Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is "Austerity" the most Appropriate Word?

As governments around the world and in the United States cut back programs for the lower and middle classes while cutting taxes and bailing out the super wealthy, the word "austerity" is being used to describe the situation. 

Here is the definition of "austerity" from

(1) austere quality; severity of manner, life, etc; sternness
(2) strict economy
(3) reduced availability of luxuries and consumer goods, esp when brought about by government policy
 Is this really "austerity"?  Sure, the governments are cutting, cutting, cutting.  But is it more than that?  Can cutting to the 99% and giving to the 1% really be called "austerity"?  What's a better word for it?

I'm leaning towards thievery.  What do you think?  Share your thoughts!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Make a Difference - All it Takes is One Person and a Camera

Seriously, that's all it takes sometimes.  One person using logic, facts, and knowledge can make a difference in the internet age.  See what happens when Joe Walsh (R-IL) has a meeting with his constituents and is confronted with a solid argument about the banks role in the economic crash.  Meltdown anyone? 

Amazing, its like turning over a bright shiny rock on the forest floor and finding a mud-caked, turd crusted, maggot infestation on the bottom.

This meltdown was brought to you by a dead beat dad who refuses to pay his child support.  Pathetic.


((tip of the hat to MinistryOfTruth for alerting me to this story))

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pick a Side!

With the protests happening around the country and the lines being drawn pretty obviously, I think its time to challenge those who haven't picked a side yet.  Especially those who belong to the so called "middle" or the few remaining "independents".  Whose side are you on?

The lines seem pretty clearly drawn.  On one side you have the 99%, "We the People".  The people who are getting screwed by the system.  The poor, the elderly, the youth, the middle class, the small business owner, the student, so on, and so on and so on. 

On the other side, you have the 1%.  The Wall St. Bankers, the corporate interests, and the super-wealthy.  These are the ones who have committed fraud, lobbied our government representatives to the point of controlling them, received bailouts when they have fucked up, and stolen money from the people.

What side will YOU be on?

Will you stand with the 99% when you see that 49 million Americans live in poverty?
Will you stand with the 99% after you find out that the top 1% earning Americans saw their income increase by 275%?
Will you stand with the 99% after you find out that America ranks in the bottom third of how equitably family income is distributed within each nation?
Will you stand with the 99% after you hear this story and this story and this story?

Or will you stand with the 1% and their tax cuts, their bailouts, their crooks, and their destruction?

No standing in the middle.
No saying "I don't want to talk about Politics."
No more saying, "I need more time to make my decision."

This isn't about politics.
This is isn't about Republicans or Democrats.

This is about HUMANITY.

Humanity is suffering, in this country and around the world.  And the 1% continues to make off like kings.

Will you stand on the side of humanity?  Or will you stand on the side of wealth?

I know which side I stand on.  I challenge everyone to pick a side. 


Monday, November 7, 2011

Young Americans Suffering Disproportionately

This morning I found an article which discusses the record "wealth gap" between the young and the old in this country.  I have no problem with older Americans having wealth.  I have a problem with the youth of this country suffering like this.  

The following article from this morning's Associated Press:

"WASHINGTON (AP) — The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has stretched to the widest on record, worsened by a prolonged economic downturn that has wiped out job opportunities for young adults and saddled them with housing and college debt.

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.

While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation."
 First of all, lets not call it a "wealth gap".  Young people in this country are poor.  I have no shame saying it. 

It's the kind of poor where you can barely get a minimum wage job that forces you to live paycheck to paycheck. 

It's the kind of poor where you have to get two, maybe three jobs just so that you can pay rent, bills, and buy food because you don't want the internal shame of being on public assistance.

It's the kind of poor where you can't save for your future, because every cent is going to student loans that got you that college education that you were told would make your future.

It's the kind of poor that doesn't allow you to have any health insurance.  Hospital visits are out of the question.

It's the kind of poor that forces a young couple with a new kid to sell their home, thinking they were secure in their jobs until Wall St. destroyed the economy and any sense of your future with it.

Meanwhile, the old are being forced to stay in their jobs longer just so that they can keep their health insurance while politicians talk of raising the social security and medicare ages.  They are forced to delay a well deserved retirement just so they can remain in their homes for fear of foreclosure. 


The current state of affairs is no good.  High unemployment is crippling young people.  Student loans are making them slaves to the system.  Poverty is creeping in to their lives across the board at an alarming rate.  Meanwhile the government cuts education programs, public assistance programs, food stamps, child health insurance, and more.  They are coming for social security and medicare as well.  People are suffering and their suffering is increasing.  If you are young and experiencing this, it is frustrating, angering, but often just damn depressing.  If you are old, you are watching your life's work whittled away at while your children and grandchildren suffer needlessly. 

We're not leeches.  We don't expect much.  We just want a fair chance at achieving our dreams (you know, that "American Dream").  We want to have that chance without being saddled by crippling debt, whether student or medical.  We want to have that chance without having the corporate owned government putting obstacles in our way.  We want to have that chance without the corporate owned media belittling us at every turn.

We want a FAIR chance.  We deserve the same opportunity as the 1% is given.  The same opportunity to try, to succeed, and to fail without fear of death.  The same fair playing ground for everybody, not just the 1% or even just the 99%, but for ALL.

Isn't that what we used to say everyday to start the school day?  "Liberty and Justice for All"!



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Darth Vader vs. Jean-Luc Picard

Today's post looks at two leaders. 

In the red corner, the leader of the Galactic Empire, the master of the dark side of the force, and general all around evil-doer, Darth Vader! 

What is Darth Vader's leadership style like?  He rules through fear.  He achieves his goal through either terrifying his enemies or terrifying his team members.  People will follow his orders because they are afraid of how he will react, either belittling them, insulting them, hurting them emotionally, or even hurting them physically.  At worst, a mistake or failure with Darth Vader as your leader means you're often fired (or force choked to death).  More often than not he gets what he want, but his failures are massive, like when the Death Star was destroyed.  He is cunning, intelligent, and ruthless.  Often his expectations were so high they were unachievable.  There is nothing he won't do to achieve his goals, no matter how destructive they are.

In the Blue Corner!  The captain of the infamous Starship Enterprise, the master of diplomacy, and near-admiral of the Federation of Planets.  Captain Jean-Luc Picard!

Captain Picard commands through his respect.  He is highly moral, logical, and intelligent.  He makes his decisions with input from all of his trusted advisers and closest crew.  He considers their inputs and helps them to shape his opinions to make his ultimate decision.  People will follow his orders because they respect him and he respects them.  Picard will use his crew's mistakes as a learning experience and chance to improve.  More often than not Picard gets what he wants through diplomacy and debate, rather than war and violence.  He acknowledges good performance, builds confidence, and has high expectations for his crew.  He is cunning, intelligent, and extremely patient.  


So why am I blogging about this?  I have had bosses of both styles.  My last boss was a Darth Vader type.  She watched you constantly so that she could catch you making a mistake and harm you mentally for your mistakes.  People would get afraid when she was around.  She always got her way and never truly considered anybody's input.  She truly was ruthless and yet the failure of the organization is becoming steadily and painfully more obvious (a.k.a. the first Death Star). She was Darth Vader unmasked (minus the killing people part).

I've also had a Picard like Boss.  My first boss after graduating college was extremely patient, intelligent, and considered everybody's input, even if he did disagree with them.  His decisions were patiently made, calm, and rational.  I respected him, he respected me, and as a result we achieved great things.  He let me take the initiative and take on projects of my own idea, but if they were truly bad ideas and I didn't see it, he wouldn't hesitate to tell me.  He had high, achievable expectations for me, and would acknowledge my good performance, building up my confidence as a result. 

Who are these people?  

The first (Vader Boss) was the principal of a public school.  I was one of her teachers.

The second (Picard Boss) was the Manager of an AmeriCorps volunteer program.  I was one of his team members.

I find that most of the Vader bosses are driven by profit, money, and data driven results.  The principal?  All of her decisions were essentially, "How will MY decision increase test scores?", and "How can I save and make more money for this school.?"  Oh, and I almost forgot, but "How do I get more publicity for this school?".

I find the most of the Picard bosses are driven by their ideals, morals, and value driven results.  The volunteer manager?  All of his decisions were essentially, "How will OUR actions affect the recipients of our volunteer work?" and "How can WE stay true to our values?" and "How will the TEAM give these kids what it is they need?".

I would like to know (and if you are willing to share your profession as well), what type of boss do you have now?  What type of boss have you had more often?  If you are your own boss, what type of leader are you?


note:  Lets think of the 1% for a moment.  What type of leaders do you think they are?  Yea...