Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hunky Dory?

Is everything now hunky-dory? The stock markets are up, the pundits (some of them) are saying, or implying, that we've turned the corner -- and the Banksters are saying they don't really need taxpayer bailouts after all -- especially if it means cutting back on those all important bonuses.

What's not being mentioned, at least in the mainstream media, is that the mark-to-market rules were changed to suit the Banksters, so they can now claim that they are not in trouble after all, it was just an accounting glitch. In other words, the old magical thinking that did Enron in is back in force on Wall St. -- assets can be valued according to fantasies about what they might be worth two or three years down the line rather than what they are actually worth in the real world market of today. Reality finally caught up with Enron and it will catch up with the Banksters as well -- only this time we are all at risk.

I'll be away from my desk for a long weekend trip, and will probably not be posting here until the middle of next week.

"Miss me, miss me, miss me/ Miss me darlin' when I'm gone/ Miss me darlin when I'm gone." (from Payday as performed by Pete Steele.)


Monday, April 27, 2009

Shifting the Paradigm

The notion of a fundamental "paradigm shift" came to wide public attention through an extremely influential book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), by Thomas Kuhn. In his book, Kuhn argued that scientific revolutions are not produced simply by original ideas, tested through careful methodology, but by fundamental shifts in the way people think. So ingrained are the "paradigms," i.e. models, or mental fields, that control our thinking, that for the great majority, even scientists, it is all but impossible to see the world any other way. As Kuhn demonstrated, new scientific ideas, based on radically different paradigms, usually become accepted only when the older generation dies out, to be replaced by a younger generation whose thinking is less controlled by traditional mental constructs.

There has been much criticism of the President's economic policies, guided largely by an old guard whose ideas have also been fatally constricted, in a very similar way. While Timothy Geithner and the President himself represent a younger generation, they too have, at least so far, acted as though hopelessly in thrall to an outdated, indeed demonstrably flawed, paradigm.

As I've argued in some earlier posts, the difficulties of overcoming ingrained mental constructs should never be underestimated. In today's New York Times, we find an article implying that Geithner's ties to the Wall St. "old guard" have compromised his ability to adequately represent the interests of the US taxpayer. While there may certainly be some truth in this, the Times article distracts us from the principal problem facing both Geithner and his many critics alike. The frustrating but also fascinating fact is that none of the old paradigms, including the "lessons" apparently learned from Great Depression no. 1, can begin to prepare us for the radical nature of the new situation facing us today. It is therefore unfair to single out either Geithner or Obama for criticism when the vast majority of their critics remain in thrall to exactly the same paradigm.

What is this old paradigm? And what is the new paradigm that could deliver us from the ruins of the old one? In my view, the answer is relatively simple. It's also quite logical, if not perfectly obvious. But the problem with paradigm shifts has nothing to do with logic. And if it were a matter of what is obvious, then the old story of the Emperor's New Clothes would have little meaning for us.

Obviously, we have an intractable problem centered on the status of money, specifically money that has been loaned and cannot possibly be repaid. Obviously the solution is simply to cancel all the outstanding debts and start over. However, there is no way to do this without placing the entire monetary system of the entire world in jeopardy. What the old paradigm tells us is that the world's monetary system must at all costs be preserved, because, according to the old paradigm, the world's "economy" is based on that system. What any child can clearly see, however, ala the Emperor's New Clothes, is that money is not really a commodity, we can't eat it and it can't be used to make anything useful. If all the money in the world suddenly vanished, both on paper and electronically, every single thing we need to survive and even prosper would still be there. So the real problem before us is not the preservation of an outmoded and indeed harmful, if not perverse, system based on the virtual exchange of virtual units, a system so complex that only a few people with inside information can consistently profit from it, but the management of resources, commodities such as fuel, food, housing, communications systems, etc., in such a way that their production is not seriously interrupted and their distribution is fair and equable. While in the past the problems involved in managing a system of such enormous complexity might have seemed hopelessly impractical, the extraordinary development of computer-based technologies has completely changed that picture. It will be child's play for our high-tech wizards to reprogram their computers from the thankless, boring and pointless task of juggling virtual credit and debit accounts to the challenging, enormously meaningful, task of allocating the actual production and distribution of actual resources.

Will such a radical shift in the way things are done be likely to happen anytime soon? Sadly, this is highly unlikely. Because the paradigm shift entailed would be far too radical to gain anything like the broad acceptance that would be needed. The very real technical and planning problems would be overwhelmed by the far greater political problem entailed by a paradigm shift of such enormous magnitude. On the other hand, the events now dominating the financial world are in themselves so radical, that the system so many are now trying so hard to preserve may of its own self destructive momentum precipitate the new paradigm even before we are mentally and emotionally ready to either understand or accept it. Ultimately, we may have no choice.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Day (After Rimbaud)


Day on fire invisible | water | day on ice.

Partly cloudy water to drink.

The well is dry.



The day on fire.

The day visible.

| Cascading | sun | water heavy laden green-blue

Trees are bent all in the same direction,

| Immobile | blue-grey stone.

They are as quiet as a stone.



The day on fire silent | North |

Of where we are

White sky | sea | gone

One cloud heavy laden | green-white cascade.



The day is on fire

Of fire.

It’s a fine day clear cool

One pellet of fire drop of visible fire

| Descending | we ascending

As though we were ascending

Countless bead steam.



Day fire | open | flame tree upright shimmering

Substance is melting itself

Is burning like an unburning tree in full leaf

Each leaf a flame dropping and suspended in the tree spider web dew

Night, no, day, ice, no, fire

Articulate loud web and stem.



Summer day of fire on fire

Electric webs

There’s a feeling of intense heat coming from the webs

From the stems, the trees,

| Sky lit | descending



Consuming visibility itself.

A bird in free fall | flame |

Ice refracting ice | water | blue, green, yellow, pale yellow

Pink, white, absence of white

Pure light, pure seeing, not seeing anything

Driving, stop sign, casual glance right left

The day | still | on fire sign.

Night (After Blake)


The forests invisible / plain air burning.

Give me air to breathe.

The bell rings bright.


Burns bright in the

What you say.

Wolf wolf / ring the bell

To the greenwood gone

To the greenwood

To the



Forests of / not forest

Of the night burning

We turn as one

Turn as one

Bright burning


In the forests of the

Recreation area

By the greenwood / side

Wolf in the wood

Not woods

Burn trash




The night

Of the night

It burns

Wolf / wolf

By the greenwood side

Over by the old mill

In the jungle of cities

And a thousand birds

It burns / as I burned

I burned




Burning bright

Tyger burning bright

Over by where we were yesterday

A feeling of intense heat

Did he / did

He / did he

And a thousand birds

In a fine formation

Turn to the East as one

One / cloud

Of night

Over by the old mill

In the forests of the night

It burns.

And a thousand birds

In a fine formation

Swerve as one

As one


One eye

Burning bright

I burn

As she goes

The tyger paces back and forth

It burns

In the night

The night


Night eye

You must burn Garcia

Bright burn bright

In the forest

By the old mill where we were

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cut Us a Break!

Year after year, interest rates kept going down down down. This was supposed to be a good thing. Why? Ask the economists. As far as I can see, all it meant was that those of us who saw through the Wall St. scams were being discouraged from saving our money -- and encouraged to invest invest invest, despite all the many signs the Wall St. bubble was about to burst. Every time the Fed lowered the prime rate, the market took the hint and soared. Interest rates on savings were already low and kept getting lower. So what was the point of saving? Why not keep investing, to insure that some day we'd have enough socked away so we could live out our Golden Years on the income from all that accumulated equity? Wasn't Wall St. where all the smart money was? If the prime were allowed to rise, why the suckers might decide to save after all, despite all the great advice we were getting about "diversification" and that magical "long term." We might even (gulp) pull our money out of Wall St. and put it in the bank. By assuring that interest rates kept dropping, the geniuses at the Fed were insuring that more and more money would continue to be pumped into those 401 k's -- to keep the Ponzi scheme going, natch.

Now that the rate has fallen to zero, you'd think the Fed had done about all it could on behalf of the oligarchs pulling all the strings. But no, they've found another way to keep all their magical balls in the air: pour more money into the system, billions, trillions, a ploy that has the same effect as lowering interest rates. How? Ask the economists, I don't have a clue. All I know is that the little guy keeps getting shafted, all in the name of saving our wonderful "financial system" -- at ALL cost.

Raising interest rates would have cut us a break, would have given us an incentive to do the truly smart thing and put our money somewhere safe, where the slick operators couldn't get at it. But no. The prime rate is down all the way to zero. Putting your money in the bank will earn you a piddling 1 or maybe 2 percent. So don't even think about pulling whatever you might have left in that 401 k out and putting it where it might be safe, in an FDIC insured savings account. It's just not worth it.

And the trillions now being poured into the system are having yet another devastating affect on us ordinary citizens, though it isn't apparent yet. Once again the powers that be are Hell bent on saving us from ourselves. Because if anything is worse to them than allowing us to earn some meaningful interest on our savings, it's allowing us to benefit from the one piece of good news coming out of the meltdown: lower prices -- aka "deflation." The sweaty hands of the oligarchs and their minions are already wringing over that possibility, which, of course, must be countered, at all costs, and with drastic measures.

It's already happening in Spain. And, of course, the hand wringing has begun. Dig this headline, from the NY Times: As Prices Fall, the Specter of Deflation Rises Over Spain. Here's the scoop:
Faced with plunging orders, merchants across this recession-wracked country are starting to do something that many of them have never done: cut retail prices. . .

With the toxic combination of rising unemployment and falling prices, economists fear Spain may be in the early grips of deflation, a hallmark of both the Great Depression and Japan’s lost decade of the 1990s, and a major concern since the financial crisis went global last year.

Deflation can result in a downward spiral that can be difficult to reverse. As unemployment rises sharply and consumers cut spending, companies cut prices. But if sales do not pick up, then revenue can decline further, forcing more cuts in workers or wages. . .

The American economy is less vulnerable to deflation, in part because of the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates to near zero and increase lending by $2 trillion. The European Central Bank has also cut rates, though more slowly, and it has resisted the lending measures adopted by the Fed and the Bank of England to prop up spending.
Excuse me, but with unemployment rising sharply and consumers cutting spending, doesn't it make sense to lower prices? Isn't that a natural response to the economic reality? And won't lower prices make it easier for laid off workers and retirees who've lost most of their savings to survive? Sure, lower prices will also mean lower wages, but I've got news for you: wages are already near rock bottom. And jobs are already nonexistent. I'm not an economist, but I do have some scientific training, and there is one thing I know very well: a correlation does NOT necessarily imply a cause and effect relationship. Sure, prices went down during the depression, but that is NOT what caused it. The last depression was caused by the same greed, manipulation, deception and dishonesty that caused this one. If anything made the last depression tolerable and, no doubt, saved millions from the streets or worse, it was deflation, i.e. lower prices. And if there is anything that could make our present situation truly impossible, for everyone concerned (aside from the bankers and their sycophants), it would be what the geniuses in Washington seem bound and determined to produce: inflation, aka higher prices. Possibly much higher. Possibly sky high. For the good of the "system," natch.

But just think about what inflation would do to the unemployed; the underemployed; all those whose 401 k's and other investments have been decimated; not to mention the out and out poor, who depend on handouts to survive. Lose your job, lose your shirt in the market, lose your home -- and go to the supermarket only to find that food prices have doubled, tripled, quadrupeled -- or worse. This is what Geithner, Bernanke and company would like to see, and what they are now striving for. To save the system. Natch!

Cut us a break, folks. Let deflation take its course. Give us an honest shot at survival, OK? Coming out of the supermarket with a receipt for $30 instead of $75 sounds awfully good to me. Pruning that monthly gas and electric bill down to size would also do nicely, thank you. And $2.00 a gallon for gas, instead of $4.00, makes a lot of sense to me. I like that feeling. So if prices want to fall, why not just let them.

I'll say it one more time, with feeling: cut us a break!!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Republicans Behaving Badly

As dutifully reported in the New York Times, etc., and loudly trumpeted over conservative talk radio, the Republicans staged a nationwide media event Wednesday, modeled on the Boston Tea Party. Except the Boston Tea Party was about taxation without representation, which was never the issue in this case. And the Boston Tea Party was a rebellion against tyranny, while this one was a rebellion in favor of same. And the Boston Tea Party was a meaningful historical event, while this one was a cynical, vacuous and irresponsible attempt by Republican diehards to salvage some measure of public respect in the face of devastating losses at the polls.

Here are some choice excerpts from the NY Times report:

Although organizers insisted they had created a nonpartisan grass-roots movement, others argued that these parties were more of the Astroturf variety: an occasion largely created by the clamor of cable news and fueled by the financial and political support of current and former Republican leaders.

Fox News covered the events all day with reporters and hosts at the scenes. Neil Cavuto, a Fox host, and Michelle Malkin, a conservative contributor, headlined the protests in Sacramento while Sean Hannity broadcast his show from the protests in Atlanta.

The Web site listed its sponsors, including FreedomWorks, a group founded by Dick Armey, the former House majority leader; Top Conservatives on Twitter; and

The idea for the demonstrations grew in part out of a blast from Rick Santelli, a CNBC commentator who on Feb. 19 at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange said that the Obama administration was promoting “bad behavior” in helping people who were at risk of losing their homes and that Americans should protest with a tea party in Chicago.
Amazing that the Republicans would have the chutzpah to stage a "populist revolt" so blatantly out of touch as to focus on the same old same old conservative agenda items we've been hearing about for years: those "tax and spend" Democrats (yawn), "big government" (double yawn), and how we just gotta protect the "free market" from the "socialist agenda" of Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats. While knowledgeable economists are expressing legitimate concern over the Obama administration's giveaway of trillions in taxpayer money to the same Wall St. insiders whose greed and stupidity got us into this mess, all the Republicans can see is "creeping socialism." Ye Gods! Obama and Geithner are bending over backwards to avoid even the appearance of nationalization, but in Republican eyes their all-out effort to save the capitalist system from itself translates into a socialist agenda.

Even if the age old diatribes against "tax and spend" Democrats and "big government" had some validity (they don't), you'd think at least some in the Republican leadership would have the sense to realize that there is something profoundly different about the present situation than anything we've encountered before. Obama's desperate efforts to revive the economy are not attempts to broaden the scope and power of government -- they simply reflect the realization, shared by most economists, that the federal government is the institution of last resort when all else fails. While his program involves the spending of astronomical sums, relatively little of that will be due to tax increases, and the increases he is recommending will affect only a small minority of the wealthiest and most privileged among us. While I disagree with Obama's futile attempts to shore up a failed "free market" system, it's clear that something has to be done -- and short of initiating a program based on multiple nationalizations of certain failed institutions, a program favored by economists of both the left and right, it's hard to imagine much in the way of an alternative -- aside from the socialist-oriented planned economy conservatives profess to fear the most, which Obama clearly opposes.

Sure, Obama's stimulus package includes various items he sees as important, why wouldn't it? He was elected, McCain wasn't. The Democrats are the majority party, the Republicans aren't. So what planet do you have to live on to see traditionally Democratic values expressed in a Democratic program? The majority of the voters obviously endorsed those values or they wouldn't have voted for them, so Obama's program is clearly an expression of the popular will -- and he is still, despite all the doubters, commanding tremendous support in the polls.

As for the avatars of conservative talk radio who've been loudly trumpeting this event, I'm reminded of an ancient limerick found inscribed on a hardened paleopolitical turd during the Age of Socio-Illogical Innocence:

There once was a ninny named Hannity
Whose verbiage verged on inanity.
The rant of this fool,
Was pure bull stool,
With the stench of a flatulent manatee.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Obama Responds

I've been giving President Obama and his team a hard time on this blog and I'm certainly not alone. To give the guy credit where credit is due, however, I must acknowledge his recent speech explaining the origins of the crisis and the efforts now being made to deal with it. In my opinion, this is an articulate, intelligent, thorough and honest presentation, the sort of thing we rarely get from politicians anymore. For an excellent assessment, interleaved with the original speech, I'll direct you to an article published yesterday at the Clusterstock blog, by Henry Blodget. Some excerpts from both the speech and Blodget's interleaved commentary (which appears in brackets):

Now, I don’t agree with some of the ways the TARP program was managed, but I do agree with the broader rationale that we must provide banks with the capital and the confidence necessary to start lending again. That is the purpose of the stress tests that will soon tell us how much additional capital will be needed to support lending at our largest banks [NO, THEY WON'T. WHY NOT? BECAUSE THE STRESS TESTS AREN'T STRESSFUL ENOUGH. THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS ALREADY HIGHER THAN THE PEAK RATE ASSUMED IN THE STRESS TEST BASELINE SCENARIO]. Ideally, these needs will be met by private investors. But where this is not possible, and banks require substantial additional resources from the government, we will hold accountable those responsible, force the necessary adjustments, provide the support to clean up their balance sheets, and assure the continuity of a strong, viable institution that can serve our people and our economy.

Of course, there are some who argue that the government should stand back and simply let these banks fail – especially since in many cases it was their bad decisions that helped create the crisis in the first place. But whether we like it or not, history has repeatedly shown that when nations do not take early and aggressive action to get credit flowing again, they have crises that last years and years instead of months and months – years of low growth, low job creation, and low investment that cost those nations far more than a course of bold, upfront action. And although there are a lot of Americans who understandably think that government money would be better spent going directly to families and businesses instead of banks – “where’s our bailout?,” they ask – the truth is that a dollar of capital in a bank can actually result in eight or ten dollars of loans to families and businesses, a multiplier effect that can ultimately lead to a faster pace of economic growth. [NO ONE IS ARGUING THAT THE GOVT SHOULD JUST "STAND BACK AND SIMPLY LET THE BANKS FAIL"--LIKE LEHMAN. WHAT THE NATIONALIZATION CROWD WANTS IS CONTROLLED RESTRUCTURING AND REPRIVATIZATION.]

I'll interject a comment of my own here, because it's not clear at all to me that "a dollar of capital in a bank can actually result in eight or ten dollars of loans to families and businesses." I'm pleased to see Obama offer an explanation that accounts for his strategy, something we've all been awaiting for some time. However, as I understand it, that dollar from the bank can be stretched to eight or ten only because 1. the bank is able to obtain low interest loans stemming ultimately from the Federal Reserve; and 2. if the borrower defaults, the Federal Reserve and the government generally are there to back up the bank with taxpayer money. In other words, it's only due to a system designed to provide maximum leverage to the banks, the investors, the speculators, and the gamblers, at taxpayer expense, that the capitalist "free market" system can operate at all. And when we recall that it was excess leverage that produced both the first great depression and this one, then we cannot but question the wisdom behind the plan to rescue this old, antiquated and extremely dangerous system, a system that ultimately, when all the smoke and mirrors are removed, amounts to nothing less than socialized capitalism for the benefit of a small group of privileged insiders. Here's a bit more:
So let me be clear – the reason we have not taken this step [nationalization] has nothing to do with any ideological or political judgment we’ve made about government involvement in banks, and it’s certainly not because of any concern we have for the management and shareholders whose actions have helped cause this mess. [YES, SHAREHOLDERS HAVE PAID A PRICE, BUT NOT BONDHOLDERS. THEY'VE BEEN 100% PROTECTED] Rather, it is because we believe that preemptive government takeovers are likely to end up costing taxpayers even more in the end, and because it is more likely to undermine than to create confidence. [STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH BOTH ARGUMENTS. FORCING BANKS TO WRITE DOWN THE BAD ASSETS AND THEN RESTRUCTURING THEM WOULD DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM QUICKLY AND FOR ALL TIME...AS OPPOSED TO THE CURRENT SOLUTION, WHICH DRAGS IT OUT. IF THE GOVT WOULD CONSIDER MAKING BONDHOLDERS PAY FOR THE WRITE-DOWNS, MEANWHILE, THE TAXPAYER WOULDN'T LOSE MUCH OF ANYTHING.]
On this issue I disagree with both Obama and Blodget, because as I see it each is seeing only one part of the elephant, neither is seeing the crisis as a whole. The reality is that the current meltdown is far deeper and more disastrous than anything we've encountered in the past, to the point that neither Obama's plan to shore up the banks nor the alternative of nationalization and restructuring can possibly work. Nevertheless, we must give Obama credit for bravely attempting to come to terms with the problem in a proactive manner. I think it may be too much to expect him to move in the direction I personally would like to see, because what I see looming, for better or worse, is a planned economy based on distribution of resources rather than the reorgainization of a bankrupt financial system. And since a planned economy would 1. have to be run by "big government" and 2. be tantamount to socialism, or at least one type of socialism, it would be political suicide for him to advocate it at this time. It's only after his efforts to prop up the old system have tumbled down to the ground utterly, completely and unquestionably will it be possible to consider what I regard as the only workable alternative.
One last quote from Obama's remarkable speech:
We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand. We must build our house upon a rock. We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity – a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest; where we consume less at home and send more exports abroad.

It’s a foundation built upon five pillars that will grow our economy and make this new century another American century: new rules for Wall Street that will reward drive and innovation; new investments in education that will make our workforce more skilled and competitive; new investments in renewable energy and technology that will create new jobs and industries; new investments in health care that will cut costs for families and businesses; and new savings in our federal budget that will bring down the debt for future generations. That is the new foundation we must build. That must be our future – and my Administration’s policies are designed to achieve that future.

Obama's vision is so carefully thought through and so admirable that I must admit I'd really like to see it work, for him, for the country, and for the world. Maybe I'm wrong, hopefully he's right. Let's leave it at that, for now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Free at Last!

Hot off the presses, from the New York Times, Goldman Posts Profit and Will Raise $5 Billion:
Six months after accepting a financial lifeline from Washington, a newly profitable Goldman Sachs is pushing to return the billions of taxpayer dollars that it received in an effort to extricate itself from heightened government control.

Goldman, which rode out the final, tumultuous months of 2008 with the help of a federal rescue, reported strong quarterly profits on Monday and said that it would seek to raise money in the capital markets to repay the government.

If successful, Goldman would become the first major bank to return funds received under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Such a step would probably enable Goldman — long one of the most lucrative places to work on Wall Street — to free itself from government-imposed restrictions on compensation.
Of course, the Times article fails to mention the $12 billion recently transferred to Goldman Sachs as a payout on credit default swaps owed it by AIG, money originating in yet another government bailout. Goldman Sachs would not be required to return that amount.

Here's the same story from a somewhat less respectful viewpoint, by Heidi N. Moore, Goldman Sachs: Profits Up. Salaries Also Up. Take That, Treasury!
Goldman Sachs posted a $1.7 billion profit today — and with it, Goldman set aside $4.7 billion for salaries and bonuses. That $4.7 billion is 50% of Goldman’s revenues for the quarter, a jump up from the same time last year, when salary and bonuses accounted for 48% of Goldman’s revenues. In essence, things are still ugly in the market — but even so, Goldman actually said it would reserve more money for staff salaries in the first quarter than it did last year. Goldman doesn’t actually have to pay those dollars until the fourth quarter, but the expenses estimate how much Goldman expects to pay.

Goldman’s boost to compensation costs comes even as the firm employs fewer people, having cut its headcount by 7% since the end of last year. . .

On Friday, Deal Journal wrote about how other investment banks were not pleased that Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein called their bonuses excessive, “greedy and self-serving.” Some rivals didn’t believe that Goldman deserved the moral high ground, particularly given that Blankfein had made $68.5 million and was the highest-paid bank CEO at the height of the market.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is trying to shut down a blog that's been sharply critical of their corporate culture and undue government involvement and influence. From Ars Technica:
Goldman Sachs has bigger things to worry about in this economy than a conspiracy theory-filled gripe site, but that's what it has focused its efforts on in an attempt to bully into shutting down. The investment bank has sent a cease and desist letter to Goldmansachs666 blogger Mike Morgan, claiming that his site has violated Goldman Sachs' intellectual property and trademarks, provides unfair competition, and could confuse consumers.

George Grosz: Eclipse of the Sun, 1926

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Matters of Fact


There was never a sound beside the wood but one,
And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground.
What was it it whispered? I knew not well myself;
Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun,
Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound—
And that was why it whispered and did not speak.

It was no dream of the gift of idle hours,
Or easy gold at the hand of fay or elf:
Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak
To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows,
Not without feeble-pointed spikes of flowers
(Pale orchises), and scared a bright green snake.

The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows.
My long scythe whispered and left the hay to make.

Robert Frost

"I'm struggling with a canvas I started a few days before my illness -- a reaper. The study is all yellow, extremely thickly painted, but the subject was beautiful and simple. For I see in this reaper -- a vague figure toiling away for all he's worth in the midst of the heat to finish his task -- I see in him the image of death, in the sense that humanity might be the wheat he is reaping. So it is, if you like, the opposite of the sower which I tried to do before. But there's no sadness in this death, this one takes place in broad daylight with a sun flooding everything with light of pure gold." Vincent Van Gogh, from letter to Theo Van Gogh, Saint-Rémy 5 or 6 September 1889.


Herman Melville

About the Shark, phlegmatical one,
Pale sot of the Maldive sea,
The sleek little pilot-fish, azure and slim,
How alert in attendance be.
From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw,
They have nothing of harm to dread,
But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank
Or before his Gorgonian head;
Or lurk in the port of serrated teeth
In white triple tiers of glittering gates,
And there find a haven when peril's abroad,
An asylum in jaws of the Fates!
They are friends; and friendly they guide him to prey,
Yet never partake of the treat--
Eyes and brains to the dotard lethargic and dull,
Pale ravener of horrible meat.

Big Fish Eat Little Fish -- Pieter Breughel the Elder

"A true account of the actual is the rarest poetry, for common sense always takes a hasty and superficial view." Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Take Back the Land!

Interesting things are happening. Meaningful things. Hopeful things. People are catching on. Just now found this newly minted article in the NY Times, More Squatters Are Calling Foreclosures Home. Here's how it starts:

When the woman who calls herself Queen Omega moved into a three-bedroom house here last December, she introduced herself to the neighbors, signed contracts for electricity and water and ordered an Internet connection. What she did not tell anyone was that she had no legal right to be in the home.

Ms. Omega, 48, is one of the beneficiaries of the foreclosure crisis. Through a small advocacy group of local volunteers called Take Back the Land, she moved from a friend’s couch into a newly empty house that sold just a few years ago for more than $400,000.

Michael Stoops, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, said about a dozen advocacy groups around the country were actively moving homeless people into vacant homes — some working in secret, others, like Take Back the Land, operating openly.

In addition to squatting, some advocacy groups have organized civil disobedience actions in which borrowers or renters refuse to leave homes after foreclosure.

The groups say that they have sometimes received support from neighbors and that beleaguered police departments have not aggressively gone after squatters.
This is truly heartening news. The fact is that no one wants most of the abandoned homes. The banks threaten people with eviction, but after the former owners move out, they are often reluctant to take formal possession, because that would mean 1. paying property taxes; 2. trying to sell a house in a dead market; 3. maintaining the house or 4. paying the cost of tearing it down after it's been condemned. So the houses just sit in place and rot away.

I've already written about this absurd situation, where people are now living on the streets or in tent cities while perfectly good houses are sitting empty. Now, finally, we learn that something is being done. Good people are finding ways to work together and make things happen -- without benefit of money.

Let me look it up, this organization called Take Back the Land. Hang on just a second, I'm gonna go to the website . . .

OK, I'm back. Very very interesting site with some really informative videos. I'm gonna see if I can pick one up for us, over at youtube . . . . . .

OK, good, got it:

What a great interview! This guy is saying exactly what needs to be said, with a minimum of bluster, no fuss, but real eloquence. God bless him! But he's not taking it far enough. Because this is really what it should all be about. And by "all," I mean the economy as a whole. You have people with needs. You have resources lying idle. People need homes. Put them in the idle homes. People need jobs. Take over the abandoned shops, stores, factories, warehouses, restaurants, and put people back to work.

However . . .
Local vigilante groups are great for now but they can never be an adequate answer for the nation -- and the world -- as a whole. Government must take the lead. BIG government, yes. The bigger the better. Really really big. Every abandoned house, failed business, failed bank must be nationalized -- and put to work for the people as part of a BIG GOVERNMENT PROGRAM.

Oops, sorry Rush. Isn't there a pill you can take for apoplexy?

The Junkman's Obbligato

From A Coney Island of the Mind, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti:

Let’s go
Come on
Let’s go
Empty our pockets
And disappear.
Missing all our appointments
And turning up unshaven
Years later
Old cigarette papers
stuck to our pants
leaves in our hair.
Let us not
worry about the payments
Let them come
and take it away
whatever it was
we were paying for.
And us with it.
Let us arise and go now
to where dogs do it
Over the Hill
where they keep the earthquakes
behind the city dumps
lost among gasmains and garbage.
Let us see the City Dumps
for what they are.
My country tears of thee.
Let us disappear
in automobile graveyards
and reappear years later
picking rags and newspapers
drying our drawers
on garbage fires
patches on our ass.
Do not bother
to say goodbye
to anyone.
Your missus will not miss us.
Let’s go
smelling of sterno
where the benches are filled
with discarded Bowling Green statues
in the interior dark night
of the flower bowery
our eyes watery
with the contemplation
of empty bottles of muscatel.
Let us recite from broken bibles
on streetcorners
Follow dogs on docks
Speak wild songs
Throw stones
Say anything
Blink at the sun and scratch
and stumble into silence
Diddle in doorways
Know whores thirdhand
after everyone else is finished
Stagger befuddled into East River sunsets
Sleep in phone booths
Puke in pawnshops
wailing for a winter overcoat.
Let us arise and go now
under the city
where ashcans roll
and reappear in putrid clothes
as the uncrowned underground kings
of subway men’s rooms.
Let us feed the pigeons
at the City Hall
urging them to do their duty
in the Mayor’s office.
Hurry up please it’s time.
The end is coming.
Flash floods
Disasters in the sun
Dogs unleashed
Sister in the street
her brassiere backwards.
Let us arise and go now
into the interior dark night
of the soul’s still bowery
and find ourselves anew
where subways stall and wait
under the River.
Cross over
into full puzzlement.
South Ferry will not run forever.
They are cutting out the Bay ferries
but it is still not too late
to get lost in Oakland.
Washington has not yet toppled
from his horse.
There is still time to goose him
and go
leaving our income tax form behind
and our waterproof wristwatch with it
staggering blind after alleycats
under Brooklyn’s Bridge
blown statues in baggy pants
our tincan cries and garbage voices
Junk for sale!
Let’s cut it out let’s go
into the real interior of the country
where hockshops reign
mere unblind anarchy upon us.
The end is here
but golf goes on at Burning Tree.
It’s raining it’s pouring
The Ole Man is snoring.
Another flood is coming
though not the kind you think.
There is still time to sink
and think.
I wish to descend in society.
I wish to make like free.
Swing low sweet chariot.
Let us not wait for the cadillacs
to carry us triumphant
into the interior
waving at the natives
like roman senators in the provinces
wearing poet’s laurels
on lighted brows.
Let us not wait for the write-up
on page one
of the New York Times Book review
images of insane success
smiling from the photo.
By the time they print your picture
in Life Magazine
you will have become a negative anyway
a print with a glossy finish.
They will have come and gotten you
to be famous
and you still will not be free.
Goodbye I’m going.
I’m selling everything
and giving away the rest
to the Good Will Industries.
It will be dark out there
with the Salvation Army Band.
And the mind its own illumination.
Goodbye I’m walking out on the whole scene.
Close down the joint.
The system is all loused up.
Rome was never like this.
I’m tired of waiting for Godot.
I am going where turtles win
I am going
where conmen puke and die
Down the sad esplanades
of the official world.
Junk for sale!
My country tears of thee.
Let us go then you and I
leaving our neckties behind on lampposts
Take up the full beard
of walking anarchy
looking like Walt Whitman
a homemade bomb in the pocket.
I wish to descend in the social scale.
High society is low society.
I am a social climber
climbing downward
And the descent is difficult.
The Upper Middle Class Ideal
is for the birds
but the birds have no use for it
having their own kind of pecking order
based upon birdsong.
Pigeons on the grass alas.
Let us arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree.
Let loose the hogs of peace.
Hurry up please it’s time.
Let us arise and go now
into the interior
of Foster’s Cafeteria.
So long Emily Post.
So long
Lowell Thomas.
Goodbye Broadway.
Goodbye Herald Square.
Turn it off.
Confound the system.
Cancel our leases.
Lose the War
without killing anybody.
Let horses scream
and ladies run
to flushless powderrooms.
The end has just begun.
I want to announce it.
Run don’t walk
to the nearest exit.
The real earthquake is coming.
I can feel the building shake.
I am the refined type.
I cannot stand it.
I am going
where asses lie down
with customs collectors who call themselves
literary critics.
My tool is dusty.
My body is hung up too long
in strange suspenders.
Get me a bright bandana
for a jockstrap.
Turn loose and we’ll be off
where sports cars collapse
and the world begins again.
Hurry up please it’s time.
It’s time and a half
and there’s the rub.
The thinkpad makes homeboys of us all.
Let us cut out
into stray eternity.
Somewhere the fields are full of larks.
Somewhere the land is swinging.
My country ‘tis of thee
I’m singing.
Let us arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree
and live the true blue simple life
of wisdom and wonderment
where all things grow
straight up
aslant and singing
in the yellow sun
poppies out of cowpods
thinking angels out of turds.
I must arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree
way up behind the broken words
and woods of Arcady.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another Bad Idea

Here's what just came up as a headline on the NY Times website: U.S. Imagines the Bailout as an Investment Tool. The bailout as an investment tool? Here's the idea:
As part of its sweeping plan to purge banks of troublesome assets, the Obama administration is encouraging several large investment companies to create the financial-crisis equivalent of war bonds: bailout funds.

The idea is that these investments, akin to mutual funds that buy stocks and bonds, would give ordinary Americans a chance to profit from the bailouts that are being financed by their tax dollars. But there is another, deeply political motivation as well: to quiet accusations that all of these giant bailouts will benefit only Wall Street plutocrats.
Why did a huge shudder suddenly go up and down my spine? The only thing I can compare this one with is the Bush administration's idea to hire a public relations firm to sell the Iraqi people on how great everything will be if only they can learn to love Big Brother and his sidekick, Dick Cheney.

How out of touch can an administration be?

The article continues:
The embrace of smaller investors underscores the concern in Washington and on Wall Street that Americans’ anger could imperil further efforts to stimulate the economy with vast amounts of government spending. Many Americans say they believe the bailout programs — and the potentially rich profits they could yield — will benefit only a golden few, including some of the institutions that helped push the economy to the brink.

“This is an opportunity to forge an alliance between Main Street, Wall Street and K Street,” said Steven A. Baffico, an executive at BlackRock, referring to the Washington address of many lobbying firms. BlackRock, a giant money management firm, is playing a central role in the government’s efforts and is considering creating a bailout fund. “It’s giving the guy on Main Street an equal seat at the table next to the big guys,” he said.
So, just like all that sub-prime mortgage debt was sliced and diced and sold off to any and every sucker they could find, the US government is going to start slicing and dicing and selling off its bailout debt? To "Main Street"?????????? Hey, that's where I live, and I'll tell you right now: ain't nobody on my block who's gonna fall for that one.

Gee, I wonder if the Obama administration is going to hire the same P/R firm to sell this bright idea.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Moral of the Story

(Continued from the previous post)

The moral of the story is very simple. Rational decisions regarding money can no longer be made by either businessmen or government officials. Bankers and traders can certainly continue to game the system. It's still possible to make money, lots of it. Also to lose it. But when it comes to things like the pricing of consumer goods, deciding how much tuition to charge, making certain industries cost-effective, determining tax rates, and, above all, deciding how much money can safely be pumped into failing financial institutions, auto companies, stimulus packages, etc., without destroying the economy, we have reached a unique point in history: we no longer understand where we are going or why.

Charge more for your product and you lose your customers, charge less, or the same amount, and you can't pay your debts. Why pour money into a failing auto industry if no one can afford to buy the products? Why allow that auto industry to fail if failure will lead to huge job losses in every corner of the country? Etc. (see previous post).

But wait. There has to be a way out. After all, money is just paper, right? Actually most of it, nowadays, is really nothing more than electronic impulses, magnetically stored. Just imagine if a huge sunspot were to form and set off a huge magnetic shock wave headed for Earth, one that wiped out all the hard drives on all the world's computers, what then? Would we all just sit down and die? Or would we try to find some other way to live, free of investments, pensions, savings, credit cards, mortgages, budgets, deficits, national debts, etc. -- free of money?

So the real moral of the story must be rewritten, more or less as follows: Since rational decisions regarding money can no longer be made by either businessmen or government officials, some other solution not involving money must be found.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Whichaway -- Part 2

The most fundamental dilemma, the intractable aporia confronting our political and economic leaders: do we allow the largest banking and investment institutions to fail, precipitating a complete breakdown of the world's financial systems? or do we prop them up with endless trillions in loans and freshly minted electronic (aka "paper") money, leaching all value and meaning from the US dollar, leading inevitably to the complete collapse of the world monetary system? Which way to go, which way to go? Our leaders have chosen the latter path, but what they are not telling us is that whichever path we choose to take will be our road to perdition.

Even before we reach the point of total "disaster," there are other, less fundamental, but more urgent and immediate choices confronting us, impossible choices that nevertheless must be made.

For example, how is it possible to determine what price to ask for any given commodity or service? If we were simply in a deflationary phase, as many economists seem to think, prices would continually be falling, along with wages. This would actually be a good thing for retirees and others on a fixed income, or those who invested wisely enough to still have some real money safely stashed away. Those savings along with the steady Social Security income would definitely go farther if, in fact, we were in a period of true deflation. However, the overhead costs of many companies have not in fact gone down, so for them lowering prices isn't really a viable option. They're convinced that, to survive, they must, on the contrary, raise their prices -- and that's exactly what many are now doing, despite all the hand-wringing over a looming "deflationary spiral." But how can you raise prices in an economy where job losses are steadily mounting, incomes are decreasing, investments have tanked, housing prices are in free fall, and retirement accounts have lost anywhere from 30% to 50% of their value? Which way to go, which way to go? Logically, prices should be steadily going down, but I'm wondering whether anyone has actually noticed that. Aside from gasoline prices, now going up and down unpredictably, and housing prices, which have obviously taken a nosedive, I myself see only prices that either remain steady, or, as in the case of food, are steadily, and alarmingly, rising. If food prices come down, more of us will be eating better, but more supermarket chains will be going out of business. Looks like they'll be going out of business no matter what.

An issue that never ceases to fascinate me is the cost of tuition. For years it's been heading increasingly into the stratosphere, for no good reason that anyone can see -- except for the availability of all that oh so easy credit. But credit is now, supposedly, tight. You'd think in the wake of all those job losses, investment nightmares, and credit crunches, that colleges and universities would be drastically lowering tuition. But I've seen no sign of that either. How can they lower tuition when their endowments have lost so much, due to all that misguided, irresponsible investing? In their eyes, tuition can only continue to go up, up, up and away. But how can they continue to pull off that particular scam when easy credit ain't so easy anymore, and so many families are now faced with unemployment, if not imminent eviction? They "can't possibly" lower tuition, because they need the money. But if they don't lower their tuition, or stubbornly continue to raise it, which many seem bent on doing, new enrollments will wither and already enrolled students will start dropping out in droves.

We have a similar aporia regarding the auto industry. If we bail out General Motors, we'll be saving jobs. But in order for the company to be viable, jobs must be cut. How can we justify forcing such a huge company to cut jobs when so much money is now being spent on a stimulus designed to create jobs? Whichaway, whichaway?

And how about taxes, what's to be done on that front? To preserve some semblance of fiscal responsibility taxes must be raised. But to stimulate the economy taxes must be lowered. We can, of course, raise taxes on the wealthy, something long overdue in my book. But so many millionaires and billionaires have lost so much in the past year, that most will probably wind up paying no taxes at all! And you can't tax anyone on the basis of all those multi-million dollar bonuses, because the taxes on most of that accumulated loot have already been paid. Again, whichever way we choose to go it apparently makes no difference. All paths lead to the same hard, stone wall of utter futility.

Now for the moral of our story. Which I'll save for my next post.
(to be continued . . . )

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Whichaway, whichaway, does that
Blood red river run?

From my back window,
Straight to the rising sun?

The opening lines of Rising Sun Blues, as sung by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee -- imo one of the greatest couplets in all of poetry. What I picture is a cabin by a great river at sunrise, with someone inside looking out the back window. What he sees is not just the river, but the blood red band of sunlight, sparkling and streaming over the surface, pointing directly from the sun to him. Or from him to the sun. We've all seen it -- how the stream of dancing lights always points straight at us, no matter where we are. I used to look for that stream whenever I took the train to or from New York City, choosing my seat so I'd always be on the Hudson River side. I think also about how the sun is the original source of all life on this planet. So the "blood red river," is also, in my mind, the river of blood flowing through -- and uniting -- all living things.

But which way does it flow? From the sun to us? Or from us to the sun?

Whichaway, whichaway, that's always the question, isn't it? In another version of this song we find the line: "My baby's left me and I don't know which way to go." I suppose that's really what the song is all about, isn't it? Just another love song, after all.

I've been thinking about that song lately, because it reminds me of the SIWWNFO (Situation In Which We Now Find Ourselves). It's not so much that we're faced with a dilemma, which we are, or a catastrophe, as seems almost inevitable, but that we're torn between completely contradictory and irreconcilable poles. We have to make some very tough decisions, but "we don't know which way to go."

Sun rise in the East, people it goes down in the West,
Hard to tell now, which one will suit you the best.

(to be continued)

A Suggestion for Detroit

Just a thought. I'm not at all sure if it's practical but, what the heck, I'll toss it out there anyhow:

One type of vehicle for the automakers to consider manufacturing might be minibuses. Not for the normal consumer market, but in anticipation of a new type of transportation business, made possible by the proliferation of cell phones and internet connections. These would be a bit like combination buses and taxicabs. They could cruise the city streets, soliciting business from people at bus stops. And they could have built-in wi-fi internet connections as well as cell phones. If you needed a ride and were on a computer, you could go to the company website, which would have a map of where each of these minibuses were located. You could then contact the dispatcher, either via the internet or phone, tell him where you are and where you're going, and he'd use specialized computer software to calculate which minibus was best positioned to accomodate you. The software would be designed to maximize the number of passengers at all times. Such vehicles could be a lot more efficient than taxis and open up significant new markets in many cities, like my own, where cab service is difficult to get and often unreliable. They'd also be a lot better at maneuvering through traffic and cause far fewer tie-ups than buses. AND, since they'd be designed for localized travel only, they could be fully electric powered.

I dunno. They say they need some fresh ideas, so how about considering this one? The minibuses would be more efficient, tie up less traffic, create new businesses, create new jobs, provide a badly needed service, and encourage people to leave their cars in the garage, which would mean significant fuel savings AND a smaller carbon footprint.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above, have mercy now, save poor Bob if you please

Standin' at the crossroads, tried to flag a ride
Whee-hee, I tried to flag a ride
Didn't nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by

Standin' at the crossroads, risin' sun goin' down
Standin' at the crossroads baby, the risin' sun goin' down
I believe to my soul now, po' Bob is sinkin' down

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the crossroad blues this mornin', Lord, baby I'm sinkin' down

I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad, babe, I looked east and west
Lord, I didn't have no sweet woman, ooh well, babe, in my distress

Bone Bone Bone Bone.. Bone.. Bone.. Bone.. Bone.. Bone
Now tell me whatcha gonna do
when there ain't no where to run (tell me what)
(When judgment comes for you, when judgment comes for you)
And whatcha gonna do
when there ain't no where to hide (tell me what)
When judgment comes for you (Cause it's gonna come for you)

Head south let's all bring it in for Wally, Eazy sees uncle Charlie
Little Boo, but God's got him and I'm gonna miss everybody
I only rolled and blows my gauge looked at him while he lay
When playing with destiny, plays too deep for me to say
Lil' Layzie came to me, told me if he should decease well then please
Bury me by my grand-grand and when you can, come follow me

God bless you working on a plan to Heaven
Follow the Lord all 24/7 days, GOD is who we praise
even though the devil's all up in my face
But he keeping me safe and in my place, say grace
For the case to race with a chance to face the judge
And I betcha my soul won't budge
Grudge because there's no mercy for thugs
Oh what can I do it's all about our family and how we roll
Can I get a witness let it unfold
We living our lives to eternal our soul aye-oh-aye-oh

Prayyyyyyy, and we pray and we pray, and we pray, and we pray
Everyday, everyday, everyday, everyday
and we pray, and we pray, and we pray, and we pray
Still we laced, now follow me roll stroll
Whether is tell of his Heaven
Come let's go take a visit of people that's long gone
Darris, Wally, Eazy, Terry, Boo
It's steadily creeping up on the family
Exactly how many days we got lasting
While you laughing we're passing, passing away
So y'all go rest y'all souls
Cause I know I'ma meet you up at the crossroads
Y'all know y'all forever got love from them Bone Thugs baby

Lil Eazy's long gone
Really wish he would come home
But when it's time to die
Gotta go bye bye
All a lil thug could do is cry, cry
Why they kill my dog and man
I miss my uncle Charles y'all
and he shoudn't be gone, in front of his home
What they did to Boo was wrong
Oh so wrong, oh so wrong
Gotta hold on gotta stay strong
When the day comes
Better believe Bone got a shoulder you can lean on (lean on)

Hey and we pray, and we pray, and we pray, and we pray
everyday, everyday, everyday, everyday
and we pray, and we pray, and we pray, and we pray
everyday, everyday, everyday, everyday

[Chorus - Layzie and Krayzie]
See you at the crossroads, crossroads, crossroads
So you won't be lonely
See you at the crossroads, crossroads, crossroads
So you won't be lonely
See you at the crossroads, crossroads
So you won't be lonely
See you at the crossroads, crossroads

And I'm gonna miss everybody
And I'm gonna miss everybody when I'm gone
And I'm gonna miss everybody
And I'm gonna miss everybody
And I'm gonna miss everybody

Living in a hateful world sending me straight to Heaven
That's how we roll
Living in a hateful world sending me straight to Heaven
That's how we roll
Living in a hateful world sending me straight to Heaven
That's how we roll
And I'm asking the good LORD "Why?" and sigh
It's I he told me we live to die

What's up with murder y'all, see my little cousin was hung
Somebody was really wrong, everybody want to test us dawg
Then Miss Sleazy set up Eazy to fall, you know why we sinning
And Krayzie intended on ending it when it ends
Wanna come again, again and again
Now tell me whatcha gonna do

Can somebody anybody tell me why?
Hey, can somebody anybody tell me why we die, we die?
I don't wanna die

Ohhh so wrong
Ohhhhh wrong
Ohhh so wrong
Ohhhhh wrong

[Chorus - Layzie and Krayzie]
See you at the crossroads, crossroads, crossroads
So you won't be lonely
See you at the crossroads, crossroads, crossroads
So you won't be lonely
See you at the crossroads, crossroads
So you won't be lonely
See you at the crossroads, crossroads

The wind is howlin
the rain pours down
eyes are blood-shot
heartbeat pounds.
Lights go out
the whole world's in darkness
the ground is tremblin'
dogs are barkless.
In the sky there
appears a great light
burnin' all the
flesh off the
creatures of the
AAAHHHH! Cryin' in a
childless (?) tone
terrified of dyin' a
painful death alone.
Don't smile
lest a innocent (?) chile
The power of god is
gonna get to be your
tal (?).
Throw like a hit from the best
take it in a slump
ha ha
feel it in your chest.
Conquerin the world with the words
leadin the children like herds.
I can feel it buildin
I'm about to explode
I'm walkin on the crossroad

People livin in a shack -
at the crossroads
Little kids sellin crack -
at the crossroads
(?) stab you in the back -
at the crossroads
Everybodies gettin jacked
at the crossroads

Violins and trumpets play
25 thousand people in
a golden sleigh
on there way to the promise land.
but yet some don't understand.
Rough on a late night thrill
after midnight
kill or be killed.
Soldiers, warriors
(?) at each other
on the combat zone.
Supreme power on the throne.
Lighting strikes in every home.
Terrified men run down the street.
So many dead bodies
it's hard to eat.
Come, we gotta rise
above the wall.
To see what no man has seen before.
Blindin' light
that got you through the night.
God is on your side
to guide the fight.


Ain't nobody left.
Ohhhh! It's startin to take affect.
Your on your knees
you scared to death.
Tornados with a thousand
people spinnin.
One fight at the cross
and now god is winin.
The whole Earth cracks in half.
The sea turns red from
the blood bath.
Abandoned buildings burned
and two remain (?).
you feel the fire blaze.
The ground can't hold your weight.
You reach out to grab
the pearly gates.
Who clocked this f***
not from space.
Never again
will you see the human race.
19 angels leadin the devil
straight to hell!
What you're seein here
you can't explain.
All your life
some men
we played the game.
Never realize that there's a flame.

Meanwhile, at the corner of Bartholomew and Threadneedle:
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