Daily Archives: November 11, 2010

The Chinese Pro-capitalist Reforms Are Crap

Regular reader AJ writes in:

What are your thoughts on all the people who say that the only reason China is getting stronger and richer is because they are Communist in name only, and have been moving closer and closer to capitalism?

They have nothing like capitalism at all. It’s a very mixed system that is what I call socialism. You really need to study the Chinese system. It’s not capitalism or anything like that.

Anyone knows that capitalism potentially creates tremendous wealth and it beats socialism at creating wealth. But at what cost. Capitalism in China, especially the foreign firms (which are definitely capitalist!) is killing 600,000 Chinese a year through overwork alone. Corruption and mass abuse of workers and citizens is rampant, all due to the reforms. There was little to no abuse of workers before. Health care and education have been decimated by the reforms.

The reforms are crap. All so they can get rich? Fuck that!

I am convinced it does not have to be this way. Belarus is a good example of a country without much wealth that shows how you can protect the rights of workers, citizens and society and at the same time develop your economy. Venezuela is another good model.

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Filed under Americas, Asia, Capitalism, China, Corruption, Economics, Eurasia, Labor, Latin America, Regional, Socialism, South America, Venezuela

Manuel Marulanda

Repost from the old site.

Great photo of Manuel Marulanda (seated) from the early days.

The more classic view that people are a lot more familiar with – the veteran revolutionary and guerrilla. In the background are uniformed FARC troops.

I’ve already been over on this blog why the Colombian revolutionaries really have no alternative but to fight. When they tried to lay down their weapons, they were slaughtered like flies. As long as there is no open space for peaceful dissent in Colombia, armed struggle will be a sensible option.

Via a couple of articles out of People’s Movement Support Group, we now learn a lot more about Sure Shot – Manuel Marulanda. The essential moment in the Colombian struggle and the one that actually gave rise to the FARC 16 years later was the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the presidential candidate that the people had pinned their hopes on.

Colombia has always been ruled by two ruling class parties – the Liberals and the Conservatives. Although they hated each other, there was never much difference between the two. Gaitán was a new kind of Liberal – a leftwing populist that was actually going to work for the people and not the oligarchy for once.

Even his own Liberal party condemned him, and he was quickly assassinated by unknown parties. The killing set off La Violencia, a conflict between the Conservatives and Liberals that killed 200,000 people in a small country over the next 16 years. The peasants in the countryside split off to form militias to slaughter each other.

The Conservatives represented the older oligarchy, and the Liberals represented some nouveau riche up and coming members of the oligarchy who wanted in. However, the Liberals were joined by many peasants and Communists. The two parties finally signed a peace treaty in 1963 and decided to declare war on the Communists.

Pedro Antonio Marín Marín, later Manuel Marulanda, was born into a poor peasant family around 1930. At age 13, he was forced to leave home to find work. Great system! At some time after 1948, Marín was attacked in his home by a Conservative militia. This led him to join the Liberals. He took the name Manuel Marulanda after an Afro-Colombian union leader who was tortured to death in 1953.

In the late 1950’s, he joined forces with Jacobo Arenas to form a Marxist guerrilla group modeled on the Fidelistas fighting in the mountains of Cuba. It was as a guerrilla that he earned the name Tiro Fijo or Sure Shot.

The Colombian ruling class and US imperialism are overjoyed that Marulanda died. He died at age 77 in the arms of his lover, surrounded by his guerrilla comrades. The imperialists and their lackeys have made up a lie that he was killed by a bomb from a Colombian jet. This is not true.

It is little known that there is a fierce guerrilla war raging in Colombia. You don’t read about much in the news, but the FARC, while conducting an orderly retreat under a severe offensive, is counterattacking against the Colombian military, and there are many small battles taking place every week.

The FARC is quite popular in Colombia, especially amongst the rural poor. If you go out into some areas of the countryside, all adults that you see will be members of the FARC. The peasant farmer in the countryside with his cows will have a sidearm. The woman cooking in her kitchen cooks food for guerrillas.

This is the FARC’s rural militia, and it numbers up to 200,000-300,000. This is much more than the 15-20,000 full-time soldiers of the FARC. These peasants have been part of the FARC’s support base for decades. That’s just the way it is in a lot of places. FARC has had a much harder time organizing in the cities, but they do have urban militias.

The kidnappings that the US media screams about all the time are usually just arrests for not paying revolutionary taxes. Every Colombian with an income of over $1 million/year (that’s a lot of people) has to pay revolutionary taxes every year (usually 10%). Most wealthy Colombians just do it. They drive out 25-50 miles from the city they live and pay the guerrillas. Then they are free for another year.

Some wealthy Colombians have not been paying taxes lately, so they have been arrested by the FARC for tax evasion. They will be released when they pay their taxes. So it’s not really the “kidnapping and ransom payments” scenario that the media wants you to believe.

The FARC is even very popular across the border in Ecuador, especially in the rural areas. The notion that this group has no support is a lie propagated by its enemies.

Another lie is that these guerrillas live in luxury because they are narco-traffickers. They do tax drug crops in their regions of control, including cocaine. However, all of the money goes towards the war. No FARC guerrillas or leaders live in luxury.

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Filed under Americas, Caribbean, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Latin America, Left, Maoism, Marxism, Regional, Reposts From The Old Site, Revolution, South America

World O’ Crap, Meet World O’ Lies

Repost from the old site.

Super-commenter James Schipper responds to the Problems of Democracy Under Capitalism post with this insightful comment. My comments follow:

James Schipper: There are two serious restraint on capitalism: competition and the need to make a profit.

Competition between capitalists insures that the power of capital over consumers and labor is limited. Capitalists have a common interests in the preservation of the capitalist system, but at the same time, capitalists compete against other for the favors of the consumer and to get the best employees.

Always remember that what makes capitalism work is not so much private property but competition. Private property without competition combines the worst of socialism and capitalism.

The need to make a profit sets a limit on what the corporate media can do. Newspapers have to find readers and radio and TV stations have to find listeners and viewers. This implies that they can’t be too overtly propagandistic, otherwise the readers, listeners and viewers will stay away.

Commentators like Rush Limbaugh have a large following but only because they primarily discuss non-economic issues. If they spent most of their time defending business, their popularity would quickly plummet. Imagine the reaction of Limbaugh’s fan’s if he started to extol CEO’s who make stratospheric incomes while their companies lay off workers. It is far safer to extol the uniformed heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Plutocracy is a cause that can’t be truthful about its aims. That’s why the Republicans want ordinary working Americans to worry about college professors who have an elitist lifestyle rather than about executives and capitalists who have an elitist income.

It is ridiculous to suppose that latte-drinking, opera-watching, Volvo-driving eggheads who read foreign novels and watch foreign films are somehow a danger to working stiffs. A party that represents the rich has to be deceitful or else condemn itself to insignificance. The Republicans are such a party.

Robert Lindsay: James makes some excellent points above, especially about how “pointy-headed intellectuals who can’t even park their bicycles straight”, as George Wallace famously put it, into a sort of populist enemy by the Republican Party, and also about how conservatism is always, by its very nature and necessarily, dishonest.

Here the Republican Party is playing into the anti-intellectual nature of US populism. We have never been a European-style cafe society, and probably never will be.

Also Republicans are taking an increasingly popular critique of their own sure elitism into a critique of fake elitists called “limousine liberals”. Problem with limousine liberals being, I guess, that they are hypocrites. Similar diatribes have been launched against something similar called the “Hollywood Left”.

This point is superbly made by Philip Agre in a seminal 2004 essay, What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It? As Agre succinctly and immaculately:

Q: What is conservatism?

A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.

Q: What is wrong with conservatism?

A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.

Increasingly here we have what are more or less monopolies, James. We have cable and telephone monopolies that were supposed to be regulated, but the government has basically given up regulating them. We have computer monopolies in the form of Intel on chips and Microsoft in apps and OS’s.

Starbucks comes into a town, sells at a loss to drive all competition out of town and then jacks up prices. Walmart comes into town, sells at a loss to drive everyone out of business, and then keeps on selling at low cost. However, Walmart mostly sells crap. Here Walmart is violating the monopoly principle of driving up prices while adhering to the monopoly principle of selling crap.

We are now having higher-end stores opening up that charge a lot more than Walmart but at least do not sell crap. As long as there is competition in a market, prices and quality are typically relatively good.

However, the government now operates in the interest of monopoly capital, and, insanely, “free market” economics is opposed to all antitrust regulation. Traditionally, there was bipartisan support for antitrust legislation.

The new bipartisan opposition to antitrust legislation is one of the legacies of Milton Friedman’s “Chicago School of Lies” free market fundamentalism snake oil that has created a Gramscian cultural hegemony in US economic thought in the past 35 years.

The Friedmanites published all sorts of nonsense, lies and BS. They went down to Chile, used it as a testing ground for their insane theories, blew up the economy, and then covered their tracks and lie about it to this very day.

They published papers and books on antitrust that overturned nearly 3/4 of a century of perfectly valid economic and legal scholarship that showed unequivocally that prices rise and the quality of services and goods nosedives as markets become more consolidated. These works made up a bunch of fancy-sounding crap that made a dishonest case that all of this proven science was not true.

Monopolies do not produce high prices and crap service and goods. Everything we know is wrong. Instead, reality is inverted and monopolies cause low prices, great products and superb services.

What we are seeing in the US is the move to more and more consolidated markets and more and more monopoly-type markets. The moves by Yahoo and Google and Microsoft on the Internet foretell an Internet that is increasingly monopolistic.

The one good thing about capitalism is competition.

Capitalists love to talk about how much they love competition, but the truth is that they hate it. Competition only benefits the consumer. All businessmen secretly want to be monopolists. All of those businesses dishonestly taking Microsoft to court for being a monopoly actually want to be monopolies themselves.

There are natural monopolies. In the US, those include phone, cable, power, water and some others. Those natural monopolies must be regulated by the state, other wise they will turn into natural unregulated monopolies, which are disastrous for consumers and society.

It’s highly dubious that corporations compete for the best workers anymore in the US, except at the highest levels. Corporations and business are perfectly happy to replace good workers with illegal aliens and H-1B and H-2B guest workers from other lands.

Both types of workers are usually much inferior to native US workers, but business no longer cares about quality in the US. Computer companies and homebuilders are perfectly happy to produce crap code and homes that fall apart in a few years. No one really cares about quality anymore in the US, and no one cares about workers either.

The whole culture is centered around getting rich, and that usually means being an employer and hiring labor. To be a worker is to be a schmuck, soon to be taken out by illegal aliens, machinery, a computer program or guest workers from India or Ecuador.

Fordism is progressive type of capitalism named after Henry Ford.

Ford found out his own workers could not even afford to buy his cars, and he was outraged. He resolved to pay his workers enough to buy his cars. This became a progressive strain in capitalism – to pay workers enough so that they would be well-heeled consumers able to buy plenty of products, while at the same time preserving high profits for business. Fordism is done and gone; it’s history.

Everything is now globalized, and no one worries about whether or not people can afford to buy your stuff. If labor in one place costs too much, just outsource, move the plant overseas, hire illegals or bring guest worker scabs from India. If workers in one land can’t afford your stuff, ship it to some rich people overseas. As long as enough people somewhere can afford your stuff, there’s no need to pay workers enough to buy your stuff.

Furthermore, James misinterprets the degree to which Rush Limbaugh is a reactionary. I believe he does extol high corporate salaries. You now have the phenomenon of the low income, working class or middle class, White, usually younger, male, who will defend plutocracy and the politics of the rich to the hilt, despite the fact that it is against his interest.

In this way, the plutocrats have actually been honest about their project and have created a Gramscian cultural hegemony of “plutocracy is good” whereby tens of millions of suckers swallow this crap whole and spout it right back at you without thinking. They did this by saturating the media with pro-plutocrat messages and making it seem reasonable.

They also did it by creating a Lottery mindset, which was unfortunately always a part of US culture (see the Horatio Alger books). Your average White male working stiff will tell you that he too is going to become rich one day. Anywhere from 25-50% of Americans say that they will be millionaires one day. Fully 25% of Americans already describe themselves as “rich”. Almost all of these people are White.

The problem with James’ media model – that media outlets must compete for readers – is that there is no competition.

There is no Left alternative to Time, Newsweek and US News and World Report. On TV, there is the ultraright Fox News and MSNBC and the rightwing CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC. All of these are corporate-owned and spout one pro-corporate line.

It is true that CNN now has Lou Dobbs, who spouts a sort-of progressive populist line. It really is against CNN’s interests to keep Dobbs on there, but I guess he is there because enough folks want to hear the message.

What you get instead is a pro-corporate message increasingly draped in fake populist clothing. On Fox News today, they went on and on with a fake populist message about lowering gas prices. Incredibly, they denounced speculation in oil prices, but of course, they did not offer the reasonable thing to do to remedy this – regulation of commodity markets.

Instead, they argued for massively increasing domestic oil production – in the ANWR, in the oil shale of the US Rockies and in offshore deposits. They said that the increased production would so glut the oil market (!) with new supply that this would force the commodity market to drive oil prices downwards, and this would “beat the speculators”.

What is interesting is that Fox News was forced to admit that the problem in oil prices is almost entirely due to speculation. What they left out is that increased oil supply probably would not do anything to drive down prices, because the price is not being set by supply-demand anyway. So here you see the fake populism of the Republican Party – sell a fake populist but actually wildly pro-corporate message – “Open up the oil fields!”

Even if this project passed and we able to drill in all these new deposits, it would not put a dent in oil prices. But the US public is so stupid that they would have forgotten about that long ago. If a bunch of Republicans got into office on this fake promise, this is all that matters.

The US public is like a kid with ADD – no attention span. Politicians are never held accountable to promises or projects because no one ever follows promises through for years to see if they come through or not. Politicians get elected on a pile of bull, and then no one is ever there to call them on it later on.

Bush has substantially caused these oil prices by failing to regulate commodity markets (and they will never regulate those markets), but the Repubs are going to stick Obama with it. Bush caused the Iraq mess, but Obama will be stuck with that too. And both of those things are catch-22’s with few non-painful ways out.

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Problems of Democracy Under Capitalism

Repost from the old site.

I’ve always been opposed to public dishonesty, which is one of my problems with Communist states. They lied about so many things that now even when they tell the truth, people figure that “All Communists lie,” so they are unlikely to be believed even when they are honest. You get a “boy who cried wolf” syndrome.

Well, capitalists are pretty much the same. Almost all capitalists will always lie to defend their own interests. That is why whenever a businessman or business interest is quoted in the paper on some controversial issue, they are almost always lying. So it seems that in order to be a businessman in capitalist society, one must lie continuously.

There are cultures, such as Arab, Japanese, Thai and Filipino culture, where lying is definitely a state of art. American society proscribes all lying as evil, and your average American will tell you that he never lies. The Japanese mindset, which I subscribe to, is, “Only an idiot never tells a lie.”

So there is a time and a place for this sort of thing.

But in the sort of issues that we read about in our daily paper – controversial issues where two sides are sparring it out – you really want to figure out what’s going on. If the business side can be counted on to lie in defense of its interests nearly 100% of the time, this is very confusing. Especially when the media is so corrupted and dishonest itself that it’s not capable of sorting things out for you.

Fox News is a more or less 24 hour lie machine, but most Americans are too stupid to figure this out. American political campaigns are all about money and never-ending lying.

I can pretty much sort out the lies from the truth after a while, but it’s quite an effort. I figure most folks either don’t have the brains to do this, or they don’t want to know the truth, or they don’t care, or they don’t have the time.

Let me give you an example.

It is very hard for schizophrenics to tell hallucinated voices from regular voices. After a while, some of them get to where they can tell the hallucinated voices from the real voices.

Well, that’s what it’s like for me to winnow out the truth from the lies in our media. The media doesn’t’ really help you too much. I can figure this stuff out after a while, but it takes a lot of time. Time I figure most folks don’t have.

At any rate, elections that are nothing but waterfalls of money and lying are hardly exercises in democracy.

Under capitalism, typically the state is simply an arm of the business community. Some more progressive capitalist states (Europe, for instance) have gotten away from that somewhat, but it’s never really easy. Furthermore, nearly the entire media is usually controlled by the top 1% of the population, who use it to push their class interests at the expense of most everyone else, and surely the bottom 60-80%.

You would think that these things would be obvious to anyone living in a capitalist society, but toss that idea out sometime in a crowd and watch the hostile responses come back. It’s painful to admit that the media one loves so much is hostile and run by one’s class enemies. That hurts, and it makes you feel stupid. You’re reading your enemies’ propaganda, you idiot! That’s the message. People get their backs up.

In recent years in the US, the state has become more and more entwined with business interests, and hence has become more and more dishonest, just like the businesses that it is now essentially a part of. That is why the Bush Administration is a never-ending Lie Machine. That is why US administrations increasingly wage war on science – because under capitalism, businesses typically despise science.

Science is out to discover the truth, come Hell or high water. To the businessman, truth is whatever helps the bottom line and falsehood is whatever hurts the bottom line. If a businessman has to lie 20,000 times about 20,000 things to protect his bottom line, he will do it and not blink an eye. Then he will get up and start it all over again.

Since business sets the dominant cultural hegemony under capitalism, most capitalist societies will tend to be hostile to science.

So, living in a capitalist society, one is really swimming in an ocean of lies. Once you enter corporate culture, you need to become a lying sociopath like the corporation itself, or you are fired. The corporation is like an ant hill. Let us call this Lying Ant Hill. If the corporation itself is a sociopathic pathological liar, so must most of its component parts, the humans who make up the corporation.

An educated and aware populace is essential for democracy. Yet how is this possible in capitalism, where the elite-controlled media lies nonstop? Where the state itself is a lie factory for wealthy interests? Where business interests can never be counted on to tell the truth? You can be like me and try to get to the bottom of things, but it’s frustrating and time-consuming. Most folks have better things to do.

Democracy in most capitalist countries has serious problems. As long as the media is completely controlled by the wealthiest capitalist interests, the truth will be difficult to discover. The state itself can no longer be counted on, as it is captured by business interests and finds itself lying constantly to defend those interests.

In short, the classic Marxist argument that capitalist democracy has serious issues has a lot of truth.

The way out of the tunnel is to get some of the money out of politics via campaign finance reform. As almost all politicians are completely bribed and corrupted (bought and paid for), this solution is generally a nonstarter.

Media democracy is another route out. But it’s difficult due to high startup costs.

One solution would be to allow access to more of the radio band to local or pirate radio stations. The ferocity with which the government has attacked pirate radio shows how terrified the US state is of media democracy.

The TV band, which is mostly cable now anyway with up to 500 channels, should be in part licensed out to local entities. There should be channels available for all sorts of folks all across the political spectrum. If you’ve got the camera and the studio, do it yourself.

But the need to sell ads makes democracy in media under capitalism very difficult. Papers, radio, TV and magazines need to sell ads to survive, and hence necessarily become the mouthpieces of the business and corporate entities that advertise in their media outlets.

Progressive presses are usually only possibly via some wealthy benefactor who is willing to eat it on advertising in order to publish a Left or pro-labor paper. This is why public access channels are the only progressive and pro-people spots on the radio band – no ads. They are listener-supported, but listening to their endless fund drives makes you realize how tenuous their existence is.

Media democracy via licensing out the cable and radio spectrum to local outfits, however, is almost impossible because the government entities that license the spectrum out are completely controlled by corporate media interests.

Hence, our public airwaves, owned by you and me, worth billions of dollars, are given away to our class enemies for pennies on the dollar. The rest of us are then locked out of the band or even arrested if we try to break into the spectrum like the pirate radio guys did.

Even if public access is granted, the fact that we have allowed horribly abusive private cable TV monopolies everywhere in the US means that these companies would probably refuse to carry any progressive stations that somehow got on the air.

The Internet offered a breath of hope to this dismal state of affairs. The cost of publishing was down to just about zero, or at least nothing but time. The Communist dream (pure Communism, after the withering of the state) where media was so democratized that neighborhood media outlets sprung up everywhere and every man could be a journalist, seemed to be happening before our eyes.

The government and the big media are really scared. Progressive voices, anti-corporate voices (like this blog, for instance), could break into the media, and the circulation was limited only by how many readers you could somehow convince to come to the website.

Hence we see desperate efforts by the cable and telephone monopolies to create fast lanes on the Internet for big-money payers and slow lanes on the Net for everyone else, like for instance this site.

There is one important lesson here: capitalism never really tolerates dissent to its essential elite structures and business interests. They will allow dissent a lot of times, but the Hell if they will give it a voice or allow it any power.

Under capitalism, the elites and business interests have to control the media space, necessary to construct the Gramscian cultural hegemony.

In the Third World, dissenters against elite and business interests are regularly arrested, beaten, jailed, tortured and murdered. And if the voices get loud enough or strong enough, the capitalists will just launch a coup, overthrow the state, then launch an Argentine or Chilean style wave of terror to permanently shut folks up. If that doesn’t work, they will make the economy scream.

That’s “democracy” under capitalism in a nutshell. To put it mildly, it’s got some serious issues.

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E-Commerce is a World of Shit

Repost from the old site.

I really feel that e-commerce has shot itself in the foot. I would much rather buy about any product at a brick and mortar store any day of the week. My experiences with e-commerce have typically been horrible.

I just got a spyware infection from a site that sells fake spyware apps to consumers. Why are these sites even legal?

First they try to load Trojans (in this case, one called Zlob) on your site, then they install malware on your computer without even asking for it, then it runs and “finds” all this fake spyware on your system that doesn’t even exist, then tries to make you buy the program to fix the nonexistent spyware problems.

Then they make it impossible to remove it from your system, and I’m a computer expert. Now I have a pop-up all the time in my tray and no way to get rid of it.

The program was uninstalled via Add Remove Programs and I deleted some Registry entries and went through and found more crap afterwards, and deleted it from Registry and Programs. Despite all my deleting, I still have rogue processes going that I can’t even find or kill or anything.

It also outrageously installs a fake program giving you a fake Windows Kernel Fault screen that requires a computer reboot. Someone tell why this shit is not illegal?

The program is called AntiSpyCheck and you get it from AntiSpyCheck.com. I did not download this program on purpose. Instead, I clicked on a video codec and it installed installed itself without even asking. AntiSpyCheck is a rogue antispy program. These programs run on your computer and tell you that you have all sorts of spyware infections that you do not even have.

Then they try to get you to buy the rogue antispyware program. If you do buy it, then you just wasted money on a fake program. In addition, many of these sites are phishing sites that are designed to steal your credit card information. As if that were not bad enough, the fake antispyware itself is often a criminal program that installs a Trojan and tries to steal any valuable data on your computer.

All of these Zlob programs seem to be originating from Russian Organized Crime, in this case, often in the Ukraine. Even if you don’t buy the evil program, they often have an annoying pop-up that never ends until you buy the program. One is tempted to purchase the evil program just to make the pop-up go away. In no case should you purchase such a program!

Overview.

Then I shelled out for some complete garbage spyware software called Spy Hunter. Spy Hunter charges your credit card after six months to renew your subscription, but it sends you an email warning you first and lets you opt out. Why is that even legal? There was no choice about whether or not to allow them to slam your credit card every 6 months.

Update: I fixed the AntiSpyCheck infection via this site. You run MalwareBytes’ Anti-Malware program and it gets rid of it perfectly. The trial run is free, but if you want realtime protection, you need to shell out. The product is excellent and I may just buy it.

Typically, these Internet shit e-commerce joints have no humans at the other end. There’s a tech support email, but who knows if they answer it. The general rule in e-commerce is no customer service whatsoever. There’s typically no phone # to call and no human to talk to. Often you can resolve things with emails, but not always. It’s still a pain in the butt.

The fuck customer service thing is the latest wonderful trend in US capitalism. It’s all about cutting costs. It’s even spreading to credit cards.

Credit cards used to have decent customer service, but my last card was with “Juniper” which it turns out is actually owned by the British Barclays Bank.

There’s no brick and mortar joint to pay your card,as the bank is in the UK! They deviously (Why is this legal?) allowed me to run my card over the limit and then started pounding me with monthly overlimit fees. I could not afford to pay down the over-limit draft.

Banks will now outrageously allow you to overdraw on your account at the ATM with very few warnings. Instead of a loan, which it is, you are immediately hammered with an overlimit fee as you overdraft. Why is this shit even legal? Then you have to put it all back in before the beginning of the month or they will close your account! Now you will have a big black mark on your credit rating.

Now, just tonight I tried to buy SpyHunter. Of course there’s no humans on the other end, and they don’t even have a physical presence. First of all, it did not let me look over the purchase before I bought it, so my autofill program filled in my name and last name with my address and I was not able to change that.

The thing would not even let me download the program. It kept asking me for a username and password. It gave me two different ones in the email and I tried both of them. Both failed over and over.

Earlier, I purchased a product called Stuffit for $30 so I could unzip files. I had a previous version on there, so this new one never would install because it said I had to remove the old one first. Although I uninstalled through the traditional way, it still claimed the old program was still there! I searched the whole computer for anything related to the old program and never could get all of it off. So my $30 program never got installed.

I could call the company, but customer service with even huge software companies is so horrible I have not even bothered.

I have a cam with a software program that requires a code to make it work. The code has been lost, so I can’t install my cam software. I guess I could call Intel, but I bet their support is garbage too. Another problem is that a lot of these programs get abandoned (abandonware), so they might not even be able to give you a code even if they wanted to.

There is a product I like to purchase called Tamer. It kills the acid in coffee. None of the phone numbers ever work. You buy the product online and the first thing it tells you is that there has been a database error. So you assume that the sale did not go through. But that really means you bought it!

I’ve had them mail the product to me a few times, and every time, it seems like something screws up. It gets shipped back to them, but they don’t notify me that the product came back. They only tell me that when I email them and bitch (No way to talk to the company on the phone, remember?).

Software is probably the only product in the world like this. It’s the only product that refuses to work with competing products. It’s the only product that installs itself and makes it so you can’t get rid of it. It’s the only product whereby you could have a perfect working copy of it sitting around but you can’t make it work because you can’t punch in some “make it work code”.

It’s the only product that tries to force you to buy their product. With most everything else, you still have a choice. You can buy product A, B, C or D. Name one other product you are more or less forced to buy like Windows or Word. Name one other product where the old product doesn’t work anymore and you have to keep on shelling out for new versions all the time.

Software has been all about fuck the consumer from day one, unless you are a big corporate customer, in which case I guess you get some service. As a natural monopoly like water, power, phone or cable, software probably needs to be regulated by the state like any other natural monopoly.

It is the disgust and rage of computer users with the world of shit that software and its evil twin, e-commerce, have wrought, that has brought about open source and free products like Firefox, Open Office, Linux, etc. With these products, the model has no reason to fuck the consumer at all, so it just doesn’t happen.

It’s sad that America idolizes a punk like Bill Gates. He’s been fucking over consumers from his first day on the job. He’s violated every contract he’s ever signed, and he’s stolen just about every bit of competing code he could find. He’s a liar, a thief, a traitor and a snake. In the real world, when people act like that, they are called sociopaths. They get their asses kicked, they get killed or they go to jail or prison, or all of the above.

In Corporate World, you act the same way that gets your ass kicked or gets you tossed in prison in the real world and you turn into the Businessman Hero of the World.

The point is that this shit Internet industry is to blame for all of this. They are the ones that have been screaming loud and clear from day one about “no regulation of the Internet” and “no taxing of the Internet”.

So the Internet is the Wild West with no sheriffs or posses that do anything. There’s rustlers, crooks and robbers everywhere, and you go the sheriff or the posse and they shrug their shoulders and say so what. They wanted an unregulated Internet and that’s what they got. Internet e-commerce – the most consumer-hostile industry around.

I like the brick and mortar world. In general, the workers help you and show you where things are. There’s usually someone to talk to. If something doesn’t work, you can always bring it back. The clerks and aisle help go out of their way to be as nice and friendly as possible.

It’s the mirror opposite of E-Commerce World.

There’s actually a lot more to this story about the Internet being a haven for every criminal, thief, liar, scammer, and fraudulent dog on Earth, but I’ll save it for another post.

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North Star Compass Notes

Repost from the old site.

From North Star Compass, dedicated to the restoration of the USSR as a socialist state, a few articles.

The first points out that Bulgarian seniors had their pensions cut by 50% in the late 1990’s, such that their pensions are now way below the poverty line.

I don’t know how much Social Security pays, but could you imagine if the US government cut Social Security by 50%? Actually, they want to cut it by way more than under the Republicans’ SS privatization plan (which seemed to be supported by 100% of the US “free press”).

Imagine if US seniors had to live on, say, $500-600/month for a single person? I think they must get more than that, don’t they? Surely SS must pay $800-900/month? And now after the capitalist “reforms” of 2000, health care is no longer accessible to the majority of Bulgarians. This article was from last year, so I doubt anything has changed.

One thing is for sure, you won’t see any articles like this in the US media. Keep in mind that these changes were supported by the entire US media and by both the Democratic and Republican Parties of the US. Isn’t it amazing what kind of evil shit our entire media and both of our political parties support? And the citizens don’t have a clue about any of this.

The next article by Irene Malenko puts North Korea in perspective. I’ve already written about North Korea on here before in a long article. She notes that North Korea is being subjected to the same sanctions that are currently destroying Zimbabwe, so it is really amazing that they are still afloat after all.

North Korea lost 80% of its trading partners overnight in 1990. She asks how Holland or Germany would react if they lost 80% of their trade overnight. Also, the price of oil went up by 10X in less than a year. Let’s see how any capitalist society can handle a 10X increase in the price of oil in only one year.

She also notes that there is almost no crime in Pyongyang, and it’s not due to the secret police either. It’s a whole other mindset there. The streets are clean, with no litter and graffiti.

You find something similar in Belarus, which is still a more or less socialist country: clean streets you could practically eat off, no graffiti, no homeless, almost no unemployed. The absence of drug-sniffing gangs of homeless youth alone (epidemic in the capitalist paradises of Latin America) would seem to be a good thing.

She’s correct that the residents of Pyongyang are well-fed. The “Stalinist” (for lack of any better term) distribution system for food and goods has long since pretty much broken down. I’m not sure what has taken its place, but there are farmers’ markets and small peddlers everywhere.

The last article deals with the changes that have taken place in the capitalist Ukraine that the Ukrainian nationalists love so much. Ukraine privatized all of its coal mines recently. (What for? Why privatize a coal mine? The state can run coal mines perfectly well.)

Since then, Ukraine has some of the most dangerous coal mines in the whole world. Most health and safety standards have been eliminated, and most of the mines have been bought by foreign vulture capitalists, who according to Ukrainian ultra-capitalist laws, are not liable for any health and safety regulations anyway, even those that might still exist.

Labor unions have been outlawed in most of the mines, and those that remain are completely controlled by management. The last phrase is a jibe at some of my readers who think that “class collaboration” is the way to “end the class struggle” and make workers and management both happy. Further, there’s an inhuman speedup regimen going on that is probably also helping to kill these workers.

The last election that was characterized by an Orange Revolution (yet another US-funded color revolution) pitted the pro-US party (responsible for the coal mine horror) against a pro-Russian party coded as evil by the entire US media and the Bush Administration.

The color revolution that the US media cheered on so much (and I assume was supported to the hilt by the Democratic Party too) was all about making Ukraine’s coal mines among the deadliest on Earth and other ultra-capitalist miracles, and it had little other purpose. Amazing the chocolate-covered shit the US media sells as the latest and best See’s Candies, huh?

The Heroic Protests of Senior Citizens of Bulgaria
By Dr. Ivan Angelo
October 2007

In the late 1990’s the pensions of the retired people had been cut by 50%, so that now most of them are living way under the poverty line. Then after the reforms in year 2000, heath care is not accessible to most of the retied people.

DPRK: Where Every Day Is Like May Day
by Irina Malenko
September 2007

Shops are full, and plenty of people are buying. Juvenile delinquency is far lower than in Russia; there are no gangs of glue-sniffing, smoking and drinking kids on the streets. The streets are clean and litter-free; you don’t even see trash cans on the street. People are friendly and quiet, as opposed to being rude and loud in capitalism.

Pickpockets are nonexistent, and you can probably leave your bag anywhere in Pyongyang and no one will steal it. There is little hunger in Pyongyang, but unfortunately there is still quite a bit in the rural areas. They lost 80% of their trade partners overnight in 1990 – we have to ask how Holland or Germany would cope with the overnight loss of 80% of its trade partners.

There are also very serious problems due to US sanctions which have hit the economy very hard – these are the same sanctions that have destroyed Zimbabwe – as such it is amazing that N Korea is still on its feet.

Mounting Tragedies in Capitalist Ukraine
September 2007

A methane blast in the coal mine killed 63 miners and injured scores more. 360 miners that were trapped in this mine at more than 1,000 meters deep had to struggle against a raging fire. This tragic accident again and again highlights the tragedy of the present privatized mines that lack even elementary standard safety features.

Ukraine now has some of the most dangerous mines in the world, forced to working at high speed and, since most of these mines are foreign owned, they are not responsible for any safety regulations that might still exist. There are no trade union allowed in these mines and, many of the so-called leaders of those that still have a trade union, are bought by the management.

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Prophets Howling in the Wilderness

Repost from the old site.

From some responses to a post of mine: More Illegal Immigration Madness.

I’m amazed at how apathetic the rest of the country is about this Mesoamerican mass illegal immigration that has swamped us in the Southwest. Some of us, like me, are angry at those who say, “No big deal, let them all in,” while they live in places in which few illegals have yet swarmed. So we do take a bit of schadenfreude enjoyment out of the near future that you all will be experiencing in the next 20 years or sooner, assuming you live that long and still live in the Lower 48.

What’s truly sick is that to remark on this idiocy of mass invasion by what amounts to an occupying army of enemy soldiers in any way is considered to be grotesque racism, and an example of White Power, Nazi or White Supremacist tendencies (!). The Mexicans run the show around here and they police things very well. If they think you are a White Power, excuse me, an opponent of illegal Mexican mass invasion, then they will shun you, glare at you, spit at you, threaten you, bang things and make loud noises until you move away, threaten to beat you up, try to ban you from their establishments, on and on.

If you mention illegals in public, the Hispanics all start glaring at you and your friends start kicking you and ordering you threateningly to shut up. People are actually scared of the illegals here. They are like a teeming Latin American Underclass in a revolutionary situation south of the border, and one gets the feeling that they could take up guerrilla warfare of some sort of another at any time, just like in a non-US banana republic. In some ways, maybe they already have.

Funny thing is Mexicans are pretty damn racist themselves and they are incredibly ethnocentric. You know, those handy little caveman weapons that come in handy during the sort of Hispanic-non-Hispanic ethnic warfare that we currently live under. On the contrary, if one hates being invaded like this, it’s a sign that they still have a bit of sanity left and haven’t drunken too much of the multicultural Koolaid yet.

There’s no space at all on the Left or in the Democratic Party for views like those below, and that has to be the biggest tragedy of them all. Way to go, concede more space to the Right. Neither of these posters is the slightest bit racist, I am convinced. Or if they are, I don’t care anymore. There’s really no other sane way to react in this situation.

Real America, from Winnetka, California shouts in the wilderness: Wait until you people in states other than California see what it is really like to live in a Mexican city in the former United States. Your co-workers will be speaking Spanish, not English, and receiving food stamps even though they earn as much as you, while you will be called racist for speaking your mind on anything that offends anyone Hispanic.

Your children will be sidetracked in school, and the little gang-mentality foreigners will cause you and your children grief and money. When you have a fender bender, you will find that the person that hit you has no insurance and does not speak English (conveniently) and the court will refuse to do anything about it. California is now a horrible place to live, and it won’t be long until all of America is like California.

Transplanted Texan, Sun City, CA, howls back, coyote-like: Gee, I believe they are starting to get the picture. The best is yet to come, sorry to say. They will grow accustomed to living in a 3rd World culture. Gangs, Mexican graffiti on all the fences, walls, schools, etc. Oh, and the daily drive-by shootings, murders, thefts and threats to their children at school. Just to name a few treats to come. Whatever it takes, Mexico’s chief export, narcotics, will play a part in their lives. Murdered police officers, drug dealers, wars. Our country is in such trouble, we all need to pray for what is still our county and the generations of Americans to come.

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