Sunday, March 31, 2013

Minimum Daily Requirement: Looting

A Brief History of Pillaging and Plundering

If we were to call an academic committee to review the Viking raids in Europe during, say, the 9th Century, among those we would invite would be an economist, a sociologist and perhaps a social psychologist.  Naturally, we would probably increase our invitation list to include learned individuals with other disciplines, but for this post MeanMesa can concentrate on these areas.

The important issue here is about what happened to the previous, indigenous wealth of the "victim village" when the Vikings plundered it.

It was nothing if not straight forward. (image source)

Our team could put together a fairly reasonable estimate of what the village was worth before the raid.  The list would include structures, infrastructure, stored food, all manner of accessories such as fishing boats, grain grinders, field equipment, wagons and so on.  Naturally, items representing concentrated wealth such as gold and silver would be of "top interest" to the raiders.

The local church with its own precious accoutrement's was definitely getting looted, and comely village girls -- and occasionally boys -- might also be herded on board the departing long boats.

After the Vikings had set sail, the villagers would have taken a sorrowful look at what was left.  The "economic value" of the looted village would have been starkly diminished.  Both the years of human labor required to establish that village before the Vikings and the years required to rebuild or repair all the random damage done afterwards could be added to the "loss column."  The prospect of perhaps facing a winter without the benefit of stored food, if it could be translated into an economic loss, would add to the debit calculation.

Even quilts, coats and things like everyday kitchen utensils could well have been lost.  Vikings commonly took all forms of forged iron.

The corpses of slain villagers among the smoking ruins, the missing children, the empty granaries and the equally empty ruins of the local church would have brought its own kind of enduring despondency to the survivors. Worse, in the case of Viking raids, the pillage would probably be repeated in a few years.

However, if we were able to total up the complete value of the loot on board those departing Viking ships and compare it to the total wealth lost in the village, we would see that the looting process was anything but cost efficient.  The value of the loot would not even come close to the value of the damage.

That's the fundamental reality of looting.  Looting doesn't really fit on a balance sheet which might record the profits and losses, costs and revenues, for a modern business or factory.

While the fundamental process of looting has remained fairly unchanged through the centuries, the exquisite details of the process have painlessly modernized themselves year by year.  We can also take a cold look at some much more modern examples than the Vikings.

During WWII the German army undertook a well organized campaign to loot valuable European artwork from individuals and museums which had been identified as "enemies of the Reich."  Many of these items, particularly old paintings, had content or messages which had been deemed "antagonistic" to Reich principles.

The looted wealth of Europe. (image)
The "end game" of this business model remains, even to this day, unclear.  The destruction of these "unsympathetic" masterpieces as apostasies was postponed in favor of stashing them away in a hidden, bomb proof bunker somewhere so their "cash" value might be recovered after the war.  The paradox arises from confiscating them as "objectionable" but anticipating a post-war market for them as "non-objectionable" later.

All this during a time when even voicing the prospect of a German loss could leave one in front of a firing squad.  Nonetheless, the potential "cost to revenue" ratio must have trumped the specific nuances of loyalty or caution.

Not all modern looting has been the direct pilfering of valuables, either.  During the twenty years the war in Vietnam grumbled forward at a cost of $1 Mn per minute, all eyes were transfixed upon the "faux-military victories" being dutifully reported daily.  However, a quick look at the books revealed that every NVA soldier or Viet Cong sympathizer killed cost $70,000, whether by Howitzer, bomb or bullet.

This was "kindergarten" for the war profiteers -- themselves already well established as professional looters of the finest calibre.  The old Viking idea, while still the foundation of such ambitions, was officially moved into a new, "modern business model."  Vietnam brought the realization that when huge masses of money were being spent on anything, a pricey war for example, that opportunists could harvest even the smallest, unnoticeable percentage of the flow and still wind up rich beyond measure.

The Cold War offered similar opportunities but enlarged to exponential scope.  For decades even the most innocuous criticism about the cost of the newest ICBM was tantamount to screeching treason on a street corner.  In fact, Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, while never designed to be even remotely effective at vaporizing Kamchatkan SS-18's in boost phase, was cravenly designed to simply outspend the, by then, faltering Soviet economy.

Reagan's SDI cost around -- perhaps too sympathetically -- $5 Tn, yet never materially resulted in an improved strategic position because almost none of the component systems were ever functional.  The Treasury ponied up the dough for the untouchable military procurement contractors while the White House launched an elaborate, bone crushing, propaganda war littered with both hollow terror and hollow hope.

The "garden" which was to host that propaganda war was already endowed with  rich soil from decades of absolute Cold War "Mutual Assured Destruction" horrors.

While Saint Ronnie literally sucked a nuclear weaponization, he shined brightly as a propagandist.  Roughly a fourth of the current national debt originated as money paid for the inoperable SDI equipment procurement.  As for looters, the missile makers did swell until the Soviets tanked, but then the interest collecting bond holders moved in for a continuing take.  The immense, permanent debt as a "career opportunity" has proved not only securely durable, but outlandishly profitable.

It's the stuff from which oligarchs are made.

The Looting Under the George W. Bush Autocracy

It might be easy enough to characterize the incredible looting of the Bush years as something of a "new occurrence" which began for the first time rather quickly after the unelected autocrat had been appointed by the Supremes.  However, this would be, shall we say, denial in a scope that not even Americans could handle.

The oligarchs had already moved decisively into their ambitious plans for almost complete wealth redistribution and sweeping asset ownership for decades before Bush arrived for "Inauguration."  When, still riding the terror "coat tails" of the highly suspicious -- yet also highly convenient -- events of 2001, the democracy shuddered toward its historic nadir, the citizens could not comprehend the perfidy which had been inflicted.  For a time the mayhem continued to appear legitimate, shocking and tragic, but the scheme gradually began to stumble under its own weighty improbability.

Under cover of this now infamously ineffective "War on Terror," the modern Vikings who had so gleefully purloined the full power of the government began their relentless dismemberment of the nation's remaining wealth.  Anything which was not "bolted down" -- symbolically including even the carefully dissected steel girders of the World Trade buildings systematically exported beyond the reach of any investigators -- was "liquidated" whether in the shadowy depths of some huge hedge fund or a foundry in Jingag or Qing dao.

Now, at this point it would be refreshingly straight forward to simply point at deposit slips for exactly the amounts which had "turned up missing," but, as mentioned above, the "take" from this heist didn't have to be every last drop which had been spent.  The tiniest fraction of that kind of money was more than enough to hurl the recipients to literally atmospheric new heights of lavish wealth.

This plan worked.

"Today the wealthiest 400 individuals in America own more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people."  Bernie Sanders, Sen. [I-Vt Read the article.]

Notably, during the Bush times fundamental new models of wealth exclusion were introduced in the American economy, most of which continue to prevail as the over all "norm" even today.  The scheme was anything but subtle.  Two long massive wars, the non-negotiably expensive MediCare Part D and, perhaps most brazen of all, the Bush tax cuts for the high earners.

Trillions were extracted from the economy, most of it borrowed from foreign sales of US Treasury notes and, domestically, from huge "withdrawals" from the Social Security Trust Fund.  Sadly, while most of those trillions were spent for something approximating the stated purpose, around $1.5 Tn or so went directly into the pockets of oligarchs establishing their new American aristocracy.

$6 Bn in cash to "rebuild Iraq." (image)
In hindsight, it's pretty clear that those "stated purposes" were direly lacking themselves, but it's become even more clear that the extractions for direct wealth redistribution had slipped to a rapacious level beyond that of even the common sense restraint of a professional house burglar.

By 2007 the national economy looked like an out of control junkie transporting an 18-wheeler full of heroin across the country.  Remember: The new looting model targets a small extraction from a huge expenditure.  The pallets of US cash were "spent," but Iraq was hardly "rebuilt."

MeanMesa posted another, similar quote from Sanders before -- in May 2011.

MeanMesa has used a quote from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) frequently in many previous postings.  "Not everyone had a hard time during the last eight years. (Bush Jr. administration)  The top 400 richest Americans saw their  personal wealth increase by $630 Billion dollars."

Look at the numbers.  First, $630 Billion is roughly 5/8's of $1 Trillion.  Next, if these were the "top" 400, how many Americans are there in the "top 2%" everyone is talking about?  Thousands.  Actually, tens of thousands.

That "top 2%," along with an even larger crowd of slightly "less rich" hangers-on are the ones who are now sucking the huge, continuing Bush Jr. "tax cuts" out of what is left of the economy.  Remember, the "missing money" total amounts to around $12 Trillion.  When we discount the "vanished" money, that is, the part of the "take" which didn't actually make any of these folks richer but still mortally wounded the economy for the rest of us,  there's still plenty left over to have made these rich folks even richer.  

A lot richer.  They became John Boehner's bosses.  They ordered the House Republicans to extend their tax cuts at any price.  They ordered the House Republicans to forget about jobs so they could work full time on transferring the Social Security Trust fund to their Wall Street cronies. (Read the post here. )

Like most Americans, MeanMesa's eyes glaze over at the sight of the $14 Trillion dollar national debt, but we have to take care not to think of that huge problem as one which is not composed of thousands of little pieces.  When 400 Americans walked away with 5/8 trillion of it, the whole thing, while still immense, is no longer so unapproachable.

Very many of "those little pieces" were eagerly slipped into place in the wake of the autocrat's famous promise to return the Clinton surplus to the "job creators."

This NY Times chart offers a glimpse of where the money went.(Image source.)
While outrageous and shocking, even these "cost figures" are low when a longer term accounting is conducted on the same spending centers.  Notably, there are no "direct transfers" representing material checks handed to the crowd which had designed this.  Instead, subsidies and tax expenditures, no-bid contracts, wildly expensive military procurement contracts and the like provided the wealth re-distribution funnels the scheme needed.

For any cronies unable to profit from these opportunities, banking and insurance de-regulation favors stepped in so they, too, could "share the wealth."

Recapping the historic record of Republican debt creation, we can add roughly $6 Trillion of direct Bush debt to the $4 Trillion of the Reagan debt.  Remember, we are "shooting for" an explanation of about $14 Trillion.  The Bush deficits -- with or without the inclusion of the "off the books" war "emergency supplementals" -- were breath taking.

The annual deficits of the "debt experts" explain everything.
The autocracy encountered its "mortal problem" when the extractions finally over whelmed the economy.  George W. Bush and Richard Cheney may be gone -- along with their torture chambers, emergency "no-bid" contracts and cheap ambitions to become American aristocrats -- but their debt remains.  Ironically, even the current, more modern versions of the Republican idea of a budget remain strikingly similar

Go ahead.  Total up the national debt being generated as these annual Republican deficits pile up -- use your pocket calculator. Don't forget to add in the interest -- for easy calculations, it runs roughly 1/4 trillion per year. [The data for the chart comes from the Office of the National Debt, Department of the Treasury.  It was published while Bush W. was in the White House.]  Try to remember your figures the next time you hear a Republican on your television saying "We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem."

Again, $14 Trillion in debt may seem incomprehensible, but when we look at smaller parts, we see a very finite political reality.  The point here is simple.  Although there are no longer marauding Vikings in long boats, modern looting has equally direct manifestations:

1. Wealth is redistributed by means other than capitalistic, free market endeavors.
2. The "specific rate" of this wealth redistribution makes individual cases almost imperceptible, but it makes the ultimate consequences unavoidable.
3. While the various channels of redistribution may be different, much of the debt created inevitably becomes public debt, that is, national debt.

The Looting Under the Boehner - McConnell Dynasty

Following along after the public debt idea, it's not surprising that the oligarchs have eagerly pursued the control of Congress.  Although the remaining "take" has been reduced by their previous looting, the money class remains intent on both continuing the extraction, although perhaps at a lower rate thanks to the diminishing wealth of the country, and protecting the mechanisms of that extraction.

"Diminishing wealth of the country?"  Remember.  In the period of just a few months during 2008 the accumulated wealth of individual citizens dropped 40%.  Did the oligarchs saunter over to the teller's window to deposit every dime of this?  No.  They didn't have to walk away with every dime.  This was so much wealth that if they could walk away with 1% of their "Vikings' Loot," they would be rich beyond measure.

They would also have plenty of "extra dough" to continue their influence on the Congress to extract even more in the future.  All this hyperbolic economic theory may seem distant and academic, but we need to remember that this "missing money" is in the pockets of these same oligarchs as we speak.  Today.

The following in an interesting AlterNet article about just how incredibly rich they became.  (Read the article here. The links in the AlterNet article are left enabled.)

Five Ugly Extremes of Inequality in America -- The Contrasts Will Drop Your Chin to the Floor

March 24, 2013  |     
AlterNet / By Paul Buchheit
Any of the ten richest Americans could pay a year's rent for all of America's homeless with their 2012 income.

The first step is to learn the facts, and then to get angry and to ask ourselves, as progressives and caring human beings, what we can do about the relentless transfer of wealth to a small group of well-positioned Americans.
1. $2.13 per hour vs. $3,000,000.00 per hour

Each of the Koch brothers saw his investments grow by  $6 billion in one year, which is three million dollars per hour based on a 40-hour 'work' week. They used some of the money to try to  kill renewable energy standards around the country. 

Their income portrays them, in a society measured by economic status, as a million times more valuable than the  restaurant server who cheers up our lunch hours while hoping to make enough in tips to pay the bills. 

A comparison of top and bottom salaries within large corporations is much less severe, but a lot more common. For CEOs and minimum-wage workers, the  difference is $5,000.00 per hour vs. $7.25 per hour. 

2. A single top income could buy housing for every homeless person in the U.S.

On a winter day in 2012  over 633,000 people were homeless in the United States. Based on an annual single room occupancy  (SRO) cost of $558 per month, any ONE of the  ten richest Americans would have enough with his 2012 income to pay for a room for every homeless person in the U.S.  for the entire year. These ten rich men together made more than our entire  housing budget.

For anyone still believing "they earned it," it should be noted that  most of the Forbes 400 earnings came from  minimally-taxed, non-job-creating capital gains.
3. The poorest 47% of Americans have no wealth

In 1983 the poorest  47% of America had $15,000 per family,  2.5 percent of the nation's wealth. 

In 2009 the poorest  47% of America owned  ZERO PERCENT of the nation's wealth (their debt exceeded their assets). 

At the other extreme, the  400 wealthiest Americans own as much wealth as 80 million families --  62% of America. The reason, once again, is the stock market. Since 1980 the American GDP has approximately doubled. Inflation-adjusted wages  have gone down. But the stock market has increased by  over ten times, and the richest quintile of Americans  owns 93% of it. 

4. The U.S. is nearly the most wealth-unequal country in the entire world

Out of 141 countries, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of  wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon. 

Yet the financial industry keeps creating new wealth for its millionaires. According to the authors of the Global Wealth Report, the world's wealth has doubled in ten years, from $113 trillion to $223 trillion, and is expected to reach $330 trillion by 2017. 

5. A can of soup for a black or Hispanic woman, a mansion and yacht for the businessman

That's literally true. For every one dollar of assets owned by a  single black or Hispanic woman, a member of the Forbes 400 has over  forty million dollars.

Minority families once had substantial equity in their homes, but after Wall Street caused the housing crash,  median wealth fell 66% for Hispanic households and 53% for black households. Now the average single black or Hispanic woman has about  $100 in net worth.

What to do?

End the  capital gains giveaway, which benefits the wealthy almost exclusively. 

Institute a  Financial Speculation Tax, both to raise needed funds from a currently untaxed subsidy on stock purchases, and to reduce the risk of the irresponsible trading that nearly brought down the economy. 

Perhaps above all, we progressives have to choose one strategy and pursue it in a cohesive, unrelenting attack on greed. Only this will heal the ugly gash of inequality that has split our country in two.

Paul Buchheit teaches economic inequality at DePaul University. He is the founder and developer of the Web sites, and, and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at

A Last Thought

The oligarchs with the ambition to own everything and, hence, rule the rest of us in the country are aware of something that many of us "lesser souls" have not yet fully embraced.  The looting and the public "situation" left in its wake, well described in the article above, actually lead somewhere quite unpleasant.

Even though the corporate class has invested mightily in media efforts to control public opinion and equally mightily in arming themselves for the ultimate defense of their purloined wealth, what we read in this MeanMesa post will inexorably lead to violence. Count on it as much as you count on the rising of the sun.

The man who has just thoughtlessly finished another meal cannot understand the man who is hungry -- and who was hungry yesterday.

The man who has wealth beyond measure cannot understand the relentless sorrow of the man who worries constantly about money.

The rich man without even the memory of ever sweeping the sweat from his brow will not lose sleep over crushing the dream of the man in the dirty shirt and boots.

These are, today, poetic aphorisms.  However, they both have and will quite expectedly and quite predictably metamorphose into bullets, bricks and fire bombs.  Quite aside from all issue of ideology or religion, hungry, hopeless people will fight.

There may be all sorts of fairly valid reasons for wanting to alter the relentless wealth redistribution, but at the top of that list we should probably add:

"Avoiding civil war."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

In Case You're Taking It Seriously

Pondering the Legally Imponderable

The whole world waited with baited breath.  The long string of old men dressed in red have officially filed into and out of the Sistene Chapel for the big meetin' to translate the most recent Divine decision into the flesh and blood selection of the 266th -- the official count depends on how one "handles" the two day reign of Stephen II in 752 -- Holy Father.

The neighbors are beginning to grumble. [image source ]

Naturally, there were a few of the inevitable, lingering questions concerning relevancy, but the rest of it absolutely glittered.  Rome donned her very best,  fresh, red cosmetics, and the Vatican rolled out the Swiss Guard, each one meticulously armed with a flamboyant Medieval pike and an subtly veiled Mac-10.  The ecstatic crowd sighed breathlessly with the puff of white smoke as the ritual reached its unavoidable consummation.

It was great.  Everybody came. (image source)

Nobody liked idea of holding the ceremony in a back room. (image source)

In no time the red robed geriatric elite of the Church reappeared, each one bathed in the celibate afterglow of another moment of mortal appositeness.

Of course the commercial media couldn't get enough of it.  Each bearer of one of the glacier of speculations found a microphone, each time posing and reposing a myriad of possible future consequences of the pick, each time introducing additional hypotheticals and corresponding conjectures.

Notably, the post election discourse embraced every sort of secular question while assiduously excluding any mention of what might be, generously, considered "spiritual" issues.

Is Francis a "man of the people?"

Is Francis "concerned with the poor?"

Would the perspective of an Argentinian produce material differences than the perspective of a European?

Would Francis remedy the Church's declining congregations?

How would the new Pope's social populism interact with politics?

Would the new Pope "strong arm" governments to remedy unequal wealth distribution?

Sure. It's not surprising that all the contemporary issues like these are foremost in the minds of people watching the selection process.  However, there still seems to be something missing.  MeanMesa has to wonder why the New Guy didn't say something like this from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square.

"I've got some great ideas of my own here about just how to get more of my congregation into heaven."

A Few Terms

Anyone wishing to discuss a topic like this one quickly realizes that a very long list of "iconic words" will be an almost unavoidable "guest." Consequently, we can "solidify" just a couple of definitions before we proceed.

For a start MeanMesa likes the concept of a "non-dictionary" word created for this specific use.


An individual who resolves contemporary decisions based on reference to principles presented in mythological allegories.

The religionist mythology at play in this case cannot even claim any particular legitimacy by merit of adhering to the heritage to the actual mythology which is employed to validate it.  The poor thing has been repeatedly "modified" as a "convenience" every time the original mythology failed to support the latest necessary exploitation.  

This was the case a decade ago, but also a century ago or ten centuries or even twenty centuries or more.  Even more remarkable, these "convenient adjustments" were not carefully disguised nuances.  They were instead consistently, brazenly visible, temporarily advantageous "re-interpretations." 

Now those adjustments have become the universally accepted common currency in which today's religionist mythology is to be perpetually transacted.

The definition of our second term enjoys just a wee bit more authority from a common dictionary.


Designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone
Of special, rare, or unusual interest

At first blush, we might presume that a "congregative leader" such as the Holy Father would be, more or less, committed to constantly expanding the "small group" among his flock who had actually experienced the mythological sensation of divine reconciliation promised in the body of the original allegory.

However, the basic issues in those questions mentioned above can hardly be classed as anything fundamentally connected to divine reconciliation.  Those matters, while certainly relevant, are incontrovertibly secular.

We may assume that at some point in the Church's earlier days, the sensation of, say, participating in the Mass had to be a far more transcendent one.  Regardless of the inevitable questions of materiality, the sensation was an astonishingly personal experience which provided all sorts of esoteric benefits to the participant.

These ancient "benefits" can legitimately be classed as "esoteric" because in order to experience them, one must have necessarily previously directed all manner of human energies to the task of disregarding the fantastical quality of the mythology, that is, one must have already worked very hard to attain even this fleeting moment of the ecstatic, transcendent suspension of disbelief.

The "esoteric" side comes in when we understand that these "beneficial sensations" were not accessible to others who had not struggled so piously to "believe" the mythological assertions which common sense had consistently rendered as impossible.  Servicing paradoxes has always been hard, exhausting work -- regardless of the paradoxes.

Finally, one last word.


of worldwide scope or applicability; "an issue of cosmopolitan import";  "universal experience"
crushing the principle of separation between church and state

We'll return to this one, but the question posed is one of scope.  How obsessively covetous with land mass territory -- literally trees and roots -- or spiritual territory -- the durability and population of the infatuation in men's "souls" -- should a religionist franchise become to reach its aspirations down here on the Earth?

Is worldly expansion, while generally an indicator of a successful "marketing program," also represent the validating argument for the accuracy of the franchises' transcendental and mythological promises?

Note here the replacement of the terms "faith and belief" with the alternate idea of "accurate model."  It really isn't a a matter of "Do you believe this," so much as a matter of "Do you think this is the accurate model."  When the demi-urges and arch-angels have been pared away from the over grown shrub, what remains probably should still be isomorphic to something.

Just A Bit More About The Unthinkably Esoteric

Reflecting on all of this has led MeanMesa's tired old brain back to a diagram and a bit of accompanying text presented in the book "In Search of the Miraculous." [P. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, 1949, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, ISBN 0-15-644508-5]  The graphic below is the feeble product of MeanMesa's uncertain geriatric grasp of modern scanning technology coupled with the vagaries of the blogger editor, but when viewed on a screen by itself, it is somewhat readable.

While this chart maps the more or less unnatural, potential degradation of Fourth Way esotericism, the model adapts itself well for a discussion of what has gone on in the Church over these millinea.

What began as an opportunity for something of a transcendent experience with early Church rituals succumbed, gradually, to the constantly strengthening call for "relevancy" -- both spiritual and secular -- in the material world all about it.

Equally gradual was the Church's growing appetite for the authority driven obedience of a congregation which could have previously best been described as "infatuated" with the prospect of eternal life.  This "shift of focus" can be mitigated a little by changes in the events "on the ground," but the official abandonment of a reliance on the esoteric was inescapable.

By the arrival of the centuries long tooth ache called the Dark Ages, the mythologically enhanced raw, impersonal, doctrinaire superstition had replaced the old eagerness driven by personal esoteric experiences in earlier times.  After ineffectively dabbling in geopolitics during the power rampages of the old genetic nobility -- perhaps most notably with the war making Pope Urban II mobilizing all able bodied European Christians for the wars with Islam -- the Church began the routine manufacture of Satanic conspiracies and adopted the highly secular, yet delightfully lubricating, premier policy of the "suppression of heresy."

On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II makes perhaps the most influential speech of the Middle Ages, giving rise to the Crusades by calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, with a cry of "Deus vult!" or "God wills it!" Read more here.

While not particularly Biblical [with the possible exception of the accounted dreams of St. John the Divine's Revelations, Ch 22, v18&19], the orthodoxy accompanying this "suppression of heresy" introduced not only most of the modern Church's suffocating authoritarianism but also validated a relentless flow of the "liturgical adjustments" which now include everything from the no holds barred, "no choice" abortion ministry to truly cheap -- and quite modern -- gay hating. 

George Gurdjieff (image)
Gurdjieff, the original source of the ideas in Ouspenky's diagram, spoke of the blending of essence and the world to form a person's personality.  The essence was the individuality in a man which had to be "adjusted" to accommodate the demands imposed by both the external world for its day-today operation and his individual, beneficial interface with it.

Gurdjieff's idea didn't exactly stop with this, however.  He spoke of a balance between essence and personality and the consequences of a man with one or the other of these in an unbalanced excess.

The Roman phantasm of the new Pope's elevation must have -- somewhere -- included some nearly unnoticeable remnant of this enduring concern for the supplicants' post death destinations, but the spectre had a great deal more sheer glitter and glamour than esoteric substance, that is, than the experiential, soul bending substance of the earlier Church.

Between, say, the execution of Jesus and the Constantinian edict legalizing the early Church, a proselyte would have faced a significant risk to participate in the religious rituals.  The point here is that in order to make that risk palatable, the early religionist would have necessarily considered the experiential "payback" of such attendance a sensation worth the danger.

This evidentially describes the esoteric power received by the attending congregants who took such risks.  There may have been plenty of rebels and anti-Roman anarchists among them, but such strictly secular ambitions cannot explain these great risks taken by so many otherwise apolitical proselytes.

They were seeking the sensation which they experienced exclusively in the ritual.

In Ouspenky's diagram what they sought is at or near the circle noted as "E."  Shortly after the time of Constantine, around 330 AD, Ouspensky's Type B and Type A influences were in full march, slowly degrading the esoteric force by blending it with the clamor of the world.  Rome in 2013 was a festival of the "Type A" influence.

Perhaps even more interesting, the spectacle seemed to be precisely what the horde of nearly hysterical proselytes demanded for their own, modern, experiential sensation of this "Type A," post esoteric "institutionalism" displayed at the Papal elevation.  MeanMesa employs the term "proselytes" because the mythological assignments which the crowd has so gleefully adopted are both new and disturbingly at ease with the imbalanced post esoteric "personality" of the modern Church.

The Insinuation of Catholicism Into Modern America

The "Glorius Revolution" in 1688 ended the reign of Catholic James II with his "emergency and permanent vacation" to Catholic France and ushered in English Protestantism with William II and Mary II.  The spat was no "quick fly by."  Henry VIII had "poked the wasps' nest" with his insistence on divorcing his Queen, a matter which tested Papal authority.  Naturally, for British Protestants of the time, there was more than a little sectarian "housecleaning" which had to transpire immediately -- and violently -- after the "Glorious Revolution" was in hand.

This anecdote is inserted here to make a single point.  Protestant England was -- legitimately or not -- very concerned with "Papists" re-insinuating themselves by every manner of conspiracy back into power, most notably, of course, as monarch.  They had this "sensitivity" because the Papal authority had already repeatedly proven itself quite willing to extend its ambitions in ways apparently quite alien to the mythology which was purported to direct it.

In fact, although those old Englanders were unable to discover some part of the Gospels of St. Paul or St. Peter which included some "spiritual proclamation" validating the domination of England, after their experience with Roman authority, they found themselves predictably suspicious of even the "benign Papal presence" which might result from a casual demographic of Catholics among them.  When the question addressed the insinuation of "too many" Papists into seats of power, this animosity grew even more distinct -- and violent.

That is, during those heady times so much even daring to appear in public wearing a red hat could result in being beaten to death in the street.  It was all just a bit of "1690's-style ethnic cleansing."  With typical historical economy, all this turmoil is often summarized over simply as "sectarian violence," but in fact, of course, the lines of interest ran far afield from the comparatively sterile aspects of the competing franchises of the opposing fundamental religionist mythologies.

Power, derived in any manner necessary, was always attractive, but that power led to money, and money was narcotic.  Both franchises of religionists, the Papists and the Protestants, no doubt appraised the English situation in 1688 as the inevitable prelude to the social/cultural equivalent of a "heroin and cheap sex sandwich."

Now, we can look at today.

The federal US government currently has no strikingly different proportions of Catholics than it has had in the past, however, perhaps weakly mimicking the lingering fear of the suspicious Brits in 1688, Catholic dogma is being far more forcefully insinuated into US law than ever.  Further, the Catholic dogma being so forcefully inserted has practically nothing to do with the Catholic dogma derived more sincerely from the fundamental mythology.

We can see the visible manifestations of the current waves of religionist law when we consider the "no choice" and anti-gay policies, but just below the murky surface of those convenient examples, there is much more.

Councils of Bishops are specifically denouncing the prospect of better access to health care.  Parochial state governments are passing laws unarguably "nipping at the fringes" of the Supreme Court Ruling in Roe -- not just a few, either. Thousands of them.  We see Presidential candidates such as Santorum and Bachmann openly adopting these craven, post esoteric, post modernist, dogmatic "adjustments of convenience" to the mythology as age old, foundational platforms for their political campaigns.

An examination of these "foundational concepts" reveals that none of them are so much as mentioned in the annals of the original mythology.  They are, instead, only rather oily conveniences derived from tedious, tormented. ecumenically tenuous, synthetic constructions conveniently exhumed from equally artificial artifacts of the religionists' own embarrassing Medieval monstrosities.

No one seems to hesitate even momentarily for the task of reconciling all this modernist political nonsense with the Bronze Age fables themselves.  Instead, we seem -- acting as a mad horde of lemmings -- to immediately elevate the issue to "burning question of the day" status.  We barely flinched when the celibates and their political parasites arbitrarily decided on an attempt to rip the birth control pills from the grasp of the teenagers, replacing them with the equivalent of rusty, ecumenical coat hangers.

We started taking it seriously. 

It's not serious.  It's grotesque.

What's next?  Waiting for Napoleon's army to suppress the next Spanish Inquisition by invading Indiana?

There are 24 "nominally" Catholic Senators -- ostensibly representing mixed constituencies of actual citizens.  The "Google" is littered with sites which openly offer "measurements" of a Catholic Senator's obedience to dogma with respect to what are construed, again conveniently, as "non-negotiable tenets of faith." [an example: ]

The "nominal" Catholics in the House of Representatives number around 132.  That body has passed no fewer than 34 bills obliterating the Affordable Care Act, no doubt, in pious emulation of the very similar acts of their prophet.  No,  wait.  Jesus -- as the fable runs -- took up the task of "affordable care" quite directly.

No problem.  Within the flock, derisive claims of ecumenical  hypocrisy are routinely handled as, wait for it, heresy.  The liturgical suppression mechanism was already well worn ten centuries ago.

The Supreme Court has 6 Catholic Justices -- one of whom is a veritable modern case of Gustavus Adolphus, himself.  They managed to not instantly destroy available health care, but still transformed it into a tax which could be more easily repealed by Congressional action.  Now, they are warming up to rule on homosexual marriage.

What they won't be ruling on any time soon is the validity of the heretofore constant Constitutional insistence on the separation of church and state.  They can't.  The Church has already fired the first volleys of canonical law at that last bastion, and the Supreme Catholics will, no doubt, be left to reassemble the tatters into something that the 1688 Brits knew only too well.

The Male Crisis Leads to Strange Bedfellows

The "strange bedfellows" in this case are the dark denizens of the Evangelical Block.  The historical rift between these two avaricial geopolitical hordes -- the Catholics and the Neuvo Protestants -- not only never included the famous "day light," but, in fact, was filled with blood and was rife with an incendiary mythological hatred.  It was, through the centuries of induced superstition, more than vile enough to repeatedly hurl great armies of illiterate European farm boys at one another.

Now the two old competitors find themselves facing the greatest adversary ever.  This one is quite beyond the readily identified apostates of their respective "heretic burning"  primes.  This new menace is simple apathy.  As citizens of the developed world grow more and more sophisticated, those dwindling populations still holding the necessary, unexamined superstition have subsided.  It is, of course, the "outliers" -- both Evangelical and Catholic -- the still obedient, remaining remnants of those old religionist franchises -- who have caught the eye of the most violently ambitious modern geopolitical religionist frauds.

The resurrection of the old Mosaic and Benjamenic misogyny was predictable enough as were the aspirations for re-establishing the old, tribal, patriarchic control of all sex, likewise, were essentially inevitable additions. The racism, while disturbingly relevant, may have been added as an afterthought. However, the inevitable, stubborn, social resistance encountered in "selling" such new submissions to either Papal or, in the case of the Evangelicals, once more "re-interpreted" Biblical authority is what has precipitated the contemporary, chaotic morass we see all about us today.

The visible questions of whether gays should be wed or teenagers should have sex are, of course, the "head liners," but such issues are no more than low hanging fruit. Immediately below such dependable incendiaries we find a foundational problem.  Those current issues are all synthetic.  The esoteric challenges of the ancient franchises have been ruthlessly scrubbed in favor of the questionable joys of making your neighbor's children behave in a certain way.

Worse, the definitions of such heresies, always historically arbitrary and manipulative already, have succumbed to the modern phenomenon of "moving the goal posts."  Whenever the old heresies become so dated as to be modernly incomprehensible or when modern, social "common practice" has left them far behind, they are almost instantly -- and with  sickening alacrity and convenience -- redefined.

Now, crop after crop of the "burning questions of the day" have become suffocatingly artificial.  The ritual and mythological authority of the religionist franchises remain as a sort of soiled, protective shield, but the essence of such questions is so far afield now that any connection to the original esoteric "center" has long ago been lost in the dusty history of the clans.

To finish the "strange bedfellows" section of this post, we can effortlessly add Islam to those sitting in the courtroom's bar. That unfortunate franchise simply follows what has been said above by a few centuries.  The Muslims will almost inevitably find themselves where the Catholics and Evangelicals are now stuck as the base population of their own proselytes gradually -- and inexorably -- sophisticates.

The Final Question

We don't need to wander through these thoughts for too long before the next question emerges.

What's to be done with all this stuff when basically no one is still interested in participating?

It's a long list.  There are cathedrals, dungeons, blown up abortion clinics, assassinated doctors, homosexual suicide victims and more tragedies everywhere.  There are monasteries, convents, Bible colleges and televangelists galore.  There are tax exemptions, publishing houses, Christian rock bands, wedding tenors and funeral soloists

The residue is legion.

Relax, perhaps MeanMesa will "take this bait" on a future post.

The neighbors are beginning to complain. [image source ]
Dead dinosaurs don't become cute fossils overnight.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Mexico Jobs: The Santa Fe Problem

Hmmm.  Wonder What They're Doing
 in the Round House?

MeanMesa ran into this fascinating article compliments of KRQE.  It's a short one, but it's still worth reading.  For MeanMesa visitors who have been following the post series about expanding the New Mexico economy, this one just about explains everything...

[Read the article here. ]

Gov. responds to Democrats' jobs plan

Lysée Mitri
30 January 2013

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Job losses and the difficult economy continue to steal the spotlight in Santa Fe.

Democratic lawmakers came together at the roundhouse Monday to present their jobs plan and the governor responded.

As expected, the governor and Democrats do not exactly see eye to eye when it comes to how to encourage job growth in New Mexico.

Democrats rolled out a three-point jobs plan. Part of it proposes $97.4 million in capital spending for "shovel-ready" public works projects.

"That will create jobs for plumbers, contractors, electricians. Those are immediate job-creating opportunities,” says Sen. Carlos Cisneros (D - Questa).
It is something the governor says she might support, depending on the specific projects.

"Certainly we are ready to pump in that funding for projects that are ready to go, but I haven't seen anything in writing yet,” Martinez said.

Democrats are also proposing bills they say  will bolster four industries, technology, energy, agriculture and film.

"The film industry at one time was a good job creator and brought a lot of positive economic values to the state of New Mexico,” says Sen. Phil Griego (D - San Jose).

Senator Griego wants to remove the cap on state film tax subsidies.

New Mexico currently allots a maximum of $50 million in tax credits each year for filmmakers.

Governor Martinez says she is fine with any unused money rolling over into the next year, but she is firmly against removing the cap she helped establish.

"What makes the film incentive cap so important is that it makes budgeting more predictable,” Martinez said.

House Speaker Ken Martinez says a jobs council made up of legislators and labor leaders is necessary to focus on job creation year-round.

It is something the governor feels is already being done.

“We do have employability organizations already that are billed together to say, ‘How do we meet the needs of 21st century jobs?’” Martinez said.

The governor has already put forth her plan for job creation.

It includes pouring money into the job training incentive program and giving small businesses tax credits for every new job they create and sustain.

She is also proposing a decrease in the corporate tax rate.

The state Department of Workforce Solutions says New Mexico lost about 3,200 jobs last year.

By the way -- just in case you missed it -- one more time.

It is something the governor feels is already being done.

“We do have employability organizations already that are billed together to say, ‘How do we meet the needs of 21st century jobs?’” Martinez said.

The governor has already put forth her plan for job creation.

It includes pouring money into the job training incentive program and giving small businesses tax credits for every new job they create and sustain.

She is also proposing a decrease in the corporate tax rate.