Sunday, April 27, 2014

Not So Great Expectations

Do you ever feel like you're living in some weird alternate reality? Friday on the news, I hear, I don't know how many times, U.S. consumer sentiment up more than expected in April | Reuters
 Happy Days are here again! It's strange that there's such an unemployment problem in this country, since our real job as Americans is to be good consumers, so it makes sense that consumer sentiment is so high, right?
"near term expectations have improved substantially, longer term expectations for personal finances as well as the overall economy have not improved as much."
Huh? Am I the only one who notices a disconnect between reality and consumer "sentiment"? Are these "consumers" on Prozac? Are expectations facts?
This coming on the heels of a Princeton Study, that America is no longer a democracy. 
Thanks for noticing. The real irony here is that we did this to ourselves.
I'm thinking I should just go ahead and drink the Kool - Aid of the "American Dream". There are some "expectations" some where, that "things" are getting better despite the FACT that nothings improved. 
Did anyone even notice that President Obama went to Japan pedaling his TPP deal that no one wants any part of, especially Japan? Maybe democracy does have a fighting chance, somewhere. You know what Japan has? A national healthcare system. Their people live longer than Americans too.
America is like Miss Haversham in Great Expectations, pedaling heartbreak to countries like Vietnam, Iraq, and it's own American citizens. This country is a glorified shooting gallery, unlike Japan, 
A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths - Max Fisher - The Atlantic
Looks like Japan has no love for guns in their country, I'm surprised they speak to us at all because of  "U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan after attacks against Japanese women raised political tensions there."
 Next up for the President? Korea, I seem to remember there was some kind of conflict there, oh yeah,
Korean War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hopefully, the rest of the world will wake up to our real export, war and violence. Our economy has been stagnant for some time now and there's nothing like a good war for the rich to profit from to get the economy going again. Pretty much, that's what I expect. It's crazy to me that we think anyone, anywhere wants any part of a country that doesn't take care of it's own people, God forbid.
 America is looking more like a Dickens novel with almost 50 million people living in poverty, all we hear in this country is how broke we are and we need to cut, cut, cut our budget. The DOD's budget is being cut, however, our military spending is more than the top 10 countries budgets COMBINED! Americans are constantly told to lower our expectations, to the point where we just don't have any.  Especially when "reporters" are gushing about expectations improving, even though there's a "flood of retail stores closing" Reality looks very different.
"Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." Charles Dickens was right. 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Obama's Rich People Meet-Up

Oh, guess who got to go to the White House? Community organizers? Nope, Give up? White House Hosts ‘Next Generation’ Young and Rich -
That's right, a who's who of the rich. "philanthropists finding each other, finding other philanthropists with shared interests.” It's kinda like a philanthropists meet-up, since they can't seem to find a way to meet each other without the President.
With the highest income equality since 1928, it's a great idea to get some Rockefellers and Marriots together, you know, because the President doesn't want to be slummin'.
  I wonder if they talked about this? Raise the  Wage | The White House
One of these "philanthropists" Patrick Gage, owns Radisson hotels, Country Inns and Suites, T.G.I. Friday’s and other brands, is an industry leader in enforcing measures to combat trafficking and involuntary prostitution. It's nice to know he's fighting human trafficing, while ripping off TGIFridays employees, Workers sue TGI Fridays for wage violations - Business - The Boston Globe
 There really is no better time than now to empower the already powerful.
I wonder if these "philanthropists" have offshored most of their income? Pritzker Yields Party Role Reversal on Offshore Trusts - Bloomberg 
Hey, that name seems familiar, oh right, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, she was "a little worried" that this shindig would be a "fund raise for the Democratic Party" which makes me laugh since there isn't one anymore.
So let me see, the way to get an invitation to a White House meet-up? Be born rich and have a pulse. The government worships wealth and this 1% party proves it.
Zac Russel, Russell Investments a global asset manager The price for his invitation? $953,234
  Russel Investments gave $100,000 to the Defeat 1098 campaign. A state income tax of 5% on it's own 1%. While the 99% precariat, are scrambling to pay our taxes, these people are donating thousands to avoid paying, that is if they haven't offshored all their money. Talk about rich people problems. These "philanthropists" are greedsters. There's never enough for them. There's never enough for the corrupt D.C. government either. This "Next Generation" party is the result of the corporate takeover of government.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Capitalism Is Corrupt

I don't know if anyone noticed that this week Wall Street took a dump. Code red: Stocks tank on Wall Street - Apr. 10, 2014
Whoever is on  the "it's going to come back" train, waiting for happy days to come back again....hasn't been paying attention. A  few things however, have caught my attention. 

                                     This is Woody Harrelson "Ethos Time To Unslave Humanity."
It runs about an hour and if your lazing around on Sunday, you might want to watch. Basically, Woody outlines how we have been conditioned to consume and how our country became the mess it is today. 
If you're in the market for a rollicking good read, you might try this,"Capital in the Twenty-First Century." by Thomas Piketty, Why We’re in a New Gilded Age by Paul Krugman | The New York Review of Books " the era of equalization now lies behind us, and that the conditions are now ripe for the reestablishment of patrimonial capitalism." Hey, thanks for that, because its been established for quite some time now.  Capitalism isn't working, unless you're in the 1%. What Picketty suggests in his book is pretty remarkable, a GLOBAL wealth tax. Do I think that will happen? Hell no. But what is really interesting is that he actually takes into account the offshored trillions of dollars that aren't taxed, not the way Joe the plumber in Indiana is. 
Which brings me to the position that the economy is broken, that our government is corrupt and chases profit like a hedge fund manager. Capitalism is dragging us down and it might be useful to look at another kind of economy, one that has no use for money. A resource based economy. How can we live without money? Could that really work? We have the resources and the tech to take the next step and start creating a new infrastructure. We need to start thinking in a whole new way about how we live and it needs to be global.
Its called The Venus Project, beyond politics poverty and war. 
The social structure we have today isn't working, it's frozen. Working within our capitalist system is no longer an option. One of our major problems is the "We're number 1" attitude" that isn't really a good foundation for working together on a global platform. Lets start thinking of ways vastly different than what we have been conditioned to think. We need to evolve from capitalism to a better system.

           “The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.” 



Sunday, April 6, 2014

Keeping Up "Appearances"

"There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love,
 except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of 
triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science."
                                             - George Orwell
"This Court has identified only one legitimate governmental
interest for restricting campaign finances: preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption."
And there you have it. Plutocracy wins again, not that anyone I know noticed.
 Because corruption or the "appearance" of corruption is EVERYWHERE. Yes, even in the Supreme Court. We know that Scalia and Thomas, participated in Koch Brothers fundraising gatherings. What Role Have Scalia And Thomas Played In The Koch Money Machine? | ThinkProgress
This got me thinking about  the scandal I grew up with known as Watergate. 1974 was the last round of campaign finance reform. There are a few interesting correlations with that period of time and what we are enduring now.  Lets go back to 1969, this is when Nixon compiled his "enemies list" with 200 peoples names on it, one of them, John Lennon. What gets me is that there were only 200 names. Now virtually everyone in this country and all over the world is under surveillance. 
Then there was the awful Vietnam War, proving we can't learn from the past, so we jump into the Afghanistan and Iraq "War on Terror" for a decade, both of these wars were wars of choice. Spreading "democracy" stopping communism, terrorism whatever you want to call it. I call them wars for profit.
Let's get to the economy during this time. Nixonomics was causing all kinds of problems with inflation eventually hitting 12.2%. Back in those days, you still counted energy and food in the inflation rate and now we don't even know what the real inflation rate is.
"The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. Both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists." - Ernest Hemingway
 It's crazy to me that Hemingway seemed to know what was and still is going on, but we don't seem to learn these lessons from the past. More like it's not profitable enough to.
During Nixons time we were in a recession, which can't even hold a candle to the "recession" we are still struggling to get out of today. We are told the unemployment rate is somewhere around 6%. During Nixon's heyday it was around 5% that's right only 5%. Nixon took us off the gold standard. Which is is probably the craziest thing a Republican could do, ever. They are so conservative now that Nixon looks more like a Democrat.  The way Obama looks more like a Republican than the Democrat he says he is. 
But here's the kicker, Nixon was eventually impeached for his shenanigans. Any wrong doing in recent times are filed in the "can't go back" folder and ignored. 
Which brings me back to corruption. Much like "Known unknowns," corruption and "appearances of corruption" are everywhere, like New York, where corruption "appears rampant."
Take a look at  State Integrity Investigation overview: 50 states and no winners - State Integrity Investigation
 It doesn't surprise me at all since Citizens United, we now have another decision deciding that it's business as usual. America is the best Democracy money can buy.  
                     The Supreme Court "appears" to be loyal to "The Party. " 

12-536 McCutcheon v. Federal Election Comm'n (04/02/2014) - 12-536_e1pf.pdf
The American Anti-Corruption Act