Archives for posts with tag: inequality

Over and over again, we get these wake-up calls. Over and over again, America listens for a little while, and then goes back to its usual state of willful ignorance. Rinse and repeat. STUPID.

It’s not like we haven’t seen this before: people are oppressed for so long and in so many ways, they can’t take it any more and lash out in blind rage. Baltimore today, Ferguson yesterday, and running back through history: Watts, Little Rock, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, all the way back to ancient Rome and its predecessors. An insular ruling class oppresses the masses, and eventually the masses revolt.

And there are always those who TELL the ruling class what is going on, pleading with them, exhorting them to change the arc of history, to learn from history, to not repeat the mistakes of history. So it was, and so it is. For example, here are the words of Baltimore Orioles COO John Angelos:

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage, and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle-class and working-class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the US to third-world dictatorships, like China and others; plunged tens of millions of good, hardworking Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil-rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

Pretty clear, isn’t he? America can (and should) listen to him, wake up and take action. But no, America will probably just roll over, smack the s*** out of the snooze button on the alarm, and go back to sleep. Eventually, the wake-up call will be so loud, it can’t be ignored any longer.

By then, it’ll be too late. America will finally wake up, only to find out that it died in its sleep.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Finally, the root cause is revealed.  Plenty of talk has been talked on the topic, by experts, data wonks, and politicians. But nobody was able to say why the 1% started f***ing the rest of us to an even greater extent than hitherto, from the 80’s through the present day. Not until a few months ago, that is:

There are many gauges of the depth and breadth of economic inequality, and they often measure what middle-income working people have today against what they had prior to 1980 – that time when homes were affordable, along with doctor visits and college educations. Yet few of the astonishing charts and metrics that have captured this widening gulf explain how it all came about. So when economist William Lazonick pointed a finger at a very specific aspect of corporate behavior, people took note.

Lazonick’s 4,900-word piece, titled Profits Without Prosperity, focused on the 449 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index that were publicly listed from 2003 to 2012. Lazonick found that from the end of World War II until the late 1970s, corporations generally took a “retain-and-reinvest” approach to profits. That is, they kept their earnings and reinvested them – first and foremost in pay raises and job benefits for the employees who helped make the firms more competitive, but also in business expansion, research and new technologies.

But starting in the early 1980s, after the Securities and Exchange Commission removed limits on companies’ power to buy back their stock, these large, publicly traded companies began spending a portion of their net income on stock buybacks. The trend was exacerbated in the 1990s, when the compensation packages of corporate chief executives were linked directly to the stock value, and has accelerated in recent years – even though it’s been little noticed and rarely discussed as a prime driver of economic inequality.

THIS IS HUGE, Gentle Reader. Huge. It proves what everyone except Teapubbies and all the other “small government” and supply-side eedjits have known for decades: the Reagan Revolution was a huge mistake, a f***-up for the ages, even worse than when the Senate handed Rome to Caligula. The nation’s woeful retreat from its former stability to the shambles of the present day is, once and for all: The. Fault. Of. Reagan. Era. Republicans.

And the longer America keep electing these criminally idiotic, venal, fact-challenged, big-mouthed-but-walnut-brained f***wits, the worse it’s gonna get. We need to vote each and every “Republican” who is currently IN office OUT of said office. And that soon.

Maybe someday, when Repubs go back to the pre-Reagan days of ideological and political sanity; then, and ONLY then, can we allow them back into power. But frankly, friends, we can’t AFFORD these Teapublican nitwits any longer. They have cost us dearly, far too dearly, and done far too much damage to be trusted now.

Now you know who to blame. Time to do something about it.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Gentle Reader, here is a magnificent bit of prose from musician/artist/awesome dude Bob Ray Starker. Read and become enlightened, as did my cranky self:

Okay, I started out today trying to be civil and constructive, but all anyone wants to do is throw mud at each other… so what the hell, let’s get into this…

I am a 50 year old white american straight man and here is what I know for sure: Black people have never messed with me. Gay people have never messed with me. Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, poor people, none of them have ever messed with me. 

Which group of people have repeatedly made my life harder than it had to be for no good reason at all? White people with more money than me. 

They have laid me off, closed companies I worked for, made a lot of money by underpaying me for the work I did in their employ, bought elections when I could only afford to vote in them, and, perhaps most infuriating of all, they have relentlessly messed with my non-white, non-straight, non-wealthy friends. And they continue to do it because their world is ending and they are afraid of losing control as the human race slowly evolves beyond their limited scope of understanding.

So who am I most worried about when I lay in bed awake at night? Old selfish rich white people. All in all, I could have done without them.

Well said by the Saxman. Nailed it to a tree, he did.

All y’all, googlize this fine young man. Read his words, buy his art, attend his shows: but first and foremost, read what he said today. Read, reflect, and act.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

It’s become a cliche’: oppressed people get pushed over the edge, riot, and trash their own neighborhoods. Those in government and media who are not from the oppressed class pontificate from the comfortable safety of their communities. So it goes, again and again. Ferguson today, Watts yesterday, and no doubt somewhere else tomorrow.

Of course, it is stupid to foul one’s one nest. But angry people often do stupid things. And that angry idiocy is the oppressors’ BFF; in fact, that anger is the product of said oppression.

So, you in the 1% (aka the oppressors): whatcha gonna do when the rioters get a clue and stop burning down the slums and decaying suburbs to which you have confined them? When they realize that their destructive impulses could better be directed away from those who are scarcely better-off than themselves? When they learn to focus on the real enemy?

Because, trust-fund turkeys, that enemy is you. You are the greedy motherf***ers who have bought the government and by so doing have robbed the rest of us blind, binging on your wealth while millions starve. You are both the cause and effect of inequality, and are completely dependent on its continuance.

And like many oppressors, you fail to see how precarious your position truly is. Someday, it will happen, as it always has and always will: the foolish will see the error of their ways and will choose a new path: in this case, towards your neighborhoods, your homes, and your businesses. The flames will not stay confined to the dwellings of “those people” forever.

Don’t believe it? Ask Marie Antoinette, or perhaps the Romanovs…oh…wait…you can’t ask them, can you? Because they got killed by those they oppressed, didn’t they? And like you, they thought it couldn’t happen.

Want to avoid that seemingly inevitable fate? Stop being a bunch of short-sighted, self-absorbed greedheads and start paying attention to the plight of those whose fortunes and futures you have stolen. Their present needn’t become your future, but it most surely will if you don’t smarten up yourselves.

Because while it may be stupid of them to burn down their own neighborhoods, it’s even dumber for you to incite them to burn down yours.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Wingnuts are in high gear of late, proclaiming their usual canard about there “being little or no difference between the parties”. Bull-f***ing-s***. Today’s debunking: women’s rights.

Huge differences abound: look at the current Teapubbie and Democratic platforms:

Number A: Repubs think women should allowed to die rather than allow them to have a life-saving abortion. Dems do NOT believe this.

Letter 2: Repubs think women should not be allowed to use birth control, or at least be deprived of insurance coverage if they need it. Oh, and that applies even if the pills are being used for other medical reasons than birth control. Dems do NOT believe this, either.

Thirdly: Repubs believe women should be made to work harder and be paid less. Once again: Democrats do NOT share this belief.

Ignore the lunatics of the fringe: the parties are VERY different. A vote for a Dem IS a vote against Repubs. Get on out and vote Dem.

Unless, of course, you hates you some women. If so, sit out the election or vote Republican. If not, get out and vote AGAINST the party that hates your mothers, sisters, and every woman on Earth. Any electoral action  OTHER  than a vote for a Dem is an attack on women. Period.

“No difference”, my Cranky A**. Tomorrow: Repubs’ love affair with terrorists.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

This blog sneers ofttimes at “Republicans” and their stupid-f*** “supply-side” economics. (Here is one example of said mockery.) The gist is: tried and true data-based economic practices are the way to succeed, and Randian, Lafferesque Voodoo economic policies are the way to fail.

In Kansas, one of several states that have decided Ayn Rand was the false Goddess they shall worship, Voodoo economics have had the result most of those in the Reality-Based community have predicted:

In Kansas, the right wing has completely run the show in the state capitol since the 2012 elections, when Sam Brownback (who became governor two years earlier) led a purge of moderate Republicans who were acting as a brake on his agenda in the state Senate. Kansas is now a laboratory for what would happen if conservative Republicans gained full control of government. Empowered state Republicans slashed taxes for the rich, arguing that an economic boom would follow. It didn’t, as job growth in Kansas has underperformed the national average (as has Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, another state that moved hard right around the same time). But what did follow was a huge hole in the state’s budget (while liberal-dominated California is running a surplus and paying down debt).. (Emphasis via Cranky)

In state after state, the predicted results have occurred: Voodoo economics have created a sort of Zombie economy. What might seem just a mildly amusing turn of phrase is in fact a devastating blow to those of us not in the 1% (said 1% motherf***ers not being in the least incommoded by the Undead Economy). The economy is limping along, barely alive as far as most of us can tell, and that is not a sustainable path.

In Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio, and indeed across the nation, we see the results of “Republican” policies: and rotten results they have proven to be. Using millions of people to test their voodoo theories was unethical at the outset, and has since sucked most of the life our of our economy.

Unlike the zombies one sees in movies, our Repub-afflicted economy can be healed and brought back to life. All that is needed is to lay off the voodoo, apply some healthy policies, and the rotting ambulatory corpse of our nation will be restored to health.

And the first step of that cure? Get out and vote. Vote against each and every “Republican” in every race, in every location. Banish the witch doctors and bring back the trained, educated professionals that had served us so well for centuries. Ditch the dream of Supply-Side, and awaken to reality.

That ‘dream’ turned out to be a nightmare the likes of which even Romero could never have envisioned, anyway.

Mr. Blunt and Crankly

The link below takes you to a research study that proves what we already know in our guts: rich motherf***ers have bought our government and are using it to steal the rest of us blind. And they can do it because so few Americans vote. Here’s the money quote:

Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association,and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policy making is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

(Emphasis mine)

The reason this happens, Gentle Reader, is because the 1% have no competition for the attention of our “representatives”. Since the majority of eligible voters do not vote, the Governors, Delegates, Congresscritters and Senators around the country do not fear our disapproval. But they DO fear the wrath of the rich who have bought them.

The only way to change this dynamic is to rise up as one (“e pluribus unum”) and exercise our constitutional rights by voting. When millions of us cast the loathsome wretches out of office, and do so time and again, they’ll respond.

It takes each of us a few hours, twice a year, to vote. It costs the 1% billions of dollars to purchase and maintain their control of our nation. We can earn an enormous return on a tiny investment if we all just take a few minutes and make the investment.

http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Yes, vulture capitalist Thomas Perkins is a motherf***er of the highest degree, one who f***s his own mother, his wife’s mother, their respective mothers, and indeed, any mothers he can lay his scummy little mitts on. Adding to that is the sense of entitlement to the mothers of the world, an outraged response to anyone who suggests that he leave all those mothers alone, and a proposal that he and others like him have laws passed reserving all American mothers for themselves alone. An honest motherf***er is he.

Mr. Perkins made an analogous proposal recently: that only taxpayers be allowed to vote, and that the richer you are, the more votes you can cast. Said it straight up and did not try to pass it off as a joke. And he has not yet walked it back as he did (partly, anyway) his comparison of people like you and me to Nazis. This is what the rich motherf***er really thinks.

And he isn’t the only one: five Supreme Court “justices” said pretty much the same thing when they imposed the Citizens United ruling on the nation. That ruling made money into speech, meaning that those with more money have a right to more speech. This is the wealthy trying to take over our government, and having some success at it.

But unlike Tommy Boy, most of the other motherf***ers don’t admit to being f***ers of mothers. They talk about “freedom”, and “unfettered capitalism” and other such buzzword-laden tripe, and pretend that their vision is not at all Orwellian. But they want the same thing he wants, make no mistake about it: a plutocracy, wherein the rich rule the rest of us.

But honest or not, he wants to f*** our mothers. And the rest of us. So f*** him.

(Next time: motherf***ers crying about being “attacked”.)

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Yes, that hypocritical parasite is lapping up luxury in Switzerland at our expense. This after telling unemployed Americans that there was no money for them.

It is time for America’s hard-working citizens to realize this truth: we send billions upon billions to these lying leeches in our taxes, and they blow our money on luxury trips, private barbers, and shovel millions of dollars to their billionaire buddies. And then they tell us that the country is broke. Bull-f***ing-s***. We aren’t broke at all. There is a lot of money there.

But the money is wasted and stolen by the “trickle-down” crowd in Congress. A perfect example: Cantor’s luxurious trip to Davos will cost more in a day than an unemployed person will get in six months.

Repeat: Eric Cantor’s luxurious trip to Davos will cost more in one single day than a REAL hard-working American’s unemployment benefits would cost for half a year.

Sick of Teapublicans yet? Then for crying out loud, stop f***ing voting for them.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Today is the official start of the Davos World Economic Forum, during which some of Earth’s richest and most powerful people convene in amazing luxury to decide who will win and who will lose. And wonder of wonders, a few bits of common sense are appearing on the horizon:

Number A: Japan’s recent turnaround, which happened after they finally gave up on Voodoo Reaganomics, was the keynote topic;
Letter 2: income inequality is on the agenda; and
Thirdly: Oxfam’s recent gruesome report on just how badly the rich and powerful are f***ing the rest of us is being looked at.

Looked at is good, but acted upon would be better. The report’s gist is that across the world (as in America since Reagan) the rich and powerful have rigged the game and are gleefully piling up filthy lucre, which is putting billions of people in a no-win, guaranteed-loss situation:

The Oxfam report found that over the past few decades, the rich have successfully wielded political influence to skew policies in their favour on issues ranging from financial deregulation, tax havens, anti-competitive business practices to lower tax rates on high incomes and cuts in public services for the majority. Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 out of 30 countries for which data are available, said the report.
This “capture of opportunities” by the rich at the expense of the poor and middle classes has led to a situation where 70% of the world’s population live in countries where inequality has increased since the 1980s and 1% of families own 46% of global wealth – almost £70tn.

The 1% of the world are a load of purblind fools who have either never read history, or stupidly think they are smarter than billions of other humans, so let’s make this plain for them, shall we? Oxfam’s report clearly (and correctly) points out that this fleecing of the many to benefit the few is creating instability. In other words, revolution is around the corner.

It happened in France. It happened in China. It happened in Russia. It has happened, can happen, and will happen anywhere that people are being treated unjustly and feel that they have nothing to lose. And right now, Gentle Reader, nearly 3/4 of the world’s population feels that they have nothing to lose.

In America, it will continue until the “Republicans” who were and are behind the scam get voted out of office. And if they don’t get voted out of office soon, shit’s gonna go down sometime. And it will be bloody and destructive in a mammer such as the world has never before witnessed, and will not be confined to our shores, because the great robbery has happened around the world.

And it’s ridiculous. Can you wear more than one suit at a time, eat more than one meal at a time, drink more than one drink at a time? Hell, no. Beyond a certain point, acccreting further wealth becomes useless and meaningless. As well as dangerous and destructive.

You. Cannot. Keep. Abusing. People. Forever. Eventually, even a dog will bite back; people will do it sooner than dogs. And the “bites” of humans will do a lot more damage, too. Earth to Davos: you have the people gathered in one place, at one time; the people who can change this horrible state of affairs (many of whom helped to create it, and who have benefited from it). If you don’t change what’s happening, then you can’t change the outcome.

And regardless of of what the 1% may think, the outcome will destroy them, just as it will will the 99%. Davos: you can change the outcome; and if you don’t, well, even all your riches won’t buy enough soap to wash the blood of billions from your greedy, clutching hands.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky