young child.

The news snippet:
Read All About It! Coldplay Eats Their Own Shit

The video comparison between Coldplay's shit song and Satriani "if i could fly" or some bullshit.

I also want to remind everybody once again that these stupid bastards created a hit solely based off of their use of one of the greatest minimalistic riffs ever created on a synthesizer. Kraftwerk's "Computerliebe" was raped and pillaged by Coldplay for their song "Talk." "Talk" is an abomination against the goodness in the human heart. I can't help but compare it to barbarous tribes raiding and pillaging the outskirts of Ancient Roman civilization. Kraftwerk is an amazing expression of art and culture; Coldplay is an amazing expression of human failings, like the sound of a giant turd hitting toilet water.

Oh, wait, you don't think they suck, you Coldplay-loving fool? Well, for one second, let's assume that your brain is capable of some level of rational analysis, rather than adhering to its natural state as a warm brain-vagina for the music industry's throbbing pop-music dick. If we step back for just a moment and really look at the noises and the words that tickle your fancy and make you jump up and down with joy because you "love this song(!)" maybe then you'll have to start admitting that Coldplay is a shitty band.

Every Coldplay song follows two basic principles:

1. Sweeping, melodic, vaguely-melancholic guitar with plenty of echo to give you the sense of something celestial, sacred and ephemeral. Basically, they want you to feel as if you're experiencing something expansive and greater than yourself to induce the feeling of the sublime. The Edge from U2 really beat this sound into the ground for over two decades, and Coldplay decided to make it their own.

Once they've achieved this guitar sound by playing a really famous riff they stole from real artists on a guitar, they add the vocals.

2. All vocals should be about something important to the emotions of everyday people, but should adhere to a principle of vagueness to allow the audience to arbitrarily assign the meaningless lyrics to something meaningful in their own lives. The lyrics usually center around the title of the song, which is usually just some boring phrase or word if you're lucky enough to have it even be anything sensible in the english language.

Here's a good example from the song "Viva La Vida":

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
(Principle of melancholy with vague idea about something important. What a normal person should gather from this stanza: he used to be a false prophet, now he is a state worker.")

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt, pillars of sand
(This is what artists and intelligent people call CLI-CLI-CLICHE-MONGERING!!!! I've definitely never heard about castles being built upon weak foundations -- snore. Oh, out with the old king, in with the new? More like out with the old boring shit and in with the... still the same old boring shit, Coldplay.)

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
Once you know there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world
(Oooo, good inclusion of references to the Holy Land and its occupiers. That definitely adds seemingly meaningful weight to the banter and bullshit of this song.)

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in.
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become
Revolutionaries Wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?
(Cliche after cliche after cliche.)

This song is probably about George Bush or any other lying sack of shit politician/wannabe-prophet, but honestly, who the fuck cares? If you're just speaking in hackneyed phrases about something that has been covered a million times over by much more intelligent people who actually brought greater levels of illumination on the topic, why in the hell are you wasting our time?

To wipe away the tainted part of my blog by Coldplay lyrics, I will smite them with the mighty sound of Kraftwerk: