Friday, September 30, 2011

This Occupy Movement gives me hope

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't vote for Ron Paul, Vote for you!

Did anyone else notice this ad? They might be disappointed to know where there advertisements are being placed. At least we have been slated as a "political" website...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The long memory is the most revolutionary idea in America

Does anyone remember 2008?

I remember the summer of 2008 vividly. I was working at a small bike shop in Northern Utah. Gas prices had gone through the roof and for the first time in all my years in the cycling industry, I saw middle class folk buying bikes to ride to work. There was a lot of talk about the economy being in trouble and how gas prices were effecting the average person. Seeing that food prices had dramatically increased due to the cost of transportation, etc.

And then the gas prices dropped.

And the economy came to a complete stand still. There were rumors. There were lies. And then there was the bailout.

Our sales at the bike shop went from record breaking to non-existent. I watched as the many people in the community who frequented the shop told the stories of the lost money, lost jobs. The lost houses were yet to come.

We were all told that the bailout was absolutely necessary to save the economy. Then we watched as people were paraded in front of Congress to beg for money. We watched as the corporations who had made poor financial decisions were, one by one, saved by the U.S. people.

And ever since we have watched as jobs have not grown but continue to be unavailable to the American people.

They told us that this was all due to a failure in the regulatory process to keep up with the advancements in financial products. So they gave us the Dodd-Frank Act. This huge act of legislation was supposed to guarantee that what had happened would never happen again. It was written in the hopes of giving us a safety net.

Now we get those same politicians toting the idea that the Dodd-Frank Act is impeding businesses from hiring employees because the regulation has impeded them from being able to grow.

Does anyone remember?

It's infuriating to watch people get excited about reverting back to early 20th century conditions. We had a time when the Dodd-Frank Act did not exist, what did we get? economic depression. We have had a time when the minimum wage didn't exist, when child labor laws, the eight hour day, safety regulations, environmental regulations have all not existed. We can look back and see what we will get if these safety nets are not in place.

If we were to really look back and study the rise and fall in economy, we would learn what every economics student learns in the first semester. The capitalist system always grows and retracts, aka crashes. It is unstable and the only people who are insulated from these booms/crashes are the wealthy, the rest of us are screwed.

If only we could remember... Maybe we would vote for us, instead of them.

"The long memory is the most radical idea in the country." - U. Utah Philips

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dumbest Facebook Posting to date

As seen on Facebook...

"SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT ... If you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get 12 yrs. hard labor. If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you get shot. Two Americans just got eight years for crossing the Iranian border. If you cross the U. S. border illegally, you get a job, a drivers license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, housing & child benefits, education, & a tax free business for 7 yrs ...No wonder we are a country in debt. Re-post if you agree"

No, let me get this straight. You think that we should have a country that is more like North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran? Good luck getting any kind of fresh vegetables when all those immigrants are gone, at least at a good price. And let me guess you think we should deregulate the market. Yup? Yes then you really are that stupid. Did you ever stop to think that labor was a commodity and if you deregulated the market, there wouldn't be any illegal immigrants to complain about because the market would allow labor (ie immigrants) to flow freely to where ever they are needed. Do you see the disconnect? Nope? Didn't think so..

You're only helpless if you've given up. So don't do that because we need you.

The BBC published an interesting article.

The article hypothesizes that Americans don't protest because we suffer from learned helplessness. However, the article also points to Wisconsin. I guess that shows we're only helpless if we think we are.

I don't know about the rest of you, but as a graduate student with an enormous amount of debt (which, thanks to Congress, is all unsubsidized) and facing the prospect of not having a job because a few greedy morons decided they wanted to make lots of money now and, you know, screw the rest of us, I feel like maybe it's time to stop thinking we're helpless.

There are lots of ways to stop feeling helpless: email your congressperson, call the White House, organize a protest, spread the word, shop locally, be an activist shareholder (if you own stock or have money to buy stock). Pick one. Or make up your own.

The point is, we're not helpless. It's time to join the rest of the planet in their protests and tell The Metaphorical Man: We're here, we're not going away, and we're sick of your bullshit. So move over Man; it's our turn.

Here's another interesting article published in the EconoMonitor. Definitely worth a read.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Like all valuable commodities, truth is often counterfeited."

I decided today to watch the Tea Party debate. I don't actually have cable, so I just followed it on CNN's live blog. I don't think it would have been any less painful to watch live though.

Someone please explain to me why people cheer at these damn things? In my limited information from the blog, it seemed to me that only two or three questions were even answered. There is a technique that every lawyer (and by extension, every politician) knows: Framing. It's also something writers know because it's a way to tell a story. When a politician says to you "We shouldn't tax the rich. Why do you want to punish people for being successful?" That's framing. It's also bullshit. How about "Why shouldn't rich people have to pay their fair share?" That's a framing you'll never hear a Republican say. Although, Buddy Roemer did say it, and he's a Republican, but he was not invited to the debate.

In short, almost everything said at that debate was totally meaningless insofar as any substantive issue goes. They didn't answer your questions; they didn't answer mine. They just framed the issues that polls tell them the populace care about in a way that those same polls tell them will make people vote for them. It is, for the most part, idiotic rhetoric that is designed to cause you to become emotionally attached to their campaign even though what they're saying to you is at best loosely based on fact and, more commonly, complete bullshit.

Just because a politician says 'socialism' or 'freedom' or 'American way' or 'family values' or any number of other terms does not mean you have to agree with them. First of all, have you noticed they hardly ever use terms correctly? I am starting to believe no one in this country knows the difference between capitalism, socialism, and communism. Second, when you watch these debates or read about the politicians in the paper, I implore you to use logic or some manner of rational thinking to decide if what you're hearing/reading is worth hearing/reading. Do not let some fraudulently obtained emotional attachment gear you into thinking someone will help you when, if you actually look at what they're saying, you will realize you have no idea what this person will do because they haven't actually said anything! For the record, I do not think Republicans are the only guilty party in this whole framing business.

While it is on occasion my knee-jerk reaction to think of some of these politicians as morons, they are not. They are very intelligent. They know that the easiest way to get your vote is to create an emotional attachment, even if it's not based in reality or any kind of fact. Don't let them do that to you. Don't let them lie. They are playing the American people for a bunch of fools. Show them that they're wrong.

Whether you take Vote for You literally or metaphorically is, for this particular post, irrelevant. Do it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day

"Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." - Abraham Lincoln.

I found this via this

I hope you didn't work today...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I guess we'll be voting you out.

I'm all for people having their own views and expressing them, but this one was a little too ironic to ignore...

Update: it reads, "You can fix lot of things. But you can't fix STUPID. However, you can vote it out."