Tag Archives: debt

Is Debt Good?

I don’t understand how anyone can believe debt is good.  Certainly bankers believe other peoples’ debt to them is good.  It is a means of control.  But debt to anyone restricts freedom.  No country can claim freedom if it’s in debt.  Even the US government’s presumed debt to the Federal Reserve implies obligations.  The US Constitution–as an economic document enslaving taxpayers to the federal government–reveals itself more clearly as this economic drama plays out.  The US monetary system is based on debt, essentially to the Federal Reserve, which creates money out of thin air to lend to the US government at interest, based on appropriations by Congress. The Fed has no obligation to the federal government except to keep this fraud going.  The federal government has no obligation to taxpayers, except the ones it tells taxpayers they need or want, like military “defense.”  It presumes a right to collect taxes on every transaction and has a monopoly (which it has delegated to the Fed) on the currency it considers legitimate.  Franklin D. Roosevelt made using gold as currency illegal.

The debt-backed dollar creates an upside-down system with perverted incentives to spend beyond one’s means and live in perpetual debt, just like the government.  The debilitating outcome is wasteful spending that leads to over-expanding the money supply, “create jobs” and otherwise bloat the federal government’s reach, without adding anything of value.

There are warnings that this “debt bubble” will soon burst, even though “the economy” continues to “expand.”  By “expansion” the fortune tellers on the payroll most probably are relying on interest rates, stock prices, reported corporate profits, low rates of unemployment, and “consumer” spending.  Meanwhile, “predictors” of recession include the “inverted yield curve,” in which the yield on 10-year treasuries is lower than that on three-month ones.  Who would tie up their money for ten years under that scenario? Maybe the purchasers don’t need their money or expect to need it anytime soon.  Are they expecting deflation?  Is a recession merely deflation?  Isn’t deflation good for people who have more money than debt?

As long as I’m exploding myths, like the one that inflation is good and expected (if you’re a debtor, like the government), or that an “expanding economy” and “economic growth” are desirable. I contest the general assumption that government spending—especially deficit spending—is good for “the economy.”  The excuse is that it creates jobs, but the underlying purpose is to widen and deepen the tax base.  In order to get “consumers” to spend, you must put money in their pockets, or a semblance of money that can be used to pay taxes, and keep the money wheel spinning.

So people work make-work jobs to get fake money and “benefits” to buy cheap plastic junk made by slave labor in China to pay tariffs to the government that maintains its crop of economic slaves to cater to the Fed and Wall Street.  The bankers lick their chops and conspire to create more mayhem and destruction so that they can invent more money to create even more artificial need for themselves.

The US government’s brain child, the Machiavellian first Treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton, must be well satisfied by now, because the masses really have been put in their place, except it’s not working.  The latest way for the poor to take advantage of the rich is to become so disabled that they can’t even work, so require more for upkeep than the rich can afford (or want to afford), and they won’t go to war, as in the good ole days, or be considerate enough to die off by disease.  Instead, they burden the “health care industry” with their chronic diseases obtained from living in this “wealthy,” industrialized nation that can afford to saturate the land, water, and air with fat, other oils, and their waste.  We’re having trouble starting wars, although we’re trying.  Big bad China has the nerve to sell more than it buys and is ganging up with our other enemies, like Russia, to provoke us into using our war toys and selling them to all our fair-weather friends.

Collapse of the debt bubble may be the best thing that could happen to the country and the world.

 

 

Reflections: “Open Veins of Latin America”

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December 1, 2016

Seven years ago this month, I finished reading Open Veins of Latin America:  Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, by Eduardo Galeano.  This superb 1971 work of investigative journalism is the book that then Venezualan leader Hugo Chavez gave President Barack Obama.

I’ve been keeping journals in one form or another throughout my life.  I chose this seven-year interval to show how events do grow on themselves, and issues never die.  They merely change form.

Now we have the death last week of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who was simpatico with Chavez.  We have the recent ousting of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff by a political coup, which was vehemently protested by the popular electorate.  Social upheaval around the world reflects the troubles in Latin America, yet the strategies used by the power brokers remain the same.

Open Veins reveals how the game has been played and how it continues to be played.  What follows is only a partial set of notes from my reading, but it summarizes the book’s overall message.

OPEN VEINS OF LATIN AMERICA, EDUARDO GALEANO, 1971

            The early part of the book, Open Veins of Latin America, depicts how Spanish conquistadors raped South America of gold and silver in the 1600s.  They enslaved the Incas and other natives to do their dirty work.  Priests soon followed and continued the tyranny, shaming the locals for being un-Christian and forcing them to work in the mines as penance..

The middle pages of Open Veins depict the violence and social repression brought by the foreign money exporters  They used and use local governments to protect heir “investments.”  The same story occurs over and over, under different cloaks, whether cacao, coffee, rubber, cotton, or bananas.

The oligarchies control the land, with the help of government.  Government gets its cut in the form of taxes and job security.  Peasants are paid in subsistence wages if they are lucky.  Monoculture of produce for export displaces food production for locals, and malnutrition is common.

The book shows how prices are manipulated on Wall St., how US surpluses dumped in other countries are “foreign aid” drops prices for local economies, and the peasants are the first to suffer.

I thought about how this book shows the same methods the robber barons used in the book by that name.  Confessions of an Economic Hit Man also comes to mind.  I thought the advantages of TV and the worldwide communication network is exposing the barbarian plunderers like never before.  No wonder the world hates the US, but we learned our methods from the British, who are no more civilized than they were when they were Angles and Saxons.

Their arrogance and ours knows no bounds, apparently, because they and we continue to get away with it. It also provides more evidence for my hypothesis that government and property rights are the problem.  Land can’t be owned, not really, but property rights and government are two sides of the same coin.

Reading Open Veins tells me others are aware of the tactics used by the exploiters and have been writing about them a long time.  Open Veins was first published in 1971, 36 years ago, as many investigative books were.  The clamp down on journalists since then has been subtle, a mere matter of monopolizing news sources and publishers the way United Fruit monopolized the Latin American banana market.

The governments change, but the methods are the same around the world.  Those who claim the land have all the rights, as long as others believe in property rights.

I believe the land claims its people.  I feel claimed by this property and am unconcerned about how I will hold on to it.  It will hold on to me, I figure, because it knows a valuable human sacrifice when it supports one.

In Open Veins, as everywhere, the oppressors succeed by dividing and conquering, by pitting people against each other, controlling food and water sources.

Why, you might wonder.

It is the folly of the testosterone poisoned, I claim.  They think oppression increases profits.  They aren’t free market capitalists, who know oppression is bad for business.  You want to keep your work force strong, healthy and happy, because they will work harder for you out of gratitude.

When you’re an absentee landlord, as so many of the latifundio owners are, it’s easy to pretend ignorance of the injustice perpetrated in your name.  But how much can they enjoy all that ill-gotten wealth, knowing they did nothing to earn it and most live in fear of those they exploit?

In the US, people are TV-educated, at least, and able to get different versions of the exploitation game.  US residents know they are being exploited, but they aren’t sure who’s pulling the strings.

You are, Joe and Josie Taxpayer, as long as you put up with it.

Open Veins  tells other stories of governments colluding with investors, primarily British bankers in the 1850s, to rape and pillage their countries’ natural resources, including their people, all for exports.

Because no one values the contribution of human capital, not even those like Eduardo Galeano, the author, books like Open Veins miss the point.  It correctly implicates foreign investors, governments, and bankers, as well as the established oligarchies in the various Latin American countries, but it blames the dictators rather than the social conventions that allow dictators to grow and flourish.

Open Veins alludes to the guano on the coast of Peru, left by centuries of seagulls and pelicans, discovered and plundered in a few short years to replenish nutrient-starved wheat fields in Europe.  The Peruvians destroyed the gull and pelican habitats by overtaking, effectively killing the goose that laid their golden eggs.  Meanwhile, the technique for fixing atmospheric nitrogen was developed, and the guano industry died overnight.

Galeano provides example after example of corruption, revolution, unstable governments all at the mercy of British and American governments and corporations.  Over the centuries the plundered resources have changed, but the methods remain the same.  Gold and later other minerals.  Tin, copper, iron, silver.

I’ve read about the oil in Venezuela and the oil cartel controlled by Rockefeller interests.

No wonder Chavez wanted Obama to read it, and no wonder Obama won’t do it.  But how many other people will?

Americans provide the markets for these treasures, but Americans are insulated from the real costs through price fixing, labor exploitation, and tax advantages.  Gas costs more in some of the producing areas than in the US.  The developed countries, like Britain and the US, control the refineries and the mills, usually locating them at home, where labor is paid multiple what the disenfranchised Latin American labor gets.

America and the world have been suckered into overusing oil to support the oil cartel, and they continue to waste it in the name of quick profits and unacknowledged long term costs.  Galeano notes that oil supplies the war machines, a fact I haven’t seen substantiated anywhere else.

Americans don’t want to see their part in all this.  If they do, they compensate by giving money to charities or support social programs on pseudo-philanthropic entities like the Ronald McDonald’s houses at hospitals.

Open Veins, like The Robber Barons, astounds me with its details, its voluminous research, its insight into the methods used through Latin American history to degrade and oppress people.  While the Spanish and the Catholic Church initiated the devastation, the British institutionalized it, especially when industrialization began.  The industrial centers became black holes for raw materials, including human capital to produce it, but the raw goods never garnered the prices of the finished products, and the Brits conveniently dominated the finished product industry.

The Brits bought and sold Latin American governments, used them to fight each other—such as the Triple Alliance against Paraguay and its leader/dictator, Francisco Solano Lopez, who was dangerously independent, building Paraguay’s internal economy with foreign debt.  The British bankers—Bank of London, Barings, and Rothschild—couldn’t stand it.  They financed Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay to wage war against Paraguay, effectively broke up Paraguay, and bloodied everyone involved, as well as indebting them and ravaging the country, then collected in London from all sides.

I’m amazed at the wealth of detailed information in Open Veins.  It substantiates everything in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man about how the US government and corporations work in foreign countries, all with banker help, of course.  In Open Veins, the International Monetary fund and governments of Latin American countries collude to export money out of the countries under the guise of helping them.  Galeano pegs Wall Street as the center of the vortex, as I have 40 years later.

            Open Veins was powerful.  Galeano ends by saying that more revolution is coming, but he does this without conviction.  He sees the foreign investors and banks as having won the economic wars.  The masses, he believes, are too beaten down to fight back.

Debt is the trap for these countries, as everywhere.  I believe these countries should not feel obligated to honor debt assumed by dictators who were subsequently deposed.  That’s why they were deposed. Governments are not like buildings, tangible assets that can be repossessed.  No.  Governments are paper shells, here today and gone tomorrow, leaving their works like corpses behind.

Governments are primarily economic entities, and this is where Galeano stumbles.  Politically, he needs to blame the corporations, knowing full well the enemy lies within, because the corps couldn’t do their damage if Latin American governments didn’t provide the keys, the prisons, and the armed guards to keep the masses under control.  In 1978 he wrote that his book was banned in several countries.  If he had questioned the validity of the debt assumed by these dictators, and the US/corporate players, he would not have lived to write the 1978 revision.

Of course, as usual, I am the only person on the planet who understands that the debt is illusory.  It is all uncollectible.  It is government who has enslaved the populace, here as well as elsewhere, and the populace will remain slaves as long as they believe they need masters.

Galeano doesn’t question the value of the technology and machinery these countries are acquiring at such great cost.  He has been seduced, like others, into believing this junk represents progress.  He sees this struggle between rich and poor—especially foreign rich—when I see more and more the imbalance between rural and urban.

 

 

The Cosmic Improv Group initiates Dr. Kathorkian’s Robber Baron Knitting School*

Humor/satire:  Cosmic Improv Group Series

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by Dr. Kathorkian
an alter ego of katharineotto.planetearth.ind
and katharineotto.wordpress.com

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 – In the Cosmic Commune everyone is just plain folks, so it isn’t unusual for John D. Rockefeller or JP Morgan, Sr. to visit, even though they remain uncomfortable in a place where everyone ignores their pretensions.  People laugh at JP’s temper tantrums, and servants poof out of his employ when he throws food at them.

JP Morgan appreciates my willingness to be seen in public with him, because I am so civilized.  He wants to learn how to knit.

Really?  Go buy your own knitting needles, yarn, book, and other paraphernalia, and I’ll begin to believe you’re serious.

He says he’ll do better than that.  He’ll find a group of investors to buy a knitting needle manufacturer, a couple of sheep farms, and a publishing house.  He’ll get them to buy up all the cotton farms, too, so we can make more cotton yarn.

I say thanks, anyway.  Just learn how to knit, first, and maybe you’ll know something about the businesses you’re investing other people’s money in.

I can hear JD Rockefeller chuckling on the other side of the honeysuckle hedge.  I even get a partial smile from JP, and the hint of a twinkle in his eye.  Andy Carnegie says nothing, but I can feel his intense energy and interest.  He’s seeing a market for steel knitting needles.  JD, of course, sees a future in plastic knitting needles and acrylic, but I tell him up front that plastic and acrylic are low-yield investments for knitters.  I know he wants to sell cheap petroleum products, because no one can afford to drive, but give this knitter natural fibers and metal needles, and you can sell your transparent petroleum scam elsewhere.  Individuals need gas for power tools and other tools of survival, tools they can afford without going into debt.

JP becomes upset when I say this, but I tell him to stuff it.  Debt is what got us into this mess, and it’s your fault.  People can’t be free if they are in debt.  If you’re not free, you can’t have a democracy.

He threatens to leave.  I tell him that’s fine, but I’m not invalidating his job or career.  Banks still have a role to play in the Cosmic Commune, but banks need to reestablish their own credit and credibility.  By helping people learn how to manage money and get out of debt, both banks and taxpayers prosper.  You don’t get value for money with promises, whether from bank notes, insurance, or government, so don’t take it personally.  I’m a “pay as I go” kind of person, as I am immortal and a very lazy, selfish soul who enjoys freedom.

A financial debt is a karmic debt that must be paid sooner or later.  If I pay up front, I keep the books balanced at all times, unless I am tricked or otherwise maneuvered into untenable positions.

Cut losses, say I.  Whoever obtains money from me under false pretenses has his own karmic debt to pay.  Cutting losses buys my freedom from dishonesty.

So, I tell JP he looks good if he comes clean, to a certain extent, and recognizes that a debt-backed currency steals from the present to invest in an unpredictable future.  JP appears to take this in.  He doesn’t respond.  I go back to work.

After awhile, he looks up and asks me to show him how to knit.  I demonstrate the moss stitch, saying the knit and purl stitches are the foundation for all knitting patterns.  The technique is easy, but the strings of possibilities extend in all directions.

He asks if he can try, and I hand him my work. He makes clumsy efforts, drops a needle, then begins to get upset because stitches fall off, and yarn is getting tangled around his feet.

I tell him to sit still.  “Do not move,” I say.  “I’ll rescue my knitting and you in the process.”

So I grab the work before he loses too many stitches, untangle the yarn, and stow it all away for repair later.

I hear Andy chuckling, and even JD has risen and come around the honeysuckle hedge, grinning, to watch JP knit.  JP looks sheepish, but he is also puffing up his chest, as if he has accomplished something significant.

“It takes as much skill to be a good knitter as banker,” I tell him.  “A good banker can’t afford to lose credibility with his customers, because credit is his product line, just as knitters make socks.”

JP lights a cigar, and I poof up some wind to blow smoke away from the table and us.  I make it a light breeze, just enough to rustle leaves on the plants a little, to help them sing.

All three Robber Barons look astounded.  I don’t make a big deal out of asking the wind for help, but they glance at each other and me and begin to wonder what besides knitting I can teach them.

They also begin plotting how they can control the wind for profit.  I see them operating in boardrooms and Congress to build huge wind turbines, manipulating public resources with their misguided motives.

“You don’t control the wind,” I tell them.  “The wind is free.”  I say it will go where it will.  It only does your bidding if you approach it respectfully and in a cooperative spirit.  Ask the leaves on the trees to intercede, better to energize them into a flutter and explore their greater environments.

JP’s eyes begin to glaze over, and I realize I’ve said enough.

Fast forward to next day, and all three Robber Barons have bought expensive knitting needles, yarn – gold yarn by JP – and pattern books galore.  Andy wants to knit an Irish sweater, with complicated cables, and Scottish wool.  JP wants to make a vest out of gold thread.  JD wants a bright red crew neck sweater, simple but big, but he’s having trouble deciding between that and a pair of argyle socks.

While out shopping, they also bought a few knitting stores, textile manufacturers, farms, and other knitting tools.  Andy bought another shipping line.

The knitters are hot to trot, vying with each other to dominate knitting.  I try not to show my amusement, because so far, not one of them knows how to cast on the first stitch.

Meanwhile, they have brought so much stuff to the table that there’s no room to spread out, so I poof us a larger table and conjure up a coffee stand for me, to avoid spilling my coffee and damaging their stuff.

I suggest they start by knitting a swatch, and I try to show them how to cast on.  Andy catches on quicker than the others, because he grew up working with his hands and has more manual dexterity.

JD, who has now joined the table, sits next to JP.  Both have large hands and are clumsy, but JD manages to cast on 20 stitches first, then starts jostling JP’s elbow. This makes JP drop a needle and lose more stitches.  He explodes in rage and tosses everything on the ground.

By now we’ve drawn a crowd, and everyone starts to twitter and point fingers.  JP blushes and poofs himself away, leaving his assets behind.

*Inspired by The Robber Barons, Matthew Josephson, 1934, 1962

 

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Dr. Jekyll visits Bethesda

The Creature from Jekyll Island: Notes and Thoughts

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The Creature from Jekyll Island:  A Second Look at the Federal Reserve
by G. Edward Griffin, first published 1994.
Notes and Thoughts on the first three chapters.

           The Creature from Jekyll Island is astounding in its implications.  It reveals that the money lending game is essentially between banks, with debt fueling the pump.  Powered by individual as well as government debt taken on in  taxpayers’ names, it makes me wonder whether unborn taxpayers can be obligated by federal debt.  Also, if the Fed were abolished, might all this artificial debt cancel itself out?

The book starts with a cameo of a secret meeting on Jekyll Island, Georgia, in 1910 that led to the Federal Reserve Act in 1913.  Nelson Aldrich, Senator from Rhode Island and father-in-law to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., hosted the private rail trip for six other movers and shakers in the banking and finance industries.  These men were to arrive at the train station separately, go by first names only, and say they were going duck hunting.  The regular staff at JP Morgan’s Jekyll Island Club was given a vacation.  Carefully selected others served the men while they were there.

The men were: 1.  Aldrich, who was also Republican “whip” in the Senate, chair of the National Monetary Commission, and a business associate of J. P. Morgan; 2.  Abraham Piatt Andrew, Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury;  3.  Frank A. Vanderlip, president of the National City Bank of New York, the most powerful bank at the time, and representing William Rockefeller and the international investment banking house of Kuhn, Loeb, and Company;  4.  Henry P. Davison, senior partner at JP Morgan Company;  5.  Charles D. Norton, president of JP Morgan’s First National Bank of New York;  6.  Benjamin Strong, head of JP Morgan’s Trust Company;  7.  Paul M. Warburg, partner in Kuhn Loeb and Company, a member of the Rothschild banking dynasty in England and France, and brother of Max Warburg, head of the Warburg banking consortium in Germany and the Netherlands.

When Griffin says the Fed creates money out of nothing, he is not entirely accurate.  Rather, the Fed creates debt out of nothing to lend to Congress and calls it money, because it is backed by congressional promises of future taxpayer earnings (through the income tax, established earlier the same year, 1913).  The incredible credit is then passed off as currency, and no one is the wiser.

Until now.  The lie continues that US taxpayers are obligated by congressional guarantees, but we are not morally obligated to pay that debt.  Unfortunately, since their strategy has included putting everyone on the payroll—in one form or another—everyone is implicated in the scam and terrified of its inevitable unraveling.

Obviously the easiest solution is for individuals to get out of debt.  When debts are paid off, the money vanishes into the red hole it came from, the money supply shrinks, and deflation gives everyone except banks, debtors, and governments—the biggest debtors of all–more buying power.

Griffin gives a good summary at the end of each chapter, thereby simplifying this 600 page tome.

Chapter 1:  “The Journey to Jekyll Island” tells how the skeleton of the Federal Reserve System was worked out at Jekyll Island in 1910 by RI Senator Nelson Aldrich and six other men representing the most powerful banking interests in the Western world.  These included US banks under JP Morgan and John D. Rockefeller; English and French banks under Kuhn, Loeb and Company, representing Rothschild interests in Europe; and Germany and Netherlands banks by the powerful Warburg family.

Author Griffin refers to it as a banking cartel, in which powerful competitors align to prevent other competition and use the government’s police power to enforce their monopoly.  Griffin hints without actually saying that descendants of these five banking dynasties still control the Fed.  These are Morgan, Rockefeller, Rothschild, Warburg, and Kuhn-Loeb.

He says the Jekyll Island meeting had five objectives:  1. Stop the growing competition from the nation’s other banks;  2.  Obtain a franchise to create money through debt;  3.  Get control of all the banks’ reserves so the more reckless ones would not be exposed to currency drains and bank runs;  4.  Get taxpayers to cover the cartel’s losses;  5.  Convince Congress the purpose was to protect the public.

Chapter 2:  “The Name of the Game is Bailout.”  The crucial point is that all the money created through the banking system since the Federal Reserve Act is backed only by debt, primarily by Congress’ obligating taxpayers’ future earnings.  A defaulted loan, thereby, costs the bank little in tangible value.  Therefore, the goal is to continue receiving interest on the loan by lending more (future) money to cover it.  This is especially true with large loans.  With extremely large loans the cartel gets the federal government to guarantee the loan, should the borrower default.  If this tactic fails and the bank is forced into insolvency, the FDIC is used to pay off depositors.  Small banks pay disproportionately for this “insurance” and are least likely to be bailed out, should disaster hit.

Because money is created out of nothing for the purpose of lending, huge sums are dispersed through the economy, devaluing the existing currency and causing inflation.

Griffin does not say that the income tax, passed earlier in the same year, 1913, was the funding source by which the federal government would pay perpetual interest to the Fed on the national debt.  This method mirrored the 1790-1791 creation of the whiskey tax and the nation’s first central bank, a double whammy on taxpayers, devised by Alexander Hamilton and George Washington.  (This from Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, 2004)

Chapter 3:  “Protectors of the Public.”  This chapter gives multiple examples of previous federal bailouts, beginning with Penn Central in 1970, Lockheed in 1970, the Commonwealth Bank of Detroit in 1974, New York City in 1975, Chrysler in 1978, the First Pennsylvania Bank of Philadelphia in 1979, and Chicago’s Continental Illinois in 1982.  Continental was the first electronic bank run.  It was the nation’s seventh largest bank at the time, with $42 billion in assets, with multiple loans out to high-risk business ventures and foreign governments.  Here the Federal Reserve becomes the “lender of last resort,” meaning it creates money out of nothing to cover, in this case, $4.5 billion in bad loans, and passing costs on to taxpayers in the form of inflation.

And this book has 26 chapters.  Stay tuned . . .

 

 

 

“We don’t intend to honor patents”

In my wildest dreams, I envision Fidel and Raul Castro refusing to honor foreign patents.  Think of it:  dream dirt, fertilized by oxen and horses since the USSR collapsed in 1991.  Cuba lost its oil source and its sugar market at the same time.  Cubans almost starved, so Fidel invested in the improvements necessary to life:  food and health care.  As a result, he has grown generations of healthy, self-sufficient individuals.

Because of ongoing US spitefulness, in the form of trade embargos, torturing operations, and general scapegoating, Cubans have been forced to remain stuck in time, before tools were made of plastic, before bulldozers and pavement planted thermals in over-heated cities.

Much to United States’ embarrassment, the Castro team has proved that Cuba can survive and prosper without US help.

Hahaha.  Well, if Cuba refused to honor foreign patents, Monsanto and Dow/Dupont’s stockholders would poop in their pants.  Patents are hot commodities, a bloodfest for lawyers, who win either way the FDA blows.  I’ve read that up to 80% of America’s corn is already mutated, so the time for labeling is long past.  Just assume it’s patented food until otherwise proven.

Cuba could then thumb its nose at the FDA, whose nose is up its ass.  (I know this because FDA recommendations stink.  I’m horrified at the succession of FDA-launched food scares, intentional panic-creation with too little or misleading information.)

Beware the patent industry, is all I gotta say to the Castros’ Communal Capitalists, who believe the product is its own patent.  Let the lawyers and government do the paperwork on their own time.

Also, don’t let them trap you into debt.  Eminent domain all foreign assets, including Guantanamo Bay, and especially assets held by corporations like Pfizer, Walmart, and McDonalds.  Use the reclaimed land to pay off any debt, then party with unpatented drugs, and drink to everyone’s health and wealth.

The more I think of it, the better it sounds.  As America drowns in its environmental toxins, it continues to churn out more of them, with no thought of tomorrow.  I think about the growing cesspool of “unintended consequences” now.  I also hate seeing deformed birds, strangled porpoises, and sickly babies that “progress” (downhill fast) is bleeding us to pay for.  Cuba is relatively plastic and packaging free, I hope, at least so far.  Let’s hope they can keep it that way.

Cuba:  A New History, by British journalist Richard Gott, was published in 2004.  I reviewed it on this blog 10/22/15.

In 2005, Harpers‘ published “The Cuba Diet: What will you be eating when the revolution comes?”, by Bill McKibben, April, 2005.  The following month, the ecologist came out with  “Cuba: Health Without Wealth,”  by Brendon Sainsbury, June, 2005.

 

Spotlight Therapy “You ask questions.”

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I dreamed awhile back that I was in a public meeting about the latest GoverCorp outrage (take your pick). I took my characteristic Spotlight Therapy stance, which involves turning the lights on to reveal triangulation tactics.

Afterwards, a 20s-something minority female, eyes shining, came up to thank me. “What for,” I replied. “I don’t accomplish anything.”

“Yes, you do.” she said. “You ask questions.”

“Triangulation” is a term applied to the strategy of playing both ends against the middle. You don’t confront the enemy directly, but go for things that are important to him.  When you turn the lights on, the previously hidden manipulators are exposed.

When the dot.com bubble burst on March 10, 2000, my stock value suddenly shrank below my mortgage debt. At that time I was naïve and inexperienced.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have sold the stock before the bubble burst and paid off the mortgage.  Instead, I trusted a banker and stockbroker who I thought worked for me.  They wiped me out instead.

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I believe it was intentional. This sounds paranoid, but the financial setback started me on a reading tangent that validated my suspicions.  Books like Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, The Robber Barons, The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, Supercapitalism, Wealth of Nations, Alexander Hamilton, The Whiskey Rebellion, and None Dare Call it Conspiracy,* to name a few—as well as the US Constitution–opened my eyes, and I was horrified.  These writings revealed how boom and bust cycles are created on purpose to consolidate wealth and political power in the hands of relatively invisible insiders.

Desperate people are capable of desperate acts, to save themselves. Perhaps my banker and stockbroker were feeling the squeeze before the bubble actually burst, and trying to save their own skins.

But the practice of trapping individuals and nations in debt has a long history. It gives the lender—the presumed lender, anyway—a strategic advantage in terms of control.  Often the presumed lender, like a bank, is lending other people’s money, called “leverage.” Newspapers like the Wall Street Journal regularly inform their readers how many billions this or that hedge fund or individual controls.

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This is triangulation in action. Between the stock market and the mortgage market, individual wealth has been gutted by seemingly random events.  Don’t believe it.  Spotlight the Federal Reserve, the “lender of last resort,” which has no wealth of its own.  It creates money out of thin air to “lend” to the federal government, which then disburses it to pay bills and fight wars.  This from The Creature from Jekyll Island, which explains the history of money and banking.  It also reveals the secret beginnings of the Federal Reserve Act, which essentially put Congress in the debt-creation business, to trap taxpayers in un-repayable debt until the sun burns out.  In other words, the dollar is backed only by government promises to pay.

Now anyone who trusts government promises deserves to suffer, and those who believe the government has the right to promise unborn taxpayers’ future earnings, in order to repay the Fed for its fiat money “loans,” is living in LaLa Land.

taxarrow0406 What Creature does not say is that the income tax was also initiated in 1913, two months before the Federal Reserve Act, in order to guarantee perpetual interest income to the Fed.  The precedent for this double whammy was set by first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton introduced legislation for the Whiskey Tax and the first US central bank December 13 and 14th in 1790, for the same purpose—ostensibly to pay off Revolutionary War debts, but also to provide a vehicle for trapping the fledgling nation in a bottomless barrel of new debt.

In my case, debt would force me to work in a career I had come to detest, to feed the absentee bosses and other middlemen, who work behind the scenes to call the shots, yet take no personal risks.

These days, you can’t get away from news reports, politicians, and “economists,” who are bemoaning the state of “the economy,” the need to “create jobs,” and concerns about unstable stock markets and central banks around the world. The hidden truth behind all this hand-wringing is, as Ron Paul has tried to say, “The US is bankrupt.”  (His book End the Fed, is also well worth reading.)

It appears the balance has begun to shift, because everyone–individuals, corporations, and government—is maxed out on credit. Bills are coming due, without resources to pay.  As the Boomer generation (that’s me), approaches retirement, and Social Security payments can’t keep up with expenses, Boomers are withdrawing money from the stock market to make ends meet.  At the other end of the earning spectrum, the millennials are dealing with student debt, credit card debt, automobile debt, and maybe mortgages, too. Not only are there fewer of them than of seniors, but they don’t have money to invest in the stock market.

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But what’s good for “the economy” is bad for individuals. The “strong dollar,” is hurting exports, meaning Josie Taxpayer’s dollar has more buying power at home. Percentage-wise, she pays less in taxes, too.  This “deflation” that terrifies the money churners could have the effect of grounding the dollar at home, where it belongs.  Also, as people get out of debt–whether paying it off, writing it off, declaring bankruptcy, or walking away–the inflated money supply shrinks even more.  Interest on debt, as well as inflation (a “hidden tax,” according to Creature), reduce the buying power of the money. This is great for people who have no debt, and bad for “the economy,” which now is $19 trillion in debt, equal to the gross domestic product.

For example, on Thursday, February 18, 2016, The New York Times ran an article entitled “Oil Price Soars and Shares Rise.”  The assumption by the NYT and Wall Street Journal is that what’s good for stocks and raises prices is good for America.

This false assumption becomes easier to understand when you realize a goodly portion of America is heavily invested in stocks through “retirement benefits” like pension plans, including public pension plans. Hedge fund and pension fund managers can make significant waves in the stock market by moving those large pots of money around.  “Investors,” then, are not primarily the wealthy “one percent” that the public has been taught to hate.

“Investors” are the groups and individuals who make their money through managing other people’s money, people they assume want the greatest value for their money. Only trouble is, the most profitable stocks are issued by some of the most unscrupulous companies, often those with incestuous ties to the government, and are beneficiaries of large, cushy government contracts.

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As is my habit—and one of my favorite pastimes–I underlined and scribbled in the margins of the above-mentioned article. Here, we are informed that stocks climbed the previous day as “investors clung to hope for an international deal” to cut production.  “The price of oil rose sharply, as did the stocks of major energy companies like Chevron.”

“Who benefits by raising oil prices?” I wrote.  I know the State of Georgia benefitted mightily by low oil prices last summer, as Governor Deal signed a six-cent gas tax increase as soon as oil prices fell.  Now, the State of Georgia can expect even more tax revenues.  Already the accumulated excise and sales taxes on gasoline amount to over 50% of the customer cost.

Who is the greatest consumer of oil and gas? I don’t know for sure, but I believe it’s the military, which probably doesn’t pay the taxes and competes for the oil.  I applaud anyone who wants to research that.

When the NYT repeated that “investors’” hope for an “international deal that will cap or cut production,” I commented it doesn’t matter, as demand remains low.  I also asked if this “deal” to cut production also applies to US offshore well drilling, new oil pipelines, fracking, and other domestic eco-rape.

 

We are told that Chevron and Hess profited. We are also told that Kinder Morgan gained, too, on the news that Warren Buffet has acquired a 1.2 percent stake.

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Now Texas-based Kinder Morgan is a loaded kettle of fish. Founded by Richard Kinder, of Enron fame, it is in the process of appealing the state of Georgia’s denial of eminent domain for its Palmetto Pipeline.  Governor Deal did something right, for a change, when he denied Kinder Morgan’s request.  This would have set a dangerous precedent for publicly traded corporations to use state government to seize private property for a pittance.  Not only are oil prices low, and sales slow, but the pipeline is planned to run through 210 miles of coastal Georgia and to affect 396 landowners across 12 counties, only to transport gasoline, diesel, ethanol, and natural gas to the Savannah, Brunswick, and Jacksonville ports for export.  Kinder Morgan also expects to drastically enlarge its liquid natural gas storage facility on the Savannah River.  Meanwhile on the opposite side of the continent, Kinder Morgan is trying to trample Native American Tl’azt’en Nation’s native hunting and fishing lands in British Columbia.

I congratulate anyone who wants to investigate Kinder Morgan’s ethics and stock investors. I’m especially interested in public pension investments in Kinder Morgan, as well as its customers Marathon Oil and Marathon Petroleum, among others.  Remember that everyone in the decision-making “pipeline” from governor to judges to legislators and the United States Congress, state and federal levels of the Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Division, Department of Natural Resources—and the military—have taxpayer-funded pensions handled by managers for whom there is no bottom line—if they can get taxpayers to subsidize profits.

 

I abandoned Wall Street in early 2008, when it continued to abandon me. I advise anyone who has more sense than money to do the same.  Also, as any stock broker might advise, “Sell high.”

 

 

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*Authors and publication dates are listed in a previous blog, “Sell the TV and Read.”

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Freedom, Democracy, and Capitalism

 

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Supercapitalism:  The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, Robert Reich, 2007

December, 2015–I read Robert Reich’s Supercapitalism:  The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, just after it was published in 2007, and posted the following commentary on my now defunct website in October of that year.  That was the month the “Great Recession” began, so the review, from a 2015 perspective, seems prophetic, given subsequent events.

I followed my own advice to abandon Wall Street for Main Street in January, 2008, after the value of my stock portfolio plunged below mortgage debt.  I used the money to pay down that debt and then devoted every available penny to become completely debt-free.

The following commentary links freedom, democracy, and capitalism by seeking to re-define “capitalism” as we know it.  Milton Friedman, in Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and Ayn Rand in Capitalism:  The Unknown Ideal (1967) both referred to “human capital,” but neither seemed to give “human capital” sufficient status.  I’m presenting my commentary here in its original form, posted when George Bush was still president, to remind readers of where we stood then and how events have grown from seeds sowed long ago.

Supercapitalism’s Crystal Ball Shatters:  The Future Has Arrived
October, 2007

Supercapitalism, by Robert Reich, shows the landscape of the enemy’s mind, and it is lifeless monotony.  Former President Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor trounces capitalism without bothering to define it, yet it’s clear he doesn’t understand the term.  This fatal omission turns the book’s intent upside down to make it a strong example in favor of the “democratic capitalism” he claims is dead.

Freedom, democracy, and capitalism are interrelated qualities only individuals can own or control.  The term “capitalism” has been assigned to those who would harness and control human capital, imperialists who know human capital is the only viable capital.  All other capital is derived from human effort or desire.

I make a career of using the wealth between my ears, my caput – the Latin word for “head” – to work for me.  Supercapitalism shows how amalgamated heads under corporate or government superstructures reduce thinking to the lowest common denominator.  No individual is responsible for the outcome.  That’s supercapitalism.

The word “capitalism” means using your head to generate income, to “capitalize” on available resources. In a truly capitalistic society, tax law would favor individual entrepreneurs and those who can be self-sufficient and perhaps hire and train others.

Human capital respects human dignity and works to create an expanding network of like-minded individuals.  Life is free.  You own your body and your mind. They are your most valuable assets.  No one can live your life but you, and you don’t have to sleep with anyone but yourself.  If you strive to make your life a work of art, and can earn a living doing it, you’ll have only yourself to thank.

In a genuine democracy—which has never really existed–the individual has all the rights, and the corporate structure has none.  Human capital, the only viable capital, assumes priority status, and gives credit where credit is due.  Capitalism within a democracy perpetually renews the individual’s vital self-directed role as a functioning member of a larger culture.

But if you are Mr. Reich, “democratic capitalism” has given way to the “supercapitalism” of “global supply chains.”  Get over it, he tells American customer-voter-citizen-taxpayers.  The supercapitalists are corporations, profit-making contractual arrangements, which have no obligation or responsibility to anyone except their shareholders.  Corporations are inhuman, and they have triumphed over you. They will not be curbed without more government, but politicians are crooked, too.  Nor can you trust the do-gooders, who also benefit from supercapitalism.  That’s progress.

Admittedly, we have social problems, Reich says.  We’re poisoning ourselves out of existence.  Natural resources, manufacturing, and jobs are leaving the country as fast as the supercapitalists can sell us out, but that’s not supercapitalism’s fault.  Supercapitalists are only responsible to the bottom line, and shame on you if you expect otherwise.

Reich doesn’t trace the source of “supercapitalism,” but consider these historical facts:  In 1910 an elite group of bankers, industrialists, and politicians, including investment banker J. Pierpont Morgan and Rhode Island Senator Nelson Aldrich, met secretly on Jekyll Island, Georgia, to engineer the creation of a central bank.  There they crafted the initial version of the Federal Reserve Act, which became law in 1913, and created a debt-backed currency, controlled by private bankers.

According to None Dare Call it Conspiracy, by Gary Allen (1971), “German born international financier Paul Warburg masterminded establishment of the Federal Reserve to put control of the international economy in hands of international bankers.  The Federal Reserve controls the money supply, which allows manipulators to create alternate cycles of boom and bust, i.e., a roller coaster economy.  This allows those in the know to make fabulous amounts of money, but even more important allows the Insiders to control the economy and further centralize the federal government.” p 65.

The income tax, also passed in 1913, guaranteed that American taxpayer income would pay perpetual interest on government borrowing. These two actions created the monster we now see as “supercapitalism,” economic slavery of debt-ridden America to the banks, industrialists, politicians, and their designated favorites.

This system requires ever-increasing debt to prop up the money’s presumed value, but Americans are maxed out on credit.  The banks have stretched the rules to make borrowing easier.  The Fed is fiddling with interest rates to insure its economic health, but the loans are backfiring, and the banks are stuck with tangible, costly assets that they can’t easily unload.   Even the “global supply chain” can’t make it cost-effective to export a piece of real estate to Japan, but electronic money is easily disbursed around the world at the flick of a keystroke.  If money is the bank’s only product, that money better be backed by something of real value, or the bank loses its relevance, and the global supply chain crumbles into a pile of broken links. This is the supercapitalist dilemma.

If Americans aren’t working, spending, and paying taxes, government income can’t keep up with obligations. It can’t repay the loans, or even interest on the loans.  The “consumers” aren’t consuming enough.  Bottom lines have suffered.

Former President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of  Labor touts Clinton solutions.  Under his scenario, government has the answer to everything.  More laws, more regulation, more oversight, more paperwork, more money. . . this is the Clinton team answer, but it does nothing to repair the sidewalks in Savannah.

But of course Clinton is no longer the worst president in American history.  Bush is the next logical progression in the supercapitalists’ slave trader tradition.  Unfortunately, “consumers” are overstuffed and have lost their appetites.  They are fed up.  The supercapitalists might have to start earning their income.  Their seemingly unlimited stable of revenue-producing taxpayers isn’t performing up to economists’ predictions. The money churners on Wall Street and the asset plunderers in Washington are lost in the never-never-land of money backed only by money, and nobody knows where the value went.

Reich talks about “consumer buying power.”  What you have, Joe and Josie Taxpayer, is “withholding power.”  Note the crammed retail shelves and store aisles.  Bad choices abound, as the products worth buying slyly disappear, only to re-appear later with new price and packaging. Hardly worth the walk from the parking lot, or the time spent in the check-out line. Bottom line is they can’t move all that cheap plastic junk made by slave labor in China, and overhead is tightening the designer nooses around their supercapitalist necks.

The term “consumer” insults “customers” and reveals the anachronistic, aristocratic mentality at the core of supercapitalist thinking. This seduces the individual customer-voter-citizen-taxpayer into believing she is receiver rather than giver of charity to government and industry, yet both depend on “customer” income for survival.

But, all taxes fall disproportionately on those who can least afford them.  These individuals—who pay the largest share of disposable income in taxes–suffer first and most severely if the delegated power is abused.

That’s why we should abolish corporate income taxes, Reich says on page 216 of his 225 page book.  Let those profits flow through to shareholders, who are individuals. He claims the corporate income tax rate is higher than what low-income shareholders would pay if it were reported as personal income instead.  He claims lower income shareholders and company employees are unfairly taxed by the current arrangement.

Reich neglects to mention that the megacorporate supercapitalists, inhuman as they are, leave giant footprints on the communities they trample.  The corporate income tax is a token acknowledgment of their superhuman presence within the environment and on the local infrastructure.  The bipartisan, concerted move to abolish corporate income taxes reveals the supercapitalists’ latest ploy to shift costs to neighbor-customer-citizen-voter-taxpayers, better to pad bottom lines and pretend they deliver more than they cost.

Large corporations thus export money and resources out of town while local communities bear the costs.  The small business person, the entrepreneur, is the capitalist who does not depend on government help, yet suffers more than anyone from the political favoritism granted through corporate contractual agreements.  The supercapitalist’s greatest competitor is the genuine capitalist, the individual, who is free to use her head to negotiate her way through local markets, the stock market, and life, whether as seller or buyer, giver or receiver.

In supercapitalist jargon, customer-voter-citizen-taxpayers are not free thinking individuals.  We are “consumers,” “covered lives,” “special-interest groups,” “minorities,” “the elderly,” “the poor,” identities encoded in numbers that can be stolen without a gun, and, by the way, the source of all the supercapitalists’ revenue, whether through product purchases or taxes.  Shareholders are also customer-voter-citizen-taxpayers, and as individuals and capitalists, they are free to buy or sell their stock at any time.

Our society exploits human capital and degrades itself by not appreciating the rich variety of its human talent.  Human capital can’t be owned, but it can be manipulated and controlled through force and deceit.  These tactics eventually fail, because they engender passive aggression and passive resistance that ultimately undermine the predator, to no one’s benefit.  This sadomasochistic dance is the enemy of capitalism, because no one profits in a power struggle.

“Consumer spending” accounts for two thirds of US revenues, and as “consumer spending” decreases, so do tax revenues, an unfortunate, unintended consequence of putting everybody out of work or on the public dole.

My take-home message from Supercapitalism, the bottom line, is this:  The so-called supercapitalists have painted themselves into a corner, and they are desperate. They couldn’t have grown to their current size without significant government help, at the expense of the customer-taxpayers who finance both sides.  But legislation and tax law favor large over small, and the group over the individual. This heavily weighted advantage is the opposite of capitalism, freedom, fair trade, and democracy.

The easiest way to shrink the supercapitalists’ overinflated self worth is to work less, earn less, consume less, spend less, drive less, waste less, want less, and pay less in taxes.  I could repair the sidewalks myself for what I pay in taxes, and if I quit working, I might have the time.

The “customer” is always right. Joe and Josie Taxpayer have the right not to spend, the right not to pay for products shoved down their throats.  Get out of debt.  Interest payments do not give value for money.  Do you think the international investment bankers—the most superior of supercapitalists—want you discovering you have better uses for your money than debt-plus-interest payments?  You think the government wants you to shrink it to a manageable level?  You, Joe and Josie Taxpayer, are the genuine capitalists in America. Your minds are more vital than any supercapitalist contractual agreement. Life is free.  It’s your choice how you spend it.

 

Journeys through Bookland: To Hell and Back

Straight to Hell:  True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals, by John LeFevre, 2015

Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals, by John LeFevre, 2015

I read Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals, by John LeFevre this week. It was given to me by an 80-year-old retired investment banker (who didn’t want it back), or I wouldn’t have wasted my time, certainly not my money. My friend said it was about the carousing that goes on behind the scenes in investment banking, but I found it hid more than it revealed. LeFevre’s credentials are obscure, although he tells us he cheated his way through Choate. He doesn’t say what college he graduated from or what he majored in, but he had the astounding good fortune to be among the select at Salomon Brothers, a subsidiary of Citigroup. He brags about cheating and skipping out on training through analyst training school, yet he always seems to be in the top of his group class.

What immediately struck me as most odd, though, is that the book opens in August, 2001, when he was in training at the World Trade Center, but he breezes past the 9/11 catastrophe as though it never happened. The Enron scandal outted the following month, rocking world markets, but not a whisper about it in the book. It seemed as though he was bragging that he and other insiders knew it was coming down, that it was an insider job and, as I’ve suspected, was done to destroy financial records.

Overall, the book is dull, not even shocking or disgusting, merely a tedious rendition of his mean-spirited pranks at Choate, and later while working for Citigroup. Skipping training classes, drinking heavily, and smug about getting away with it. He drops brand names, tells how much money he spent on trips to places like Saint Tropez, and gambling. Naming places, like restaurants, I guess other people are impressed by. He tells us that social contact was essentially limited to other analysts, because others simply don’t understand the fast-paced, high-powered, moneyed life. Still, he was at the bottom of the social hierarchy of those who “really mattered,” meaning, I suppose, the blue bloods in the resorts.

In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins wrote that his resume as an economist was completely fabricated by the company he worked for. I sense LeFevre is even more of a fraud, and most of the book is more about his personal debauchery than about any deals he made or how the system works. The company moved him to Hong King, where he worked as a bond syndicate manager, in 2004. Here he excelled at unscrupulous methods for putting deals together, while drinking, using cocaine, and cavorting with prostitutes, a lifestyle he suggests is standard in the industry, or at least among the people he knew.

LeFevre interests me as a type, not of the international banking world, per se, but of the nihilistic, cold-blooded generation that will be happy to euthanize their parents once the money churners and asset plunderers have gutted their retirement portfolios. The easy money that his type enjoys is the cream of years of other people’s investment and labor. His contempt for those people’s gullibility pollutes every page. He speaks the modern lingo, has the modern values and the modern entertainments, like video games and movies. He lives the fast-paced life, travels from five-star hotel to five-star hotel around the world, feeling sophisticated because he knows the red-light districts and most expensive restaurants. From my perspective he seems isolated with his group in a world divorced from real life, above it but absolutely dependent on it, like vampires afraid of the sun and of the living beings whose blood keeps them going.

While I’m astounded at the size of the financial giants–like Citigroup, JP Morgan, and Goldman Sachs–and all the different financial “markets,” like “fixed income”, “bonds,” “distressed loans,” and the like, I’m only surprised because it shows how big a scam the whole debt-backed financial web is. Bond issuers–institutions like corporations and governments–use deal makers like LeFevre to sell bonds to “investors” (hedge funds, asset managers, insurance companies, and pension funds, to name a few). The sad truth is that these so-called “issuers” and “investors,” are not using their own money to make the deals, so they are also skimming from the individuals whose aggregate wealth they control. They assume no personal risk or accountability and make money whether the “deal” performs or not.

My take is this is why health care insurance is now mandatory in the US. The pension and benefit fund market was not large enough to satisfy the bleeding loins of the self-styled “masters of the universe.”

And why would LeFevre publish now, when most of the story occurs between 2001 and 2004, when he was still working for Citi in Hong Kong? My guess is the house of cards is waving in the breeze, and the sharks have turned on each other to save themselves. If he goes down, he wants to bring the others down, too. His tail is in a crack, and he is desperately seeking relevance.

Stop the Spread of GoverCorp Cancer

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Stop the Spread of GoverCorp Cancer
Value = (Time + Money) X Attitude
Attitude = Everything

 A potentially fatal carcinoma of intra-cranial fat cells, GoverCorp cancer kills its victims by helping them to death. It sucks up time and money and bills you for it. No one is immune, but you can minimize risk.

 The pathophysiology of GoverCorp cancer:

* Money is a tax liability. The less you have, the less you pay in taxes.

* It can’t tax your time unless you allow it.

* GoverCorp cancer victims’ time and money have been terminally taxed. The situation is grave.

Debt + Overhead + Taxation = Slavery

 Risk avoidance strategies to combat GoverCorp cancer:

* Avoid GoverCorp-infested areas that cost time or money.

* Practice “Demand Side Economics.” Demand what you need instead of what they have. Avoid heavily advertised products entombed in plastic and packaging. You and the environment pay their overhead. If it doesn’t work right, return it. Tell everybody. Reduce demand for petroleum products, like plastics, packaging, and acrylic. Shop with sturdy, reusable bags.

* The most nutritious foods are usually the least expensive: fresh produce, dried beans, rice and other grains, dairy. Your money goes into food value rather than processing, packaging, advertising, Wall Street profits, and distribution. If you buy less, you pay less in taxes. If you earn less, you also pay less in taxes.

* Pay off debt. Interest and late fees do not give value for money. This will reduce overhead, debt and taxes.

* Invest in personal and family assets: your home, the tools of your trade, your or your children’s education. Take care of them, and they will take care of you. Enjoy what you already have.

* Patronize local business over corporations. Buy local products (lower distribution costs) when possible. Local businesses are more responsive to local markets. They must stand behind their products, or they don’t stay in business. They reinvest more earnings locally.

* If you have stock in Walmart, sell it. Walmart and other GoverCorp cancer perpetrators bleed local economies by shipping profits out of town.

* Minimize stock investments. Invest closer to home, where you have more control. This provides long-term gains and unexpected dividends. Pay cash when possible or trade in usefulness. Keep a good set of balanced books.

* Get your priorities straight. Technology isn’t essential to survival, but clean air, water and earth are. Get ahead by slowing down. Sell the TV and go fishing.

Diagnosis: GoverCorp Cancer
Treatment: Radical Liposuction and Shock Therapy
Prognosis: Uncertain

 

Begging Me to Run for President

Introduction by Kaka Big Chicken:  The media is crowing over the upcoming presidential elections, over a year in advance of The Event.  My perennial choice, “None of the Above,” is never on the ballot.  However, the federal government seems to be imploding, with no help from me, having borrowed against the future until beyond the time the sun burns out.

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Speckles crowing

BEGGING ME TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT
by Katharine C. Otto
March, 2010

I was fantasizing about being begged to run for president.

“No way would I take a government job,” I would say.

“That’s why we want you,” people would respond. “You would downsize government.”

“Eliminate the presidency, then. That would downsize it in a hurry.”

“We need you to do that.”

“OK. I tell you what. No government benefits. I’ll work as an independent contractor. I’ll need about $25,000/year for my use and double that for the vampire that bleeds me in taxes. So, I’ll need about $50,000 the first year, until I abolish the Fed. That should cancel out the national debt, so we won’t need income taxes anymore. The second year, I’ll only need about $25,000 for personal use, so we’ll save money there.

“My second year, I’ll abolish all drug and alcohol laws, so we’ll no longer need the CIA, ATF, FBI, DEA, FDA, CMS, CDC, USDA, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, or the TSA. Then I’ll wait for the private sector to absorb the former government employees.

“My third year, I’ll abolish Congress, the rest of the federal agencies, all government employee and pension programs, and Wall Street.

“My fourth year, I’ll abolish the Supreme Court and cancel all government contracts. Then I’ll resign, because I can’t run the country by myself.

“Either side can terminate with 30 days’ notice, for any reason. The 30 days would give me time to move my stuff out of the White House, so I would not be expected to work as President during that time.

”So these are my terms,” I would say, “and if there’s anything illegal about that, have the US Supreme Court and Congress and whoever is president now change the law so I can run on my own terms.”

“Would you do that for us?” they might ask.

“No way,” I would reply. “Frankly, I think it’s a waste of time, because those dorks can’t agree on anything. Why should I do their job if I’m not getting paid for it? I don’t want this job, remember? You want me to downsize government, so we need to find these clowns work in the private sector so they won’t continue to tax taxpayers.

“Nothing against them, you understand, but I don’t believe paying people to boss me around, or in having more stuff than I need. I have all the assets I can handle, and I just want to coast awhile.”