September 7th, 2012

The Greatest Generation



Great speeches were made this week, important speeches, and necessary speeches from powerful men and women. They offered not lies and vague platitudes, but reality. They offered, not the abandonment of the American dream, but its resurgence. They offered hope.

And yet, none of this is worth anything if we don’t understand what is at stake, and where our own power resides. The answer doesn’t lie merely in putting all our trust in these speechmakers. It lies in the fact that the 99% is 99%. The overwhelming majority.

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sunrays

Friday curious. A waning epoch in pictures.

Even today, Africa hosts a few hundred known and unknown monarchies. Some have been relegated to a status of mere tourist attractions, others are keeping the traditions of the past. In the late 80s, French photographer Daniel Laine photographed many of the African monarchs whose dynasties had left their mark on Africa's history. His collection is truly fascinating.


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hat lasso

(no subject)

As the heavy-weight champion of the world from 1908-1915 "for more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African-American on Earth." He was not only famous, but extremely wealthy as well. He owned a large mansion, a night club (the COTTON CLUB), drove fast cars, and had numerous affairs with women of all ages and races (which would eventually land him in jail). What makes the story of Jack Johnson relevant to this discussion was his attitude. He wasn't a champion of equal rights, or "negro issues" or anything particularly liberal. His attitude was, "I got mine, so quit whining and go get yours".

I think of this often when American attitudes are on display, like during this election campaign. I really have never seen this attitude displayed anywhere outside the USA. Not anywhere. Certainly not in European politics. Not even in personal attitudes.

In America there are still people who feel that we're all in this together, and by supporting the least of us, by having everyone supported by a social safety net, we maintain a better society for all. These people are not liberal, they're just called that in the USA. These people just have a sense of morality that eludes people with so-called Christian values.

The attitude that there are economic opportunities and therefore there is economic class mobility. But anyone at the bottom knows that when you are living paycheque to paycheque, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, there is nothing to put aside, nothing to invest. So the opportunity to make a better life is not so easily attainable. Working harder or longer isn't always an answer. Cutting down on expenses (why rent when I can just live in my car?) isn't always an option after you've cut every expense out of your life.

Money isn't created out of thin air. There's only about $10trillion USD of hard currency in circulation The Forbes 400 richest Americans have approximately a trillion dollars among them, just them.

I'm not going to say that it's unfair to have 10% of America's wealth distributed amongst 400 people in a country with 350,000,000 population. It's just a fact. What I will say is that their wealth is entirely dependant on other Americans being poor. That's just life.

In a fair and just society we protect people. We care for them. We have social safety nets so that very few of us suffer. We have this to maintain a society that allows economic and social class mobility.

Nuff said.
in the dark

I hear that whistle blowin...

Mitt Romney making statements (like the one I just heard him say on the radio) about Obama not knowing what he is going to to to fix the economy is pretty funny - we've gotten plenty of  information (and even actual action) from the current administration - but not a peep of any actual details of what Team RR (The abbreviation for Railroad - because that's what they plan to do to the US) thinks they can do.

In fact, several of the economists I have been listening to have suggested that vague comments Team Railroad has been offering are so unclear because they are, 1) impossible and 2) technically contradictory and 3) would  - if actually applied - prove to be the unraveling of the GOTP's popularity.

What was so great about Mitt's time as Governor?  He has a contradictory record on so many issues - things he did as a head of his state that he now has to distance himself from as national candidate.

Ryan is just setting himself up for a run at the top seat later on. His horse has already run this race regardless of the results.

How ANYONE that isn't rolling in so much cash they use it to wipe their bottoms can actually vote for these people is astounding. Those are the ONLY people they have interest in representing.

He's a political opportunist  - nothing more... and a greedy one at that.

So hard to take them seriously...