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Friday, October 28, 2011

November 2nd General Strike

After the violence that occurred in Oakland this week, rumors have begun to circulate that a general strike is being planned for November 2. At first blush, this seems like just another Occupy Something maneuver to propagate the movement.

The last general strike in the United States was held in 1946 in the San Francisco Bay Area (see link) stemming from general unrest over wage suppression throughout the US at the time. The strike was initially a labor union movement but quickly morphed into a peaceful protest within the community-at-large. My opinion is that the details and history of this period of unrest in the US is largely ignored by historians because it is too closely related to the end of the Second World War, the beginning of the Cold War and the anti-Communist fervor of the 1950s. We are currently being instructed that general strikes are something they do over there in Europe because Europe has become such a Socialist cesspool. But we here in the US have a long and valuable history of protest.

Maybe it's time for the nation in general to voice its dissatisfaction with the government we have saddled ourselves with. Karl Denninger, who is largely credited with coining the phrase "Tea Party" (from his exhortations to mail tea bags to Congress in 2009) if not with being the movement's founder, has come out in favor of the strike scheduled for next week. Read his opinion here: Click Link. He makes a ton of sense.

The Tea Party movement has indeed been hijacked by the intractable wing of the GOP to the point that much of its original message of fiscal responsibility and containment of governmental financial incompetence has been lost. The Occupy movement is quickly becoming a bastion of the fringes of society who would be displeased and anti-whatever no matter what condition the economy was in.

Once again, the people who make the country work have been silenced.

Maybe it's time to take a day and shut it all down.
  • Reject Fox News, CNN, and any major media outlet
  • Generate no taxable income for the government, which pretty much means doing nothing for the day but voicing your unhappiness with your government
  • Generate no commerce for the day to show that the power of the country is still in the hands of those of us who generate commerce
  • Reject any connection to Big Labor, public labor and any other organized group with any political function whatsoever
  • Support the infrastructure of the country by remaining peaceful and community oriented
I am assuming that most of you regular visitors have concluded that I've finally gone over the edge.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

What I am simply saying is that the majority of this country, the people who keep the whole thing up and running, have once again been sheepled by the political extremes and the media. We sit back and watch everyone else decide what's good for us even though we all know we are on a disastrous course. Until we change that apathy, we have no one to blame for the shape of things but ourselves. When the general population takes to the streets the people who are currently guiding the national conversation -- organized labor, disorganized discontented twenty-somethings, semi-organized middle-aged Americans who are tired of the current tax structure -- will quiet down and take notice.

How quickly would the people we have put in power stop muddling around and actually get down to the business of course correction if they realized the citizenry had put themselves back in charge of the whole thing? It would take one day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hey! That Free Food Isn't For You! It's For People Who've Earned It By Pointing Out How Unfair the System Is!

Two important things happened yesterday at Zuccotti Park.

The OWS kitchen staff is getting tired of making meals for the "professional homeless" and recently released prisoners, both of whom have been pretending to be actual, real, protesters in order to grab some grub. Apparently the Zuccotti Park kitchen staff hates it when one group of people doesn't take care of their own needs and then depends on another group of people for their sustenance. It should be noted that the "professional homeless" and recently released prisoners occupied Zuccotti Park long before the current squatters showed up. But, you know, whatever.

I guess no matter where you go there will always be people looking to take advantage of the rainbows and unicorns supplied by another group of well-meaning, fabulously intentioned do-gooders.
“We need to limit the amount of food we’re putting out” to curb the influx of derelicts, said Rafael Moreno, a kitchen volunteer.
A security volunteer added that the cooks felt “overworked and under appreciated.”
Man, I hear them, because that's exactly how I feel.

Read the whole New York Post story here: CLICK LINK.

In a related, and equally ironic story, Occupy Oakland got real mean Tuesday night. Depending on who you listen to it was either the police's fault or the man's fault. According to their take on things, the poor, down-trodden occupiers of said Oakland only behaved in a peaceful and well-intentioned manner, and then the police just, out of nowhere, started beating them and tossing tear gas canisters their way. I hate when I am acting peacefully and the cops just start hitting me with truncheons.

To quote the President, I am sure the police "acted stupidly." Our Dear Leader's "vilify first, think second" philosophy seems to be taking hold across the nation.

Because they were so, just, mad at what happened in Oakland, the Occupy Wall Street crowd headed uptown a bit and blocked traffic in an attempt to goad the police into "acting stupidly." The cops didn't, but ten protesters got arrested.

Truly, the Occupy Something Other Than Your Mom's Basement movement has become a microcosm of society in general: Some people are honest and work hard and some people are not honest and don't work hard.

Class warfare or simplistically blaming the target of your ire will never change that.

Excuse Me, That Homeless Woman Is Messing With My Protest Movement's Feng Shui

I published this picture on October 10, 2011 of a homeless woman sleeping in Washington Square right in the midst of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

I took a ton of flak from some very nasty Leftists and Occupy Wall Street organizers over my comment that while I was there not one protester offered this woman as much as a bottle of water. To me, this picture represents the utter hypocrisy of the movement.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ocean County Freeholder: With Choices Like This, What's the Point of Choosing?

Today we're going to talk about an upcoming election for Freeholder in my home county in New Jersey. Freeholders are unique to New Jersey, because New Jersey purposely sets out to make everything as expensive and inefficient as possible when it comes to matters of government. Freely elected, they sit on boards of from three to nine members. Typically in most counties each Freeholder is put in charge of a particular area of county government as an executive and each member of the board votes on legislative issues. Some counties differ slightly in administration, but in my county, Ocean, that's pretty much the way it works.

There is one seat up for election in November.

Candidate Number 1, Joseph Vicari, the incumbent, has been on the Board since 1981. He is also the superintendent of schools in a municipality in the county. New Jersey has somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 individual school districts which are set up on a town-by-town basis. We do it this way because:
  • it makes things way more expensive which helps keep our property taxes so high no one can afford to live here anymore    
  • it offers employment opportunities at exorbitant salaries for administrators, political hacks and union flunkies
  • it is a completely redundant system with no hope of streamlining or passing cost savings on to the taxpayer, so it's perfect for a corrupt little place like New Jersey
Mr. Vicari, 61, has spent his career in the public sector, first as a school teacher. He receives $97,837 a year from his teaching pension, and $18,500 a year as Superintendent of the Berkeley school system. Mr. Vicari offered to take a reduced salary as Superintendent because I guess in the current fiscal climate all the money he was receiving from the public till made him uncomfortable. The average Superintendent in New Jersey earns $163,000 a year (Source: NJSpotlight). Freeholders in Ocean County earn $50,000 per year, plus benefits. So, that means I pay Mr. Vicari $166,337 per year, which quite frankly is making me broke.

However, Mr. Vicari is also the rare New Jersey politician without a scandal, at least one that we know of. After forty years in public service I would pretty much think whatever skeletons he had in his closet would have gone public by now, so we have to assume Mr. Vicari is clean.

But, I'll have a hard time voting for him again this year because:
  • he's spent too long in public service
  • he's spent thirty years on the Freeholder Board, and quite frankly he can't have the same enthusiasm for the job he once did
  • he's already earning a public salary so he should be (if we lived in a common sense state) prohibited from earning another concurrent public salary
Candidate Number 2, Michelle Rosen, is an adjunct professor at the local community college (a publicly funded institution). She was elected to serve on a township committee in the early 1980s, and has unsuccessfully run for three other county or state offices in the years since. Ms. Rosen declared bankruptcy in 2002, claiming $662,000 in personal debts, and assets of $20 in her checking account and $2,170 in other personal assets. Fifty dollars of her personal assets were her dog. I have two dogs, and trust me, they're worth half that, but they're family so I would never consider them to be an "asset."

Since the 1990s, Ms. Rosen, 64, has also been arrested six times on disorderly persons charges for either passing bad checks or theft of services. She says her financial and arrest issues are "a private matter," and refuses to discuss them.

So here's my choice:
  • I can vote for a triple dipper who has held the same office since 1981. In the interest of full disclosure,  I worked on two of Mr. Vicari's campaigns twenty and twenty-four years ago
  • I can vote for a person who gets arrested for passing bad checks and has run her finances so far into the ground that she listed her dog as an asset
As Bill, a writer from London. England, once cleverly wrote: "There is little choice in a barrel of rotten apples."

In case you haven't guessed yet, Candidate Number 1 is a Republican, and Candidate Number 2 is a Democrat.

Additional information compiled from Asbury Park Press reports, Erik Larsen, Staff Writer.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Subdued Response to the Iraqi Troop Withdrawal

Last week President Obama killed deposed Kook-in-Chief Moammar Khadafy and announced that the war in Iraq was over and we were bringing the troops home.

If we're not paying attention this was all great news and a banner end of another miserable week for the Campaigner-in-Chief.

But let's just get this out of the way first: Obama didn't kill Qaddafi. NATO flushed him out but that's on the efforts of the British and French. If Quaddafy was killed in March, then maybe Obama could tell us he did it. Freedom fighters on the ground offed Gaddafi. Sure Obama put us in the conflict, but the US had nothing to do with what happened to Kadafy. So stop crowing about what a great foreign policy president Obama is. He's not.

Now, let's talk about Iraq.

I'm not a nation-builder, and I'm not interested in sending our troops to ill-defined countries for ill-defined purposes. I'm happy the troops are coming home, but something about the announcement gnawed at me all weekend. Something just didn't seem kosher, if you'll excuse my mixing of Semitic metaphors. Friday afternoon is the time all administrations use to dump unpopular announcements. They're called Friday News Dumps for a reason. The underwhelming response to this overwhelming news was odd. Even Chuck and Dave over at NBC were decidedly lukewarm in their responses to their hero's actions. Why, they almost seemed objective.

Granted, the troop pullout is on the original timeline put in place by the Bush Administration and not the timeline Obama pledged to during the campaign in 2008, but still, why the reticence over the de facto ending of a miserable war most people agree now we should never have entered in the first place?

Approximately 4,500 soldiers have been killed in Iraq since 2003, and now we're taking down our tents and putting our Hummers on transport planes and getting the hell out of there. Iraq doesn't have a functioning government (I guess they're modeling themselves on us), and it's sandwiched between the seething haters that are Syria and Iran. There was no clearly defined "victory" so it was a war we could not win, but this almost seems like retreat to me.

From what I can see we are abruptly leaving Iraq for the following reasons:
  • the Obama Administration (including that annoying woman named Hillary who Obama stuck in the State Department to keep her quiet and who makes fun of our domestic politics on foreign soil) was not able to negotiate immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law for our troops. This is a simple tenet of international policy that was not a request peculiar to this engagement. This is a massive failure for the Administration. One that will have repercussions for decades to come.
  • Obama, always the campaigner, needed something for his base. The Occupy Wall Street movement has become an embarrassment, along with the economy and the American Jobs Act, so in a desperate attempt to at least get the far Left to vote for him, Obama hastily and without thought removed the only stability Iraq (and the region) has.
A year from now, the Middle East is going to look remarkably different than it does to today because of this decision. That's not a good thing. The Republican candidates for President better get their geography straight because you guys (and girl) just got handed two things:
  1. The Presidency
  2. A worse global situation in terms of our relations in the Middle East than we have today
If I am wrong I will be the first to admit it, but I offer Vietnam, the Korean Peninsula and Eastern Europe as all the proof I need that harsh and immediate troop withdrawals are not the way to sustain peace.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Around the World in 80 Trades

Everything we do, and I mean everything, is the result of a trade. So let's just admit it and get on with the trading.

Except for being embarrassed by our parents and other family members, mankind's personal interactions have always been driven by two things:
  1. "Hey, what say we go over behind that rock and cuddle? Trust me, I'm not like all the other guys you see hanging around the cave. Plus afterward, I'll go kill us something to eat."
  2. "The old cavelady is complaining about my hunting skills. She says the little troglodytes are cold and hungry. How 'bout we trade some of these fine Sabre-tooth Tiger teeth I have for some of those Wooly Mammoth hides and shank steaks?"
You can occupy Wall Street or the basement of your mom's house all you want, but eventually you're going to trade something you have for something you want. You, my friend, are a Capitalist. Whether you admit it to yourself or not.

That being said, I really dislike television. Well, I love the concept of television and the way it lets me waste all that time between dinner and bedtime. But, I don't like to watch other people get murdered, or even the solving of said repugnancy. I'm also not interested in dull comedies that pretend they are funny while they insult me. Pretty much when one of my teams' games isn't televised my life sucks. Except for this neat little gem of a TV show I found last night called Around the World in 80 Trades. Check your local listings.

Conor Woodman, in the Sudan,
finds he is not such a good camel trader
It's a couple of years old but a lot of things around me are older than that, so, whatever. Basically, the show is about a smug British guy who was a commodities trader in London (who doesn't love smug British guys, except maybe smug French guys?).  He quits his job, sells his flat (I like to call them 'apartments') and takes his liquidity to trade for things for profit as he travels around the world. This is a fascinating look at the third or fourth most basic human function, and I am riveted by it.

It is a fascinating look at travel, culture and the basic need we all have to get something we want by giving away something we have, with the hope of making a little extra in the process.

What I mostly take from this is the realization that Information Age humans are completely disconnected from what makes life fun and interesting. It's the one-to-one relationships we develop in our daily efforts to survive and better our lot in life that makes life interesting and fulfilling. Sitting in traffic after arguing with the wife about who paid the electric bill and then sitting in a cube hoping the next eight hours of your life will pass by so you can go home and watch re-runs of "Friends" is probably not what we were put here for. The same might be said for camping out in a city park because you have nothing else to do and well, everything sucks anyway.

I'd give you the link to watch the shows for free but I'm not a fan of free content on the Internet. Instead, here's the link to the BBC homepage for the show: CLICK HERE. I'll just assume you'll do a Google search and find the free content yourself.

Check it out you little closet Capitalist you, you might be amazed at what you are missing (metaphorically and entertainment-wise).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Arab Spring Eight Months Later

Reports coming from the pro-Gaddafi stronghold of Sirt in Libya is that Moammar Gaddafi was killed earlier this morning. Most major news outlets have confirmed this, and I have seen photographs that purport to be from Sirt that show an obviously dead Gaddafi.

But, like, everything else in the Middle East, only time well tell.

The experts are tripping over each other trying to get their opinions about how horrible, or how wonderful, all of this is going to turn out, in the near future, or many years from now. I'm not sure which. Actually, no one knows the first thing about how things in the Middle East are going to turn out -- not even the people in the Middle East. But there are two basic Western schools of thought you can count on:
  1. If the person opining is a Conservative, the entire region from Morocco to Afghanistan is going to become one very nasty and hard-to-be-neighborly-with Islamist state that will eventually kill us all
  2. If the person opining is a Liberal, happy days are here again, except death is bad, but in the end, everything is going to be like an animated Disney film, replete with a sexy but oppressed princess, a scurrilous but pure street urchin, a monkey and Robin Williams acting manic like usual.
The reality is that likely neither of the above will come true, but if I had to bet on one, it wouldn't be Item #2.

So here's where the Arab Spring stands, eight months later:
  • Tunisia: The health officer that slapped the fruit vendor who immolated himself and set the whole thing in motion has come out with her side of the story (Reality-based Libertarianism October 19, 2011). It clarified absolutely nothing, but it does put focus on the incredible chasm between the government and the people of Tunisia
  • Libya: Now the fun begins. Will the Transitional National Council keep its ties to the West or will Fundamentalist factions within Libya further the civil war to gain control of the country? Is the TNC truly pro-western, in spite of the many jihadists within its ranks? Will Gaddafi's two fatwahs against America be withdrawn? Will the Libyan people continue to suffer grievously while those in power figure out what to do next?
  • Egypt: It is glaringly obvious the the Egyptian Revolution was an abject failure. Women, foreigners and anti-military protesters are all still being oppressed, and in the case of Coptic Christians -- killed. All the Egyptian people did was lop off the head (Mubarak) of the beast (the Army) which simply allowed the beast to increase its martial power over the people.
  • Yemen: The US government is snacking in bed with President Saleh and his brutal regime. Maybe that's a good thing for us, maybe it's not. But it's certainly not a good thing for the people of Yemen. Expect this to end badly for everyone but Saleh in the short term.
  • Bahrain: We have a Navy base (NSA Bahrain) in Manama, and Bahrain is considered the linchpin of our interests in the Middle East. Dictator King Khalifah is every bit as brutal -- if not more so -- than any other dictator in the region. The difference is, he just likes to terrorize his  own people, within his own borders. (See Reality-based Libertarianism April 20, 2011). This will be a protracted fight until Saudi Arabia either annexes Bahrain or the House of Saud falls.
  • Saudi Arabia: Personally, my estimation is most of the trouble in the region comes from one of two places, this is the first. Stop the political non-sense here at home, drill for oil and natural gas and put the Saudis as close to out-of-business as possible. Then watch the Middle East change direction drastically.
  • Syria: Assad is a homicidal and genocidal maniac and the world will be shocked when it eventually learns how many Syrians have been killed during the unrest there. Again, Assad is only killing his own people so it's easy for the West to stick their hands in their pockets and shrug as they walk away. We can't be the world's policeman, but we shouldn't forget what is taking place in Syria.
  • Iraq: In spite of the fact that two of the most hated presidents in the last ten years have their fingerprints all over this place, Iraq just might be our best hope for lasting peace in the region. That being said, it's time to force the Iraqis into coalescing their government so we can bring our kids home.
  • Iran: Yeah, well, this is just not going to go well. Iran is one of two state sponsors of idiocy in the region (see Saudi Arabia). The West needs to understand, quickly, that war is not only inevitable here, it's the only thing the Iranian regime will understand. In 2008, President Obama seriously blew the best opportunity any president since Reagan has had to help topple Ahmadinejad's regime from within. That will most certainly come back to haunt us all.  
  • Afghanistan: No Western power is ever going to solve the problem of Afghanistan. Pull out, protect our own blood and treasure, and blockade the place with a Kevlar curtain. Pretty much you can throw Pakistan in there too.
It's not pretty, but we've committed ourselves to the region over years of horrendous foreign policy. We have no choice but to engage and get smart. We need an Administration that is well-equipped and well-versed on the region to protect ourselves and possibly help spread freedom to the people of the region. Forget money and oil, we need to rediscover who we were before we helped totally screw up the place.

Unconfirmed But Reliable Reports That Deposed Libyan Dictator Killed This Morning

WARNING: Graphic. Click for another photograph of Moammar Gaddafi confirming his death. (Courtesy @SamWaddah and @Al Arabiya)

Unconfirmed cell phone photograph of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi taken shortly after his capture.

Photo Courtesy of Global Post.
Photographer: Philippe Desmazes
Copyright/Source: AFP/Getty Images

Raw video from Russia Today film crew in Sirte: CLICK FOR LINK.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Are You Ready For Some (Political) Football? The CNN Debate

I watched the CNN GOP debate last night for a little bit. Like I've said before, there's just not enough new political ground to be tilled on a weekly basis. It makes good theater, and even better soundbites, but as far as good government? Not so much. The opening montage was more befitting ESPN's Monday Night Football than a debate about serious political issues. Packaging trumps policy. Style trumps substance. Meanwhile, we sit there and watch and think we are contributing somehow. Right thinking people (I mean people who think properly) everywhere should be concerned about this.

But, the MSM runs the country and if they want games, then let there be games.

I'll keep this short, winners to losers:
  1. Newt Gingrich: Head and shoulders above the rest, there is no arguing that (as long as we're talking about governing and policy matters). Trending: Up
  2. Mitt Romney: He's got lots of weaknesses (chief among them being an East Coast Republican), but he's got a lot of strengths too. Trending: Marginally Up
  3. Herman Cain: Withstanding the attacks fairly well, but his complete lack of depth on matters of foreign policy are becoming painfully evident. I am sticking with my endorsement, but I'm going to need more than what I am getting. Trending: Down
  4. Michelle Bachmann: She actually seemed a little less shrill and a little more important last night. Still a long way to go. Trending: A teensy-weensy-little-bit Up
  5. Rick Perry: He placed fifth just because the other two were so bad I couldn't justify anything lower for the Rickster. There's just something about him that is plastic and thin of substance. Might it be his plasticity and thinness of substance?
  6. Ron Paul: Herman Cain could teach him a thing or two about foreign policy. That's not a good thing.
  7. Rick Santorum: There is just something monumentally unlikeable (and untrustworthy) about him. He's just got one of those personalities that kills off any redeeming quality he might have.
Anderson Cooper was smarmy and superior as usual, but he wasn't bad as a moderator at all.

Now let's talk about the real problem.

I've rooted for the New Orleans Saints since I was a little kid, something that is not easy to do in the land of Big Blue and Gang Green. I identify with my team. I love everything about my team. When someone on my team acts like a jerk I look the other way. They're my team. Your team sucks. When my team loses I make excuses. When they win, I call you up at midnight and make fun of you. I am a sports fan.

America is sports crazed. America is politics crazed. America has blurred the line between sports and politics. Now that we are using political debate to sell soap we are in real danger of losing the ability to discern between the good and bad of those we fundamentally disagree with. This will only further the divide between us, which will eventually push one side off the cliff. Don't think that's a good thing...because we're tied together. When one side goes off the other will quickly follow.

Politics is not sports my friends. Politics is the pathway to the future we leave our children. America needs to grow up and understand this. Now.

The Health Officer Who Sparked the Tunisian Revolution Speaks Out

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Got Your Down Twinkles Right Here

As many of you know, I have been fascinated with the Occupy Wall Street movement for like a week or something. But, as only some of you may know* I actually wanted the Occupy Wall Street movement to do something, to change things, to be a force for good in the political discourse of our country. I was rooting for the movement to have substance. I also root for the Knicks.

If you are a committed Leftist, Statist, hippy, agorist, communist, socialist, labor union dude, college student, college professor, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat, Eric Boehlert follower, or Rachel Maddow's hairstylist, please see the second note right before the video before continuing.

* - I am referring only to people who actually read this blog, as opposed to the myriad Leftist haters who have been slogging me non-stop with hate mail who obviously don't have a clue what the hell they are talking about.

** - Stop reading now, because you are very likely not going to get the satire which will cause you to then waste my time by tweeting me with inanity only to get intellectually ass-kicked by me before you block me. I am biased. I'm okay with that. I am biased against superciliousness, stupidity and people trying to be something they are not.

Okay kids, let's walk through the Seven Basic Hand Signals:
  1. Twinkles: "This is to show agreeance to something." Now I never lived on a commune, and ever since I was a little kid I've found hippies kind of amusing, but I have to say I find it hard to believe that America's labor unions and the American Nazi Party -- who have both come out in favor of the OWS movement -- will ever use twinkles.
  2. Down Twinkles: The first time I ever heard the term "down Twinkles" was many years ago when I had a friend who had a Yorkshire Terrier that used to hump my leg whenever I would visit her, but I haven't heard it since. I'm thinking the next time my boss asks me to work late I will give him "down twinkles."
  3. Direct Response: This means there is critical information missing. Up until Occupy Wall Street came along and fixed everybody's wagon, we would just say "what the hell are you talking about?"
  4. Clarifying Question: This means "there is a question I need to have answered before the process can continue." I have a question...why can't I just raise my hand and ask my question? Why do I have to make a hand signal that looks amazingly like an obscene gesture punks in the Seventies would make at the police?
  5. Point of Process: This little triangle you are now making with your hands means I have gotten off the process. There was also another meaning to this that I learned many years ago working in Lower Manhattan but I'm not going to tell you what it is. Why can't I just say, "ummm excuse me, you're rambling or off-point or I need to clarify something or something? Where the hell is Vestman? I'm confused."
  6. Wrap It Up: Means "you've been rambling." That probably comes in handy when you're hanging out occupying things with the Columbia U graduate student with the trust fund set up by grandad who also tried to stow away on a flight at JFK by hopping the ticket counter. (Warning: offensive language, drug use and chronic stupidity), or right after you've just smoked a blunt with a communist and you need to go to the kitchen area for some Screaming Yellow Zonkers.
  7. Raise the Roof: Vestman actually said this with a straight face. Sometimes when I can't hear someone I politely say "I can't hear you." But most times I'm just happy I don't have to listen to them and I just stand there with a high school graduation picture grin on my face.
Now, if someday there is an Occupy New Jersey movement we will need the following additional hand signals:
  1. Fugheddaboutit: This is a silent way to ax the person with the clarifying question who needs to wrap it up "what are you freaking stupid?"
  3. Hey Stunad! You Annoy the Crap Out of Me!: This gesture is used when you've tried the Wrap It Up Gesture but the guy with the "Fear the Illuminati" sign just won't yield the floor so we can vote on whether to have bean sprouts or tofu with our Hard Lemonade apertifs.
    Hey Stunad! You Annoy
    the Crap Out of Me
  5. The Maloik: Sometimes called the 'evil eye,' this sign is basically just a way to ward off bad luck, but if you want to put a spell on me for giving you down twinkles because I think you are childish and unserious, go right ahead.

The Maloik. Please note, west of New Jersey
this is often called the Hook 'em Horns sign. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Wonder Whose Kid Mr. Deutsch Hopes Will Get Shot In Order to Give His Pet Movement It's "Moment?"

Donny Deutsch, who's name I am constantly in fear of mis-spelling, is the chairman of Deutsch Inc. He is also the guy NBC trots out whenever they need to trot out a middle-aged know-it-all who is able to pontificate on matters NBC thinks I should be thinking.

In the video clip below Mr. Deutsch says the Tea Party "repulses" him and the Occupy Wall Street movement needs to "grow up." Oh yeah, he also says the OWS movement needs a "climax of class warfare" that results in a "Kent State moment."

If you still need more proof about the agenda of NBC News, then I know a park in lower Manhattan you need to go camping in.

Well, that got your blood boiling didn't it? Deutsch is most definitely a... he's a... dope, but he's a powerful and influential dope.

I thought it might be helpful to contrast and compare the Tea Party with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Ten Things the Tea Party stands for:
  1. Lower taxes
  2. Governmental fiscal responsibility
Ten Things Occupy Wall Street stands for:
  1. Wall Street sucks
  2. Corporate greed sucks
  3. The Tea Party sucks
  4. You suck
  5. Mom and Dad suck
  6. College sucks
  7. The police suck
  8. Republicans suck
  9. The financial system sucks
  10. Everybody sucks
Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat Party, NBC News and college professors everywhere are all rooting for the Occupy Wall Street movement because it's not the Tea Party (See Item #3).

If you are standing firm behind the philosophy and ideology of the OWS movement let me remind you exactly what its cheerleaders like Donny Deutsch are rooting for:

Shout out to WeaselZippers for dredging this video nugget of Left Wing sophistry up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Week In Review: Occupy Wall Street Edition

In some of the many hate messages I received this week I was accused of having a "bias" and of "being snarky" -- so much so that one anonymous Occupy Wall Street organizer suggested I change my last name to "Snarkey." I didn't have the heart to tell her that no one really uses that term anymore, it's so two-thousands.

First of all the my two favorite things about myself are my bias and what some like to call my snarkiness. But to combat that perception of me in my endless fight to be loved by all the people, I will now post the rest of the best of my pictures from Zuccotti Park with no editorializing whatsoever.
Egyptian ex-pats march down Broadway to Zuccotti Park

Zuccotti Park

On bronze statue at Zuccotti Park

Washington Square

Washington Square

The Freedom Tower rises up
over Washington Square

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Dartmouth GOP Economic Debate

Here's a quick overview of how the candidates fared at last night's Economic Debate held at Dartmouth College and televised by Bloomberg.

The format was a welcome change and helped some of the candidates really push their message while it hurt others. The production values and moderators were so amateurish I thought I was watching some local access cable television program, so, enough said on that.

In order of finish:
  1. Mitt Romney: Like him or not, he won this debate hands down. He was good on facts, responses and that indefinable quality -- gravitas. The obvious animus between Mitt and Rick is working in Mitt's favor. Trending: Up
  2. Newt Gingrich: Now that he's stopped being combative his true strengths are surfacing once again. The fact that he's channeled his earlier churlishness into some good old-fashioned directness should make Newt a force to reckon with. Calling Congress "stupid" was the best line of the night. Trending: Up
  3. Herman Cain: In real danger of becoming a one-trick pony with his constant 9-9-9 messaging. While I understand marketing, Mr. Cain needs to show his complete depth of knowledge lest he be accused of having no depth at all. It was fun to see Cain respond to attacks though, and it shows that at least in the minds of some of the other candidates, Cain is a front-runner. Trending: Flat
  4. Ron Paul: Seriously. When it comes to matters of economics, there is no one better than Ron Paul, at least to this libertarian free-marketeer. This debate did his image good too. He can't win but I sure would love to see him as Secretary of Treasury. Trending: Up
  5. Rick Santorum: The angry politician act is starting to wear thin. He's struggling so he has no other viable strategy (in his mind) than to be in constant attack mode, which will only make him struggle more. He has become a one-trick attack pony, and there is nothing more annoying than an attack pony. Trending: Down
  6. Michelle Bachmann: This is where it gets really tricky. There is a dead-heat for last place, but I have to do better than just scoring them in a tie. Turning Cain's 9-9-9 into 6-6-6 as some sort of Fundamentalist scare tactic was just stupid. She had no answer of any import, but her hair looked great, so I put her in sixth. Her forced laugh at Huntsman's "price of a pizza" line about Cain's 9-9-9 plan gave me those special chills with that special name I won't name here. Trending: Flatline
  7. Jon Huntsman: His hair was not as good as Bachmann's but it was better than Perry's. There is an old adage: Comedy is best left to the funny. Huntsman is not funny but his constant attempts to prove he is are simply, well, not funny. "I thought it was the price of a pizza." Dope. Trending: Flatline
  8. Rick Perry: There was a shot of Romney answering a question about something hard with Perry in the background. He looked like a hearing person at a sign language convention. He also didn't seem even slightly interested in being there. I think Governor Perry is finding out that national politics is tough. Trending: Stick a Fork in Him   

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Part X: So What Exactly Did I Learn?

So, there you have it. Occupy Wall Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon in October. Let's take a look at some of the pics and people who didn't make the cut.

This picture pretty much sums it all up for me. The signbearer said she was directing it to the "thieves on Wall Street." The irony was just to much for my tiny little head to handle so I didn't engage her further.

In case you sometimes need to be hit with a hammer to get a point, she was not directing her sign at people who receive entitlements. Get it? I had a big plan to write my opinions on what I saw, but seriously, this picture is worth a thousand words.

Zuccotti Park was clean and I saw no
signs of any public urination or defecation.
But then again, this was a Saturday afternoon
and the police presence was huge. 

Hippies gotta eat, especially when them munchies start acting up.

He calls himself Captain Student Loan. Somehow
his decision to get the Masters without a
job are now everyone's problem.

I wonder if Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats
actually know who they are supporting when they
laud the movement?

Most ironic of all, a homeless person sleeps on a bench in
Washington Square in the standard NYC avoidance zone
of sleeping homeless people. Ignored by the protesters
the entire time I was in the park, I did not witness anyone
share with her the plentiful food and water that was available
 as part of the cooperative movement, nor did I witness any signs
of compassion for her from the assembled multitude. 

So, like I asked in the title, what exactly did I learn?

I learned exactly what I hoped I wouldn't learn when I started out.

Occupy Wall Street Part IX: This Protest Movement Even Has Its Own Catholic Priest, Just Like When I Was A Kid

Frs. Brian H. (l) and Stuart S. (r)
head up a "non-traditional" church in White Plains. 
As we near the end of our journey its nice to see that some things never change. The Occupy Wall Street movement even came repleat with its own Catholic priest just like back in the Sixties. No good anarcho-confusion protest movement is complete without one. Giving in to the passage of time and the good sense acquired after that Catholic priest to anarchists and hippies everywhere, Father Daniel Berrigan, wound up on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted List, our Catholic priest is more, shall we say, like a banker or insurance agent.

I started the interview by asking if I could ask a few questions, and then we were off.

Stuart: All of our systems are collapsing and the choice will be cooperate with others, form cooperatives, just two people, five people, ten people to solve problems. You know, all the issues, whatever concerns you, cancer, fracking, nuclear energy, Indian Point (Ed. Note: Indian Point is a nuclear facility about 50 miles north of New York City and we're all going to die), these are all issues that people have. And there are organizations, go join an organization if you want to join one. But really to get to the grass roots level people will begin to organize around issues, because the systems are interested in self-preservation. The end justifies the means. Every system is more concerned about its own survival than it is about truth, or about love, or about change or about what we need to be concerned with. To me Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and to me that [message] has really been killed in our society. Our education dumbs you down, religion dumbs you down, politicians. It's all about money and power so if you don't want to be dumbed down you have to make choices and distinctions.

We jumped off and I asked what Brian did for a living and he said he was a priest. He then said he was at one time a Catholic Worker and explained that the CW movement, a pacifo-anarchist movement, or "personalist," found that their philosophy didn't work. We then talked a little about anarchy, minarchy and libertarianism.

Stuart: Ron Paul was asked a question about some college kid who couldn't get healthcare and he said "well, so what? That's his problem." The problem is how do you change? If everyone was living responsibly then everyone could be anarchists, everyone could be libertarian. Which is the question always for libertarians, how are you going to regulate the crooks without force? (Ed. note: I don't know, but I'm working on it, but for now I'll settle with minarchism) There always has to be some form of state. Which as our system collapses, first we're in a state of fascism but after that you would hope for some cooperation between people. If everyone lived responsibly we wouldn't have these issues. Eventually you have to face the spiritual. The liberals are devoid of any kind of spiritual center.

With that a really horrible group of musicians playing some brass and an overly loud bass drum walked by and our interview ended. Brian was my last interview and I was glad for that. He made sense even though he was envisioning a world we both know will never exist.

It takes all kinds to occupy Wall Street, some are delusional, some are naive, some are stoned, some are rich little college kids, some are labor union operatives, and some are idealists. I for one was disappointed in what I saw and heard and claims to the contrary, I learned that this movement may have started organically, but it will soon be driven by money and propaganda. 

Occupy Wall Street Part VIII: One Doctor Says Eliminate Private Health Insurance and Our Problems will Go Away

At Washington Square I spoke with a doctor who is a general practitioner in New York City. When I first interviewed him I was struck by both his passion and his compassion, but as I listened back to the interview all I really heard was, well, you're smart, you'll figure it out.

Me: What are some of the concerns that brought you here today?
Dan: We have a couple of concerns in our practice. We work with a lot of young families starting out and we see a lot of them losing their jobs, losing their health insurance, and maybe nothing impacts people's lives like losing jobs or their health insurance. Especially young people, in their twenties and thirties trying to get started, have really lost opportunities.

Dr. Dan G.
I just wondered when he came upon the 99% number.
Me: How do you feel about the new healthcare reform as it starts to get phased in?
Dan: It's certainly a very mixed thing. The US has hundreds of thousands of people go bankrupt with medical bills every year and certainly people deserve some security from going bankrupt if they develop cancer or they have a heart attack. It's very quickly [after] a person develops an illness that hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills can come due, and for a lot of people their insurance may cover [them], it may not. So alot of it is as a society that we choose not give everyone security if something catastrophic happens.

Me: Are we failing at making health insurance available to people?
Dan: Anyone can go buy health insurance but you may need ten or fifteen thousand dollars to buy it. I think there's been very little success in private medical insurance. As a system really it's not worked well in any society. In the US it's been very effective in making things very expensive and certainly in promoting a lot of high-tech procedures that may or may not be beneficial, as we've certainly just seen with the PSA test. Urologists generate a lot of bills, a lot of money and a lot of procedures, and they certainly have a strong lobby now to help them sustain those things.

Me: As a doctor if you had the opportunity to fix the system, where would you focus first? Health insurance? Tort reform? Or some other area?
Dan: Well I don't see where private for-profit insurance has been an effective model, so I think public health insurance has been effective in almost every capitalist country in the world. People who have a lot of resources do okay in the current system, but people who are in the one percent who get sick generate all the costs.

I cannot disagree with him on the bulk of what he says, but his assertion that the public sector is the panacea to our healthcare problems is simply naive and misdirected.

I pressed him further on health reform, being very careful to not refer to it as Obamacare or to state my feelings on it (extreme horribleness), but other than a cat-who-ate-the-canary smile when he first said it was a "mixed thing" the good doctor was not straying from his monologue on health insurance and following the European or Canadian model.

Occupy Wall Street Part VII: My Head Explodes Trying to Keep Up

After Pat M., I spoke with Evan P. who is a farmer and glassblower currently living in Grafton, New Hampshire. To help keep your own personal head from exploding as you read this, I'll give you some facts up front.

Evan requested his picture not be taken, but this was his sign.
Agorism is a political philosophy that espouses black market capitalism and no government, basing all transactions between individuals. Usually referred to as Anarcho-Capitalism, agorism is a wing of libertarianism that is closest to full-on anarchy. The main difference between anarchy and agorism is the use of capitalist transactions (in the latter) as opposed to bartering and market cooperation (in the former).

Me: So the first thing you said to me is that you hoped I was not from the Libertarian Party. Why?
Evan: Because Libertarians are trying to run people's lives. I'm an Agorist.

Me: How quickly do you want change?
Evan: I don't know what you mean.
Me: There are no jobs, the economy is in the tank. How quickly do you see change?
Evan: Well, everything is always changing.
Me: How quickly do you see the change that you want?
Evan: Well, I'm making it right now.

Me: Change takes time. As a libertarian I want to gradually change the system so that the government plays a lesser role in everyone's lives.
Evan: Is that what the Libertarian Party wants? I thought they wanted to, like, rule people's lives.
Me: I don't know if you know what libertarians are then.
Evan: Not libertarians, the Libertarian Party. I've read their platform, well I read the one before they revised it and fucked it up and then I read the new one and its much worse than the old one. They want to become part of the government instead of withdrawing from it and stopping funding for it. We don't have to get involved [with the government] we just have to stop holding it up. We don't have to fight to push it over we just have to stop holding it up and it will collapse under its own weight. We have to build a counter-economy. We have to build underground economies and build the kind of society we want to live in now with peaceful voluntary sustainable alternatives. I think agorism is applicable no matter where we are, [at] any peaceful voluntary interaction. Right now we are peacefully and voluntarily interactiing so right now between us there exists a state of anarchy. If a cop came up and started interfering between us then there would be statism involved. But right now anywhere where the enforcers aren't there is anarchy. We are already most of the way there.

Me: Okay. That works on a one-to-one scale.
Evan: Everything is on an individual scale.
Me: So how do you handle the individuals who don't support your right to interact freely and peacefully?
Evan: Well, I don't support them. I would withdraw my funding from them.
Me: How do you handle the individual who is just going to take what's yours because he wants it?
Evan: Well as individuals we all have the right to defend ourselves. We have the right to organize into a group.
Me: Which then becomes a state.
Evan: Not if its voluntary.

Me: Sum up the root of what you believe in one word.
Evan: Love.
Me: What about in those instances where love does not exist?
Evan: Where does love not exist?
Me: I'll take you to some places a few blocks from here tonight where love does not exist.
Evan: Let's spread love all over the place until its everywhere then.

Remember when you lived in the Seventies and you would go to parties and everybody talked like this? I wonder if the Democrat Party will still hitch their donkey cart to the Occupy Wall Street movement after hearing Evan talk about hoping the government collapses under its own weight?

Patrick G. and Dave U. are living
the communal life in Poughkeepsie,
Next I visited with three guys from Poughkeepsie, New York, who live on a commune. Well sort of. The guy on the right has a wife (and I think a kid, but the recording became unintelligible as he explained his family situation), and the guy with the tape on his mouth doesn't. The guy on the left (striped shirt just out of frame) was pretty much incoherent so I couldn't grasp what his deal was. They were living an agorist agrarian life of farming and living off the land without cash or being part of the economy.

When I asked them how they put a roof over their heads they reluctantly admitted that someone was paying the rent on the converted garage they were sharing. They also eventually admitted that someone was paying their car expenses because "you gotta get around."

Their political philosophy is "spiritual" and they feel the root of all of our current problems is a "lack of compassion."

They're not leeching off of me as far as I know, but they are dependent on someone else for support. They're also not contributing much to the society they live in.

I've tried to be as objective as possible in compiling my reports. My mind was open and I was hoping to find a coherent philosophical movement as arrived at Zuccotti Park on Saturday. I take everything I hear from the MSM with a grain of salt so I wanted to learn for myself. Listening back to the recordings I made, I am confident my objectivity is intact.

Tune in. Turn on. Drop out. At least until the puppet-masters in the Democrat Party grab on to you to help them form their version of the Tea Party.

Occupy Wall Street Part VI: UAW In the House

Pat M., a 73 year-old retired UAW worker who also served in the US Army drove down from Quebec to take part in the Occupy Wall Street demonstration. Pat is French-Canadian by birth, but spent his working years in the US.

Me: You drove down here specifically for this?
Pat: Yes, 100 percent.

Me: So why are you here?
Pat: I'm here basically to let the public know, to let the public be more aware, that the 1% is paying the taxes. There's too many loop holes and they don't pay their fair share of this economy. Wall Street has gobbled up all the 401Ks, all the pensions that the people had and now they're trying to privatize Social Security so the money will end up on Wall Street.

Me: You worked for GM for twenty-five years. Did you retire or were you laid off?
Pat: I retired.

Me: Is your plant still in operation?
Pat: No, the plant closed in Tarrytown. There used to be one in Framingham, Mass [sic], Mahwah, Linden. They're all gone.

Me: Who would you blame for the closing of those plants, GM or the Federal government?
Pat: Probably both. The government took their tax breaks and opened up plants overseas. I mean...we should do the building here. The Buick Century was [built] in Tarrytown, they took the Century and moved it to Mexico, and at the dealership it was the same price.

Me: How did you feel about GM taking money from the government?
Pat: I think it's a good thing. They paid the money back, they hired a lot of people, and they let the money flow a little bit. Our Region 9 covers New England, New York state and Puerto Rico. Our Region [9A] Director Julie Kushner was here yesterday.

Me: How much influence are the unions having on this protest?
Pat: I think they're just getting on board now. They took a little time to get on board, but I think it's a movement that's going to grow.

Me: And you think that's a good thing?
Pat: I think it's a good thing. It's not going to hurt anybody. Most of these people here, they are out of work, or hurting, or believe in the cause. They're not here just by accident.

I tried to press Pat further on the financial and operative support the UAW might be offering the demonstrators but the answer invariably came back to 'people are hurting' and 'they believe in the cause.' He did give me his business card though.

Between the business card and the fact that regardless of which way I steered the conversation Pat steered it back in the direction he wanted it to go, I'd surmise that Pat wasn't there by accident either.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Part V: He Was A Leftist Until I Explained to Him He Wasn't A Leftist

I ran across David M., from the "Hudson Valley" in New York, sitting on a wall at Zuccotti Park. As I mentioned it's the content of the signs that intrigue me more than the general appearance of the person. I was a dopey malcontent not too long ago, and frankly if you were to ask my wife she'd say she was surprised to hear I used the word 'was.' But regardless of that, I've been waiting for a few years for kids to take their discontent out to the street and the fact that they don't see things as I see them doesn't scare me.

David M. from New York. Like most of
the people at Zuccotti park he was just
sitting and waiting to be interviewed.

On the bottom right of his sign are the words "Dead Prez." 

Me: So I get the big words but what do the little words in the corner mean?
David: It's a music group.

Me: So what's that got to do with the rest of your sign?
David: It's the name of one of the albums. The whole album is about self-reliance, umm, like, anti-politics and pretty much discipline. All about self improvement I would say. Ed Note: Dead Prez is an American hip-hop duo who have been around for about fifteen years.

Me: Okay, cool. So, do you consider yourself on the Left or on the Right of this whole issue right now?
David: I'm a Leftist.

Me: Okay, but, you listen to music that talks about self-reliance and political freedom and so on and so forth. I'm a libertarian so you would think I'm on the completely other end of the spectrum from you wouldn't you?
David: Ahhh, I don't. I mean I have Leftist views but...

Me: What libertarians believe is 'leave us alone and let us do our own thing. I don't need help.' Would you agree with that?
David: Yeah I would agree with that.
Me: Right, so you're really closer to what I believe than what a Leftist would believe, because the farther you go to the Left the more you're relying on someone else to do your thing for you. 
David: Right, I just think we should be left alone to take care of ourselves.

IBEW Union Guy Sitting Next to David: I have a sticker on my hardhat that says "I refuse to give up any more of my freedom."
Me: But that's a paradox because you already gave up some freedom to your union.

With that the IBEW Union Guy Sitting Next to David proceeded to filibuster for ten minutes about how labor unions were doing something that had to do with labor and greedy corporations and getting a fair slice of the pie from the man but there's no work because of things that management are doing and his union gives him free health care and a pension or something but there's so much regulation that his specialty doesn't exist anymore or it's over-regulated or something. I don't really know because I kind of checked out and started thinking about getting a slice of pizza right after I heard the word 'freedom' and saw the IBEW patch on his shirt.

Here's the point, David is all about doing things with discipline and morality. He's all about being a rugged individualist and not depending on others. He's a libertarian but he just doesn't know it because all of his life it has been explained to him that being on the Left is the only proper side to be on. I have a hard time believing David does not have company.

Again, we need to stop dismissing a good portion of these people and we need to start embracing their desire for change. Because with a little education there are not many people who will disagree with what we stand for -- as long as we overcome the constant drone of the MSM, labor unions and Democrat party.

There's a lot of people who don't want to be on the Left, they've just not been given a viable alternative.

Occupy Wall Street Part IV: The Real Problem is the Federal Reserve

As I walked around Zuccotti Park I encountered people of all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds and political affiliations. Well, that is if you only count Democrats, union sympathizers and that wonderful new brand of political animal the No Labels person.

No Labels people dislike the Leftists and Statists as much as any other clear-thinking person does, but they're just too burned out from all that dancing at all of those Phish concerts back in college to admit that horrible Right Wingers are not just mean old white men who support Michelle Malkin and Herman Cain to cover their inherent racism. Or something, I'm not really sure.

That's when I met Terri. She came across as extremely knowledgeable and coherent. Even though Terri didn't want to be "pigeon-holed" she was basically either a Constitutionalist or a Libertarian. Actually, she was far enough over to the Right that the next time we see her she may be holed up in a shack in Montana with 350 rounds of ammuntion and a four year supply of baked beans and Spam. Lucky for sheriff's officers and ATF agents west of Butte, she either doesn't know this about herself or is afraid to admit it.

Terri F., from Allentown, PA.
has a theory about the Federal Reserve.
Me: Why are you here?
Terri: I think that we're not focused enough here. I mean it's all well and good to put up a sign that says "End War" and something funny about Ronald Reagan, but the real issue is that in 1913 our country died when a secret session of Congress turned over the power of the reserve to a private cartel basically. The most evil cartel on the planet made up of five families. * See Note at the Bottom.

Me: Would you consider yourself on the Left or on the Right?
Terri: I'm in the middle.

Me: Would you consider yourself a moderate? Moderates don't usually come out with signs.
Terri: I don't want to be pigeon-holed. I'm a human being. I'm a mother. I had to tell my three teenagers 'don't even bother thinking about college.' You know? I work full time. I'm doing my best and I'm frustrated.

Me: We're being told that this is an anti-corporaion movement, but from what you just explained to me you feel corporations are not the cause of the problem.
Terri: Well, I don't think capitalism is the enemy at all. I think it has to do with our money losing its value. I don't have a problem with corporations, corporations employ me. You know? I'm able to put food on my table and a roof over my head and get health insurance for my family. I don't think that's the real issue.

She nails it on the head with her take on corporate culpability, but to tell her kids not to bother with their own futures because she is frustrated borders on child abuse. It certainly isn't the way Americans used to think about things. I also can't get past the whole Jekyll Island thing. Obviously Terri is paying attention, unfortunately not to reality.

Why am I wasting your time with these interviews? Because these are the people Nancy Pelosi has offered her support to and these are the people the MSM is trying to get you to believe are the folks behind the new push to rid the country of the Tea Party and all of you mean rotten and selfish Right Wingers.

We dismiss this at our own political peril.

* Note at the Bottom: She is referring to the 1913 meeting on Jekyll island, Georgia, between several prominent bankers and industrialists who formed the first Federal Reserve as a result of the 1907 bank panic. Conspiracy theorists claim the 1907 bank panic was manipulated by these rich white men so the Federal Reserve could be formed and that these "five families of the Federal Reserve" still run things today. According to them, all of the problems in the US in the past 100 years are a direct result of the manipulation of the Board of Governors of the Reserve including: the Great Depression, the Kennedy assassination and Barack Obama. Like any other good conspiracy, this one has been debunked by actual sane people but the CT's never seem to care about that. For more information do a Google search but be forewarned, a lot of these nutty folks have nutty websites that are loaded with Malware, so if you pick up a virus don't blame me. In case you were wondering, I am not endorsing her theory or the theory postulated by Federal Reserve conspiracy theorists. I think the Federal Reserve should be completely abolished, but for sane reasons like, oh I don't know, I'm a free-marketeer who abhors central control of the value of my worth.