I know that the $1 trillion figure is in dispute (too tired to look it up right now), but it's still pretty crazy.
Frankly, the writing was on the wall for the current "higher education model" as soon as it became legally impossible to discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy. A particular industry demanded and got a specific and very strange loophole from ordinary law in order to put the government -- and young people -- on the hook in order to cash in bigtime.
Making it as easy to discharge non-secured student loan debt as it is non-secured consumer debt -- in other words, treating it like it is what it is -- is an obvious reform that would force lenders and higher educational institutions to consider market forces. Besides, of course, the powerful market force that is "the government will pick up the tab when our stupid bets come up bust, so let's get rich!"
In other words, here is yet another humane and sensible reform that won't happen because rich assholes like having 99% of the country paying them off, and these assholes control everything.
When you're looking to stave off a depression and fight massive chronic unemployment, the best place to go for answers would be, obviously... The Hoover Institution!
The recession was caused by minimum wage and unemployment benefits laws, you see. We should get rid of those as well as other onerous "regulations." Then, maybe, American firms will want to build factories here, instead of, say, oh, China.
Also Keynesianism is wrong because of Google ads. Clearly.
Below. Top Hoover Institution Scholars gaze down upon you
Since it was supposed to rain all day Wednesday Tuesday (and so far, it has been), I thought I'd get my Cacapon Mountain hike in Tuesday Monday while the leaves were dry. The creek picture at the start of the trail was taken at 3:24 p.m., and the ultimate picture was taken at 5:09 (sunset is at 4:50 pm these days...I had to hotfoot it down the mountain).
So I made it back home with no more than the usual ankle-spraining, except for the very last part of the hike when a step on a leaf-covered rock resulted in my left ankle hurting all night. It seems to be fine now, though. See what I do for all you kids?
America has yet once more been restored, thanks to David Horowitz and his annual "Restoration Weekend," where every year a conglomeration of appalling lunatic shysters gathers to expound the central principle of Our Democracy, namely, that far-right hacks should be well-paid for propounding "small government" gibberish, which translates to "making sure the government does not belong to American voters but acts as a machine for funneling cash from working people to wealthy corporate assholes."
The other reason I mention Restoration Weekend is that the Keynote Krazy was Glenn Beck, whom Horowitz dubs a "Media Titan," even though everyone else remembers him as "that guy too batshit even for Fox." This is worth noting because, as the Right Wing reminds us, interminably, the Market always rewards the Very Best Quality Everything, and Glenn Beck got paid a lot of money by the market for, uh, this Very High Quality Public Speaking:
There’s this amazing speech given by Adolf Hitler, where they started to actually — the idea was to take the SS, and — you can rat on your neighbor. If you see something, say something. Rat on your neighbor. Well, the people of Germany were so far off the scale that they were taking things from somebody who screwed them in middle school, like — oh, I’ve always wanted to get them back — and turn them in. Hitler actually said — I’m paraphrasing — it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever read. This is Adolf Hitler. He said — what the hell is wrong with you people? Adolf Hitler! Looking at the Germans, and saying — you disgust me.
That’s when he knew he had them. Because they were so internally corrupt that he could do anything. And he did.
Also he says that he was right to prophesy that inflation would be the nation-destroyer that it is right now, and that we need a new Martin Luther King Jr. to save us from Occupy Wall Street, who were mean to him at a movie. Also the new Martin Luther King Jr. would end the cruel government regulation of major financial firms. Or something -- it's not altogether clear.
It's all very comical, but you can't just laugh at it. Just as you can't just laugh at the crazed GOP "presidential field." When one of the two major political parties can't be bothered to even try to nominate anyone who isn't an utter clown or fraud, that's because anyone seriously interested in weilding power from the right knows that our political system -- "democracy," recall -- is a sideshow. And who performs at sideshows?
Frank Miller has written something grim, unpleasant, hackneyed, and vicious, and people are paying attention to it, for some reason.
And then also there's also this this thing he said a few weeks ago about the Occupy protests, which you'd be better off reading about here. Shorter Frank Miller: OWS protesters are disgusting subhuman swine because 9/11. Honestly, that's the nut of it. (He writes comics. His insult line for OWS protesters: "Go back to your mommas’ basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft." [sic] Right. Because the kind of nerd-person who plays "Lords of Warcraft" is precisely not the sort of cool-person who would own copies of "Sinful City" or "299.")
Still and all, to be fair, his latest stuff seems defter, fresher, and funnier than anything Dennis Miller has come up with in a while. And yes, I'm contemning something I haven't read, but, well, sometimes you can, and should, damn a book by its cover.
In The Guardian Rick Moody, best known as the author of The Ice Tempest, casts asparagus on Miller's anti-OWS post, calling it "propaganda" of the sort that Hollywood constantly pumps out. Such "propaganda" not merely sucks, but is indeed "cryptofascist," on these grounds:
Miller's hard-right, pro-military point of view is not only accounted for in his own work, but in the larger project of mainstream Hollywood cinema. American movies, in the main, often agree with Frank Miller, that endless war against a ruthless enemy is good, and military service is good, that killing makes you a man, that capitalism must prevail, that if you would just get a job (preferably a corporate job, for all honest work is corporate) you would quit complaining.
Moody qualifies his case somewhat, which is a good idea, as he doesn't define exactly what he means by "cryprofascist," as he probably should:
Does that make American cinema cryptofascist? Is "cryptofascist" a word that you can use in an essay like this? I keep trying to find a space somewhere between "propagandistic" and "cryptofascist" to describe my feelings about Miller's screed. But perhaps it's more accurate to say the following: whatever mainstream Hollywood cinema is now, Frank Miller is part of it. And Frank Miller has done Occupy Wall Street a service by reminding us that our allegedly democratic political system, which increases inequality and decreases class mobility, which is mostly interested in keeping the disenfranchised where they are, requires a mindless, propagandistic (or "cryptofascist") storytelling medium to distract its citizenry. We should be grateful for the reminder. And we might repay the favor by avoiding purchase of tickets to Miller's films.
This is a reasonable thesis -- that big Hollywood films have a political dimension ranging somewhere from "propaganda" to "cryprofascist."
For openers, Miller was behind 300. That's a big Hollywood film. I couldn't watch more than a few minutes of it, personally, though I tried. (There are some things even Jamesons' can't make me do, it emerges.) But it made a lot of money! So let's specify that while 300 may not be emblematic of "Hollywood," it can still connote a particular tendency in modern filmic production. My sense is that 300 took certain sensibilities and assumptions about as far as they would go, and so while you couldn't say that it is the emblem of everything Hollywood, you can fairly assert that it represents a certain (godawful) trend.
And that trend is, on the one end, propagandist -- at least in the case of 300.
Observe that Miller has outed himself as a propagandist; he himself calls Holy Terror "propaganda" (see links above). The point of propaganda is to produce work that leads its consumers to take some sort of action or adopt some sort of ideology. It's not to tell a story or create images for the sake of telling a story or for producing images. That is Art, and has been ever since Flaubert started giving the French middle classes a hard time.
As for the "cryptofascist" part, in the case of 300, well, it is not too far out there. Sparta -- freedom -- honestly? The dusky hordes? The contempt for civilian soldiers and democratic structures? The hyper-masculinity? The depiction of women as, at best, props? The violence porn? The militarism? The inseperable identification of morality with unreflective nationalism? The fucking loincloths? The contempt for nuance, the bombast, the fucking tedium?
So, while Moody kind of goes over the top -- he's not done the work that would persuade me to believe that he's right about all mainstream Hollywood films of the past decade -- he sure is right about Frank Miller. And being "not persuaded" does not mean "unwilling to hear the brief."
Which is not to say that I don't have a case of my own. Overall, I'd say that the producers of big Hollywood films are hoping to make piles of money, and that very often there's piles of cash to be made in cryptofascism, or at least propaganda.
This of course is a gross oversimplification, but then as the old gag about vulgar materialism goes, money doesn't explain everything, only 90% of it.
But that last 10% matters -- just as do the 99%! For sound business reasons.
So. Frank Miller – who has become incredibly, publicly, and gloriously cranky ever since 300 and Sin City gave him sufficient mojo to do so - wrote a little screed called ‘Anarchy‘ that pretty much told the Occupiers to get off of the streets and back into their parents’ basements where they wouldn’t get in the way....
But, of course, people like Moody always seem to get it wrong: they think that the populace watches movies that are the opposite of the movies that Moody likes because the populace is brainwashed. I suppose that it’s better than dealing with the possibility that the populace watches movies that are the opposite of the movies that Moody likes because the movies that Moody likes actually suck.
Which is funny, because it's not very likely that Frank Miller will work in Hollywood ever again, because he's as likely to get Holy Terror produced by a non-Troma outfit as Moody is as likely to get one of his next novels filmed by, well, Troma. Hollywood might do crypto-fascist, if it makes them bread, but it won't do straight-up fascist, because that is box-office poison, as those stories usually suck so very hard.
This is precisely why wingnuts are always bitching so hard about the otherwise perfectly nasty capitalist machine that is Hollywood: it only churns out 90% of the propaganda crap they want to see.
It's been my habit to use the posting privileges so generously extended me here (Hey! Something for which I can actually be grateful & express gratitude: Thanks, Thers!) for my more serious musings on sexual politics, the state of the nation, & what a collection of inane drones the right-wing & its blog-o-sphere is, but today I make an exception, as I've shot some images that (my opinion only) are worthy of even wider exposure than they'd receive at my one-weasel operation.
What the hell, it's the day after something & all are consuming anyway.
A number of weapons were discovered in New York’s Zuccotti Park after Occupy Wall Street protesters were evicted by the Police Department last week, law enforcement sources tell FoxNews.com.
Gardeners employed by the park owners, Brookfield Properties, to clean up the mess made by occupiers during their two-month stay discovered various knives, including a large kitchen knife and other potential instruments of violence in flower beds throughout the public space, according to officials.
Uh, they were cooking? Moron? You kind of need a knife to cook? CUTCO = Al Qaeda? The fuck?
“It was our understanding that the protester may have had a significant number of items that could be potentially used as weapons,” read the statement.
You raid a kitchen, and discover kitchen knives, you have discovered... a kitchen!
It's especially fiendish how those bastards buried those kitchen knives in flower beds... where they could EXPLODE!
Because there is no better proof that someone was planning to take a knife to a cop than that they took that knife and buried it under a rhododendron.