Darth Beetle

I feel like shit, which means allergies or I picked up the plague moving shit.  I made one more trip to Liberty yesterday and the remainder goes to the Wife at the next opp.

We went for lunch in Darth Beetle and a ride in the country, winding up in Madison, which has a brew pub and a coffee house.  The top refuses to close completely, so I installed the optional handle and we bought a new battery.  The Wife transferred the extended warranty and it goes in the shop next week.

With the nice weather, I’d been driving the Cabrio, but the heat is finally upon us.

The Wife bought a home warranty when we moved to North Hills in 2010.  It’s been fun paying sixty bucks anytime something went wrong, in addition to the monthly premium.  Three weeks ago, the A/C stopped working, we made the call and our fave serviceman replaced the fan motor capacitor, rather than conning us into a new compressor.  A week later, he had to come back and replace the capacitor.  Last week, he tried to replace the motor with a generic, but was forced to order the right one through the warranty company.  We got a call from them today indicating the part had been ordered.  We may have it repaired by the end of July.

This would be a dreadful calamity were we not in possession of two portable A/C units we bought for State Street, before we moved to Golden Gate.  As things stand, we are pushing hot air out both ends of the house and throwing open the windows at night.  We aren’t telling the warranty company, but we’re quite comfortable.

The Wife and I are losing weight by eschewing carbs and eating a Mediterranean diet of good bread, cheese, pickles and cured meat.  We often don’t eat a proper dinner anymore, but snack during the evening.  When we eat out, we’re tending to make better selections.  I haven’t had a french fry in ages.

Unfortunately, we’ve learned to stay away from locally owned restaurants, as the snowflakes who work there are rarely presentable or properly trained.  The girl this afternoon touched her face three times while making my smoothie.

Food Lion’s transformation includes placing a label under local beers and jacking up the price of a six pack a dollar, as if these choices are better than established regional and national brands.  This is not likely to help the local beer bubble.

I feel sorry for people who have to wear uniforms at work.  We make a good living selling fashionable garments to women which are comfortable and hide a multitude of sins.  It is cruel to require overweight people to wear belted slacks and tucked in shirts.  It crushes their soul and I remain amazed at what some people will put up with for a job.

The USPS seems to have grasped this idea, as I saw a guy unloading drop box mail in a t-shirt.  Unions are the bomb.

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Moving Day

Having mown both yards this week, I took advantage of the weather to start moving shit from the storage facility I rented about fifteen years ago, when I moved my business to Greensboro.  Plans for He-Man Woman Hater’s University continue apace, with the arrivals of my books and er… the Wife’s business records.

Moving four times in seventeen years, the business had collected quite a bit of lumber, as we tended to hang on to the good stuff we found.  It now rests in my storage building, awaiting possible use in the next move.  He-Man Woman Hater’s University entails quite a bit of wood-butchery in lieu of competitive sports and it’s nice to have lots of plywood and melamine available.

I figure one more day of this, which involves a lot of shit going to the dumpster, it’ll be empty and I can take advantage of the big bookcase to establish the HMWHU library, consisting as it does with everything from Castaneda to Twain, with lots of Chris Hedges in between.  Chief among the collection is the greatest woman-hater of all, Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, who preferred traveling on a litter, desperately ill with disease in Africa and South America, to staying home with his penny-pinching wife.

There are two black woman working at the Liberty Food Lion.  I asked someone why and they said black people don’t want to work.  I let him live.  My dad died thirty years ago this month and I like to think the good Quaker would have tilted at that wind mill.  Perhaps I will.

Politics is a delicate issue for the young mind.  I’ve known this kid for close to a year, so I’m bound to have held forth on at least a few subjects, but he’s still talking to me.  Still, it’s rare to have a mature male mind not already cowed by the mad ravings of women.  I’ll assume my customary reactionary position, rather than impose a curriculum.

However, were I to posit a political ethos, it would be that whereas the Left has walked off the map, the Right is dominated by fascist Libertarians, led by the Koch Brothers.  I’ve had a front row seat to this public villainy since the GOP coup in North Carolina perpetrated by them, Art Pope and ALEC.  I can’t lay hands on it, because allegation has been made that the crew cuts running the NCGOP aren’t capable of drafting legislation.  I further contend that the GOP establishment orangutans in Congress are no different; and so the same Libertarian assholes who have raped NC have sock puppeted the House on ACA reform, are providing the Senate bill, and will furnish tragic third act in reconciliation.

History and HMWHU in particular, will record that those who fell for the Russian false narrative amount to political roadkill, whose bodies are free to be driven over on our way to a future based in reality, which happens to include a whole bunch of Russian defense assets, whose effects have been on full display in Ukraine and caused NATO to huddle in Kaliningrad, fucked as it is with obsolete technology.

But right wing media disappoints as well, which brings me to the biggy, Zionism.  Before you get all wigged out about hating Jews, you need to remember most of them despise Zionism and hard core adherents are visible, should you care to shame and mock: another intramural activity at HMWHU.

In 2010, a reaction to the election of Obama emerged as the Tea Party, which was quickly co-opted by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey and turned into the American Taliban.  These xenophobic authoritarians raged like a wild fire over this land as useful idiots for Libertarians and Zionists.  The one-two punch of domestic austerity and imperial foreign policy is perhaps the worst possible outcome in the absence of an effective Left.

After having been terribly disappointed by W., I stopped listening to right wing radio and watching FOX News, enjoying Rachel Maddow and the MSM.  I’ve never hung out out alt-right websites, preferring Zero Hedge and Naked Capitalism, as I do now.  Starting with Victoria Nuland’s “Fuck the EU!”, these people were on top of the neocon coup in Ukraine and false flag shootdown of MH-17.

After reading about how Putin and his KGB assets waged an heroic fight to oust central bankers, who had ruined the West, and was the hero of everyone opposed to fifth column olgarchs, I became a Russian in my heart and remain so to this day.  In fact, I renounce my citizenship as an American until it stops killing its citizens and those abroad.

Which brings us to the scourge of neoliberalism/globalism and inverted totalitarianism, or as Sheldon Wolin alternatively called it, managed democracy.  Professor Emeritus at Princeton, he was ostracized by the faculty after publishing Democracy, Inc.

Michael Lofgren did a great job illustrating how the GOP spent a generation making sure the electorate did not understand or care about politics, effectively ensuring ignorance, apathy and surrendering elections to Christofascist assholes.

Worship of materialism on the Right and technology on the Left surrendered the electorate to corporations, and the SCOTUS Citizens United decision made sure oligarchs like George Soros and the Koch brothers would reign over us like nightmarish dragons, wielding the threat of nuclear annihilation and the reality of crushing austerity over an electorate driven mad, but for one last desperate gasp toward Trump.

Fun Machine 1 sits under a tarp, waiting for the sun.  Meanwhile, my ’91 Toyota truck has performed magnificently all day, even providing A/C.  The Wife adores FM2, freshly adorned with the Linneas license plate.  John Michael Greer’s Retrotopia series, now only available in print, spoke to me, as I am so in love with 5 speed 4 cylinder fuel injected vehicles.

“Progress is the enemy of prosperity.”

Progress has sold out to neoliberalism, gutting the mighty institutions of education, science and healthcare.  Even now, we throw off the false promises of postmodernism and look to the past and the better existence we remember there.  Technology holds answers, but its worship is merely a perversion.

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Academia Postponed

Previously.

My dream of establishing He-Man Woman Hater’s University is on hold while I wait to hear from my first matriculant.  I left my number at his job with instructions to call me when he wanted to see the dormitory, but have not received a call, despite previous conversations during which he expressed interest.  Regardless, given my past experience with tenants in Liberty, I am not surprised.

There exists a set of people looking to rent who are not prepared to provide a deposit or willing to sign a lease.  Years ago, that included a significant population of cash-rich Latinos who could be counted on to take care of your property.   Alas, Liberty held a parade when they went back home in 2009.  Now, all that remains are blacks and much worse, poor whites.

About that time, I rented to a young black guy who paid on time and kept the place up.  But his daddy died and he took to drinking, losing a good job.  When he moved out, he left a pit bull tied to a tree.  One of the neighbors agreed to take him.

I drove down, put up a For Rent sign and began mowing.  As if by magic, a woman and her daughter descended on me, wanting the place.  This too, was not unusual.  These people may not have a deposit, but can smell a house for rent from miles away.

Once before, I got a call from a guy who said he wanted the house and had arranged to have cable installed that afternoon.  I warned him to stay off my property and never call again.

I gave the key to a young couple once with the agreement that the first month’s rent would be forthcoming.  I knew his parents and they both had good jobs.  I arrived a few days later to find all my old furniture had been hauled away as garbage and the rooms which I had painted in pastels ruined with dark hues.  I called the kid and asked WTF? to find him on vacation in Myrtle Beach.  I got my key back.

He-Man Woman Hater’s University obviated such problems by me maintaining a room and responsibility for the utilities, allowing my young charge to work and go to school with a minimum of distractions, and providing me with a way to defray the cost and secure the property.

I remain hopeful, but at present am certain my name is being blackened further by the gossip network, which is vast and stupid.

Back to my most recent tenant, I told the woman and her daughter that I didn’t like white people as they tended to abuse my property and lie.  The concept of Jesus was proffered, which disturbed me even more.  Still, she wanted a tour, during which many criticisms were made. Back outside, I gave her a price, which caused her to wail as if having been struck.  They left and I went back to mowing.

Thirty minutes later, they returned with mattresses in the back of a truck and my money.  I never spoke with her that she didn’t have a cig in her face, mention Jesus or complain about something.  At some point, I escalated her complaints to the Wife, who nipped that in the bud.  I gave her thirty days to vacate last August and she was gone in twenty, paying what she owed.  Despite having two dozen cats, the only problems with the property were an infestation of fleas and some pissed off neighbors.

I’m reading Bukowski’s Women and look forward to instructing my first student in their ways, if not those of tenants.

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It’s the Koch Bros., Stupid

In the aftermath of the Alexandria, VA shooting of GOP congressional reps and protectors, the Right and Left took their typical stances of blaming each other for yet another senseless act.  This behavior continues to ignore certain essential truths:

  • The Dems have gone down the rabbit hole and are politically irrelevant until such time as their mass delusion abates.
  • At least in this country, Muslims pose no real threat.  However, if we continue to bomb the shit out of them, destabilizing Europe with disaffected young adult males will be on us.
  • The election of Donald Trump signified volcanic dissatisfaction with establishment Republicans by a lot of first time voters.  These people are not blaming Trump for the failure of legislative initiatives, but members of Congress.
  • Trump supporters are not primarily social conservatives;  those are the people who elected the GOP establishment.  Trump supporters are nationalists who were aroused by Trump’s America First protectionist platform.
  • There is no reason to believe the next GOP primaries will go well for social conservatives or their masters, the Libertarians.

Given those political realities, it is important Trump supporters not waste effort on the Left or Muslims.  We need to put forward protectionist candidates who look to the needs of their constituents and not their own enrichment.

And that begins by recognizing the GOP is responsible for a lot of what enrages the Left, regardless of the fact the latter abandoned their historic core values for money and power.

As Illinois fails to deal with a $15B budget shortfall, it is the federal government’s responsibility to stand behind these debts, just as they did the TBTF banks.  But Trump, assailed by the psychotic Left and the fascist GOP establishment, does not enjoy the political capital to enact rescue legislation.  We’ve already witnessed the GOP go insane at the prospect of a half black President; there’s no reason to think these racists will do anything to help minorities in Chicago.

So long as the Libertarian ALEC and the Koch brothers control Congress, expect more of the same.  If Trump’s election heralded a populist movement, it remains to be seen if it can be repeated with other candidates.  Trump has fought the Koch brothers from day one and may yet be replaced with Mike Pence as their choice.  But a fleeting opportunity exists in the next election to replace incumbent social conservatives and Libertarians with populists who espouse the same goals as our victorious President.

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Partying on Peachtree

Safely returned from Atlanta, where we partied like crazed animals with 40K Rotarians from all over the world. Greensboro still sucks.

Hung out last night with three Limey blokes and discussed Nigel Farage, Brexit and the Picts from whom I’m descended.

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a pub owner sing 500 Miles at a Karaoke bar.

They had no problem with my rugby shorts.

Met some folks from Toledo, OH who knew Dr. Dave Fulton, creater of FoxPro.

Getting really good at taking MARTA and the shuttle to Dillard’s at Atlantic Station, where I scored three more summer shirts on sale. The sales girl remembered me and asked how their polo shirts held up. I said the one I was wearing was ten years old.

The international consensus is Americans are daft.

While waiting for the train, gave $5 to a college-educated Vietnam vet down on his luck, but absolutely delightful to talk with. Everybody else stared at their smartphones.

Got plowed with Dewar’s by the bartender while waiting for a table.

Scared the shit out of some Rotarians from Russia. I kept saying, “Putin is a Great American!”, but they didn’t understand. I told them no one understood me here, either.

Our Romanian valet is getting a degree in cyber security. He got me.

For seventeen years, I’ve been smelling this restaurant. Third time I was the only person there. Simply could not get used to the goat curry.

Met a gorgeous engineer from Istanbul whom I tried to bring home with us. She was interested until I said I loved her.

The Jamaican we met at dinner was fascinated with our marital arrangement and is going to attempt something similar with her husband. My fave comment: “I’ve been in this business 25 years and have no idea what I’m doing.”

Just had some killer wings from the 7-11 in Concord. The time is fast approaching when we will only eat at gas stations.

The Fun Machines stayed home and the Kia Soul did battle with the dumbasses and maniacs. While gassing up, I asked the guy across from me how he liked his Passat, which has the same 2.5L five cylinder as our beetle.  He was still extolling its virtues when I hung up the nozzle and replaced the cap.

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Hedge Fund Slum Lords

From Michael Hudson:

[But] you could say that the whole stock market is a kind of a ponzi scheme, because $4.3 trillion has been provided to the banks by the Federal Reserve in quantitative easing to keep the interest rates down. So if you’re a good bank customer, you can borrow from the bank at 2 percent, you can borrow to take over a company or to buy stocks or to buy risky bonds that are yielding more, and you can make an arbitrage. That is, you can make in dividends or interest more than you have to pay.

Since Fed QE ended in 2015, the Bank of Japan and the Euro Central Bank have purchased their own bonds in 2016, effectively propping up the Ponzi.

A large portion of the millions of homes that were foreclosed have been bought by hedge funds, often for all cash – because they can make more money renting them out than they can make in the financial markets.

Retail markets are ruined because institutional investors must resort to gathering in dark pools to hide their trades from high frequency traders, effectively ending price discovery.  The proliferation of HFT has also ruined arbitrage profit opportunities for the hedge funds, resulting in a stock market bubble where correlation between stocks is destroyed.  It’s a rocket trip to Hell, waiting for a black swan.  We’d heard a couple of years ago that HFT had wrung all the trading opportunities out of the market.  Becoming slum lords is proof of that reality.

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Saudi Arabia Lays Siege to Qatar

From Moon of Alabama:

Some 37 million passengers cross through Doha each year. But Qatar Airways now has to fly through Iranian, Iraqi and Turkish airspace to reach Europe. (If the situation persists the UAE owned Emirates Airways will likely order a huge bunch of new planes.) Half of the food in Qatar comes via Saudi Arabia through Qatar’s only land border. 600-800 trucks per day can no longer pass. The 19 flights per day between Doha and Dubai are called off.  Oil prices rose some 1.6% and the Qatari stock exchange tanked.

The reasons for the immediate spat are manifold. It has only little to do with Iran.

The Saudis accuse Qatar of supporting terrorists. That is like Britain accusing the U.S. of imperialism, or the mafia cutting ties with the mob over gangsterism. As Joe Biden remarked (vid) when still Vice President, both Wahhabi countries, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have been funding and fueling terrorism in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. But the Saudi view is that the more “liberal” Qatar is simply supporting the “wrong” kind of terrorists.

The Qatari government and its mouthpiece Al-Jazeera installed and supported the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. The Saudis put that government down by financing a military coup against it. Qatar is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood government of Turkey. It is supporting the Palestinian Hamas, also a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate…

Qatar is the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas – a serious competition to Saudi oil exports.

T.E. Lawrence came to understand what Steve Bannon is learning:  Arabs are a petty race, consumed with tribal intrigue and only reliable to contribute to The Great Game when it aligns with their base interests.

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