Re-Enforced Cynicism

December 5, 2010 at 4:28 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Last week, I took my 5 year-old granddaughter to McDonald’s so she could play on the indoor playground. While she romped, I became so bored that I read the Happy Meal box. To allay my guilt at supplying the yellow-arched juggernaut with more money the box proudly proclaimed, “Now with every Happy Meal or Mighty Kids Meal purchase, a donation is made to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

My sensitivity to corporate weasel-speak immediately set-off my bullshit detector. “…a portion…” eh? How large a portion of the $3.09 I paid for the Happy Meal is McDonald’s going to donate? I suspect most sheeple would give the matter little thought & expect perhaps 50 cents, a dollar, maybe 2 dollars to be channeled to such a worthy cause. But if that were the case, then the box would proudly state the generous specific amount.

“Probably a penny.” I said to myself with a smirk.

Within a split-second I berated myself for my cynicism. I reminded myself to give McDonald’s the benefit of the doubt. No wonder my wife, Myrtle, teases me about being such a pessimist. I felt shamed.

And then my eye fell upon the tiny footnote at the bottom of the box: “McDonald’s donates a penny per Happy Meal or Mighty Kids Meal sold.”

So McDonald’s trumpets its benevolence & then gives the smallest coinage possible. Once again I am reminded that I was not born a cynic but became one through long years of experience.
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I saw in today’s headlines that official unemployment has “leaped” to 9.8%. That is a laughable statistic in light that actual joblessness in America is easily double that figure. And two years into the economic depression, the only reliable solution our pathetic so-called leaders have devised is to let unemployment benefits lapse for the long-term jobless as they’ve been letting happen since summer. The jobless who are no longer eligible for unemployment payments are no longer counted as “unemployed.” Viola! “Unemployment” problem solved.
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About once a year I re-read Kurt Vonnegut’s brilliant 1990 novel, Hocus Pocus, a prescient satire about America in 2001 when the nation has been thoroughly raped by its Capitalist owners & sold-off to other countries. Here is a brief excerpt taken from where the college-professor protagonist recollects a speech given by the college’s Writer in Residence. A speech that causes consternation among the college’s Board of Trustees:

He predicted, I remember, that human slavery would come back, that it had in fact never gone away. He said that so many people wanted to come here because it was so easy to rob the poor people, who got absolutely no protection from the Government. He talked about bridges falling down and water mains breaking because of no maintenance. He talked about oil spills and radioactive waste and poisoned aquifers and looted banks and liquidated corporations. “And nobody ever gets punished for anything,” he said. “Being an American means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Could have been written in 2010, huh?
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Somewhere along the line I read that President Ohwhatabummer plans to let the Bush tax breaks for the rich keep on rolling for another few years. That is, long enough that he will have been voted out and then the new Republican president can finally make the tax breaks permanent. Also, I see B.O.’s Deficit Commission is getting bolder about letting us peons know just how much they are going to hammer us. Gotta pay for the billionaires’ tax breaks so wave goodbye to Social Security!

And you can be sure that in 2012 a whole bunch of liberals will still delude themselves into believing that Obama is worth their vote.
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I am curious. Just when did you finally realize that our system simply exists to work-over every non-wealthy sentient being in the Milky Way? For me it was last summer when all that oil kept gushing into the Gulf of Mexico & millions of ex-workers were losing the lifeline of their unemployment benefits & the multiple wars were grinding on and the attitude of our government toward those crises was one of… peaceful detachment.

The U.S. has now reached the level of the old Soviet Union. Our economic, government, & social systems are completely wrecked & getting worse by the day & instead of fixing the mess the elites in charge spend their time grabbing all they can. And the common people have divided into 2 camps: a small percentage who still believe the lies or at least hope those around them still do & hope to grab some swag for themselves & the majority who know it is hopeless & we are going off a cliff.

If you are one of the shrinking minority who thinks our democracy will repair itself, I urge you to take a look at what is happening surrounding the revelations of government & corporate lies exposed by Wikileaks. There is a clear-cut case of “shoot the messenger.” It is enough to make baby Jesus cry.

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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!

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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.

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Making Use of Idle Time

March 28, 2010 at 11:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m not sure what to make of the “tea party” movement. Much of it is rantings by reptilian-brained, hate-filled dupes who are being used as cover by the nation’s hidden plutocracy. And in our country’s dire situation it often seem to fit into the category of comic-relief, like the goofy, hapless character inserted into an intense action movie to relieve some of the tension. However, I think most tea party participants are attracted into the fold by the populist ideas that are sprinkled throughout the rhetoric. So the sensible, beneficial, and humane ideas act like a “gateway drug” that leads to acceptance of the accompanying dangerous, spiteful, and down-right crazy ideas. For instance, in this New York Times article, frustrated unemployed citizens are taking their tea with a mix of sane & insane beliefs. I think there is a very good chance that, at some future point, the populist-leaning, sensible tea-partiers will take a good look, see they are elbow-to-elbow with many who are Krazy with a capital K and they will go start their own real grassroots movement. Then, I suppose, the racist, Social Darwinist tea-partiers will go ahead and merge back into the Republican party.

Like those unemployed tea-partiers above, Myrtle & I are trying to put our time to good use. We have a non-profit charity which collects & distributes food, clothing, furniture, & information to needy members of our local community. We have done this for a number of years with a loose-knit group of like-minded friends, coordinated by Myrtle who is a dynamo. We always paid the expenses out of our own pocket because we had a comfortable income and we deeply believe in this effort. And at one time (before the presidencies of George Bush II & III), the number of people needing help was small and decreasing.

But each year of this past decade has found us steadily financially worse-off. The forces of downsizing, various bubble-bursts & market crashes, inflation/deflation, credit-crunches, and white-collar flim-flammery have taken their toll and left us nearly as destitute as those we help. But in the midst of job-searching (which will likely be the subject of a future posting), we set-up as a formal non-profit organization, called “A Voice for the Commonwealth” and have been working to expand our efforts.

All the above was a long-winded introduction to explain why Myrtle & I, last week, attended a seminar on procedures for non-profit organizations to apply for grants. And during the lunchtime break, we hobnobbed at a large table filled with volunteers and staff from those other associations- mental health advocacies, food pantries, and the like. It was uplifting to be among people who passionately devote themselves to improving the world. And although everyone in attendance readily agreed that our society’s problems are snowballing at an alarming rate, they all exuded optimism that we can make a positive difference. What I find most inspiring about this group is that, in spite of their own problems, they find time & energy to give to the community. What I find most disconcerting is something commented upon more than once during the seminar: there wasn’t one person there under 50 years of age.

Time and again I have found: Ordinary Americans from all walks of life carry the burden of this ruined economy on their shoulders. They stoically keep slogging through their problems. The churches, the media, and the companies they work for all teach them to blame themselves rather than the larger forces that exploit them. And when they look around them they think they cannot believe their own eyes. They personally know many people who are getting the life squeezed-out of them by insurance, their employers, and their mortgage company (likely all at the same time). But, on the other hand, the media shows a faux America where very few struggle, most everyone drives a brand-new car, and no one is stressed-out about paying bills. When they meet someone who breaks the silence by openly talking about what is really going on they react first with shock, then relief when they realize they aren’t alone. Then they start talking.

For instance, at our lunch each of the dozen people told about their organization and how they had gotten involved. At my turn, I started by prefacing with a very short version of the business ruin I have recently experienced thanks in-part to our nation’s beloved banksters (see my December post, “Then the Financial Tsunami Hit” for that story). I segued into mine & Myrtle’s conclusion that our hearts had always really lay in our charity work and the needs have increased enormously in the past few years. Myrtle interjected that we are now helping many of the formerly well-off who used to be giving charity not receiving it. And, she added, many of the struggling former middle-class are ashamed to ask for help. But there is no shame. They are victims who have been robbed of their jobs, their retirements, their homes, and their peace of mind.

A lady in her mid-50’s was sitting across from us. I will call her Stella. Stella admitted she had a business experience similar to ours. She and her late husband had owned an art framing & art sales business. Late in 2008, just after the economic melt-down, her husband suddenly died. Being unable to run the business by herself, sought to sell it. A number of people attempted to buy her business but could not because the banks would not loan money for the purchase. So her friends helped move-out the store’s inventory one carload at a time. Stella is now has her inventory stored in her garage in hopes of eventually selling it. She is in a deep financial hole because of the amount owed on the remainder of the store’s lease and other debts. She said her late husband observed business had never recovered since the September 11, 2001 drop-off (I agreed. Things have been getting worse for most Americans for many years). Since her husband’s death, Stella has volunteered at the local mental health agency.

Beside Stella sat Barb. Barb is Executive Director of a group that helps troubled youth by teaching them to care for and ride horses. She is of retirement age and supplements her small pay from the non-profit with investment income. Stella’s tale of vacating her store reminded Barb that she (Barb) owns a number of commercial properties in the city’s business district, all of which sit empty as a result of the economic collapse. She commented that she gets no income from them yet still must pay real estate taxes, which is becoming increasingly difficult.

If you are having financial troubles, remember you are far from alone.

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Get Out Of Our House!

March 24, 2010 at 8:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The group Get Out Of Our House bills itself as “a non-partisan plan to evict the career politicians from the U.S. House of Representatives. With all my heart I believe the only way to save our nation from further ruin is to unseat our uncaring, unresponsive, elite “rulers” and replace them with sensible, compassionate citizen representatives.

The GOOOH home page video shows a more conservative slant than I support. But I think their overall approach makes sense, so I plan to join and participate. Here is an excerpt from the “learn” section of their website; read it and see what you think:

The GOOOH process allows Americans of every political leaning to participate in the selection of their District’s Representative while being considered themselves. Through GOOOH’s Candidate Selection Sessions you and your peers will select the candidate in your district who best represents your district’s views. Even if you do not wish to become your district’s representative you will want to participate in the process and have a direct say in who is chosen to represent your district. GOOOH will fund a single national campaign to promote the 435 candidates (one from each district) who are selected to run against the party politicians. Because GOOOH is a process for selecting representatives (not a “party”) we expect a person left of center to be selected in San Francisco and one right of center in Colorado Springs — but it will be up to the GOOOH members in each district to decide.

Originally, the founder of GOOOH proposed excluding lawyers, members of political families, and individuals with more than $11.5 million in assets (250 times the median income). They were not to be excluded because they are bad people, but because they are overly represented in government today and, generally speaking, no longer seem to represent the common man. However, based on input from our members, the Question Committee has voted to remove the exclusion of lawyers and the wealthy. Instead, it has been decided that members of these two groups must simply declare that they are a lawyer or have more than $11.5m in assets in each Selection Session in which they participate. It will be up to the participants in each pool to decide whether or not that is of concern. We believe this change is indicative of the continuing evolution of the GOOOH system.

I am completely fed-up with the antics of both political parties. If you are too, then I encourage you to visit the GOOOH website. You’ll find them in a column to your right, under this blog’s “your public servants” links.

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The Big Banks Want You Back – Don’t Go!

March 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The big, “too big to fail” banks are getting worried. There is a movement afoot to convince depositors to switch their accounts to smaller, neighborhood banks or credit unions. In this way, we can hit back at the banksters whose greed & incompetence ran our economy into the ditch and keeps it there. And we can back local financial institutions that refused to join the flim-flammery.

The movement is having an effect or at least the banksters are afraid it will. How do we know? Because they are fighting back the only way they can without really changing their ways. Recent commercials are portraying the behemoth banks as friendly, community banks that you can love. These advertisements play to our American gullibility that still doesn’t mentally grasp commercials as a load of bovine excrement.

Nearly twenty years ago I chuckled in agreement as I read the humor-book, “Dave Barry Does Japan.” The famous satirist said something much like that, in contrast to Japan, the only thing big American companies are still particularly good at is making commercials about how great their products or services are. I had long noticed the disconnect between our real world versus commercials with smiling, dancing fast-food cashiers, helpful pharmacists who come out from behind the counter to offer advice, folksy appliance repairmen, or seasoned, insightful stock brokers all embraced by a company that supports its workers in their dedication to the customer. Does any of that sound like a big-business you’ve dealt with lately? I didn’t think so.

The mega-corporations long ago sped past the point of providing consumers with helpful information to make informed choices. For a long, long time they have used commercials as “bait-and-switch.” They use the screen to show you high-quality products, easy use, and concerned, human customer-service. What they give you is flimsy crap, confusing & complex instructions, and impersonal, off-shored, aggravating service departments.

After 100+ years of exposure to advertising, why do most Americans still fall for it? Every time you see an advertisement of any kind:

Look for the fine print so you know what you are getting. There is usually a “catch.” And remember that in automobile ads and the like, when an announcer comes on to speed-read you the “disclaimer” what it really means is that most everything in the preceding ad was a lie! (Note- the definition of “disclaimer” is “a repudiation of responsibility or connection.” That means everything they just told you was a lie!)

During the ad, keep repeating to yourself, “THIS IS A FANTASY CREATED BY A MARKETING DEPARTMENT AND AN ADVERTISING AGENCY. THOSE CREATORS ARE EXPERTS IN KNOWING WHAT EMOTIONALLY APPEALS TO PEOPLE. THEY ACTUALLY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HOW THE COMPANY DOES BUSINESS. AND THE PEOPLE ON THE SCREEN ARE ACTORS. THIS IS A LIE”

Tired of being lied to? Move your money to a local bank or credit union.

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Late Night Ramblings

March 6, 2010 at 10:42 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

by Colonel Girdle

Dayton, Ohio, 3:30 a.m.

Since I could not sleep because of worry, I got online to find-out how to apply for a job with the U.S. Census. I have applied for job after job, even the ones that would probably not pay enough for me live. So that means I’ll have to work at two crappy jobs… or maybe three. I know people who are already doing that. Once upon a time, I was middle-class. I had worked my way through college and then, with 22 years of hard work, had made my way up into management at one of Dayton’s many solid, large companies. Then one day nine years ago, I was downsized along with hundreds of my co-workers. The company went away to greener pastures of cheaper labor/fewer regulations, and also there went my insurance, vacation, & retirement; all casualties of the only developed nation that ties everything to a person’s job.

Since that day, I have worked at jobs far worse than the crummy ones I had in my youth. For just one example, for about a month I was a subcontractor (that is like an employee, but they are not responsible for anything bad that happens to you) for a company that “recycled” the boiling-hot oil from restaurant deep fryers. I would pull the greasy van up to the back door, trundle a 200 lb. filtering machine on tiny wheels down the slippery ramp and into the building. There I vacuumed the 350 degree oil from the fryer so it could circulate through the filtering machine while I used putty knife & steel wool to scour char off the scortching cooker (all the while praying I wouldn’t get badly scalded), shoot the oil back into the fryer, then head to the next location. By the end of the day I was covered with reeking sour oil & sweat and could hardly stand-up because the bottom of my shoes were slick as snot.

In between the crummy jobs I owned a few small businesses. I sold natural pain cream at a flea market, I had a janitorial company where I did 90% of the janitoring, I sold used CD’s & DVD’s at a flea market. If any of those things were once a good way to make money, they sure aren’t now. Myrtle helped me with these, as best she could, while working at her own jobs.

I wound-up working in a convenience store and from that experience my desperation gave me the really awful idea that taking all our remaining assets and buying a store was a good idea. Blinded by love, Myrtle went down that bumpy road with me. I will not go into further detail recounting that four-year-disaster and the constant 100 hour workweeks we put in. Memory of it brings on a sort of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Suffice it to say that it was not too big to fail. It went belly-up during the late 2008-early 2009 crash with nary a peep from the Bush nor Obama Administrations.

As a result, I am more broke than I have ever been in my life. Actually, I’m far, far into the negative net worth zone. At first, I still hoped to find a way to dig myself out of debt. But I soon learned that was the impossible dream when, for instance, the credit card company I had for 15 years lent a helping hand by increasing my interest rate to 29.99% – when I had never missed a payment. Now they are getting 0%, since I’ll be filing for bankruptcy (guilt-free I might add) just as soon as I can finish the paperwork. I am far from alone in my struggles. My circle of friends & family recommend good bankruptcy lawyers the way we used to recommend good restaurants. People I know who used to “have it made” are sinking and everyone under them is drowning or already drowned. I personally know (and try to help) people who have taken to living in basements, cars, and tents! (By the way – See our “Friends” link to A Voice for the Commonwealth)

Being poor wasn’t a huge adjustment. Myrtle and I had never been big-spenders. We did not believe in materialism. We’ve never had a desire for trendy clothes or the latest electronic gadget. Instead, we put our spare time, money, and energy into charity work and enjoyed the simple things in life. However, I was used to paying the bills and having money left-over. Now buying a cheap bottle of shampoo is a financial decision that requires thought.

Our system will collapse, probably soon, from its own crushing weight. Every time I see, hear, or read about the latest actions of our business-government “leaders,” I derive comfort from knowing I am speeding that collapse along: My lack of spending denies money to the military-industrial-entertainment-healthcare complex and I’m too poor to pay taxes to the rotten government it owns.

But I don’t mean to sound bitter.

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Sickies

February 28, 2010 at 5:23 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

by Colonel Edwin Gridle


Tonight Myrtle and I watched a documentary about Gary Leon Ridgway, a serial killer who killed perhaps as many as 90 young women during the 1980’s & 1990’s. After he was caught in 2001, he was asked by a psychotherapist whether he thought there was something missing from his personality that would explain his abberant behavior. He responded that he lacked “that affection thing,” by which he meant that he had no feelings of love or concern for anyone- not his family and certainly not his victims.

No, I’m not a psychiatrist but even I know Gary Ridgway fit the classic definition of a “sociopath”. A sociopath has no feeling of moral responsibility or conscience because they do not empathize with other people. Deep-down they care nothing for other living beings and certainly never “put themself into someone else’s shoes.” Therefore, this type of sickie can commit the most heinous acts against humans or animals and never flinch, never feel remorse. A normal person could never torture or kill 1 person, let alone 90, because they would identify too much with the victim’s pain & perhaps even the pain of the victim’s family.

I came across another sociopath today: Jim Bunning, Republican Senator from Kentucky. The man whom Democrats have allowed to single-handedly block the extension of unemployment for over 1 million jobless Americans suffering through the economic depression. Senator Bunning suddenly cares so much about our nation’s multi-trillion-dollar debt that he now loudly insists upon drawing the line on more spending, in much the same way as one would close the barn door after the horse has run off…and the barn has burned-down. So without even a word (or thought) of concern for once-hardworking citizens who are depending on unemployment benefits to hang onto their lives, the good Senator tells the Wimp-o-crats “tough sh-t” about passing the bill. Nope, no remorse rattling around in this sickie’s noggin, just anger that the Senate debate interfered with more important matters: “I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00,” he complained, “and it’s the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they’re the only team that has beat Kentucky this year.

If we delved into Senator Bunning’s past would we find that, like many other sociopaths, he had a childhood fondness for torturing small animals before he stepped-up to harming humans?

If only Senator Bunning and his lack of feelings was a rarity, but far,far from it! In recent decades the United States is overrun with sociopathic sickies in the highest positions of authority, where they have done widespread harm –looting the Savings & Loans, outsourcing jobs, stealing retirement pensions, lying us into wars. All the while the perpetrators of these crimes show no guilt, no compassion for their victims and no concern for the damage done to our society.

Our descendants, when they study our era of history, will wonder why we allowed power to be wielded by the obviously dangerously mentally-ill. I believe that within the next twenty years, our nation will come to its senses and assure that sociopaths such as the ones who run A.I.G., General Motors, and the Supreme Court get the psychological treatment they so badly need. One thing is for certain: the future survival & well-being of our country necessitates that the sickies be banned from positions of power.

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Dog Vomit

February 20, 2010 at 5:03 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

by Reverend Hothoneywater, D.D.

Tiger Woods held a press conference today. And finally he’s learned to give the misty-eyed, choked-voice performance we’ve come to demand from our public idols who’ve shown they have feet-of-clay. I’m sure the heel and his corporate sponsors hoped to soon get back to building his lucrative “brand.” His mother was there and that is nice. But there was a fly in the ointment: His wife wasn’t at the event. I would think our national sense of closure demands she publicly forgive her hubby. Oh well perhaps she’ll do it later on some prime time tv interview show.

“Love-child” fatherer and all around heel John Edwards is still hanging in there, newswise. According to the tabloid and internet headlines he’s either beating-up his wife Elizabeth, he’s asked his mistress to marry him, he’s given his mistress a big diamond ring, I even saw a funny article claiming John and Tiger Woods are going to release a duets album. All I can say is: “Thank you, dear Lord, that John Edwards didn’t get elected President (even though I agreeed with most of his political rhetoric). Because the Puritans would now have us mired in in an unimaginable impeachment mess.”

Terry Hoskins, who isn’t near as famous or rich as Tiger or John Edwards, is from my neck of the woods (Dayton, Ohio). His story got some coverage when he bulldozed his house instead of letting a bank take it away. Terry got in a legal dispute with his brother which caused the IRS to put a lein on Terry’s carpet store. Because of the carpet store trouble, the bank saw an opportunity for profit and foreclosed on Terry’s house even though he had never missed a payment. This was because the house was “cross-collateralized” with the carpet store. Terry’s house was valued at $350,000 and he owed $160,000 to the bank. He says he had a buyer who would have bought the house for $170,000 but the bank wouldn’t let him sell because they said they will get more than that when they auction-off the house (did I mention that he hadn’t missed a payment?)  He finally got so fed-up that he knocked the house down and says he may do the same thing with the carpet store. Do I understand his frustration? I help poor and middle-class people every day who are endlessly worked-over by the system. So yes I do. 

Joseph Stack has briefly gained noteriety as the guy who flipped his wig and crashed a private plane into an IRS office building in Austin, Texas. Like Terry Hoskins (above) it appears he felt worked over by the system until he cracked. He was irrational and it’s tragic that he thought the solution was killing himself and 2 people in the target building and potentially many others. He left a last statement detailing what he felt drove him to this final act. Don’t let the spinmeisters tell you what he said. Read it yourself. Because I’m seeing opinions in the mainstream media and the web that attempt to spin him into

a tax-hating teabagger – because he says the tax code is pretty much incomprehensible. (well, isn’t it?) and that the tax laws favor the rich and corrupt (well, don’t they?)
a commie – because he has quotes Karl Marx (although not admiringly) and takes some jabs at Capitalism and points out that the rich and well connected including the Church feed at the trough while ordinary people get screwed (do you doubt the truth of that?)
anti-government – because he felt America’s politicians didn’t care anything about an ordinary person like him and never pass laws that help ordinary people (do you think they do? If you do then give me an example from the last 30 years).
Joseph Andrew Stack – because it makes him sound scarier like Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, and other unbalanced murderers?

Stack like many of our citizens got beat-up by a system that – as George Carlin once put it – “threw them overboard thirty f—ing years ago.” Finally, he came unglued and killed people. He said he hoped his destructive act cause the American zombies to wake up and revolt. But it looks like the issues he tried to raise will be lost amid the government and corporate frenzie to pass the blame and whip us into fear so we’ll protect them from harm while they plunder us.

The Bible tells us, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so does a fool return to his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11) I don’t know whether you have ever witnessed the disgusting canine behavior of re-eating what was moments before regurgitated. But it puts me in mind of  our foolish nation. The lessons of national fairness and compassion toward the elderly, children, laborers, the weak and downtrodden all are being forgotten. We are distracted by trivial events and misdirected into blaming the victims of an unworkable system. And so America revives the hateful meanness that we once rejected because it didn’t work.

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Dear Banker, I Never Meant to Hurt You.

February 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

When, as a child, I was difficult to deal with, my mum used to tell me, “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

I was reminded of her wise words when, this morning, I saw this excellent essay by Numerian on the agonist website. Apparently, the bankers feel hurt by the public’s nasty attitude toward them and they are now in a huff, so they are striking back in their pain the only way they know how: by refusing to lend the money that keeps our economy going.

Ater I read it, I broke-down sobbing. Yes! Yes, I have been a cad! I thought only of myself, and the millions of unemployed, and those who lost their homes, and people who lost their retirement funds, and the record number of victims bankrupted, but I never considered the pain the bankers are going through. They feel neglected and unloved; that’s why they have turned-away from us. Well, I for one, am turning-over a new leaf. No more calling them ‘banksters,” no more making obscene gestures when I pass a bank, and most importantly- absolutely no more angry demands for more banking regulation. Perhaps, as Numerian advises, I shall send my beloved banker a Valentine card.

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