What do you see outside?

Francis Bacon, Study for Bullfight No 2 (1969)
I think that man now realizes that he is an accident, that he is a completely futile being, that he has to play the game without reason. [...] You see, all art  has now become completely a game by which man distracts himself (Bacon-Sylvester, Interviews, pp. 28,29).

I have signaled the descent of our western system, based on economic liberalism and democracy projected to global proportions, since before its 2008 Crisis.  After three years, during which governments have saved the capitalists by imposing austerity on the populace, we are semi-officially in a 'Small Depression' according to Paul Krugman.  The ordering belief must be that in a world distracted from facts, the capitalists are the only ones to be trusted to {harness, muster, unleash, ...} {creativity, innovation, renewal, growth...}; indeed, capitalists are always selected according to their being best able to align self-interest with action, the best indicator of a well-running capitalist engine, that is.  Stimulating the economy by placing money in the hands of the populace, yours and mine, mostly increases the trade deficit--I have written this too.  Problem is that capitalists are known to buy imports too, unless they park the money in some unproductive niche. 

So, what's a government to do anymore?  A cynical may say that those populating governments are merely interested in preserving class privileges while subsidizing a nice show.  While that is true, can you think of a way out?

For example, the French and Italians citizens thought that by electing economically-liberal demagogues, growth would be assured.  I am skeptical Berlusconi or Sarkozy fulfilled any of their electoral promises.  I am equally skeptical of Cameron's prospects in the UK.

Could it be that we need to take a half-step back from globalization?  Taxing the incentive out of the financial speculation can certainly help.  This addresses in part the flexibility of capital, and the question becomes, how flexible ought capital to be?  For example, Simon Johnson, MIT professor and former Chief Economist of IMF, is not the only to suggest a tax on “excess leverage;" Tobin taxes are also quick to come to mind.   Then, shouldn't we reconsider the French idea for a reduced work load for all, thus being able to employ more?  Yes, we must also get adjusted to the idea that floating is better than sinking, while not as fun as swimming.  In the end, I don't care much about the extent to which these ideas are in agreement with one's standard of free-market capitalism, for I remind you, what we've had so far hasn't been free-market capitalism either. Don't you also find it problematic that each time one tries to argue for active management of the situation, the capitalist (ventriloquist)  counters that due to the complexity of the system, the self-adjustment capability of the markets, free of regulation and taxes, is better than any one's fallible mind? 

In any case, the above ideas are neither of the left, nor of the right.  They are about the art of living and reflecting upon it not long thereafter. 

It's most regrettable what happened in Oslo.  I have a feeling that just blaming Anders Behring Breivik is not going to deter forever another symptom of our common disease.  Breivik seems to have been against multiculturalism, whatever that meant in his case beyond being anti-Muslim immigration as a new form of Marxist internationalism--I know, it's a mouthful and I could use some European help to unpack it.

Shock and/or incomprehension, ensuing the massive destruction inflicted by World War I on so many, was not enough to prevent fascism or Nazism from coalescing as reaction to the dissolution of the world order, perceived then by the former as the result of the centrifugal forces of communism and/or international finance.   

As wise people have always said, and the demagogues exploited to i/a-mmoral ends, humans need to believe in something greater than, say, self-interest.  That something had better be based on moral law.  Replacing sacred religion with the secular religion of self-interest, briefly introduced as part of a moral code based on natural law by Adam Smith,  has not worked too well.  As for how religion is observed in the US, let me just say, per out tax code and all that, it's big business for a minority and of whatever comfort for most--read this last statement in terms of effectiveness.

Through my Window(s), I see Tauoromachia.  

What do these youth know and the world hasn't figured out yet?
Do the police know whom they are con/fronting, as in interfacing?
Is democracy the legitimate monopoly of power?  What makes it no longer so?
When humanism is lost, do we regress to homo homini lupus?  How do we come back?

Crepuscular Murdoch or a falling media empire?

Keith Rupert Murdoch, AC, KSG ( born 11 March 1931) is an Australian-American media mogul and the Chairman, and CEO of News Corporation.Murdoch's first permanent foray into TV was in the USA, where he created Fox Broadcasting Company in 1986. In the 2000s, he became a leading investor in satellite television, the film industry and the Internet, and purchased a leading American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal.

Rupert Murdoch was listed three times in the Time 100 as one among the most influential people in the world. He is ranked 13th most powerful person in the world in the 2010 Forbes' The World's Most Powerful People list. With a net worth of US$6.3 billion, he is ranked 117th wealthiest person in the world.

The resizing of the Murdoch media empire has just started. I think it's been payback time for a while, at least since Obama won the presidential election. While the circus took place on stage, with Obama and the other characters following their scripts, life was dandy. As the Conservatives switched places with the Progressives (recall those 8 too many years under Bush the lesser), the former needed some pacifying device; Murdoch obliged, everything looked under control while the stage and scripts were outside (Golem-like) surprise.

However, I think that some powerful figures must have gotten a bit nervous by media fueled chaotic phenomenon known as the Tea Party movement. I mean, they calmed Ron Paul down, someone who had built a credible image about fighting financial elites, and couldn't get some junior Congresspeople to toe the line? Ha, nobody should forget the Alexander Hamilton financial chapter in the history of the nation! That is, no mortal of the realm questions the financial logic.

So, I wonder where things went amiss and what Murdoch's contribution might have been.  I suspect you cannot have good Americans think they may get Congress to listen to them on such arcane matters as kicking the financial can down the road.  Could it be that Murdoch either switched masters or thought dangerously for one as if in defiance of old age?

Be that as it may, but what do you do when you've had a finger on all digital pulse?  You start by turning Murdoch in to the British, let it go down with his base here, and finally administer justice.

The most influential man in America
Are we to witness a crepuscular Murdoch or a falling media empire?  Are they going total war here?  If it's the end of the person, we shall conclude that some people don't know how to age.  Otherwise, I leave it to you, my reader(s) to figure the details of the next rise from the ashes of this media Phoenix...

re-newed public consciousness needed

piglets!, originally uploaded by swissrolli.

...are these the capitalists sucking the government, or the many taxes sucking capitalism?

Here's what Greg, from Brooklyn NY, a NYTimes reader, wrote back recently:

Democracies cannot last, because eventually the majority realizes that it can vote itself a stipend. That is where we're headed--any politician who promises to provide lavish services while cutting taxes wins in a landslide, despite the basic idiocy of that position. Eventually we will end up like Greece. Just as Greece is gradually becoming an economic colony of the EU (specifically Germany, or German banks) we will soon be an economic colony of China, to which we owe more money that we can ever possibly pay. The only alternative is to tighten our belts, pay more taxes, and accept more limited services. But we won't. The American Century is over, and with it our way of life.
It's painful, some argue that even long necessary, but we are getting there.

Consummerism: Interpreting the Signs

Day 24: Interpreting the Signs, originally uploaded by susanvg.

Via Flickr:
Stop - Female shoppers.
Stop Shopping.
Stop excessive Consummerism.
Stop - woman in high heels carrying too many bags crossing the street. Making meaning.


Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

The United Nations General Assembly ratified Article 25 on Dec. 10, 1948.

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