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Monday, September 17, 2018

The Second American Revolution

The America I once knew was mixed with equal parts of capitalism, greed, and some modicum of fair play. Laws were meant to be obeyed not rendered useless with creative arguments from lawyers.

In the intervening 50 years of my life- the political class crawled into bed with the rich and elite. A depraved oligarchy emerged. They are driven by power and greed and they can never be satiated. They are international bankers, Wall Street types mostly, and old men like Warren Buffet who use their power and influence to get what they want and find ways to get even more. They offer up little pledges to try to make us believe they are benevolent and charitable. It's just a facade. A little damage control to confuse the onlookers while they go about the business of exploiting and fleecing others. That's what they do.

In 2008, amidst my personal renaissance, I started this blog. There was a massive stock market sell off led by banks that year and near the end of that debt driven carnage- the politicians and the bankers did an act wholly illegal and unprecedented. The politicians simply stole a trillion or so from the American taxpayers and gave it to the banking cabal so that they could keep the whole sector from going broke and bankrupt- which is precisely how mal- investment ends. If you make a huge business mistake- you are supposed to go broke. That's how capitalism works. Open a business with a bad business plan, poor location, or offer a service people can do without- and the business fails. That's capitalism.

So the politicians literally stole one trillion dollars on behalf of the bankers- the Federal Reserve loaned out trillions by issuing electronic zeroes all over the world and the whole party started over again in March of 2009. The banking system should have died then. Rather, it was at that moment when Frankenstein Government was created. President Obama could have come in and prosecuted the whole cabal but unfortunately he had compromised himself by taking hundreds of millions of dollars from bankers for his campaign- so enforcing the rule of law was not going to happen. He had been bribed in advance. 

I don't think people realize yet what a watershed moment that was. 

Very often in our lives, things happen and at that moment, we don't understand the importance of what just transpired. Months or years later as we reflect, it suddenly becomes clear. One day, that moment in 2008 and the drip, drip drip, incremental seizure of every last piece of wealth in this country is going to result in a national moment of clarity and a second revolution.

I guarantee it. Taxicab Depressions wrote an excellent blog about the "Pig Trap." You condition animals to behave a certain way, slowly gain their trust, then trap and slaughter them.

That's what they've been doing to blue and white collar America since the 60's. Conditioning us. We fought the Revolutionary War over a 3% tax. It is relatively common now to pay 50% of our incomes for gas tax, property tax, sales tax, state and federal taxes. Taxes never go down. People don't bat an eye- in fact they will actually make excuses for why that level of taxation is necessary. The United States demands and has passed laws like FATCA- laws that demand that anywhere in the world you decide to flee to- you must still pay taxes and foreign banks must disclose your assets.  

The banking cabal, i.e. the Federal Reserve, can issue as many electronic zeroes as they need. The people who use counterfeit money first always get full value and the Fed distributes those funds to it's member banks. Once the bankers spend the money- it enters the pool of existing money and increases the supply and cheapens the whole pool. That is called inflation. The greatest stealth tax we will ever pay.

You have no appeal process with regard to any of this. Fair or not, you will not be able to win a case in front of a government court. Federal courts exist simply to expand the power of government. They never expand the power of people.

The rich and elite have gamed the system. They have the best lawmakers, presidents, and tax system money can buy. And if any of you think for one moment that elite billionaire President elect Donald Trump is any different- you are an idiot. He is just another rich elitist who has been preying on working stiffs his whole life. He is already assembling his cast of fellow elitists- and trust me- they aren't going to institute a fair tax or bring labor unions back. 

The dilemma- the Yin and Yang of capitalism- is that I am convinced that capitalism is the best economic system ever conceived. It might have survived had the rule of law been strictly enforced rather than corrupted. Greed in a capitalistic system is the Yang. For all the economic good that might have been- greed and corruption are going to have the last laugh. That's why 2008 was such a watershed moment. That was the moment when government realized it could do whatever it wanted to do- and the citizens of this country were powerless to stop it. They would cower in fear. Until the second revolutionary war.

You see, the people with all of the power and assets don't want to relinquish what they have. They want every last asset that they can put their grubby, little hands on but they want to socialize all of the losses. That way they can steal the fruits of cheap labor while forcing taxpayers to pay their medical insurance through programs like Obamacare- another tax. Like Walmart. Rich people love Obamacare. They don't have to pay for it- they have the best care imaginable for themselves- and they have managed to spread the burden of Obamcare on the middle class just as they have done with the tax code. They reap the profits. They own the insurance companies, big pharma and devices, and they own all of the stock that all of those public companies issue. They own the banks. They own the slave labor pools they are importing from China. They own this place. 

The bottom line is this. The more they take- the less is available to you. It is that simple and that is how the rich and elite in this country have gutted the middle class. With uncontrollable greed. It is a sickness. Watch Shark Tank to get a good feel for it. They should call it Warren Buffet disease.

There will never be a day of clarity in which all of the greedy people in this country wake up and say, "Wow we have really gutted this place." Greedy people are never content. That's who they are. 

The American Revolution was brought about by the efforts of 3% of the population and with the support of 25%. The other 70% or so, were all still loyal to the King and fearful of the British and treason. All the settlers ever wanted back then was freedom. The King could have agreed but people with power do not often relinquish it. He sacrificed tens of thousands of lives and probably would have sacrificed more but King George lost all of his political support and could not continue because he had other wars brewing. In the Revolutionary War, each side lost about 24,000 men. 

So when will the Second American revolution begin? 

The government and their elite owners have been very successful at incrementally stealing us blind while turning us against each other. So I don't think any flash point occurs if the oligarchy incrementally continues to raise taxes and steals our wealth that way. The bankers will be more than happy to continue to glean billions while we fight amongst ourselves over ridiculous issues. I honestly think the minions in this country will continue to give away their work product. They are too afraid to take a stand. Think of the 75% King loyalists in 1773. Look at California.

The top of the elite pyramid has always been the money changers. The Federal Reserve and their continual manipulation of the money supply, the buying of influence, their infiltration into every aspect of our lives. They have complete control over us. Killing the Federal Reserve might not cure all of our problems but it would be a great place to start.

This will all end badly. The rich and elite won't compromise. They have the government machine at their beck and call. They are not going to negotiate. 

Kennedy once said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable."

They'd probably lock Kennedy up for trying to say that today.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Adams Saw This Coming

"A government of laws, not men."

Our forgotten president, the second one, has never received the acclaim he deserves. As one of the original framers of the Constitution, John Q Adams incorporated some of the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke on government. Locke was one of the leading political philosophers of his time- a time which predated the Constitution by about 100 years.

So what made John Adams so special?

On a personal note, one that I agree with, Adams feared the aristocracy. The willingness of men to enrich themselves at the expense of others. He feared an oligarchy of rich men running the country. The only way to keep them in check was a government of laws and not of men- otherwise we would devolve into a nation where the aristocracy arbitrarily ruled and did what they wanted to do at the expense of the powerless. A government of laws leveled that playing field considerably.

Here is a summary and link which cites historical accounts and two books that have been written on Adams.

Adams, well educated like his contemporary Thomas Jefferson, knew the past. Knowing history allowed the framers to predict the future. Think of them as the risk managers of their day. Government, with all of it's trial and errors throughout time, had always been an evolving process. An educated man could avoid the historical failures of the past.

I have a friend who believes the constitutional framers were simply the aristocracy of the 1700's in America.That's probably true because educated men could read, write, and interpret the mistakes of the past. I simply can't see cobblers and blacksmiths authoring a Constitution and correctly interpreting history and philosophy- a process which gave us a Republic with a representative government with checks and balances built in.

Was Adams correct to fear the aristocracy? Here is a snip from wiki.

In 2011, according to PolitiFact and others, the top 400 wealthiest Americans "have more wealth than half of all Americans combined."

A study conducted by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University was released in April 2014,[25] which stated that their "analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts." The study analyzed nearly 1,800 policies enacted by the US government between 1981 and 2002 and compared them to the expressed preferences of the American public as opposed to wealthy Americans and large special interest groups.[26] It found that wealthy individuals and organizations representing business interests have substantial political influence, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little to none. The study did concede that "Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contestedfranchise." Gilens and Page do not characterize the US as an "oligarchy" per se; however, they do apply the concept of "civil oligarchy" as used by Jeffrey Winters with respect to the US. Winters has posited a comparative theory of "oligarchy" in which the wealthiest citizens – even in a "civil oligarchy" like the United States – dominate policy concerning crucial issues of wealth- and income-protection.[27]

Despite Adams' fear of the aristocracy taking over- he knew they were a necessary evil and it was highly unlikely that we could ever prevent or stop them. The best we could hope for was that they would act with benevolence and adhere to the morality of law and the social contract.

Which brings me to the concept of a government of laws and not of men.

When we abandon the rule of law, we install the rule of man. The rule of man has been a violent failure where innocent people have been mass murdered. Think about men like Stalin and farther back, King John.

Many historians have suggested that Stalin was responsible for death total of around 20 million, citing much higher victim totals from executions, Gulag camps, deportations and other causes. Simon Sebag Montefiore suggested that Stalin was ultimately responsible for the deaths of between 20 and 25 million people..

King John, an especially evil tyrant, gave rise to the Magna Carta- the original social contract.

In America we currently have a rule or law which is being eroded, chipped away at, and rendered useless. When the rule of law is abandoned, and often by lawyers themselves, we get a two tiered justice system where Adam's fear of the aristocracy is coming true. The aristocracy is often not subject to the same punishments that the rest of us are. They evade everything from taxes to criminal charges. Jon Corzine, Bill and Hillary Clinton, are both glaring examples of a two tiered system- a system where the aristocracy can influence charging decisions through money, influence, and implied force to evade the law- and the lower tier of folks who are routinely charged and punished.

It takes courage and a working knowledge of history to uphold the rule of law despite the consequences. We are at the crossroads. We either return to a government of laws where ALL people are treated equally or we abandon that idea and subject ourselves to the arbitrary rule of men.

If Adams were alive today, he might very well say, "I told you so."

Friday, May 25, 2018

All Men Are Created Equal, Well That's the Theory Anyway

Thomas Jefferson once penned the following,

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Of course, Thomas Jefferson wasn't referring to the slaves he owned at the time he penned the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and you can also bet that the King of England disagreed with that premise. This "lording over" of other people has gone on since time began. It is what separates the haves from the have nots.

About 30 miles NE of my current home lies an area called "Hunt, Idaho" I guess. There is no town there. It is just an area- truly in the middle of nowhere.

So last Sunday in the rain, my wife and I ventured there. It's hard to find. This was where the United States stockpiled about 13,000 Japanese Americans in what they are now calling the Minidoka National Historic Site.

In early 1942, after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that enabled the United States to round up 130,000 or so Americans of Japanese ancestry and imprison them in ten "relocation camps" throughout the west.

These citizens lost their homes, businesses, and their lives because America was afraid that some of them were more loyal to Japan than to the United States. It has always puzzled me that despite our three branches of government with checks and balances, a Congress full of lawyers, and documents such as the Declaration of Independence- that one man, a President, can simply issue an order and eliminate all of the civil rights of an entire demographic group of citizens- and nobody apparently utters a peep about it.

It is one of the reasons that I detest executive orders. They allow Presidents to circumvent all of the discussion and sanity that may come about as a result of introducing a bill- subjecting it to scrutiny and group think- into a legislative branch comprised of hundreds of lawyers. Would FDR's executive order pass as legislation in the 1942 Congress? It's difficult to predict. But at least the act would have been offered up and perhaps just one courageous soul might have taken the floor of the House or Senate and mentioned that we had this document called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights which protects citizens from unlawful search and seizure and entitles them to due process. Nowhere in that document will you find an exception to that rule.

But that didn't happen.

When you get to Hunt, you'll find the relocation camp is mostly gone. There are a couple of rock structures still standing near the main gate. The camp once had 8 gun towers which were all removed- although they have recently constructed one to give visitors an idea of what they looked like.

The barracks and fences are long gone. All you will find now is a few signs here and there pointing out where things once were.

I have always thought it interesting that when men want something- such as freedom from a King- that they can pen a few words such as "all men are created equal" while owning slaves who were not entitled to all of the freedoms and civil rights nor were they equal. Slaves may have been created equal- but the haves interfere with that process.

In a nation of laws and a Republic- the rights of a minority are supposed to be protected from the oppression of the majority. It is an interesting theory but in reality that's all it really is. A theory. It is clear to see that throughout history if men want something bad enough they will simply exert control over it and take it, ignoring existing law in the process. They'll use terms such as "all men are created equal" or "manifest destiny" or "taxes." It has always been that way.

Each year, I have a friend named Jim Azumano who travels to Hunt to speak at a gathering at the place his father was imprisoned. He carries a rock with him, a souvenir of his father's time spent there. Oddly, the family has never been bitter over the ordeal- choosing instead to adapt, overcome, and move on with their lives in constructive fashion. I have always held Azumano in the highest regard.

I thought about all of this as I wandered around, reading signs in the rain last Sunday. You can learn a lot about people from a place like Hunt.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Why Can't Big Pharma Discover a Cure For Outrageous Drug Pricing?- The Sunday Collage

There is always an element of fear in advertising. Often it is subtle- you'll be left out if you don't buy this or you don't know what you are missing- those are the underlying messages.

So I have noticed something new and over the top. It is a result I think- of how effective big pharma and their drug lobby has become. Buying our politicians with re-election bribes has certainly paid big dividends. It doesn't hurt that millions of otherwise uninsured people are still clinging to their Obamacare policies either.

The direct advertising and marketing of drugs to consumers is illegal in most countries. It used to be illegal here. That all changed sometime before the discovery of Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. The boner pill market was so huge- that big pharma couldn't stand it and put the full court press on to make the direct marketing of those drugs to consumers legal around 1997. Big pharma of course, got what they wanted. As a result, I can't tell you how many ads I've had to watch. Older women laying across beds and couples walking hand in hand. The direct to consumer advertising and the 4 countries that allow it can be found here:

So this latest round of direct to consumer advertising occurred when they discovered a cure for Hepatitis C. It is much more aggressive and in a way- simply scandalous.

A few months ago, I saw a television ad that said millions of Americans were living with undiagnosed Hep C. This was potentially a giant untapped market for big pharma. The ad urged people to get checked. What the ad did not say was that the newly discovered treatment/cure for Hep C costs upwards of 100,000 dollars. With patent protection laws- Congress has essentially given big pharma a license to steal.

Big pharma always whines about recovering research and development costs when accused of price gouging and fixing which they routinely engage in. The problem with R and D costs is that they never submit those costs to any private, independent accounting firm so that we may actually see what those expenses are. So as it stands- they get the best of both worlds. A monopoly on price fixed drugs and a bought off Congress that has given them 20 year patent protection to recover R and D costs without ever asking precisely what those costs are.

This form of government, the Congressional form which allows the routine gouging of "We the people" by corporate America- is called an oligarchy.

 a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes 
  • a military oligarchy was established in the country
also a group exercising such control 
  • An oligarchy ruled the nation.

Recently, I've seen ads where big pharma is now directly marketing tests to former smokers for cancer and heart disease. Those ads show a mountain of cigarette butts and urge viewers and former smokers to get checked. To be honest, I refuse to watch this latest round of ads. I get sick to my stomach watching this garbage knowing that all big pharma cares about is using you as a conduit to enrich themselves- rather handsomely.

Nobody cares either. Some people actually see big pharma's advertising assault as beneficial. Not me.

The only cure I want to see is a free marketplace where drugs can be developed because they can turn a profit on their own merits without help from our bribed political class offering protection.

Find a cure for outrageous drug pricing. That's the only cure I'd like to see.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

MetLife Loses 13,500 Customers They Owe Money To...Another Corporate Shocker

I have always detested insurance companies. I cannot imagine how much money I have paid them over my 40 years of home ownership, car ownership, health insurance, and even a little life insurance.

I am going to say 50k in vehicle insurance, 12k homeowners insurance, and probably 200k in health insurance. About a quarter million is what I've paid them thus far.

I have made claims totaling about 20k for auto and homeowners related losses, maybe another 50k for a couple of hospitalizations- the last one about 20 years ago. All in all, I have had claims totaling less than a third of what I have paid in over the years. My guess is that most healthy people have had a similar insurance experience.

That is a lot of money. Compulsory I might add. The government or corporate America forces most of that on us and I am not even going to speak to unemployment insurance or Workman's Comp Insurance- both items required by government entities. I actually know small businesses that threw in the towel over those expenses- giving rise to the contract labor boom in this country.

Today's topic du jour is Metropolitan Life. MetLife has stated that they have 13,500 customers which they have lost track of and owe money to. I have clipped the article because I'd like to point out how a smart CEO gets in front of a train wreck and takes responsibility before getting into trouble.

MetLife suddenly discovered- on their own- that they had 13,500 liabilities out there that had gone unaccounted for.

That's right. There were thirteen thousand people which were owed annuity payments and were somehow lost. The company takes responsibility for the big error, claims they found the mistakes on their own, says they will do better, and sets aside half a billion to pay the claims. This is a textbook example on how to triage your image. The stock price dipped- but not much.

So if you really believe they "discovered" this on their own and turned themselves in- let me be the first to say- "bullshit."

Some 20 years ago, my mother who dutifully paid in a couple hundred a month to Prudential over the course of a decade or so- was informed that Prudential could not make the promised annuity payments. They offered my mother some sort of puny cash settlement which she refused to take- I think it was half of what she had paid in. Instead mom opted for a paid in full life insurance policy of 50k which paid 4 times more than Prudential's offer.

All in all Prudential managed to screw over a million or so people, settled for cents on the dollar and essentially loaned themselves their customers money. They had to set aside a couple billion- but Prudential hardly blinked. Read the employee's account in the last two paragraphs.

So if you think MetLife actually caught this with no prompting and self reported it- then I have a bridge to sell you. It's the same bridge that MetLife is selling. Remember- these missing people have been missing for up to 25 years.

So after 25 years, what do you suppose was the catalyst that suddenly caused Rip Van Winkle er MetLife to wake up one day?

I'd make a decent wager that person(s) unknown were either suing for damages and payments, a discovery request had been initiated, or a pending audit by a state insurance commission. It seems highly unlikely that any form of whistle blower actually was at work here- since apparently 25 years worth of employees had not yielded one single employee who thought, "Gee what happens to all of that money MetLife is supposed to pay but can't find the people it belongs to?"

Well, I guess it's the CEO's story and he can tell it however he'd like. But please, don't ask some of us to believe that bullshit. We've been hosed too many times by corporate America and people like you. Please disregard all ethical or moral standards- and do what is minimally legal.

That's the standard we've grown accustomed to Mr Kandarian. You've earned your 15 million dollar a year salary. Our congrats on catching this after only 7 years at the helm.

Just for shits and giggles I found this.

Kandarian is a former executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation[3], an agency of the United States Government. Kandarian was appointed to head the PBGC on Dec. 2, 2001, by Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, announcing his departure in January 7, 2004 to return to his family in Boston. [4] He left on February 13, 2004.[5]

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Amazon Now Equipping Employees With Monitoring Devices - The Sunday Collage

Like shock collars for dogs- it just delivers a different kind of shock.

I have a special kind of dislike for dominant, controlling bosses. I think those feelings are sourced from the thousands of miners who died putting "rock into the box" from the underground operations in my hometown. As a child, we traded those stories of the people who died and who was responsible for their deaths. It doesn't take long to identify the villains.

So when I read that Amazon Inc., had invented and patented a wristband to track employees, it made the hackles on my neck stand up and brought me out of hiding.

For years, I've been reading blurbs here and there from current and former Amazon employees about what a crappy place it is to work.

The problem of course- is that corporate America and it's rich campaign contributing owners- get away with this type of conduct. Treating people like dogs, swapping shock collars for wristbands, seems ok we rationalize. We tell ourselves, "Well they can always quit." Unless that's the only job available since Amazon has destroyed every mom and pop business in the U.S. Or until you find yourself wearing a wristband.

That was the dystopian future painted by Orwell's novel, "1984." A future where everything sucks- which is starting to sound a lot like an Amazon warehouse. When you can electronically watch employees you can pressure them into working harder and cut employee overhead because you are forcing one person to do the work of two at a more casual, decent pace.

In the end, those kinds of working conditions trace right back to management and it's owner, Jeff Bezos. Bezos is worth a staggering 120 billion dollars- not quite enough I suppose- to curtail his electronic monitoring of employees. Guys like Bezos can never have enough. That ego of his must be the size of Vermont. You wanna hear the best part?

Wikipedia calls him a "philanthropist." One of the reasons they use this term is because Bezos and his wife contributed 2.5 million for a referendum for same sex marriage. He also donated 33 million for the education of illegal aliens. So I guess if you spend your money on gay marriage and illegal aliens that makes you a philanthropist. Oh and I forgot- Bezos bought the Washington Post so he could slam President Trump. More Bezos philanthropy.

They should let Amazon warehouse employees write the Bezos' biography for wikipedia. I have a strong feeling that despite all of that alleged philanthropy- the warehouse workers might not see it the same way.

Pay attention to how people treat the help. One day, they will treat you exactly the same way.

I've worked for people like Bezos. One place I worked at monitored employees with video cameras- they even caught me putting my feet up on a chair during the graveyard shift- about 3 a.m. one morning. They called me into the office to issue a warning about my deviant and aberrent behavior while the ten other residents of that sober house were sleeping. 

Maybe they should have focused more on the residents and a little less on the employees.

Mostly, I considered the job a volunteer gig and at nine bucks an hour- I wasn't looking for a career. A year or two after after I left that job- one resident killed another resident one night. Beat her with a pipe. Thankfully, I wasn't around with my feet up on a chair when that shit happened.

I am grateful that I no longer have to work for blood sucking, control freaks who must patent electronic devices to take the place of decent human supervision. Perhaps Bezos could take a few million and instead of endowing it to illegal aliens- offer the same benefits to his employees.

I'm not going to hold my breath looking for a little human decency here though- guys like Bezos never disappoint me.