Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Calm down and relax..."

Be kind to yourself, now, with a few minutes of peace. Forget the stress,
fears and worries for just a little while. Calm down, catch your breath,
relax and enjoy the music and sights of nature. You deserve it...


Save a Life with "STR"

“During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics). She said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away. She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die... they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke, totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions.

Remember the '3' steps, STR:

S... Ask the individual to SMILE.
T... Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE. (Coherently, e.g. It is sunny out today)
R... Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 911 immediately
and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke: Stick out Your Tongue. Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.
If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke."

- Thegreenman,

"Baby Boomer" Entitlements: The Cost

“Could you imagine parents so reckless that they would party themselves into a drunken stupor by stealing the funds from their children? I’m not talking about burning through the inheritance, which, after all, is the parents’ money to do what they want with. No, I’m talking about spending the money the kids have saved themselves for their own college education, or for a down-payment on a house. Outrageous, eh? Well, guess what? That’s exactly what the Baby Boomers did. Because they wanted all the government services they got, plus the tax cuts that put a little extra jingle in their pockets, plus the luxury of being so stupid and ill-informed that they didn’t have to grapple with the questions of where that tax ‘cut’ money was really going, or how utterly bogus were the administration’s claims about its policies, especially concerning the hugely expensive Iraq war. Put it all together and it equates to living well beyond your means. And when you do that, there are only so many ways to deal with the difference in what you’re spending versus what you’re bringing in. Cue the kids here.

The math is astonishing. The current amount of the national debt is a staggering 10.667 trillion dollars, and climbing fast (indeed, it has already risen substantially since I typed that number). Let’s leave aside for the moment that it is rising every year with each annual deficit – which some people now think could be a dramatically record-breaking trillion dollars next year – added to the pile. And let’s also leave aside the fact that each of those dollars are borrowed, and are thus accruing additional liability every day in the form of interest. If we just take the current debt, and divide it by the number of payroll workers in America (about 150 million), that means each worker’s share of the existing debt is $71,113. Now, just for the sake of argument, let’s say a worker has a job pulling down fifteen bucks per hour in pay. At that rate, they would have to work 4,741 hours to do nothing but pay off the amount that has been borrowed in their names, without their assent, and just to cover only what has been loaned so far to date – not counting new additions to the pile each day, and not counting accruing interest. At forty hours a week, that’s 2.37 years of someone’s life. In fact, that’s 2.37 years of 150 million people’s lives. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine going to someone and saying "I’m going to force you to work over two years of your life in some job you probably don’t like, so that I don’t have to"? Because that’s exactly what this represents: Baby Boomers refusing to live within their means and desperately turning to their own children to facilitate the parents’ irresponsibility. Parents stealing more than two years of their children’s lives, to add two years of play time to their own. Unreal.”

- Michael Green,

"It Cannot Be An Accident"

“It surely cannot be an accident that 25% of all the world’s prisoners are incarcerated in American jails (1% of the entire US adult population); that two-thirds of the world’s consumption of antidepressants occurs in the United States; that 24% of the American population say that it’s OK to use violence in the pursuit of one’s goals, 44% support the torture of alleged or suspected terrorists, and 39% want Muslims in the US to be required to carry a religious ID on them at all times (why not just make it a yellow star, and be done with it?); that the country has the greatest percentage of single-person dwellings in the world, the highest homicide rate, the largest military budget (by several orders of magnitude), and the greatest number of square feet of shopping malls on the surface of the planet. The data on ignorance and stupidity, which I have documented elsewhere, are breathtaking, and Robert Putnam’s description (in Bowling Alone) of the collapse of community, trust, and friendship is one of the saddest things I have ever read. Dialectically, and ironically, American “success” became American ruin; the crash of October 2008 was merely the tip of the iceberg.

The USA will implode. No nation this stupid, arrogant, ruthless, selfish, hateful, and greedy can stand for long. Hyper-individualism is rampant. Obama once mentions that America should “spread the wealth” and Pavlov’s dogs bark, bark, bark, “OMG!! A Socialist!!!” As if Obama were a real socialist, but that’s besides the point.

We can’t blame everything on the American people themselves for being so outright ignorant. We were just “following orders” of our masters in Media and Government and Education. We put our trust in them not knowing that they had a nefarious agenda called New World Order. The crashing economy and massive job losses are all part of the master plan. Money is worshiped and humility mocked.

Did it really have to be this way? Is money and power so all consuming for the Elite that they are ready to kill the goose that laid the golden egg for that one last dollar to be had? I just don’t understand how people here can be so close-minded, ignorant, stupid and PROUD of it?

Educate ones self. This is my mantra right now. Not academic hair splitting, but a coherent argument with everyone you meet- be armed with facts, and talk about class, poverty, and the environment. And remember whose side we’re on...meaning one doesn’t have to duck an embrace of Castro and Chavez just because they are not perfect, or Aristide or Correa or Morales. These are our friends, and all movements against Imperialism should be supported, too. Chavez has built roads, infrastructure, schools, free healthcare, $.12 cents a gallon gas and many more good things.

Today, a revolutionary consciousness isn’t sidetracked by Obama, but by a 24/7 stream of TV and Hollywood marketed reality. The sense of commodity worship is so profound that people can only examine themselves in terms of sales. We are all hookers on the great whore track of US culture.”


The Daily "Near You?"

Bicester, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. Thanks for stopping by.

How Businesses Could, and Should, Be...

CHICAGO - "Dave Tiderman wondered if the decimal point was in the wrong place when he opened his $35,000 company bonus. Jose Rojas saw his $10,000 check and thought, "That can't be right." Valentin Dima watched co-workers breaking down in tears over their bonus checks and didn't trust his emotions. He drove home first, then opened his envelope: $33,000.

Year-end bonuses are rare these days. Rarer still is what the Spungen family, owners of a ball bearings company in Waukegan, Ill., about 40 miles north of Chicago, did as they sold the business. They gave out whopping thank-you bonuses.

A total of $6.6 million is being shared by just 230 employees of Waukegan-based Peer Bearing Co., with facilities in England and the United States. Amounts varied and were based on years of service. "They treated us like extended family," said Maria Dima, who works at Peer Bearing along with her husband, Valentin, and received a somewhat smaller check than he did. "We won the lottery."

With $100 million in sales last year, Peer recently was acquired by a Swedish company for an undisclosed amount. Danny Spungen, whose grandfather founded the company in 1941, said it was a unanimous family decision to thank employees with the bonuses. Laurence and Florence Spungen and their four children decided on a bonus formula a year before the sale closed to SKF Group, "a gamble that we would come out OK as well," Danny Spungen said. He and other family members signed, by hand, two thank-you cards to each employee, one in Spanish and one in English. Each card was printed with all the workers' names and the years they were hired. The text expressed gratitude for "the loyalty and hard work of our employees over the years."

The new owners intend to operate Peer as a wholly owned subsidiary. Workers have been told that most will keep their jobs, and life at the company hasn't changed much since the party in mid-September when the bonuses were distributed. Incongruously, the bonuses coincided with the U.S. economic meltdown. While neighbors and friends faced new financial strains, the Peer employees could breathe easier. "I know people who work for corporate America are not going to get treated like that. And most of the family owned businesses are not going to treat you like that," Tiderman said. "This is something that just really doesn't happen." -

"Just be my friend..."

“Do not walk in front of me... I may not follow,
Do not walk behind me... I may not lead,
Walk beside me and just be my friend.”

-Author Unknown

What "Type" Are You?

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates

"According to Carl Jung's typology all people can be classified using the following three criteria:
• Extraversion - Introversion
• Sensing - Intuition
• Thinking - Feeling
Isabel Briggs-Myers added fourth criterion:
• Judging - Perceiving

The first criterion, Extraversion - Introversion defines the source and direction of energy expression for a person. The extravert has a source and direction of energy expression mainly in the external world while the introvert has a source of energy mainly in the internal world.
The second criterion, Sensing - INntuition defines the method of information perception by a person. Sensing means that a person believes mainly information he or she receives directly from the external world. Intuition means that a person believes mainly information he or she receives from the internal or imaginative world.
The third criterion, Thinking - Feeling defines how the person processes information. Thinking means that a person makes a decision mainly through logic. Feeling means that, as a rule, he or she makes a decision based on emotion.
The fourth criterion, Judging - Perceiving defines how a person implements the information he or she has processed. Judging means that a person organizes all his life events and acts strictly according to his plans. Perceiving means that he or she is inclined to improvise and seek alternatives.
The different combinations of the criteria determine a type. There may be sixteen types. Every type has a name (or formula) according to the combination of criteria. For example:
Introvert Sensing Thinking Judging or
Extravert INtuitive Feeling Perceiving

By taking the Jung Typology Test, you will discover your type formula along with a quantitative measure of each of the 4 criteria (strengths of the preferences). Once formula and strengths of preferences are obtained, you can:
- Learn about your personality type by reading your type description. This may help you identify your life style in general as well as your style with respect to specific areas such as business, love, education, communications, conflicts
- Get the list of the most suitable career choices based on your personality, along with some educational institutions where you can receive a relevant degree or training.

Take the (72 multiple choice questions) test by clicking on this post's title, or go here:

So, I'm apparently an "INJF" type:

“INFJs are conscientious and value-driven. They seek meaning in relationships, ideas, and events, with an eye toward better understanding themselves and others. Using their intuitive skills, they develop a clear vision, which they then execute decisively to better the lives of others. Like their INTJ counterparts, INFJs regard problems as opportunities to design and implement creative solutions.

INFJs are quiet, private individuals who prefer to exercise their influence behind the scenes. Although very independent, INFJs are intensely interested in the well-being of others. INFJs prefer one-on-one relationships to large groups. Sensitive and complex, they are adept at understanding complicated issues and driven to resolve differences in a cooperative and creative manner. They are modest, but respond willingly to their partner's erotic initiatives. Being naturally very reliable, they have a hard time saying NO to others, accumulating much too much work. They are kind and patient. Their preferred mode of communication is one on one where they can examine their interlocutors problems for hours on end if need be and they offer real solutions and good advice. They are economical and frugal; minimalism is their most preferred way of living; however, when in a relationship with someone who is extravagant, they do not object but rather try their best to maintain the lifestyle of their partner. They are best known for their love of humankind, community activism, sincere environmentalism, sense of decency and integrity. They exude warm feelings. Violence, or object of violence and portrayal of weighs heavily on their consciousness. They usually will be the first to help those in need. They may come off as naïve, idealistic dreamers, or insincere; however, they are anything but.

Accounting for 1–3% of the population, INFJs have a rich, vivid inner life, which they may be reluctant to share with those around them. Nevertheless, they are congenial in their interactions with others. Generally well-liked by their peers, they may often be considered close friends and confidants by most other types. They are perceptive of the emotions of others and themselves easily hurt, though they may not reveal this except to their closest companions. Guarded in expressing their own feelings, especially to new people, they tend to establish close relationships slowly.

INFJs tend to be sensitive, quiet leaders with a great depth of personality. They are intricately and deeply woven, mysterious, and highly complex, sometimes puzzling even to themselves. They have an orderly view toward the world, but are internally arranged in a complex way that only they could understand. Abstract in communicating, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. With a natural affinity for art, INFJs tend to be creative and easily inspired. Yet they may also do well in the sciences, aided by their intuition.”


Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Look to the Heavens

“NGC 6050/IC 1179 (Arp 272) is a remarkable collision between two spiral galaxies, NGC 6050 and IC 1179, and is part of the Hercules Galaxy Cluster, located in the constellation of Hercules. The galaxy cluster is part of the Great Wall of clusters and superclusters, the largest known structure in the universe. The two spiral galaxies are linked by their swirling arms. Arp 272 is located some 450 million light-years away from Earth and is the number 272 in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.” -

Pierre Bayle

"Nature has been to man not a mother, but a step-mother,
sending him into the world naked, frail, and infirm,
toiling under a burden of care, fearful, slothful, and given over to lust,
but not without a spark of divine reason.”

- Pierre Bayle (1647-1706)

"No Bravery"

"There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
Tears drying on their face.
He has been here.
Brothers lie in shallow graves.
Fathers lost without a trace.
A nation blind to their disgrace,
Since he's been here.
And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.
Houses burnt beyond repair.
The smell of death is in the air.
A woman weeping in despair says,
He has been here.
Tracer lighting up the sky.
It's another families' turn to die.
A child afraid to even cry out says,
He has been here.
And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.
There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
But no one asks the question why,
He has been here.
Old men kneel and accept their fate.
Wives and daughters cut and raped.
A generation drenched in hate.
Yes, he has been here.
And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness."

James Blunt, “No Bravery”

Native American Blessing

Dalai Lama

"We have bigger houses but smaller families:
We have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgements;
more experts but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness.
We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but we have trouble crossing the street
to meet the new neighbour.
We build more computers
to hold more information,
to produce more copies than ever,
but we have less communication.
We have become long on quantity
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods,
but slow digestion;
tall man, but short character;
steep profits, but shallow relationships.
It is a time when there is much in the window
but nothing in the room."
-Dalai Lama

"The American Holocaust"

"Before early Europeans arrived, the Americas (North and South by expert estimates) were home to over 100 million indigenous peoples. From 1492 to 1892, US Census Bureau figures showed less than 250,000 survived. Or put another way - white Europeans committed the greatest ever genocide that was rivaled only, but not equaled, by the one against black Africans who were stolen into slavery for the "new world." Millions of them died during capture and the Middle Passage.

Our Native peoples in even greater numbers - victimized by ritual slaughter. By being hacked apart, buried alive, trampled under horses, hunted as game and fed to dogs, shot, beaten, stabbed, and even scalped for bounty or as trophies. They were also hung on meathooks like beef, thrown into the sea from ships (the way blacks were), worked to death as slaves, starved, frozen to death during forced marches and internments, and infected with deadly diseases. Our disturbing "civilization" that's untaught in American schools, and when it is Indians are the villains and the settlers their victims. History on its head the way Hollywood portrays it and still does.

Ward Churchill recounts otherwise about what he calls "the American holocaust" and compares it to the Jewish one under the Nazis. He explains that, "Distinctions...between right, center, left and extreme left in the US are quite literally nonexistent on the question of genocide of indigenous peoples. From all four vantage points, the historical reality is simultaneously denied, justified, and in most cases celebrated (or just forgotten). But preposterous as these arguments are, all of them are outstripped by a substantial component of zionism which contends not only that the American holocaust never happened, but that no 'true' genocide has ever occurred, other than the Holocaust suffered by the Jews" in Nazi Germany.

It's an all too familiar pattern of historical revisionism or denial to view one people's ordeal as important, preeminent or unique and another's as non-existent - depending, of course, on who suffered and who caused it. After WW II, Zionist Jews copyrighted Hitler's genocide, rebranded it "The Holocaust," framed it as a one- off event, and created the myth of unique Jewish suffering.”

-Stephen Lendman,

Aquila ka Hecate

"In the last 24 hours, over 200,000 acres of rainforest were destroyed. Thirteen million tons of toxic chemicals were released. Forty-five thousand people died of starvation, thirty-eight thousand of them children. More than one hundred plant or animal species went extinct because of civilised humans. All of this in one day"

"You really wanna see some hatred? You wanna see some violence? Thwart the civilised. Shut them down. Stop them from destroying the planet.

The civilised will smile as they tear you limb from limb."

- Aquila ka Hecate,

The Daily "Near You?"

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, USA. Thanks for stopping by.

Kahlil Gibran

“Humanity is the spirit of the Supreme Being on earth, and that humanity is standing amidst ruins,
hiding its nakedness behind tattered rags, shedding tears upon hollow cheeks,
and calling for its children with pitiful voice.
But the children are busy singing their clan's anthem;
they are busy sharpening the swords and cannot hear the cry of their mothers.”

- Kahlil Gibran

"I want to understand myself..."

-Author unknown.

Ralph Chaplin

“Mourn not the dead. But rather mourn the apathetic throng - the cowed and
meek who see the world's great anguish and its wrong, and dare not speak.”
-Ralph Chaplin

Mark Twain, "The War Prayer"

“The War Prayer takes place in present day, during Sunday services at a church in Any Town, USA. On the eve of war, our Reverend leads the congregation in a prayer for the protection of our soldiers. In closing, he makes one last, seemingly innocuous request "...and grant us the victory, O Lord."

"Amen", and the service proceeds as usual until the arrival of a mysterious stranger, "a messenger from on high", who silently ascends to the pulpit and proceeds to explain "the full import" of the congregation's request, the "unspoken" part of their prayer. What follows is Twain's masterful, yet horrifying depiction of warfare, an unrivaled indictment of the carnage that man has committed against his fellow man since time immemorial. With The War Prayer, Twain grabs our conscience by the lapels, and challenges us to re-examine our most cherished beliefs about patriotism, and what it truly means to be an American. "I don't think the prayer will be published in my time. None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth." - Mark Twain

Friday, November 28, 2008

Richard Bach

“How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!”

- Richard Bach, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"Dog Eat Dog"

“Bernanke and Paulson are trying to tackle the financial crisis from the wrong end. This isn't about liquidity or "access to credit", its about confidence. The public's trust has been betrayed a million times over. They've been tricked with WMD, bamboozled with phantom enemies, and cheated with bogus securities. All the surveys say the same thing; public confidence is at an all-time low. As a result, fear and pessimism are more widespread than any time in recent history. People no longer expect tomorrow to be better than today. In fact, they expect it to be worse, and for good reason. The country has broken loose from its moorings and is adrift. There's no accountability at any level of government anymore; it doesn't matter how big or heinous the crime, no one pays. The justice system is a sham. In fact, the D.O.J. is just a weapon for destroying political enemies; that's it. The one noteworthy conviction in the last 8 years was home-decorating guru Martha Stewart. What a joke. In his memoirs, Bush can boast, "At least we got Martha Stewart off the streets."

And it's not just the justice system that lacks credibility either; it's the financial system, too. The stampede out of the stock market to US Treasurys shows how quickly trust can turn to panic. The downward spiral of the economy reflects the mood of the country; dark and gloomy. That's not something that can be changed with more liquidity. After all, the economy is more than the sum of its parts, just like people are more than just consumption machines that can be zapped like rats into spending themselves into oblivion. They're sentient beings who can see the deteriorating economic conditions closing in on them and threatening their security. They're scared. Bernanke--the academic--sees the economy through the lens of his research on the Great Depression. He, like many other monetarists, believe that the depression was the result of the one-third contraction in the money supply during the 1930s. It is a widely held view and it could be true. But if that's the case, than why haven't the Fed's myriad lending facilities--which have flooded the financial system with trillions of dollars of liquidity--stopped the markets from crashing and the recession from deepening. Could it be that there were other factors besides just money supply? People are hunkering down for a reason, and its not just lost revenue. They've lost faith in their institutions--the government, the banks, and the media; everybody is in it for themselves, and it shows. Even now, with the economy teetering at the brink of disaster, high-ranking officials like Paulson are still diverting hundreds of billions of dollars from the Treasury to their Wall Street buddies leaving nothing behind but a few scraps for the working stiffs. And Paulson isn't alone either; his Darwinian "dog eat dog" creed is the prevailing ethos of the corrupt oligarchy that runs the country, Republican and Democrat alike, it makes no difference. It's "me first" and the public be damned. “

- Mike Whitney,

Obama's "Change?"

“Only poor people pay taxes.”- Leona Helmsley, leaving an $8 billion dollar estate on her death in 2006.

“Obama was elected with overwhelming approval to inaugurate an era of change. And at his November 25 press conference, he said that his decisive victory gave him a mandate to change the direction in which America is moving. But his recent economic and foreign policy appointments make it clear that when he chose “change” as his campaign slogan, he was NOT referring to the financial, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sectors, nor to foreign policy. These are where the vested interests concentrate their wealth and power. And change already has been accelerating here. Unfortunately, its direction has been for the top 1% of America’s population to raise their share of in the returns to wealth from 37% ten years ago to 57% five years ago and an estimated nearly 70% today.

The change that Mr. Obama is talking about is largely marginal to this wealth, not touching its economic substance – or its direction. No doubt he will bring about a welcome change in race relations, environmental regulations, and a more civil rule of law. And he probably will give wage earners an income-tax break (thereby enabling them to keep on paying their bank debts, incidentally). As for the rich, they prefer not to earn income in the first place. Taxes need to be paid on income, so they take their returns in the form of capital gains. And simply avoiding losses is the order of the day in the present meltdown.”
- Michael Hudson,


"America Out of Work"

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2008. “There will be no freedom from want. The only thing we might now hope for is freedom from fear. Even that is a distant state of mind. It is not just the wild fluctuations in the stock market, the water-cooler jokes about retirement accounts that are now 201(k)s. It is the incomprehensible dithering of our current president through his lame-duck period, his bizarre refusal to give approval to any economic package that aided anyone or anything that is not a big bank or a Wall Street financial institution.This delay may well be the scariest development of these frightening times.

What are the reasons for President George W. Bush to have blocked the post-election congressional effort to make a down payment on an anti-recession program aimed at job-creation and sending money to the squeezed states, which must balance their budgets while struggling with ever-rising demand for basic services such as Medicaid and what remains of the program we used to call welfare? Bush has argued, at various times in the past few weeks, either that such a package isn't really necessary or that it might be possible if it were tied to a long-term trade deal with Colombia. The reasoning tortures the mind.

Besides inheriting an economic crisis of historic proportions, President-elect Barack Obama must make up for the squandered time. But at the earliest, it is likely to be at least February or March before the first dollar of an Obama recovery plan is felt. This is a national disgrace.

Consider, for example, that one of the leading indicators of poverty - a rise in the number of people eligible for food stamps - climbed 10 percent between August 2007 and August 2008. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which studies the impact of federal policy on the poor and working class, one in five children already receives food stamps, a rate that is comparable to the recessions of the early 1980s and the 1990s. Advocates for the poor are expecting that a record number of Americans will be receiving food stamps once new numbers are tallied over the coming weeks. And we aren't deep into this recession yet. Economists believe that unemployment will climb to 8 percent or even 9 percent next year. As it happens, right around the time we became politically enamored of de-regulating whole industries - and so prepared the ground for the current economic morass - we also became politically obsessed with shrinking the social safety net. It was too generous, the thinking went, and had to be made less so to encourage work and discourage dependency.

We are entering a recession the likes of which we haven't seen in about three decades or perhaps longer. Since the last time the economy fared so poorly, changes in the unemployment compensation system, coupled with a transformation of the labor force to include vastly more part-time and low-wage workers, have left a majority of workers unprotected by this basic benefit. "Unemployment benefits cover a smaller set of workers than they did in the late 1970s and early 1980s," says Sharon Parrott, director of welfare reform and income support research at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Fewer than 40 percent of unemployed workers now are eligible for benefits. And we haven't yet tested - not on this scale anyway - what really happens to the welfare-to-work system when there is no work.

Welfare revision was a signature cause of the 1990s, a centerpiece of President Bill Clinton's drive to remake the Democratic Party's image and a relentless demand of congressional Republicans determined to dry up what they considered wasteful social spending. Basic cash assistance to the poorest families has shrunk substantially since the 1970s and 1980s. In most states, adults who have no children and are not disabled are ineligible for any aid. Single mothers who may have lost their jobs now have time limits on the number of months they can receive public assistance. To cope, Parrott says, "they'll double up, they'll live with friends, they'll move from house to house, which is very bad for kids."

We have lavished hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on the financial masterminds whose collective genius has brought us these desperate times. Some of those taxes were paid by the now-unemployed workers who don't qualify for benefits. Having socialized the financial system, there is no excuse now for failing to repair the social safety net.”

- Marie Cocco's e-mail address is mariecocco(at)

Nouriel Roubini Economic Interview, 11/28/08

“The U.S. economy is confronting a toxic mixture: deflation, a liquidity trap and debt deflation, as well as rising household and corporate defaults. Put plainly, the signs of a "stag-deflation" - a deadly combination of stagnation/recession and deflation - are now clear.

We are in a severe recession, and now the recent readings of both the Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index show the beginning of deflation. The slack in goods markets - with demand falling and supply being excessive (because of years of excessive over-investment in new capacity in China, Asia and emerging market economies) - means firms have lower pricing power and a need to cut prices to sell the burgeoning inventory of unsold goods. The slack in labor markets means lower wage pressures and lower labor-cost pressures; and the slack in commodity markets - that have already fallen by 30% from their summer peaks and will fall another 20%-30% in a global recession - means lower inflation and actual deflationary forces.

When deflation sets in, central banks need to worry about it - and worry about a liquidity trap. Take the example of the 2001 recession: That was a mild eight-month recession in the U.S. and was over by the end of 2001. But by 2002, the U.S. inflation rate had fallen toward 1%. The Fed was forced to cut the Fed Funds rate to 1% and Ben Bernanke (then a Fed Governor) was writing speeches titled "Deflation: Making Sure "It" Does Not Happen Here." So if a mild recession that was not even global led to deflation worries, how severe could deflation be in a recession that even the IMF is now forecasting to be global in 2009?

When economies get close to deflation, central banks aggressively cut policy rates, but they are threatened by the liquidity trap that being zero-bound on nominal policy rates implies. The Fed is now effectively already in a liquidity trap: The target Fed Funds rate is still 1% but expected to be cut to 0.5% in December and down to 0% by early 2009. Also, while the target rate is still 1%, the effective Fed Funds rate has been trading close to 0.3% for several weeks now as the Fed has flooded money markets with massive liquidity injections. So we are effectively already close to the 0% constraint for the nominal policy rate.

Why should we worry about a liquidity trap? When policy rates are close to zero, money and interest-bearing short-term government bonds become effectively perfectly substitutable. (What is a zero-interest-rate bond? It is effectively like cash.) Monetary policy becomes ineffective in stimulating consumption, housing investment and capital expenditure by the corporate sector. You get stuck into a liquidity trap and more unorthodox monetary policy actions need to be undertaken.

First, if aggregate demand falls sharply below aggregate supply, price deflation sets in. There is already massive price deflation in the U.S. in the sectors - housing, autos/motor vehicles and consumer durables - where the inventory of unsold goods is huge. The fall in prices and the excess inventory forces firms to cut back production and employment; the ensuing fall in incomes leads to further fall in demand - and induces another vicious cycle of falling prices and falling production/employment/income and demand.

Second, when there is deflation, there is no incentive to consume/spend today as prices will be lower tomorrow. Buying goods today is like catching a falling knife and there is an incentive to postpone spending until the future: Why buy a home or a car today if its price will fall another 15% and purchasing today would imply having one's equity in a home or a car wiped out in a matter of months? Better to postpone spending. But this postponing of spending exacerbates the vicious cycle of falling demand and supply/employment/income and prices.

Third, when there is deflation, real interest rates are high and rising in spite of the fact that nominal policy rates are zero. If the policy rate is zero and there is a 2% deflation, the real short-term policy rate is actually a positive 2% that further depresses consumption and investment; and real long-term market rates are even higher with deflation, as market rates at which firms and households borrow are much higher than short-term policy rates."

- Nouriel Roubini, Full interview here:

WTF?! Worker Trampled to Death at Walmart

Friday, November 28th 2008, 9:27 AM

"A worker died after being trampled and a woman miscarried when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart Friday morning, witnesses said. The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m. Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him. "He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."

Nassau County Police are still investigating and would not confirm the witness accounts. Police did say there were several injuries but weren't more specific. Jessica Keyes was among the shoppers. She told the Daily News she saw a woman knocked down just a few feet from the dying worker. "When the paramedics came, she said 'I'm pregnant,'" Keyes said. Paramedics treated the woman inside the store and then, according to Keys, told the woman: "There's nothing we can do. The baby is gone."

Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk's life. "They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. "People were still coming through." Only a few stopped. "They're savages," said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. "It's sad. It's terrible."

- Joe Gould,

I literally cannot comprehend this. To buy Christmas presents? Savages, monsters...

The Daily "Near You?"

Walla Walla, Washington, USA. Thanks for stopping by.

Gaza Strip: Despair and Desperation

"People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread
they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned." - James Baldwin

“As conditions in the Gaza strip approach a catastrophic level of deprivation, the worldedia, and in particular the U.S. media, remain largely silent. The United Nations, whose truckloads of food and medical supplies continue to be denied entry into Gaza by Israel, appears to be one of the few international voices of dissent concerning the collective punishment of 1.5 million human beings. This, despite the fact that more than 50% of the population in Gaza is comprised of children under the age of 15.

Israel claims to be defending itself against the crude, often homemade rockets which militant factions in Gaza fire randomly into southern Israel. Though it may be considered politically incorrect, this writer refuses to precede his remarks with the requisite, “It’s wrong for militant Palestinians to be firing rockets into Israel.” The ethics of Palestinian resistance to the Zionist colonization of Palestine and the dispossession of the Palestinian people is a subject for another article. The issue at hand is one of collective punishment. Regardless of the actions of certain factions in Gaza, the fact remains that Israel (with the approval of the U.S.and the world community) is depriving an entire civilian population of food, medicine and clean drinking water in response to the violent actions of a few among that population. By any civilized standard this behavior is wrong and should be condemned vociferously. To paraphrase the words of an alien from another planet in a not-so-great Hollywood movie of some years ago, every sentient being knows the difference between right and wrong.

Apparently not. Israel’s Foreign Minister and likely future Prime Minister, Tzipi Livni, recently dismissed the notion that Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to collective punishment and claimed those actions were a justifiable response to the rocket attacks on Israel. She stated, “The international community must be more decisive in making itself heard and in using its influence in the face of these attacks."

To suggest that the international community should condemn “these attacks” by militant Palestinian factions, yet ignore the humanitarian disaster being imposed on Gaza by the government of Israel demonstrates a nearly incomprehensible level of hypocrisy. But more importantly, the fact that Jews are the ones perpetrating these unconscionable actions in Gaza is a tragedy of historic proportions. The Geneva Conventions, particularly those articles addressing the collective punishment of civilian populations, were largely crafted in response to the treatment of Jews by the Nazis during World War II. Has the sense of exclusivity and entitlement created by the Zionist experiment in Israel become so great that people there no longer see themselves in the mirror of their own history? The irony of Jews, among the most egregiously persecuted and maligned people in history, denying food to hundreds of thousands of children in order, allegedly, to insure their own security, is breathtaking. Who could ever have imagined such a thing?

We should stand up in opposition to instances of human rights abuses whenever and wherever they occur. The situation in Gaza is only one on an unfortunately long list, locally, nationally and internationally. And U.S. government (that means you and me) support for and complicity in many such instances is no secret. To those who became politically active, possibly for the first time, and expended their valuable enthusiasm and energy in order to see Barack Obama elected: thank you for being a part of history. Now why not try on the mantel of social activism? Write our President-elect a letter and suggest that he at least acknowledge the suffering of the people in Gaza. It is doubtful it will change him or his policies, but it may change you. And that truly is “change we can believe in.” Every sentient being knows the difference between right and wrong. The question is, why do so few of us act on that knowledge?”

- Joe Mowrey,

Joe Mowrey is an anti-war and Palestinian rights activist. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his spouse, Janice, and their three canine enablers. You can write to him at

White Elk

“When you were born, you cried
and the world rejoiced.
Live your life
so that when you die,
the world cries and you rejoice.”

- White Elk

"I rescued a human today..."

"Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.
I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid. As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today. Sometimes the overworked shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.
As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.
She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.
Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.
I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.
I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.
I rescued a human today.”
Originally posted at Rescue Me Dog:

General Motors 2009 Model Cars Unveiled

"General Motors today unveiled their new 2009 model high efficiency cars..."

What is the "Hegelian Dialectic?"

"The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with
a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists."
- J. Edgar Hoover

“Why is it important for you to understand the subject of the Hegelian Dialectic? Because it is the process by which all change is being accomplished in society today. More importantly, it is the tool that the globalists are utilizing to manipulate the minds of the average American to accept that change, where ordinarily they would refuse it.

The Hegelian Dialectic is, in short, the critical process by which the ruling elite create a problem, anticipating in advance the reaction that the population will have to the given crisis, and thus conditioning the people that a change is needed. When the population is properly conditioned, the desired agenda of the ruling elite is presented as the solution. The solution isn't intended to solve the problem, but rather to serve as the basis for a new problem or exacerbate the existing one. When the newly inflamed difficulty reaches the boiling point of a crisis, it becomes the foundation upon which arguments may again be made for change. Hence, the process is repeated, over and over, moving society toward whatever end the planners have in mind.

It's also important to understand that as this process is being driven, arguments are created both for and against certain measures of change. All arguments are controlled. The presented solutions- each with varying levels of unadornment- are "debated" publicly by the manipulators or their minions. This is done until a perceived compromise has been reached on the best measure to take in route to solving the crisis. Then, the outcome of the "debate" - which purportedly weighs the concerns of the public with the mandate to do something - is enacted as public policy. Such is a summary of the Hegelian Dialectic. Though few in American society have ever heard of it, still fewer have not been profoundly impacted by its use in the effective neutralization of opposition in the formation of public policy.” -

“The world's economy and politics are largely controlled by a small number of global banking families, some of whom have been at the game for over 200 years. They have simply massive levels of money and resources of all types at their disposal. They control the central banks of America (the Federal Reserve, which is privately owned ~ no more a part of the constitutional Federal government than Federal Express [Fed Ex] is, the European Union, etc.

These families follow a formula when they want to institute changes for their own benefit: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. (David Icke calls this: problem, reaction, solution.) For example, they organized the First World War, and it resulted in mass murder and economic crisis as it went on for years. In the Russian Empire the "thesis" was WWI, the "antithesis" was the effect on the population and the political "blow back" from the war. The "synthesis" was the rise of communism, which they financed and controlled, and the total police state control of the former Russian Empire that it gave them. Prior to WWI the Russian Tsar would not allow the Rothschilds and other global bankers to control his economy. The "synthesis" was one of the true goals of the "thesis" (WWI) and the "antithesis" (the population's response to the horrors of war).

The Great Depression was the antithesis to the excesses (thesis) of the 1920s and the result (synthesis) was a greatly expanded Federal government with massive programs (aimed at ending the Great Depression) that required vast amounts of funding from their privately owned Federal Reserve Bank and its ability to create money out of thin air and loan this back to the government and collect interest on it (instead of the government just creating the money itself without any interest being due to private bankers). Side benefits to the global banking families was a great shake out of wealthy Americans and their ability to capture a much larger amount of corporate ownership/control than had existed before (using cutouts, front men, and corporate control mechanisms established by them).

The game of thesis, antithesis, synthesis is played on many levels and many such "games" are often ongoing at the same time (think of it as multiple interrelated games of space chess). The unchecked banking greed and the lack of proper legal controls and governmental oversight (thesis) has led to the current nightmare events of major banks and insurance companies failing or being bought out or funded by governments (antithesis). The synthesis is that, just in the United States alone, three trillion dollars of new public debt has been created in the last week or so to "solve" the problems. New debt that enriches the private owners of the Federal Reserve System. Three trillion dollars of debt, on top of the already massive US national debt, that the American public has to pay interest on for many, many, years. Of course, the "debt solution" is itself a antithesis in a broader game with the synthesis being the New World Order (or a major step towards it).

Its all a great evil scam and we, the public, are too stupid, too scared, too blind, too wrapped up in television/etc. to be educated as to what is really going on. And most importantly, we are simply too lacking in good morality to have the strength, the moral strength, to fight it.

All of this has been planned. Do not let yourselves play the village fool saying "why did they let this get so out of hand," or "you would think that they could come up with something," or- best of all- “that could never happen here!” The global banking families, whose hands control the levers of political and economic power in most nations of the world (and certainly America, the United Kingdom, France, etc.), are very intelligent and are playing a very sophisticated game - actually the eco-political grand strategic control of the world is the most sophisticated of all games. As FDR use to say, "if something happens in politics you can bet that someone planned it to happen".

They are moving the world to a New World Order in which they will have absolute and total control of all wealth and all levers of political and military power. To a world that utilizes 21st Century technology to enslave the population. All based on lies and the greed of a very small number of very powerful people leading the masses into the worst nightmare of human history. The fact that so many of the secret ruling elite are satanists should not be surprising. Ultimately, where their current End Game in the drive for a New World Order is taking us is a place of total global destruction. Sadly, there is no force, political or otherwise, that seems capable of reversing the trend to global economic disaster and global war.” - Stirling,

Big sale!

Any offers?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Moment with Nature

Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, USA.

Ministry of Homeland Security Message

Native American Prayer

Great Spirit,
give us hearts to understand;
never to take from creation's beauty more than we give;
never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;
never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth's beauty;
never to take from her what we cannot use.
Give us hearts to understand
that to destroy earth's music is to create confusion;
that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;
that to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a house of stench;
that as we care for her she will care for us.
We have forgotten who we are.
We have sought only our own security.
We have exploited simply for our own ends.
We have distorted our knowledge.
We have abused our power.
Great Spirit, whose dry lands thirst,
help us to find the way to refresh your lands.
Great Spirit, whose waters are choked with debris and pollution,
help us to find the way to cleanse your waters.
Great Spirit, whose beautiful earth grows ugly with misuse,
help us to find the way to restore beauty to your handiwork.
Great Spirit, whose creatures are being destroyed,
help us to find a way to replenish them.
Great Spirit, whose gifts to us are being lost in selfishness and corruption,
help us to find the way to restore our humanity.

-Author Unknown

"The Estato Corporativo"

"What Mussolini founded was the estato corporativo - the corporative state or corporatism. Writing in Economic Affairs in the mid 1970s, R.E. Pahl and J. T. Winkler described corporatism as a system under which government guides privately owned businesses towards order, unity, nationalism and success. They were quite clear as to what this system amounted to: "Let us not mince words. Corporatism is fascism with a human face. . . An acceptable face of fascism, indeed, a masked version of it. "

Lyttelton writes that "fascism can be viewed as a product of the transition from the market capitalism of the independent producer to the organized capitalism of the oligopoly." It was a point that Orwell had noted when he described fascism as being but an extension of capitalism. Lyttelton quoted Nationalist theorist Affredo Rocco: "The Fascist economy is an organized economy. It is organized by the producers themselves, under the supreme direction and control of the State." Bearing in mind all the foregoing, there was also:

- A collapse of conventional liberal and conservative politics that bears uncomfortable similarities to what we are now experiencing.

- The gross mismanagement of the economy and of such key worker concerns as wages, inflation, pensions, layoffs, and rising property taxes. Many of the actions were taken in the name of efficiency, an improved economy and the "rationalization of production." There were also bankruptcies, negative trade balance, major decline in national production, large national debt rise compensated for by foreign investment. In other words, a hyped version of what America and its workers are experiencing today.” -

Does any of this seem familiar to you?

A Pig, Wearing Lipstick, Is Still A Pig

“From reader Careyana:
I received a letter from CitiBank today informing me that they were updating my card agreement. They were modifying my Fixed APR of 7.99% to 14.99%. I was given the option to opt out of the changes which would then carry my current agreement until the card expires (7/09).

So I called Citi and got "Amit" on the phone and asked why was there a change to my account, as I've been a customer for over 4 years and I've NEVER had a late payment and ALWAYS pay over the minimum. Amit starts, "Well, due to the current economic situation..." I interrupted him immediately. "So what you're saying is that I'm being penalized because I'm a good customer?" He didn't really have a good scripted answer to that and kept repeating the "due to current economic situation..." mantra.
I'm curious how many more of your readers out there are receiving similar letters from their banks. As Chris just wrote me, you're actually being penalized for the mistakes that your bank made.” -

So, Good Taxpayer, you kindly bail these swine out with over $300 billion of your tax dollars, and they reward you by DOUBLING your credit card rates. Absolutely incredible arrogance...

“The government unveiled a bold plan Sunday to rescue troubled Citigroup, including taking a $20 billion stake in the firm as well as guaranteeing hundreds of billions of dollars in risky assets. The $20 billion cash injection by the Treasury Department will come from the $700 billion financial bailout package. The capital infusion follows an earlier one _ of $25 billion _ in Citigroup in which the government received an ownership stake. As part of the plan, Treasury and the FDIC will guarantee against the "possibility of unusually large losses" on up to $306 billion of risky loans and securities backed by commercial and residential mortgages.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Västerås, Vastmanlands Lan, Sweden. Thanks for stopping by.

Cherokee Proverb

"Social Darwinism"

“Social Darwinism is a belief, popular in the late Victorian era in England, America, and elsewhere, which states that the strongest or fittest should survive and flourish in society, while the weak and unfit should be allowed to die. The theory was chiefly expounded by Herbert Spencer, whose ethical philosophies always held an elitist view and received a boost from the application of Darwinian ideas such as adaptation and natural selection.

Herbert Spencer, the father of Social Darwinism as an ethical theory, was thinking in terms of elitist, "might makes right" sorts of views long before Darwin published his theory. However, Spencer quickly adapted Darwinian ideas to his own ethical theories. The concept of adaptation allowed him to claim that the rich and powerful were better adapted to the social and economic climate of the time, and the concept of natural selection allowed him to argue that it was natural, normal, and proper for the strong to thrive at the expense of the weak. After all, he claimed, that is exactly what goes on in nature every day.

However, Spencer did not just present his theories as placing humans on a parallel with nature. Not only was survival of the fittest natural, but it was also morally correct. Indeed, some extreme Social Darwinists argued that it was morally incorrect to assist those weaker than oneself, since that would be promoting the survival and possible reproduction of someone who was fundamentally unfit.

Social Darwinism was used to justify numerous exploits which we classify as of dubious moral value today. Colonialism was seen as natural and inevitable, and given justification through Social Darwinian ethics - people saw natives as being weaker and more unfit to survive, and therefore felt justified in seizing land and resources. Social Darwinism applied to military action as well; the argument went that the strongest military would win, and would therefore be the most fit. Casualties on the losing side, of course, were written off as the natural result of their unfit status. Finally, it gave the ethical nod to brutal colonial governments who used oppressive tactics against their subjects.

Social Darwinism applied to a social context too, of course. It provided a justification for the more exploitative forms of capitalism in which workers were paid sometimes pennies a day for long hours of backbreaking labor. Social Darwinism also justified big business' refusal to acknowledge labor unions and similar organizations, and implied that the rich need not donate money to the poor or less fortunate, since such people were less fit anyway.

In its most extreme forms, Social Darwinism has been used to justify eugenics programs aimed at weeding "undesirable" genes from the population; such programs were sometimes accompanied by sterilization laws directed against "unfit" individuals. The American eugenics movement was relatively popular between about 1910-1930, during which 24 states passed sterilization laws and Congress passed a law restricting immigration from certain areas deemed to be unfit. Social Darwinist ideas, though in different forms, were also applied by the Nazi party in Germany to justify their eugenics programs.”,

Richard C. Cook: "Don't Pay Credit Card Bills"

“The citizens must do something. How can we just sit and wait while the financial monopolists smother the economy to death in order to protect their wealth and privileges? The least they could do is declare a moratorium on debt payment until the economy is functioning again or cancel the most egregious types of debt-abuse, such as credit card or student debt.

But they are not likely to do this either. So citizens’ can be forgiven if they simply stop paying. Many home purchasers are already doing this—turning in the keys to their homes and driving away. Who can blame them?

But the worst of the debt may be credit card debt, where the controls on interest rates and penalty charges were lifted long ago and the government stopped providing a tax deduction for interest paid. In many cases, interest on credit cards is 28 percent or more, which means that even by making the minimum required payment, consumers see their balances grow each month. That the politicians could continue to allow such evil to exist is astounding but proves who their masters are.

So until real relief is forthcoming, citizens who are in distress should simply destroy their credit cards and stop paying the monthly bills. People are already doing this. Arrearages and defaults are climbing, and credit card debt is starting to be viewed as the next bubble to burst. But so what? If people have to use a credit card, that means they can’t really afford to buy whatever it is they think they want. If they can afford it, they should use a debit card instead.

Then tell the credit card company you cannot pay. Ask them to write off some or all of the debt, and if they want to take you to court, go on your own and defend yourself. You don’t need a lawyer, and you don’t need anyone’s permission. You also don’t need to go through the horrendous “reformed” bankruptcy system the credit card companies got Congress to pass in 2005. Failure to pay credit card debt is not, thank God, a crime in this country, and there are no debtors’ prisons—yet.

Besides, if people do not pay credit card debt, that money remains in circulation. So default is actually a form of patriotism in today’s trying circumstances. And the credit card companies really don’t lose anything, since the money didn’t exist before they lent it to people who are now broke.

Where I used to live in the country in rural Virginia, the story was going around about a farmer who fell down in the pen where he was feeding his pigs, and the pigs ate him. That is what has been happening in this country. The financial industry which is now swilling at the public trough has been eating alive a nation that was once ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave.’”
- Richard C. Cook,


C.S. Lewis

“Let's pray that the human race never escapes from
Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere.”
- C.S. Lewis

Numbers, Big Numbers, Lots of Numbers!

“So, yesterday the media finally added up all the money and guarantees promised in all the alphabet soup programs in the past year. The tally? More than $7.7 trillion! And this morning we learn we get to add another $800 billion for a new total of $8.5 trillion! $8.5 trillion! How much money is that? Well, the 7th Day Economists say, "it's only a little more that half a year's GDP!"

And here's my response to that: Yes, but let's get out our calculators, shall we? Let's divide $8.5 trillion by the size of the entire population of the United States…

$8.5 trillion divided by 305,160,073 (current as of today) = $27,854 FOR EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN THE UNITED STATES.

For my family of four? That's $111,416! Let me ask you this? Can the average family support that debt? If the answer is no, where do you think this all ends? But wait, that's just the debts and obligations of the recent alphabet soup.

Now it's time to talk about the future obligations of Medicare and Social Security. Before I get into the numbers, YES, WE CAN simply eliminate those programs and make them go away. WILL WE? YES, WE CAN cut our military spending in half to get back within some level of sanity… after all, we do spend MORE MONEY ON OUR MILITARY THAN THE REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED. But WILL WE? And again, who is the insane one in this fantasy that unfortunately is no fantasy at all?

Conservatively our own government admits that the obligations of Medicare and Social Security add up to about $56 TRILLION with Social Security being the much smaller problem of the two at "only" about $10 Trillion. Heck, President Bush spent more than $13 trillion with one signature when he signed Medicare Part D into law! By the way, when others calculate these obligations, they come up with numbers as high as $100 trillion, but let's stick to the more conservative $56 trillion number, okay?

Now we're talking some serious numbers, 56 followed by twelve zeros. Do the math, that adds another $183,510 for every man, woman, and child in the United States!! Add that figure to the previous and now we are up to $246,332 for every person or $985,328 for my family of four.

Here's a chart showing the liabilities of the household sector. In other words, personal debts.Gee, that's a BIG number and yet another parabolic chart! That would be about $14,000,000,000,000! Count the zeros, YEP, that's 14 more trillion that the people of the United States are obligated for. Guess what, it's the same 305 million people who owe it all. That's another $45,901 for every person, bringing the total now to $292,233 per person.

Now, let's talk about corporate debt. Yes, the same 305 million people are ultimately responsible for corporate debt too. Their debts, like all debts can be repaid in two and only two ways. Below is the latest chart from the Fed… oops, they stopped keeping track of the number back in 2002, gee, I wonder why? And note that it doesn't include the debts of the financial sector!! What is the shape of that chart? Oh yeah, it's parabolic too! Let's just be ultra-conservative and go with the figure on the chart. That's another $3.3 trillion in debts or about $10,820 per person.

This brings the total debt in America up to an astonishing $303,053 per person, or $1,212,212 for my family and every other family of four in America. Can the average American family support this debt AND continue to produce enough to make headway? The answer is clearly NO! The average American family cannot even service the INTEREST on their portion of the debt, let alone pay for food and clothing on top of it.

Now, you will say that there may be overlapping debts in there and that, ha ha, we might even "make money" on the crap the Fed is taking in (ha, ha, good one), and you say, that that figure includes futures obligations that the government will simply choose not to pay in the future. Okay, cut the figure in half… it's still completely unmanageable! The math simply doesn't work.

You can argue that we can grow our way out of it all you want, but math does not lie. The rules of economics are immutable, just as are the rules of physics and math.

I love America – it pains me greatly to see it and everyone suffer. I certainly do not enjoy passing along such gloom, but until we remove our collective brains from the Alice in Wonderland world in which we are currently living, real change cannot come. It is those who falsely claim to love her while they simultaneously rape and rob her that deserve your IRE.”- dossman,

Happy Thanksgiving, America...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"What's It Worth To You?"

“We’re expected from childhood to strive to increase our worth - through being a good student, playing by the rules “contributing” to our society, Being a “good parent”, “good daughter”, “good citizen”, i.e. not operating outside of the cultural boundaries which ensure we’ll never look up, from the day of birth to the day of death, and really see the Machine.

Just look around you and try to evaluate the
ways you’re being encouraged to be worthy.

Advertising/Marketing is a pervasive evil message that we don’t quite measure up, can never measure up, to the ideal standards being portrayed in glossy mag and screaming billboard. But you knew that.

Look at our relationships and the words we use to describe them, often: “he wasn’t good enough for me”, “she was more trouble than she was worth”, “this was a valuable partnership”. Then ask yourself: valuable to whom? Good enough in terms of what?

Are we so used to evaluating everything in economic terms
that we put prices on interrelationships, too? Of course we do.
When it's the relationship itself which is the thing,
not its value on some hierarchically determined scale.

A human or nonhuman animal, mineral or vegetable is not
defined in terms of its worth to another – or shouldn’t be, rather.

We have no price. Price is an insane concept born of a society
which thinks wealth is the name of the game.

We are. We have been. We shall be. World without end.”

- Aquila ka Hecate,