Friday, December 31, 2010

I Predict 2011

Having been trained in the western Gobi Desert on deep meditation techniques inspired by bright moonlight, horse hair plumes, and porous rock sculpture, I have devined a number startling events that will shape the coming year.....

1. Fresh water fish will outlive migratory birds: This freak event will be occasioned by an increase in the electromagnetic forces that excite spawning along with a drop in the number of birds due to Gulf poison and air quality
2. Return of Jam: with households in decline and food prices up, jarring your food and making a toast spread a staple goes without saying
3. Buy Your Own Tank: Remember that movie with James Garner? With bank robberies on the increase and the very real possibility of armed gangs master-minding outright raids on rural towns  for provisions, it is not far from when folks with seek their own security measures
4. Return of the Horse: Buy stock in any saddle makers out there, leather producers, etc., because the horse will become the new normal by the end of next year, not only as a source of transportation, but also power--HORSE POWER!! The rise in gas prices will make this inevitable, and you will need any extra gasoline to fuel your M1 Abrams
5. Voluntary Servitude: look for folks to unload their personal freedom for food and shelter the same way they were unloading organs in the last decade with the new model of "domestic worker" influencing the larger corporations to add quarters to their factories--just like in China!
6. Messiah Movement: expect this on several levels--the Jesus version of a Second Coming, the Jewish version of an avenging Savior, and the Islamic version of a radicalizing prophet; one, two, or all three will make headlines in 2011 as these zealots take drastic measures to pave the way for their respective Almighties. Expect some leader to emerge as a source of inspiration which will cause lots of trouble for the other two religions(of the three who are intertwined of course)
7. Echo of Poets: folk art and music will awaken again on the airwaves--many of them pirate--as a grass roots embrace of simple, realistic songs that play to the concerns of the working poor, homeless, and downtrodden. This may spawn several movements for change
8. Terror, Disease, Weather, and Mayhem: any and all are to be expected in the next 12 months, but is that really a prediction? Call it a warning
9. "Things fall apart...the center cannot hold...": Yeats puts it so bluntly, but yes, the facade will crumble, the charade will end, the mask will drop, and western civivlization will find itself dropping back to punt from c. 1789
10. I Will Survive: Ah, the Gloria Gaynor anthem that will inspire the next generation--even if it's the Cake version! Yet we will, and the rediscovery of active, working communities will be a shock to the Overlords, especially when elements of anarcho-syndicalism prove a fresh step up from tyrant capitalism. Many millions will pool resources and restructure their towns and cities to deal with crippling unemployment, homelessness, starvation, and general poverty.

Wear a seatbelt, stock condoms, pray for rain, and read your bible. And good luck as the year goes on.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Believe

·         I believe in the Lord God Almighty of Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus Christ.
·         I believe in Earth as the de-facto center of the Universe
·         I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God
·         I believe in loving one another, doing unto others,  knowing God, knowing Christ, and living a life of love, honor,  and sacrifice
·         I believe history is a testament to the ultimate folly of man
·         I believe progress means doing the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people as frequently as possible
·         I believe government in almost all cases is a tool used to control the will of the people
·         I believe no government, in this country or any other, exists for the fundamental benefit of its people
·         I believe that everyone has a right to their own beliefs, their own ideas, and their own opinions,  and the right to determine for themselves the justifications for such things
·         I believe there is no political purpose that is worth a single human life
·         I believe in Law as a just reinforcement of the collective ideals of honesty, integrity, and morality where harm to others is considered a violation against that collective will.
·         I believe Man needs salvation, and that Jesus is the only option
·         I believe the works of man’s hands has and will come to naught
·         I believe that no matter what happens, I love the Lord, I walk in righteousness on account of Him, and there are no worries to be had
·         I believe we are living in interesting times, strange days, and a troubling wind is ever blowing
·         I believe we will overcome despite this

Radiohead Live - Nude (Prague DVD - Radiohead Live in Praha)


As a nation, where do we go from here? We have the perpetual unemployment and unrealized recovery staring our nation in the face, we have a two-party cat-fight over who can impress the ultra-wealthy the most, and we have tens of millions of people suffer the worst economic deprivations we ever seen--EVER.

The schools of thought coming out of Washington, D(edicated to)C(corporatism): one demands a continuation of the Bush tax cuts and the other insists on cutting "entitlement" programs. A third alternative is the ideas put forth by the Debt Commission which are advocating a combination of the two.

As far as the tax cuts are concerned, and here you have to have an ear for propaganda, imo, we are talking about CUTS that were initiated under Bush and were part of the cause of our overall calamity. I say because as a taxpayer I would see the $1500 I paid in taxes given back and an additional $2500-4000 added onto my refund. Sure, it was nice to get it, but in my mind it was insane. Why was the government, while posting consistently steep deficits, handing out money to me as if they didn't need it? Of course, the answer is that they were handing out a lot more to the super-rich and this "greasing the wheels", as it were. Call me crazy, but it didn't just seem ridiculous, it seemed dishonest. What we hear from the Republicans is that they want to see these cuts made permanent, especially for the rich.
Then there is the other side of the dime: the call to cut these entitlements like Medicare and Social Security. That these programs are being called entitlements(like, I am entitled to get cake at  a birthday party) is another dose of propaganda because it leaves the impression that these are handouts when in reality these are programs that have been paid into by EVERY tax-paying American at some point. I don't see how cutting these benefits does anything more than create another crisis that the government will just need to spend more money to resolve. I agree that the retirement age could go up, and I would understand an increase in Social Security payments from standard weekly deductions, but giving out less than was promised at a time when even what folks have is not enough seems to be a bad idea.
So, my solutions are as follows:
1. I am against extending the tax cuts. I understand that this means a serious rise in what folks would otherwise be paying, but the greatest benefit has been to the super-rich, and if this means regaining even $700-900 billion in annual revenues to offset the horrendous deficits we have been creating, so be it.
2. Cutting Federal spending on any number of programs is a must. It is inconceivable that with a roughly $3.5 trillion budget there can not be ways to bring this down. I say this because I have been looking at annual federal budgets since 1990 and the bulk is Defense, Social Security, Health and Human Services, and Debt Service. The Debt Service provisions have been less of late because we have sold so much of our debt to foreigners. However, this does not make it go away. It just means that they get returns on the interest instead of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve can keep it off of our books. So, cutting spending in many areas in a small way is better than major cuts in only a few areas. Furthermore, I would advocate serious international military base closures, leaving perhaps a hand full, and only those that are needed. South Korea we need. Japan we need. We don't need troops in Germany or any of a 170 other countries where US servicemen are located. How much would this save? I don't know, but I imagine it could put a serious dent in Defense expenditures, especially if we likewise trimmed down a vast number of contracts and above all eliminated private contractor positions and services that the military has the means to perform on it's own!
Clearly these measures are just ideas. Worse still, they are ideas that a working class nobody in New Jersey is putting out there and what makes anyone think this is going to miraculously restore our economy?

Truth is, we are not going to restore the economy. The steps necessary to do so are politically impossible and everyone knows it. My only purpose here is to offer ways for our government o get closer to a balanced budget before we drive right off a cliff.
Many people feel--and rightly so--that there is no avoiding that cliff no matter what we do. I reluctantly agree, and only reluctantly because I have always felt that there are realistic solutions to any problem, and that with honesty, diligence, and a sound plan that everyone follows ANY PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED!

Again, however, I'm just an upholsterer from New Jersey.
That's my two cents.
What do you think?