June 13

my new form of activism

so I had a long, boring drive from the ATL to the RIC ahead of me today, so to spice it up I decided to get a bit, uh, controversial, I guess. so I painted this onto my back window:

stop the welfare
stop the wars
stop big brother
go libertarian
or Atlas Shrugs

my main goal was to spur my fellow roadsmen on their respective journeys to give a little extra thought towards the state of things, and maybe incite some discussion amongst their passengers. after all, I believe debate is one of the greatest factors towards intellectual revolution. I expected a couple nasty looks, but to my surprise I didn’t get any. I think most people that would be put off by one of the sentiments tend to agree with the others, so it’s a bit perplexing. I did get a “two thumbs up” and smiles from one couple, though. only one, but that’s better than zero. I saw a few people taking pictures too, which was funny.

anyways, I think this might by my new form of activism. I might try to use a different phrase every week or something, and report here about the feedback I get. hopefully it won’t attract too many cops to check me out, since my tags have been expired for a year and my license is expired and according to the State I’m a “terrorist” anyways. eh, somehow I was able to avoid the 5-0 all the way home today, and it’s not like I wasn’t speeding. must have been that invisible cloak I bought recently…

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June 11

Capitalism: A Love Story: A Critique

Like many conservatives – or people who call themselves conservatives – I’ve always hated Michael Moore. But recently I’ve felt that I might share a small bit of his animosity towards corporations – not a huge surprise as I’ve even found myself agreeing with the dreaded ACLU once or twice. So when his documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story” came out last year, I thought it might be an interesting view, but then it shortly faded out of my forgetful memory. But when my mom told me she’d recently watched it and that I should give it a go, well, I said, why not. So I downloaded it, the non-capitalist way as Moore would certainly want, and hit the play button on my Microsoft Xbox.

The first issue I realize I’m going to have with this film is the title. Instead of Capitalism, the film more accurately discovers the perils of Corporatism – a totally different monster. The disappointing thing is, I believe Moore knows this differentiation, but he is intentionally misusing terms to sway the viewer against the idea of Capitalism. Sadly, much of the populace is already deluded in this manner – they believe we live in a Capitalist state today. This is very, very far from the truth. In fact, the institution of a Corporation would not even exist in a truly Capitalist society. Corporations are an invention of the State.

Anyways. So the film starts out with some families who are losing their homes to the banks. ‘Nuff said for now.

Moore raises the case of the PA judge who got paid off to put kids in jail. This is a glaring example of Corporatism, not Capitalism! Corporatism, put simply, means the State is in bed with Big Business. Is that not exactly what we have here?

Next he implies that because airlines cut costs on pay and security, crash rates have increased. But I pose the question: in a truly Capitalist society, should not the airline be just as concerned with safety of its passengers, as its passengers are? If the only way an airline survives in capitalism is through consumer confidence, shouldn’t a plane crash equal the death of that airline as well? Still, though, some airlines do crash. Why do these companies survive? Two reasons. Consumer indifference and government bailouts, or, at the very least, moral support in the “interest” of national security. Hello again, Corporatism.

Moore then finds two Catholic priests and a bishop who tell us that… that… Capitalism is a sin? Is this a joke? What kind of pinko priest is this? An economic system can be a sin? LOLFATHER.

We then sit down with WSJ columnist Stephen Moore, who clearly has a good understanding of the principles upon which this country was built, explaining that in Capitalism you are free to do as you wish in business – including fail. But when he mentions the Constitution, Fat Daddy balks at the chance to belittle such a sentiment. He visits the Constitution in the National Archives in DC, where he asininely asks where in the Constitution it states that we are to have a Capitalist economy. Really, Fat Daddy? The Constitution doesn’t say you’re supposed to be fat, either. But it says you have the freedom to be fat – you can make your own choice. Nobody can coerce you to be otherwise – it’s up to you.

Moore then explores a company named Isthmus, which unlike the traditional American business, does not have an owner with employees under them. In this company, all of the employees are the owners. Isthmus has been very profitable and successful. A model company for socialism, right? NOPE. Guess what, Fat Daddy – Isthmus’ owners are agreed to a business contract. How did they come to terms of agreement on this contract? CAPITALISM. We are then given a nice little analogy to our democracy, except there’s one little thing… this country is a representative democracy, and furthermore, a republic. So if you really want to create a company that emulates our country, create a board, give each employee shares, and…. Ah, that’s too deep for you, Mr. Moore. Nevermind.

(As a side note, this is one thing I’ve never understood about socialists. You are free to employ your socialist principles in our CAPITALIST society. Start a worker-owned company. Start a healthcare co-op. Just don’t use the State to violently force me and the rest of the producers into your stupid plan with you.)

Moore then starts drilling the banks (okay, at this point I can get on board a little bit), saying that they are stealing the brightest minds out of college – away from the “common good” (you lost me again, Bozo the Clotmachine). He heads down to the NYSE to ask the bankers for advice, to which he receives the reply “don’t make any more movies” (classic). But when he launches into derivatives and Greenspan, I realize we are really about to make some intellectual progress. But again, this is not Capitalism! The legality of derivatives is regulated by who? The State. If such practices were not given blessing by Congress, if the market was deregulated and shareholders had to in fact decide for themselves whether to engage in derivatives, maybe they would be a bit more scrupulous. And did you realize what the first letter of F.D.I.C stands for? And ohbytheway, the Federal Reserve is the #1 PRIME EXAMPLE of Corporatism in the USA! Ah, if only you knew how close you are, Fat Daddy. Well, you’re kinda close. I guess.

Back to the families in foreclosure. We find out that they’re losing their homes because their payments are increasing too much every month (clearly ARM mortages, though that’s not stated). At this point it becomes blatantly clear to me why Moore’s movies have any success: his viewers are probably the same mental giants that sign ARMs. And clearly there are enough of them to go around these days. Read the contract, folks. It’s not just a catchphrase.

We learn that a large number of “hot shots” are getting special loan rates from banks. Who are these hot shots? All politicians! This is the most schizophrenic documentary ever. You’re exposing political corruption in an attempt to show how our economic system should be more regulated? And who writes these regulations? POLITICIANS? For Pete’s Sake, Michael Moore, did Capitol Hill bribe you into making this thing?

Cut to George Dubya Bush reading his bailout-begging script to the country. Good job, Big Mike, something that actually matters. But here again, uh, well I shouldn’t even have to say it at this point. But I will. THE ESSENCE OF CORPORATISM.

Okay, I admit. At this point I don’t really feel like watching more, even though it’s just getting good and there’s still 45 minutes left. Eh, I’ll watch it, but I’m done critiquing. If you ever have the (mis?)fortune of watching this, just replace every time he says “capitalism” with “corporatism”, and you’ve got a darn good expose-ay (how do you make the “cafe” e on a Mac?).

To put it simply, true (free market) Capitalism is based on contract. That means that businesses can only interact with consumers in terms both parties agree to. Moreover, the State never sets the terms of a contract – it only adjudicates disputes. This is why we have the judicial system – to preempt the need for preemptive market regulations.

So, does Moore take issue with “United States Capitalism”, or with true Capitalism? If it’s the former, then Michael, I wholeheartedly agree – but you should have made that clear. If the latter, though, then Mr. Moore: you are either a dastardly deceiver, or a dimwitted dunce.

Finally, Mr. Moore: which type of economy allows you to make these documentaries and profit off of them?

And to bring this to a more recent note: for the past month or so, every day I drive down the street, I am reminded of the stupidity and apathy of the American people. Why? Because BP is still in business, and moreso, because its prices are still equal to every other gas station’s. This is ludicrous! If enough Americans cared to make a statement, that we won’t stand for corporate recklessness – that because of the damage this company has done to our country, we will no longer do business at your establishment – BP’s gas prices would drop every day, until they were practically giving it away. A stunning example of why the Corporate State is perpetuated – indifference. And to top it all off, they’re not even American in the first place – they’re called British Petroleum, for goodness’ sake!

Oh America. Politically, economically, and intellectually, you are doing exactly what Ghost the Radio Host was screaming the other day:

YOU’RE THROWING YOUR CHILDREN INTO WOOD CHIPPERS! YOU’RE THROWING YOUR CHILDREN INTO GIGANTIC WOOD CHIPPERS!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

UPDATE: I had to comment on the end of the movie: it was stupid. Although it criticizes the bailouts a bit more, it then praises Bernie Sanders (socialist), Obama (socialist), FDR (socialist), his “Second Bill of Rights” (socialism), Europe’s socialist policies, and says we need to give up capitalism for “democracy” (socialism). Eh, I should have known.

[Mr. Moore,] what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

June 5

Shenandoah

I watched the old movie Shenandoah today. Since I’d be surprised if anyone who reads this has seen it before, it’s a 1965 Western-style movie about a Virginian man and his family caught up in the Civil War. It’s a Jimmy Stewart flick, full of chuckle-inducing quips & one-liners. But my favorite part was its conventional wisdom:

Mr. Anderson: It’s no easy job, Sam, to take care of a woman.
Sam: No, Sir.
Mr. Anderson: They expect things they never ask for, and when they don’t get them, they ask you why. Sometimes they don’t ask, and they just go ahead and punish you for not doing something you didn’t know you were supposed to do in the first place.
Sam: What, for instance, Sir?
Mr. Anderson: Well that’s a very difficult question to answer, Sam. You’re never quite sure. It’s sorta, you might say, relative.
Sam: Relative to what, Sir?
Mr. Anderson: To how they’re feeling at the moment.
Sam: And how’s that?
Mr. Anderson: You never know.
Sam: Well, I don’t believe I really understand what you’re trying to tell me, Sir.
Mr. Anderson: I know, I know, I never understood it myself. It’s just one of those things, Sam. It’s around; you just don’t ever see it. Now suppose Jenny started to cry one day. You don’t know why, so you ask her what she’s cryin’ about. You ask her, and she won’t tell ya. And that’s when you ask what you did that caused her to cry. She still won’t tell you, and that’s when you start to get angry. But don’t get angry, Sam. She won’t tell you why she’s cryin’ because she doesn’t know. Women are like that, Sam. It’s exasperating, it’s, it’s—! But don’t let it make ya angry. When she gets like that, just walk up and hug her a little bit. ‘Cause that’s all they really want when they’re like that, Sam. A little lovin’. You understand me, don’t ya?
Sam: No, Sir.
Mr. Anderson: You don’t, huh?

[next scene]

Mrs. Ann Anderson: Here’s something else you must remember: husbands like to be alone once in awhile.
Jennie Anderson: Why?
Mrs. Ann Anderson: You never know why, but I can always tell when James wants to be alone. A mood comes over him. I can always see it in his eyes before it gets there. I don’t know where the mood comes from or why, but that’s when I leave him alone. It seems sometimes things get so fickle in a man that he comes to feel that everything is closing in on him – and that’s when he wants to be left alone. You understand, don’t you?
Jennie Anderson: No!

So true, so true. Go rent (download) it! Leave your thoughts below :)

March 23

zombies

recently I’ve been making a splash on some of my Facebook friends’ comments which have been both for and against Obamacare. one of them led to a revealing conversation with what I will call “the opposition”. a little background: one friend had posted “All I can say is the government better not screw up/over my health care. I SO can’t wait for Jan 20, 2013!!!!!!!”, to which a fella named David Garcia replied “Obama 2012, hell yeah”, and I then sarcastically replied “David, put a “go to” after that comma and a “!” before that yeah.”. David Garcia then sent me a message and we went back and forth – here is the full, unedited diatribe (non-family language warning).

Between You and David Garcia

March 22 at 1:42am Report
no home boi, you got it all wrong. We The People put the ‘go to’ hell message to Bush/McCain/Palin and the Republican’t-Tea Bagging-Neo Confederate ideology a year ago. Talk to me when the Repubs develop some ideas besides tax cuts. The fear mongering and misleading propaganda that the GOP throws out there has an expiration date. You guys may take some seats in the midterm, but if there are no ideas by the GOP and you run clowns like Palin, your fantasy of defeating Obama is in great peril.

Calen Michael Fretts March 22 at 1:56am
I’ve got news for you bro… I’m not a Republican either. Both parties are totally screwed. Just because you don’t like Obama doesn’t mean there’s an R next to your name.

March 22 at 2:07am Report
Well then you are shit outta luck, cuz there is no one with your view point that will win elections. And I run into people like you all the time that claim they are not repubs which is merely a cope out. I don’t buy your smoke and mirrors because you would never support a liberal or any progressive position. And notice how I included tea baggers and neo confederates, both of which are derogatory names for conservatives and they don’t necessarily have to wear the republican crown. And before you claim not to be of the far right persuasion remember not to join political groups like Michelle Bachman, Peter Schiff, Ron Paul, and the like.

Calen Michael Fretts March 22 at 8:12pm
how is it a “cope out”? no, I would never support a progressive position, because the progressive position is statism, which I am diametrically opposed to. you need to learn the difference between Republican and conservative, brother. you’ve got your liberal talking points down from Olbermann but I don’t think you quite understand them. you can say “tea baggers and neo confederates” or whatever childish words you think are insulting, but again, just by your words you show that you have no idea of the difference between neocon and conservative.

anyways, I hope you get to meet your idol Obama someday and he magically heals you from your pompous attitude or maybe gives you Change superpowers. that is if you didn’t have a love heart attack at first sight, seeing as how you go so far as to create “Obama-ize Yourself” pictures of yourself and put them on Facebook. that’s actually really hilarious man, thanks for the laughs.

March 22 at 9:42pm Report
Dude don’t get your panties in bunch, it’s politics. If you can’t take it don’t dish it, remember you are the one who called me out so don’t take it personal. You fail to understand my plight, I enjoy greatly getting righty’s mad, but back to the discussion… So you’re not a tea bagger, you’re not a republican, and you’re not a neo-con but you are a conservative, ohhh I get it…Notice how all these groups are conservative but different, I am shamefully sorry for confusing such vastly different factions within the Conservative movement. Nevertheless the label game is besides the point, because my assertions about you are all the same. Because the republican’s, the tea baggers, and the neo cons all vote and think the same way. And oh, I’m sorry for confusing neo-cons with regular conservatives but I will nonetheless argue that they are all the same. Conservatism is what is pitched to the American people, but neoconservatism is what they get. Conservative Republicans always say they favor protecting our civil liberties but some how they always become Neo-Conservatives and mock our civil liberties as an unnecessary restriction on government power. Conservative Republicans say they favor a smaller, less intrusive government but somehow when elected they become Neo-Conservatives who Are Willing to spend money (and expand government reach) without restraint, provided it helps them further their agenda. Again I am sorry for confussing the labels, what I meant to say is that tea bagger, conservative, and neoconservative are all the same, they are just at different stages in conservative evolutionary spectrum. Tea baggers is the misguided guppy where no real ideas come to fruition, conservatism is the vision that one grasps for and aspires to be, and neo-conservatism is the final stage where they gain power and abuse such power.

Anyways, regarding your humorous tid-bit about me meeting the great Obama with his ‘magical’ powers. I hope you are not referencing Limbaugh with his Messiah talk and Barrack the magic negro mantra. And stop the projection of your desperate need for a leader. You guys are in such dire need of leadership that you project that love fest on progressives, I know you want to Reagan-ize yourself but he’s dead and Sarah Palin just won’t do the trick. I think you’re version of Olberman, Glenn Beck, has fallen for the Obama-ize posters as well. He has himself, some other neo-cons, and some of the founding fathers all obama-ized on posters on his show’s set. But more importantly, don’t call me out for my political apps on facebook and act like you don’t ‘go as far’ as to have wall posts about socialism and other political imagery on your very profile.

But I cannot believe that anyone would be against social justice, compassion for fellow human beings, and progressive ideas which have shaped this nation into a more perfect nation. Progressive ideas like National Parks, abolishment of slavery, Fiat monetary system, women’s right to vote, labor laws, social security, medicare/medicaid, civil rights, landing a man on the moon, and now health care reform all of which makes this country great and stronger. How can you neglect people for the human right of living a healthy life. The abolishment of recession, no more pre-existing conditions, expanding coverage to most Americans, and allowing young Americans to be covered under their parents plans until they are 26. The bill’s not perfect. Costs would be controlled much more efficiently with a strong public option, but change is gradual. To close, I just do not understand your Me First Skrew Everyone Else attitude.

Keep ‘em coming, I hope you, Beck, Bohner, and the rest of you tea bagging neo confederates have ended your cry-fest and “end of the world, grab your guns” talk in the midst of change…But I permit you to keep your verbal diatribe coming my way because it’s quite entertaining. I bid you farewell homeboy.

PS- Enjoy that socialist government take-over of Healthcare

Calen Michael Fretts March 22 at 11:59pm
I’ll grant you that many people who call themselves conservatives are actually neocons, but this time you’ve bit off more than you know. I am willing to criticize Bush as equally as I am Obama – and yes, he was about equally as bad (although it at least took him a couple terms to get to that point). you clearly don’t understand the difference between “conservative”, “neoconservative”, and “Republican” (and “republican” for that matter). it’s okay, many don’t. but if you’re going to try to talk like the big dogs, you should learn.

the best thing about people like you and me is that people like you don’t know how to argue against people like me. I don’t listen to Limbaugh so I’m not familiar with those apparent quotes of his. I don’t watch Glenn Beck either, so thus continues the iconoclasm. McCain wasn’t and Palin isn’t anywhere near the candidate I would choose for the job. Reagan isn’t even my hero, so I’m afraid none of your completely original assertions hold water. I called you out for the hilarious pictures of you on the Obama “HOPE” poster. you’re just another brownshirt Obama zombie.

even more hilarious is your assertion that a “Fiat monetary system” is a good thing. first of all, the system isn’t named after the car, so there’s no reason to capitalize it. second, if you think that’s a good thing, you obviously either have no idea what it is or you’re delusional. the inclusion of things like “National Parks” and “landing a man on the moon” beside those other things you mentioned is even more hilarious. social security, medicare, and medicaid are bankrupting this country, and this new health care “reform” is only going to accelerate that path. someday if you ever wise up you will realize that liberalism is a no-brainer (it’s for people with no brain).

rock on dude.

PS – enjoy nullification.

PPS – I know you don’t know what that means. Google or Dictionary.com should be able to help.

PPPS – while you’re at it, a spelling and grammar class might be helpful too. I’d give you a discount: only 1 gold ounce/hour.

and then I did not receive a reply, because apparently he has been kicked off Facebook (his profile is no more). I didn’t report him or anything, as I was actually entertained by his antics.. but I can’t say he didn’t deserve it.

March 21

cops are above the law and you are their inferiors

this weekend, I had the displeasure of experiencing a very unsettling situation unfold. as I sat on the patio of a restaurant having dinner with friends, police activity started to pick up right in front of me. first, a police car sat in the middle of a one-way street with its lights off, and the cop was just standing outside his car talking to someone. he very easily could have pulled his car off the road into a number of spots, but this did not happen.  a vehicle was stuck behind this car and could not get by, so (and yes, this was dumb, but the decision was basically forced) they instead waited until the opposite one-way street was clear and went around the police car that way. it was only for about 100 feet, and totally safe. of course, as soon as this happened, the cop ran and jumped into his car and tracked this vehicle down, since this of course became immediately more important than whatever he was doing before. whether they ended up getting a ticket, I am not sure.

then, about five minutes later, the scene pictured below unfolded. to explain, there was a cop sitting on the side of this one-way street, talking to a man and woman (you can see them in the picture, between the two cars). the conversation was not urgent, it appeared to be a friendly conversation between people who knew each other. then, the second car pulled up, again, completely blocking the street. the cop in this car joined the conversation. after a few seconds, another citizen car pulled behind the police cars, trying to get by, but they were of course impeded. that is when I took this picture:

shortly thereafter, four more cars pulled in, and were also stuck behind the police cars. after about another minute of watching this, I got pretty fed up in disbelief at their lack of courtesy, and approached the cops. I said to both of them, “excuse me, there are about 5 cars stuck behind you, waiting for you guys to move”. the cop in the car that was primarily blocking them replied “yeah, I see ’em”. at this point I just looked into his eyes with a kind of incredulous death stare for a second, and then walked away shaking my head. I’m surprised I wasn’t arrested right then and there. after maybe another 30 seconds, the cop finally pulled away, and the cars were allowed to go through. of course, the reason the cop pulled away was to pull over another car which had just made a right turn in front of him (it did not seem to be an illegal turn, so I have no clue why he pulled this person over – probably just in anger that he had been challenged by a lowly slave peasant citizen).

so, there you have it folks. cops are above the law and you are their inferiors. they do what they want, and you just have to take it. OR, we can try to change this. there are more slaves than masters in this world. a slave revolt, even in thought, mind, attitude, would be a start. no other man is above you or I. don’t let them bully you into thinking the opposite is true.

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