I Have Reached My Bullshit Limit. Or If I Had Religion It Would Be Gone Already

I’ve reached the point where I can’t take any more smoke up my ass. I never want to hear about GMOs again. No more scare stories about how deadly they are, and no more false promises about how they will save the world. Both sides are full of shit. I’m also ready to totally lose it over the next idiot accusing BLM of being racist. Let’s see what you do after your loved one is murdered by a white racist cop. And for the love of heaven, please don’t try to tell me that Clinton didn’t cheat and Sanders isn’t enabling her to get away with it. I just hate it when people try to gaslight me like that.

Doesn’t anybody realize that China is suing Monsanto for false advertising? After ten years, the Chinese have found no appreciable differences between GMO corn and old fashioned seed corn. India is about six or seven years into a generational study, but their initial results supports China’s claims. Face it, GMO people, Monsanto made fools of you all.

Pro-GMO people, you need to get over yourselves. The fact that you have an understanding of science doesn’t make you any smarter or better than anybody else. If I was that egotistical about my education I’d look down my nose at anybody who doesn’t understand compound interest. We’re all ignorant in one way or another. And your mindless repetition of Monsanto ad copy simply demonstrates your abysmal ignorance of marketing psychology.

Speaking of marketing psychology, you anti-GMO people are at least fifty percent of the problem. You did know that Monsanto operates the largest organic division in the known universe? And the same spin doctors writing Neil de Grasse Tyson’s copy are the same who write for Food Babe’s? You need to stop being stooges and listen to the pro-science people. Then, when the two of you can speak civilly to each other, show them your evidence for an honest appraisal. Because you each have things to teach each other. That’s not going to happen if you keep acting like rival gangs of kindergartners.

While we’re on the subject, you should all be grateful that you have the leisure to fight over this tempest-in-a-teapot. I’m a disabled white person living in an African American neighborhood. I have plenty of time to waste on the internet, but not the financial resources to worry if my food is organic. I get my meat at a cheap butcher and it’s either chicken or hamburger. Most of my produce comes from Target or the 99 Cents Only store. I don’t have the luxury to worry if it’s organic or not. And neither do most of my neighbors.

Speaking of my neighbors, police harassment is a daily sight in my neighborhood, and there’s a memorial to a police victim on every block. One of my neighbors had all of his family, his mother, his father, and his siblings, killed by police. Every time I hear “All Lives Matter” I want to kick that person in the crotch, fish hook his nose, and drag him to a memorial for an 18 year old shooting victim. Let him say “All Lives Matter” in front of pictures of a pretty little girl in her prom dress and all the balloons, teddy bears, and candles. I want to see if he’s evil enough to say it.

All Lives Matter” is simply gaslighting. There is no other word for it. The people who say it are deliberately trying to fuck with African American’s reality. The people in my neighborhood know perfectly well they’re being targeted. So the only people you’re gaslighting are each other. And do you know who else gaslight each other? Hillary Clinton supporters. Who are they trying to fool, me or themselves? Somebody has been committing voter fraud this election. If it wasn’t Clinton and the DNC, then who the hell was it? And please don’t give me any shit about her being innocent because she never got charged. With that sort of logic we should give Richard M. Nixon a posthumous apology. Richard M. Nixon was never convicted or charged. Does that mean he should not have been held accountable for his crimes? If Clinton gets to be president before the voter fraud is investigated, we were wrong to hold Nixon accountable for his crimes.

Equally toxic are the claims that Bernie Sanders didn’t sell out. Of course he sold out. Sanders is what happens to revolutionaries who get tenure in the senate. So when I see articles claiming he has some sort of master plan, or he’s some sort of mastermind, it’s all I can do to hold on to my temper. Any cosmetic changes he makes to the DNC platform are not worth voting for a cheater. As far as I’m concerned Clinton has made the Democratic Party the greater of the two evils.

If you want to be afraid of Donald Trump, be my guest. He’s just another boogeyman, no different from All Lives Matter and GMOs. I think it’s totally uncalled for to accuse me of supporting him because I refuse to vote for a cheater. It wasn’t my idea that Trump run for president, and if the Democrats would actually run somebody people are willing to vote for, we wouldn’t be threatened with Trump in the first place. If the Democrats lose this one, they should all commit mass seppuku. If I were a Democrat, I would rather be dead than face the utter humiliation of losing to Donald Trump. The Dems have no lack of warm breathing bodies. Any one of them could be drafted to run. But no, the Democrats insist on stuffing a cheater down our throats. Once again they’re snatching a magnificent defeat out of the jaws of certain victory. So don’t blame me for President Trump. That honor belongs to Bernie Sanders and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. And there is no way in hell I’m paying for their bullshit.

My bullshit limit has been reached. No more. I don’t care if you gorge on genetically modified kumquats or only eat wild vegetables grown in all natural pig shit. Chances are you’re both more likely to die of old age than from your food. What you eat or don’t eat makes no difference in my busy and exciting life. But when you say All Lives Matter, look out, because from here on in, I’m going to be in your face hot and heavy. No more Mr. Nice Guy. And if you accuse me of supporting Trump, I am simply going to ignore you. Dealing with you isn’t worth losing my religion.

 


Dunlap’s Law

Hitler Must Be Laughing From The Grave

Back in October of 2010, I posted an essay called “Today I Am A Green”. It’s been 17 months, and now I am going to eat those words without benefit of salt or ketchup. A lesser person would simply take down this embarrassing blog post and hope that people have the grace to forget I ever posted it. Taking H.L. Mencken as my role model, I’m keeping the post up as a record of where my mind was during that period.

It comes down to me refusing to vote for anybody as psychotically antisemitic as Cynthia McKinney, and she is reasonable compared to some of the Greens I’ve run into on Facebook. Each and every one of them were obsessed by the International Illuminati Conspiracy or the Jewish Lobby. (Or is it the International Jewish Conspiracy or the Illuminati Lobby? It’s hard to keep the two straight.) It’s like each and every one of them are obsessed by Jews or Masons. I came back to the Green Party and found myself in an Edgar Allen Poe story, The System of Professor Tarr and Dr. Fether

It seems that the lunatics are taking over every asylum. The right refuses to acknowledge Evolution and the left denies Relativity. Everywhere I go, I run into people who insist either god magicked the universe into being, or that Dick Cheney was so mighty, relative mass doesn’t apply to the planes that hit the Twin Towers. The left is no saner than the Tea Party, they just have different obsessions.

This is Dunlap’s Law: Crazy people drive sane people out of American political movements. Crazy people respect no limits, be it social boundaries or the inflexible laws of Mathematics. If scientific evidence contradicts their delusions, scientific evidence is a conspiracy. They then must save the rest of us from the voices in their heads. They aggressively persecute anybody who does not suffer from their delusions. Hence we have born again Christianoids out to save us from the evils of evolution and homosexuality, and left wingers out to protect the world from FEMA work camps and Jews infiltrating American government. The insanity of both sides have driven most people to the sidelines.

But how does it happen that a small handful of delusional people get to dominate both the left and the right? It’s easy enough to see how it happened on the right. The GOP organized the religiously insane into a massive voting block. Starting with Falwell’s “Moral Majority”, and leading into “Focus on the Family”, the GOP turned insanity into a family value. They also proved that insanity tends to grow into an uncontrollable mass of destruction. Once Jesus became the flavor of the week, the Aryan Nation and the KKK all found Jesus. The result is Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick “Rooster” Santorum, and the rest of the GOP wrecking crew.

Isn’t nice that we also have a left wing? The problem is that they are as bat shit crazy as the right. The left is just not as well organized. All Reince Preibus needs to do is get in touch with the key preachers, and the GOP is voting as a solid block. Trying to get the left to work together is as futile as trying to herd Schrodinger’s Cats. We either know where they are, or we know how fast they are going, but never both. Just look at any Occupy protest. You’ll see signs blaming Jewish bankers, Masons, Illuminati, Obama, Bush, and signs supporting Ron Paul, Obama, Marx, Che, Move on, The American Communist Party, et all. They can’t even agree as whether to be violent or non-violent. There are plenty of splinter groups making life miserable for everybody. The Berkeley People’s Park crazies have regular Friday evening “Fuck the Police” marches in Oakland.  They march through the streets, picking fights with the cops.

What’s happened is the left abandoned the tactics that worked for our grandparents, and are trying experimental means of organization. Old fashioned democracy was good enough to bring us the 40 hour work week and the weekend, but it’s not good enough for today’s modern leftists. Now they have something called consensus. With consensus nothing is decided until they have 100% agreement. While I have seen this work in small groups of under 15 people, it becomes a time bomb when you’re dealing with large crowds..

Even in small groups, all it takes is one nut to stop progress entirely. Some unbalanced person joins the meeting and starts insisting that The Mossad planted bombs in the World Trade Towers, and progress is stopped even if the subject is mortgage crimes. It’s just a small leap of logic and faith for a crazy person to link the housing crises with the Mossad. Even if the nut is shouted down, he’s not defeated, only persecuted. He’ll come back with his friends, and the same thing will happen that happened with the GOP. The nuts will make common cause, and before you know it, they will take over.

This is why attendance at peace rallies dropped.   One day, I went to a protest and all the speakers obsessed about 9/11 being an inside job and How Israel is the cause of all the world’s problems. Then there was Bob Avakian and his “New Synthesis” of Marxism, which sounded to me like the same damned propaganda that Edward Bernays wrote up during the forties and fifties. The more the crazy people took over, the faster the sane people started avoiding peace marches.  So with declining attendence, the nutters railed about how the rest of the world just doesn’t understand THE TRUTH! It wasn’t that people became in favor of the war. The wars are even more unpopular than they were during Bush’s reign. Sane people have better things to do than to listen to somebody ranting about the Illuminati foreclosing on people’s homes, especially when they are looking at evictions of their own.

I don’t think that Obama’s victory in 2008 was due to any sort of radical beliefs of the left. I think he won because the sane people of the country didn’t have anything else to hang their hopes on. Who were they supposed to vote for? Cynthia McKinney and her Zionistphobia?

There are sane people on both sides of the political spectrum. Sane Republicans are shouted down by the Tea Party in the same way that Sane leftists are shouted down by Truthers. The whole country is suffering the effects of Dunlap’s Law.

When asked, I tell people that I am independent. I have no patience with either side of the spectrum, and I’m willing to work with anybody who wants to see a better world. Generally I’m treated like a traitor or pariah for not trying to save the world from the International Gay Menace or from creeping Zionism. 

There is no way I can think of anything funny to describe this one.


When I Met Abbie Hoffman

Abby Hoffman

Remember, Never take on a fight you cannot win.

I met him in Philadelphia, which is a city I rarely visited. However, my wife and I attended the first Midatlantic Green Party Conference in June of 1985. I had only been back in the states for less than a year. I just finished an 18 month gig as a ship’s cook. Having no job options during the Reagan years, I let the state pay my way through accounting school. My wife was always politically active and attending the conference was her idea of getting away for a weekend. Being newly married, I readily agreed. It was either that or spend the weekend alone with my stepson.

That conference began my love/hate relationship with the Green Party. I love the principles it was founded on, and I love the idea of belonging to the movement that caused real change in Europe. The hate part started after I discovered how deeply the black market had been involved in early Green politics, and how so many of today’s party members are bat shit crazy. Quite frankly, Cynthia McKinney scares the living crap out of me.

But I was talking about the first Green Conference in 1985. I was only 27 years old and incredibly naive. Politically I was would have to say I was a libertarian socialist. The libertarian part began at the age of 19. I was one of a handful of students to attend Karl Hess’ lecture at Lebanon Valley College. Hess was such a polished public speaker that he left me a true believer. The Socialist came in when I was 21 and attending Rutgers University. Dr. Stephen E. Bronner was beginning his career there. I credit Steve as being the man who taught me how to think, and he started me in my off and on association with the DSA.

At the time, the DSA was still catching up with the ecological crises, I thought the Greens might be a more profitable outlet for my energies. During that three day conference, I felt as if I had come home. Everybody seemed to hold the same contradictory view of politics I entertained. It never occurred to me that it was this very contradiction between libertarianism and socialism that invited the black market to settle in and make itself at home.

The irony is I fell into the black market crowd right out the gate. My wife, in all innocence, got in contact with this girl in Easton PA who was also going to the conference. That’s how we ended up traveling from Easton PA to the state capitol on the Rainbow Bus.

Being part of the New York punk scene, I heard rumors of the Rainbow Bus, and even knew some members of the Youth International Party. I went to a couple of parties at Number 9 Bleeker St. They were so frightening in their intensity, I would wake up determined to live a life of abstinence and holy charity. The resolution would last until the next Friday.

So imagine my delight when I got to introduce my new bride to Aron Kay, the man who hit Ronald Reagan with a banana cream pie. The banana was symbolic of Reagan’s banana republic politics. Then was Bruno, a person I lost track of and wish I hadn’t. He did a workshop on computers and networking that introduced me to a new idea called the internet. Then, of course, there was Dana Beal. Dana was the absolute commissar of YIP and controlled his minions through the pound of pot he always carried in a double ziplock. A year later, a big guy named Ozzy and I would be hunting Beal through the Lower East Side with the intent of beating the crap out of him. At the time, Beal was sizing me up for minionhood so he did his best to charm me.

Another character we met at the conference was Jack Herrer, the same guy they named a genetically modified pot plant after. At the time, it never occurred to me why a guy from Oregon would be at the Midatlantic Green conference. Today I know it was to promote his pot business. The truth about Herrer is the idea of legal marijuana scared the bejesus out of him. He was making too much money growing it and shipping it to Beal who sold it in Manhattan. They were involved with the Green Party to grow their network and to maintain a legal defense of police persecution in case of busts. At the time, I hated Herrer for hitting on my wife right in front of me. Yes, he was that damned low. It was a good thing he was doing time in South Carolina a year later, otherwise Ozzy and I would have been out looking for him, too.

But I digress, this was about Abbie Hoffman. Abbie was there, too. He was with the sincere Quakers, peace activists, ecologists, German Green Party representatives, The Committee of Correspondence and others who made the conference a success. Hoffman was our superstar. If I knew what I know now, I would have laughed my butt off at the way Beal and Herrer kissed Abbie’s ass. Beal was instrumental in having Abby and Jerry ejected from YIP, but that day they acted like Wayne and Garth with Alice Cooper.

Abbie was more than a gentleman, he was one of nature’s royalty. I don’t know if he held any ill will towards Beal, because he did not let it show. He took their adulation with quiet aplomb and mingled with the organizers. He joined us in the kitchen to help prepare dinner. That’s when I introduced myself and shook his hand. I mentioned that I was an accounting student and that seemed to amuse him.

It’s hard to believe that 27 years passed and the conference I swore I would never forget is so vague. Eric Sternglass was there, and I remember his lecture on acid rain. John Judge was there as well. Along with some rather painful conspiracy theories, he was also the man who outed the Eastern Service Workers as a cult. Abbie’s speech was the last event of the conference. He spoke on his best subject, organizing, and I wish I had a transcript. I would send it to every member of Occupy I could find. They need to read it, learn it, and live it.

His message was to never take on a fight you cannot win. It demoralizes the troops and robs the movement’s energy. Today I look at the pathetic state of the left, and realize how right he was. We haven’t had anything resembling a definitive win since Nixon was impeached. The false success of having Obama elected has faded into the ashes of being had.

A couple of years later, I was at an Abbie led protest and watched him get people arguing over who got to lie under the bulldozers. Hoffman was a natural leader who brought out the best in people. I heard that in his lecture, when he explained why he used sports analogies in his rallies. By using a language everybody could relate to, he got the message through and raised enthusiasm for the cause. Most importantly, he stressed the need to keep things simple. It is easier to win against a single issue than to clog things up with extraneous goals.

Now that I think of it, we owe the organizers of that conference a tremendous debt. They were the people who funded Abbie Hoffman so he could lead the fight against nuclear reactors. Were it not for them, the crises that is still happening in Japan could have happened here. Abby put an end to US nuclear reactor proliferation.  His victories lasted until the election of the current moron-in-chief, who is trying to gear up the nuclear madness again.

I am proud to say that I was a part of Abbie’s fight, and I kept on fighting after the Greens and I parted ways. The New York leadership took the moderatorship away from Dana Beal a few years after that first conference, and my wife and I had the misfortune of being known as YIPsters,and we got caught in the purge. For years we were ignored by most of the party, but I didn’t care. I was one of Abbie’s people and didn’t need them.

The day after Abbie’s lecture, we all gathered to sign the Midatlantic Charter before going home. Abby stood next to me when it was my turn to sign. I wrote it big, so Ronald Reagan could see it without his glasses. That made Abbie laugh so hard we became friends and stayed in touch until he died.  We met at several other conferences, and he helped my family get home after Beal and Herrer arranged to have my wife, son, and I stranded in Erie PA. 

The last time I saw Abbie, We had just “dumped the pump” on the Fork’s river. At the time, I owned a book store in Allentown PA. Three days before he died, we had coffee in my back room, making plans for my shop to become a meeting and recruiting center. It was never to happen. He died when we needed him most. I have to argue with both the suicide and murder conspiracy people. It was an accidental overdose. There is no doubt in my mind.

When Abbie Hoffman died, the left died with him. We haven’t had a significant victory since The Pump got dumped. Just as religion took over the right, it took over the left in the form of the New Age movement. To my shame, I have to accept my own responsibility in promoting that bullshit. In retrospect, I have to wonder what it was I was thinking. The concept of consensus as opposed to democratic leadership has poleaxed the American left. Today the vocally mentally ill have driven out the sane people, and it all started with the foolish idea we didn’t need leaders.

The need for new leadership is made manifest by the OWS movement, which is becoming a clusterfuck before our eyes. That last demonstration in Oakland was pathetic. The cops provoked a reaction because less than ten percent of the demonstrators have non-violence training. Nobody protested with Abby without non-violence training. The police were never able to provoke us. That is an important reason why we won and OWS is getting its asses handed to them. We need to find the strength to start enforcing the limits and taking the mic away from the crazies. Somebody has to have the responsibility to prioritize and choose which of the many issues facing us needs to be addressed first, and keep addressing it until it stops being an issue. Then choose which issue we move on to next.  So far, Democracy has proven to be the best way to choose and to replace leaders.  I think it’s time to go back to what works.

Obama and Clinton

Hope and Change? Wait until you think they'll fall for next!







“America Wants A Fair Shot”

Just Because We're Keeping Your Jobs in China Doesn't Mean I Should Lose My Job.

Let us pretend we are a fly on the Oval Office wall. President Barack Obama sits at his desk writing his State of the Union Address. Like all great presidents, he fancies himself something of a speech writer. Alas, his ability doesn’t measure up to his self image, and he is stuck on a phrase.

Americans want a New Deal!” he says with a happy grin.

Can’t use it,” says Hillary Clinton. She lounges sideways on an antique armchair. Her back rests upon the arm of one side, as her knees drape over the arm on the other side. Her attention is focused on filing her nails.

I’m the fucking president,” Obama declares. “If I can order drone attacks, I can use ‘New Deal’ in one of my speeches.”

Can’t,” Hillary argues, pausing to blow on a cuticle. “Roosevelt used it. The Republicans will accuse you of class warfare if you try to bring it back.”

You got a point,” Obama reluctantly agreed. “I’m not going to keep this cushy job another four years without Republican support.”

Don’t want to screw up the gravy train,” Hillary advises. “You can think up something better.”

The Leader of the Free World falls into a sullen silence, broken by the skritching of Hillary’s nail file. Suddenly, the world famous grin spreads across the presidential visage. “I got it!” he declares with a wave of his forefinger. “America wants a ‘Fair Deal’.”

Can’t use it,” Hillary repeats with a sad shake of her head.

What? Now you’re going to tell me that FDR used that one too?” the president groused.

Not, FDR, Truman,” Clinton corrects him.

Well what’s wrong with that?” the president asks, sounding annoyed. “Every one loves Harry Truman. Why the last time I saw Queen Elizabeth, I overheard her muttering, ‘how I miss Harry Truman’.”

Harry Truman was one of those freaks who always told the truth,” The Secretary of State reminded her boss. “You don’t want to drag his name into this administration.”

Obama freezes to let that thought seep through the executive skull. “Yeah,” he admits as he relaxes into his padded swivel chair. “Even American voters will catch the irony of that one.”

Remember, it was irony that brought down Nixon,” Hillary reminds him.

That whole ‘I am not a crook’ thing,” the president agrees. He takes a deep breath and points to his Secretary of State. “Why don’t you think of something?” he commands.

I’ll give it a shot,” Hillary agrees.

They both freeze as the same idea hatch in their minds. The president rises halfway out of his seat while Hillary swings her legs off the chair and stands. “Fair Shot!” they laugh in unison.

Obama takes on a presidential pose. “Americans want a ‘fair shot’,” he deadpans.

It’s perfect!” Clinton squeals, clapping her hands and giving a joyful little jump. “It sounds so free markety.”

Americans want a ‘fair shot’,” Obama repeats. “I am so fucking brilliant!”

Secretary of State

I Can't Believe the Voters Let Me Get Away With Everything


Today I Am A Green

Uh, Drones.....Look! It's Christine O'Donnel

People who know me will be shocked that I have rejoined the Green Party. I had major personal problems with some of the early organizers. They are no longer with the Greens, and the party has grown beyond them. I have grown up a little bit too. For many years I have supported the DSA, but the DSA will not give up the idea that the Democrats can be radicalized. Since it hasn’t happened after 30 years of trying, we run into Einstein’s definition of insanity. We keep doing the same things the same way and expect different results. There are many other parties I can join or support, but none of them have the national network that the Greens built in under 30 years. The Green Party is America’s best chance to end Corporate control of our government. I would be a fool to hold onto a twenty five year old grudge.

During the last twenty five years, the Democrats silently supported everything the Republicans wanted. If you check the Project Vote Smart web site you can see that the Democrats voted for all the financial reforms that led to our economic collapse. It was Bill Clinton who allowed outsourcing when he had a Democratic majority in Congress. Under Bush the Democrats supported both illegal wars, Homeland Security, and illegal wiretapping. Under Obama, the Democrats have allowed the illegal existence of Guantanamo and continue to toss gay rights under a bus.

Obama could not have expanded the illegal Afghanistan war into Pakistan if he did not have the support of the Democrat majority. I am appalled at the Democratic voters who embraced both illegal wars after Obama took office. The wars are no more legal under Obama and it is still murder when a Democrat gives the orders. Despite all the cheering from Democratic pundits, our tax money is going to pay for the mercenaries holding Iraq.

To add insult onto injury, there is the passage of the so called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, which is more properly called the “Screw Over the Disabled and Elderly for Fun and Corporate Profits Act”. The Democratic pundits and true believers tout this as a leftist victory. In reality, this piece of crap legislation reduces the quality of Medicare. It allows economic discrimination, and it does not do anything to make care affordable. True, the insurance companies have to accept people with preexisting conditions, but there is no limit to premiums.

You cannot fool all of the people all of the time, and this is true for the people who voted Democrat last election. Poor people have caught wise to the health care reform. Environmentalists are appalled that he protected BP instead of prosecuting them. Anti-war activists call him “The Obamanation” for his drone tactics. The Democrats have lost their core supporters. Few are going to vote third party this coming election and most are staying home.

In 2008, the Democrats attracted liberal and progressive voters with vague promises of hope and change. We are not even getting that during the 2010 midterms. We are being threatened with the Tea Party instead. What will happen if the Tea Party wins? Will the Tea Party start killing innocent women and children with drones? Maybe they will go to court to reinstate DADT? Should we be afraid that they might put more people in Guantanamo? Wait, the Democrats have already done this. Unless you are afraid that Christine O’Donnell is going to cast a spell on you, I see no reason to be afraid of the Tea Party. They will vote according to Wall Street just like the Democrats.

When pushed into a corner, the Democrats will say that we only have two choices, them or the Republicans. If this is true, why was Green gubernatorial candidate Lauren Wells arrested at the California debate last week? It’s because both parties are afraid of the Green Party. The Greens have made tremendous progress on the local level. Richmond and Fairfax California are just two of the cities with a Green majority on their city councils. Greens can be found amongst aldermen, school board members, and there are even a few Green mayors. There are Greens in state legislatures. The Democrats are telling still another lie when they say there are only two choices. If the Greens can be elected in local and state governments, they can be elected to national offices as well.

The Commercial Bubble will burst any day now. With the banks and Wall St. teetering on the edge of collapse there will never be a better time to support a truly progressive party. Don’t let Democratic lies depress you into staying home this coming election day. Don’t let Tea Party Paranoia scare you into voting for the corporatist Democrats. Please join me in voting Green this election. It will shock the hell out of Wall Street, and it will be a first step in creating a better future.

Vote For Me Or I'll Turn You Into A Frog

 


Sometimes I Want A Taser

Ben Franklin

Why Subsidize Medicine When Leaches Are so Cheap

Scott Adams wrote a few cartoons where his character Dogbert had a taser, and he used it on everybody who annoyed him.   Sometimes I wish I lived in that world.  That way the next time somebody quotes Benjamin Franklin out of context, I can zap him with the taser until smoke pours out his ears.  Maybe then people will learn that they will never win a point by quoting somebody out of context.   Ben Franklin was speaking of standing armies when he said, “he who would sacrifice a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security, will lose both and deserve neither.”   Franklin was against standing armies while other delegates to the Constitutional Convention were very much in favor of them.   Like all of Franklin’s other Constitutional ideas, it was ignored.

In the last few years I have seen that quote applied to such diverse matters as cameras at stop-lights, the enforcement of libel laws, September 11th conspiracies, breaking the media monopolies, health care, weapons of mass destruction, cell phones, and the income tax.   Not once has anybody applied that quote to standing armies.   It has become the all purpose response when there is no other argument.   When shown proof that cameras at stop-lights reduce traffic fatalities, out comes the quote. When presented with an idea that journalistic standards and ethics be enforced again, there is always the quote.   I have no idea what Franklin would say about national health, but I hardly think he would equate it with standing armies.   Suggesting that September 11th conspiracists should take their medications becomes a threat to liberty.  The quote has become an internet meme which has completely lost any meaning.   It is another way of covering your ears and singing, “la la la, I can’t hear you.”

Nor has this become the sole example of quoting out of context.   Recently Glenn Beck has been trotting out Thomas Paine in support of the tea baggers.  Paine was part of a social movement called the Populists.   He advocated a progressive tax on wealth, welfare, subsidized farm loans, and representative democracy.   He even declared health to be a basic human right.   It just goes to show you that any point can be won if the person being quoted is dead.  Paine was an anti-federalist who strongly advocated for the original American Confederacy of 1780-1790.   Upon his return to the United States in 1802, he lived in obscurity for seven years and his funeral was ignored.  Once he was dead, he immediately became the darling of the nation.  Great monuments were built in his honor, and Common Sense has been quoted out of context by public school teachers for over a century.

In a recent interview, former pro-wrestler turned politician, Jesse Ventura, criticized the Democrats and the Republicans for not working together.  I will be the first to admit it when Ventura says something intelligent.   It happens so rarely.  Then Ventura had to ruin it by quoting the founding fathers out of context.  He said that George Washington, John Adams and others warned us against the dangers of political parties.   If I lived in Scott Adams’ world, I would zap Ventura with my taser until lightning came out of his nose.  The founders liked the two party system just fine.  It was the many political parties being formed in England they were scared of. Different factions were creating their own political parties and having them elected to Parliament.  In order to get anything done, the different factions had to work together to create a compromise.  This is the foundation of Parliamentary Democracy.  The delegates, Ministers of Parliament, Congresspeople, whatever you want to call them, directly represent their constituents and get them the best deal possible.  That was what our founding fathers were worried about.   They wanted to make sure their people stayed on top.

The Constitution represents a naked power grab by a faction in government whom we now call the Federalists.   Had the revolution not happened, George Washington would have been jailed by Britain for his shady land deals.   Alexander Hamilton was very well connected to the American and British financial industry.  He and his relative by marriage, Robert Morris, worked together on a bond scam that defrauded the Revolutionary enlisted soldiers of their back pay.   Even the leader of the anti-federalist movement, Thomas Jefferson, was a wealthy landowner as well as a slave owner who held his own children as property.  These were not people who particularly cared about the rights of other people.  When Jefferson became president, he continued the Federalist system and liked it.

Our Federalist founders created a system which imitated the British court of the time.  Our president has the exact same powers as the Constitutional Monarch.  He is the head of the army, disperses funds, oversees the execution of the law, industry, diplomacy, etc, through his cabinet.  Originally the Senate was appointed by the state governments. There are no term limits for the Supreme Court, and British common law gives any American judge the same power as a British duke.  Alexander Hamilton created a taxation system where the wealthy were barely taxed and the poor and lower middle class maintained most of the tax burden. Washington selected his cabinet from industrialists and landowners.  You did not find Patrick Henry or Herman Husband amongst his closest advisers. To this day the cabinet is selected from the wealthy to serve the interests of the wealthy, and the Supreme Court Justices are selected by their loyalty to the monied interests.

Due process in law has always been at the whim of our government.  Four years after the Constitution was ratified, Washington’s Attorney General declared that the Constitution did not apply to anyone accused of rebelling against the United States.  Suspects in the Whiskey Rebellion were arrested without warrant.  They were paraded down Market Street in Philadelphia as traitors, and tossed into an unheated cell without food or light.   This was a precedent John Yoo turned to in his torture memos.   In a foreshadowing of Guantanamo, all twenty men were found not guilty, even though the judges gave instructions to enter a verdict of guilty.  Over the years due process has also been denied to freed slaves, European immigrants, and anyone else without the funds to buy due process.

Those tea baggers, and anarchist libertarians who talk about freedom within the Constitution have no idea what they are talking about.  The United States was never a representative democracy.  Our president is chosen by the electoral college, so I don’t even know why we bother with the popular vote.   It’s all show anyway.  Our Congress and Senate are representatives of military industrial complex, just as our federalist founders wanted it.  There has never been a time when the wealthy paid their share in taxes, and a poor man has rarely won against a rich man in court.  That is how our legal system is set up.  The Bill of Rights was a major concession won by the few populist delegates to the Constitutional Convention, but even the Bill of Rights is interpreted through the Supreme Court, which historically championed Jim Crow.

When Libertarians prattle on about a return to the Constitution, I wish I was Dogbert so I can tase them until they do the Monster Mash.  The America they talk about never existed in the real world.  Maybe if they walked through a wardrobe and traveled through Narnia, Aslan might direct them to it.  We are living in the exact America the Federalists wanted.   A return to the Constitution is only going to cement corporate control over this country.   If we want to change the country, we need to look to the future. Trying to return to the past never works.  The clock never ticks backwards, and trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions only makes things worse.   Look at what happened to Germany when they tried it.

Obama and Clinton

Then I Told Them I Was Against National Health and They Still Elected Me


Who Is John Galt

Who Is John Galt?

The Question on Everybody's Mind

Tea baggers across the country have this bumper sticker on their gas guzzling SUVs.  It asks who is John Galt?   Being literate, we know that John Galt is the mysterious stranger of Ayn Rand’s epic piece of capitalist drivel, Atlas Shrugged.   Rand, a Soviet refugee, brought PTSD to new heights when she declared that anybody who did not smoke is a communist, and accused tobacco researchers of treason.   Despite this obviously Stalinist line of reasoning, Rand continues to be the darling of the libertarian right.  Just who is John Galt?

Rand gets really cute in the name she gives her character.  His first name is the most common in the English speaking world.  That represents his populist roots.  His last name Galt, sounds like a Anglo-Saxon surname, but it is also the alias used by the God Odin when he walked amongst humans. Odin was in the habit of handing doomed swords out to unsuspecting vikings, and when asked, Odin would say he was Galt.   At that point the viking would know that he was completely and totally screwed.  If he followed the course of common sense, dropped the sword, and ran like hell, he would earn the wrath of Odin.   If he kept the sword, he would be led to a particularly tragic and heroic doom.  So Galt is God Almighty, but a particularly sadistic and untrustworthy God who has no use for free will.

Now, what captains of industry do we know who are in the habit of giving out cursed gifts?   I can think of two right off the top of my head: Henry Ford and Prescott Bush.  Their support of Hitler and the Third Reich resulted in death, devastation, destruction, and the systematic murder of 10 million human beings.   It ended in the deaths of many Nazi leaders; most dramatically in Joseph Goebbel’s murder of his innocent daughters.  I think it is safe to assume that John Galt is somebody who thinks he’s God Almighty, and does not shrink at murder as a means to an end.   As a God, Odin was a great fan of war and destruction, we can say that John Galt is a warmonger.

To understand why John Galt is such a bloodthirsty bastard, we need to look at the Odin myth a little more closely.  Why did Odin, reputably the wisest of the Gods, have this compulsion to create death, destruction, and misery amongst the mortal population?   He was serving a higher purpose, and one that only he in his wisdom could truly understand.  The other gods had a partial understanding of that purpose, and mere humans could receive glimpses of that purpose.   Only Odin could see the whole purpose, and he gave up an eye to do it.   Like Odin, John Galt is the one eyed man in the land of the blind.  The world depends on his vision so that it can keep on turning.  This is why the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same rights as human beings.  Captains of industry, CEOs, Chairmen of the board are all ubermench. It is only right that they have more power than us lesser mortals who are too humble to share in their great vision.

Next, you may ask, what is this great vision Galt cannot share with the rest of us mere mortals?  Simply that there is a war coming up between the good guys and the bad guys.  It will be the war to end all wars and humanity needs to be ready for it.  Odin keep humanity in training by stirring up wars, and choosing the best of the slain to be his warriors when the final conflict happens.  Our captains of industry, our John Galts, also see a great war coming, but instead of the Frost Giants, we’ll be fighting godless communists. No, that was two generations back.   Instead of the Frost Giants, we’ll be fighting the drug cartels in South America. That really didn’t work out that well. This time, we will be fighting the Jihadists. True, they are a handful of extremists whom our forces chase around the Himalayas like it was a Keystone Kops movie, but they are the enemy that will destroy our way of life!  We better get them before they get us.

Ultimately who is John Galt? He is a war mongering bastard who does not care how many people he has to have killed to achieve his goals.  He is a captain of industry who knows better than the rest of us as to how we should run our lives.   He is a man with such power that governments declares anybody who opposes him as the powers of darkness.  John Galt is a man who kings and presidents listen to because in Galt’s mind he is always right.  What historic figure fits this mold?  There is only one, Joseph Stalin.

Stalin began as a peasant and worked himself up to the head of the Soviet Union through his own talents for murder and lack of ethics.  Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions, and used the needs of the state justification.  Stalin was a strong man who commanded the resources of all of Mother Russia and a good chunk of Eastern Europe to boot.  On top of everything else, the crazy bastard thought he was God.  To this day, there are Russians who still support and apologize for Joe Stalin.

Ayn Rand took the Stalinist qualities that so scarred her as a child and deified them into her character of John Galt.  Let’s bring things back to reality here.  Who is John Galt?  John Galt is a parasite who grew up in a privileged class and accepts these privileges as part of his due.   You can also look at John Galt as Bill Cosby, a man who feels that he owes nobody anything because he paid his own way into the upper class.   John Galt can be seen as National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who does not want the world to think that she got her job through affirmative action.   After all, her grandfather paid blood to bring his family into the ruling class.   George W. Bush is also John Galt. We all know that the draft was created for poor people, and not the son of the EXXON heir.  John Galt is every politician in Washington who denies the majority of Americans jobs and health care.

John Galt is useless, because if John Galt was really all that talented, he could make it to the top in any economic system or society.  This makes Galt just another one of Timmy Geithner’s Wall St. cronies, stealing money from honest tax payers.  That’s who John Galt really is.   Stop and remember, Stalin made it to the top by robbing banks.

Addendum.

I was very surprised to discover an article about Rand on Alternet today.  (Okay, I admit it, my wife discovered it for me.)  In this chilling article, we see that Rand was a serial killer groupie, and that her heroes was based on a sicko who strangled and dismembered a little girl.  What does this say about the people who take her nonsense seriously.  What’s worse, is that Alan Greenspan was one of her buddies.


Joseph Stalin

I Am What Libertarians Long For In Their Secret Hearts


How To Sell A Subprime Mortgage Part Two: Finding the Customers

Ding Dong, Free Money Calling

Ding Dong, Free Money Calling

There I was, a brand new loan origination officer without the first idea of how to originate a loan. It took me a few weeks to figure out that Aames Home Loan hired me because I had years of phone experience and absolutely no mortgage experience. This was not the difficult situation you might think. At the time I had been a telesales professional for nearly fifteen years. I had sold everything over the phone from newspapers to time shares. It was a matter of using established skills and fudging while filling the gaps in my education.

By now many of you are wondering what the real estate board was doing while a total ignoramus like me was busily trying to originate loans. Unfortunately the real estate board had no control over Aames, because Aames Home Loan was registered and regulated through the Bureau of Corporations. Real estate loans were being sold independently of real estate law. Licensed real estate brokers expected their loan originators to have real estate licenses and to conduct business under the real estate board’s code of professional ethics. The Bureau of Corporations didn’t have a code of ethics to enforce. Of course the fraud laws were enforced, but unless a customer made a complaint, who cared? As far as my bosses were concerned, the only thing that mattered was originating a loan. This was my first exposure to Wall St.’s one and only commandment: Thou Shalt Not Get Caught.

Finding Customers

An important part of my duties as loan origination officer was to find customers to originate loans with. That was also not a very difficult task. I joined Aames during the last year of the Clinton Administration and the tech bubble had not yet burst. Many people felt prosperous but carried tremendous credit card debt. Most dotcom CEOs didn’t have any cash assets and bought everything on credit. They assumed that their stocks would keep up with their debts.

Other people were caught in the Clinton recession. Outsourcing and high interest rates kept their wages down while inflation ate up the value of the dollar. Credit cards were the difference between eating at the end of the pay period or visiting the food bank. Many of those customers saw a subprime loan as the logical strategy to save their failing credit scores. They could get a subprime loan to pay off their credit cards. When their scores improved, they could refinance again for a lower interest rate. Rapidly increasing property values guaranteed there would be enough equity for another refinance in a couple of years. At least that’s what they thought.

During the first few months of my subprime career, I had enough call-ins to assure that I made my weekly quota. However answering the phone was not my prime duty. I was supposed to get on the phone and telemarket for customers who were not calling in. There were two reasons for this. First, very few subprime loans got through the underwriters. By the middle of the month I would have over twenty loans in my pipeline. By the end of the month only one or two of that twenty funded. Second, Wall St. owners did not care that the underwriters killed most of our loans. They needed more, more, more, because they had squandered Aames’s cash reserves and sold off all their loans to make up the difference. They had to keep selling mortgages on the front end and discounting them to other lenders on the back end in order to keep solvent.

Soliciting Business

Now I am going to reveal one of the most carefully guarded secrets in the universe. Yes, dear readers, I am going to tell you how telemarketers get your phone numbers. I started out calling from Aames’s own mailing lists. Every week I received a huge packet of names, addresses, and telephone numbers that Aames had been compiling for the twenty odd years of its existence. Now, remember that this was a Wall St. company. They did not send me the updated lists. My lists came out of the archives. Many of the names were of people who were no longer upon this veil of tears. One very prominent name on the list was Larry Fine of the Three Stooges. I asked the district manager why I was calling from the archives, and he replied that the archive files were bigger and had more names. I pointed out that the archives were full of wrong and disconnected numbers. He replied that some of the wrong numbers might become loans. This was my first exposure to Wall St.’s favorite word: might. Wrong numbers might become loans. People might change their minds if you have the loan originators calling them every ten minutes. Some of the most incredibly stupid ideas and orders were justified by the word might.

From the time I started the job until a few months after the crash of 2000, I got enough originations to keep even a Wall St. manager happy. They were mostly from people who called in. This was good because I was still learning about mortgages. Later I discovered that title companies provided free calling lists for subprime lenders. They proved to be the perfect calling lists, with the customer’s interest rates, what companies sold their mortgages, and who had already refinanced withing the last few years.

There were about four or five subprime companies with much higher interest rates than Aames. I could ask for lists of people with mortgages from those companies. I could also ask for a minimum interest rate, and the title companies would open up their records and give me all I asked for. It was almost like picking my perfect customers. I could also ask for areas outside of Aames’s usual calling areas. I chose areas around Lake Tahoe and up north toward the Oregon border. The property values were lower so the commissions were not tremendous, but people in the wild west needed subprime mortgages too.

Eventually I went to city hall and paid for my own lists from foreclosure records and current tax records. Those cost about sixty cents a name. This gave me a pool of home owners off the Aames list and who had not been contacted by Aames. Once again I had the advantage. Aames badly wanted to make loans in Oakland because of the inflated property values. Falling down shacks were being appraised at over a million dollars. Of course this was all part of the Clinton bubble that was slowly deflating even back then.

The Back Door.

Now, you might think that with all the applications I was taking, we would be writing loans left and right. Nothing is farther from the truth. I think that the highest output the Aames Oakland office ever wrote was five loans in a month. This is because Aames changed their management, their advertising, their marketing, and their sales cycle, but they could not change their underwriters. Aames was using the same underwriters as when they were privately owned by a family named Judah. These underwriters were a very conservative lot. They were looking for high interest variable loans that could be refinanced as a lower fixed rate. Anything outside those very strict guidelines were examined under a microscope and generally rejected. Even variable to fixed rate loans were rejected for any number of reasons. The most common reasons were income or FICO score.

A common way of getting around the underwriters was to share applications with other subprime companies. If the loan looked good, but the underwriters rejected it, another subprime company’s underwriters might accept it. There are no standards in underwriting. As long as the underwriters don’t discriminate they can accept or reject any loan for any reason. It all depends on how much risk their mortgage banks are willing to take. Applications (known in the trade as paper) were swapped all the time. It was common and acceptable practice. Aames had a rule against it. Their reasoning was that the customer’s situation might change some day and we might get the loan if we resubmitted it in a few months. Considering that FICO scores drop faster than they rise, one has to marvel at the logic behind the decision.

This did not stop paper from being swapped from the Aames office. It was simply done behind management’s back. Once again only one rule applied: Thou Shalt Not Get Caught. Besides, Aames was more than happy to submit loans we picked up at the Back Door. The worst thing about it was that I didn’t get paid on any of the loans I originated which disappeared out the Back Door. Considering how many loans the Aames underwriters turned down, I hate thinking about how much money I generated for Beneficial and Countrywide that I never got paid for.

Loan Farce

Needless to say, Aames management was ready to gnaw off its collective legs because of all the loans that fell out of the pipeline. The logical thing was to expand their pool of mortgage banks. There are no rules that say a bank or corporation can’t deal with more than one mortgage bank. Either the Aames management was too stupid to think of it, which I almost doubt, or the other underwriters were not willing to work with Aames. Considering some of the crooked things I heard come out of other mortgage companies, I doubt that as well. Regardless of the reason, the Oakland office never generated more than five or six loans in any given month I worked there.

Dumping on the sales teams was management’s solution to everything. If loans kept falling out of the pipeline, it was because we were finding the wrong customers. The most amazing orders came out of the main office. For instance, we were to try to find people with B credit or better. Nobody told us how we were supposed to know their FICO scores before we pulled them. It was still our fault for not knowing. Another management obsession was the property values in Oakland. The tech bubble had expanded across the bay from San Francisco to Oakland, and property values had expanded to rival San Francisco’s. Falling down shacks that had been worth about ten or twenty thousand a few years ago were appraising for 100 thousand or more. These too-good-to-be-true property values had Aames managers slobbering like dogs in front of raw steaks.

Oakland is populated by poor minorities who were too smart to risk their homes. I had more than one Oakland homeowner tell me that he did not believe these property values. Others told me their mortgages were either paid or almost at their last payments. These people were too smart to go back into debt. The Aames managers were not about to take no for an answer. They kept up the pressure in Oakland until Aames became a very unwelcome name. Local consumer rights organizations targeted Aames as a predatory lender. What gave them their first clue?

Aames’s obsession with Oakland culminated with the institution of Loan Force. Loan Force was a retooling of the famous Sales Force software. I have worked with Sales Force in subsequent jobs and found it to be an excellent product. I could not recommend Sales Force more highly. Unfortunately it was a disaster in the hands of the Aames management team. The first things those geniuses did was load the software with the same beat up names and phone numbers that I was forced to use when I first started. They were exactly the same. The late Larry Fine’s name and phone number was still on them. Of course the first load of leads was Oakland. Oakland homeowners were so sick of being called that they just hung up on me. I ignored Loan Force (which we quickly began calling Loan “Farce”), and went back to my own lists.

Soon I got a nasty phone call from the district manager for not using Loan Farce. It seemed that he had nothing better to do than to monitor everybody through his master screen, and make sure everybody was working. I once again complained about the lists he was making me use, and again pointing out that Larry Fine had been dead since 1975. The district manager replied that I could easily have my own lists uploaded to Loan Force. He gave me the number of the person in charge and told me that it would only take three days to upload them. I called the person in charge. She said it would take two months to upload them. I called the district manager back and he refused to listen to me. He ordered that it had to be done in three days so it would be done in three days. I told that to the person in charge of uploading the lists and she laughed at me.

Loan Farce reached the peak of idiocy the next day, when the regional manager had every office in California call Oakland. The poor Oakland homeowners were getting a call from Aames every twenty minutes. The people who bothered answering responded somewhat vocally. Some of the things they told me to do were anatomically impossible. This time I called my regional manager about it. The regional manager was actually competent, but was helpless in the face of the district manager. The regional manager said “maybe they will change their minds between phone calls”. That had to be what the district manager told him to say. Several weeks later, he quit.

At that point I was looking for a new job as well. I figured out how to make my quota by making the regional think I was using Loan Farce. I called from my own lists and marked off the calls on the Loan Farce list. I was still able to work effectively while humoring the regional manager. When I got an application from Truckee when I was supposed to be dialing Oakland, I just told them it was a call back. They accepted it. After all, the rule was, Thou Shalt Not Get Caught, and they really weren’t looking very hard.

Just Reach Out and Take It

Just Reach Out and Take It


Got Hope?

Got Jobs?Got Jobs?

For me, watching Barack Obama win the White House has been like watching a train wreck. The worst thing about it was the feeling of helplessness. Nothing I could do or say could have changed this election, and McCain would have been as bad for the nation as Obama. Having been in sales for as long as I have, I instantly saw Obama’s public relations value. From a purely public relations POV, Obama was the perfect candidate. He had black skin but he was raised in white European culture. Obama has more in common with a Republican lawyer than he does with any average voter. Yet, I have watched the spin doctors turn Obama into liberal America’s darling.

In the last three months since the inauguration, Obama has done things that would have had the rest of us howling had Baby Doc Bush done them. So far, Obama voted in favor of sheltering the telecoms who turned personal information over to Homeland Security. Obama broke his promises to raise the capital gains tax and end the Bush tax cuts. There is also an undeclared war going on in Pakistan which Obama authorized. Then there is this idiotic bailout . If Bush had done any of this, everybody would be screaming in outrage. So why does Obama get a free pass?

Maybe we are not holding Obama accountable because we have a huge emotional stake in his presidency. Twenty eight years of constant neocon rule has taken its toll. We as a nation want change so badly that we can taste it. These are the sort of emotions that Freud’s favorite nephew, Edward Bernays, loved to exploit. Bernays exploited poor self image to sell cigarettes and fear of alien cultures to sell the Cold War. There is a lot of heavy emotion associated with the Bush administration. There is the anger at being lied to, there is grief at the lives being lost in the Middle East, and there is the fear at the deteriorating economy. All of these churning emotions are so easily channeled through the simple two word phrase, “Got Hope?”

The paradox of sales is that originality in advertising rarely sells. The successful advertisement follows the same patterns, and we the consumer have been conditioned to follow those patterns. Let’s look at the original “Got Milk?” TV ad.

See what can happen to you if you don’t have enough cow juice on hand? This commercial was the first in a series of commercials that increased milk sales by over seventy percent. It was the first increase in milk sales in decades! It seemed fresh and funny but followed the traditional patterns. There was a funny vignette where the hero faces a heartbreaking loss because he didn’t have enough milk on hand. To quote the article I linked to:

Goodby’s team fielded qualitative research and learned that many consumers indeed linked milk with sweet, sticky snacks. Pushing further, the researchers flipped around the question: how do people feel when they’re eating something that demanded milk to wash it down, but don’t have milk in the house? Focus group respondents placed in this situation were upset, they felt deprived. They were able to convey viscerally the feeling of having a brownie or cookie remnants stuck in their throat, calling out for a gulp of milk to cleanse the palette.

In the best Bernays manner, the commercial uses the fear of deprivation to sell milk. Fear of not having something important or otherwise is a powerful sales tool. Next time you speak to a financial planner notice how he uses fear of an impoverished retirement to sell you an annuity. That’s how Bernie Madoff did it. He frightened his victims as to what would happen if they failed to invest for their retirements and commenced to make their fears come true. The commercial does the same thing. Only it is fear of a different sort of loss that sells milk.

Then there is the slogan that caught on like wildfire. Once again, quoting the article I linked to:

Goodby and his team used this consumer insight as the spark for what came to be called the deprivation strategy: rather than selling milk as a complement to certain foods, instead the strategy became to remind milk drinkers of the anxiety and disappointment that came when milk wasn’t available at crucial moments. Working to distill this milk-deprived emotional state into a phrase that everyone might instantly understand, Goodby coined the campaign’s well-known grammatically-challenged tagline, ‘got milk?”

It is the ungrammatical use of the word “got” that made the tagline so effective. The ungrammatical use of “got” caught the attention and held it. It was both short and memorable. It was perfect. It got to the point all a person had to do was see the tagline and all the fear of deprivation would jump out of the subconscious. These “Got Milk” signs popped up all over the nation.

got-milk-scented-bus-shelte

Since originality rarely sells, other products jumped on the bandwagon and the country was inundated with slogans like “Got Game?”, “Got Retirement?”, or even “Got Jesus?”.

got_jesus_1400x1050

There were even jokes and parodies. You can still find this T-shirt sold on the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco.

got-pot-tee-shirt1

The “Got Jesus” campaign rode the success of the original commercials. The “Got Milk” campaign set it all up for the Christianoids. Just looking at the “Got Jesus” slogan got people thinking of all the horrible things that could have happened to them if they lacked Jesus in their lives. The “Got Pot” parody helped keep the slogan alive and in the public subconscious. The more “Got (fill in the blank)” is used the more effective it becomes. This leads us to the Obama Campaign.

got_hope_vote_obama_tshirt-p235792798030844249qm6x_400

This must be the most effective campaign slogan ever used. It’s an old and established work horse. It has been used to sell everything from milk to religion. It is one we have grown to know and love and we all respond to it if we admit it or not. The sad fact is that we all “Got Hope”. We all have hope that Obama will turn the economy around. We all have hope that he will end the unconstitutional detainments in Guantanamo. Some people have so much hope that they are stating that Obama has already released the prisoners in Guantanamo and ended the war in the Middle East, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Obama has announced a timeline to release the prisoners and so far that is it. Obama is stepping up the war in Afghanistan while making a token show of slowing down the Iraqi war. Three months into his administration and the nation is still in the same situation it would be in if McCain won the election.

Hope is a very powerful emotional condition. People with terminal diseases have been known to continue to hope for a miracle cure as they lay dying. People in hopeless situations tend to hang on to hope as a means to hang on to their sanity. Hope, like any other emotional situation can be exploited by the public relations trade. People are supporting Obama despite the evidence because they are afraid to be deprived of hope. Right now Obama can break into their homes and rob their liquor cabinets, and they would not prosecute because they are afraid of losing their hope. “Got Hope” has caused a psychological confusion between Obama and the changes we are hoping for. It is as if without Obama the changes are impossible.

The worst thing about it is that we are still being sold. Everyday after work I go to the Barnes and Nobles cafe for a cup of tea, and every day I see more and more Obama promotional merchandise. Mugs, books, biographies and commemorative picture books are being hawked long after Obama has won the election. Promotional merchandise is not cheap to promote. The ghost writers and the behavioral scientists that put them out have to be paid up-front. The money you pay at the cash register barely covers the cost of production and distribution. If they are paying on the front end and not regaining the cost on the back-end, all this promotional garbage must be an investment. So my question is what are they going to try to sell us next?

Now What Excuse Will We Use to Invade Iran?

Now What Excuse Will We Use to Invade Iran?




Money Down a Bottomless Pit

timothy_f_geithner_31It’s Raining Soup!

Twenty eight years of steady neocon rule have placed this country right into the sewer. It wasn’t just Bush. It was Bush’s dad, the Reagan Administration and Bill Clinton. Now we have Barack Obama promising change and giving us the Son of the Clinton Administration. The same people who caused this economic disaster are back and making the same mistakes. We have no infrastructure left. Our manufacturing is overseas. Our GNP, which supports our currency, is entirely through oil production and refining.

While America has its collective attention riveted on Ponzi scams and other symptoms of a capitalist economy, the Obama administration is getting away with an even bigger scam. I am talking about the bailout. The most aggravating thing about it is that the criminals from the Clinton Administration who caused this mess are back with Barack Obama. We are only now coming into the full extent of the damage that Clinton and his Whitewater cohorts did to the economy. We have not even begun to feel the damage that Bush caused to the economy. Not to worry, Bush’s disasters are just around the corner.

The Clinton Years

Make no mistake about it, Bill Clinton was a neocon. His rise to superstardom was very much like Barack Obama’s. After eight years of Reagan and four of Papa Doc Bush, America needed a change. Twelve years of tax breaks and deregulation had already sucked the nation dry. In comes Clinton as the Democrat’s “great white broom” that was going to sweep away the evils of the
Republicans. Instead, Clinton followed the neocon agenda. He pushed NAFTA through Congress,and joined with Newt Gingrich to destroy the social safety net. Like Reagan and Bush, Clinton cut taxes for the rich and continued with the rash of deregulation which began in the Reagan years. This created an interesting challenge for Bill Clinton. He had to create the illusion that his policies were working without threatening corporate profits.

Along came Mrs. Geithner’s darling baby boy, Timothy, with the perfect plan. Take all of the money that should have been spent on health care, rent subsidy and education and pour it into the Internet. Pour enough money into the private sector and it would look as if the economy is healthy. While American jobs were being sent overseas and American citizens were forced into poverty and homelessness, Clinton was pouring billions of dollars into the computer industry. Like everything else that has happened in the financial industry these last twenty years, the money was poured without any regard to where it was splashing. For every piece of genuine research that was financed, there were four Internet start-ups which were not producing anything of value.

Eventually money accumulated to the point where it was spilling out of the computer industry and into other industries. All the shiny new Internet millionaires needed credit cards, right? Otherwise they would not be able to buy skateboards and groceries. Landlords had to raise the rents to account for the new prosperity and high interest mortgages had to be sold. New businesses had to be opened to support the new tech industries. Office equipment had to be sold to the new start up companies. This caused a temporary rise in the employment rate. Geithner’s house of cards was supported by the stock market, which was buying and selling junk Internet stocks as if they were actually worth something.

In the meantime, e-commerce companies like Amazon were selling their goods at a loss and making up the loss through the stock market. This forced traditional “bricks and mortar” businesses into bankruptcy. Bill Clinton signed the Financial Reform Act into law. In other words, Clinton legalized theft. Enron happened and the biggest corporate criminal of them all later became President. I think the most amazing thing that happened during the Internet bubble was AOL taking over Time Warner. AOL was an Internet company like any other, and they managed to buy one of the largest media giants with Internet money. That’s like buying a kingdom with faerie gold. Speaking of faerie gold, that was the Clinton surplus. All the extra money that was supposed to be in the treasury was actually Internet stock. It was faerie gold that vanished after the crash of 2000.

The crash happened when people woke up and realized that most of the Internet start-ups were not producing anything of value. The stock market crashed. The tech industry went belly up. The major corporations bought up everything worth buying and outsourced the work. Blend this in with the sub-prime mortgage boondoggle, financial deregulation and the death of the social safety net and you have the mess we are in today.

The Jig Was Up!

Fast forward to the summer of 2008. The mortgage industry finally melted down. The stock market crashed like it was 1929. European banks were ready to take over American institutions which had been badly run for decades. American financiers were looking at the end of their gravy train. The European banks are strict and conservative. There would be no more buying and selling of inflated stocks, no more selling of bad mortgages, and no more Ponzi scams. American financiers were panicking. The Europeans would impose law and order. What was Wall St. going to do?

Once again it was Timothy Geithner into the breach. He got in front of Baby Doc Bush and proposed a 75 billion dollar bail-out. The idea behind the bailout is exactly the same idea as the Internet bubble. If you pour enough money into the private sector it will look as if the economy is healthy. Baby Doc Bush and his tame Congress poured 75 billion dollars down the rat hole and the stock market is still in the toilet.

The Son of the Clinton Administration

Along comes President Barack Obama who promised us change and commences to give us a rerun of Clinton. Obama not only supported the first bailout but is now championing another bailout. Guess what? The second bailout is not going to work any better than the first one did. Still, Obama inherited Baby Doc Bush’s trained Congress, so this bailout is going through anyway.

Despite all the libertarian delusions that are bandied about the Web, America does not exist in its own private little capitalist bubble and never did. The United States has been a part of the world economy since Thomas Jefferson made paying the Revolutionary War debt a priority. Most of the mortgage banks that U.S banks borrowed from were European conglomerates. The Europeans pulled out their money when they discovered how many US mortgages were defaulting. That left a monster hole in American finances. That hole got bigger after Europe called in their debts and the U.S mortgage companies had to pay off all the mortgages sold. Thus billions of bailout dollars went to satisfy the European debt, which is still not paid off. Very little of this money is going to stay in the U.S

It’s not as if we really have that much money. Between Clinton and his junk stocks and Bush’s uncontrolled spending, there is not that much money left. Baby Doc cut so many taxes for the rich that more money is flying out of the Treasury than is coming in. The Bush Administration sold off federal investments and government-owned property to pay its debts. Baby Doc Bush invaded Iraq and Afghanistan with money borrowed from the Chinese and the Saudi Arabians. That’s right, folks, we owe the people who control our manufacturing and oil production big time and who’s idea was outsourcing all our factory production to China? I’ll give you a hint. He’s Barack Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury.

The last time the American public took such a fall, we had the labor movement there to make sure we got a new deal. Who do we have looking after our interests today? If we are going to have the changes we need to restore our economy, we need to organize. We cannot sit back and expect a corporately-chosen President to do it for us. We need to rebuild our infrastructure, reimpose reasonable limits on our financial institutions and bring our jobs back home where they belong. If Obama won’t do it, we’ll just have to do it despite him.

If You Use the Right Words the Right Way, People Will Convince Themselves that Grinding Poverty is the Change They Asked For

If You Use the Right Words the Right Way, People Will Convince Themselves that Grinding Poverty is the Change They Asked For