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.
———————————————————————–
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.
————————————————————————
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?
————————————————————————–
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.
————————————————————————-
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.

Permalink 1 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

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

Outstanding in His Field

March 3, 2010 at 2:09 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

You’ve got to hand it to him. As our nation’s government descends further into madness, the #2 (pun intended) Republican in the Senate, Jon Kyl of Arizona is delusional-enough to stand-out in the crowd. He argues that paying unemployment benefits makes people want to not get jobs.

If I were more famous, I’d issue this public challenge to the Senator: “Show me these people of whom you speak. In other words, put up or shut up.” Of course any sensible person knows Senator Windbag, er, I mean Kyl was speaking anecdotally in much the same way Ronald Reagan would cite the legendary “Welfare Queen” or 1950″s Senator Joe McCarthy claimed to have the names of hundreds of Communist traitors in our government- but never produced one real example.

It’s a pity the present pack of birdbrains in the government & among the citizenry don’t know history (particularly the Great Depression/New Deal) nor do they understand economics. Their ignorance allows them to fall prey to right wing charlatanism and hatred toward victims of an economic system that has gone insane. Because of this ignorance they are making decisions that are dooming us to repeat some of the worst errors of pre-FDR society. There are good reasons why social safety nets were put in place by the developed nations of the world.

For instance, if they knew more about unemployment they would realize that payment of benefits is not only a help to the individual collecting the money. It also acts as a prop for the economy by allowing the jobless citizen to continue to pay bills. This prevents an economic downturn from cascading into catastrophe.

Another example is Social Security payments and pensions that allow workers to retire at age 65. Social Security was instituted for a number of good reasons.One of which was to raise the elderly from the depths of poverty. Did you know that 80 years ago, senior citizens were the poorest demographic of Americans? Social Security succeeded so well that elderly Americans are now the nation’s wealthiest demographic. Another reason for Social Security was to get the older workers out of the workforce so there would be jobs for the younger citizens during and after the Great Depression. Now, thanks to a concerted effort of shortsighted stupidity, we have many of our senior citizens hanging on in the workplace and younger Americans shut out of the job market. This is a recipe for disaster.

And speaking of getting older workers to retire so younger people can have jobs. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, whom I consider one of the few members of Congress who is worth an owl’s hoot*, recently proposed a good idea. For a cost of $15 billion (chicken feed nowadays), he wants to temporarily lower the Social Security age to 60 in order to open-up as many as 4 million existing jobs for younger citizens. I’m willing to bet that you never heard of his proposal in the mainstream media, so of course it will go nowhere. Too bad ideas like that are never heard at the President’s “jobs summit.”

* Disclaimer- I contributed money to Congressman Kucinich’s 2008 Presidential campaign.

Permalink 1 Comment