Monday, September 29, 2008

Maybe the Bail Out Shoudn't Pass

Word has it the Wall Street Bail Out did not pass through Congress.
Maybe it shouldn't.

I just did something I bet you haven't done: I just read the 120 page bill.
The biggest problems are in the first 10 pages.
All that money and all the power to do whatever he wants, goes to the Sec. of the Treasury.
With oversight conducted by a board made up of the Head of the Federal Reserve, the Head of HUD, the Head of the FDIC. The same people who have gotten things so wrong in the past.
And can you imagine how contentious the Affirmation Hearings in the Senate will be when the new President has to appoint new people to those positions?
If I were a Congressman, I don't think I would vote for this bill.

Apparently, Dennis Kucinich agrees with me:
The $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, is driven by fear not fact. This is too much money in too a short a time going to too few people while too many questions remain unanswered. Why aren't we having hearings on the plan we have just received? Why aren't we questioning the underlying premise of the need for a bailout with taxpayers' money? Why have we not considered any alternatives other than to give $700 billion to Wall Street? Why aren't we asking Wall Street to clean up its own mess? Why aren't we passing new laws to stop the speculation, which triggered this? Why aren't we putting up new regulatory structures to protect investors? How do we even value the $700 billion in toxic assets?
Why aren't we helping homeowners directly with their debt burden? Why aren't we helping American families faced with bankruptcy. Why aren't we reducing debt for Main Street instead of Wall Street? Isn't it time for fundamental change in our debt based monetary system, so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the banks? Is this the United States Congress or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs? Wall Street is a place of bears and bulls. It is not smart to force taxpayers to dance with bears or to follow closely behind the bulls.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Help me, help me
I been hypnotized
Can’t catch the rabbit
Cause I done died
Rebel against causes
Effecting no mind
Help me, help me
I been hypnotized
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Friday, September 26, 2008


The fact is
This is the way it is
Fear and Excitement
One and the same
The universe wants you
To experience this now
The fabulous spectacle
Of microwaving your dinner
The thrilling prospect
Of making a dentist appointment
So let it be written
It has to be done
You get to be You


Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some More Questions About Bail Outs

The President says that only the government has the patience and the long term vision to purchase these troubled assets and hold them until they mature and increase in value.

I agree. I don't usually agree with the President. But in this case, I agree.

Doesn't that tell us something about the Corporations that dominate Wall Street and Main Street?

Doesn't that mean that the Corporate focus on short term profits and short term maneuvers makes them incapable of safeguarding long term assets (like our homes, families, and national infrastructure)?

Doesn't that mean that governments rightful position should be long term, since "the market" is dominated by short term vision and action?

Wouldn't that lend some balance and stability to our country and our economy?

Doesn't that mean that in this interconnected world that we all live in, that there is no such thing as a purely private economic transaction?

Don't we have to weigh our own private concerns and the concerns of our neighbors and the health of the bigger systems our actions are a part of when making decisions?

Are we ready as a society to learn the lessons of the last 30 years?

Isn't it becoming undeniable that pure "free market capitalism" is not sufficient to address the long term needs and health of our nation and our world?

Are we ready to admit that the organizing principles of large corporations are antithetical to principles of democracy?

Are we ready to seriously discuss how we want to govern ourselves in light of what we have (or should have) learned over the last 30 years?

How about this?

Why doesn't Congress set up an independent review board to purchase undervalued assets and get the markets moving again?

They could start with a fund of several hundred billion dollars and ask for more in the near future if needed. Why does it have to be 700 billion or nothing?

This current administration has lost the right to manage this endeavor, so it should go to an independent board with lots of review and reporting mandates.

The next administration and the next congress need to staff our regulatory agencies with people who actually believe in the ability of government to work for the good of the people and start enforcing the rules we already have. Then new regulations should be imposed, not as a burden on individuals and small companies, but as a check on the short-sighted exuberance of mega corporations and very rich individuals who can unbalance our entire economy and ecosystems with their "private" business actions.

And the media needs to start asking these kinds of questions and expecting answers.

The keys to solving these problems are contained within the problems themselves.

The clues and the knowledge are available to us.

Human beings are capable of transcending selfish and violent modes of behavior, and expressing honest empathy and compassion for others.

We are all interconnected and interdependent whether we want to admit it or not.

We caused or allowed these problems.

We can solve them carefully and creatively.

But not if we keep doing the same things over and over and expect a different result.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I didn't mean stop the debate

I asked for everyone to slow down.
Now John McCain wants to cancel the debates.
He finds it hard to multitask, I guess.
Or he does not want to answer questions.
Or be compared side by side with Obama.
I didn't mean to slow down that much...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Can We Slow Down Please

This time. Can we slow down please?

I know we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud over Wall Street.

But just this time, can we slow down please and not give in to the panic?

How about 10 Things You Should Know about this Trillion Dollar "bailout" program?

Like is it Constitutional to give unrevieawable power to one person?

What happens if we don't bail out Wall Street?

Do we trust a Wall Street CEO who has gotten it all wrong to fix it?

Aren't we asking the foxes to fix the hen house?

Why doesn't Wall Street pay for the bail out?

What happened to the "free market"?

When did the Bush Administration become Socialists?

Does this fix the problem, or just prop up the problem makers?

Why was it so crucial to get it all done over the weekend?

Can we just slow down?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eyes Like Bicycle Wheels

Change the channel
You'll see what I mean
It's all about eyeballs
It's all about pratfalls
When you look at me
Look at me like that
I forget what I'm doing
All the colors you're hueing
But like riding a bike
I get back on that seat
Don't change the channel
You'll see what I mean
Every time your lash falls
Every time your hand crawls
Please look at me
Look at me like that
Eyes like bicycle wheels
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Spot On

Happy accident
Met in the street
If only they were
All so colorful
All so sweet
Spot on
Cops says
If you want to hang here
You have to move on
Spot on
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Friday, September 19, 2008

No Reply

Eye liner
Monkey suitor
Turned up snooter
I say fly?
You say, no reply
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Constitution Day is September 17th

Constitution Day, Sept 17

221 years ago the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the U.S. Constitution. Ben Franklin said that the framers had built a remarkable republican framework sturdy enough to outlast them all, if future generations of Americans kept faith with the Constitution.

The original was not perfect and concerned individuals had to push to have the Constitution cover individual rights as well as the rights and limits of the government, thus the Bill of Rights.

The question today is this: Has this generation of Americans kept faith with the Constitution?

I think the answer is NO. But I also think we have the means to regain and repair our faith in and with the Constitution.

It is still a fine and admiral document. Instead of letting other people tell you what the Constitution means, read it. It is a remarkable brief document. Ponder it. And determine if our public servants and representatives have been upholding their oath to the Constitution. Decide if the individuals who want to lead this country are in tune with the Constitution. Decide if they will help us in defending the Constitution. Decide if they even know the contents of the Constitution.

Shrewsbury Faire in Oregon

Went to the Shrewsbury Faire in Oregon last weekend to get our Ren Faire fix.
A good time was had by all.
Then we drove up the Oregon Coast on our way home.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mental Alchemist

My base states cannot be deconstructed
I have collected ample evidence
But not the evidence modernity requires
And don’t get me started on post modernity
Or post rationalism
They are dead concepts
Sinking like lead to the bottom
Of my frustration and ire
An acidic brew of contempt and despair
That eats away the painted facades
Leaving me with no memory of yesterday
Nor do my dreams of tomorrow escape
Just Now survives the heat
And cries a nearly silent “Ahhh”
Which is an echo of a note
From a song which was begun
Within that first moment
Which scattered the stars into space
What gold I have transmuted
From the common stuff of now
Creativity seems to be the catalyst
That science can not locate
In the debris of collided particles
Just Now rests in the calm center
Of all the ripples and the waves
Created by every stone ever cast
Into the pond of eternity
Can you and I find the key
To the mental alchemy
Needed to rest there
Just Now?


Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Senile Agitation

Not really at the top of my game
Acting kind of strange
Nobody wants
To wait for better days
But really not that strange
Taking aim
But not prepared for the fire
You tell me it’s strange
But what is so strange about that?
Not since you left the seminary
And joined the modern mafia
Have you exposed the face of fear
But really not
You say never in a million years
You say call him now
Call the Doctor
But really
What is so strange about that?
Credits: Words and collage by Jay Larsen

Crude Slogans

Drill Here, Drill Now! you say?
Oh, I'm sorry, the event organizers failed to show you the statistics of what drilling new offshore wells would mean. Almost nothing.
You would be better served at a Herring & Wine Party.
Well, unless all the herring have been killed by the oil spills.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nihilistic Ballerina

You don’t believe in me
I don’t believe in you
Or that sad dance you do

Wrapped in furs
Taken from my own true love
Fits you like a myopic glove

Grit your teeth
Increase your toe tap pace
Whenever you see my face

A faded tattoo’s serenade
The crowd smiles right past you
Yesterday’s pipe bomb guru

White headphones
Move your mother hips
Lyrics lost on loosened lips

Nihilistic ballerina
Oh that golden dance you do
Round and round the meaning
Between me and you
Credits: Words and collage by Jay Larsen

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

WDWK about YouTube?

Q: What do we know about YouTube?

A: You Tube is a virtual space where people can post videos. Lots of people post lots of videos. I have posted videos at YouTube. You may have posted videos at YouTube. But let's face it, most of the videos at YouTube are stupid and shouldn't have been shared. Really, you know who you are. Keep those damn usless videos to yourself.
But every once in a while, I see a video on YouTube that renues my faith and makes me say, "Yes, by Al Gore and all the Saints of Cyberspace, this is why we have YouTube!"
Behold, a gem. Corporate TV would never give us this example of cleverness. I have watched it 4 times now and it is still funny. Thank you Jared Pike.

Link for those who can't see the video above

Monday, September 08, 2008

Congratulations Pal

Congratulations Pal
You've done it
You've arrived
You have accepted the message
You have made it your own
When we say FEAR
When we say FEAR
Congratulations Pal
You are on the right track
Because if you can't buy it
It isn't worth having

Oh by the way
We say FEAR
Credits: Message by Corporate Consumer Culture
Congratulations to you, Pal

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Zero Liability

If you are within the sound of my voice
This is a message only for you
Special Advance Tickets
They have no cash value
Are not valid on national holidays
No change will be returned
Taxes and gratuity are not included
See the French Revolution for complete details
You may think this whole thing is a bad dream
The issuer bears no responsibility or liability
With respect to prices and valuation
User assumes full responsibility for any decisions
Or actions made based upon any statements made
By the issuer of these instruments
All together now
Cake and guilotines
Only for you
Special Advance Tickets
We didn't lose your money
Your money up and lost you
That is the nature of Financial Feng Shui

Credits: Words and collages by Jay Larsen

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Watch Humanity at Work is a great organization.
They help ordinary people make micro loans to people all over the world.
Small amounts of money can make a big difference to people.
And as the borrowers pay back their loans, you get to loan it out to new people.
So one donation helps many people as your money moves around and around.

When things in the world or politics seem depressing,
I like to go to and watch real people all over giving to people in need. Kiva Vision is a world map that shows you the locations and messages from people as they reach out to help others. Check it out. Watch the faces and the messages of hope and generosity. You might feel better. Then sign in to and make a loan.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Conventional Thinking

I don’t consider myself to be a Democrat or a Republican.
The two party system has hijacked the Constitution and sold it to Corporations in ways never anticipated by the Founding Fathers. And typically the choice for president is usually a choice between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
So I have usually cast my presidential vote against the Tweedle Dumbest of the two choices. That is sad and frustrating.

These last two weeks I have watched the conventions.
I didn’t watch all of them. But it appears I watched more than most people I have talked to.
Now I know that the real purpose of the conventions is to solidify the base, meaning to get those people who habitually vote for your party to vote for your party and not do something unspeakable like vote for the other candidate. So I know that I am not the primary audience for political conventions. I’m not supposed to be impressed. And most of the time I am just frustrated by the dangerous voodoo group thinking that goes on at these things. And yet still I watch like a 5th grade boy watching a train wreck.

But this year was a little bit different. This year it is very clear to me that there can be a lot of difference between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb. The last 8 years have made that very clear to me. And when the Tweedle Dumb Party is willing to purge voter rolls, cage voters, flip electronic voting machines, physically stop vote counting, and get the Supreme Court to call the election, then the Tweedle Dee party needs to bring twice as many people to the party to overcome the foul play.

Last week I was camping with my family the night Barak Obama gave his big speech. So I did not see the stadium crowd or the fake pillars. But I did listen to what he said. And once again I found myself wanting to believe that this particular candidate actually means most of what he says. I found myself crossing my fingers and hoping and praying that Obama gets a chance to be the next president. There were topics I wish he had talked about. There are some things he wants to do that I disagree with. But I do think that if he can survive the Republican dirty tricks (you know the ones they pull every September and October during elections) that Obama just might be the most genuine and charming person to run for president in my life time. And with all the crap Bush and Company has done, I think we could use a Constitutional Law Expert in the White House. Call me a radical, but I think that is extremely relevant experience for the job.

This week I watched John McCain give his big speech. After several days of Republican Voodoo Economics reruns and faith-based praise for free and unfettered businesses with few facts, I was ready to hear what the candidate had to say. I could see that the base was jazzed about their VP. I don’t get it, but they think she is great. And I sat through the complete lies they told about their competition. And McCain finally got up and told us what he wanted to do. And I found myself hoping and praying that if McCain wins the election that he only means half of what he says. Oh, and John, the “P” in “POW” does not stand for President. And by the way America does not need another War President.

I think it is astounding that neither party wanted or expected either of these two people to be their candidates for president. Somehow the people snuck into the primary process and surprised the pundits, the experts, the talking heads, the lobbyists, and the parties’ favorites. So maybe things will be different no matter who gets elected. I hope so. But I also hope it is Obama. I hope enough new voters have registered in enough states that it overwhelms the usual attempts to monkey with the results. If the Republicans steal 5 million votes, I hope Obama has 10 million more than they expect.

Either way. Whoever wins. It will still be the job of the American people to stand up and be heard. To make it very clear to our representatives that they work for the people, not for corporations. I don’t think Republican voters want to vote against their own interests. I just think they don’t follow up and pay attention. They believe the advertising slogans and don’t read the ingredients. And Democrats have the same problem to a slightly lesser degree. (Would that be a Tweedle Degree?)

Either way, I still believe that it is inherent in human nature to be social beings. To reach out and care for those around us. To gather people in and welcome them at our hearth. To feed the hungry. To care for the sick. That is the way most people act and want to act. We need to remember that, to encourage our natural humanity and not let it be twisted by the artificial isolation created by our corporate/consumer world of cubicles and cars and TV sets in every room. This is still a human world. And I still have hope. Even if that is not the Convention-al thinking.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Vacation Update

I’m back in the world. Back in the saddle. Busy being sullied by the activities of Corporate America. And starting to blog again. Sorry if you missed me, but it was for a good cause: my mental health.

For a blissful week, the family and I were on vacation.
We went camping at a local State Park, to avoid spending petrodollars.
We got all set up in our folding trailer and then it rained all night.
But we were warm and dry with our puppies in the pup tent.
Spent some quality time talking with my girls.
Went walking by the lake.
Roasted marshmallows by the campfire.
Went fishing one day. Evelyn and I caught 32 fish (and released them all).
We even went to the movies and saw Tropic Thunder (juvenile but funny).
All in all a nice relaxing time.
The batteries are fully recharged.

Monday, September 01, 2008