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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- January 15, 2012

The Hounds notes from the Regional Entrepreneur Summit (Part 1) - January 11. 2012
The Hounds notes from the Regional Entrepreneur Summit (Part 2) - January 11. 2012

The event above was a very good event that I feel went very well with some of the previous events that have been presented by the North Carolina Partnership in Innovation (NCPI) and the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce. The idea of holding these types of events was a big part of the discussions that have taken place during Future Economy Council meetings over the last three years. We have now seen two innovation events take place over the last 14 months and the first Edison Project Event. I truly believe these events have been fruitful and are developing a pattern which is moving the area forward and will bear fruit in the not to distant future.

The above event, which featured keynote speaker Ted Abernathy focused on collaboration, the event in November 2010 focused on creating networks that lead to innovation,  and the Edison Project event was an initiative that put the rubber to the road leading to specific action. We still have a long way to go, but we are definitely way past baby steps and far down the path on this journey.

The Edison Project - Good News and Great Ventures - September 19, 2011
Innovation 2010 - Andrew Hargadon - Creating a Network of Innovation - November 11, 2010

JPM Explains Why The US Economy Is About To Hit A Brick Wall - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden January 13, 2012 - JPM's head economist Michael Feroli just joined the bandwagon of other Wall Streeters in cutting Q4 GDP, trimming his prior forecast of 3.5% to 3.0%. However, as this is backward looking, it is largely irrelevant if confirming what we already knew: that the economy was certainly not growing as fast as the market implied it was (yes, the manipulated market is not the economy, no matter how much the Fed would like that to be the case). A bigger question is what should one expect from the future. Yes - an in vitro future, isolated from the daily rumor mill of what may or may not happen to the French rating tomorrow or the day after. It is here that there is nothing good to expect: 'we think growth will downshift from 3.0% in 4Q11 to 2.0% in 1Q12. Looking beyond the first quarter, we expect a growing private domestic sector will contend with a fading drag from the external sector and a persistent drag from the public sector." Yet where JPM falls short, is its optimistic view on the private sector. As David Rosenberg showed yesterday, the ratio of negative to positive preannouncements just hit a multi-year high, with the primary culprit being the strong dollar. Unfortunately for Feroli's bullish angle, the private sector will not do all that well at all if the EURUSD remains in the mid 1.20s or falls further. In fact, corporate earnings will likely be trounced, which in combination with everything else that JPM lists out, correctly, could make the second half of 2012 a perfect storm for economic growth, an event which Obama's pre-electoral planners are all too aware of. What is the only possible recourse? Why more QE of course. The only unknown is "when."...

JPMorgan Profit Falls on Trading, Investment Bank Revenue - Bloomberg - Dawn Kopecki - January 13, 2012 - JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by assets, said fourth-quarter profit fell 23 percent as trading revenue and investment-banking fees declined.                    Net income dropped to $3.73 billion, or 90 cents a share, from $4.83 billion, or $1.12, in the same period a year earlier, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Earnings matched the average estimate of 28 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg....                 Investment banks are eliminating workers to compensate for falling trading revenue, disclosing plans to reduce staff by more than 200,000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Britain’s biggest government- owned bank, said this week it would cut about 4,800 jobs.....                U.S. banks are in the middle of the industry’s worst two years of revenue growth since the Great Depression, according to Mike Mayo, an analyst with independent research firm CLSA in New York. Earnings across the industry were weak in the fourth quarter and won’t have much improvement this year, he said.....            

Presenting Mitt Romney's Top Campaign Contributors
- Tyler Durden on January 14, 2012 -

Corporate Welfare: State Taxpayers Pay to Train Workers for Large Corporations - AllGov - Noel Brinkerhoff - January 11, 2012 - Taxpayers are increasingly covering the cost of training for a corporation’s workforce, without getting any long-term benefit in return.                      For instance, North Carolina has spent a million dollars for 400 residents to learn skills for working in a Caterpillar factory, in addition to a $4.3 million on a community college program customized specifically to meet the company’s labor needs. While the investments are expected to help Caterpillar remain in the state, there are no assurances that will happen.                Previously, the state spent $2 million to train employees for a Dell factory. Five years later, the computer maker closed down its operation, costing North Carolina nearly 1,000 jobs.             Among the subsidies given to corporations, according to a report by Good Jobs First, are income tax credits, cash grants, low-cost or forgivable loans, reimbursement for worker training expenses and reductions in property taxes.

White-Collar Workers Join Crowd Straining Food Banks - Bloomberg - Patrick Cole - January 11, 2012 - After losing her job as a consultant for nonprofits, Martha Heassler and her husband, a graphic artist, no longer had money for their daughter’s college education, new clothing or groceries.               We’re waiting for my husband’s paycheck, and we probably have less than $200 to our name,” Heassler, 55, said by phone.                   She now makes weekly trips to the Open Door Food Pantry in Gloucester, Massachusetts, to pick up bags of food that include meat, eggs, yogurt and vegetables.              “Without the network of food pantries around us, I don’t know how we would have eaten,” said Heassler, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Gordon College, in Wenham, Massachusetts.                 As the sluggish economy idles more middle-class individuals and families, their donations to food banks and soup kitchens have evaporated, hitting the nonprofits from both ends..
Layoffs - PNC to lay off 600 in NC after RBC merger - - January 6, 2012 - Rocky Mount and Raleigh
Hiring - Freightliner truck plant will add 1,100 jobs in N.C. - AP - Emery P. Dalesio - January 13, 2012 - Cleveland, NC
Hiring - Solstas seeks incentives to add 500 jobs in High Point - The Business Journal - Matt Evans - January 6, 2012 - High Point

Gerald Celente makes talks about Trends for 2012


Silence DoGood said...

I’m going to say I’m sorry first and foremost for what I’m about to say, since I know where many of you stand insofar as political allegiance, but I have to and I’m not saying it with the intent to offend you personally.

Three things stack up in threads of here of recent days that seem to me to be intertwined and of significance. The first is the chart showing productivity, employment, and output. The second is the article appearing this morning on corporate welfare, and the third is the list of major campaign contributors for Mitt Romney. Those three things tell me, taken in totality, that there is nothing that wrong with corporate America, at least, not as much as there is with the labor force. Everyone is talking about jobs; jobs, jobs, jobs. We are creating jobs… overseas. Why would a corporation or company hire more people when they are meeting demand and getting their products out at peak efficiency with the staff they have at present? Why would that company increase the worker’s pay and thus the companies’ expense when there are at least 3 other people in line to come to work and would probably do so for even less than what the person in that position is currently making? I’m surmising you’ve got one of two thoughts running through your heads at the moment. That’s just good business or, no one would do that. Yes I suppose it is just good business. Does that now tell you the nature of business? Does that provide an accurate description of every business? Of course not, but if they have a HR as opposed to a Personnel department, it probably does.

Corporations are taking money and making money hand over fist and telling us that they are hurting. Have companies closed since the recession? Yes, they have. Companies are filing bankruptcy. What about the people that have lost their homes and living on the street? When was the last time you heard of a CEO living out of a shopping cart under an overpass? Who will hold Bank of America responsible for the thousands of foreclosures they initiated falsely putting people out of their homes? And yet, Bank of America is a major contributor to Mitt Romney as he seeks the Republican nomination.

Mitt Romney. “Corporations are people too” and “concern over income inequality is just envy.” Is there a class struggle? Yes, there always has been. That is the entire underlying concept of Capitalism, is it not? That with hard work, diligence, and a little luck, one can improve one’s position in society and earn the trappings of success so recognized by that society. Isn’t that the entire point? Otherwise, why work past providing food and shelter for one and ones’ family? But people are starting to see that the illusion of working your way to prosperity is not and never has been available to all. Oh sure, one every now and again gets to leverage themselves up. But my in large, whatever social class you are born in to, that is probably where you will remain. Think about that for a second. The big promise has been a lie, but maybe, perhaps, we’ll have a balanced budget.

I’m not about to tell anyone how to vote. That is a strict relation between one and one’s conscience. But I’ll say this to you. If you take anything into consideration besides you and your wallet, well, you deserve what you get. Any of those other little hot button niche issues that everyone tells you is important, isn’t. The wealthy and affluent vote that way and tell you that you should consider everything but, because when you do, it sometimes costs them money. Whose wallet are you interested in, yours or theirs?

James Thomas Shell said...

Look at the lists of Banks that have also bought off Obama. I didn't put that in that blog post to say that the Republicans are getting the dirty Banking money. That Romeny list is nearly identical to Obama's with only changes in a few of the positions. Change BoA with JPM and Citi is on BO's also. It is money laundering and has found its way into most all of the politician's wallets to get them to do what they want. The number one contributor to Obama is also Goldman Sachs.

As far as how I would vote. There is one thing for certain. Four more years of the mastered puppet will most certainly not be the way to go. Right now I say Ron Paul. He might not be completely perfect, but he doesn't believe in shredding this nation's founding documents and he hasn't been bought off.

This isn't about the World Wrestling Federation of politics. It is to point out the fascist system we have entered into where the corporations own the two parties that have a monopoly on our political system.

The productivity diagram shows that technology is replacing the workforce and that is going to continue, because machines don't need health and retirement benefits, don't complain, don't retire, and work for pennies on the dollar. That is the age in which we live. We can't fuss about that, because we wouldn't pay people yo sit around and do nothing either.

What we must do is get people to be innovative and figure a way out of this. That will not come from sitting around watching the tellie and sipping beer and wine while the world goes by. It is as much up to average people to figure out there plight, as it is to expect corporate heads to be altruistic, which ain't going to happen. Action, action, action speaks a whole hell of a lot louder than words.

Silence DoGood said...

I know you didn't put it in there for those reasons. I also realize that many of those entities work both sides of the aisle; it's self-serving. As far as Ron Paul, while he says some things I can agree with, he is a grain of sand against the ocean. And we both know that change and realignment of that magnitude will never be allowed to take place.

No, it isn't the WWF of Politics. But while both parties bear the mark of the corptocracy beast, only one stands and crows the virtues of their masters in the halls of Congress; in their rhetoric and in their core philosophy, at the price of the people that elected them.

Technology has replaced some, but not all on that diagram. The raw fact in that chart are in the number of manufacturing jobs, again, sent overseas, because I’m thinking the Bureau of Labor Statistics likewise has a dataset and commensurate chart somewhere to show how many jobs have been replaced with technology; they have to justify their jobs too. It is still commonly held that the US is still in the midst of transition from a manufacturing to a service economy. What does that mean, when the next war that rolls around is engaged in and we don’t have the means to wage it, since we have no industrial base or manufacturing capability? Call customer service in India and complain that we can’t get the parts to make the rockets and planes fly? That reality in the face of another pending hostile action with Iran over nuclear acquisition and the fact that Russia and China say they will view any attack on Iran as detrimental to their interests. Say now, where’s most of the stuff on the market made these days?

No, we wouldn’t and shouldn’t pay people to sit around and do nothing. Strange though don’t you think that schedulers do production figures for machines based on number of widgets per hour, peak performance, and endurance of the machine, and yet, minimum, optimal, and maximum performance figures for people, well, we need to base that on ‘piece’ or production pay. The more you produce the more you make, for a while. Until you break, then, you're a problem, and no, they don't want to fix you and if you can't perform like you once did, there's a new model to replace you, and so it goes. Goes back to what I said about HR and Personnel; gives a crystal clear picture of your worth to.

No, we can’t sit around and do nothing. But you’ve got to have a marketable idea and the capital to bring it to fruition. Likewise true that corporate heads have no altruism, in general. I don’t think we can say that in all circumstances though. And you’re right, action does speak louder than words. I realize that nothing I say is going to make any difference and nothing I do is either, except for me. But I can write about it. We can talk about it and try to make plain what is going on. But I think you have seen the beginnings of action, just not the kind you had in mind, I believe. OWS is a message that is growing. The puppet masters should take note, because the nameless marionettes have scissors and are cutting their strings. The aftermath is one that I care not to see.

James Thomas Shell said...

which is worse? To hail the virtues of the best in an open fashion or to tell people you've got their back only to stick the knife and cull the heart out from behind when they are stupid and ignorant enough to trust you?

DoGood, I know that you have a heart and are a good person. I know you have beliefs that are full of integrity. What I am doing here is a battle that you point to. We are grains of sand against the ocean, but there can be no ocean without that sand. We can win!!! Mayne not us personally, but humanity can win and that is where I bring God in. This world is bigger than us. We are here to leave a legacy of Good or to succumb to evil. I have chosen to fight for the Light.

You say we face an ocean (of evil). I contend that the ruling class consists of very few people with very few ideas. The problem we face is waking people up. And it is tedious work, because many times we do it one at a time. We don't face an ocean. We face ourselves and our resolve. Do we shrivel or do we stand tall? That is the real question here.

Silence DoGood said...

And to say otherwise of you would be telling a lie. We both read and pay little attention to mainstream ramblings, only because it is calculated hyperbole and while it may be based in truth, often has ulterior motives at its foundation. And thus one of the foundational premises upon which you have based this blog sight; to give, to those that read it, the hard cold facts of what is truly going on, so that they, empowered with information may make a choice, a rational decision for themselves and their future.

The “virtues of the best” however is a subjective statement. In my view, you’re going to get stuck either way, the choice is, do you want to see it coming, or don’t you. Beating people down is one thing, beating them down and then taunting them, that’s just cruel. And that is what has happened. Over the course of legislation since the mid-term elections, there has been no compromise, except by the White House. He knows he doesn’t have the votes on Capitol Hill to override the party of ‘No’. And of course, it isn’t really the party of ‘No’, it’s ‘No’ to what the President, the Democrats, the lower classes want, in other words, the vast majority of people. Not just those that vote, not just the conservative Christians, not just the Libertarians. While those in Congress do represent their constituents, they are supposed to do what is best for the nation and abide by the Constitution. And that nation is comprised of people. “We the People…” not “We the Few and Privileged...” or “We the Landowners and Corporate Elites…”

While we both want to see this nation, this region advance and become prosperous once again, we have different ideas of how. Nothing wrong with that, except one runs contrary to the other sometimes. Think about this for a moment, what could we do if business and the people both worked together as equals, not in a superior/inferior relationship of power and sway. That’s me fantasizing about what if for a moment because that is never going to happen. It should, because as any good commander or leader knows, if you want to know the truth of what is going on, you go to the people on the ground, those out in front. Everybody else in between has their own agendas and versions. But the reality is, those at the top don’t want to know what the truth is. They want someone to pander to their whims, to agree with them in substance to their face and ridicule behind their backs. Since, in the end, they are going to do what it is they want, since they have sole authority to do so, so it matters not what others think. Sound familiar?

I have no intention of withdrawing. I’m here for the duration, win, lose, or draw. I knew we had opposing ideas from the beginning and it didn’t bother me, it still doesn’t. I see that as a strength actually. Perhaps by realizing that you and I hold some diametrically opposite views and even though we hold those views, we still talk civilly and respectfully, here and elsewhere, others will get the idea it isn’t an ‘all or nothing’ proposition. That through that example, that notion will spread. Every trip starts with that first step. Perhaps that is our lot and purpose, to bring that notion back to the fore.

Actually, the ocean and grain of sand were metaphors for size and futility. But here is the difference I see. Where the task might be insurmountable for the one grain of sand, the one, it might not be for the entire beach. Because as the one grain expands to two, four, sixteen, and so on, it can hinder the ocean and change how it moves. It doesn’t stop it, it does change it. So dropping Ron Paul as the single grain and changing that to people, there lies our hope, as you say, awakening them one at a time if need be. But not in a light of your or my choosing, but theirs, based on reality, on what is, not what seems to be, and truth. We can’t do any better than that I think.

harryhipps said...

My two cents worth:

The bulk of the problem, I think, comes from government intervention in areas they have no business in and technological change, with government being the major problem.

The tax code is not only too complex but it's not fair that it's oriented towards social engineering, not raising revenues. Why should the janitor who is buying a house get a deduction but the computer consultant who is going to live somewhere on a contract job for a couple of years at a time and rents an apartment have to pay more for his housing? The CEO who gets paid in stock options gets one deal, the bus driver that gets a paycheck gets another. And I could go on about how we play cat and mouse with money.

If we have barriers to entry that are a token payment for a conglomerate but a deal killer for a small business guy how much innovation do you think we are going to get? (Like the fact that now you have to have training to be on interior decorator, like putting a lime green couch in a room with mauve wallpaper is going to kill someone). And who sets the rules, a government tyrant who is dancing hand in hand with the large entities that can muscle their way to the regulatory table.

Technology. Yes it slows job growth to some degree, but ask this: are almost all human needs met? NO! So if human needs are not all met, there is a potential job somewhere. Drugs need to be invented, pollution has to be mitigated, waste has to be reduced or eliminated, ignorance is rife and we need a wiser world, many many people are still without basic needs. So is there work to do? Absolutely. Why aren't jobs flourishing? Because the feds control a huge chunk of the economy already and dictate how a large portion of the "private sector" has to act. Who wants to put their money at risk when the number of rules to be followed are increasing rapidly? Are you soon going to pay carbon taxes? Do you have enough of each ethnic group employed? Are you going to be sued if you make "too much profit"?

Does it surprise anyone that the small business or individual is frustrated and stymied in their need to work for their own, and society's benefit? And we all can't be president of the US or even a fortune 500 ceo.

Romney stinks, the others are just trying to find the winning formula (mostly unsuccessfully) and Paul has some great ideas and some looney ideas (mostly in international relations in my view). So where are we going?

Sad to say, I think no matter what happens we are going to see mostly gridlock with the pendulum swinging back and forth depending on who is on the receiving end of the voter's wrath at any point in time. We will get aome attempts at austerity (probably without pro growth policies) until the cookie crumbles and we go through a real calamity. Broken dreams, at least social disorder if not an exchange of metal (I'm talking about lead, not gold), radical attempts to re write the constitution if not chuck it entirely (not that it's really relevant now) and we'll be darn lucky if we can get back on our feet without some opportunistic country deciding that this would be the time to make their move on us.

I am honestly not a pessimist by nature, but I see no clear, if difficult to peace and prosperity taking shape. The American people have usually rallied and moved forward out of the problems of the day. But with dumbed down schools, the moral collapse we have, the tax on effort and the subsidizing of slackers, the society that is either dealing with an atomized community or ethnic enclaves instead of the "American People", the fact that we are no longer the sole economic and military superpower or even the dualist world of the cold war days, I have to ask "how deep is the well"?

I hope I'm overly pessimistic and there is a vitality and a vision there to be unleashed that I don't see now, but I don't really see it.

Refute me please where I'm wrong.

Silence DoGood said...

I remember reading somewhere once that a corporation, as living entity, was a late 19th to early 20th Century creation. That the founding fathers’ vision of a corporate entity was that it was supposed to have a life span of perhaps one generation. The notion of the enduring corporate entity was a notion unknown to the framers of the Constitution. I said that to serve as cause for this statement, which will probably serve to be my gross understatement of the week; I don’t vilify government as the root cause to what has transpired.

Let me explain. Are regulations complex? Yes they are. Are laws and regulations over-reaching, overbearing, and at times, overwhelming? Yes, they are. Does government serve as a stumbling block to innovation and start-ups? Yes, they do. Having said that, how could I possibly say government is not the root cause? Because if you go back to the first paragraph, you will find the motivators behind those government regulations, rules, and stumbling blocks. If you make entry into the marketplace so difficult that you simply don’t, you control the marketplace. Once you’ve absorbed your competitors and consolidated your market, do you want to encourage competition, or discourage it? In 20 and 21st Century America, you don’t discourage competition with a sword or gun, you do it with government regulation. You make it so difficult and costly to enter the marketplace, you simply don’t. And of course, you have the regulations written so that, since your corporation existed prior to the regulations, there is a grandfather clause that exempts you from compliance. How neat is that?

The other thing is corporate malfeasance. Corporate behaviors like Ford building the Mustang with the gas tank filler and tank in the trunk, which was found by engineering to be faulty and could have been fixed early in the production, but the bean counters interceded because of the cost. How many people died because of rear end collision fires? The chemical plants along the Love Canal dumping God only knows what into the water so that the water caught fire. I could go on, but the thing is, those kinds of things are what cause public outcry. Public outcry drives rapid fire political process. Some politician gets on board and decries it as a travesty, and immediately drafts rules and gets them fast tracked through the process to stop such action. And everybody feels good about themselves. The problem is, those rules are often written by experts in their fields. Engineers and chemists, who are quite adept in their fields are examples of bureaucrats government hires. The rules have all the technical precision of an engineering scale, and are often just as confusing, and quite often, while accomplishing the halt of whatever it was that was occurring, opens to the door to five other problems as a result, that aren’t addressed by those same regulations. And the guy with a good idea that wants to bring it to market doesn’t have a chance complying with the regs, but the corporate monolith, already established, who quite probably helped write or amend those regulations, has everything well in hand. You see that happening now as regulations are being drafted to govern the internet. The Googles, Facebooks, and others have made their money unfettered by regulation, now you see the beginning of controls on the basis of outcry by watchdog groups to protect a segment of the population from the content on the web. However, the regulations won’t deal with just that.

So to me, government becomes the whipping boy of a bifurcated process to exert control either from the aspect of omission from competition, or commission of what would be viewed as a crime if committed by an individual, or at the very least, a tort and then an attempt to either hide behind the rules or use them to dominate and control. But yes, government does make those rules, government isn’t the driving influence behind them in many instances.

James Thomas Shell said...

And that is where the "Corporatocracy" comes in. A government of, by, and for the corporations. Look at the unfettered access when it comes to campaign contributions, look at all of the lobbying cash, perks, and privileges, and do you think government officials want this regulated?

You know we already had this fight back in the late 19th and early 20th century, when we were headed towards an all out civil war. But, it wasn't going to be a civil war of State's Rights. It was going to be a class war,. And yes it led to Unionization, which did clean some things up. But guess what? The Unions became corporatized top heavy structures driven by management and controlled by the government (Democrats) and rendered useless and irrelevant. We have laws on the books to deal with the growth of Corporations, but the law has been ignored.

I think we all understand the need for regulation. Yet, we refuse to plain as day deal with what needs to be dealt with. What I don't think most seem to understand is that it is the government that most needs to be regulated. The government (bureaucracy) is what is out of control. And guess what? That is what the Constitution's purpose is. So let's shove the government (bureaucracy) back in its box.

Silence DoGood said...

So, since we've fought this battle one time, what did we learn from it? Apparently we didn't learn that big business funding government is a bad thing. Apparently we didn't learn that fomenting the cause of big business exclusively (Republicans) was not in the best interests of the nation, only big business. Apparently we haven't learned to separate the wheat from the chafe with regard to the information that we are constantly bombarded with, to drive us to formulate our thinking and opinions on the basis of some abstract ideal or splinter cause. And apparently we haven't learned that the labels 'liberal' and 'conservative' have zero meaning in any intelligent debate. And just for kicks, I reviewed the past century. The Republicans controlled the White House more years than Democrats. Reminds me of how Germany was stripped after WWI which lead to the rise of Hitler and WWII. Do it all for now, don't worry about later, it won't be our problem.

We've got this carrot/stick thing going here. I think we both realize that money is the motivator. I think we both realize that until we separate the money from the politics, it's going to be business as usual from those we send to govern, newcomer or incumbent. And I think the others realize it too that are reading this. We are going to have to break that pipeline of cash, some way, some how. Until that happens, no knee jerk, short term, immediate action fix is going to suffice.

And Harry is 100% correct in that regard. When the exchange of metal begins, there's going to be this entire segment of the population with a shocked expression on their faces mouthing the words, "They're really serious, aren't they?"

And when that happens, the fix is off, it will be replacement. God only knows what we'll end up with then.

James Thomas Shell said...

We learned that the people of this country are more interested in superfluous BS, than what really batters and it is biting them in the backside, but they are so devoid of intelligence, and reality based therein, that they get suckered at every turn. The American people are their own worst enemy.

This whole laughable concept that Democrats are the party of the people falls in line with what I describe above. I know the Dems will come up with more excuses, but I can rattle off names for days of Dems who fall in line with the ideology that you describe as exclusively Republican. Obama, Clinton, George Soros, Tim Geithner, Robert Rubim, Larry Summers, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Stephen Spielberg, Ted Turner...

It is both sides of the isle. It is not an exclusive domain of either party.

Silence DoGood said...

touche monsieur

Yes, but you can't rattle off for days a list of Republicans who have stood for common everyday people. And there Thom, my good sir, is the difference. And that statement destroys the entire liberal/conservative paradox that people just love to laugh about, giggle over, and tout as being true to their own ethos. In rebuttal, there are equally laughable notions such as "Reaganomics" and "Trickle Down Economics", just to name a couple that people have been fed and some still believe, actually worked! But work is operative term depending on if your wallet swelled or shriveled as a result.

And while both parties pander to the body corporate we worship, at least one feigns some consideration of the common fellow while one is unabashed in their allegiance to the Corptocratic demi-God and maintenance thereof.

Silence DoGood said...

This is a pretty good debate, isn't it?

James Thomas Shell said...

I honestly can't rattle off a number of Dens that stand for common everyday people. All I hear from most Dems is Factionalization. Pitting one group against another. Labeling people. Never working towards consensus. A party built upon a coalition with a purpose that they hate the other guy. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

You say the Pubs are the party of no. The Dems say no just as much as the Pubs and obfuscate issue after issue with straw dog arguments. Everything is about the children or somebody starving to death.

I am not saying the Republican party of today is perfect, because by no means is it. But, I tend to support helping the creation of business, while at the same time supporting the rights of the American working class. What have the Dems put forward in the last decade that would help create business? Remember NAFTA and GAAT and the other free-for-all trade agreemnts could not have been passed without the Dems.

It is time to get past the current either/or political paradigm and move to an and/both system. When people start figuring that we are in this thing together, then we will move forward.

Problem is that there is a 90% chance that it will take a tragic collapse in order for us to get the people who will work together to rise up and ostracize those who will not.

Silence DoGood said...

Mez Ami, The Republican party, apart from the propaganda of their media specialists, are no longer the party of Lincoln. Go through the rolls of practically every major corporate monolith and look at the claimed political affiliation of the corporate controllers and I’ll bet you they would claim Republican affiliation at probably the 98th percentile. And to properly place Republican dogma into perspective, I’ll point you towards Mitch McConnell(R, KY), United States Senator who stated for the record that unless the President extended the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy and affluent, under the guise of ‘creating jobs’, that an unemployment benefit extension would lapse for those that have been unable to find work. Then, just after that, a rumor began to circulate amongst Republican pragmatics that there were plenty of jobs, people just weren’t looking hard enough. So the wealthy got a $700billion tax extension that should have never been passed to begin with, unfunded I might add, or else, those people on the bottom would have been allowed to slip into the abyss. Compassionate Conservatism at its best, except when that phrase was coined, whom the compassion was for was never specified.

What rights would those be? I’ve heard those touted quite a bit, never seen them listed. Right to work? If it’s indeed a right, why is unemployment so high? You don’t have a right to healthcare, you don’t have a guarantee of vacation, holidays, or any of those ‘benefits’ that corporations so freely trumpet and go on about. Those things are extended at the good graces of the employer and can likewise be taken away just as quickly as they’re proffered. The only rights you have in North Carolina are two breaks and a 30 minute meal break during your shift, if your shift is 8 hours in duration. Oh, and to make at least minimum wage, if you work in a non-food service related industry. Outside of that, you can walk in any day of the week and the man call you in and fire you and you have no recourse. No reason, just bye. You have no worker rights. Where do companies get into trouble? They write and establish rules and then violate their own rules. Otherwise the deck is stacked in their favor. Republicans see that as you have the right to walk away any time you want if you don’t like it. Gee, who doesn’t want to embrace that kind of freedom?

And this individual rights party, espousing the wonder of individual liberty for all… unless you’re gay or have an unwanted pregnancy, then they want to bring the weight of limited government down on your head. A Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage? A Constitutional Amendment to define when life begins? Do we really need a Constitutional Amendment to tell us when two consenting individuals may or may not inter into a personal contract between themselves? Do we really need an amendment to tell us when life begins? Shouldn’t any decision in that regard remain between the mother’s doctor and herself? Talk about your divisive issues and splintering people to cloak, mask, and hide. I mean, if gay people want to marry, it doesn’t bother me a bit. They should have the right to be nagged and miserable right along with the rest of us (insert humorous levity here).

Seems to me NAFTA was quite a boon to business. I also seem to recall that NAFTA began during the George I years. I don’t think anyone predicted how quickly companies would flee offshore, and then when the flood started, Republicans controlled Congress and imposition of import tariffs to stem that flow out was touted as, ‘bad for the people’ since it would only drive prices up. Yeah, bad for business profits.

Silence DoGood said...

I’ve said this in the past, but it bears repeating I think at this juncture. I don’t despise the wealthy. They see themselves as being savvy and taking advantage of opportunity. I see them as leeches feeding off despair and the misfortune of others. But in every contest, someone has to win and someone has to loose, so in that paradox, there is a balance, or there was. Right now and for quite some time leading up to now, there has been no leveling of the system. Everything has been tilted to the right for quite some time. The only difference across time is the angle of the tilt. You say that Democrats have driven the dissention of class currently bubbling up (well, you didn’t actually say that, but that is how I read it). I think people are just starting to wake up to see what is being done and the curtain has come down for all to see the man behind it pushing the buttons.

Am I ever going to convince you of the futility of your beliefs? I fear not. Likewise, are you going to convince me of what you perceive as mine? Nope. But allow me to say this. Even though we don’t agree on this aspect, it doesn’t diminish you or who or what you are in my mind. I don’t even think you’re wrong in your views, they are after all, yours. Who among us can render a belief wrong? And I’m saying this to demonstrate that people can disagree and still like each other. I want to make plain that open discussion and debate are necessary to a free and democratic (process, not the party) society.

But I do think this. We have a two party political system. I think that is sufficient to our needs. I think splintering and the formation of additional groups only serves to cloud the issues because you get so much overlap it’s hard for people to follow. It can be that way with two parties and the number of candidates vying for position. History has shown us that when parties splinter or a 3rd party enters the contest, it only serves the opposition. Now, if these other parties started on the bottom and built themselves to prominence, they may perhaps build some legitimacy. But they only come around during the National elections and then fade away into relative obscurity. Nobody is willing to take a chance on the relatively unknown. Yes, I know Greens, Libertarians, and Independents have been appearing on the ballot with more frequency, but not in the numbers or frequency to legitimize themselves.

I too think that it is going to take a major overhaul, a forced removal of those so firmly entrenched to bring in those who can work together once more. That is one of the reasons I don’t care for fringe elements of the parties. I like moderate and I like middle of the road. The fanatics get in control and they are so committed to those ideals and unmoving in that commitment, there is no compromise and no way to move forward. So in that regard, I hope we’re both wrong, but I fear that we’re not.

James Thomas Shell said...

Nope. NAFTA was passed under Clinton during his first two years, when the Dems controlled both chambers.

As far as the Constitutional amendments. I agree that the ones you pointed to are trivial in comparison to the weight of history, but at least they would attempt to go through the measures of the document, instead of the current running around that the current and past Executive Branch have done. You can't choose to adhere to the document on one hand and ignore it on the other based on party allegiance. That is what has happened and the reason why we are in deep doo-doo. Look at the Women's Rights amendment. They followed procedure, but it failed. That is what happens when issues don't meet the gravity of our system. They die on the vine, but it is also the reason why people, in modern times, look to constantly end run the system.

As far as the Worker's Rights documents here in North Carolina. This has always been a Democrat to Centrist State. Until the last year, the Republicans controlled nothing. We have had 8 years of Republican Governorship since the Civil War (150 years) and three years of control of the State House during that span and two of those were when a Democrat was given the speakership, because the margin was so close. So, once again you are blaming Republicans when the Democrats have clearly been in charge.

Same goes for the corporate hyperbole you summarized. How can you honestly say that Republicans control the Board Rooms, when the lame stream media is constantly documenting otherwise. Look at the social havoc reeked by John Corzine, one of the standard bearers of the Democrat party. Look at what Lloyd Blankfein has done and see where his allegiance lies.

I'm not sitting here saying the Pubs are great, because they have certainly done their fair share getting us into this mess, but I certainly think you give the Democrats about 100 times more credit than they deserve when you sing the praises of their benevolence. And honestly DoGood, I am laughing at the stereotypes.

Silence DoGood said...

“Following diplomatic negotiations dating back to 1986 among the three nations, the leaders met in San Antonio, Texas, on December 17, 1992, to sign NAFTA. U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas, each responsible for spearheading and promoting the agreement, ceremonially signed it. The agreement then needed to be ratified by each nation's legislative or parliamentary branch.
Before the negotiations were finalized, Bill Clinton came into office in the U.S. and Kim Campbell in Canada, and before the agreement became law, Jean Chr├ętien had taken office in Canada.”
So yes, while it is true that Bill Clinton signed it, it was negotiated by George HW, just as I said. So yes, the beginnings go back much further than when it was signed and, oh well, you get the picture without my drawing it out.

Sure, North Carolina was a centrist/democrat state. Who signed the Emancipation Proclamation? Abraham Lincoln belonged to what political party? The entire South after the Civil War, during reconstruction, and well into the mid 20th Century was centrist/democrat. Then the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed and there my good friend, is where the Democrat Party began to shift. In less than 2 decades, the South became a Republican stronghold. Look at Catawba County. There hasn’t been a democrat in office in Catawba County since when, 1982? That makes for balanced government, doesn’t it? Well no, I’m not blaming Republicans when Democrats have been in charge. The rules I cited, with the exception of the right to work rules, come from the Federal Wage and Hour statutes. And blue dog democrats can be just conservative as any Republican.

I seem to recall lists, Fortune 500, Fortune 250, Fortune 100. Using the least of those, which is 100 and using your two examples, I think that leaves 98%. And we can debate the point without doing the research and I’m not, because I don’t care that much one way or the other because it doesn’t make any difference. It is what it is.

And honestly, I’m not giving anyone any credit. All I’m saying is this. Republicans are what they are, same as Democrats. So why try and hide behind a veil of virtue and say you’re for the people, when it’s clear, they aren’t. And in the grand scheme of things, I’m not even saying that is bad. What I’m saying is, it takes balance, it takes compromise, and it takes cooperation. None of which we seem to have between the two factions. Now, this is where you come in with muptiple parties. Ok, but it’s almost impossible to get two to cooperate, can you imagine diluting it down even more? We won’t be able to settle on what color the sky is on a sunny day.

Anonymous said...

Clinton convinced enough Dems to cross the aisle to pass NAFTA. Look it up; you'll see who voted for it.