60% of the workforce is made up of women so it had to come to this eventually…jus’ sayin’

I am not a big fan of Arizona although the weather is fabulous – especially compared to back home.  Mind you, a cold sunny day back home is still the best.  I love a cold, windy, sunny day at the beach.  And, we have beach; rocky, beautiful beach.

I mention this for two reasons.  People here talk about the weather.  And virtually nothing else.  The weather never changes and yet the conversation about it never ends.  It is a small, local mental disorder. It would be mildly amusing if it was not so pernicious.  A newscast consists of a weather report, followed by a weather related incident and then another weather report.  If you change channels you get it all over again.  It’s kinda like Groundhog Day ‘cept there is no story – just the weather.  They suffer from weather minutiae syndrome.

Last night they caught me coming and going as I continually changed channels in desperation only to feel like I was not moving away from the weather…I started screaming….Sal had to calm me down.

Of course, it all eventually ended with a feature involving two Labrador retrievers being cute.

And people wonder why some ‘Mericans hole up in a building somewhere armed to the teeth and just start shooting…. I get that, now.  I really do.

The second reason for mentioning the weather is that our BC home is cold.  Zero.  Freezing.  Snow, even.  And we are not there.  But a neighbour points out, “Man, you are saving big on wood, I tell ya!  We are pounding through the woodshed.”  It is kinda sad that that gives me so much pleasure.  “Hey, Sal!  Seems we are really saving on wood!”  And Sal smiles from ear to ear, too.  Snatching small victories……

Here’s an interesting observation (mostly about me, I am afraid): I have always been a smidge sarcastic (if not misogynistic) when I see a stunningly beautiful woman in form-fitting fashion ‘anchoring’ the news desk.  She’s, like, in her thirties and can’t pronounce many of the words.  Or strutting around on stiletto heels doing the weather with a spokes model grin frozen on her face.  “Geez, Sal.  Why do you suppose they hired her?”   Sal says, “Oh, stop it!”

I think it is eye candy!  Sexploitation: plain and simple.  Sal says, “How do you know she doesn’t have a degree in Astrophysics and keeps a large family together and functioning?”  And I say, “Oh, stop it!”

But – get this: they do NOT do that in Arizona nor, increasingly, across the nation.  More and more of the ‘anchors’ and weather-women are more common-looking.  And ‘common’ in the USA is (dare I say it?) pretty chunky.  Yes, you heard me…the women at the broadcast desk are not candy anymore – more like bread loaves, actually –  and, as a bonus, very often kinda homely, too.  Our local TV station also dresses the homeliest woman on TV in the world’s worst outfits.  Last night Heifer Smith wore a tight, shiny black Naugahyde dress with huge folds and wraps.   I kept thinking of Toad of Toad Hall in patent leather.  I honestly tune in every night just to see how bad the next outfit will be.  Sal watches too and says, “Ooooh, that poor woman!”  

That is ‘fem-speak’ for “Oh my God!  She looks horrible!”

In truth, I actually kinda like that.  I do. Honest.  NOT the horrible outfits and certainly not the bizarre ‘Merican penchant for an overly painted clown face every woman seems intent on donning with heavy, heavy make-up but I do like the idea of ‘the norm’ showing up instead of vacuous spokes models whose only apparent talent is the ability to have conversations while extreme smiling through teeth that look manufactured.  The homely ones look more human, more common, more average.  It should be a good thing.

It’s not that great, it turns out.  I used to watch the sexy ones for reasons unrelated to weather.  And now I watch the homely ones so as to be kinda shocked – and then crack bad jokes.  It appeals to my inner Don Rickles.  In a bizarre way, I think the producers seem to know their audience.  “Ahh..the old guys are getting grouchy and no longer seek out the cutest spokes model.  I think we should save some money and hire their ex-wives!”

 

 

The worst

Trump.  The worst president ever.  AND one of the worst human beings.  Clearly, the most sniveling, slime-ball, manipulating con-man to ever stink up the oval office and somehow, even the TV screen.  What a disgusting exploiter of everyone for his own sake.  What a classic shyster!

I could go on (and on) but I won’t.  I will write this short blog only to point out what the pundits, commentators and opinion-writers have failed (so far) to say.  Trump is evilly manipulative and exploitative and shamelessly so.  He is blatantly and shallowly self serving in everything he does and says.  He disgusts me.

From riding the fake-love/sympathy for a little girl with cancer to aligning himself with first responders who acted heroically, from celebrating victory with old veterans over Hitler in WW2 to the release of unfairly incarcerated black people, from applauding ICE officials who deport traffic offenders to empathizing with a little boy picked on because his last name is Trump, the Donald found every which way to ‘reach’ the emotions of Americans and then do a quick ‘switch’ back to him that made him associated with the victim, the hero, the ill and the persecuted.  “I am just like them!”   Trump rode their story to give him attention.  Trump exploited their pain to make him look human.  Trump told their story to be the hero.  Trump told their story to tell HIS story and did so ruthlessly.

He couldn’t have cared less about them.

He stands for everything I despise.  There is nothing about Trump I respect.  There is nothing I recognize as decent, right, or even human.  He is a pig.  Orwell had it: the pigs are in power.  But this revolting pig is more evil than most.

“Dave!  Aren’t you just a bit over the top?”

No.  He is worse than I have stated.  I am so repulsed that just thinking about him makes me mad.  I have, as they say, Trump Derangement Syndrome.  Like Robert DeNiro, I would take the opportunity to punch him in the face.  And, if I had time to do it twice, I would.  All the time I was punching him, I would be praying for more time.

Con-men tell people lies but read and feel the room, read and feel the mood, read and feel the people as they do it.  They are like surfers who can catch even the smallest of waves and then move with that.  They are like comedians who, with a slight inflection, a tone, a facial expression can convey their point – but comics do it to make the audience laugh.  Trump does it to build rapport and trust, like a con-man.  It is why he so often goes off-script – if he sensed a moment, felt a communication, saw a connection, he will build on it to gain support.  He’ll say anything to get what he wants.  He’ll use anyone to get what he wants.  He’ll exploit anything to get what he wants.  And it was all exposed and revealed on high definition TV last night.  He posed.  He pandered.  He lied.  He danced and he pranced.  And he said the things that people wanted to hear. And he meant none of it.

He’d shoot a person on Fifth Avenue, jail children, ignore victims of catastrophe, destroy the planet, offend his allies and claim accomplishments not his.  He is the deplorable-in-chief, the head of a family that makes the Corleones look good.  He is the worst.

 

Weird, strange and hardly ‘land of the free’!

According to the American Prison Policy Initiative:
The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 1,852 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.  And the numbers are increasing.  
As per UN numbers: The number of people in US prisons is more than the entire populations of 90 out of 233 countries worldwide.
BBC news reports (from the International Centre for Prison Studies) that prison rates in the US are the world’s highest at 724 people per 100,000. In Russia the rate is 581 and China 118.  Interestingly, Canada’s rate is also 118 per 100,000 of population according to Stats Can.  We incarcerate like the People’s Republic!
The number of federal and state prisons in Arizona is 53. That number does not include local jails, juvenile facilities, immigration detention facilities, etc. Arizona is number six of the top ten (mostly southern) states for incarceration rates.
When I think of hard-line criminal, not-so-just, penal systems around the world, I think of North Korea, Russia, China and (thanks to the movies: Midnight Express) Turkey.  They are veritable freedom havens compared to the US of A.
Why is that?
How do you make America great again if so many young males are in jail being watched over by young males and put there by young males?  Does the fact that all those groups come heavily armed to the vocation of their choice have anything to do with it?  Does Capitalism have anything to do with it?  Does ‘police state’ come into play?
I don’t know. I know squat.  But I do observe a few things that are maybe related…maybe not….one thing is the news down here.  It is more than a joke, it is a parody of news.  Honest.  Firstly, about one third of the news is the weather.  I find that so odd when the weather is the same every day!  Seriously, they open with the weather, they talk about it in their little ‘chats’ with their co-news personalities and they also close with the full weather report again.
The so-called news itself is insane.  You get a snippet of something – usually traffic or a shooting, often both – a bit of sports and maybe a Trump-snack…seriously…no piece longer than 15 seconds.  And never more than three ‘bites’ in a row.  Then they cut to  a series of ads.  Usually seven or eight ads in a row and half of them are ads for medications.  It is not unusual to hear five or more ads for drugs in a row.  Then two or three more news ‘bites’ and then more ads.  Maybe 12 ‘story bites’ over half an hour and always ending with a cute dog story or something insane.  Worse, at least one, sometimes two, story-bites are thinly veiled ads for a new restaurant opening or a Black Friday/etc. sale as if that was news.  The ‘report’ is such that you KNOW the business paid for it.  Last week, they featured a minute every night with a reporter on site for the up and coming (not yet arrived) World Wrestling (WWE) match!
Honest-to-God, there is no real news in Phoenix unless the cops or the robbers shoot each other or the other guy – in itself all-too common madness  – and the rest is utter drivel.  And, of course, the same weather day in and day out.  “That’s right, Bill, we’ll have temperatures in the low 70’s throughout the valley and bright and sunny the whole time!”  
“Dave, what’s your point?”  
Well, I’ve said it before a number of ways but, if the news is anything to go by, the population (in Arizona, anyway) is purposefully KEPT ignorant of what is happening in the world.  The news is STUPID.  S-T-U-P-I-D!  Beyond stupid.  It has to be a plot of some kind.  OMG is this place ignorant!
AND they have a lot of people in jail and a lot of people in the jailing business…..
….I dunno….maybe it is just a coincidence?
On a separate note: you may have noticed a lot of blogs lately.  I have been trying to unclog the writing pipes so that I can address the next book which is feeling like a large blockage in my cerebral colon.  I may not succeed.  Sometimes a blockage blocks, ya know?  Worse, readership is way down.  There is only Sid and Untidy…..That means that the MORE I write, the less is read.  What cruel irony! 
O’ what cruel bite thy serpent sends to inflict the spite for what the writer rends.  
(Yeah….I am losing it…….)

A simplistic summary of our capitalistic system today……

Emphasis:  very SIMPLE.  Please do not read the following as ‘expertise’.  It is NOT.  There was SOME expertise thirty or so years ago in a few specific industries but it was never ‘across-the-board’ expertise even back then.  And times have changed with the entry of China into the marketplace….still…here goes…

If you made ‘something’ (i.e. widget, better mousetrap, etc.) the general rule of thumb (30 years ago) was that you had to sell it for at least 5 times the manufacturing cost to succeed as a manufacturer.  And, the wholesaler/distributor had to do much the same.  The retailer then added ‘Keystone‘ mark-up which was another 100% or, in the case of textiles and fashion, up to $1000%.  In reality, the item that cost $1.00 to make would be ‘stepped on‘ until it was at MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price) of $100.00.  One dollar times 5 = $5.00.  $5.00 times 5 = $25.00 and 400% on that equals $100.00.

Of course, NO ONE pays retail (especially POST China) so let us use $29.95/$30.00 for the final sale-to-consumer price that might be more appropriate today.

Don’t believe me?  

I have a friend still engaged in the antique/used-items market and he uses much the same system for old items where the cost to produce has been ‘sunk’ decades ago.  “I aim to mark it up 20 times what I paid for it.  Of course, I may have to accept less in negotiations but less than 10 times is simply NOT worth my while.”

So NOW Amazon ships you a widget for which you pay $30.00 plus taxes plus shipping making it say, worth $40.00 to your bank account.  $40.00 from your life/time/money account.

But it turns out that you don’t like it.  It has a dent.  It has a scratch.  They sent the wrong colour…whatever….you send it back and it costs you $15.00 to send it back.  Ostensibly, the overall cost of that item is now $55.00.  But it does not end there.  Amazon has to receive the returned item and store it and manage it in a warehouse with staff.  They are not happy looking at that NOW-to-them-cost $60.00 item.

Remember: it cost $1.00 to make.  AND it still cost you at least $15.00 (more really but that is another blog).  You do NOT have it and it cost you at least $15.00!

Amazon gets a lot of that crap and so they pile up your rejected widget on a pallet along with some other rejected better-mousetraps, gadgets, super-widgets and other related-but-not-the-same items until they have a pallet-full of say, 30 rejected items representing a total MSRP + expenses value of $1800.00.  And then they auction it off to liquidators.

They might get $50.00-$100.  They ship it to the liquidator who pays another $50.00 in shipping.

The liquidator sorts through the mess and, lo and behold, SOME of the returns really are no good.  They are broken or simply too dented and scratched to re-sell.  Half gets tossed in the bin (and the bin costs money to pick up and dump).  The re-seller/liquidator has a local shop, gets on Craigslist, Ebay, even AMAZON (for the good stuff) and discounts the crap from the MSRP price by say, 50%.  That means the $1800 was cut in half to $900 (because half was junk) and then again by 50% as ‘discount’.  There is now $450.00 worth of that stuff back on the market.

And THAT cycle might even repeat again……

And you wonder why we have accountants? 

The point: how much real value was created there?  Whatever the real value is it is NOT what the GDP has measured after all that nonsense.  Maybe measured several times!

The real value is MORE than just the cost of manufacturing, that’s for sure.  But how much?  And how much taxes were collected?  (taxes: a great deal MORE than the cost of making it, that is also for sure.) There were taxes on taxes on taxes.  Paid for with after-tax dollars.

But what about the ‘extra costs?’  There was ‘waste’ from the manufacturing process, spent-fuel carbon from the transportation side, half the crap went to the landfill and much of what went to the consumer ends up some time later on top of that….also in the landfill.  There is a significant cost to the planet.  Plus there is lost-labour cost.  A waste of a human’s time!

So, you take 30 items at a dollar-to-make each, the majority of which ends up in the landfill and you add in ‘lifetimes spent‘ working for and around all that stuff…and…well, what is the value?  Is there any?  How much of that value claimed, measured, taxed and representing YOUR work-time-in-life is real value?

Bottom line: the only REAL currency in life is TIME.  And we spend our time earning tokens to spend on stuff.  Stuff equals YOUR life’time’.

“Dave!  Do you hate stuff?” 

Of course not.  I love stuff as much as the next guy.  Haven’t I talked about Yamaha outboards enough?  Toyota Landcruisers?  Scotch?  It is just that stuff equals your time – the essence of life.  I am just saying that stuff plus taxes plus crooks, plus greed plus pollution equals a whole lot of wasted LIFE in this system.

Simplistic conclusion:  the whole wasteful, corrupt system needs a review.

 

I am not a racist……

According to Robin DiAngelo, saying you are NOT racist is virtually proof that you are.

In her book, White Fragility, one of her main points to establishing your racist card is being defensive about the accusation.  Further, if you DON’T consider yourself white-privileged, you are in denial of said privilege and, once again, prove that you are racist.

I don’t buy it.  

Admittedly, a lot of what she has to say is simple, common sense and true.  So, I buy a lot of it.  We have systemically racist systems and we we live them unconsciously.  Fair enough.  I get that.  But she is also saying that white people living in a white society are over protected and privileged by their whiteness.  Perhaps.  But I see a lot of white people damaged into addiction and homelessness by that same so-called privileged society she points to.  There is much more comfort for the white guy than, perhaps, the black guy but, when you are down and out, colour isn’t gonna save you.  And the deplorables who support Trump sure as hell don’t think they are privileged.

And, not coincidentally, it seems that a black guy living in a black society doesn’t fare much better but, according to DiAngelo, that is probably because the black society exists in the larger white-influenced world.

Still, a system originally designed by whites FOR whites (mostly) is a leg-up for a white person compared to a person-of-colour IF the only determinant is skin colour.  I do not think the primary prejudice is skin colour.  It is economics.  Economic status (wealth) is actually a more relevant determinant by far.

She also condemns the white guy for being angry when confronted with his ‘racism’.  I am not so sure that some anger and defensiveness is not called for.  Again, she is NOT wrong in raising the issues she raises but she does so in a provocative manner.  I felt some anger.  RACISM is a bad word.  To call anyone, regardless of colour, a racist is to be insulting and accusatory even if they mean it in an educational way.  A doctor who sees a patient and shouts, “You fat!” is not a good doctor regardless of the accuracy of her observation.

I guess we all should be sensitized more than we are.  And she has taken on herself to do that for the good of everyone.  So, good on her.  But, that there will be some push-back is to be expected.  An insult is often intended as an insult rather than a lesson.  I recall distinctly being yelled at once by a First Nations guy (when I was sitting in my office at the Downtown Clinic in the middle of skid row), “Get off my land, white man!”

I went over to him and said, “I am on your land only because you say it is yours.  Native culture used to claim that no one owned the land.  And I agree with them, not you or the bastards who invented the land ownership system.  And, just so you know, I own no land.  I live on a cheap boat that I owe money on.  I can’t afford land.  You have a reserve at least.  You can go home.  I can’t.  Your life ain’t easy, but neither is mine.  My father was ruined by the war.  We were and are still poor-as-dirt.  And I can’t afford to go to the school the government will pay you to go to.  My student loans are just too high to continue.  If I could, I would trade my circumstance for yours right now.  Not your brains.  Not your attitude and certainly not your now-miserable health but, if you got it together, your path today is way, way easier than mine.” 

Of course, at the time, I was surfing the blindness of being part of the so-called HUGE WAVE of ‘white privilege’ and not seeing quite how that was playing out for me and against him in the long run.  But, to be sure, I was not consciously discriminating against him as First Nations.  I was providing him health care service.  Free and to the best of my ability.  I was, however, starting to feel a bit of bull-moose-to-bull moose tension in the air and he sensed it and left.  I have never forgotten.

I was also the only white kid in an all black school in an all-black almost-ghetto in San Francisco (very poor but not ‘burnt-out’ hulks of buildings full of drug addicts like some). I have been a minority many times in my life if you don’t simply measure by skin colour.  Poverty is a very prejudicial definer of where you sit in society’s hierarchy.  So is being the ‘new kid’ in class thirteen times before graduation (we moved a lot).  But, I admit that all of those things were temporary and skin colour is not.  So, I do NOT disagree with DiAngelo…only the way she is making her point.

I also want to make a point that seems never to be made…weird...but here it is: I am NOT a racist in any way consciously and will endeavour to correct myself when I become aware of any unconscious racism.  I also do NOT expect other races to endeavour to be as conscious as I am trying to be. We all walk our own path, carry our own cross.

But I am less of a racist (conscious or unconscious) than I am a culturalist.  I do NOT judge people by the colour of their skin but, I admit, I do tend to judge societies and cultures and behaviours by their values and morals.  I am a smidge intolerant of religious zealots for instance.  I have no problem with their religion so long as it is tolerant of others but zealotry tends to be intolerant of others and so I make a judgment to ‘not like that’.  I do NOT throw stones or denigrate Jehova’s Winesses, devout Hasidim, shouting rattlesnake-handlers and the like but I confess to not being keen on what they have to preach.  My bad.

Put more bluntly: my white values are somewhat steeped in the Judaeo-Christian ethic and tempered a bit with First Nations and Confucius thoughts with an open mind on everything but, I have a few values and morals that, when added up, tend to point in the J-C ethic kind of philosophy.  I can and do make value judgments.  But they are culture/society based judgments, not pigment-based.   I am a culturalist.

The blind are leading at Davos…what else is new?

I do NOT track my own rants.  Sometimes I will go back and read something dated and think, “That was drivel!”  Or sometimes, albeit much more rarely, “That was good.”  I just went back and read an old 2015 post: Reflexivity – the study of Hungarian feet? 

I liked that one.  Still do.

But I mention this ‘mirror-gaze’ because for some time I have been ranting about Capitalism and how it is broken.  It is all wrong.  Bad, bad, bad.  Oooohhhhh, so bad!

But, like many, I could not really imagine another system.  Capitalism has so much inherent that is also inherent to the human being that it is a close-to-natural economic construct/system.  Which means: it should work.  It doesn’t work for the same reason it should – so much is inherently human and the basic human is also very flawed.  Our Capitalistic system reflects our own flaws!  We are greedy.  We are selfish.  We are mean, cruel and sociopathic.

So, we’re talking the yin and yang of things again.

But the currently obvious problem with modern capitalism is that it overly rewards our flaws and NOT our better side.  Capitalism, as it is practiced today, has no morals, no empathy, no sympathy, no higher aims.  Nor does it reward goodness.  It is cold math for personally materialistic and psychotic gains.  Ugly stuff.

Seems some of the geniuses at DAVOS, the world economic and civil think-tank conference have finally clued in to that.  God bless their atheistic little hearts.  These are the guys who did really well in the dysfunctional, greed-based system and are the so-called winners now doing the good work of reflecting on the state of it.

And NOW they are worried….not SSSOOOOOOooooooo much about you (the great unwashed) or the lack of goodness but, rather because they are worried about THEMSELVES staying at the top of the heap.  Still, they seem to recognize that the heap is suffering.  And they realize that the system is broken.  It’s a start.

IRONY: Ya gotta be a winner at what is wrong to be invited to DAVOS to talk about what should be right.

Anyway, I am copying an article by Steve Levine (AXIOS) with a tiny bit of added editing…..and a follow up comment after ‘Me:‘ below.  The following is Levine:

DAVOS, Switzerland — If a single theme ran through (it) this week, it was acceptance that the capitalist system, of which the attending elites are the masters, is broken. And if they (the elites) don’t take charge, changes may come that they won’t like.  What brought them to this point is a growing threat of trust-busting, regulation and public opprobrium in both the U.S. and Europe, on top of the residual shock of Brexit and the election of President Trump.  (NOT guilt or shame…but still….)

In interviews and speeches, many of them described what is fueling the push for dramatic action:

  • Three-quarters of people living in developed countries feel they are not getting a fair shake, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.
  • Real pay for all but the richest people has been almost flat for at least three decades. And when Americans have lost a job, almost half have moved to a lower-paying one, jeopardizing their place in the middle class.
  • Home prices in U.S. and European cities are often unaffordable, again for almost anyone but the wealthiest.

“Only 1 in 5 people say the system is working for them. One in 3 say their children will be worse off. That is really scary,” Richard Edelman, CEO of the eponymous public relations firm, told Axios on Thursday in Davos.

In reporting this story, I came to know that this is not an easy discussion (for them) to have — executives, economists and others here were often angered at the mere juxtaposition of the words “capitalism” and “challenge,” as though change meant (the imposition of) a Soviet-style economy. But in public and private sessions, the CEOs came to acknowledge that few are talking about overturning capitalism itself, and determined that they must do something.

  • As a hedge fund CEO described the zeitgeist: “We need to get in front of this problem or it’s going to get in front of us.”
  • “Whether they’re concerned about their business and profitability and shareholder value and so forth, or they’re concerned about society overall, they understand that they may have to slow down the integration of the global economy in order to let the rest of society catch up,” said Brian Gallagher, chairman of United Way Worldwide, who has attended Davos 10 other times. “That’s the first time I’ve heard it here.”

The main flaw with capitalism, critics here and elsewhere argue, is that nowhere is it practiced as it is meant to be: capitalism is supposed to be hellishly competitive; and, in addition to featuring an invisible hand, it’s supposed to have a heart.

  • Instead, say increasing numbers of critics, market power is concentrated across industries. In the U.S., four airlines control more than 65% of the market; in cellphone service, the top four have 80%; and in drug stores it’s about 70%, according to “The Myth of Capitalism,” a new book by Jonathan Tepper. This is not to mention the market power exerted by Big Tech.
  • As to empathy, the problem goes back to Adam Smith, the father of capitalism.Mainstream economists tend to ignore Smith’s appeal to the better nature of the human race — for “following our conscience [and] … promoting the happiness of mankind,” according to the Adam Smith Institute.
  • The neglect of this dimension is a culprit in the grievances of the world’s down-on-their-luck rust belts, coal towns, and factory centers.

The way [capitalism] has been practiced has been corrosive to some of the conditions that made it an attractive system,” Christopher Eisgruber, president of Princeton University, tells Axios. “The practice has undermined some of the cultural supports that made it successful.”

The bottom line: “Large segments of society are excluded from the fruits of economic growth,” said Adam Tooze, an economic historian at Columbia University. “And the corporate world is deeply worried about (their) legitimacy.”

Me:  The still-bad part is that they still do not ‘get’ that the system has foundational issues that they are not seeing.  I will not try to explain all that because I cannot – not very well, anyway – but, as an example; Capitalism postulates that money is worth money.  Money has to make money.  Money has to reproduce.  We call it interest.  Money is expected to ‘grow itself’.  But it cannot.  Money is inanimate and dead, soulless and unrelated to life in it’s own-self.  But still, we expect it to grow even if it just sits there.  That is a fundamental error in the system.  When money is working?  Maybe.  Sitting?  No.  Put bluntly: the capital side of the labour/capital balance is too strong.

Secondly, we do not attribute value to the planet.  We use it and abuse it as an unlimited resource.  It is not.  And yet, it IS the ultimate capital.  We are foolishly spending the principal of it in anything and everything that is NOT 100% sustainable.

And thirdly, we expect unrealistic (read unsustainable) growth.

There is so much more wrong but you know all that……

….I just hope those guys at Davos smarten up and fix it but I am NOT holding my breath.

 

 

Slavery Inc.

Trump caved on the shutdown!  That’s the current ‘hair-on-fire’ message.  That’s the news.  Roger Stone was arrested and he won’t ‘rat’ on the president – no matter what!  That’s in the news, too.  Kim Kardashian’s butt is ready to be rolled out again in case things slow down.  I can’t wait!  Thank God there’s the Super Bowl soon.  “We need football!”

The United States is corrupt and the president of the United States is insane and crooked and that is the NEW NORMAL….?

Well, for me, even that obvious statement will NOT be the news.  Not news to me, anyway.  The real news – a revelation, actually – is that so many US Federal workers needed food banks to get through the lock-out.  That means they do not have the flexibility in their finances to ‘roll’ for a month without pay.

Mind you, even that is not BIG news…not really.  We kinda knew that.  Kinda.  It was in the background.

Federal workers are the very definition of a middle class!  A recent study indicated that 40-something-percent of working Americans and 46% of Canadians could NOT absorb a surprise ‘hit’ of as little as $200.  I think the study concluded that $400 was the amount that tipped the balance for the largest percentage of Americans, but $200 was the peril-point for so many Canadians living pay cheque to pay cheque, they couldn’t handle it from cash flow.  The middle class is no longer middle, they are dropping precipitously.  When an air-traffic controller goes to the food bank, the middle class is NO MORE.

THAT IS NEWS! 

Think about that.  If you are are living paycheque to paycheque with barely a $200-$400 ‘discretionary’ income left over after expenses, you are a slave.  Plain and simple. In a world controlled with money, you have no power.  Slavery, albeit camouflaged in heaps of trashy consumer goods, is back.

If that was the case just for the poor, the addicted, the homeless downtrodden, the rural white trash and the impoverished minorities, that might not be real news.  Most people think of a $200 – $400 ‘float’ as the threshold for poverty vs the very-low income.  But that is not the case anymore.  That $200-$400 margin-for-error is the new tipping point for the middle class, the car-drivers, the condo-dwellers, the BIG screen TV watchers and the fast-food restaurant-goers.  Parents with kids.  And the numbers of those ‘floating’ just above water (as the expression goes), it seems, are growing.  More and more people are living only to work.

TO ME THAT’S NEWS!!

Roger Stone, self-confessed ‘dirty trickster’ of politics and a ‘Dandy’ dresser has over 600 custom-tailored suits in his closet.  Paul Manafort sported a $15,000 Ostrich jacket, Michael Cohen owns several million dollar condos, Trump lives in a gold-leaf covered huge home atop Trump tower.  Trudeau (don’t get me started), our politicians and bureaucrats stealing from the public purse, Mitch McConnell, even Nancy Pelosi, Obama and Clinton are all stinking rich….and they control the lives of most Americans….why?  Because they ‘own them’ like slaves, that’s why.

America works like that.  Canada works like that.  Money talks.  AND IT WALKS WITH A REALLY BIG STICK.

The News?  Slavery is back.