Category Archives: American Media

The Constitution Creates an Abundance of Alpha-ness

lionsAt every age, there have been the elite, those the control the majority of the world’s wealth and power, as it is defined by the time. Since it has been this way from the dawn of time, it must be a natural law. And just like, in every lion pack, the alpha male rises from obscurity, challenges another for his role, lives to dominate for a time, and then is driven from his power and perks, so it has been in the human kingdom.

Now with our species, this rivalry and domination ritual comes with the downside of killing masses for the pleasure of feeding one’s instinctual urges. The majority of us find ways to satisfy our domination traits without having to kill. We would rather live out our lives in relative peace than to have to take up arms for the supreme alpha. Yet, throughout recorded history, there have been those that have ridden in packs on chariots with swords and spears and atomic weapons to beat their chests and roar down at their fallen opponents.

In 1789, some very bright aristocrats came together and noted that this instinctive ritual of death might be halted if we could freeze the motive and drive in animation. They recognized that wealth is but one way for man to show his dominance and that freedom is the ultimate display of alpha-ness. If we are all masters of our own domain, we do not have to necessarily dominate another’s.

The Constitution froze this power sharing in place to allow all to hopefully forever manage their own motives free from the bondages of others, whether they be in the majority or minorities in their thoughts. However. it also recognized a massive power that contained an evil which must be broken in the future, slavery.

Slavery not only denied alpha-ness to millions of people, it was also the major source of wealth in the nation at the time, and one built on an immoral principle. Every man in that chamber in Philadelphia knew that the foundation of this Constitution was built atop a base of sandy soil and that without addressing slavery, it had no real chance of eternal survival. Still the decision to address it head on was delayed for 50 years.

That power and wealth was not to be redistributed without a civil war and bloodshed of 620,000 Americans. We now have a situation through which the power and wealth sharing envisioned by the Constitution has been thwarted by the elite. My hope is that it can be returned to a balance of suspended animation without the bloodshed that usually has accompanied such shifts throughout recorded time.

It took 72 years for our predecessors to decide that the power to eradicate slavery power and wealth misalignment could only be shifted by a bloody civil war. Rather than go through such a three generation cycle that seems to be the course of such radicalism, my belief is that the power to regain stability in America rests with the voice and the vote.

We now have the power of social media democracy as was demonstrated not only in Barach Obama’s harnessing of its power within conventional politics, but also in the Arab Spring. This medium will find its way toward supplying the engine for power restructuring for America’s future prosperity as well. It is the engine that will be needed to overcome such a powerful adversary as wealth. Yet combined with the simple tool of the Constitution, it has the ability to reverse our course and to create the symbiotic power sharing stability once envisioned by our forefathers.

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Filed under American Governance, American Media, American Politics, Social Media Democracy, social trajectory, War

Millennials are a Changing American Landscape That Must be Enfranchised to Win the Future

The Obama campaign also did a much better job connecting to the Millennials, the group of technically savvy youth born between the eighties and now, whose numbers in the voting ranks will only continue to grow. This group has been disenfranchised from the economy and has fatally accepted the crisis of 2008, or perhaps we should call it the Millennial Depression.

The Millennial Depression has impacted this group more than any other, with some countries around the world experiencing unemployment rates higher than 40% within the Millennial subculture. In America, more in this group than any other generation has accepted the fate that they will delay entering the workforce, marrying, buying houses, and starting families, the classic American dream.

They have some traits in common with the young people that lived through the Great Depression, but in one significant way, their lot is much different. The Great Depression was the first to occur at the peak of the great hope of the industrial era. The world’s capacity to mix human and hydro-carbonic forces for the welfare of all seemed to have a limitless potential in the 1930’s. And although the collapse of capitalism in 1929 put all in despair, the potential of industry to pull America away from the depression’s grasp was always the hope of the Great Depression youth.

But the industrial peak’s potential for prosperity was eerily also the greatest potential to destroy humankind in the world’s history. This devastating capacity was unleashed on the world by those that chose aggression over socialism as a path out of the Depression. America was thrust into a deadly battle that forged a unique culture among the survivors of both WWII and the Great Depression.

Their generation would work harder than any other to secure America’s economic and military freedom. They would use the power of industry for the good of all Americans. World aggression would be smitten from the earth for the protection of future generations. Collective bargaining would reign as a generation of escalating productivity provided prosperity to all Americans that would be the envy of the world.

The Millennials are living through different circumstances today in America. They have not felt the mass destruction of world war, instead viewing America’s battles as precise killing ventures using tools similar to video games. Except for the few brave men and women of our military, Millennial sacrifice is not in blood but in future earnings potential. The Millennial depression resulted in Middle Eastern wars against their own repressive regimes that have not yet spilled out into the world. As a result of America’s technologically antiseptic war experience, our Millennials are not compelled to be the policemen of the world or to carry the torch against world aggression.

In fact, as America’s role of superpower is being overtaken by China, our Millennials are content to meet their diminished needs without entering the race to the top of corporate ladders. Without this subliminal American compulsion driving their needs, Millennials identify more with and tend to vote to secure social equality. These factors, rather than wealth and material accumulation, improve their life quality and are what drive their voting decisions.

Republican’s traditional values are important to Millennials, but trending social issues are what drive their votes. Until Republicans adapt to the needs of Millennials or can change the economic circumstances that have disenfranchised them, Democrats will continue to enjoy their increasing support.

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Filed under American Governance, American Media, American Politics, Economic Crisis, Social Media Democracy, social trajectory

Certainly a Small Country as Switzerland Has No Lesson for the Most Powerful Nation on Earth


Switzerland is small and the United States is relatively big, India much larger. Switzerland is about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined with the population of Virginia, 8 million people. Comparing that country with countries the size of the United States at 310 million or India at 1.1 billion people, one might conclude that some means of governance would have to be different simply due to size.

Yet all three countries send their young people to possibly die in their militaries. All three have healthcare and trade issues. All three tax their citizens. All three have currencies to maintain. Why is it that only one of the three allows all its citizens to decide if their government has made the proper choice for their country?

The issue is whether India, the United States and Switzerland provide fair representation of their citizens’ views in their political choices. If the citizens of the United States chose to indebt their grandchildren so that they could live a better life, then so be it. If they chose to place 25 percent of their population in either low paying jobs or on unemployment so that the rest could enjoy low priced goods from China, then so be it. If they chose to force millions of home owners to give up their homes so that a few bankers could gamble with their value to make trillions in credit default swaps, then so be it.

However, given the choice to vote on the wisdom of a few politicians’ choices regarding what in hind sight were self evidently selfish choices that ignored the best interests of the majority of Americans, the likelihood that the United States would be in the predicament we are in if we had Switzerland’s political protections is pretty small.

The question I have raised is one of fair representation. The United States Congress has bowed to political pressure and has opted to support one tiny faction of wealthy people over the interests of the vast majority and over our country’s very future. A review of which bills get introduced, which bills are put to vote, and which bills get passed makes if painfully clear to any who study the evidence that our representation is flawed. U.S. representative corruption is not unique in history or in contemporary governance. It certainly is evident in India as well. It is, however, unacceptable to any free nation and opposes the will of the U.S. Constitution.

America’s system of choosing 535 people to represent the wishes of 310 million is broken. Congress’s voting record resembles the wishes of perhaps the wealthiest 60 million and disregards the welfare of the remaining 250 million. No country’s governance can last the test of time that chooses this path. It leads to plutocracy and eventually military dictatorship as the only means to hold back the fairness that democracy promises, and neither of these types of governments has proven stable in history.

The intent of our founders was that a balance of power between the wealthy and the commoner be shared so that neither could take from the other without permission. It was their intent that all could choose together to grow the nation in fairness and peace and that all would share the burden of that responsibility. Yet America is ignoring their wisdom and a rift is growing.

I am not advocating the rift that is building in America, merely observing it and voicing the crisis that is approaching from a distance. If we choose to ignore the winds of discontent and continue our selfish governance, this discontent will generationally grow into civic unrest and will eventually force a contest of state power over its people. I expect that before this occurs, the safety valve of our Bill of Rights will allow the freedom of assembly, the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press and right to vote to overthrow the will of 535 who are not listening to the will of the people.

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Filed under American Governance, American Media, American Politics, Bureaucracy

I Just Want My American Dream Back – A conversation from 1981 to 2011 (revised)

Factory worker (1981): Ever since the Walmart moved into town, management has been pressuring labor to take pay cuts. Half the work force has been laid off. Thank goodness for low cost goods from Walmart to make up for my lower wages but I still need more money to make ends meet.

Savings and loans banker (1985): Hey, home values have been rising and new laws allow us to lend out up to 100 percent of the value of your home. Sounds risky? I know it does but not to you. If we have troubles, the FSLIC will protect your deposits now up to $100,000 so you might as well get started on your American dream.

Stock broker (1995): I hear the bankers that absorbed the savings and loans from the crash of its bubble are offering not only no money down loans, but now you don’t even have to prove your income and they have some pretty decent rates on home refinancing. With this new internet sensation, the stock market is on fire. Why don’t you just refinance your home and use part to make up for lost wages, but put some into this raging market and you will get ahead.

Factory worker (1999): But the market is up 300 percent when corporate earnings are only up 40 percent. I understand that you think the new fangled dot.com start-ups are going to sky rocket, but why are traditional brick and mortar businesses selling at such high price to earnings ratios?

Real Estate Broker (2001): So the Stock broker talked you into taking a home equity loan to get into the stock market? I am sorry you lost so much of your life’s savings. But perhaps you can make it back in the housing boom. I can show you houses that may seem beyond your reach but they are investment gold mines, trust me. Their prices are going up at 20% a year. In the mean time, just grab a few of the credit card offers being mailed to you each week to get by while you are recovering your retirement savings in your new home investment.

Factory worker (2003): Seems logical but housing prices no longer make sense. It used to be with a 20 percent down payment, rental rates would cover the remaining principle, interest, taxes and insurance but they no longer cover the loan amounts. My income hasn’t gone up and will not cover such a high mortgage.

Mortgage broker (2005): It’s a new economy. We no longer require rents to cover mortgages because equity is rising at 20% per year. And you can qualify for whatever size home you want. I will tell you what income you must claim to me and I can get you an introductory low rate on a no income verification loan. In fact, unlike the ’90s, you can get pretty low interest rates for the first 2 to 5 years of the loan, and I can even qualify you with credit scores as low as 600. You don’t even have to show that you have cash reserves. Criminy, you don’t even have to be self employed anymore. This surely can help you reach up to participate big in this boom, and you truly need to participate big with all you’ve been through. In the meantime, use your multiple, no income verification credit cards to get by until you flip your house investment in a couple years for a profit.

Real estate broker (2006): Oooooh, umm, yeah, after a couple years you want to sell now. After you bought, the market slowed a bit and I really can’t sell your home for more than you paid for it. In fact, there are three brand new homes on the street that have never been lived in and they are on the market for 10 percent less than you paid. If you want to discount your home 15%, perhaps we can entice buyers to buy yours instead of the new homes that have been on the market for more than six months.

Factory worker (2007): I can’t afford to take a 15 percent hit on my home so I will have to keep it on the market awhile and max out my credit cards to make ends meet in the mean time.

Banker (2008): I am sorry to inform you but when you maxed out your credit cards, they triggered the universal clause and your interest rates are now going to be raised from their original 10 percent up to 32 percent.

Factory worker (2008.5): Now what can I do. I cannot sell my home, I have maxed out my home equity line, and my credit cards. I have no more credit because as I pay off my cards, the banks cancel them. My introductory home loan interest rate has expired and my home loan has risen 50%. The local government, hurting for more taxes, is considering raising the mil rate. I am going to have to delay some consumer purchases and not make others. And because I have to survive, I may have to miss a few credit card or home mortgage payments.

Banker (2009): When you missed payments on your credit card, we did lower your credit rating to protect other creditors from your misfortune, and we did demand immediate repayment of your balance on your credit cards. I know it exacerbated your inability to pay us back on your home loan. But a result, I am afraid we will have to initiate foreclosure.

Factory worker (2009.5): I keep lowering my price trying to sell this house but it has now been on the market for over a year. To make matters much worse, my employer just told me that because most other Americans have lost credit, home values, or jobs, they have been unable to buy our company’s products. As a result, I was told that I am being laid off to join 20 million others. And in my hour of misfortune, my real estate broker has informed me that my house value is now worth 40 % less than I paid for it.

Foreclosure lawyer (2010): Let me understand this better, so the banker said he would work with you to comply with government assistance programs, but after asking you four times to send in your paperwork to determine if you qualified, he “misplaced” it each time until the bank finally filed bankruptcy proceedings. I have filed in court on your behalf to delay the inevitable, but because your state is a recourse state, the bank will ultimately take your house, sell it at a fire sale price, and afterward the banker will come after you for the difference, forcing you to file for bankruptcy and to lose your life’s savings.

Bankruptcy lawyer (2010.5): Unfortunately the bank took your house and your credit cards and the court took your newer car, your savings, and your “excess” belongings. I understand that Chinese factories are building the widgets you used to make, you haven’t been able to find a job for over two years and have been turned down in countless interviews. Your savings are gone, your credit is ruined, and your self esteem is crushed. Congress has left you without unemployment compensation, yet is about to pass trade agreements that will leave even more Americans unemployed. Congress will not cut expenses so unfortunately their failure to do their job means even more Americans will lose theirs and America’s interest rates will go up costing Americans even more in higher interest payments that will be passed through to consumers in higher prices. But on the brighter side, I was able to ensure that even though you have nothing, your debts have been discharged.

Occupy Wall Streeter (2011): I know police officers are bloodying us with batons and spraying us with pepper spray, that they are waking us in the middle of the night to take our generators and our tents, that they are throwing tear gas in the middle of our peaceful demonstrations, and arresting us for acting on our right to assemble, but we are voicing our urgent need for change in Zucotti Park. Before you lose all hope, join us.

Employed Middle American (2011): Is this park thing the right thing for the factory worker to do? I dunno. My unemployed college graduate son is down at the park and I am watching every brutal act of policeman on my baby. I am holding Wall Street and Congress responsible for this senseless brutality and I will remember at the polls. But I didn’t demonstrate during Vietnam Nam. Instead, I went to war. And the factory worker is no hippie.

Our leaders tell me that they are doing what they can for America, but they can’t pass a budget even when the world tells them our credit rating will suffer. They can however pass a law that makes pizza a vegetable when big business wants a greasy snack to be called healthy, but they can’t compromise to help America back to work!

Factory worker (2011): I have decided to go down to the park. Be patient with me. I know there are instigators down there but I want a better America and need to do something more. I don’t have the answers to what the banks and Congress should do to fix what they have done but I am going to ask questions. Support my right to assemble with others to debate the potential answers in a democratic way.

If America’s unemployment rate rose to 15 percent, would you lose your job? Some economists are warning of 50 percent unemployment if drastic changes aren’t made. I don’t know whose predictions are right, but please wish me well in doing my part to reverse our fate now. I just want my American dream back.

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Filed under American Governance, American Media, American Politics, Economic Crisis, Jobs, Occupy Wall Street

America Must Default Now

Remember the classic story of the leak in the dike? A young boy hiking along a dike in Holland stuck his finger in a leak that threatened to collapse the dike and let the waters of the North Sea rush in to destroy his village. He stayed the night holding fast to his duty until the men of the village came to find him and to repair the leak. The legend goes that this small boy, acting on his sense of duty, saved his community with his single act of bravery and that all of Holland might have perished had he not. Perhaps not the prime moral of the story but as important, had the village leaders not found this young patriot and quickly repaired the dike, he would have perished and his bravery would have been in vain. It took a village to ultimately stop the dike from collapsing.

The Tea Party has been America’s little Dutch boy. Tea Partiers claim that America’s debt is as ominous as the stormy North Sea bearing down on the dikes of Holland, threatening to destroy our economy. They also suggest that just as the dikes of Holland held back the seas, America’s economy must hold strong against our national debt to keep it from limiting our future. Seeing our historic deficits as powerful enough leaks to collapse our nation’s credit, in 2010, the Tea Party rose up to stick their finger in the dike, pledging to stop America’s excessive public debt from growing further until we could agree on a path for recovery. In the meantime, other leaks have sprung up on America’s dike.

Clearly, our Federal budget is not the only ill that is afflicting us. Another little Dutch boy, the Occupy Wall Street movement, with just as much valor and patriotism as the Tea Party, has now climbed the dike to stick its finger in political leaks as equally important as our federal deficit. Occupiers have identified the illicit bond between Wall Street bankers and our politicians that threatens to diminish America’s future and they pledge to remain on the dike until all of America can persuade our leaders to relieve both the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Streeters from their patriotic duties.

Unlike Holland, where village leaders relieved the little Dutch boy’s first aid plugging of the leak by repairing their dike, our nation’s leaders have been conspicuously absent in rushing in to relieve our patriotic Tea Party and Occupy Wall Streeters from their first aid missions. Our President and presidential candidates are reluctant to present bold reformation plans, Congress’s Super Committee is unable to compromise on material Federal budget reductions, the rest of Congress is unwilling to put forth substantial jobs bills or to work on restructuring a healthier business environment, our state and local governments are dangerously close to insolvency by refusing to resize to fit lower tax revenues, our banks are refusing to restructure upside down mortgages that are stagnating America’s private economy, and our multinational corporations are unwilling to reinvest in America’s workforce.

Without substantial and coordinated efforts by all in leadership to increase our national productive output, to support corresponding jobs that can sustain a right sized government budget, and to reduce our public debt that is stagnating economic growth, America’s dike will collapse. Whatever we do going forward to solve our leadership crisis, whatever the terms of restructure, Our leaders must know that Middle America will not complacently wither through decades of high unemployment nor will our military complex accept the eventual severe lack of domestic military resupply capability that will result from such languishing. America must now face the inevitability of “DEFAULT”.

The word default is an enemy of the state yet its effects are already sinisterly invading our country. Our Federal government has already defaulted on the value of the dollar with its stimulus and quantitative easing. Our state and local governments have already defaulted on public services to keep bloated public employees in place. Our multinational corporations have already defaulted on America employment by slashing work forces to sustain profitability through the monetary collapse. Our bankers have already defaulted on their obligations to provide financial liquidity, first by choosing to bet against America and then by creating the monetary implosion that sent millions of Americans into foreclosure and bankruptcy. Now, the American people must join in this cacophony of defaults by forcing a restructuring of America’s business and political environment to sustain our families and our country into the 21st century.

Americans must default on our support of indefinite extensions of trillion dollar budget deficits that reflect commitments to unsupportable baby boomer ideals of social justice and vast military dominance. We must default on our submission to government policies supporting unrealized promises that free trade and globalization would enrich all Americans. We must default on our acceptance of the status quo shenanigans of a financially democratized two party system that places the overwhelming benefit of the few over the welfare of the many. And as importantly, we must default on subservience to the mountain of debt that has been yoked to our economic future for the benefit of bankers, multinational businesses and political parties.

Ultimately, the legal power of Americans to default rests in Government acting on our behalf. However, rather than focusing on these transformative needs of the electorate, America’s government representatives are locked in an addictive trance, fixated on meeting the desires of powerful masters. To constitutionally affect change, we will have to break the grotesque relationship between Wall Street, multinational corporations, and Congress; one in which Congress depends upon bankers’ and businessmen’s’ financial elixir for re-election, where Congress has the power to dole out favors, contracts, tax breaks, and laws in return for their election fix, and where bankers have the power to print money to support Congress’s illicit behavior. If America is to ensure an equitable solution in which our Congress, bankers and businesses help to fix the mess they’ve made, we must forever sever our enabling support for this addictive relationship.

If we do not act to break these addictive bonds, our Federal Government will most certainly continue to provide cover for banks and businesses while authorizing massive deficits that expand its growing $15 trillion dollar debt. If not forced by the Tea Party or international credit rating agencies to finally face its unsustainable lack of institutional moral fiber and financially driven dearth of governing judgment and foresight, Congress will recklessly inflate our dollars beyond any semblance as a safe store of value. But private debtors do not have the luxury to print money. Private debts can only be repaid by the output of our people. We now have to decide if our output will be used to invest in America’s future or to pay our mounting Federal debt.

Certainly our multinational corporations have been given free rein to invest where they will and to employ whom they will. Because of substantial market opportunities to the East, America’s ignorance in creating a hostile business environment at home, and our bankers, businessmen, and politicians’ complicity in exploiting both, our multinational corporations have chosen to invest overseas. Yet somehow, America’s politicians hoped that our businesses, which are made up of citizens of this great country, would also act as model “virtual citizens” making business decisions in the best interests of all Americans. Our government even went as far as to dictate from the decisions of our Supreme Court these hopes. The Federal Government’s complicity with bankers and multinational corporations would be much more guilt free if they could imagine businesses having a patriotic conscience, but alas the vast majority do not. Our businesses are hardwired for maximum, risk adjusted profit and for the reasons previously mentioned, maximum profits exist offshore.

No American Dutch boy movement has yet risen to force government to soberly recognize business’s profit nature. Until such a movement pressures Congress, it most likely will not create laws to protect the public from the more destructive nature to our economy of business’s international profit motive, nor will it attempt to find win-win solutions to harness this profit motive for the mutual benefit of both multinational businesses and our people.

Certainly America’s bankers have created their own free rein to conduct at will commerce by the power of their purse. Unfortunately, this rein has been out of alignment with America’s domestic interest for decades. Now that our bankers have indebted America beyond our ability to pay, they will fight any attempts by others to loosen their financial hold on our political system. America’s bankers would have Congress force us to stagnate in debt for decades while China surges past us into the new millennium, and why not?

Bankers used our debt to place investment bets on China’s rising over the past three decades, and in so doing shorted America’s future. They now are counting on Americans to pay this historic debt to protect their clients’ and their own disproportionate, concentrated, and increasingly risky investments in China. Because they placed their mountain of eggs in one basket, A sure bet is that our banker’s actions going forward will be singularly focused on ensuring that America complies with the terms of our debt obligations, whether or not they are in our best interests.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has become the little Dutch boy in defense of America’s interests against international bankers and they have rightfully begun asking if we should follow the terms that have been structured by America’s bankers. Our bankers set the initial terms of indebting America beyond its means to repay. They reneged on terms of protecting us from over indebtedness and covered up their own complicity in doing so. And now that they have extracted maximum debt from America, our bankers are threatening to destroy our economy if we even question their bastardization of the American financial system.

Occupiers are rightfully asking why our bankers set lending terms to soar America’s debts to levels that they knew through historical ratios could never expect to be paid without a high degree of default. Why were bankers comfortable in doing so? Were they hoping that the American ethic of fiscal responsibility would hold even when seduced into unchartered waters of financial servitude? It seems that betting banks’ fortunes on mere hope would be too risky. Did they expect that banks could dictate to our government that it subordinate the will of the electorate to that of America’s financially elite, even if excessive debt deteriorated America’s future? This strategy was successfully exploited before and therefore less risky, but given the emergence of social media democracy, it is becoming self delusional. Whatever their reasoning at the start of the housing Ponzi, bankers’ fortunes are now so dependent on maintaining the status quo that they will defend it with all available measures, even if exposed to the light of day.

Given the stagnating wages of our citizens for the past three decades, Occupy Wall Streeters are right to question why bankers did not meet their obligations to protect America from excessive debt. The prime reason that America awards bankers the right to charge us interest is because we expect our bankers to discern who is capable of repaying debt, and to judiciously discriminate by providing loans only to those that meet repayment qualifications. It is for this sole risk mitigation responsibility of protecting America from excessive debt that we pay America’s bankers such a disproportionate percentage of America’s wealth. Otherwise, we could pay technicians much less to merely print and distribute money.

Occupy Wall Streeters are right to question our bankers why in the height of the frenzy they threw away loan ratios that historically protected Americans from default. Why as America’s debt began to dramatically climb beyond the safety of these ratios did our bankers ignore warning signs and press for even more debt? Why did they pass out credit cards like Halloween treats? Why did our bankers create even more, no income verification, zero money down, speculative debt instruments to extend this bubble to unprecedented heights? Why when some Americans asked why loan ratios were no longer employed, did America’s bankers tell them that we had entered a new economy in which the old ratios no longer applied, one in which appreciating real estate values now dominated the loan equation?

Based on our bankers’ logic, housing prices could just continue to inflate forever without end. The fallacy in their folly to forget fundamentals was that underlying debt has to be paid by the wages of America’s citizens, and these wages were not rising but were in fact stagnating. When the housing bubble burst, we sadly realized that there was no new economy, but instead that greed had only temporarily supplanted old ratios and finance fundamentals. In the wake of America’s monetary collapse, with ratios now re-established, and with debt far exceeding them, America is now faced with the reality of choosing between stagnation and default!

Finally, Wall Streeters are right to ask why America’s bankers are threatening that if we do not honor our public and private debts then they will destroy our economy. What a spurious argument! Were not our bankers complicit in driving America to this debt precipice of their own making? And now that we have arrived at this critical juncture, are not these same bankers arguing that if we fail to honor the predicament in which they placed us that they will cut us off from future credit and capital? Yet theirs is a hollow threat, because it is only by America’s authority that America’s bankers are even given the right to create credit and capital from thin air on our behalf.

Without the self delusional support of a Fed like central bank to cover their losses, European bankers do not need to be cajoled by an Occupy Wall Street movement to accept partial responsibility for excessive European debt in order to stave off full absorption of a complete default. When German led banks first told the Greeks that they must surrender their livelihoods and enter into decades of an austerity program to repay their bank debts, the Greeks simply said “NUTS!” European bankers have since struggled but have finally and responsibly put forth their newest Greece restructuring plan including a bank “forgiveness” of 50% of Greece’s debt held by the banks. And Greece will most likely not be the last to see its debt reduced as other European countries will ultimately demand equitable treatment as well.

America’s bankers are not ready to accept default. Surrounded by the Fed and both political parties, they are well hidden from public view. Yet America’s little Dutch boys are on the dike exposing their defenses. The Tea Party will continue to press Congress to stop the spending. Without the cover of political largesse to mollify the masses, many of America’s politicians will then be forced to take sides, either openly exposing their support for globalist policies in a vain attempt to gain financial backing for re-election in the face of the electorate, or retreating from previous indefensible positions to save their political feathers from the onslaught of social media exposure. As more Dutch boy politicians are elected, America’s bankers will be left exposed in the open.

Occupy Wall Streeters will continue to root out America’s bankers, exposing unpatriotic profiteering. They should have no illusions that banks will respond to sit-ins or even to riots by agreeing to absorb debts as did the European banks. Yet in clarifying through their movement for the American people our bankers’ complicity, America’s social democracy will build political will to force a realignment of political power that will insist on equitable treatment of debt in America just as elsewhere across Europe.

For what other choice will our bankers have in the end really? When debt becomes so excessive that it strains the ability of a nation to repay it, then it loses its character of debt. If a nation defaults on its debt and international banks cannot force it to repay, then the banks have only the choices of either forfeiting their debt, as the European banks have chosen to do, or exchanging their debt for equity if allowed by the nation and as I have proposed in my set of solutions.

Once America’s little Dutch boys persuade America’s leadership to join Europe’s leadership in returning our nations to economic health, our bankers will have no choice but to join the ranks of the disillusioned and disheartened elite. America’s bankers will finally meet Europe’s bankers in dispassionately determining how they will discharge our excessive debt. When America’s banks accept their partial responsibility for America’s failure to thrive, Americans’ debt of $54 trillion dollars which threatens to stagnate our economy for decades, leading to even greater job losses and further threatening our national security, will be held back behind the water tight dikes of a renewed and prosperous future.

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Filed under American Governance, American Media, American Politics, China, European Crisis, Job Voucher Plan, Multinational Corporations, National Security, Social Media Democracy

Tea Partiers and Wall Street Occupiers are America’s “Odd Couple”

In 1968 at the height of the Viet Nam War, the idiosyncrasies of the left and the right were highlighted in a bromance movie, The Odd Couple, about two divorced men who learned to live together after divorces. Felix, the prim, compulsive cleaner, who invested Oscar’s money and who wrote the song “Let’s Hit Hitler Where He Lives” while in the army, was suicidal after his wife left him. He was saved by his prior schoolboy chum, Oscar, a gruff but fun loving slob of a beer drinking, poker playing sportswriter, who convinced him not to take his life but to share his apartment until life got better.

After America embraced the movie, these two characters moved onto television where for five years, they taught us how to tolerate each other as we watched Felix and Oscar humorously survive each other’s weekly differences. The Odd Couple soothed America’s mistrust of each other’s views. If Felix could clean up after Oscar’s carelessness and Oscar could live with Felix’s uptight attitudes, perhaps America could get back to living in peace and tolerance.

By 1975 however, America began to tire of the Odd Couple as we moved past Viet Nam and buried our feelings underground. Hippies and war heroes entered the baby boomer workforce and uncomfortably coexisted. As the left built the Great Society and the right escalated the Cold War, both seemed oblivious to the impact of their refusal to work together on America’s careening federal budget. America had failed to apply the tolerance of Felix and Oscar to our growing mess.

As the decades rolled past, our hippies and heroes grew old, sending their representative fisticuffs to Washington to stalemate each other’s view of the world. Neither backed down from their simultaneous wars against poverty and Marxist-Leninist economies. Yet glaringly obvious looking back, neither rose up to defend America from escalating government debt or globalization. Blinded by their competing ideologies, they fought each other instead of fighting together on behalf of all Americans.

Today, America’s right and left are once again facing off, this time in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, New York, as a band of demonstrators has taken up residency in the park to draw attention to their malaise. Gone are the feel good “Odd Couple” days of tolerance. Rather than embrace our democracy’s freedom of assembly, America’s financial and political elite instead have publicly knee jerked their indignant dismay at a rebellious and ungrateful new generation.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the mobs. Presidential candidate Cain called them Un-American. Media elite Ann Coulter compared their message to the Nazis. Michael Bloomberg, the 13th richest person in America with $18 billion dollars, as mayor of New York, attempted to enforce a peaceful disbandment of what he hoped was Occupy Wall Street’s leaderless disarray by declaring Zuccotti Park off limits for a thorough, Felix-like cleaning.

Yet, the growing band of anti-Wall Streeters drew strength from each display of intolerance. As their chants grew louder and their infantile attempts at pure democracy were broadcast on TV sets across America, some political wizard, unnerved by their foreign culture, must have directed a yet unnamed law enforcement authority to deal with this growing menace by mounting an overbearing New York Police display of intolerance against the demonstrators. In that first police action, NYPD allowed their bravery of 9/11 to be cashed in for the glass Manhattan beads of institutional elite puppetry.

NYPD’s actions, appearing excessive to many Americans, have unwittingly cast them as agents of plutocracy in sometimes scripted and terribly acted plays of demonstrators but at other times real, raw, emotionally charged moments of impropriety. Certainly, many Americans’ sensibilities of the laws of our nation are impinged by the demonstrators’ “lawless” assembly. However, misjudgments of the city’s law enforcement harshly reacting to “minor infractions” is igniting an unlikely martyrdom of a grungy, hippy movement throwback to the 1970s as Americans from all walks of life secretly root on these youthful, yet untrodden, defiants. As this generation of flower children beat their drums, chant down politicians, and defecate on police cars, Wall Streeters haughtily look down from their terraces to witness demonstrators being dragged from their idealistic demonstrations handcuffed in plastic riot cuffs with an occasional whip of a baton for good measure handed out by New York’s finest.

Tea partiers are separating themselves from the Occupy Wall Street movement, much as Felix would look apologetically around as if to say he wasn’t with Oscar after Oscar tossed a half eaten sandwich onto a polished lobby floor. During the past weeks, as others have painted similarities between the two groups, Tea Partiers have insisted that they have little in common, pointing to the Occupiers’ disrespect for law as well as to their unclear ideas influenced by fringe elements of Marxism and Anarchists. Occupy Wall Streeters, having found the Tea Party an equally odd coupling to their views of the world, are just as insistent that the two movements are “different”, pointing to media sensationalized representations of racist overtones some have claimed of the Tea Party as well as claims they are puppets of the financial elite.

Yet whether the uptight, law-abiding Felixes of the right, or the unkempt, law challenging Oscars of the left, both groups are really just the Odd Couple. Both were victimized by an America that divorced and walked out on them. Both found themselves jobless, homeless, swamped in debt, and facing bleak futures. One group lashed out at Republican and Democrat lawmakers who were willing to borrow America’s future to cover tax short falls of a swelling government. The other is lashing out at Wall Street that schemed to manipulate lawmakers into legislating a Rube Goldberg machine to extract America’s wealth, jobs, intellectual capital, and future to China. Both are fixated on broken parts of the same collective mess.

Yet unlike Felix and Oscar, who somehow managed to patch their differences by the end of each weekly sitcom, the two movements have yet to understand each other’s differences and sincere similarities. My guess is that they may never, choosing instead to fight the dragon from their separate camps. The proverbial dragon is so close to them that neither can see that they are clinging to different parts of the same beast.

So the Tea Partiers will continue to grab the dragon’s snout, galvanizing the right toward fiscally conservative lower taxes, lower spending and less regulation, while the Wall Streeters will hang onto its tail of mismanaged debt, credit, banking deregulation, and fair trade, to swell the left toward a populist job creation uprising. However, just as the humanity of Felix and Oscar prevailed over their differences, the cause of both of these two movements will swarm a collective army of social democracy to the gates of financial and political power in America.

How will this latest experiment in democracy end? In the Odd Couple’s last episode that aired in 1975, Felix’s wife took him back! Leaving Oscar’s apartment for the last time, Felix thanked Oscar for saving his life, picked up a soiled trash can and dumped its contents onto the middle of the floor to celebrate letting go. To show his growth, Oscar said that he would clean up the trash after Felix left. They hugged goodbye.

After Felix departed, Oscar looked down at the trash, stepped on it and walked out. Moments later, Felix snuck back in the door saying, “I knew he wouldn’t clean it up”. He neatly tidied up the mess he had deposited on the floor, placing it in the proper receptacle. Looking back on an orderly apartment, he sighed, smiled and exited for his return to a restored marriage and future.

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Washington and America’s Media Elite Would be Wise not to Dismiss “Occupy Wall Street”

Washington’s elitism was palpable this week. Political pundits smugly interviewed “Occupy Wall Street” participants, trapping them in contradictions to demonstrate their lack of knowledge and organization surrounding the issues, while Washington’s political leaders either dodged association or overtly condemned their sit-ins and disruptiveness. Our media elites’ condescension suggested an inept disconnect with Middle America, baring its biased attraction to Washington’s’ political power for all to see. While America doesn’t yet know what to think of this awkward beginning of a political movement, 30 million underemployed citizens are not as ready as Washington’s elite to dismiss its credibility.

During the Egyptian revolution, cardboard signs touting the words “A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition” were held by some demonstrators. A.N.S.W.E.R. is a U.S. based, blanket group of anti war organizations, mostly anti-imperialist, Muslim, Arab and Latin America focused, initiated by the activist group, International Action Center (IAC), and founded by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark that opposes all U.S. military interventions, and by the Workers World Party (WWP), a U.S. based Marxist-Leninist organization closely associated with IAC that strongly supports communist states. It is this same group that organized the Occupy Wall Street rally that has continued as a sit-in for the past two weeks.

Notwithstanding the fact that this rally was envisioned by Marxists, and is now attempting to be co-opted by union organizers and some in the Democratic Party for their own purposes, this nascent movement is beginning to gain strength and a voice of concern over the connection between Wall Street, Washington, and our citizens’ resulting lack of representation to fix America.

Occupy Wall Street’s awkward missteps and disarray have been correctly assessed by our political and media elite as an early snap shot of a group that has no leadership and little clarity of message. When interviewed, its participants have seemed inarticulate with skewed and contradictory messages. Yet, there they sit camped out and building the articulation and clarity that will slowly incite others to join them.

It would do well for those so inclined to publicly disparage Wall Street’s occupation to revisit the humble beginnings of the Arab Spring, a movement that was directly tied to the same worldwide economic calamity. Some say the Arab Spring was influenced by local political dissident groups while others have gone as far as to claim that it was inspired and manipulated by America’s national security forces to disrupt the region. Most believe that decades of impoverishment spurred by the West’s economic collapse caused unbearable economic conditions that finally reacted to the spark of a single street vendor lighting himself on fire as the kindling of a disorganized, organic, and leaderless movement that erupted into a flame, ending in the overthrow of multiple oppressive governments.

On December 19, 2010, Moahamed Bouazizi, one of the 30 percent of jobless college graduates in Tunisia, was attempting to feed his family by selling vegetables in the street when Police seized his cart. In desperation, he set himself on fire and later died. At this point in the Arab Spring, only a few hundred completely disorganized young Tunisians took to the streets to protest police actions. Some voiced an opaque anger over unemployment and a few others smashed some windows and cars. The protest, however, was generally peaceful.

However, ten days later on December 29th, the bit slow to react Tunisian President, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali addressed his nation promising more jobs but vowing to crack down on the protesters, who by this time had grown to about the size of the 1,000 Occupy Wall Streeters. Still disorganized, a few protesters reacted by chanting for the President not to seek re-election in 2014. A multitude of social ills being voiced began to coalesce around the unemployment that plagued young Tunisians.

On January 2nd, a different catalyst sparked demonstrations in Egypt when a terrorist bomb blew up outside of a Coptic Christian church killing 21. In Algiers, 5 days later, protesters took to the streets over a completely different issue, high food prices. Looking back at how these disparate bands of protestors merged into the Arab Spring to overthrow them, these country’s leaders most surely would have subdued their arrogant dismissals and defiance that spread the movement to other cities. On January 9th, police killed 11 people in Tunisia and 3 in Algeria. In the frenzy, American media could only note the demonstrators’ disorganized voices speaking out against a lack of jobs and a host of other social ills, but had yet to fully comprehend the accelerating revolution.

On January 14th, similarly to Eric Canter’s seemingly ignorant grasp of world events that fed his derisive comments this weekend condemning “Occupy Wall Streeters” and their supporters, Libyan President Muammar Gaddaffi issued his first defiant condemnation of the protesters in Tunisia and Algeria, signaling the ill fated stances he would later take rather than addressing his country’s ills as a statesman. That same day, the Tunisian president fled his country for Saudi Arabia.

On January 13th in Algeria and on January 17th in Egypt, men copied Tunisia’s now martyred street vendor and set themselves on fire prompting Egypt’s Nobel Peace prize winner El Baradei to call on his nation’s leaders to take prompt action to avert a catastrophe. While being careful not to lend his political support to the movement, he nonetheless beseeched his nation’s politically elite to implement urgent reforms, claiming that Egypt was “yearning desperately for economic and social change” and that without drastic measures, Egypt would experience a “Tunisia-style explosion”. Grassroots activists surpassed El Baradei saying “This is not just about creating a clean parliament and a fair Presidency, it’s about the daily bread and butter of the Egyptian people.”

On January 25th, opposition groups organized protests similar to “Occupy Wall Street”. Certainly because of regime change in Tunisia on January 14th, they now had the surge of realization that they too might replace their own corrupt regimes, yet they still had no realization of their efforts. “We hope it will be big, very big” said Ahmed Salah, one of the demonstration organizers. “The people move for democracy – not for religion, not for elite interests, not for private loyalties.” He denounced the politically elite’s spin of the movement as a choice between Mubarak’s oppression or religious fundamentalism, claiming theirs was a “false choice”

The American people instinctively know that Wall Street organized and implemented a historic transfer of wealth to the East that now holds most of America hostage in the grip of punishing debt. Americans’ collective wisdom also knows that our politicians bent to the will of the financially powerful and created legislative loop holes for their corporate and banking contributors. While the occupiers of Wall Street are not yet able to articulate it, their gut feels inspired enough to camp out leaderlessly as they search for a coherent voice.

America will not experience a regime change such as the Arab Spring. But given the Obama ground swell in 2008 and the Tea Party revolution of 2012, is it really beyond belief that with 30 million disaffected, underemployed Americans desperate for direction out of our morass that this social media movement could also swell into a 2012 election tsunami? Those that would arrogantly dismiss Occupy Wall Street based on a current snap shot of its disorganization should look again to the timeline of the Arab Spring and wisely recalibrate their thinking.

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Media’s Buffoonified Spin of America’s Credit Downgrade Simply Continues Our Systemic Ailment of Polarized Government

Within hours of S&P’s downgrading of America’s credit rating, some in American media cried foul of the Tea Party’s extortionist politics, claiming that the S&P downgraded America’s credit rating because of the Tea Party’s resorting to political brinkmanship. Unfortunately, this media spin was an example of the very reason we have brinkmanship in America. Suggesting that the Tea Party (to which I am in no way affiliated) is at fault for bringing down America is simply an example of the media buffoonery that makes up the forth branch of America’s dysfunctional political system. Pointing to a symptom of a political disease and calling it the disease is the same bit of quackery that allowed 19th century snake oil salesmen to roam our great country passing bottles of sugar flavored alcohol off as medicinal solutions to fix all ails.

For 80 years, America’s two party dynamics have allowed a continued trend toward gerrymandering and toward a concentration of extremist views that support a minority of Americans’ concentrated elitist power base. When the American two party system was allowed to drift from its origins as a representative body that earnestly searched for incremental compromise within the bounds of the great middle of America toward its current dysfunctional politicking of purveyors of polarizing opposition, America slowly denigrated into the acceptance of long-lived, unsettled, demoralizing, and financially degrading systemic problems as the norm.

The Great Middle was bamboozled into believing that these issues were fully outside the realm of achievable compromise. They were unaware that the two party system aligned as one regarding issues such as globalization, issues that were best left in a state of disrepair if they were to support the economic needs of the party elites. The Great Middle of Americans have known that our two party system has been up to no good for quite some time. Especially in the last two decades, Americans have consistently registered our complaint that Congress is dysfunctional, with disapproval of their performance over 80 percent. But the cloud cover that our fourth branch has provided through smoke and mirror journalism for the elites, their owners, has kept us from putting our finger on the problem.

Many are disillusioned by our two party system, but few have registered their support for third parties, instead continuing to hope for a different outcome each time they cast votes for the extremist representation we continue to receive. 2008 was a milestone shift of extremism. 2010 knee jerked in another direction as America’s debt rose as a critical issue. Debt is one of the issues that we have accepted as the dysfunctional norm for a long time. The Tea Party was not wrong to want to stand against this glaring elitist stagnation.

However, the Congress’s methods have become ingrained through trillions of dollars of political commerce that is obstinately resistant to change. S&P was correct in identifying brinkmanship not as the problem of American politics but as a symptom of our much greater dysfunctionality. This systemic problem of American politics has no easy fix within the timeframe that it would take for S&P to conscientiously keep our credit rating at AAA.

Unfortunately, it will take a bit of a revolution to change Washington. The Tea Party, and its counter constituents in the social democratized branch of the Democratic party, are the nascent beginnings of that movement. Yes, the young movement has mistakenly allowed itself to be influenced by the same powerful elite that has controlled the mainstream parties into thinking that low taxes for the elite helps America and that unfettered capitalism is good for us as well. Yet, as the Great Middle grows legs and stamina to compete in this indoctrinated political structure, it will rise up to meet the issues that have long since been the accepted norm.

Unfortunately for our economy, the spectacle we witnessed over the debt ceiling uncovered the tentacles that our elites have in holding onto the status quo in spite of what has been obvious to the entire world as a blatant need for America’s reversal of direction. We will all suffer financially as a result. Fortunately, however, for the future of our nation, this nascent band of revolutionaries that boarded the mercantilist ships of our elitist power base in Washington and threw overboard the crates of business as usual were able to withstand the fires of redcoat opposition.

They held up to the elite and drove a stake into the ground for change, real change, that has to have shaken the foundations of all in Washington and that signaled a sustainable and real chance at recovery. Through the power of the Constitution of the United States, the movement has signaled to the two party system, one that has long corralled the Great Middle into accepting a slow walk into the mediocrity of a diminished future, that a bit of a revolution has occurred.

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