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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Fallacy of Privatization: My Life As A Consultant

In the past few decades, the argument for privatization of practically every service normally run by public entities, such as cities, counties, states and even the federal government has been pushed by the Republican party.  The claim that private enterprises could do a better job for less expense has been a compelling one.  So compelling was this argument, that when presented to the public, there were few to question its logic, while the arguments of those few who did oppose things such as charter schools, privately run prisons and the construction of municipal facilities by private contractors fell upon deaf ears and were vocalized by mute politicians.
Having worked in both the public and private sectors, I can honestly say that private contractors neither save more money, nor do they provide a better product in many cases.  Sometimes the shortcomings of contractors are only apparent in their failure to stay within a contracts budget.  At other times however, the failure are related to the very service they provide or the final product they produce.  And then there are those times when neither of these criteria is fulfilled

Now, I must disclose that I can only speak to the issue of privatization as it relates to construction, because this is the field in which I have spent the majority of my career.  I am a graduate of the University of Miami, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.  Since that time I have been a project engineer (or a field inspector) for projects ranging from and involving waste water facility improvements to the addition of a new concourse and terminal at Miami International Airport.  Overall my experience has been in both commercial and industrial construction, where I not only oversaw the quality of work for electrical installations, but work related to other disciplines of construction, such as structural and civil. Basically, I have covered most aspects of construction in my sixteen plus years of construction consultation.

I started out working as a public sector employee, but quickly moved over to the private side of my industry, due to the vast difference in pay scale between these two options.  And what I’ve come to realize is that private construction contractors are no better than public construction divisions.  As a matter of fact, I have come to my own conclusion that public sector construction divisions are actually better for whatever public entity they serve.  The main reason for my assessment is that public construction services have a greater stake in whatever project they are working on than do private contractors:  If public construction divisions don’t get something right they are still around to rectify this problems, FOR AS LONG AS THE STRUCTURE EXISTS or the piece of equipment is needed.  Private companies, on the other hand, guarantee their equipment and their work for a finite amount of time, 5 years and 1 year respectively under most of the contracts on which I’ve worked.

As for craftsmanship, I have long since given up hope that the contractors I work with will provide the level of service they agreed upon in their contract.  They have better lawyers, less respect for the client, while clients seem to have less will to enforce their own specifications these days.  I personally have been on jobs where project managers have tried to encourage me to falsify documentation in order to keep the project moving forward.  I have been on other projects where I was personally involved in the negotiation of change orders (requests of extra money for work that is outside the scope of the contract) where the dollar figure that those who were closest to the project estimated to be approximately $227 thousand dollars (and this amount was pushing the envelope in my opinion), but the final settlement was one million dollars which was decided upon behind a closed door meeting that did not include the project management team.  I also know of projects where contractors were kicked off jobs for failure to perform, only to be brought back onto the job to finish the construction; effectively getting paid twice for the same work.  This list goes on and on.  And of all of the disturbing things I’ve seen as a consultant, the thing that is most discouraging to me about my chosen profession is that, when interviewing at a new firm, once they’ve asked all of their questions, I have to ask this one important one:  “If I find deficient work and bring it to everyone’s attention, will you (project manager) back me up in my claim?”  Inevitably, and understandably, the answer is “Yes”, but in theory only.  In most of my personal experiences, however, when the time comes for action, the boisterous and prideful claims of “standing by their people” fall by the wayside; replaced by the justification that “the job must go on”.  I always find it funny how the phrase “The customer is always right” never comes up in any of the progress meetings I have ever attended.  In one occasion, I was even told to back off when I complained that a contractor was failing to do their job, as per their signed and sealed contract.  Worse than this, I have a colleague who was fired for demanding that a contract provide the quality previously promised during the bidding process.  Replaced by a more complicit individual, my colleague grew disillusioned with our profession and left it altogether.

Though my story only relates to construction, it seems to be relevant in most areas where privatization has been touted as the best way to control costs for those services historically provided by public funding and public agencies.  What I see in construction is cost overruns that seem to go unchecked by the very individuals who should be looking out for the taxpayer’s dollars; construction consultation that fails to control or assure the quality of the work or service being provided and an overall retreat from defending the client’s rights.  The client in these cases being the taxpayers who fund these projects.

As for other industries:  How are charter schools fairing against the public schools that helped create a strong America?  Does it seem that charter schools are run any better or that they are putting out students who are more prepared for life or college?  Or, as I have read, are they simply finding ways to maximize their profits, while adding no increased value to their clients (the students)?
How are the private prisons that profit, not only from the housing of non-violent drug offenders, but make money by cutting illicit deals with corporations that charge inmates exorbitant fees for things such as phone calls and outsource work for jobs once held by public employees.  Should these prisons be profiting from the misery of immigrants who only seek to make a living here as opposed to their country of origin, where this is impossible?  In the case of Mexico, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) made it impossible for Mexican corn farmers to compete with American corn farmers whose crops could be sold for less than the cost to grow them, due to government subsidies.  Should these people be demonized for something that unfair trade practices forced them into and why aren’t the companies that hire these workers ever prosecuted?  Off topic .  Sorry.  My point is that one group of unfortunate people trying to eke out an existence should not be a means for corporations to further enrich themselves and that is exactly what private prison corporations like CCA and the GEO Group have done and continue to do, with our government’s blessing.

In the end, does it serve America’s best interest to privatize everything, especially when the Theorhertoric (made up word, I call dibs on the copyright) doesn’t correlate with the practical application of such privatization.  Corporations are motivated solely by profit and it feels as if the soul of our country is being compromised through privatization by the many corporations that worship at the altar of the Bottom Line.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If Obama really wants to help, why Larry Summers?

Sorry about the poor quality of the video. Short on time these days. Will post better quality as time permits: Please donate, so I can provide better content as seen in my previous videos. --->>>




For more detailed information about Larry Summers and his cohorts in the economic downfall of American, watch this Frontline video and remember, he's Obama's top economic adviser, not Brooksley Born, one of the few to point out the folly of deregulation. Watch all parts

Friday, November 25, 2011

Can the banks be directly blamed for the plight of those they wish to foreclose on?

I, for one, am interested in whether a actual link can be made between the banks and those people upon whom the banks are so actively foreclosing. Can some research follow a chain of custody that leads directly from the underwater, unemployed, homeowner to their former employer, to whatever entity financed that former employer. In the research that I envision, analysts would speak to homeowners who had lost their jobs and were now on the verge of losing their homes. Eventually the research would begin to profile people who were recently laid off, but a good start would be those who have the greatest need. The analyst would then root out where the company of the person with the hardship received the credit that allowed it to make payroll month in and month out. Said analysts would then expose the bank that refused to loan money or extend credit to keep the company operational, especially those that received any of the bailout money from the federal government. It is my hope that through this research, blame could be placed on the banks for causing the lose of an individual's income, which directly led to that individual losing their home. Put another way, the research would implicate the loan shark who broke the legs of the indebted (or incapacitated them in some other way) and still demanded their money at a VAR (variable adjusted rate). Are there any researchers and grant writers out there who would be interested in taking on this challenge? Contact me at sessions_present@hotmail.com and put "Holding Banks Accountable" in the subject line.

And for a comparison to fraud committed in the past, ie the savings and loan scam, here is an interview with the man, Bill Black who prsecuted the guilty in those cases:



Here is Mr. Black warning that our regulators can't continue with business as usual:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A poem

I HATE:

The fact that the world is under the control of power hungry, greedy, selfish people.

That freedom of speech does not extend to criticism of the conglomerates that control the food industry.

That special interests have a louder voice than the majority of Americans.

The way corporations get bailed out, subsidized, deregulated, while people go bankrupt, pay more and are regulated more than ever in history.

That some of our leaders follow the philosophy of Ayn Rand, which promotes selfishness and greed and sees all of those in need as parasites.

Those who pollute the planet, be it on a small scale or more along the lines of Koch Industries.

Laws that allow financial institutions to take billions of dollars from millions of people
Private prison corporations that profit from housing illegal immigrants and non-violent convicts, while also profiting from the labor of people who have little choice in the matter.

The Federal Reserve, which disguises itself as a government agency, while loaning every single dollar printed to the United States Government.

Attacks blaming the economic collapse on teachers, firefighters, policemen, nurses and public sector workers that conveniently forget to mention unpaid tax breaks that were skewed to favor the rich over the past ten to thirty years.

How the Military-Industrial complex has continued to grow, despite warnings from previous presidents of the danger this action poses to our nation.

That America feels less secure than it did prior to 9/11, because poverty and the wealth gap are on the rise.

The police state that people are being led to believe is necessary in the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave".

The fact that banks or financial institutions in Washington D.C. which are foreclosing on the rightful owners are paying homeless people ten dollars per home and seven dollars per apartment to evict the soon to be homeless.

That State legislators have to occasionally check with the World Trade Organization to verify that proposed state laws don't violate trade agreements.

How lobbyists can make immoral acts, legal and acts that should be illegal sound moral.

That so many people cannot tell that they are voting against their own best interests, because propaganda has become commonplace in American society.

That those leaders who claim to be for the people always seem to stay just left of the extreme agendas pushed by those on the far right.

The fact that our political choices are only the lesser of two evils, because this sounds like evil has a monopoly over our political system.

That corporations are people and even more so that the decision to say as much is based on a lie.

How politicians believe we are too stupid to distinguish the difference between the lies they tell us and the truths our eyes tell us.

That Social Security is accused of being unsustainable, while defending the rest of the world isn't.

Police who harm peaceful protesters to appease the very same bosses that say the police and other public employees are the reason our economy is failing.

Anyone who visits the Bohemian Grove and partakes in the "Cremation of Care".

Politicians who blame individuals for their own poverty.

How corporations that show no loyalty to America are allowed to repatriate profits after receiving tax breaks and remain American while outsourcing so many of their jobs.

Politicians who watch as other politicians eliminate people's voting rights, right to bargain and any other rights.

How "Trickle Down" or supply side economics are claimed to benefit anyone other than the wealthy, while in reality, only represent us (WE THE PEOPLE), giving our money in tax breaks to the wealthy, so the wealthy can give us (WE THE PEOPLE) back some of our money . . . After we perform some labor for these wealthy "Patrons".

When people say "the rich should not be punished for being rich" when all WE THE PEOPLE say is that "We should not be punished for the rich being rich".

How Occupy Wall Street is demonized for standing up for the rights of 99% of America, while the TEA party is praised for fighting for tax breaks that inordinately benefit the rich.

How President Obama is referred to as Mr. Obama.

Politicians who say disaster relief emergency funds should only be provided if their costs can be offset by spending cuts.

When political leaders criticize government spending, while accepting it for their districts.

When politicians cut education budgets to offset tax breaks for the wealthy.

Organizations like the American Legislators Exchange Commission (A.L.E.C.), which sounds like a place where legislators are bought and sold.

I hate that I am so angry, paranoid and hopeless.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Future of the Occupy Movement

Now that the Occupy movement is going global there are a few things to take under consideration. The first being the use of the masked character from the movie V is for Vendetta, which was adapted from a graphic novel. While the imagery that this character that is conjured up from this character is evocative, this message behind the image could get lost on the billions of people worldwide who have neither seen this movie nor read the graphic novel. To far too many, this image might simply appear to be a way in which to disguise the speaker’s identity and this is in turn could alienate other 99%ers who are not looking to join a secretive organization fronted by a mask wielding character. Another problem that those who are in need of saving, but complacent might have with this character is that he advocated that blowing up government facilities and I doubt that is the message that the Occupy movement wants to be associated with, especially in these early stages. This idea not only intimidates those who are waiting to see what happens in the coming days, weeks, months, but it justifies the authorizes fear of a non-violent movement turning violent. Yet another reason to distance the Occupy movement from this character is that anyone can play him. All you have to do is go to a costume store and buy the mask for no more than $20 and you become the symbolic leader of a leaderless movement. Imagine the masked man put out messages that tell people to, not only resist the corruption of Wall Street, but to fight against all authority, utilizing both non-violent and violent tactics. For most at the Occupy movement, this message would fall on deaf ears, but for those more militant factions, this could be a call to action. And regardless of the size of the violence, this type of behavior would jeopardize the entire movement, because violence is not an option. Violence begets violence and those currently in charge have an abundance of weapons and ammunition: The U.S. government had over 600 billion for defense spending in 2010, which was over 43% of military expenditures for the entire planet and as we’ve seen with the police in New York, those who are supposed to protect us could easily be set against us, even when they have more in common with those they are attacking than those who are ordering the attacks. Put another way, if the wealthy, elite, powerful in the U.S. decided to turn against its people, it would take the rest of the entire world to help us out. For this reason, violent methods are no means to an end in this instance. My final point about the masked character that seems to be dominating the internet is related to the previous point. What if the masked character incites some protester to use violent tactics only to later reveal that the face under the mask belongs to someone affiliated with Art Pope or Koch Industries? Wouldn’t that be like a storyline from the Twilight Zone?

Another aspect of Occupy movement that doesn’t seem to have been considered is communication. Currently, all of the separate groups in various states and now nations have relied on the internet or mobile devices, but who really is in control of this communication. If push came to shove, all of these devices could be turned off by the corporations that own the cellphone tower, the repeater stations, and the network servers: It could all be shut down if the threat to “The Man’s” control grew too great. And, I can’t imagine anyone out there who would be na├»ve enough to think that this could never happen: Occupy is all about taking away the most basic element of the elite’s power . . . money. And, as we have seen, there are those elite who care nothing for the advancement of civilization or humanity, but instead care only for the money they hoard and the power they wield, both of which go hand in hand. If either base is threatened, what lengths will they go to regain it? Military action has been witnessed all around the world, police action as well and we have seen that hear in New York and other cities hosting peaceful demonstration against the corruption that is so prevalent on Wall Street. The point that should be taken away from these examples is that there could be a time when all of these convenient methods of communication could be taken away and without a sufficient plan, the entire movement could be wiped out. The recent Blackberry outages were most likely just an instance of equipment failure, but how easy it would be to have that kind of equipment failure across the board. If such a failure had occurred when those in New York thought Mayor Bloomberg had acquiesced on having protestors leave the park only to send in riot police once the reinforcements had disbanded , today’s news could have been that the protestors got violent, so the NYPD had to arrest hundreds more . . . or worse. While attending an Occupy movement myself, I heard people in the “Media Group” talking about their backup communication plans, which consisted of using Facebook or email if Twitter went out and using cellphones if the internet went out. What would they do if it all went away, just long enough to break up the demonstrations across the country? What then? Then tried it in Egypt and failed, but I’m certain that there was a fair amount of take away from that failure. I only hope that Occupy gleaned some insight from it as well.

CSO

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Racist Rick and the Republicans

Ideas to Provide Local Support for the Coming Demostrations to Win Back Our Democracy

Some Ideas to Wrest the American democracy from control of corporations and the elite.

Strategies:

1) Build a network of local and small businesses through the following:
A) Build network of consumers who need the products or services of local businesses: This has the effect of creating demand for the business, while building trust and loyalty from the business.
Tactics:
I) Advertise: local newspapers (The Penny Saver, The Miami Herald, etc.)
II) Word of mouth of those members of the organization, employees (this could serve as their 1 hour of donated time) (To Regain American Democracy)

B) Require 10% of the profit (once the demand increases: A baseline needs to be established prior to committing to providing support)

2) Identify, Target and Hold accountable the elite and corporate leaders (the “job creators”)

3) Start community farms:
A) These mini farms can be planted on small plots that homeowners are willing to plant gardens in and can receive community help growing and maintaining these plots if they agree to donate a portion of the crop to a community cache (for people in need, or for sale at a local fruit and vegetable stand.
B) Look at the land in front of people’s homes that the local municipality own and determine how important, and how often this land must be accessed. For those plots that require limited access, consider planting local fruits and vegetables that can support the local neighborhoods, with any excess being sold at local markets. In this way, certain types of fruits and vegetable can be grown in various neighborhoods that can be traded or sold to other neighborhoods that lack those particular fruits and vegetables.

4) Communities or community banks (if possible) should bond together and buy out a home being short sold and set up a reasonable mortgage so home owners can retain their homes.

5) Set up tutoring/after care centers in neighbor’s homes. Look to retired teachers and start a donation to provide a wage for their tutoring services.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Class Warfare: Who's really waging it?

Lately, both side of the political aisle have been talking about class warfare and I thought it interesting that the book I've been reading for about a week now discusses just this issue and what possibly lies beneath the claims made by both the Democrats and the Republicans. The book is entitled "Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists" and here is an excerpt:

The corporatocracy uses its money and power to try to persuade Americans that it is "populist demagoguery" to even bring up the subject of class war, and that populism means pandering to destructive prejudices. Fortunately, despite the corporactocracy's great efforts here, many don't buy it. In March 2009, a Rasmussen Reports poll reported that "55% of Americans Are Populist." They defined populist as trusting the American people's judgement more than America's political leaders, as seeing government and big business as political allies working against the interest of most people, and seeing the federal government as one more special-interest group that is primarily looking after its own needs. Specifically, they asked Americans three questions: 1. Generally speaking, when it comes to important national issues, whose judgement do you trust more - the American people or America's political leaders? 2. Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors? 3. Some people believe that the federal government has become a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests. Has the federal government become a special interest group?

As stated earlier the poll showed that 55% of respondents could be categorized as populists, which broke down to 52% of Democrats, 62% of Republicans and 51% not affiliated with either party.

I realize that polls can be made to say whatever people or groups want them to say, or at least appear to say, so you have to ask yourself: Do you personally feel that the federal government or the state government seem to be looking out for your best interests? Control of the governing bodies swings from democratic to republican control, but has it felt as if the people of this nation have been in control in the past decade? For an indication of how much control corporations have over our lives, visit this website: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed, which details how corporations are responsible for all of the state legislation that deals with "voter suppression", "collective bargaining", "privatization of prisons" and so many other policies and bills that the GOP governors have passed around the country.

1) Corporations have benefited from large scale and long lasting wars that have had little REAL benefit to either country involved.

2) Corporations have benefited by pulling finite resources out of the planet, while leaving environmental disasters in their wake: The spill in the gulf and other, more recent spills that have affected the lives of so many Americans, the spread of fracking, which has contaminated the water supplies of entire communities, the coal mine collapses, which were avoidable had safety regulations been adhered to prior to the collapse.

3) Corporations have made record profits in a year when they are laying off people by the tens of thousands and demanding lower taxes, so they can hire people.
a) This article details how 25 of the highest paid U.S. CEOs made more money than their companies paid in taxes. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/31/us-usa-tax-ceopay-idUSTRE77U0KW20110831 and,
b) This article details those companies in which the CEOs not only received exorbitant compensation, while the company laid of tens of thousands of employees, but actually got bigger pay packages http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/CompanyFocus/ceos-cut-more-jobs-make-more-money.aspx JUST LISTEN TO THE GENTLEMAN HARRY BINSWNGER, WHO IS LISTED AS A LONG TIME ASSOCIATE OF AYN RAND WHO IS THE PHILOSOPHER THAT SO MANY GOP LEADERS IDOLIZE. THIS TYPE OF THINKING MIGHT BE OKAY FOR BUSINESS, BUT IT SHOULD NOT BE APPLIED TO LEADING A NATION. For more on Ayn Rand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ukJiBZ8_4k, but basically she believes that people should at all times only look out for themselves and she idolized serial killers because they epitomized this philosophy. She actually idolized a convicted murderer named William Hickman, who kidnapped and dismembered a 12 year old girl after receiving the randsom from the little girl's father. She was also an atheist.

One thing to think about as we move into the future is that while the cost of living has continued to increase over the years, wages have remained stagnant and have even started to reverse, as for the first time in decades, the median home income has been lowered to those levels seen in 1968. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/13/inflation-adjusted-income_n_960588.html. There is no logic in thinking that corporations which saw record profits this year, should be allowed to make more money by lowering taxes. It does not make since that millionaires should continue to pay less in taxes than the rest of us, because while it may not solve our deficit problem, it is fair. Many millionaires realize this, including Warren Buffett, but if more proof is required, here is a website that consists only of millionaires who believe that the Bush Era Tax cuts were unnecessary, unwise and unwanted: http://patrioticmillionaires.org/ The third video down is a compilation of millionaires who talk about why raising taxes on millionaires in right.

Something has to change and I don't foresee that change coming from the political leaders we have in office now. It's got to come from US.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Incorporation of America



Here is an article to get people thinking about this problem of the coporatization of America

http://www.alternet.org/story/152158/3_things_that_must_happen_for_us_to_rise_up_and_defeat_the_corporatocracy/?page=entire

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cross Roads

America is at a cross roads: One road proposed by the Republicans and one by the Democrats.  Both parties realize that something has got to change in which the way the United States Government stays sovereign and maintains the ability to keep its economy moving forward.  As things stand currently, the best that both parties could actually hope for would be to keep the U.S. economy from shrinking and the unemployment rate from rising, but which plan of action is the correct choice seems to be the problem.

As for the Republicans, their plan is simple, cut spending.  In this plan the only change that would be made to the American economy would be to reduce the size of government and let private industry take the lead to growing the it.  Republicans, it seems would prefer that most aspects of life in America be handled by small business and corporations.  There would be less regulation that they contend gets in the way of capitalism, which would allow the markets to flourish.  While this plan sounds straight forward, what would the consequences of this approach be, are there any examples from the past that could prove useful in making a decision about the validity of this argument?  In examining this plan, it might not take too much of a look into the past to come up with examples of where it could lead.  For more than ten years, the wealthy have enjoyed the lowest tax rates in history, but has the country enjoyed the largest growth in job creation in this same time frame?  If the answer to this question were yes, than one would be inclined to believe that cutting taxes for the wealthy is in fact the way to go, but given the fact that unemployment is currently at 9.1%, the answer must be a resounding NO.  The wealthy have not created American jobs, big corporations have not created American jobs:  The only business entity that seems to be creating jobs at all are small businesses, but even these companies are limited in the number of jobs they can create.  For a small business to thrive, it must have customers, just like medium and large businesses need customers or consumers.  The questions that must then be asked, are where are the consumers and who are the consumers?  And the answer is simple:  The consumers are anyone willing to pay for a service or good who is also capable of paying for that service or good.  The last part of this description is another point at which the Republican's plan is flawed.  While it helps the rich hold onto more of their money, it eliminates funds from so many more people.

Many of the government programs that the Republicans will have to eliminate, due to their spending cuts, will take money away from many poor families who would use this money to buy food, pay rent and keep utilities turned on to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter:  That's money that would help keep the economy going.  The tax loopholes that Republicans are NOT willing to eliminate, help the wealthy hold onto their money in hopes that these same rich people will create jobs.  In one of these two scenarios, the person or persons have no choice but to spend the money they are given by the government;  In the other, they could choose to create jobs, or simply sit on the stack of cash that the Republicans saved them.

Another of the effects that Republican policies would have would be to cut spending on various programs, which means that people would be laid off.  These people would no longer have the income that they would need to pay for groceries, utilities or mortgages, which would mean that they have to choose between eating and being warm and paying for a house that is upside down.  The choice seems obvious, so the housing market continues to take a hit as it slides further into the Abyss.  Now, the wealthy could simply buy the house that will inevitably be foreclosed upon, but who could pay the rent on all of the houses that the rich must buy and maintain:  The banks don't seem so keen to foreclose these days.  Perhaps it's the fact that those empty homes require lawn services amongst other things to maintain them.  Perhaps it's that banks are beginning to realize that there is no market for these homes which are beginning to produce excessive amounts of mold and in some cases self-composting, due to lack of a regulated environment within the home.  So, cutting spending not only eliminates the income that the poor must spend to survive and the income that keeps government employees in their homes, but both of these consumers are removed from the economy.  Meanwhile, the rich can choice or not choice to invest in the economy by creating jobs.

In the past few years, even with the Bush Era Tax cuts extended, the rich have chosen not to create jobs.  And prior to the Bush Era Tax cuts, the wealthy have seen their incomes increase by $4.00 dollars to 1 cent for the rest of us:  This is all in line with the Republican economic theory called Supply Side AKA Trickle Down economics.  A quick example of how adversely Trickle Down has affected the economy is to consider this:  Earlier this year Forbes detailed how 400 of the wealthiest people in this country have as much wealth as 150 million people in this country.  That's 400 to 150,000,000 which is half of our population.  Now, ask yourself, could, or more importantly, would those 400 individuals match the spending power of the 150 million people they've eclipse?  Wouldn't the money those 400 people are sitting on serve this nation better in circulation?  Some may argue no, but they would be lying.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a staunch supporter of the Democrats either:  Who could be fond of a group of leaders who call foul on the Ryan Plan only after the Republican's own constituents did it first in various Politician's own town hall meetings.  Talk about leading from behind; the Democrats looked like the last guy to the lynching who asks "Yeah hang . . . What's his name?", but they are still better than the Republicans.  They can sleep better at night knowing that they did not ask America to lay off unknown numbers of government employees, or cut assistance to poor families, without at least ending ridiculous tax breaks for the wealthy and actually asking the rich to contribute more to society.  If you think about, neither Democrats nor anyone for that matter asked the wealthy for a single dime of the money they had amassed to date (estate tax wasn't mentioned in the debt ceiling deal:  I don't think).  Democrats simply asked that whatever money the wealthy make from here on out provide assistance to our failing economy.

I hope that in 2012, not only do more people vote, but that those who think the Republicans are on their side wake up and smell the coffee, because if the Republicans are making it, it's going to be bitter and might even kill you.

You can take that from Fabian Augustus

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Even the CONSCIENTIOUS wealthy don't like the Bush Era tax Cuts

The following is a link to a website in which 100s of millionaires fought to eliminate the Bush era tax cuts.  They claim that they did not want them, did not need them and feel that they are not worth the trouble they have caused for the United States of America.  If the wealthy are aware of the burden that immoral tax cuts place on our economy, why are the Republicans trying to force them on the country.  Please take a look at this site and understand that the "Rich people are NOT the cause of a robust economy, they are the result of a robust economy".  My friends, the rich realize that a country of poverty is not a country to be proud of and no country to live in, no matter how much wealth one has (just pick any country where the wealth is consolidated at the top and determine whether this fits into the American dream:

http://patrioticmillionaires.org/

This second link is to a video that several millionaires put together to dispute Republican claims of the wealthy desiring and needing tax cuts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlttMTDCDwY&feature=player_embedded

More to come.  Also, follow me on twitter, where I give my opinions about what politicians are saying and what they aren't saying and the implications of their words and actions.  The address is below.

Chris Ossman

Follow me on twitter.com at: http://twitter.com/fabianaugustus

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Two Paths: Ayn Rand's Legacy

Before the American public there were two paths that could be taken. One was open to all, accepting of all and sought to help all along their way. The other path only allowed those who were willing to leave their friends, family and all of humanity behind to travel upon it. Though anyone was free to choose which path they would take, only one allowed for an increasing number of travellers. The other narrowed until there were but a few individuals who could maintain their footing and even that number dwindled as the capacity of this path decreased.

Though the two paths were so different in the demographics that followed them, they were plainly viewed by all: Those on the growing path noticed the diminishing numbers of people who chose the one which shrank. They were close enough to call out to them, or so they thought, but for some reason, the people on the other path couldn’t hear them. It could have been that they were simply ignoring what they considered lower class citizens, but it could also have been the fact that all of their focus had to be on every step they took. The reason for this requirement was that, not only did the trail become more treacherous, but the few on this crooked path had a tendency to bump one another off. It was like a perverted game of “King of the Mountain”, except the mountain was a small winding road that allowed only the most ruthless of players to advance. And even worse than the threat of other players and shrinking landscape, was that at some point there was no return.

Along the trail individuals not deemed strong enough were weeded out, by either falling off the trail or by crossing over one of infrequent connecting bridges that appeared from time to time. These bridges allowed for the selfish to cast off their illicit ways and gave them the opportunity to change their course. It provided them with a chance to share in the common good, to succeed together and move forward the agenda that best suited the group. These bridges flowed both ways, but only those who became misguided ever chose to go from the path of many to the path of the few, because they were fraught with peril and of those who attempted crossing them, most fell to their doom. Other than these connecting bridges, the paths simply ran parallel to one another.

If one were to look over the edges of the growing path, they might see nothing at all. They might be faced with the uncertainty of just how far the drop might be. They might even find that they had lost their balance looking into this abyss, but there was always someone there to assist them, to provide a stability that they might not have had otherwise. And on several occasions, the uncertainty they saw looking over the edge was lifted like a fog, as explanations were provided and fears were alleviated. Whether this insight was forth-coming or not, the support one received was enough to get an individual’s focus back on the goals ahead. This however, was not so of the other path, the one that shrank as one progressed: There was no support to keep one from falling upon the jagged rocks below. The only comfort that anyone could gain while walking this lonely path had to come from one’s self. Any reassurance was possible only by what one could muster up from within, which made the journey that much more dangerous, as every step could proof to be their last. Compiling any fears that might cause hesitation was the fact that, at some point there was no going back. Inevitably, there was no way to turn around and walking backwards usually led to one outcome.

There were of course those who had walked the more dangerous of the two paths and eventually found a place in which they could lay down and rest for as long as they chose. At this last stop, there always seemed to be a vast, open meadow, as lush and beautiful as one could imagine. Beside the greenest grass that one could imagine, there was food of all varieties available with a mere thought. No matter what one’s palette desired it could be seen as the weary traveller entered this wide open space. As for any other needs that anyone could have at this point, they were all met before the words could be formed. Whether one’s desire was the fanciest ‘this’ or the sharpest ‘that’ all needs wants and desires were fulfilled in this final utopian setting, but none who had made it this far had ever found peace in this magically deceiving place. More often than not, those who lay in the grass found it quite course as the serrated edges scratched their skin. Those who did not know of the harsh feel of the grass had simply not taken the time to relax: They had come to a point where they should have been able to let their guard down and enjoy the fruits of their labor, but even the fruit tasted sour as one by one they would taste every apple, pear, orange, steak, cake, or whatever food they cherished the most, only to toss it aside in disgust. In due time, every one of these individuals realized that what they desired most in life could not be enjoyed by one’s self. What was the point of reaching this point in their lives, if there was no one to talk to about the perfect meal before them or the miraculous sunset that just ushered on another temperate night. Nothing looked as good or tasted as good or felt as good as it would have looked, tasted or felt had it been shared with someone important. The only thing that someone who found themselves in this position could take pride in was the fact that had they been as ruthless as possible, someone would remember them: Had they knocked off enough competitors or committed as many atrocious acts as they could, they would live on in infamy in someone’s mind and to be respected or feared was an accomplishment in itself.

Had they questioned this belief however, they would have realized that those who had chosen the other path would be remembered by far more people and those memories would be fond and they would be passed down from one generation to the next. Had they taken the time to listen to those who travelled on the other path, they would have realized that it is better to be loved by many than despised by few. And as was the case more often than not, as they lay their heads down in the irritating sawgrass.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reconciliation

America will never recover until it reconciles with its people: Rich, poor, what’s left of the middle class and all individuals in between. This requirement is paramount, because a nation is only as strong as its people’s solidarity and desire to share in both the prosperous and disastrous times. In America, I see this strength waning, as selfish and greedy individuals do everything in their power to decimate the savings, incomes, hopes and dreams of the masses. I believe that those who are the stewards of this once great nation are looking only at the short-term gains to be made with their allegiance to some of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals and corporations. These politicians and civic leaders fail to realize that not only are those they steal from turning against their misdeeds, but they are waking up to the possibility of a return to a feudalistic society. This will not stand for a people who have known freedom for so many generations: Freedom of speech, which is being distorted by corporate interests; freedom from oppression, which is diminished by laws that allow the authorities to waive the rights of individuals; freedom from fear, which is dissipating as more Americans find themselves paying for homes not worth their current value; food that is deceptively becoming more expensive; and wages that are shrinking as unemployment stretches from days, weeks, and months to years for far too many. Of all of these fears, the one that presents the greatest threat is the latter, only beating out the others because of its immediacy.


As many Americans must know by now, the threat of terrorism is almost meritless in comparison to the threat of poverty. While the former has become such an obscure idea as to not warrant much news coverage, except for things such as Osama Bin Laden’s death, the latter is on a growing number of U.S. citizen’s doorsteps. This threat of poverty demands a much greater response than either of the two dominant political parties provide: On the contrary, our leaders have oftentimes, facilitated the dismantling of the middle class in an effort to provide more income to benefactors, who line their pockets with the dwindling savings of an ever growing, impoverished segment of society and neither Democrats nor Republicans address unemployment, the rising cost of living or any of the landmines that await people today. Having read online articles, heard news reports and seen documentaries that detail the events that led to the economic collapse that brought financial institutes worldwide to their knees, I am convinced that our political leaders have no intention of helping any segment of society other than the rich. I also believe that if more people look at the actions of their elected leaders more critically and logically, they too would see that these leader’s actions serve only to funnel more money to the wealthy. This is in fact the basis of the trickle down or supply side economic theory: Provide more income to the rich, whether individuals or corporations (corporations are now seen as deserving of same rights of an individual) in hopes that this money will lead to jobs. While this sounds less than ideal, even if it worked the way that Republicans say it should work, it still means that the middle class and poor should forfeit money to the rich, so the rich can put the poor and middle class to work to give the poor and middle class their money back. And the fact that this is not the way in which trickle down has worked for the past thirty years, makes Republican adherence to such policies suspect at best, and downright crooked otherwise. If those who only vote republican ever considered the pros and cons of such loyalty, they would realize that on balance, their loyalty has not been warranted or rewarded. They would see that it has been the policies of Republicans that led to the inequities that now face our nation: The inequities that fuel the protests that have sprung up in countries in the Middle East, Spain, Greece and elsewhere.

Now, I understand that some of the choices made when electing a particular politician are based on religion or at least the perception of religious beliefs held by a candidate running for office. In this, voters should ultimately determine the true character of the leaders they choice, because their actions will always speak louder than their words: If a man or woman running for office professes their love for any particular creator, than their policies should reflect the mandates of their creator. For those of any Christian-based faith, man is to do onto others as he would have done onto him, and what man in need would choose to have assistance for things such as heating, medicine and education denied them? What man would chose to have their right to vote eliminated because they cannot afford state issued identification or because they attend a college that is in another city than their place of residence? America needs abide by the separation of church and state that is explicitly called out in the United States Constitution, because we cannot afford to be lulled further into a false sense of security that too many political leaders use to win elections. America cannot afford to follow false Profits who claim to be God-fearing, yet send young men and women to fight in unjust, immoral and most-likely illegal wars. America cannot afford to follow these supposed zealots who pass laws that allow far too many people to languish, and or perish in defense of the wealthy. Religious beliefs are and should remain a private matter, in which individuals determine what is best for themselves.

Besides, religious politicians who seem to fail at practicing what they preach, the mouth pieces of our nation seem to have placed too much blame on those who had no part in the downward spiral we find ourselves in these days: Teachers did not break this country. Firefighters did not cause the economic meltdown. Policemen and policewomen did not burst the housing bubble and neither did the unions that supported any of these aforementioned groups, but they are being made to suffer for other peoples “sins”. Main Street is paying for the “sins” of Wall Street, the “sins” of the banking industry and the “sins” of large corporations, all of which are still taking advantage of America and its citizens, by avoiding taxes and lobbying for laws that promote their welfare while destroying the welfare of others. It is truly ironic that the only things that have lost value in America are the very things that so many said made America strong: American workers and American homes have both lost value as wages have diminished, thanks in part to the Global Economy and financial trickery, respectively. Home prices have plummeted by 50 – 70% and still remain unaffordable to most, while banks continue to foreclose, whether justified or not. The masses are becoming poorer for their faith in their leadership, both figuratively and literally and some of the fastest growing demographics in this country are the impoverished and disenfranchised.

Many will argue that the disparity which exists between the “haves” and the “have nots” is a matter of ambition, but at some point this rationale loses all credibility and ambition turns to something less palatable. It is my opinion that ambition is when one strives to better their own situation without directly or intentionally harming others, but it is greed when an individual’s goals interferes with and causes harm to others. Perhaps this is why GREED is one of the seven deadly sins. When looking at the direction our country has taken for the past thirty years, we must make a determination as to what examples we see in our leaders: Ambition or greed? Is the fact that the average worker’s salary has increased by a mere penny over the past three decades, while upper management has increased by $4.00 an example of ambition or greed? While the result of upper management’s decisions can be seen and have been felt profoundly by the entire country and the world, have they have earned the money, respect, admiration or loyalty that our government seems to want to foist upon them. I, for one, think not. The elite of this country have failed this country and appear content to continue to fail this country. Whether they be politician or captains of industry or Wall Street Tycoons, they have all raped and pillaged our nation and its people for far too long. This country was great and it can be great once more, but not as long as the status quo remains. For this reason, a third or fourth political party is needed and both Republicans and Democrats need to shed the shackles that big business have placed around their necks. America will never reconcile with its people until it leaders reconcile the fraud, theft and coercion that led it down this road of despair.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Letter to DNC

Republicans push state laws when national push fails


If the Democrats were true leaders they would currently be addressing those people who are affected by unfavorable, new, state laws that have been passed and those people who will be affected by state laws that will most likely pass by GOP governors and republican state legislations. If Democrat had vision, they would be drawing comparisons to these state laws and those that national GOP leaders tried to pass in congress; failing only because they do not currently have the numbers to get their radical and harmful bills passed into law.

Democrats should be addressing those U.S. citizens who have been affected by these Republican laws that hurt everyone except the wealthy and they should be addressing those that will be affected in the near future (prior to 2012) by bills that are being brought up by GOP leadership in various states. National Democratic leaders should be made the case that, had the Republicans in Washington had the majority, these hateful bills to cut services to the poor, education for the children and Medicare, the national equivalent of Medicaid would be terminated and replaced with the Ryan plan voucher system. National Democratic leaders should be pointing out that have failed to cut Medicare, national Republican leaders counterparts in the states (Governors, state senators and state representatives) are cutting funding for Medicaid all the while providing tax cuts for businesses and easing environmental demands that limit how much business can pollute.

If Democratic leaders were smart, they would be telling all Americans to verify that all of their voter registration requirements should be met and current in time for the 2012 elections: They should be doing this because of all the bills that state Republican leaders have either passed or are trying to pass that will effectively eliminate large portions of various demographics that normally vote democratic. They should be correlating these state actions to those actions of national Republican leaders to show Americans that the only reason they have not cut funding for education, eliminated Medicare and other programs that help people in need is because they did not win a majority in the Senate and they do not have the presidency.

Democrats should be pointing out how different the country would be if the Republicans had won the Senate and how different it will be if they win the presidency and the Senate in the coming year(s). Failing to do any of those things mentioned above, could give the GOP just enough play to convince staunch, middle class and poor republican voters that their leaders actually are looking out for their benefit.

If Democrats allow Republicans to come back strong in 2012, I will have to register Independent, having lost all faith in the Democratic agenda, which seems to be to do nothing or following whatever protests they see gathering momentum.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Statement of Values and Beliefs

Abortion:                    I have no stance on abortion and I will never take a stance on this matter.  It is too inflammatory and I believe that people make poor decisions on leadership based on this issue and many issues of faith in general:  Case in point:  Too many Americans were duped into believing that George Bush was a God-fearing individual even after he chose to commit troops to a war (Iraq) that was unjustified, immoral and harmful to both nations involved and ultimately, the world.  People’s faith-like belief in Bush has put America and the world in a downward spiral of conflict and economic turmoil.

Accountability:           Mistakes are made and lessons should be learned from those mistakes, but the first step to learner from one’s mistakes is admitting that the mistake was made in the first place.  Those who are unwilling to be held accountable for their decisions, have no place in a leadership capacity.  I believe that, whether the war in Iraq was caused by faulty intelligence or not, the fact remains that it was a mistake that has cost over a trillion dollars, the stability of the U.S. economy (and the world’s economy to a certain extent) and worse still, thousands of lives, both American and Iraqi, yet no one seems to be responsible for this war:  Someone started it, but no one has apologized for it to date, except maybe Colin Powell (who has stated that he was against it from the outset).  Without delving too deeply into my own beliefs about the war, I will simply state that, at the very least, an apology is owed to all of those service men and women who lost their limbs, their sight, their sanity, their sense of security, and their lives in this struggle to force democracy on a country that might have taken their own steps towards freedom, had they been given the opportunity.  It is to these individuals and their families that the greatest debt is owed and the most heart-felt apology is warranted.

I, personally, was appalled when George W. Bush came out to proclaim that the lowest point of his presidency was when a rapper (Kanye West) said that he (Bush) didn’t like black people.  If our “God Fearing” leaders cannot even concede to the fact that sending young men and women into harms way for no justifiable reason, then what hope do we have as a nation?  Lies and denial have taken too great of a toll on our society.  It is time to hold some feet to the fire and avoid the complacency that has become far too prevalent in this country and to promote common sense.

I believe that people can tell when something being said is not right.  We can’t always tell what it is that is wrong about what is being said, but common sense tells us that something is definitely out or place.  Things like the idea that taking money from the poor, elderly, middleclass, teachers, students, fire fighters, policemen, and nurses to give to wealthy individuals and mega corporations (in the form of tax cuts) in hopes that they will in turn give back to the former (in the form of labor) just doesn’t sound right.  This is especially the case when it is that group of poor, elderly, middleclass who won’t be able to buy those goods provided by companies, because of the lack of money.  Perhaps a better plan would be to give the money to the poor, middleclass and elderly who have to buy the products sold by companies to survive.  This, in turn would create a greater demand for products, which leads to the need to hire more people to make the products, or grow the food that they can now afford because they are working.

I know that I might have gone off topic in that last paragraph, but this shows the interrelatedness that exists between all facets of our society.  Accountability leads to correcting for past mistakes.  Correcting past mistakes leads to a change in ideology that currently supposes that the rich should get all of the money to dowel out as they see fit.  A reversal of this train of thought leads to this country helping out those individuals most in need of help, which leads to lifting up the nation from the bottom up.  With greater demand for products, companies hire more and have more to put into education.  Education leads to innovation, which helps fix the problems of the world.

We’ve tried it the other way:  Most of the means in the hands of the few and it seems that every time this route is taken, the world gets thrown into despair.  Maybe it’s time to try something new.

Education:                  Simply put, education is key to the economy.  A less educated population is one in which advancement stagnates.  Civilization has moved forward, due to innovation and innovation has come about, due in large part to education.  Instead of rediscovering the wheel, subsequent generations have been told of the wheels existence and been given the opportunity to not only improve upon its design, but to put a chassis on top of it so the masses could move around more easily.  There are of course those who needed no fore knowledge of ideas, equations and theories.  They’re called geniuses and even their existence mandates that the pursuit of education continue.  The rationale for this viewpoint is as follows:  A genius has a great idea on how to desalinate sea water, but is uncertain of the costs and the logistics of implementing such a system.  It is at this point that the expertise of people with knowledge of what is truly required to bring a product to market comes into play:  It is this peripheral group of accountants, logistic professionals and technicians who know how to assemble equipment to bring the dream of desalinization to fruition.  Besides all of this ancillary work, there is the simple matter of the genius being able to communicate their ideas to the rest of us.  Perhaps the genius’ assistant is not as smart as the genius, but he or she knows how to convey the genius’ thoughts in a manner that is easily understood by the accountants and fabricators of the project.  Perhaps without this educated mediator, the project would not have gone past the genius’ imagination, and the world’s drinking water dilemma continues to plague mankind.

As another example of the usefulness of an educated population, let’s consider the bind in which most states find themselves financially, these days.  In a country, where jobs are scarce, those states that can attract the most businesses will succeed, but those successes must be judged not only on the quantity of jobs, but also on the quality of jobs created due to legislative policies.  If the state deems hacking funding for education as a means to allow for tax cuts for corporations, than they must only be aspiring to attract companies that only have needs for workers.  With an uneducated population, companies need only supply the managerial staff to oversee those who would spend their days performing menial tasks that require little, if any, thought.  This is not to say that these types of jobs aren’t necessary, quite the contrary, they are of utmost importance to our economy, but they represent a limit on the diversity of companies willing to move into states that only offer people with limited education.  Inversely, those states that support education and offer citizens with higher degrees of learning represent the possibility of innovation.  Companies that hope to grow through innovation and competitiveness will flock to those states that offer a greater percentage of individuals with the base knowledge, acquired in colleges and universities that could lead to the “Next Big Idea”.  In the state that promotes education, the range of prospective companies is greater than in those that only offer one type of workforce.

U.S. Economy:            Stop giving money to banks, and corporations, they know nothing of putting it back into circulation.  To save the economy a wiser choice would be to create consumers, so the companies will have someone to sell their products and services to, instead of giving bigger bonuses to executives who seem to have to real sense of what to do with these government handouts.  I am not saying that consumers will know what to do with a government windfall such as the ones that big banks, automobile companies and other corporations knew, but they will do one thing that neither the banks, nor any of the corporations did:  Consumers will spend that money and part of this spending will be guaranteed, because it will be out of necessity.  Those with less to spend have to spend more, if only to survive than those with excess.  If only 1% of the economy has half the money, what would they spend that money on?  Well, everyone has to eat, including that 1%, but they’re not eating the same amount as the 150 million people who they are wealthier than.  Simply put, the 400 richest individuals will eat three meals a day . . . No let’s take it to an extreme.  The wealthiest 400 individuals eat ten meals a day, which comes to a grand total of 4000 meals per day.  That’s 4000 proteins, 4000 carbs, 4000 fats per day.  Now, let’s compare that to the 150 million who have the same amount of money as those 400 wealthiest individuals and let’s even be reasonable on the portions as a way in which to honor the First Lady’s agenda for healthy living.  So 150 million people eating three meals a day (not ten) equals 1,500,000,000 meals.  That’s 450 million meals; 450 million proteins, 450 million carbs, and 450 million fats.  Now, maybe the rich are eating higher priced foods, like the cream of the crop of creamed corned, or carrots encrusted with karats, but it would still take a lot to narrow the gap between 4000 meals and 450,000,000, which amounts to 112,500 times as many meals consumed daily.  And that’s with the rich eating more than three times as much as the remaining half of this nation.  This concept applies to every single facet of life, because just like the middleclass and the poor, the rich are human beings and human beings all need food, water and shelter to survive.

So, the next time that the government has 700 billion dollars lying around, why not give every individual (including the wealthy) $2000 dollars and let’s see what happens.  We already know what happens when we give it to banks and corporations.

Global Economy:        Global corporations do not benefit any particular country in the long term.  The reason for my belief in this matter is that corporations, no matter where they originate do not serve their country of origin.  Perhaps to those who are short-sighted, this may seem untrue, but what country truly controls corporations such as General Electric, Siemens, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Halliburton?  All of these companies have countries of origin, and while they profit in the year 2011, their countries of origin flounder on the brink of financial ruin, which has lead to the ruination of the masses in those countries of with which these corporations are supposedly aligned. 

While bank executives post record bonuses in the United States, the people of this country go bankrupt.  While three wars are waged, the profits of these wars benefit no one except those corporations that sell these, high tech, high dollar weapons.

Is it so beneficial to the United States to have so many manufactured goods, built in other countries by “American” companies only to be shipped to the US to be sold for a profit:  A profit that does not garner any taxes from these same corporations?  And worse still is the fact that as these companies outsource their jobs to the lowest bidders, wages worldwide are affected:  If India builds computers for 10 cents on the dollar, India’s workers make what is possibly a better wage, but one that is less than the amount an American could survive on.  The problem arises when there simply are no jobs in America, because they have all gone to India.  In this instance, people who have been out of work for one or two years will fight for lower paying jobs, as we saw when McDonald’s announced that it would be hiring 50,000 people nationally.  Now, while this is great for McDonalds, it doe not help the recent college grad who is facing years of student loan repayment.  It send a signal that college is a waste of time and money, ‘because the only people hiring only require a high school diploma and they’re only paying minimum wage.

So, with the population of the United States desperate to get back to work and willing to take jobs that, not only pay less, but to take them without the promise of health benefits or paid vacation even the ability to pay basic necessities such as rent or mortgages, utility bills, or food.  And still, the mantra that these companies want the masses to repeat is “Be happy you’re working.”

In my opinion, at least in America, we should spend a little more on those items that can be bought locally.  Avoid the cheap imports when possible, because their long term cost is far greater than their overall value.  Let’s not allow the corporations play such a big part in our lives and let’s stop giving them all of our money, because totalitarianism does not sound like anything that we should be a party to, but it does sound like the direction in which this country is heading.  Instead of Hilter or Stalin, we are getting corporations, which write most of our legislature these days.

Environment:              When our elected officials will not recognize that we have a disaster, such as the one created in the Gulf of Mexico by BP, which demands more attention than it has received, then how are we ever to recognize Climate Change as inevitability?  One of the greatest arguments against Climate Change naysayer is the tragedy that has occurred in the Gulf of Mexico and the fact that yet another corporation (BP) is getting away with “murder”.  Perhaps murder is too strong of a word to describe the increased number of animal deaths that have occurred in the wake of the Deep Horizon catastrophe.  Maybe the livelihoods that have been irrevocably diminished or eliminated don’t have any grave implications for neither the families directly effected by these losses, nor the country that now has to bear the burden of supporting these families that people like, the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott would claim chose poverty.  To stay on topic however, let’s examine the world objectively.

For humanity, planet Earth is mostly a closed system.  What we have on this planet right now is, more than likely, what we had on this planet one hundred, two hundred, a thousand and maybe even 100 thousand years ago.  As, I heard, every drop of water we drink had at some point been filtered through some dinosaurs kidneys and every drop our descendants drink will have met the same fate as well as having been filtered through our kidneys.  Disgusting as this may sound it it true, because Earth does not get a fresh source of water, delivered by Evian from Pluto or any of the ice planets.  All of the water on Earth has been here for millennia and will be here for many more millennia.  The only thing that will change about the water of planet Earth is its quality, which simply put, means, that the more we pollute the less we’ll have to drink.  This whole closed system thing holds true for the air we breathe, so the more air we pollute, the less clean air we’ll have for things such as breathing.  Now, mankind is quite adaptable, but there is a limit to our adaptability.  Perhaps some day, our bodies will be able to utilize carbon dioxide as opposed to oxygen, but maybe that change will take 30 thousand years, while we are changing the atmosphere to match this adaptation in 10 thousand years.  We better be able to hold our breath for a long, long time to clear that gap.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Planning for the Future Pt. 1

As America heads down its current path of consolidation of money, resources, power, freedom and rights to the rich, I thought I would share my plans for this “bright and shining” example of democracy.  In the future that I see, as “mandated” by the Republicans, I foresee a lot of hardship, not shared sacrifice, not shared prosperity, but shared hardship:  A hardship that will be long-lasting and progressively worsening over time.  While I do see plenty of examples of optimistic individuals, I do not share their beliefs and think them to be of a certain naivety or illogical mindset.  Regardless of my rationale for such truisms, the following is a detailed account of what a GOP-lead future entails, at least for me.
At 46 years of age, I have suffered from the ravages of time, and have allowed myself to succumb to a sedentary lifestyle.  With an ever-growing workload and an excessive amount of daily stress and responsibility, my health has fallen by the wayside, but this I will change in the coming months.  I feel that, as resources run out, the simple luxuries that Americans have enjoyed for t he past 60 years will become privileges that only a few will be able to afford:  Oil is getting harder to find and even harder to extract, because it is not the infinite commodity that the politicians have had us believe for the past century.  If you doubt these words, ask yourself this one question:  Why would any company or companies choose to drill in the Gulf of Mexico or the ocean  . . . if oil were so abundant?  Without oil, things like gas for cars becomes scarcer and $4.00 a gallon gas seems reasonable.  With gas prices rising, the cost of goods, including food increases and there is no need to expand on what this means for us all.  Without oil, the energy to power things like air-conditioning, heating and many other things that make life easier is diminished.  And, in the United States, we have grown accustomed to regulating our immediate climate, which has left us less tolerant to heat and more susceptible to the cold.  In essence we have grown soft, which would be fine if a perpetual motion machine existed.  As for my personal desire to get into shape, it goes beyond vanity and is borne of my desire to being able to not only to survive without modern conveniences, but to live productively.  To this end, I have purchased my first survival guide.
With the shortage of the food supplies, buying groceries off the shelf will seem like dream to so many who have grown up taking such things for granted.  Not too many of us out there know how to trap, skin, clean and prepare those things we need to survive.  Few know what it takes to grow fruits and vegetables and fewer still know how to procure water that is both fresh and suitable for consumption.  A survival guide not only prepares one for the demands of the future we are heading towards, but it provides the skills required to live through accidents that can occur on a daily basis (car and airplane crashes, etc.).  In a good survival guide, one will find all of the information needed to administer rudimentary first aid, gather food and water, plan for both short term and long term self-reliance and how and where to look for assistance.  So, stockpile your seeds for planting, have a plan to rough it for a while, as migration might be necessary at some point and think about helping out those in need, when possible.  In line with my survival needs, I am taking medical classes and trying to learn as much as I can on my own about medicine, in hopes of becoming a doctor. . . Yes a doctor, because I believe that whether my fears for our future become reality or not, as a doctor, I can at least look out for my “own” as health care continues to become more expensive and more out of reach for so many.
As for monetary needs, as I stated earlier, I believe that our money, the U.S. dollar is losing its value daily.  By way of example (albeit a simply one), let’s look at the game of Monopoly, in which every player tries to get all of the money, property and whatever else they can horde:  In this game, each player weighs the pros and cons of their actions, which come in the form of investments.  Everybody starts out with the same amount of money and the same relative outlook, but as the game progresses, things change.  As players move around the square board, gathering up whatever properties they can, the fortunes for the majority of players dwindles, while those for the few increase until such time that only one player is left standing.  Now, when the game starts, there is plenty of money to go around and everyone is happy and alive, but as it progresses and the funds are funneled to the inevitable winner, faces grow long, frustration mounts and eventually the games ends with the majority of players left unsatisfied, unhappy and broke.  In essence, if you haven’t gotten the jest of this example, when only one player holds all of the money, the money becomes useless and the game ends.  In light of this, I feel that saving money for the future is a double edged sword:  My paltry savings cannot sustain my family or myself, especially since money (paper, linen or whatever it’s printed on these days) is only worth what the agency or entity backing it deems it to be worth.  Supplies such as seed, a first aid kit, a Bug out Bag and other necessary items will always be worth their weight in gold.  As for CREDIT, why are there so many companies that have sprouted up to help people maintain their credit in good standing?  In short, the answer is, because they get paid to do so by companies that want to keep your cash flowing their way.  In a country, or world for that matter, where homelessness is on the rise as well as starvation, famine, and inadequate drinking water supplies, the last thing on so many people’s minds should be their credit:  It was credit that got them and the rest of us into this situation, but it will not be credit that will get us out of it.  Besides the harmful affects of credit, what exactly is it good for in a time, when banks aren’t lending to those with the highest credit scores and all that it can do is keep you in debt or put you in greater debt.
As money is funneled to the wealthiest Americans through ill-gotten gains on Wall Street, homes have lost 50 to 70%, but still carry pre-housing market collapse loan premiums, the dollar is becoming more useless by the day.  In a time when Big oil companies are still granted subsidies that they claimed they no longer needed 5 – 6 years ago, but poor individuals will have their heating assistance cut, America is a failing experiment in democracy.  When programs to promote education, provide the elderly with dignity in their golden years, ease the suffering of the poor are being eliminated to offset tax cuts for the rich, the prospects of this country, as perceived by its founding fathers, wane.  As rights of the individual are relegated to privileges for those who can afford to lobby for them, our way of life is threatened.  This is not a racial problem, because poverty and those things that accompany it do not discriminate.  This is not a religious matter, because Article VI of the Constitution of the United States clearly reads “but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”:  Politicians have simply made it about religion and they’re not really to blame, because we choose those who represent us.
This problem, the one that we all face regardless of wealth, race, religion or culture is a dilemma of common sense:  Our country, our world (by which I mean other countries) cannot survive with the strain we place on the resources that sustain us.  While the rich will outlive the poor, they too will eventually succumb to the lack of resources and the lack of man-power to provide such resources in a useful form.  Other than accumulating wealth, what can the rich do in a world without working individuals?  Their mansions will become gilded cages as they find the streets to unsafe and unappealing to venture out of their compounds.
America has always lead the world by example, but as of late, the examples have been to rig the 2012 elections in favor of the Republican party through voting legislation; de-fund education while privatizing prisons; diminish workers ability to bargain for fair wages, reasonable working hours and health care benefits; to provide tax cuts to the rich by taking money from the poor, elderly and school kids in hopes that they (the rich) will allow this money to trickle down to the working class:  Brilliant plan, by the way . . . If the plan is to make rich people richer.  The problem with this example is that there are plenty of similar examples throughout history that we should be examining to avoid our own downfall:  Even Rome collapsed under its own weight of expansion.
As pessimistic as this may all sound, I do believe that there is a way to avoid our own pending extinction, but we have to realize a few things first:  One, throughout history, there have been advancements made to make life easier (the ancients had robots http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbW_xKRBt_M, computers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism and they built the pyramids).  Though this may sound crazy, look it up.  They did this thousands of years ago and all of their techniques were lost to humanity until recently (except for how the Egyptians built the pyramids . . . no one knows) due to wars and other natural disasters.  While we might only be able to mitigate the outcomes of natural disasters, we can avoid wars altogether.  Imagine if the inventor who designed that ancient computer had been able to share his knowledge with others and that knowledge was passed down through the centuries:  There would be no desktops, laptop or iPads, we would be well past those stages after the head start we would have gained from thousands of years computer development as opposed to the 60 or 70 years we currently have under our belts.  Imagine if we had gone with the electric car http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_electric_vehicle, which was over-shadowed by Henry Ford’s ability to mass produce a car that utilized a combustion engine.  Imagine if we had followed California’s lead in the 1990s and demanded more zero-emission vehicles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39K36Rw7LYc.  One has to wonder why when, scientists were making the claim for climate change and even politicians were saying we needed to eliminate our dependence on oil, the laws demanding such vehicles were rescinded.  Could there have been entities, corporations, individuals out there who were putting profits ahead of practicality or necessity?  Were the thought processes that killed the electric car similar to those that lead to the housing market collapse and our current economic crisis?  Could rational, knowledgeable and logical individuals have foreseen the problems we’re currently facing?  Did rational, knowledgeable and logical individuals warn of the effects of impending manmade and natural disasters humanity now faces?  Although a definite answer is beyond the scope of this article, the answer to all of these questions is most likely, yes.  In light of this revelation, perhaps mankind better become more aware of its surroundings and those things that are draining the humanity from humans.
Despite my pessimism, I do believe that there is a way to avoid the cliff we are barreling towards, but said avoidance requires individuals to take note of what we are being told by our leaders and realize that there are motivating factors behind all that is said.  The next step would be to look at those factors and determine which are aligned with the advancement of mankind (at least which are more aligned with mankind’s advancement) and which are profit motivated.  For a starting point, go to http://im2opinionated.blogspot.com/ and look for next weeks posting.
t weeks posting.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Floridians Are Maybe Starting To Understand Their Governor Is A Grifter


I hope we (I am a Florida resident) can impeach Rick Scott, because him and his kind are not good for Florida, the US or the world. People like Scott (both the Walker (WI) and Rick persuasion­­s are bad for the economy. Their actions ultimately harm more people than the most prolific serial killer, but their actions are considered legal. What else is Rick Scott going to take away from the working poor to give to the rich (individua­ls and corporatio­ns) who promise to trickle down onto the shrinking middle class?



I voted for Sink, because I surmised (quite correctly) that anyone willing to put up $72 million of his own money to get elected had a plan to not only recoup, but to profit. I feel like doing what Forrest Gump did and start walking until I get to Georgia and then keep walking until I find a Blue State.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Twitter Account

I am getting much better at expressing myself in 140 words or less.  I try to stay current with what is going on around the country, especially with all of the attacks that recently elected GOP governors are making on the 'working class', poor (which is bleed into the working class), the elderly "Granma's gotta pay!", teachers (who might not be the best people to teach our kids . . . after all, they're staying in a profession that comes under fire year after year and they lose ground every single time) and even philanthropists "if you can afford to give to the needy, you can afford to give to the government", whose donations might soon be taxed in one or two states.
Now, I intend to continue to blog here, although I have been slacking as of late, but I TWEET daily, because there are so many things that piss me off in the news everyday and instead of blurting out a string of curse words, I blurt out a string of ideas that counter some of the BS being spewed by Congress, the Senate and the White House.  Now, while I will try to keep things factual, there will also be a tinge of my opinions in some tweets.  I can't help that, that is just the way I am.  If you would like to find me on Twitter, my user name is:  fabianaugustus.


Thanks, and listen to what the politicians are saying, not what you think they are saying.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Walker's Goals

These are the three things that Governor Walker will accomplish with his bill:

1)  No unions, less power for democrats:

We will be down to one party, because the GOP will still have corporate support and corporations don't care about people, they only care about profit.

2)  The residents of Wisconsin will be less educated:

Who would want to become a teacher given the attacks and salary and benefit cut that they face all of the time.

3)  He will have started a trend of taking from those who don't have money so those who do can preserve their accounts:

Where is the logic in taking from the poor and middle class, while not even considering taking the wealthy and super wealthy.  This kind of reasoning is not healthy for society unless its a feudal one.

It's actions like Walker's that have caused me to lose faith in this country's ability to remain strong.  It's inaction or or misguided action from those poor and middle class who voted for people like Walker that will continue to weaken this country.

In Florida, they voted in Rick Scott, a man who put up approximately 70 million of his own money for his campaign.  Governors don't make enough for him to recoup that money, but you'd better believe he's going to recoup it somehow.

And, examples like Scott and Walk now abound in a banner mid-term election year when the country voted Republicans back in force.  Think about this way:  While the democrats get a major portion of their power from unions, which have a vested interest in working individuals, the republican party gets its major support from corporations, which have a vested interest in profits).

Re: Wisconsin

I hear what you're saying and I believe that the Republicans are (maybe not intentionally) systematically going to make Americans dumber and they are trying to further divide the classes by helping the rich who benefited from this economic crisis even richer BUT I don't see the democratic party in D.C. standing against these threats. The Democrates almost feel like silent partners in what I see as a system that will look like the middle east in a few years. For this and other reasons, I feel it quite ridiculous for you to solicit me for money. I donated to Ian's pizza in Wisconsin to help people who are fighting for their rights and indirectly (but visibly) fighting for mine.

Sincerely,
Chris Ossman (democrate)

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


From: "Robby Mook, DCCC Executive Director" <dccc@dccc.org>
Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2011 17:26:18 +0000
To: Chris Ossman<sessions_present@hotmail.com>
ReplyTo: dccc@dccc.org
Subject: FW: Wisconsin


Chris --

A quick update on Leader Pelosi’s message from Thursday:

The extremist measures being undertaken against the middle class in Wisconsin are spreading around the country. In Ohio, Republican Gov. John Kasich is ramming through a bill taking away the rights of police, firefighters and teachers to organize. In Indiana, Republicans are actually going to fine House Democrats $250 a day for stopping a vote to slash workers’ rights.

We're less than $30,000 away from our new $150,000 GOP Accountability Fund goal. Chris, can you help put us over the top before our deadline hits at midnight tonight?

Contribute $5 or more to our GOP Accountability Fund by Midnight Tonight so we can mount a Rapid Response campaign against House Republicans.

The next stop for the GOP’s ruthless attacks on hard-working Americans? Congress. Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are taking a slash and burn approach to the budget process that could cost American families hundreds of thousands of jobs. We just can’t let this happen. Stand with us.

Thanks,

Robby Mook
DCCC Executive Director

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader
Sent: Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 1:24 pm
To: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Subject: Wisconsin

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friend --

Something remarkable is happening in Wisconsin.

I'm sure you've been watching the news coverage of teachers, firefighters, and other public servants standing up to Governor Walker's reckless assault on the middle class.

Here in Washington, House Republicans are actively backing Governor Walker and his claim that working families are responsible for our current deficit.

Not surprisingly, Karl Rove and the very same special interests that Republicans are voting to protect are planning a massive campaign to defend their radical agenda.

This deserves an immediate response.

Contribute $5 or more to our GOP Accountability Fund by Midnight Friday so we can mount a Rapid Response campaign against House Republicans who support this reckless rhetoric.

I agree we need to take steps to cut the deficit. And so do the protesters in Wisconsin.

But Scott Walker believes this fight isn’t just about budget cuts -- he wants to take away Americans’ right to organize!

I will always stand up for the right to organize. This basic right ensures the fair treatment of middle-class workers.

Will you stand with me?

Contribute $5 or more to our GOP Accountability Fund by Midnight Friday so we can mount a Rapid Response campaign against House Republicans who support this reckless rhetoric.

Thank you,

Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader


Contribute Now



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