Friday, December 31, 2004


But first....

(a couple things before the end of the year...)

Mind the Gap! - Social Security made EZ.

The partly fake and partly real problem with SS is that the government borrowed SS monies that might have been in a 'lockbox'. The Federal Government owes its people that money - this is a payroll tax, levied specifically for that pension, remember. At least raise your eyebrows when someone says, '..but, you see, from a more sophisticated point of view, it's just money the government owes itself, so....' Balls. It's money the government owes us working people - earmarked. As Josh Marshall very clearly lays out, it's public indebtedness (not to mention our whole fiscal/trade situation) that's the real problem. (And, gosh, how did THAT happen? 'Conservatives' don't borrow and spend money they?). Evidently, we've lost some of these monies in the risky 'politician market', so the suggestion is that we just put 'em into the 'pure' market - cut out the middle man. It has a cheap, Oliver Stone cogency, and reminds you again of the strange grudging pride in political incompetence which is never far from the surface with this bunch: [whining voice] 'We can't do politics, too hard! Politics, Washington, bad! we we we!'. Been waiting for George Bush to ask for sacrifice from the American People after 9/11? Here it is! We can all do our part in the War on Terror by screwing our kids and grandkids out of part of their pensions.

Bend over, America!

Intelligent Design

Publius over at Legal Fiction, among others, has been busy for months doggin' the real-world issues Christians might have with Democrats and Republicans. There was a pretty lively discussion (and links) there about so-called 'Intelligent Design'.

You don't remotely impact the basic philosophical question of this or any age (ie What is the nature of Intelligence and Design in the Universe?) by simply broadcasting an eponomous catch-phrase and writing a few fumetti books. The ID crowd is not offering science OR philosophy, really. They endeavor to colonize the entire question with a ridiculously thin force, pretending that merely naming it explains it. [El Rushbo voice] Just another marketing job, my friieeends. Naturally, their aim is not to advance the thinking on this question, but rather to posit an enemy - namely, some supposedly monolithic, remorseless, souless, nihilistic Science Force, the fear of which is, unsuprisingly, ripe for exploitation. After all, show me one honest person who can declare that they live life with absolutely no illusions, and I'll show you someone who is very deluded indeed. In a way, illusion makes us human, distinguishes us from other mammals. We suspend or rationalize or generalize specific fear in order to survive and accomplish things, and we do it every single day. Human life is partially defined by the tension between rationality and what could be called faith. Us reality-based people should admit to that fact, at least to ourselves, lest we simply react, which is passive. (ENOUGH PASSIVITY ALREADY!) This is NOT an apology for religion, but simply the suggestion that we acknowledge that tension - have a little sense of humor about ourselves. Doing so helps us understand more fully what our evolutional history, much modern science, and frankly, our common sense, tell us: that guiding, choosing our illusions can be a deeply rational, if not entirely concious, act. Anyway, it's part of who we are.

Of course the ID folks aren't interested in working that tension. They don't think there's even a tension there. They simply declare victory in that struggle. They just know. It's Happiest Place On Earth. 'If you really really believe....'

Homeopathy Gone Terribly Wrong

Eric over at TIA keeps tabs this last week of the year, on the evil gift which keeps on giving: Henry Kissinger's continuing establishment and influence as a foreign policy 'elder statesman', and the bad effects it has on everyone he touches - in this case, the Council on Foreign Relations. When will our own, American Angel of Death finally buy the farm? Why do people like him seem to live forever?

Because they do.

Happy New Year!

Crush All Boxes!

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