Democracy Can Be Bad, Bad, Bad

Rachel Maddow on the Republican long, long plan to shut down the US government:

Bad, bad, bad, that is, when practiced the U.S Republican way: grandstanding, intransigent, self-defeating, hyperbolic and pure nuts. Boy, it’s going to be nigh impossible for the U.S to preach democracy to the un-democratized in the future; and maybe that’s a good thing. Physician, heal thyself. If the “richest and most powerful nation in the history of mankind” (as we are often hectored) with its unparalleled resources, history, tradition and education cannot produce a functioning democracy what chance for functioning countries run by strongmen? Better the strongmen stay in power or so the argument will go. Now I don’t know if I’m with the sceptics that the U.S is fast turning into a banana republic because even bananas have skins. Republicans are meanwhile peeling off the skin of democracy that keeps the demos inside intact and mashing the country to mush.

Musings, Politics

Midnight Mass: You’re Fired

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics there were approx 118 million full-time employees in the US in August (http://www.statista.com/statistics/192361/unadjusted-monthly-number-of-full-time-employees-in-the-us/). Just under one million of them are going to be summarily dismissed at midnight tonight by the Republican House of Congress. The largest mass firing since Lehman?┬áRepublicans probably think this is all a joke. “Just give us what we want,’ they whine with an air of entitlement, “and we won’t let the country go up in smoke.” A party of adults who think no deeper than a three-year old.

Democracy isn’t a perfect institution but a stop-gap measure to avert civil war: rational intelligent people agree to disagree; and agree to live by laws instituted by democratically elected governments. If one party doesn’t like the law it canvasses the public and if successful, gets elected and changes the law. Otherwise it abides by the law of the land. It is that simple but it takes maturity to abide by it. This is a concept that the founding fathers of America understood pretty well. It is a concept that the bigwigs in the Roman Republic let wither after 400 years of republicanism. It is a concept that the inferior intellects of today’s US Republican party have chucked out the window. After all they are God’s party and God doesn’t compromise, right? “It’s my [God’s] way or the Hell way.” It was hell’s way for Rome – democrats and republicans alike were slaughtered in the ensuing melee and the State exchanged independence for submission under emperors.

The knock-on effect of a million people being without a paycheck will be felt much farther than the eight hundred thousand being dismissed. Household budgets, care for children, consumer spending, impact on capital markets etc etc all these are understood by those with some modicum of financial nous and no doubt there will be inscrutable research papers and theses written. ┬áThe rhino in the room is the precedence that this ill-thought and irresponsible misadventure by the Republicans sets: this will be a cancer that won’t stay in remission. And the rest of America must fear when sooner or later the Republican party fractures and implodes. It won’t be a day for celebration because without an overarching structure, the rank and file of idiots will be bereft of the hope of sound leadership. For history tells us that desperate people take desperate measures.

Books, Culture, Musings

Conformist versus Inquiring

“In [most] matters as in diplomacy, a nicely conformist nature, a good tailor and the ability to articulate the currently fashionable cliche have usually been better for personal success than an excessively inquiring mind”.

Adapted from the book: Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went by John Kenneth Galbraith

This afterall is the conundrum facing most creative minds: do as they do and be loved or blaze your own path and love yourself. It’s the difference between being an employee and an entrepreneur. Remember though that most businesses fail so this conundrum could be the difference between food on the table for you and your children or food stamps and the soup kitchen. It is certainly the difference between playing office politics in a wild scramble for juicy assignments and/or the fulfillment that comes from doing what you love best and kicking ass while doing it. It’s not an easy decision. But shouldn’t it be?

Culture, Musings

Jessops RIP

It took her one point three centuries
But pitiless Clotho spun faithfully at her loom
Weaving the black abyss that’s swallowed you. Gasp!
And left two thousand employees stuck in doom’s clasp
But what in Zeus’ heaven could you have done?
The feckless gods left luckless man to his devices
And even you, long favoured on Britain’s High Street
Are biting the dust in pecuniary crisis

Your bright blue signage courted the passerby
Your cheap consumer stock, red rag to the bulls
The punters strolled in to check your wares
Like backstreet patrons casting about for whores
So they feigned interest in this “Model”
A white one, a black one, that fast lens is vital!

Shh! No money was ever, ever left on the table
The rabble, cackling, had fled to the devil

Home to the faithful mistress they returned
Cruel goddess of cheap, her ragged claws primed
“To me, my precious, to me!”, her whine becks
Like a crow, tripping, before dropping its whelk
Her fog is thick with crude deception, cold calculation
Oh, how she has gotten fat on our surfing fascination
For “deals”, for “deals”, for “deals”, for “deals!”
Her lyre strumming “Something for nothing”, Bravo! We waltz
While, in plain sight neighbourhood shops are ground to dust

But who can escape Fate and Bloody Destiny
We go when our bell tolls or else not
In Z and Omega, you’ve folded into Administration
Like the yucky napkin put away after an icky snot