Corporations & Government Exist for Us!

September 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Surely you noticed how much better the economy has gotten in the last 15 months.

Happy days are here again! Break out the bubbly!


You haven’t?

Well, neither have I. But the National Bureau of Economic Research, the august body charged with officially declaring when recessions start & stop, has officially declared that our latest recession ended in June 2009. An expansion started in July 2009.

Yes, I know, like you my first inclination was to almost fall out of my chair laughing. But in its report the NBER reminds us that they “…did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather…the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.” Then they caution that business activity sometimes lags well into an economic expansion.

Sure, I think we all understand that the economy doesn’t instantly return to normal after a downturn. But 15 MONTHS should be more than enough time for the ground to stop falling out from under the feet of the bottom 90% of the country! And out here in the real world, that is the world outside D.C. & NYC, the ground is continuing to fall. Businesses are still closing, houses are still foreclosing, & jobs are still evaporating. And yet the NBER declares we are in a 15 month economic expansion & the politicians will happily grab onto that declaration as an excuse to keep ignoring the disaster they have brought upon the nation. After all, why help the jobless & poor when the rising tide is again lifting all boats?

Well, I think it is obvious that if the measurements show this is an economic expansion then THERE IS SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH THE MEASUREMENTS! I do not pretend to know how the books are being cooked, do you? I suspect that all those bailouts to banksters & Wall Street con-artists & increased profits for offshoring our jobs is now being falsely measured as rising GDP (Gross Domestic Product). When a large portion, perhaps a majority, of a nation’s citizens can be on the financial ropes but the statistics show things getting better & the experts believe it, then the wrong things are being measured & the experts are fools.

One last thing. I keep hearing the “leaders” & “experts” telling us that we are in a long-term “jobless recovery.” They better keep in mind that for 300 or so million Americans it doesn’t matter how great corporate profits are or how high the Dow average or even how much the GDP grows. If all those things don’t translate into prosperity & a good quality of life for the citizens, then to Hell with the corporations, the government, & the few people who are doing great for themselves. That is why the corporations & government exist in the first place… to bring a good life to our communities!

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

Blessed are the Crooked?

September 19, 2010 at 2:29 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

By Reverend Hothoneywater, Special Correspondent

Let me cut straight to the point:  Does God actually favor the bullying, bigoted, piggish, selfish, and hateful who have ruined our world throughout its history… and now seem ready to take the world down completely?

There are times lately when I wonder. I admit the question makes me feel a good bit guilty, yet I think it really needs to be asked. Is it just me who looks around at humanity needlessly suffering all over the globe, including here within the borders of the “last superpower, and demands to know of God: “Just whose side are you on, anyway!?”

I’ve never been a traditionally “religious” person, that is one obsessed with church rules and regulations. But, since childhood, I’ve been “spiritually-minded,” seeking knowledge and experience of higher power. I believed and asked others to believe that God was benevolent and cared for the underdog, the peacemaker, the struggling poor. After all, scriptural passages from diverse faiths tell us that the Supreme Being helps and rewards the downtrodden who try to do the right thing. Now, more and more, I look upon those scriptural promises the same as I look upon political campaign promises:  As a con-job meant to keep the rubes quiet while their happiness and very lives are stolen by sociopaths. Is God a cosmic Barack Obama, offering inspiring words of comfort to the needy while throwing His support to the greedy? Like W. Bush, is God a “compassionate conservative?”

Like all turning-points in a person’s life, this one had been approaching for a long time. And finally there was that one last thing… which the cliche calls “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

So, what broke my back? In June, Congress toyed with the lives of the jobless, unable to muster enough brain or heart-power to extend unemployment payments and instead painting the jobless as bloodsucking leeches on the body of America. One of the Republican Neanderthals leading the attack was New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, son of a former New Hampshire governor, 11th generation aristocrat, born with silver-spoon firmly set in his mouth, net worth estimated at $10 million. This complete A-hole was one of the chief writers of the 2008 TARP bill (better known as the bankster bailout) while he had oodles of Bank of America stock. Also, the man withdrew his name from contention to be Obama’s Secretary of Commerce after the press learned Gregg had benefited from government money he had steered to his state. (Hey, before I forget let me also mention that Obama recently appointed the Social Security-hating Gregg to the Deficit Commission that is expected to soon propose to throw Social Security under the bus.) Gregg is one mean old Grinch. And, guess what?  Back in 2005 the well-heeled old devil bet $20 on a Powerball lottery ticket and won over $850,000 !!! Yep, that’s right, God gave the winning lottery ticket to a flinty-hearted plutocrat who already had millions and collects a yearly salary of $180,000 + perks! Take that, all you losers who can’t afford school lunches for your kids!

2 of God's homeboys: Judd Gregg & George Bush

This little nugget of trivia has “blown my mind” (as the hippies used to say)!!! After discovering it, I have not been the same. Its effects continue to ripple through my consciousness. It would not have such an impact if Judd Gregg’s good fortune was an isolated example of Divine Providence smiling so fondly upon someone so reprehensible. And so each day, as I work to help the rapidly increasing number in our community who suffer without sufficient food, healthcare, shelter, and so much more, I think of the Judd Greggs of this world and ask God:  “Just whose side are you on, anyway!?”

Permalink Leave a Comment

Haitian Heartbreak

September 12, 2010 at 4:42 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Oh, how I wish I was still innocent-enough to be surprised by this news.

Haiti still languishes under a mountain of rubble nearly 8 months after its earthquake. Only 2% of the wreckage has been cleared. Why? Because no one inside or outside Haiti has come-up with a “master-plan” to deal with the mess. And until the mess is removed the rebuilding cannot begin.

Thanks to efforts by the powerful nations, who continued to undermine Haiti in every way as revenge for Haiti having thrown-off enslavement to France back around 1800, Haiti was one of the armpits of the world. But remember the reaction immediately following the quake? Haiti was suddenly one of the darling beloved spots of the globe. Weepy eyes, sending in the U.S. troops to quell unrest, Slick Willy & Dubya jetting in to grab the limelight & pledge help .Billions of dollars were raised for disaster-relief. But those billions are still unspent on relief for the Haitians. Hmmm… the money hasn’t gone for something else, has it? Chelsea Clinton did have a very expensive wedding recently.

Thank Zeus that back when Dayton, Ohio was destroyed by a flood in 1913 we didn’t have the bunch of empty suits we now call “leaders” in charge. If so, we would still be waiting for the city to be rebuilt.

Look for Haiti to be rebuilt about the same time as New Orleans and under similar circumstances: i.e. only after the poor darkies are dispossessed of any property rights so Capitalists can swoop in & make some big bucks without interference.

Permalink Leave a Comment

American Shmoos

September 8, 2010 at 3:56 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today, Jerome Doolittle, over at the Bad Attitudes site posted the above cartoon under the heading, “God save us one and all…because we plainly can’t do it by ourselves.”

I wrote the following into the comments section:
“But the Republicans have learned something: That American voters are just as gullible, ignorant, forgetful, & pliable as Republicans expected.

Silly me, I thought most Americans would remember for at least a few years how incredibly lousy Republican governance can be. But the right-wing’s ownership of all major media & continued control of all branches of government makes them able to induce an amnesiac-trance-like state in the citizenry.”
————————–
Barry Goldwater’s 1964 landslide loss to President Lyndon Johnson was devastating for the Republican party. But more than that, it was an overwhelming repudiation of ultra-conservative politics. Most Americans had lived through the Great Depression & racist oppression. They still remembered what Social Darwinism & laissez faire economics had gotten them. Living Americans had memories of times in which:

Most Americans did not own their homes or much of anything else. They made very little money at their factory, farm, or service jobs where their workweeks stretched for 60 or 70 hours. There was no vacation, no health insurance, no sick days, no safety laws, & no retirement.

Schooling, especially beyond elementary grades, was rare as young people often had to help support their families by working in backbreaking, dangerous jobs. What we think of as the carefree childhood years of play & freedom were usually reserved for offspring of the upper class.

Women & minorities were very limited in their choices for work, education, & general lifestyle.

Very few workers could look forward to ever retiring. Very few got pensions & most never made wages enough to save for their old age. They literally worked until they dropped-dead.

Anyone who fell upon hard times, such as widows, the ill, the injured, or those who lost their jobs were just s.o.l. unless they could find charity.

Wealthy people could afford to hire servants very cheaply because, after all, what other options did an uneducated, beaten-down workforce have?

This list could go on & on but I think you get the picture. And a fairly grim picture it was for all but a fortunate few. The truth is that life, for ordinary people, was all too often a tougher slog than we moderns can fathom.

My point is that those conditions improved drastically, particularly after the Socialist-lite reforms of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. As I said, a lot of Americans in 1964 had lived through tough times, knew how bad they were & what/who had caused them & could not be suckered-in by reactionary calls to return to the “good old days.” But after that blistering election defeat, the hardcore right decided to get a lot smarter & meaner. Some of the bolder wingnuts had already had John Kennedy’s brains blown-out but liberalism kept on coming. So they kept murdering or sabotaging popular lefty leaders while segueing into more subtle but more effective ploys. Over the following 45 years these budding fascists:

Bought-up all mainstream media & used it to propagandize for their cause. They flooded the airwaves & press with a conservative worldview that entirely froze-out all discussion of progressive solutions. And all the while they ridiculously asserted that the media had a bias in favor of liberalism.

Mongered lessening fear of racial, sexual, class, & religious differences back into full-blown phobias. They used this to capture the Republican party & the fundamentalist “Christian” churches. This hatred of the “other” is nearing its culmination as we face the very real prospect of worldwide “Christian” religious war against Islam along with permanent second-class citizenship for groups such as homosexuals & the poor.

Nursed America back from “Vietnam Syndrome,” which had caused the nation to become disgusted with war. By using movies (like Rambo) & other media to recast the wrong-headed war as having been lost by gutless liberals & commie sympathizers and then rebuilding troop morale & citizen patriotism by kicking the asses of pipsqueak countries (Grenada, Panama) the modern Machiavelli rekindled American’s love of war. Also, by fawning over the the military & anyone else who wears a uniform while doing a dangerous job, they have won the undying devotion of all those “heroes.” Sadly, those heroes don’t notice that after they risk their lives, rightwing leaders have no problem throwing them aside like a used paper towel. The scum who run our country now tell us we are in endless war.

Dumbed-down the educational system & poisoned the food, air, & water to rob the people of health & critical thinking capabilities. If the rapidly smartening American masses were rejecting conservatism, then the solution was to make them fuzzy-brained enough to start thinking conservatism makes sense.

Invented the overblown War on Drugs & later the War on Terror as means to persecute & imprison millions of mostly minority citizens. Mostly they were a justification for circumventing the Constitution to monitor activities of law-abiding Americans & squelch dissent.

Made sure money became more and more a vital part of the electoral equation. After all, how many of those corporate personhoods & millionaire/billionaires are going to support politicians who want the rich to do more to help the rest of us? And how can small donors compete with the mega-donors? This has reaped a bought system in which it is impossible for the non-rich to get fair treatment.

This list could also go on & on. But let us suffice to say that after 45 years of this steady re-education most Americans are totally brainwashed. They think trickle-down economics worked, they think labor unions are a bad thing for their standard of living, they think the U.S. is #1 in all the important measures of life, they think the poor are what bankrupted the treasury, they think Muslims are scary & dangerous & hate us because of our freedom, & they are ready to fight at the mere mention of Socialism/Communism. They are deluded enough to think it is possible that they, themselves, may become one of the super-rich in the very near future & so they want all those fantastic rich-people tax-breaks preserved.

We have witnessed the results of a huge & complex sociological experiment. Question: Is it possible to take a population & feed it a steady diet of misinformation, disinformation, erasure, & lies until the population no longer is capable of discerning, much less defending, its own best interest? Answer: It sure looks that way.

And the thought occurred to me: By Gad, this evil experiment is turning Americans into Shmoos!

For those of you too young to remember the famous Lil Abner newspaper comic strip of the 1930’s-1970’s, Shmoos were white, blob-like creatures who can lay eggs or give milk & butter. They are absolutely elated to have themselves sliced-up, thrown into a skillet to be eaten by a hungry human, and they can change to taste like anything from chicken to steak to catfish. They can be sawed into pieces to use as lumber & their eyes can be used as clothes’ buttons. In short, they have no sense of self-preservation & live only to please their masters. And they require nothing but air to live upon.

The new breed of Shmoo-Americans are ideal for the approaching Capitalist paradise. Schmoo-workers will not drain Capitalist resources for healthcare, Social Security, or daycare for their Shmoo-kids. Shmoos will allow themselves to be entirely consumed in the cause of benefiting the wealthy, whether it is by fashioning themselves into a nifty speedboat or being burned as fuel. And no matter what, the Shmoo-Americans will keep voting for the very ones who turned them into Shmoos in the first place.

Permalink 2 Comments

Impeachment? Bring it On! (And Pass the Popcorn)

September 3, 2010 at 2:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This afternoon I took a break from my internet job search & joined Myrtle’s 22 year-old son in doing some yard work. While we worked, I mentioned to him that I had gotten on the website of a major retailer that has a large nearby catalog-center (they have a huge sign out front advertising there are jobs available & to visit their web address). But I could find nothing under the “careers” tab referencing jobs here in our area; indeed, I could find nothing that admitted there was any facility anywhere near here, everything was in far-away places such as Delaware . The young man agreed by saying that he, too, had visited the website recently & was stymied by the same thing.

A short time later, it occurred to me how odd it is: a man of my age & experience reduced to applying for the same entry-level jobs as youths. By age 22, I had landed a well-paying position with a large company where I would spend the next 22 years, working my way up to management. I mean no denigration to those who make near minimum wage manning fast-food counters, selling tickets at the cinema, or delivering newspapers. But 30 years’ ago those were kids’ jobs. Grown-ups had higher-paying positions which also came with fringe benefits. Now here I am (and I am far from alone) seeking employment that doesn’t pay what I made when my daughter was born 25 years ago. How are Americans going to support their families on the low wages paid by the majority of employers?

I have no doubt that, if our nation’s “leaders” had screwed the workers this much back when my parents were my age, those leaders would have been dragged out of their cushy offices into the street & soundly beaten or worse. The “Greatest Generation” remembered the Great Depression & what it was like to have no job, no money, & maybe no future while seeing the fat-cats do nothing to help. They never would have allowed themselves to be put back into that box.
————————————————————–
I see that a new literary sensation is climbing the New York Times’bestseller list. The number 7 book is “Crimes Against Liberty: An Indictment of President Barack Obama” by David Limbaugh and it’s moving up fast. Some speculate that if the Republicans win these upcoming mid-term elections they will seek impeachment for President Ojellyfish. Instead of hand-wringing about such a tragedy, I will quote Obama’s mentor, President W. Bush: “Bring it on!”

My interest in B.O.’s political or personal survival would not register on even the most sensitive lab instruments. I see nothing he has done or likely will do that will benefit ordinary citizens in any way. He has neglected & insulted those who believed in his election. I am so fed-up with seeing his endless stream of glitzy vacations & appearances on tv talk-shows that I would happily assist the Republicans by reading the impeachment articles in front of Congress.

However, the Republicans would never be stupid-enough to impeach the best thing they’ve had going this side of Dick Cheney. The power structure tricked us into putting B.O. into office as a way to de-fang the youth, the liberals, the poor, the peace-nicks, and the blacks. Those groups will never become militant as long as the first African-American president sits on the throne. He provides cover for he oligarchs’ continued gang-rape of the nation. In the next 2 years, he will help the incoming Republican majority torpedo Social Security.

Impeach the emptiest suit to occupy the presidency in at least 150 years? Once again I say: “Bring it on!” But it will not happen. Republican political bosses would not risk reinvigorating the constituents whom B.O. & company have so completely dis-heartened over these last nearly 2 years.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Alan Simpson is an Ass.

August 29, 2010 at 6:11 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In case you just emerged from a mine cave-in, earlier this week former Republican Senator Alan Simpson got overwrought while raving about those who “milk” the Social Security system & compared the whole situation to “a milk cow with 310 million tits.” Back before he committed this gaffe, Simpson was already described as “an extreme foe” of Social Security. But he is no longer in the Senate, so why should anyone care what the 79 year-old doofus has to say? Well, because somewhere between appearing on TV talkshows & taking another vacation President Marshmallow appointed Simpson co-chair of the Deficit Commission.

The Commission has been charged with finding big ways to cut government spending. Although Commission members have been mum about addressing our nation’s astronomical military budget or the ridiculously-high salaries paid to our “representatives,” Simpson & his co-chair, Democrat Erskine Bowles have appeared together in interviews saying that Social Security is on the chopping block. The 18 member Commission is overwhelmingly stacked with millionaires, executives, & think-tankers who are either either champing at the bit to hack-away at Social Security or are receptive to going along with it.

Simpson & his ilk have been beating the drums for years to convince us that Social Security is going broke or that citizens would be better-off to be investing that money in the stock market. They throw the word “entitlement” around like it is some sort of profanity. Now their latest ploy is to blame Social Security for the federal budget deficit. They say the only way to fix things is to 1) cut the benefits paid-out and/or 2) raise the Social Security tax-rate coming out of workers’ paychecks. HOGWASH!!!
———————————————————————————————
Here are some facts to counter their fear-mongering:

The latest Social Security Trustees’ Report (which has been issued annually since 1941) shows SS is operating with a growing surplus which will reach a peak of $4.7 trillion in 2023. Without any benefit cuts or tax hikes the system is solvent until 2037. And here is another little piece of truth for you: Presently, wages over & above $100,000 per year are not SS taxed. The Congressional Research Service says simply making those wages subject to SS tax would keep the system solvent until 2085.

Would you really rather depend on the stock market for your retirement money? Remember that in the past couple years U.S. households lost $14 trillion of wealth through Wall Street’s shenanigans. And besides retirement, SS also provides disability protection, survivors’ benefits, & additional payments to the impoverished.

Yes, you and your family are “entitled” to Social Security benefits… BECAUSE YOU WORKED & PAID TAXES TO EARN THAT ENTITLEMENT !

Social Security does not add to the deficit. The truth is that it lowers the deficit. Up until 1969, the federal budget & the Social Security budget were kept separate. Because of spending on Great Society social programs but mostly because of spending on the hopeless Vietnam War, the federal budget was going deeper & deeper into the red. To mask that growing deficit, President Johnson’s outgoing 1969 budget grabbed the SS funds and enveloped them into what was called the “Combined Federal Budget.” Every year Social Security has run a surplus & the surplus has been taken away to spend on all the other government programs. In return, SS is given government bonds. So SS money is actually lowering the deficit being run by the rest of the government.
———————————————————————————————-
Does it sound like I am biased in favor of Social Security? I sure as Hell am !!! My father died when I was 3 years old, leaving my mother to work & raise 3 children. Social Security survivors’ benefits were a big part of enabling her to succeed in giving her family a decent life.

Social Security’s positive impact is enormous. Here in Ohio alone:

The Center on Budget & Policy Priorities calculated in 2005 that without their SS payments 46% of Ohio senior citizens would fall below the poverty line. Because of SS that figure is held to 6%.

The Center also says that “…Social Security does more to reduce child poverty than any other program.” SS survivors’ benefits prevent 13% of Ohio’s children from suffering poverty.

2 million of Ohio’s 11.5 million residents rely on SS to pay for their basic living expenses. That is 17% of the population.
—————————————————————————————
Let me ask you, do you really think Obama & the Deficit Commission members & the rest of Congress are unaware of the facts I’ve listed? Sure, of course they know. So what our crooked elite really want is to cut SS’s pay-out to rev-up that surplus. Then there will be more money to swipe & use for wars, hookers, or whatever else tickles their fancies.

So once again let me repeat, Alan Simpson is an ass. But who is the bigger ass, the crank who co-chairs the Deficit Commission or he who appointed the crank to the Commission? Obama already knew Simpson’s attitudes toward Social Security & tits. My readings since the Commission was formed in February tell me that Obama is counting on this panel to give him cover for chopping Social Security. No Republican president could ever get away with trashing America’s oldest & most successful anti-poverty program, therefore it is up to a neo-conservative in Democrat’s clothing to do the dirty job. Like Nixon’s opening of relations with Red China, like Clinton’s NAFTA, this will be Obama’s contribution to clubbing the American masses back into enslavement to the robber barons.

In order for the Social Security sell-out to succeed, Obama needs this Commission to succeed. That is why our Marshmallow-in-Chief was so quick to ignore calls from prominent groups for Simpson to step-down. Last month, when it came to firing framed government-worker Shirley Sharrod, Obama instantly climbed into the driver’s seat of the bandwagon. But B.O. didn’t even bat an eye at Simpson’s insult to the vast majority of working Americans who hope to someday receive their Social Security pensions. Dear reader, we had best join the outcry for Simpson’s dismissal in hope that will derail the plot against Social Security. Here is a petition calling on Obama to fire him.

Permalink 2 Comments

Katrina and the Yankee Doodle Boy

August 28, 2010 at 2:04 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )


This morning, Myrtle & I made a trip to the grocery store. As I loaded our purchases into the car trunk, she was amused that I was whistling “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. To be specific, I was whistling the version from the old Jimmy Cagney movie, which is a biography of the life of patriotic songwriter-entertainer George M. Cohan (the actual title of Cohan’s song is “The Yankee Doodle Boy”).

In the early 20th Century, Cohan’s popularity made him known as “the man who owned Broadway.” One of his other songs is the well-known, “You’re a Grand Old Flag”. As I told Myrtle, when I was about 5 years’ old that was probably my favorite song and I repeatedly pestered my mother & two older sisters to sing it with me. As I grew-up I admit that, as corny as it sounds, I was so proud of the USA that such patriotic songs, the sight of the flag flying proudly, or the reading of documents such as our Declaration of Independence would give me misty eyes & a lump in my throat.

Although I never believed America was perfect, I did believe our nation & its leaders were basically good-hearted, rational, and genuinely striving for what the Constitution called a “more perfect union.” All but a tiny percentage of citizens were willing to play by the rules in order to assure no American’s rights got trampled. I got in more than one heated argument where I took the position that our system was the best ever devised by humankind.

I tell you these details to illustrate a point: That I am not by nature completely skeptical of American business & government’s motivations & thoroughly disgusted with our political, economic, & social systems. Quite the contrary, I came by those viewpoints after a) studying the nation’s true history, b) witnessing the duplicity & cheerful hatefulness of the U.S. toward both foreigners & my fellow-citizens and c) experiencing firsthand the awful abuse, neglect, & stupidity our culture heaps upon all who are not on Fortune magazine’s list of the richest people.

What caused me to board this train of thought? Being reminded that in a couple days the 5th anniversary of the Katrina disaster arrives.

Many evil deeds have been perpetrated in recent years by the scum we Americans consider to be our “leaders.” None have been worse than the initial destruction & continuing neglect of New Orleans & surrounding area. Arguably, the U.S. now has many decimated cities: Detroit, Gary, Cleveland, Buffalo, and even my own beloved Dayton. But those cities have been slowly starved to death by seemingly incompetent economic policy, whereas New Orleans was quickly mortally wounded and then left to die while the whole world watched. The horror of those events 5 years ago & the continuing lack of healing are etched into the national consciousness and would, if it had taken place in any other country, be labeled for what it is: genocide against the poor!

Can’t you see the elite saw an opportunity to drive out or drown the riff-raff & then grab their land? As the storm approached, I heard a television report that many residents were refusing to leave because they were fearful that, once they were removed from the city, their homes & land would be taken by the rich. I remember that report because I instantly felt they were correct! Prediction: New Orleans will eventually be rebuilt… but not until the wealthy can get all that yummy real estate declared abandoned so they can steal it.

Do you think President Obama has devoted even 15 minutes’ of real thought to helping the Katrina victims? And what steaming pile of bullshit will he serve-up on the anniversary? Will he promise again, as we have heard 2 Presidents do over these past 5 years, that New Orleans will be rebuilt? I am betting he will try to avoid mentioning it at all, just sort of hope the electorate will continue to forget.

Permalink 1 Comment

The Tinkerbell Economy

August 25, 2010 at 3:08 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

This morning as I was driving a friend to work, I caught the top of the hour National Public Radio news. The lead story told that sales of existing houses dropped to their lowest level in 15 years & had the steepest one month drop in 40 years.

This bummer news report immediately assured listeners that within a few months the dark clouds hanging over the housing market would disappear. Source of this assurance: a housing industry expert whose sound-bite was then excerpted. Said expert confidently dismissed all the negative economic trends. Then he said something very much like that if Americans will just believe in an improving housing market, then things will get better. He concluded by stating that he hoped Americans would start believing.

So this blockhead’s assertion of an imminent improvement was really based upon wishful thinking. Not facts. Not logic. Not trend-lines. Just hoping it will happen. My reaction was to talk mockingly back to the radio: “Yes, everyone, clap your hands real loud and Tinkerbell won’t die!”

Blinded, stubborn ignorance just keeps spewing from our so-called experts. Each week, month, & now year brings news of the economy’s continued downward spiral. And first the experts profess complete bewilderment because they expected more encouraging numbers, then they reassure us that everything is getting better, future numbers will show improvement.

Until this morning, I thought the experts told the public a bunch of lies because they were trying to fool us. But now I wonder: Are they actually so daft that they really believe their utterly misguided projections? Perhaps as children they watched the Peter Pan cartoon & still think they brought Tinkerbell back to life by wishing hard-enough & clapping their hands; now as adults they think they can fix the economy the same way? Yikes!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Health Care Reform Will Help Everybody

August 5, 2010 at 1:36 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

by Barbara O’Brien, guest blogger

Many Americans assume the new health care reform act will benefit mostly the poor and uninsured and hurt everyone else, according to polls. As Matt Yglesias wrote, “Basically, people see this as a bill that will take resources from people who have health insurance and give it to people who don’t have health insurance.” Those who still oppose the reform say that people ought to pay for their own health care.

We all believe in the virtues of hard work and self-reliance, but these days it’s a fantasy to think that anyone but the mega-wealthy will not, sooner or later, depend on help from others to pay medical bills. And that’s true no matter how hard you work, how much you love America, or how diligently you take care of yourself. The cost of medical care has so skyrocketed that breaking an arm or leg could cost as much as a new car. And if you get cancer or heart disease — which can happen even to people who live healthy lifestyles — forget about it. The disease will not only clean you out; it will leave a whopping debt for your survivors to pay.

And the truth is, we all pay for other peoples’ health care whether we know it or not. When people can’t pay their medical bills, the cost of their health care gets added to everyone else’s bills and insurance premiums. When poor people use emergency rooms as a doctor of last resort, their care is not “free.” You pay for it.

Another common fantasy about medical care is that the “free market” provides incentives for medical companies to develop innovative new drugs and treatments for disease without government subsidy. It’s true that private enterprise is very good at developing profitable health care products. But not all medical care can be made profitable.

For years, the U.S. government has been funding medical research that the big private companies don’t want to do because there is too much cost for the potential profit. This is especially true for diseases that are rare and expensive to treat. An example of a recent advance made possible by government grants include new guidelines for malignant pleural mesothelioma treatment developed by Sloan-Kettering mesothelioma cancer researchers. Another is a blood screening test developed by mesothelioma doctors like thoracic surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker. The health reform act provides for more dollars for such research, from which even many of the tea party protesters will benefit.

The biggest fantasy of all was that people who had insurance didn’t have to worry about health care costs. But the fact is that in recent years millions of Americans have been bankrupted by medical costs, and three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had health insurance. And yes, insurance companies even dumped hard-working, law-abiding patriots. But the health care reform act will put an end to that, and now America’s hard-working, law-abiding patriots are more financially secure, whether they like it or not.

(Barbara Hoetsu O’Brien is a journalist and student of Zen Buddhism currently living in the greater New York City area. She has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri. More of her writings can be read at The Mahablog.com )

Permalink 1 Comment

A Rude Question

August 4, 2010 at 2:07 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

As I go through the supermarket checkout or get online I see the headlines & skim over the fawning stories about Chelsea Clinton’s wedding spectacle: The gorgeous cake, the custom dress, the sumptuous floral arrangements. Is there really someone outside the circles of Washington D.C./New York/Hollywood aristocracy who cares about the details of such twaddle?

Not that I have anything against Chelsea Clinton; to me she is nothing either good or bad. However, there is one detail that catches my attention: The wedding will cost Ma & Pa Clinton $3,000,000 ! And the whole shebang will cost we taxpayers another $2,000,000 for all the Secret Service protection, etc! A total of $5,000,000 !!!

Zounds! When my ex-wife & I married back in 1982 we were hitched on a Saturday afternoon by the local Justice of the Peace for $20. Then we had a small reception at a local family restaurant. We couldn’t even afford a honeymoon & had to go back to work on Monday.

Paul Craig Roberts over at the Information Clearing House site asks a question some might see as being rude as a fart in an elevator, but it is a pertinent question nonetheless: Just where do those our nation once quaintly to as “public servants” get all that money? Their salaries aren’t near high-enough to accumulate that kind of dough, even if they saved religiously stashed every available penny into their piggybanks. Nope, it appears the money comes from appreciative rich people who feel these pols are very good & faithful servants while in office & afterward.

And while Chelsea’s guests are scarfing-up $11,000 wedding cake, Theresa DePugh struggles to feed as many as 3,000 poor citizens each month at the Athens, Ohio food pantry she runs. She had those she feeds write their stories on the back of paper plates which she then mailed to the White House. Now here is an American patriot & hero.

I believe that we Americans are furious about our ruling-class and livid at being coerced into paying taxes or being bilked by corporations to support such blatant decadence. Most citizens are absolutely fed-up but still have a glimmer of hope that somehow the corrupt pols & their corporate owners will come to their senses & fix the mess.

Unfortunately, there is no historical precedent for such hope. Throughout human experience governments have gone amok and I know of no example where the problems have been corrected without collapse and/ or rebellion by the populace. Right now in the USA the elite has lined its pockets with bail-outs, graft, & chicanery of all types while abandoning the bottom 90% of the country to ever-increasing poverty. Once enough citizens lose hope of fairness from the system there will be a revolution & it won’t be pretty.

Permalink Leave a Comment

« Previous page · Next page »