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Oh no he can’t

debt clock

Debt clock

Obama’s election slogan “Yes we can!” seems like a big joke these days. Not much has changed since he took power and dashed the hopes of everyone who at this point was still naive enough to believe that we live in a democracy and that that entitles you to influence the direction the country is taking. If anything, it finally proved that no matter who you vote for, its going to be a shit-head at the helm.

“Yes we can” sounds like a bad joke at a time when the government is gridlocked on an issue that could cripple the financial markets and plunge the economy back into recession. It is however an excellent way to dismiss the somewhat simplistic Tea Party movement. In all their shortcomings, they do have a point though. Blindly increasing the debt limit is just as bad as doing nothing. Borrowing from our children’s future so that we can keep a bloated government apparatus that becomes more inefficient every year is wrong too. Private companies are forced to stay competitive and trim fat. They have to run fast or die. Governments raise taxes and cut benefits in order to keep their overhead.

I wouldn’t expect the hydra to cut off some of its own heads, but it also is obvious that there is no powerful hero who can do so, despite all the promises. In the end the hydra will absorb the hero and continue to eat the poor villagers, who put all their hopes and dreams into their hero.

Putting off the inevitable will only lead to a harder crash. Nobody wants to cut spending. After all, the money comes from somewhere and doesn’t come from you right?

Wrong! You will pay for this. Paying one credit card with another will temporarily relieve some stress, but in the end you will end up with more debt that is even harder to pay off. Take action quickly and try to show responsible action and maybe your debtor will see give you a good rate.

Instead this country pisses away its AAA rating that it held for nearly a century, just so some morons can make a point.

I saw this coming and moved my assets. I hope you did the same a long time ago.

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Why we are not rich

photo by funkandjazz

photo by funkandjazz

The only reason we are not rich is us and not others.

It is convenient to think of others as inhibiting us of holding us back and of robbing us, but the real reason we are what we are is that we are afraid to be anything else. Great rewards require greater risks and therefore by definition also a greater chance of failure. Yet for some reason we want the spoils of war without risk of injury.

I am no exception.

What if I tell you that you could have the good life you want without much risk and that you would still be too afraid to have it?

If I would sell everything material I own, dissolve my 401(k), cash out my stocks and pour everything I have into an investment that would guarantee me a fixed passive income, no matter how little, I could probably live comfortably with that income somewhere. Money isn’t worth much here (US), but it is easier to come by then in other places of the world.

If I could drum up enough cash to buy a cheap house in some other part of the country, I could rent it out and live on the rental income in another area of the world quite comfortably. I could probably even have luxuries many people in such country could not afford and yet I wouldn’t have to work another day in my life.

But in reality I am far too scared to even try and I bet you are too.

I am too scared to give up everything and to break down all bridges. I am too scared to plunge head first into an adventure like this, even if it could mean financial independence. I am too scared to live in a country with a “lower standard of living”, never minding that it does not get much lower than working yourself to death in your dead end job.

Instead of trying my luck at a life we all dream about, I whore myself out to corporations who do not value me as a person but consider me a “head count”. Instead of quitting work I work harder every day for the illusion of safety that the corporation offers me. Instead of being financially independent I live on a paycheck exceeding what most people on this planet make in a year, yet it barely lets me cover cost of living here.

How stupid of me.

Maybe we can blame society for setting up these crazy norms of nobility of hard work. Maybe we can blame our schools who only taught us how to be good workers and never taught us how to think. Maybe we can blame corporations for using every tool at their disposal to keep us enslaved.

Or maybe we should blame ourselves for being cattle and not even knowing it.

Image by juicyrai

Image by juicyrai

Today I discovered a subculture of people, the bookstore freeloaders. I sat in my local Borders coffee shop, ordered a tea, and read a magazine. Every table was taken with people who ordered a coffee a to justify their presence and used the bookstore as their personal free library.

Why not the library

Obviously, it is more fun to read in the bookstore sipping on a latte and browsing the magazine section for new hairstyles than going to the library, where they outlaw food and talk. The convenience of the shopping mall with its food court and children playground makes this the ideal library.

Proficient bookstore rats arrive early to snatch tables with power outlets. Plugging in their laptops they proceed to raid the bookstore for goodies to support their studies and they order just enough coffee or cheap water to be able to stay.

I tried to sit some of these people out, but after I read several magazines and ordered a few more coffee, I got tired. As I left, most of them still sat in their chairs. I bet they are still sitting there as I write this.

The regulars

What surprises me the most is that most of my fellow bookstore coffee shop freeloaders seem to be regulars.

This tells me that they are regulars. They prowl around the few empty tables as if it was a game of musical chairs and as soon as a spot opens up, they claw it for themselves. Normal people stand no chance to get in, unless they are as careless as I am.

Once they have secured a working place, they flip open their books somewhere in the middle and start reading. Apparently, the regulars are already familiar with their books and have come here often enough to know their book. It surprises me that they are not willing to drop the $15 it takes to walk home with their very own copy of “Losing my religion” or “The old man and the sea”.

Students

Students come here too. They look busy scribbling on paper or laptops with a book on the table. I assume their roommates are throwing a party and the students are trying to escape the noise. Who can blame them, but even the public library offers more books for them, a quieter environment and no coffee sales pressure.

Casual readers

Those are people like me. We sit here to pass time while our significant other shops, or to pick the right book out of a sea of related books.

Who are you? Are you a bookstore freeloader too?

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Obama merchandise

Obi Wan Kenobi or Obama van President, sometimes I get confused. The amount of Obama and whitehouse resident merchandise that we see today exceeds that of Star Wars, Star Trek and Stargate together. As you know by now, I am star-struck with StarFi.
Just this morning I saw an ad for Obama coins and just now one for some porcellan plate with Yogibama smiling back at me. If they continue milking his presidency in such a shameless manner, we will probably see “the Bush Family strikes back”, “Return of the Bidens”, “Clone a President”, “Revenge of the Republicans” produced by George Lucas. Currently we are still on “A new Hope” (how appropriate). Let’s just hope the phantom menace (GWB) won’t rear his ugly head again.
Enough with the merchandise. Let the man do some work and drag us towards the good side of the force again.
PS: I typed this post on my iPhone. The things I go through for you guys!

Image by pfala

Carbon footprint, carbon offset and carbon trading are the new buzzwords of carbon life forms (humans).

Googling ourselves to global warming

The dispute over Google’s carbon footprint is in full swing. Some people claim it already exceeds that of the entire airline industry. I think they are bozos and just to proof my point I will quickly run some queries from my iPhone while sniffing the air in Mountain View. I am sure driving around all day price shopping beats price comparison on Google for CO2 emissions.

Computer Viruses and Microsoft are the real climate killers

Years ago, I bought a laptop running Windows XP. It was super fast, everything I ever needed and wanted. The natural progression of Laptops made it slower and slower through some mystical force, probably updates.

The real bummer is that it was still slow after I wiped it clean and installed Windows with all security updates. Each update progressively slowing down my machine.

Either Microsoft is at the center of an evil conspiracy by the computer industry, who found an ingenious way to push new sales, they are too dumb to program, or virus prevention costs tons of CPU power.

Whichever it is, those are the people that force us to buy faster hungrier CPU’s create poisonous electronic waste and cause the Universe to collapse.

Why isn’t this used by marketing eggheads

Apple should start marketing their computers to tree huggers and soccer moms wishing to preserve the planet just long enough for their offspring to spawn new younglings.

Linux people should seriously look into this as well. I got Linux running on a computer from the last ice age, backing up my web servers and doing other unmentionable stuff on a fixed schedule.

Forget TransFats, Think Carbon Units

Even the food industry should start including this on their tags. Who cares about carbs, fats and sugars when you can compare carbon units?

Child labor plugged these fruits instead of gas guzzling farming machines does not sound good, but environmentally responsible farming does.

I demand to know if a modern slave harvested my caviar or a machine did it. I want to have a clear consciousness when I eat truffles dug out by starving children emitting almost no carbon dioxide. I want my cobe cows to fart as much as they want, but I want these farts to be collected and I want their food to be hand picked. Is that really too much to ask?

Buying a clear consciousness

If you find my post too offensive or cynical, you probably forgot that it is poor people that will starve first due to effects of global warming, but it wasn’t them who rode their SUV’s to work, dumped their waste everywhere and bought cheap plastic crap from China because it pays to pollute.

They did not choose to ignore the signs and they did not buy their clear consciousness through carbon trading.  However, they will pay the price first.

Image Credits: Pfala

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I am back from my hiatus.
I took December off to relax from the extra effort it took this year to hold on to my dead end job. To everyone else who is still working for someone else, I hope you take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. There is plenty of us suckers out there who will never get an opportunity in life, who are kept content and busy enough to keep plugging away without thinking too much about our situation, just smart enough for our job but too naive to see what’s happening. I wish all of you hard working individuals a happy new year. I know you deserve better and I am certain you won’t get it in 2009 either.
Just as you get really worried about your future and sell off your stocks or 401k, the gangsters are getting ready to buy up your shares so they can get richer on the rebound when you have to work your ass off to get back where you started, while being thankful to them for your puny job and fueling their rebound.
Pretty cool game. Try to get on the other side if you can!

WTF is wrong with America

How we are manipulated and abused by the ruling-class and do not even know it.

Pinky and Brain by _mpd_

Pinky and Brain by _mpd_

Today I was reading yet another article about the failure of the Auto industry bailout and how the Auto Workers Union is to blame (read the article).

AIG vs. GM

This article is not about the fact that the monarchy dumped over $150bln down the throats of AIG with their management living it up as if there was no tomorrow while making a big case of the $14bln (9% of the AIG bailout) the auto guys need right now.

It probably would make a nice case study on how the mass media manipulated the public opinion to the effect that we are now opposed to the auto deal while we do not even bother to ask about AIG anymore, despite the gross imbalance between them.

Money is never lost, we are robbed

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Money is never lost. Money only changes hands. When I read in the media that the global markets lost over $30 trillion so far this year, I know that this money is not lost, but that the ruling class just sucked another $30 trillion out of the impoverished global working class.

Here is how

If I own an asset (stock/house/…), I can sell it to you for $100. I manipulate the markets to drop and eventually force you to sell it back to me for $50. Now I own my asset again and I made $50 from you.

I make the markets drop by artificially drying up loans, inducing fear and other means and I make you sell back to me by inducing economic distress (more about this below).

Making the working class compliant

What struck me most about the New York Times article is that it is putting the blame squarely on U.A.W. (United Auto Workers Union). To be fair, the New York Times is economically depressed and probably just feeding us this crap as a means of survival. Their influence is worth more than their ad revenue will ever generate, but I digress.

Beating Stick 1: You are too expensive

While everyone blames the Auto Workers, the media is using the stick of underpaid workers to the south on them. Since foreign car companies run plants in other parts of the country and workers earn less with fewer benefits, we decided that the autoworkers in Michigan also must be entitled to less. Corporations shift work from country to country and within a country to cheaper and cheaper locations, meanwhile telling people in previous locations that they are too expensive.

Workers hear that they need to be flexible, need to work longer hours without pay and need to lose their pension plans in order to stay competitive or else.

Beating Stick 2: Layoffs

Are you not glad that you still have a job and do not have to join the ranks of countless families who do not know how to survive for now?

Having a job makes it easier for us to accept pay-cuts or no raise (which is a cut since housing and food prices keep going up), just because we feel privileged that we still have work while others do not.

The ruling-class uses this to take away our rights and our money, putting more in their pockets every day while we are happy fighting over the scraps.

Beating Stick 3: Promotion and Demotion

One of the main purposes of the ruling class is to keep us content. Using Promotion and Demotion they whip us into compliance. We fight each other for the Promotion just as we fight each other for the jobs themselves. The winner is the monarchy, who gets motivated hard-working slaves.

Distract people

The Romans invented the coliseum and the games to distract people from the politics. Today we have wars and reality shows to serve the same purpose. People are mindless drones in front of the television, sucking up all the cheap entertainment they can get. The agenda of our rulers is carefully mingled into the programming. We don’t even realize it.

Pensions

While they cut our pensions, we do not even revolt as long as we keep the job working for these a**holes. We are happy not to be kicked out altogether. The media calls for a cut of all sorts of benefits (see UAW) and blame all our hard fought for benefits as the main evil, not the billions of dollars send to shareholders and investors.

What is the purpose of all this?

The ruling class can only continue as long as we do not care and we really do not.

Buy my shit

Those of us who still have a job have to go out to buy more worthless shit. It is not as if we would not already have more shit than we ever needed. We can always have a yard sale to get rid of some shit to buy new shit. Advertisers tell us exactly why we need to buy all the shit.

We need the shit to feel better, to feel worthy, to be sexually desirable, to be superior to our neighbors, to look better for the opposite sex, to be cool or to fix any other mental inferiority complex we may have. Without all the shit, we are worthless. We can be perfectly happy one day, the happiest person in the world until we suddenly find out that our neighbor has a new car. The TV tells us that he/she is admired for it and that it radiates a certain social status. Since we are obviously higher up on the social ladder than him/her, we need a better car, even if that means taking out a credit so that we can afford it.

As soon as we find out, all our happiness fades and we have to buy a brand spanking new machine just to feel happy again.

Who benefits?

We get a credit at an outrageous rate, paying the ruling class more than twice of what the car is worth just so we can have the money to give it to another member of the ruling class in exchange for a polished piece of shit that looks good in the driveway.

Now we are happy at least for a day until we find out about some other useless gizmo.

Consumers

We are bread to be consumers and conditioned by the finest advertising messages and product placement schemes to want all the crap that we can get our hands on. We confuse true happiness with owning more shit and for that, we are willing to work even longer hours for yet another big shot making this one rich in the process. To satisfy our graving for new crap we neglect our families and friends just so we can buy the latest shit and feel superior for it.

Politics

Politicians are here to give us the feeling of control. We vote for them in the hope that everything will change for the better just to find out that we did not really accomplish anything. Occasionally a politician like Obama is voted as president, which is a sign that things are bad. Everything is ruined to the point that it does not even hurt them to let someone else take over for a while. This will calm the nerves and make people forget.

Politicians are not the problem and they are not the solution either. Sometimes they make mistakes and their true nature becomes apparent as it did in the recent Blagojevich case. An example is made of the idiot, to appease the people and give them the illusion of justice, but justice does not exist. These kinds of deals have always been part of a system where money rules and money buys judges and changes the law.

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