Friday, March 26, 2010

Open Letter to NY Times and Jodi Kantor

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/business/25warren.html

Dear Ms. Kantor,

I cannot hold this.  But I cannot comment on your (Elizabeth Warren) article – online comments are now closed.  I am literally beside myself...

Please, Ms. Kantor, I implore you, please do all that you can to help America understand that Elizabeth Warren should be the next POTUS.

This collapse (and concomitant "Socialism for the rich; capitalism for everyone else" robbery) CRIES OUT for a new (more humane gender) FDR!  For a HEALER for these sick and troubled times!

Surely it is within the capacity of the NY Times to garner some small (but meaningful) role in helping this sick, corrupted and utterly disheartened nation understand its basic needs -- for redemption, for trust, for matriarchal love (less greed) -- for renewed confidence in this (perhaps one day) open, democratic "system" and its all-too-human leaders -- again.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
Todd Ryder

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Case for Expatriation

There is estimated 8.5 Trillion invest-able held by private U.S. citizens.  That alone could essentially finance the presently accumulated U.S. national debt – i.e. the $12 Trillion accumulated national debt can be largely financed internally -- by U.S. citizens only.

Eliminating the cap on social security taxes would essentially render SSA solvent indefinitely – without benefit cuts.  Possibly retirement age might also have to rise for those presently 40 - 50 and under.  If all else fails, SSA could be “means tested” (whereby those with incomes exceeding $250K receive less/none SSA; for “the rich” SSA simply becomes additional taxation that should have been paid all along post-Reagan).

Thus, the very idea (Fox News) that 35% of the U.S. economy (businesses/assets) owned by the top 10% is not substantial enough to finance the “welfare state” – so desperately needed to retain political, financial and economic stability in the U.S. – the very idea that this wealth is “off limits” to the vast majority of hard working Americans that built these empires for the moneyed aristocracy -- is absurd – and not only absurd but increasingly dangerous and destabilizing (for us, for average working Americans).

In short, the “slow motion coups” (dramatically increased wealth transfer to top 2-5%) against working people in America, post-Reagan, has undermined whatever social and economic fabric held the U.S. together for 200 years.  And unless the welfare state is expanded and better funded AND/OR wages rise substantially at all levels but the uppermost quintile of the U.S. population, then violence and possibly civil war are inevitable in the U.S. in the long run.

Already (in wake of Obama’s health care reform bill) threats of violence and real violence (e.g. Tea Party, egged-on by Fox News in the form of Glenn Beck et al) have begun.  It seems obvious to me, at this pace, that America will one day (I cannot however say/know when) collapse and/or descend to an imbecilic theocracy (as it in many ways already has) – e.g. like Iran/Afghanistan (but through some form of sick perturbation of the Gospels of Jesus Christ instead of the Koran as occurred in Muslim/Middle Eastern countries).

This is why I am trying to figure out a way to emigrate from the U.S.-- to New Zealand or perhaps Canada/Australia/Europe?  Because I have emotionally and intellectually abandoned hope and optimism here and for the United States of America.  I realize now I have never truly “believed” in what has happened here (though I have at various times in my life been confused, desperate or unhappy enough to engage in various forms of USA beliefs/delusions).  But mostly I have always implicitly/explicitly questioned the validity of my country’s systems of intellectual and social conformity and economic mass exploitation.

I realize now that, like a congenital birth defect, it was my misfortune to be born here rather than a moderate, stable, fair and peace-loving country.  But my birth accident does not have to be my death sentence.  There is no law or rule that says I must die here under an increasingly uneducated feudalistic theocracy that crushes the soul and steals human potential from the majority of its citizens for the exclusive and excessive financial and political gain of a tiny (percentage) moneyed aristocracy that is unwilling or incapable of bestowing truth, kindness, fairness or justice to the hard working citizen majority.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stiff the Chinese! Yeah… That’ll fix it!

http://www.nytimes.com//2010/03/17/opinion/17wed1.html

Does anyone in this country ever just stop and try to somehow validate Uncle Ronnie's system of ever-larger numbers?

I must admit that I do...

So, now, the latest "plan" under the "system" -- is to stiff the Chinese for about half (via yuan/remnibi appreciation) of what we owe them ($2.4 TRILLION).

I mean, how fucking SICK is that?!  Well, anyway, I think it's sick.  And frankly I hope it fails -- even if it means WW3 -- even if it means USA loses WW3!

After all, the Chinese lent and USA borrowed.

After all, didn’t all those compliant Chinese junk makers earning $0.50/hour essentially fuck USA fair and square?  Don’t they call that “capitalism” on Wall Street (at least when it works;  when it fails I believe they call it “too big to fail”)!

So we can’t just very well pay China half what we owe?  Can we?  Didn’t U.S. firms mostly put up all those factories?  Isn’t that how/why Wall Street made so very much for so very few over the last decade?

At any rate, this seems yet another reason for emigrating from USA, for trying to get out of the way of its cheating, hypocrite schemes, for watching the inevitable collapse (maybe war) from hopefully another shore if possible...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Dogshit Tragedy of Helena Montana

Why do people let their giant dogs shit a fine public space like Helena’s Le Grand Cannon trail into ruin?
Why must I suffer nausea just passing through it to higher, less defiled, trails?

http://blogs.alternet.org/issuesandrants/2010/03/15/is-ecological-community-based-economic-planning-our-salvation/
Elinor Ostrom says it isn’t always this way with shared (public) ground – that a productive “commons” is possible.  But I don’t think I can believe it any more…

I worry that Montana/America’s decline is too complete.  Its education too flawed.  I suspect that meaningful “cooperation” leading to improved life quality is no longer possible.

From my vantage, the war is over.  Society lost!  And Ronald Reagan’s Ayn Rand / Wall Street inspired “the rich must inherit the earth” gospel of unregulated individualism, greed and insanity has won!

As such, Montana/America can no longer afford civility.  Civility is the privilege of a society that functions well for the majority.  This is no longer true in Montana/America.

That is why I am planning to flee from social decline for the remainder of my life; to leave Helena and my beloved Montana (if I can sell-out or rent my property out) for another place/country.  Not every place could be this uncivil, this (perpetually Red State voting) poor, this mis-educated and nausea inducing -- could it?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ayn Rand’s Republican naiveté

http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/paul-ryans-redistributionist-vision

I agree with this statement regarding the philosophy of Ayn Rand (emphasis added; from Brooklyn Mike’s comment to Douthat; referenced above): "The fallacy of Rand's philosophy lies in the belief that people will always act in their own rational self interest. People will, of course, always act in their own best [selfish] interest... people almost never act rationally when attempting to do so. Once you realize that she relies exclusively on their ability to do so, you soon see how incredible naive she was..."

Here, Mike exposes the basic flaw in the Republican gospel – that "the superior must be allowed to inherit the earth" (which I admit swayed me for almost two decades).

Now, Rand’s core tenets are undone, exposed as merely fallacial, pseudo-intellectual naiveté.

Undone because Rand chose, for rhetorical purposes, to ignore (or otherwise obscure) that history demonstrates individuals are seldom noble or rational.  That such traits are far more commonly demonstrated through culture, through collective and not individual acts!

While I may not believe in God, I do know my Bible.  And like most sustaining artifacts of culture, there is truth in its words.  One example: "where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am also"  which says to me that without plurality, without beneficent culture, without a shared stake in a mutually rewarding outcome, that individualism is more apt to descend to animalism than ascend to God.

History is replete with examples (save arguably one): Alexander, the Caesars, Hitler, traders at AIG -- none (rationally) content with half of everything!  Each sacrificing the world in a vain, irrational swipe to take it all!

Thus, unregulated hedonism – a k a Rand’s “rational self interest” – is conceivably little more than a twisted intellectual’s mask for insanity and invariably its demonstrated end.  Mao, Marx and Jesus knew this.  And now, before it's too late, Republicans must somehow see it too.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Constitution FUBAR. Game Over!

Why is America so FUBAR?  One big reason (read Howard Zinn) is because the U.S. Bill of Rights is arguably the most successful "PR" campaign of all time.  The BoR was created by a wealthy, land baron aristocracy that refused to pay (King George) taxes. The BoR was created to assuage (and confuse) citizens with glorious words (akin to the gospels/Bible) in the face of a very real travesty of political "economy" -- The U.S. Constitution.

How many more headlines will it take to inform us that America is by no means an egalitarian democracy?  That instead, America is a monied aristocracy controlled by three indefensibly elite bodies, mostly comprised of wealthy elites: 1.) Congress ("legislative"),  2.) Supreme Court ("judicial") and  3.) President ("executive").

Then you throw in unrestricted financial/corporate “person-hood" (unlimited corporate "speech" recently strengthened by John Roberts' Supreme Court) and it's – GAME OVER -- for the American people!

Finally I see now that it has always been this way and probably always will be…

I mean, so, big deal!?  Sixty years ago, this country won a World War (industrial/technological capacity funded through debt and the deep, blood sacrifice of 600K Americans).

But, in its aftermath, what did the survivors get?  A fifty year (on the "credit card"; mostly fake we now know) consumption orgy (er… I mean “baby boom").   The same rich families got richer (minus a few new converts here and there) and the same poor got poorer.  In the end, even as the rhythm seemingly changes, the song remains the same.

But the show's over folks!  And in my view (like any reasonably successful – not by choice mind you, capitalist) it’s time to figure out how to move on – e.g. emigrate to a country with a parliamentary system where compromise and community (not greed, selfishness, showmanship and ultimately abject failure) are core, protected, well-funded values in the larger society.  Taxes, it seems clear now, are not always bad!

I would prefer to remain English speaking if possible (e.g. New Zealand, Australia, maybe Canada).

The other alternative is of course the EU (e.g. Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, France).

But no doubt the closer one gets to the "Chinese Miracle" (probably a bubble too) arguably so much the better.  Thus, again, New Zealand and Australia vault to top of the list.

Now (emigration) THAT is my idea of a bailout!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Why Am I So Angry? A Manifesto.

Who could hate capitalism?

When 10% of the U.S. population owns >70% of the capital.
When 1% of the world population owns >50% of the capital.

http://blogs.alternet.org/michaelcollinsdc/2010/02/12/where-are-the-populists/
http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/content/economicsfinance/9780199548880/toc.html
http://istealyourmoney.com/wealth-distribution-poverty-riches.html

Translation: Capitalism = FAILURE.

Capitalism ends in collapse, insanity, violence or (at best) chaos – e.g. 2000, 2008 – these were but two years when capitalism’s bubbles burst.  And in 2008, the world as we know it almost ended.  In 2008 there were literally closed door sessions where the U.S. government considered imposing martial law.  But then capitalism got yet another bailout.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/business/economy/21unemployed.html
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/32255149/wall_streets_bailout_hustle

In the wake of the objective failure of capitalism, we must imagine another way:

  1. Anti-capitalism.  Anti-profit.  Anti-growth.  E.g. a regulated, utility model, where everyone gets a job and no one gets rich.  Where, if “riches” are allowed, a 100% inheritance tax redistributes at death.  Where there are no caps/limits on taxes – if you earn $2 billion a year, you pay tax on $2B/year – no caps, exemptions, no “long term capital gains” rate – it’s all income and its all taxed progressively, based on the wealth of the taxpayer.
  2. Government is (basically) good!  Government is the best (and only) guarantor of a middle class and of sustained employment in the history of mankind.
  3. A system of Global Commons, where every person on earth, at birth is entitled to an equal share of the world’s “wealth.”  No more.  But never less.  Any wealth accumulated during life returns to the Global Commons upon death.   No patent.  No proprietary advantage.  There should be no “protection,” guarantee or “title” (like inheritance) to profit.

Take a moment to simply and objectively consider basic reality: Medicare, Social Security, Housing, the Stock Market, the Corporate Debt Market, Sovereign Debt (Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, UK, United States), the International Banking cabal, Defense spending, Health Care spending… many/most/all of these bubbles will EXPLODE sometime in the next five to thirty years (if the world is that lucky).

The simple fact is the failed system (of capitalism and private property) is collapsing before our eyes – under the very weight of insane bubbles and unjust deficits.  The truth is that capitalism no longer (if it ever did) provides objective wealth to anyone (except perhaps the billionaires that write its rules). 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-w-whitehead/the-groundwork-has-alread_b_171778.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/your-money/27money.html
http://littlesis.org/list/88/The_Bubble_Barons

The fact is the exploitive, Greenspan (classical economics) model of DEBT=GROWTH that created an “illusion of prosperity” for 50 years, inflating one bubble while running up catastrophic, insolvent, time-bomb deficits has FAILED! 

The fact is the decline of American capitalism began in 1974 (peak oil) and its collapse was assured with the $28 TRILLION “bailout” in 2008, when its true nature became obvious: socialism for the rich and capitalism (picking up the tab) for the rest of us.

The fact is that all capitalism offers the world today is under-employment and over-deficits: fiscal deficits, energy deficits, health care deficits, food deficits, environment deficits, water deficits, oxygen deficits and sanity deficits.

Who among us isn’t sick to our guts of it?

What percentage would today choose mutual destruction over this miserable, fake, lying, sham, hypocrisy of an economy?  Over an economy that is more religion and lies than math?  Over America the Hideous: “America, America, it’s just a fucking dream, that won’t come true, for me or you, from sea to shining sea!” 

Meanwhile, as total, final collapse nears, I must prepare: must carry a gun everywhere; must obtain a concealed weapon permit, just to walk my dog around the fucking block, to drive my brand new car from one town to the next on the interstate; must carry a gun to defend against violence; and if not violence then against theft; if not against theft then vandalism; if not against vandalism then to lash out (in my final, dying seconds) against the insane, mindless, traffic and capitalist-robot-debt-people-drivers threatening every single day of my miserable life. 

This is my life now.  These are my daily attacks and slights: vandalism, law suits, perjured testimony, attacks and collisions at the end of my driveway, near-hit-and-run misses walking my dog…

Yes.  This has been my “reward” under capitalism.

And when I told my mom last Thanksgiving I was seriously considering purchasing a gun… imagine my amazement when she said “We are considering that too!”

So excuse me if I’m really very pissed off about this!  Excuse me if I cannot help but imagine less horrible economic realities that might not destroy my soul and my humanity as this one has.

Excuse me if I know implicitly that very soon there will be too many burst bubbles and catastrophic deficits for this failing system to withstand, to paper over – not with $28 TRILLION or $100 TRILLION.  This system barely withstood (and will never recover from) 2008.  Anyone with two eyes, two ears and a brain between them can see this is just the beginning!

So that is why I am so angry!  I played by the stupid fucking rules for 48 years.  I believed every lie.  I saved half a million dollars in cash and my wife and I own another half million, conservatively in real estate.  In forty-eight years I never lost one miserable, fucking nickel – not in the market collapses – not ever!  Yes.  I got pretty fucking good at the sick game called capitalism.  But in 2008 I realized it was all a lie.  I realized the USA is just the USSR, with a better PR firm.  That our system, like any based on evil, greed, exploitation and theft is nothing more than a glorified Ponzi scheme.  That Bernie Madoff is no different from the President of the United States of America or the president of Exxon Mobile.  That we “capitalists” are all just “salesmen” – for lies, hypocrisy and theft.

Now, I have no recourse but to attack this failure, its delusion and stupidity, relentlessly and without end, hoping against hope that others reason will yield to truth.  (But, when I’m honest with myself, I know that most already know the truth.  And just can’t or won’t admit it.  Can’t abandon the sad, sick, pathetic “Dream” America has become).

And it only makes me angrier.

So bring on the WAR.  I am ready now.  Young versus old.  Liberal versus conservative.  Mother versus son.  I am ready now.