Tuesday 30 September 2008

Bailout: Manufacturing Consent for a rotten deal

Ramming the bailout in

When your government desperately wants to do something that they flog so vigorously as best for the people, reach out for Noam Chomsky [1] because the Orwellian Big Brother [2] looms large and you are probably being buttered up too far.

Now, I have not been convinced by the bailout package and each time it transmogrified from downright outrageous towards absolutely unacceptable, I have found myself yet less persuaded of the scheme, it still smacks of a letdown, a let off and a let loose.

However, as the day progressed with debates and supposed agreements, I really did think that the bill, that whopping bill that many large countries would be hard-pressed to foot would pass without much rancor – I saw it all and I was wrong.

They voted it down

The House Republicans voted down the bill [3] by two-thirds of their representation whilst the Democrats supported it by three-fifths of their representation and the stock markets went into free fall.

I have no democratic responsibility to vote for measures that affect markets and people in any appreciable way, so, I cannot really be too bothered with my stance that is resolutely against the bailout – if I were a constituent I would have been calling my representative threatening vote loss.

These representatives had a duty, a great call to service has been made to these people to appreciate a crisis situation and respond appropriately and they failed to rise to the occasion.

Tumbling to the greater good

With it came the largest tumble ever of the stock market even beyond that which happened soon after the terrorist attack of September 2001 giving some truth to the idea that democratic forces can exhibit menaces more devastating than a terrorist attack and still benignly be viewed in the light of the greater good.

There is no greater good in this bailout, because we have hardly heard the real truth of why we are where we are today. Rather than speak the truth we have had propaganda heaped on the issue that people are being railroaded into acquiescing to a travesty and an extortion of the American people for the benefit of the banking institutions.

Manufacturing Consent

Consent has been manufactured [4; 5] to meet despicably unprofitable ends; this bill is bailing out Wall Street, period! All this stuff about making loans affordable or cash available for salary, homes, cars and careers of the people on Main Street is the manipulation of people to want things they do not need by linking the bill to their fears – we all know that no bank would be as sympathetic to the people on loan issues again.

If would not trust each other, why would they ever trust customers even if their toxic assets have been safely taken off their hands without repercussion?

Manipulating events

After the vote, the Republicans came out and literally called ever observer a fool, having not had the votes to even secure anything near a majority, they gambled on the pressure of the moment in the hope their colleagues would do the “right” thing – the right thing was, if you are up for re-election and “Yes” was political suicide.

Maybe Speaker Pelosi’s speech did not help, but what she said was no different from what was on mainstream news, if she so varied from that rhetoric she might have been branded a hypocrite of sorts, it however should not have swayed the Republican from doing the right thing – if left one Democratic representative drawing laughter when he offered to talk uncharacteristically nicely to the offended Republicans so they could put their country first [6].

Do I remember that the Republican convention was all about putting country first or was that just patriotic hogwash masquerading as the fervent love of the fatherland and the cult of war?


[1] Noam Chomsky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[2] Big Brother (Nineteen Eighty-Four) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[3] BBC NEWS | Business | House votes down bail-out package

[4] The Engineering of Consent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[5] Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[6] Political Spirit Returns to Republican National Convention

Friday 26 September 2008

Between reflective Obama and reflexive McCain

Still no bailout yet

There were probably some people waiting with bated breath to hear that a deal had been done for the $700 billion bailout of US banks.

In fact, at one time, the news suggested that a deal had been done in principle and not long after it appeared no deal had been done yet [1], people have been shouting at each other – I suppose you can call that debate.

The maverick decides

The move by Maverick McCain to suspend his campaign [2] and move lock, stock and barrel to Washington to trash out a deal with the emotion of concern that almost left us impressed with his commitment was a stunt in everything but name.

Barack Obama refused to be barracked into conceding that leadership was about dropping everything for one thing when generally leaders have to contend with multiple issues in different spheres and still be on top of things.

In fact, once again, the man showed a sense of balance and proportion that one would have expected of an older head like McCain’s who by tradition, one would have thought would be wiser too.

Need for an unadulterated debate

The Presidential candidates do indeed need to work on helping trash out a bi-partisan deal but that should have been done in the background without infecting the debate and negotiations with campaign distraction – McCain’s move was more to stir up the waters and try to wrestle from our minds the fact that he is not that clued in on financial matters.

The foreign policy presidential debate which might take place today would indeed have been overrun with questions about the financial turmoil hitting the markets – it is unlikely that Senator McCain would have been able to convey an air of competence on those matters – in fact, we are just about getting bored with the military and prisoner of war anecdotes that bear no particular significance to the lives and people of today.

News comes in now that Senator McCain would be attending the debate after all [3] – Bless him! Or did I mean something else?

Reflect on the reflex

This man is impulsive, reactionary, driven by sensational whim and devoid of the coolness under pressure that is needed to run a ship of state that is global in its remit.

The fact is 300 million Americans will be electing for 6.3 billion people of the world the next person who can dictate the pace and direction of the near-future world order.

If indeed suspending his campaign in order to concentrate minds had yesterday achieved the impossible and unlikely result, we might have praised him for having great insight and foresight; but as it stands, he has again been reckless and intemperate in the appreciation of issues; I am beginning to have a greater fear for John McCain as president than the looming tsunami of a recession turning into a depression.

None of the options available would have been my choices, but with the choices we now have, I am as sure as I can be that McCain cannot be the right option for a world that needs the calming influence of a reflective leader rather than the impulsive determination of a reflexive maverick.


[1] BBC NEWS | Business | Bush says bail-out will be passed

[2] McCain suspends campaign to work on Wall St plan | U.S. | Reuters

[3] McCain will attend debate, campaign says - The Debates- msnbc.com

Bailout: The premise that stinking shit becomes durable gold

Our duty of care betrayed

I have agonised in private and silently wept with tears streaming down my eyes as I read and heard of how the vulnerable had been betrayed.

Harsh as it may sound, babies by reason of our humanity and bond of parental love do not have to expect because they do not know, that we owe them a duty of care.

We as highly developed social animals just know that our babies’ needs are to be met and sometimes at great cost. We tend to believe that our governments have accepted and engaged in the duty of ensuring that health and safety rules and regulations are strictly adhered to, enforced without laxity and infringements punished severely.

In no place is this need for confidence expected, required and implicitly demanded than in food safety – except in places where a government has malevolently decided to commit genocide by allowing poisons and harmful substances to be ingested as food, it should be a given that our food is safe.

Profiteering on the lives of the helpless

Not being a parent, even I had a pain in my heart and it ached so painfully when I read that the protein content of baby formula had been boosted by adding a false-positive indicator – melamine [1].

I had to read up on that stuff and found it could be used in fabrics, plastics and fire retardants – it was definitely not, I repeat, definitely NOT for food or consumption even though it was partly soluble in water.

Some smart guy must have deduced that the test for protein content was poorly constructed since it only tested for the presence of nitrogen; so diluting the milk and adding melamine was a sure way to boost assumed protein content and make great profits no matter whose ox was gored [2].

They killed the babies

Sadly, it has been 4 dead babies and 54,000 infants sick, babies developing kidney stones some resulting in renal failure and parents literally helpless with desperate anxiety seeking respite for their child as well as being unsure of what now to feed their baby.

This is in China where the one-child policy [3] is still in force and this is not to say that the loss of one child can be assuaged by the presence of another – one cannot begin to understand the unspeakable torture and pain the babies and the parents are going through.

Fundamentally, this episode of deliberate poisoning of food for profits is more far reaching than the localities in which the outrageously malevolent middle-men of the dairy market plied their devilish trade.

To my mind, hell is too cold to receive their evil and wicked souls – it is no doubt the best place to send them to, but before they are sent off, they have a price to pay and none of them have enough in money, means or their own very lives to pay for their heinous unforgivable crimes.

Confidence, trust, integrity and reputation

As far out as Asia, Europe and Africa [4], food products from China are undergoing stringent scrutiny to outright bans [5] and worse is yet to come because we now have a collapse in confidence that standards not are being adhered to, such that we do not trust those products to be harmless, since there is clearly no integrity in their standards and this has completely sullied the reputation of doing business in China; it will no doubt adversely affect all other products from China.

The highlighted words in the previous paragraph cannot be quantified in any measure but they are the basis on which any transaction can be comfortably conducted in our world.

The loss of any of these is priceless; there is probably nothing that can done to regain them without a very costly expenditure, a great act of contrition, meaningful restitution, a sense of justice meted out to offenders and the long passage of time.

It applies to all people, their activities, businesses, organisations, companies, governments and life – it allows relationships to be built and partnerships to thrive; the absence of any would lead to strife and possibly the loss of lives.

The bailout is just as bad

In the same vein we see the $700 billion bailout [6] of banks in the United States where the Treasury is seeking funding to buy toxic assets off banks so that they can return to the business of banking and ease the credit crunch.

Much as we have heard so much about the lack of confidence; the fact is, the problems were brought on by untrustworthy practices in granting sub-prime mortgages where the debts were given ratings of integrity when in fact they were borne of disreputable transactions.

It is now clear that the banks were engaged in practices that would put the ordinary man behind bars for years, but as banks they are about to be absolved of their misdeeds by having the public buy off their toxic assets.

Stinking shit becomes gold

The US Treasury would have us believe that these toxic assets have short half-lives and in time they would appreciate in value and can be sold off for profit offering a net gain to the tax payer.

At the risk of sounding crude, the bailout is supposed to turn horribly stinking shit into durable gold, over time – I would like to see the alchemist that would conduct that experiment. The assets have become irradiated with the toxicity of dishonest, disreputable provenance, they cannot be treated with a bailout to give them respectability - who is buying this shit?

You cannot afford to lose it

I have this much to say, when confidence is lost and people have no trust in each other such that they cannot vouch for the integrity of the other and stake anything on the reputation of another – there is no price that can buy back trust, restore confidence, confer integrity and enhance reputations as much as not losing it in the first place.

With hindsight, it is just too obvious that nobody can afford to lose the confidence of others, create an atmosphere of distrust, convey a lack of integrity and become disreputable – the price is just too high.

What is clear to all is the price of these losses is looking like $700 billion and that is a hefty price to pay for millions of little white lies that secured paltry mortgages around America encouraging the world to think they could invest in the reputation of liars and their accomplices (the banks) as a worthwhile business venture.

Address trust or pay more still

I would contend that the price to regain trust would be a lot higher than $700 billion and if those people who instigated, tolerated, condoned, encouraged and abetted the lying are still in position to play with money, we have another gaping black hole of lies to swallow up more money without restoring confidence and buying back the foundation of good business dealings – trust.

Unfortunately, no one is addressing that simple fact, it is the loss of simple old-fashioned virtues that has created this big problem and until that clear truth is spelt out and the criminals are made to pay for their lies and dishonest activities – we might well prepare for a depression because I see $7 trillion going into this bailout and things getting no better.


[1] Melamine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[2] Melamine use "rampant" in China feed business - Yahoo! News

[3] One-child policy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[4] FACTBOX: Africa, Asia, Europe: bans and recalls on China milk | International | Reuters

[5] Medical News Today News Article - Europe Bans Chinese Baby Foods Containing Milk

[6] Financial crisis: Good points and bad points of US bail-out - Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Large Hadron Collider: The Tower of Babel endures

In search of a humorous God

Some religions and religious practices have lost the notion that God might indeed be humorous, whilst the last part of this verse does indicate a situation of displeasure, the first part talks about “He who sits in the heavens” laughing. [1]

There is a humorous God out there and I believe he is having another good laugh.

A laugh at the fact that human nature has not changed and throughout civilisation and advancement there is still this quest to decipher what God is all about.

Babel of old

A story in the Bible talks of men who gathered to one place and decided to build a tower “whose top is in the heavens”. [2]

God observed and found that their one language and unity of purpose was compelling enough for them to achieve whatever they had planned to do.

Unlike how human beings might think the tower was not destroyed, rather the counsel that bound them together was confused by the confusion of language which lead to their dispersal and their not achieving their original goal.

Viewing it from today’s perspective the men were seeking to enter God’s tabernacle and the confusion of languages put paid to that escapade – the episode is recorded as the Tower of Babel.

Babel of today

A few weeks ago, a collaboration of over 8,000 physicists from 85 countries found the realisation of a dream in the launching of the Large Hadron Collider. [3]

The construction which is definitely of Babelian proportions is a 27-kilometre circular tunnel, built underground at between 50 to 175 metres depth straddling France and Switzerland was supposed to reveal the secrets of the birth of the universe.

Beyond all the experiments to be conducted was the search for the Higgs boson [4] that some have called the god particle [5] which supposedly is fundamental to the evolution of the universe and it might well be so.

Meanwhile, there are other scientists who suggest that this particle might well not exist [6]; so as we exert ourselves nosy around in God’s haberdashery bag, someone might get more than a pin-prick to bargain with.

Heavens, We’ve got a problem

The Large Hadron Collider was started off on the 10th of September to much fanfare that could only excite geeks and nerds and doomsday protagonists struggled to convince us that the collider would swallow up the earth with little black holes.

Could anyone have been looking down from above when last weekend when magnets set to align, carry and steer the proton beams through the tunnel overheated bring the whole experiment to a close and consequently a close that would last till next spring?[7]

Someone must be having a big laugh between the tabernacle and the particle a Babel psychosis has consumed the people that they would not relent till the particle is observed – but if they have to rely on their Babelian device, you can be sure that need to either speak the same language or keep the particles going round-and-round would become a harder task each time.

God help us that all that money and research does not get swallowed up in a gaping black hole.


[1] BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Psalm 2:4

[2] BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Genesis 11:1-9

[3] Large Hadron Collider - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[4] Higgs boson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[5] BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Edinburgh, East and Fife | God particle discovery 'likely'

[6] BBC News | SCI/TECH | 'God particle may not exist'

[7] BBC NEWS | Special Reports | Collider halted until next year