Sisyphus Shrugs

November 2, 2010 at 3:59 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

During these past two years, overheatedly indignant Libertarian/Republican wackos (indignant, of course, about the election of black Communist Barack Obama to the presidency) have harkened-back to their college-days’ admiration of flaky author Ayn Rand’s work. Indulging their inner-brat, they fantasize the “truly productive” members of society (that is, the criminal-Capitalists) enacting the scenario from Rand’s homage to greed, “Atlas Shrugged” : The virtuous & brilliant owners of big-business, tired of bearing the weight of the world (like Atlas, get it?) while being unappreciated by the masses, reach the end of their patience & go on strike (shrug, get it?), withdrawing from society & causing the total collapse of the financial & industrial world.

Sales of Rand’s screed have been climbing since the 2008 economic collapse. Apparently, Social-Darwinist dunderheads find solace in its message that ordinary people are robbing the rich of deserved compensation for providing the rest of us with their leadership. All those pesky rules & regulations are dragging-down the supermen & we best be careful or the mighty just may go off someplace & sulk, leaving we lesser-humans to ruin civilization much like “Planet of the Apes.”

What is most laughable about this threat is the threatener’s absolute lack of awareness that the heads of big-business & finance are exactly the ones who repeatedly rape the environment, crash the economy, and continually feed-off the masses while providing very little (if anything) of real value to society. Time after time it is the peons who must pick-up the pieces & clean-up the mess caused by the crony-Capitalists.


If anyone should “shrug” (strike) it should be the masses who toil day after day, year after year, trying to get ahead in a system that swindles them at every turn. After a lifetime of work, most people cannot rely upon having sufficient income, retirement, & health care in a culture that strives mightily every day to knock them back to square one. America’s workers are like Sisyphus, whom the gods punished to toil exhaustingly each day pushing a huge boulder up a mountainside and when reaching the top watched helplessly as the boulder rolled down to its starting point.

All those vultures who style themselves as put-upon Atlases wouldn’t last two weeks without the people who do the real grunt work of this world.

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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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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!!!
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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.
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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.
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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.

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That Giant Sucking Sound

May 25, 2010 at 11:54 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


In a posting titled, “The Clinton Legacy,” over at the Bad Attitudes site, Jerome Doolittle reminds us that Bill Clinton, more than any other person, is responsible for passing the NAFTA (North American Free Trade) treaty. And therefore, he is responsible for many of our present problems with illegal Mexican immigrants. I was aware that NAFTA has undermined the U.S. workers but did not know that the legislation also allowed cheap U.S. and Canadian corn to undercut & bankrupt Mexico’s small farms. With their farms gone, the Mexicans come to the U.S. looking for a way to make a living (can we really blame them?)

Wait a moment! Did Bill Clinton not already apologize for ruining Mexican farmers this way? Oh, no…sorry…that was Haitian farmers to which Clinton apologized in March. He helped ruin them by getting Haiti to import cheap U.S. rice. I talked about it in my March 16 blog, “The Bill and George Tour.” Fortunately for American laborers so-far, the Haitian farmers could not get off their island so easily to come here. Instead, they have to just tough it out until U.S. Capitalists can ship the jobs down there to them. I figure that should start to happen very soon. The U.S. military occupation that started in March after Haiti’s big earthquake is even now making the island safe & stable for the empire’s business interests.

One could cut through my NAFTA-related disgust with a knife! I voted for Clinton twice but no wonder by the arrival of 2000, I voted for Nader mostly to send a message to Democrats that they needed to be more than “Republican-lite.” Those odious ogres, Reagan & George Bush #41 would have loved to have passed NAFTA during their times, but it took a Democrat, the worker’s friend, to coordinate that sell-out. (BTW- get ready for Obama’s similar Democratic presidential sell-out of Social Security)

Back in the pre-NAFTA days I still thought our “representatives” wanted to hear voters’ opinions and so I wrote them frequently. I mounted a one-man anti-NAFTA campaign where I wrote letters to political and business leaders and had as many of my family, friends, and coworkers sign them as I could get. And I got many.

I closely watched the sham debate leading up to the passage of NAFTA. The media and their Capitalist owners were of one voice: NAFTA would be a boon for Americans. Prices would drop and U.S. workers would safely move into high-tech jobs that are immune to being exported for cheap labor. Opponents of the treaty were portrayed in editorials & political cartoons as cretins on the level of cavemen afraid of the introduction of fire. The only notable person I recall as being anti-NAFTA was Ross Perot, who warned that businesses would move to Mexico so fast we would hear a “giant sucking sound.” 99% of working people I talked to were not fooled, they knew NAFTA meant unparalleled disaster for their future.

NAFTA passed and there was much rejoicing among the moneyed-crowd. The newscasts featured politicians and their owners grinning ear-to-ear in celebrations rivaling VJ day in 1945. I threw away my filing cabinet full of letters I had written over the years. I vowed never again to bother writing the politicians; a promise I kept until the run-up to the Iraq war.

Today we see the ramifications of NAFTA and similar policies that have been enacted by the evil monsters that pass for American “leadership.” Our industries lie in ruins. Working class income is in free-fall, with all classes but the topmost close behind. My beloved Dayton, Ohio, once one of the premier manufacturing cities of the world is little more than a ghost of its former self. Like most everything in the 21st U.S., the Capitalists made money off this economic destruction while the citizens got sold a pig in a poke.

Once again, as I did back in March, I ask: Will Bill Clinton will ever apologize to U.S. workers for NAFTA?

P.S. I was going to end this essay with the above question. And then I remembered that, during the 2008 campaign, presidential candidate Obama (now President George Bush III) said he would “renegotiate NAFTA.” Shockingly, he has since changed his mind about it.

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Wall Street Gets the Goldmine & We Get the Shaft

April 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In spite of my best efforts, America’s casino economy hums-along in its happy, fraudulent, and bonus-filled way. Meanwhile, the needs of the real economy and the hundreds of millions of citizens it supports are as ignored by the Washington crowd as coal mine safety.

Our wise “leaders” in business, media, and government grasp at every straw, twisting statistics to fit the “prosperity is just around the corner” scenario they need to keep us from rising-up & demanding the rotten system really be changed. For instance, they blew their trumpets loudly to announce that, Heaven be praised!, 162,000 jobs were created in March. So the economy is on the mend and Wall Street can go back to handing-out bonuses. Sounds good… but whoa wait a minute!, it turns out that at least 150,000 jobs must be created every month just to absorb new people coming into the workforce (like all those eager young people and immigrants). Well, ok, that leaves 18,000 jobs to chip-away (for 361 years!) at that nasty 6.5 million “long-term unemployed” number. But, oh my gosh! 88,000 of those 162,000 jobs were temporary work, such as working on the U.S. Census. The truth is that real job growth is still going in reverse.

And that does not even address the fact that America’s jobs increasingly lack wages & accompanying benefits that allow workers to share in their nation’s prosperity. Livable pay, health insurance, retirement, and vacations are all things taken mostly for granted by our Capitalist elite, Socialist Europe, and in the “mixed-economy” days of post-Great Depression-pre-Ronald Reagan America. But they are vanishing quickly in this country. The only real solution I can see is a turn to Socialism or at least a return to its milder cousin, the “mixed-economy” of the 1930’s-1970’s, wherein government’s main job was to make sure the playing-field is kept level by keeping a tight rein on big-business and helping the common citizen to flourish.

Back in November, when this blog had almost no readership, I posted the essay, Bring Back the Red Menace!” Now, I wish to re-print it, with apologies to those who would debate finer distinctions between “Socialism” (an intermediate step between Capitalism and Communism) and “Communism” (the ultimate destination in the flight from Capitalism), I use the terms interchangeably.

Bring Back the Red Menace!

We Americans are brought-up to believe that genuine, vigorous competition is the life-blood of our great system. Vying against one-another for victory, with the winner taking all the spoils and the loser conceding any claim is what makes social Darwinism tick. And so it is drilled into our red, white, and blue brains from cradle to grave until it becomes second-nature to believe that non-winners deserve to have nothing. Gaining or losing it all motivates us to try our best. Striving against a rival makes us strong!

Who would deny that in the 1970’s, our domestic auto makers had become bloated, complacent, and inefficient. They were insensitive to and exploitative of their customers; building increasingly lower-quality and higher-priced products designed for “planned obsolescence.” They were improved by stiff competition from foreign car companies that gave customers an alternative. Likewise, the United States Postal Service was improved when other carriers appeared. I could fill pages with examples of industries and organizations that were increasingly out-of-touch with their market, all of which were raised-up by vying against tough, strong, viable opponents.

That lack of competition is exactly why a monopoly does not function well. There is no rival to keep said monopoly under control so sooner or later hubris, greed, and decadence set-in (note that this is why government regulation is used to control these tendencies in monopolies). In modern American, Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Obama-nomics, monopoly is a diseased thing that must be cured through competition. If the schools, the airlines, or the electric company can’t face the challenge, then that’s too bad because it’s sink or swim for everyone (except for banks and Wall Street tycoons).

And now I come to my point. And here I am relieved to know that no one actually reads this blog, so I will not be hounded by threats and cat-calls for the assertion I’m about to make: The worst thing that happened to the average American citizen in the past 100 years was the collapse of the Communistic Soviet Union. Why? Simply because we now have no competitor to which we can turn when we are abused by the monopoly known as American Capitalism. And so that monopoly becomes increasingly abusive of its captive customers.

Apparently, I am the only one to notice that there was only one span of time when conditions consistently improved for American workers and citizens: the years from 1920 until the mid-1980’s while the Soviet Union existed and, in the minds of America’s leaders, there was real danger of a (cue-up the scary music) Communistic revolution in America.

Before that window of time, laissez faire Capitalism was firmly in the saddle and there was very little progress in the treatment of the vast majority of the population. Things didn’t really begin to improve until the Great Depression of the 1930’s caused a large percentage of Americans to start considering the alternative economics of Communism/Socialism/Populism (all close cousins). This scared the bejesus out of our political and business rulers who then reluctantly agreed to allow a little of the wealth to be spread around. And for the next 50 years, more and more wealth got spread in America so that the people were kept happy and non-Communist.* Overall, things kept getting better all the time for Americans across the board: the old, the young, all races, both genders. The poverty level crept down a little at a time and literacy rates kept going up.

Then in the late 1980’s, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics fell-apart under the weight of its leaders’ corruption and greed. The threat by the Communist menace was over. Sure there were still a few other Communist nations around, but none of them posed a real threat to Capitalism. American Capitalism boasted of being the only superpower remaining on earth. And, immediately, (actually it had started a few years earlier when the Soviet collapse could be seen on the horizon) American Capitalism no longer had to try to keep our hearts and minds. The tide turned against the average American. And it’s been downhill for us ever since.

So today we Americans are seemingly stuck with a bloated, uncaring, inefficient, corrupt, wasteful, unfair, and unresponsive system that is typical of any monopoly. But we are not stuck! Having no competition allows Capitalism to dismiss the needs of the citizens. There is only one solution: We must pick-up the threat of Communist revolution off the ash heap of history and, at the very least, pretend to be considering it as a replacement for Capitalism. That will scare the elite into once again being willing to share some of our nation’s prosperity.

* And contrary to what neo-conservative ideology teaches, in spite of having to share prosperity with the bottom 95% of the nation, there was still plenty of money for the upper 5% to stay very, very, very, rich.

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“Unemployment” Gets Solved

February 9, 2010 at 5:25 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )


Here we go again. Once more the corporate-controlled shills of government and media join together to sell us baloney that they claim is sirloin steak. This time they are praising to the heavens the December jobless figures that supposedly show a “surprising” decline in unemployment, which purportedly proves the economy is on the mend. Here’s one of the articles. While even this particular write-up isn’t loony enough to try and sound tremendously optimistic, what with its multiple caveats, it still omits mention of what I’m sure is the true explanation for December’s unemployment drop. I’m no economist but even I know what it is. Do you? It’s the same factor that accounts for increased employment every December and then reverses in January: holiday season hiring.

Is there anyone, I mean besides those who nowadays pass for “journalists” and “government leaders,” who doesn’t know that businesses hoping to milk the end-of-the-year shopping binge often hire extra workers? And after said binge ends on New Year’s Day, generally so too does the holiday hiree’s job?

But what the heck, the important thing is to pull wool over the eyes of at least some of the people. Get a quick boost for the stock market and temporarily back-off the pressure from those who demand action to get some job growth. The unemployment problem is solving itself. Whoopee! Prosperity is just around the corner (to coin a phrase).

Prediction: Come March, when the January unemployment numbers come out and they are higher than they were in November, our dear “journalists” and “government leaders” will be blindsided at the news. They will then do their best to once-again put a positive spin on the continuing disaster.

When January unemployment figures soar, will our ‘leaders” then take bold action to address the issue of joblessness? Of course not. For they know that soon the unemployment numbers will show a huge improvement. And why is that? Because millions of jobless people have been jobless so long that within these next few months they will exhaust their unemployment payments. And you want to hear something crazy? The U.S. government’s official way of counting unemployment doesn’t count you unless you are collecting unemployment payments. In other words, you can be jobless but if you aren’t getting unemployment payments then you aren’t “unemployed.”

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