Monday, February 28, 2011

Why Are The Rich So Sad?

They must be, they keep bitching about the poor.  Instead of giving them something to do and hiring them (and paying them a living wage and offering their family healthcare benefits), they chastise them saying, "Get a job!"

Money can't buy you love or least, that's what the rich kept telling me all my life. But please, give me a chance, and let ME be the judge of that, ok?

The rich will deny every penny they can from you, knowing it means many more dollars in their pockets. The GOP calls this American capitalism. While the rich (and many in Congress) no longer needs any more money to comfortably live on, the rich will do all that they can to deny you living any better...depriving you of a job (a livelihood) by outsourcing, raising the costs of food and housing for you to live, then limiting the amount of unemployment benefits and food stamps you can have after they denied you work - playing God and determining how, and for how long, you can live.

They fly in private jets around the world, isolated from the filth called humanity. They look down on the masses like the Kings did on the peons. You will never bump into them on the street downtown, see them in a movie theater at the mall, or run into their shopping cart at the grocery store. They are much different than regular human beings...they don't live among us, they only keep the company of others like themselves. Regular people are gaping dogs who make them feel uncomfortable. We're like dirty beggars to them, always with our hand out, wanting more. We disgust them, but they smile at us, pretend they like us, to keep taking our money.

But the rich don't ever seem content. Millions of dollars will never be enough, they'll desire billions. So if having all that money is supposed to make them happy, then why the hell are they so sad?

Most Americans would be perfectly happy and living content lifestyles if they earned $174,000 a year, had healthcare insurance, and could retire at 50 years old after working 30 years. They would be living in comfortable homes, driving nice cars, eating well, buying the latest in electronic gadgets, putting their kids through college, shopping at the malls, taking vacations, and enjoying their favorite hobbies.

Realizing the American Dream.

And even those who earned less than $174,000 a year could also be very content and happy people too. If they only earned $50,000 (or less) they could still fall in love, raise families, enjoy their personal interests, live comfortably and be satisfied with their station in life. They didn't need to pursue and possess unlimited wealth, and most normal people never aspire to. The working-class knew their earning limitations and most lived within their means....and were happy.

But 15 million Americans who once earned $50,000 (or less) two years ago and lost their jobs aren't happy at all today. After exhausting what might have been $300 a week in unemployment benefits (which is $15,600 a year before taxes), they most likely have ZERO income now. Most have lost their comfortable homes and nice cars if they had loans with a bank. Most have lost their life's savings and their kid's college funds because they needed the cash to maintain the status quo while looking for another job - but most never found another job.

So why is it that those who make a $174,000 a year, a million, $2 million, $20 million, or $50 million a year are so damn unhappy, sad, depressed, and discontent with their life? They can all live quite well and never have to ever worry about becoming homeless or going hungry for the rest of their life. They have cash in the bank, and many can live very well just on the interest alone. So why don't they want those, who are only trying to survive on a meager $300 a week on UI benefits, to suffer more? It doesn't make any sense. Who are these monsters?

Are the rich mentally ill? Is it a psychosis they have? It usually seems that unless they came from wealthy backgrounds, they become this way after obtaining vast wealth. They change. They forget where they came from. They turn on those who are not wealthy like themselves. The poor become their enemy. The rich have become monsters.

Most of these people who earn $50 million a year don't even want those collecting $300 a week in unemployment benefits to have a job...the rich don't create jobs with their tax breaks, they send them overseas just so that next year they can take home even more millions of dollars a year. Like I asked before, who are these monsters? When is enough ever enough? They have several mansions;  I now live in someone's room without a car.

Maybe wealthy people such as Bernie Madoff's son  (and the Wall-Streeters after the crash of 1929) felt compelled to take their own lives because they couldn't bear the thought of having to live in a cozy 1-bedroom apartment like I once had. I almost took my life a month ago because I couldn't bear the thought of living on the streets.

But the rich blame me, that it's all my fault, saying it's because I don't have skills.

And all these wealthy people have the GOP (whose congressional members earn $174,000 a year) and Fox News commentators (like Glenn Beck earning 34 million a year) convincing those Tea Party people (who only might make $50,000 a year) that it's the scum like me (who once collected $300 a week last year) who is to blame for the working people not earning $50 million a year, for having their taxes go up, for their benefits and wages being cut, and for raising the age to collect Social Security.

Wow! I never realized that little ole me (bum, scumbag, lazy, low-life, loser, druggie, moron, and cigarette smoker) had all that power! Well golly!

Why is the rich always trying to get much richer? Is wealth, and the power that comes with wealth, more addicting than the cigarettes I still smoke? The same cigarettes that the wealthy CEOs of tobacco companies got me addicted to when I was only 14 years old because they deliberately added nicotine to them (making them more addicting), and then advertised them to me - - - and then lied to congress about not knowing that their cigarettes would kill me? Is wealth that addicting that the rich would kill people to obtain ever more wealth? Are they that immoral? *clear throat*product recalls*cough-cough*hack-hack*

How many rich celebrities, movie stars, musicians, professional athletes, and politicians have we witnessed going ballistic and over the edge? How many CEOs and bankers went insane too? Maybe their wealth doesn't make them happy at all. Maybe they're all sad. Maybe they're just sick malcontents who lost their minds, and by only killing poor people can make them happy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mike Huckabee Hates Working Americans

You all know him - the former governor of Arkansas, the potential presidential candidate, the Fox News commentator, the musician, the best-selling author, mister "nice guy" with the engaging smile, the polite and mannerly gentleman, the likable conservative Republican, the political hack and GOP propagandist.

Mike Huckabee will get a pension from the State of Arkansas which is already overwhelmed by the taxpayer-funded budget because, according to Huckabee, state workers are over-paid...and they are a burden on normal working people who earn significantly less than those greedy state employees. (Huckabee's dad was a fireman, so I suppose THEY are paid a fair wage and benefits, right Mike?)

After a career as a Baptist minister in Arkansas Huckabee once told his evangelist political supporters: “I'm just a guy over 50 looking for a job. I want to be the voice of the people who serve the food and drive the trucks. A lot of Americans wonder, does government understand what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck?” (Do you remember when you once did Mike?)

As Governor of Arkansas for 10 years Huckabee earned about $75,000 a year + very generous taxpayer-paid benefits. He also received $378,000 in consulting fees during 2006 while he was still governor of Arkansas. (You weren't living from paycheck to paycheck back then, were you Huck?)

Huckabee's major assets include: Bank and credit union accounts, stock, shares, money market fund and retirement account worth 297,000-$780,000. He has shares in 12 Stops Inc. worth $50,000-$100,000 and a $40,000 salary as an officer of 12 Stops Inc. He has bank accounts and other investments earning him another $10,000-$27,000 and business income from shares in Troufion Radio Network worth $10.000. He racked up "consulting fees" from the National Association of Music Manufacturers for $40,000 and then he published a book called "Do The Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America" (released on November 18, 2008) which became a New York Times Best Seller (earning him book sales and royalties $$$).

Then after Mikey got his high-paying gig at Fox News he started bashing state workers and labor unions. (Remember, his dad was a fireman.)

Governor Mike Huckabee has been on a whirlwind media tour lately complaining about the public unions. His biggest gripe seems to be that those who belong in public unions earn significantly higher wages than those in the private sector. And he's right, they do, but so what? There's a very good reason for that.

Most people in the private sector no longer belong in a labor union any more because mostly, for the last 40 years, corporations and the GOP have been actively union busting. Most people who worked in the private sector had no bargaining power with the companies they worked for. Hence the ever increasing disparity in corporate executive wages and their employee's. If common workers were lucky, they only had meager cost-of-living increases in their pay and benefits all those years, while corporate CEOs salaries have been rising dramatically. Read: Working Harder for Less

And also because politicians like Governor Mike Huckabee can't outsource a firefighter's job to China; but if all the fire trucks were being built in China, the good governor wouldn't complain if he profited personally from campaign funds that allowed for that.

Those who belong in public unions earn significantly higher wages than those in the private sector only because their elected politicians were forced to negotiate and bargain...unlike corporate CEOs who would outsource jobs overseas and to Mexico to escapee paying fair and honest wages. The political leaders of State governments can't outsource public jobs just to enrich their salaries. They can only take campaign bribes.

The political leaders felt compelled to give fairer increases in wages and benefits to public employees because they themselves were receiving their wages, healthcare benefits, and pensions from the taxpayers as well. How many State and Congresssional senators who have advocated cutting public service wages have also volunteered to cut their own wages to save on the cost of the budget? I count ZERO.

When was the last time Governor Mike Huckabee offered to sacrifice his taxpayer-paid pension, healthcare benefits, or expense accounts to save those poor taxpayers the cost in the state budget? Never.

The Republicans (who only favor the rich), always "talk the talk, but they never walk the walk" when it comes to government spending. They spend just as much as the Democrats, but the Democrats spend more on PEOPLE than the GOP leaders do. The Republicans love the military industrial complex because it's a $700 billion-a-year corporate grab bag with all kinds of goodies that Americans are supposed to need for their "defense". Both the Dems and the GOP have pet projects and earmarks; but they all earn too much, and most will lie to you too...just like Governor Mike Huckabee, the "good Christian".

Besides JUST the public unions, Governor Mike Huckabee (if he had REALLY wanted to be honest), would have emphasized that ALL people who work with ANY union representation generally earn significantly higher wages than those in the private sector. Corporations have been fighting against unions since the dawn of time, and they've been winning the class war. Union membership is significantly lower in the private sector, so it only stands to reason that wages are too. Why did good ole Mike fail to mention this vital point?

More American workers should be encouraged to join labor unions, so that THEY TOO could have the power to collectively bargain for fairer wages and better benefits. Governor Mike Huckabee uses the same old "divide and conquer" strategy that the rich have always get the private sector employees angry at the public sector employees so that the majority will support the GOP's plan of cutting the budget, but only at the expense of the working-class (i.e. Social Security, etc) and the poor (i.e. food stamps and unemployment benefits).

READ: This Is Why Americans Vote Against Economic Self-Interest - "You’ll see this question posed on talk shows and in blog post comments: Why do Americans vote in a way that is contrary to economic self-interest? Why do Americans support policies that shift capital to the richest one percent of the population? Some think it’s the myth of American individualism: that anyone can be a billionaire – just work hard and riches will be yours."

The GOP (and many wealthy and/or "bought" Democratic senators) has always allowed the rich to get away with paying LESS to the deficit (extending tax breaks, tax loopholes, off-shore accounts, government subsidies, outsourcing, etc), then they complain about the deficit's cost and wants the private sector employees to hold public sector employees accountable. Then the GOP threatens private sector employees (who are the majority, but without union representation) with cuts to THEIR government services such as Social Security - and then tricks them into blaming it all on the public workers and the unemployed. This is all ass-backwards!

Ask not just the public sector unions (police, fire, and teachers), but also ask all the other labor unions as well...such as the UAW, Steel Workers, etc. - - - they will all tell you, nobody is just going to GIVE you a raise voluntarily. No corporation (in the interest of fair play) is going to offer fair wages and healthcare unless they are forced to.

Our elected officials (in both parties), instead of busting unions, should make it easier to join a labor union; but there are many other things that should be done as well.

Only vote for politicians who will pass significantly tougher laws against corporate union-busting (and have them sign a legal binding contract too, because we can't trust their weasel-like smiles and sweaty handshakes)...and diligently enforce those laws with heavy fines and penalties. Also penalize those who don't enforce these laws as well.

Outlaw the outsourcing of ALL jobs to foreign countries (not even ONE lousy job, such as sweeping a factory floor), or impose extremely punitive penalties (to bypass corporate lawyers) if they circumvent the law to do this (like they do to evade paying corporate income taxes, using corporate trickery such as using shell subsidiary companies, being "global multi-national companies", etc).

Eliminate all the corporate tax loopholes so that revenues cam be collected, taxes that are needed for paying down the State, federal, and local government budgets - which includes paying those FAIR wages for government workers that Governor Mike Huckabee has been whining about like a baby on behalf off all the greedy corporate and wealthy interests.

Revoke all existing trade agreements. PERIOD.

For all this to work we need to eliminate campaign contributions by the corporations to politicians, who then feel compelled to pass legislation only favorable to them, not to workers or consumers. The Supreme Court decision on this in 2010 was a travesty of justice to most Americans because the majority of them are just regular working people who want better for themselves and their families - but most are being manipulated by the media, the corporations, and the politicians. Unions contribute significantly less, but we can eleiminate those as well. Impose a $1,000 maximum contribution per person (18 years of age or older with a Social Security number) so that way, we can ALL have equal access to our government leaders.

There should be continued oversight of the unions as well, as we know what happens when organizations like the mob get involved. But usually it's the banks, corporations and politicians who need most of the oversight. Still, when pensions are involved, wherever there's money, there's also the usual human greed. History has taught us this very well, time and time why do we keep forgetting?

Join a labor union, only buy American-made products (when and while you still can), and hold corporations to strict moral standards (corporate governance). It's not restrictive government regulations that's been hurting big businesses, it's been un-enforced (existing and non-existent) strict regulations that hurt average American workers and consumers...outsourcing their jobs, depressing their wages, and increasing their cost of living in housing, utilities, goods, and services.

Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour (exempting new startups, small businesses with less than 100 employees, and businesses less than 5 years old). Eliminate the "go-arounds" of larger corporations (over 1,000 employees) by mandating 40 hour work-week positions instead of two part-time 20 hour positions to escape paying for healthcare and other humane benefits.

Governor Mike Huckabee complains about the taxpayer-paid wages that the public workers earn, but before he had his own gig on Fox News, wasn't "The Huckster" also a public worker receiving taxpayer-paid wages? I'm sure he was over-paid too, just like most other politicians. And Governor Mike Huckabee is probably a wealthy man too, but he even though he won't need the money, I'll bet you that he has (or will) file for Social Security benefits too...taking even more money from the already over-burdened federal budget. He won't be THAT concerned about the budget!

To me, hypocrites like Governor Mike Huckabee are just like most politicians, all the GOP pundits (like Glenn Beck), and the greedy corporate nad investment executives - when they themselves no longer belong to the working-class (and will never need Social Security to survive on when they're too old to work), they always turn their backs on the rest of us - the common working people.

Let all those politicians like the former "honorable" Governor Mike Huckabee, the wealthiest 3%, the big banksters and corporate CEOs, all the employees at Fox News, and all the idiots such as Ben Stein, offer to cut their pensions, raise their healthcare premiums, and cut their salaries FIRST - - - only then we can have an honest and open discussion/debate about making cuts to State and federal budgets on the backs of the common working people.

And another thing: Why are rich people usually always reluctant to publicly admit to us how much money they have? They know exactly how much money we earn. Are the rich afraid of getting mugged? Are they afraid we'll ask them to pay more in taxes? Or are they just ashamed?

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Rich Always Blame the Poor for the Working-Class's Woes

When I used to live in NYC in 1980 my friend and room-mate Charlie Taylor was an actor and belonged to SAG (the Screen Actors Guild)...a union. Before we went our own ways he was doing extra work for CBS's "One Life to Live".

Charlie also belonged to AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists)...another union.

And then I got the idea...could Glenn Beck (the union hater and radio broadcaster) also belong to this union?

So just now I googled "aftra glenn beck" and found this blog post...and guess what? YES! Glenn Beck is a union man! (Or at the very least, most likely was in his early years.) Please make sure Ed Schultz knows about this !!!

My friend Charlie also did summer stock work, off-Broadway shows, and modeled - and he read all the trade he was very up on all this. He told me you HAD to belong to these unions if you were ever serious about getting any real work in New York City. And Glenn Beck, being a young and up-and-coming radio broadcaster in the "old days", would more than likely have had to belong to AFTRA at one time or another.

The rich in America (people like Glenn Beck) always blame the poor for the working-class's woes, but also blame the working men and women (such as union members) for our budget crisis.

It's pretty much common knowledge these days that the rich bankers and greedy corporations created most of our poor in the first place. But instead of paying more in taxes for the upkeep of our infrastructure and our American society as a whole (including paying more in unemployment compensation for the jobs that the bankers and CEOs killed), the rich want the working people to believe that it's the unemployed and the poor that are the sole cause of our budget crisis.

Then, when politicians raise the age and cut services such as Social Security, the working  people will blame the unemployed and poor for putting the budget in such dire straits - rather than blaming the rich. The rich need to convince the working people that it is the poor people's fault because the working people are a majority - - - and do most of the voting. (Of the total workforce, only 60% are employed full-time, 25% are employed part-time, and 15% don't work at all.) The rich need that 60% to blame the other 40% for the budget crisis (and have them turn on that 40%) - - - rather than blame the richest 3% and raise THEIR taxes. So rather than cut something such as military spending (which also enriches the few), the rich (using the GOP) will threaten cuts that they know will affect that 60%. The strategy is well known and has been used by the rich since usury was first practiced - it's called "Divide and Conquer".

These two articles that came out yesterday in the Huffington Post remind me of why working people always have to take the cuts (and make all the sacrifices) when the rich people never have to.

* The Incredible Shrinking Budget Debate: Why the Only Choice We're Being Offered Is Between Bad and Worse

* Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Warns Of 'Dire Consequences' If Budget Bill Fails To Pass

Instead having the rich pay more in taxes (and always having them accusing the poor of wanting to redistribute the wealth from the rich to the poor), the GOP always wants the working people to pay for the services that only the working people, the unemployed, and the poor that the rich don't need (except for maybe firefighters) and don't want to pay for. They don't even need teachers, police, nurses, or sanitation workers...they can hire their own.

The rich don't need Social Security, unemployment benefits, homeless shelters, daycare centers, or food stamps. They only need infrastructure (roads, bridges, and airports). But they don't want to pay for that either. How can they make a profit building a highway or hiring commercial air traffic controllers? But the rich need them too.

The rich have always passed on the responsibility (and the blame) for any lack of government services in a budget crises, then wants the working-class to collectively pay for all those services that only the working-class, the poor, and unemployed need - and then they accuse the poor of being the enemy of the keep the those (who still have jobs) from turning on the rich, and instead, make the poor and unemployed the enemy of the working-class.

The Republican Shakedown (Exerpted from the Huffington Post) - "If the super-rich paid their fair share of taxes, government wouldn't be broke. If Governor Scott Walker hadn't handed out tax breaks to corporations and the well-off, Wisconsin wouldn't be in a budget crisis. If Washington hadn't extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich, eviscerated the estate tax, and created loopholes for private-equity and hedge-fund managers, the federal budget wouldn't look nearly as bad.

And if America had higher marginal tax rates and more tax brackets at the top -- for those raking in $1 million, $5 million, $15 million a year -- the budget would look even better. We wouldn't be firing teachers or slashing Medicaid or hurting the most vulnerable members of our society. We wouldn't be in a tizzy over Social Security. We'd slow the rise in health care costs but we wouldn't cut Medicare. We'd cut defense spending and lop off subsidies to giant agribusinesses but we wouldn't view the government as our national nemesis.

The final truth is as income and wealth have risen to the top, so has political power. The reason all of this is proving so difficult to get across is the super-rich, such as the Koch brothers, have been using their billions to corrupt politics, hoodwink the public, and enlarge and entrench their outsized fortunes. They're bankrolling Republicans who are mounting showdowns and threatening shutdowns, and who want the public to believe government spending is the problem. They are behind the Republican shakedown."

When will the people of both political parties - and all independents - WITH jobs today (who may not tomorrow), wake up and realize that just because they're working now, it doesn't mean that just THEY should always have to pay for the poor and unemployed...the rich should pay more as well. The rich will ALWAYS make the working class pay more, then blame those that can't find work (or can't work at all), for being the sole reason we have so much debt. Yet the rich never blame themselves for lack of GDP after outsourcing all the jobs.

Why don't those who still have jobs, instead, blame the rich for sending jobs to China, thereby creating the poor and unemployed that the working people are eventually forced to pay for? The rich have been getting away with this for years. First they cut and outsource jobs, then they get fat bonuses for doing so, then they bribe politicians to keep their taxes low, then they ask that the budget be cut (because those that they laid off can no longer pay the taxes needed to pay off the debt), then they ask that the debt be cut on things like Social Security, just to enrage the working people against those who lost their jobs and need unemployment benefits.

The rich have always had the best of all world's - - - getting cheaper labor for higher profits and salaries, and forcing those still working to make all the sacrifices - and to pay for those who aren't working any longer.

For years it's been the rich who have been redistributing the wealth...from the working people (who then become unemployed people) to the rich people - just to make rich people richer. The rich have always blamed the poor for the working people's woes, when it has always been the rich that created the working people's woes.

8 Charts to make my point:

The rich have always blamed homeless people for their living in the cold, all while at the same time flaunting their warm and opulent mansions in the faces of the working-class, then blaming the homeless people as the reason why the working-class don't also live in big beautiful mansions as well.

Click on the photo below to enlarge NOTE: These aren't universities, museums, or government office buildings...these are single family homes that rich Americans live in. Many rich people own several of these  palaces - - - across this nation, and elsewhere around the world.

Half your wages go to pay for the roof over your head. Most rich people pay cash-in-full for their roof, they don't struggle every day trying to bust a monthly nut for 50 years so they that can "retire" on meager Social Security checks. Do you REALLY think that if it were not for the unemployed and homeless, YOU TOO could also live in one of these beautiful mansions?

I think not, but we need the people who DO live in these homes to hire us so that we can pay our share of taxes. We don't need the richest among us to send our jobs to China any more. If they continue to do so, then it's only you who'll have to work harder and longer just to pay more in taxes...because the GOP will always makes sure that the richest don't have to.

If you have a nice middle-class job, don't blame the unemployed and the poor if you get stuck like a pig with higher taxes or reduced government services. Put the blame squarely where it belongs - on the incredibility rich (and their GOP servants). It is the filthy rich who would rather not pay you ANY wages at all - and have you pay ALL the taxes too. Their greedy greasy fingers grub for every single penny in savings they can aquire for themselves...many even collecting unemployment and Social Security benefit themselves if they can - - - money that they certainly don't need. But yet they would deny all that they could from you.

No wonder the union-man Glenn Beck always bashes the poor and wanted all those tax breaks extended for the dirty rich. Because NOW he's dirty too! Beck now makes $34 million a year at Fox News (not like the old days when he was a drunk), so I wonder how much HIS boss makes. And does everyone else at Fox News also belong to the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and still bash the unions?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm a Recovering Beck-o-holic

I'm ashamed to admit it but yes, my name is Bud Meyers and I have a confession to make. I'm a recovering Beck-o-holic. I was never a "Beckhead", that would simply imply that I was just a big "fan" of his. But I was much more than that...I was a "follower", much like the Tea Party members or those who followed Jim Jones to Guyana. I was a "true believer".

Back then I was in the gutter, I had reached rock bottom, I was a lost soul, and I was pathetic.

When I was a teenager I wore bell-bottomed jeans with patches and protested against the Viet Nam War. Glenn Beck was only a 7-year-old snot-nosed kid at the time.

During this same period in my life (when I used to get high), I was also anti-big-business, anti-government, and "anti" almost everything else except for free love and pot. I had shoulder-length hair and I liked listening to Jimi Hendrix, Blind Faith, and the Rolling Stones - just to name a few.

But what I didn't know was, I was just a stupid and rebellious young man who didn't know any better.

I definitely wasn't a jock or a surfer in those days, but I wasn't a hippie per se either. I thought bikers were cool back then, but I wasn't a tough guy or an outlaw either - I just like customized Harleys ever since seeing the movie Easy Rider. And my best friend's dad at the time had restored vintage Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycles in his garage, and I occasionally had a ride on one.

Sometimes my friends and I called ourselves "heads" or "freaks"...but the neighbors, our teachers, and our parents called us other things.

One of my friend's dad labeled himself as a right-winger, but my friend and I were just young impressionable young men back then and didn't really understand politics or the economy in those days...we just hated Nixon because the cool college kids and George Carlin berated or made fun of him.

We weren't really "cool", we just aspired to be cool by mimicking others that we thought were cool...just as young people always have, just as they still do today. We had no clue at all.

I never hung out with those college kids who protested the Viet Nam War (the ones that I thought were cool and who had evaded the draft with deferments because of the influence their wealthy corporate fathers held); I hung out with the GIs who were a few years older than me and had just returned from that war. I didn't spit on them, I went camping  with them, I got high with them, and I lived and worked with them in the factories of Western Massachusetts.

JFK had been my last favorite President at the time and I suppose as a young man I might have been a liberal Democrat if I had had to label myself politically. But I had no idea what either political party was all about. It wasn't until I had to support myself by working a full-time job, and then when Ronald Reagan became President, did I make the conscience choice of calling myself a Republican. I suppose it was his charm, sense of humor, and tough talk that enamored me to him. I hadn't realized it at the time that what the GOP had been doing all that time was dismantling the working-class with outsourcing and anti-unionism.

Most of my working life (38 years, since 1973) I belonged to one labor union or another, because the wages and benefits were usually always better than working in non-union jobs. It wasn't until I became laid of in 2008 did I have time to reflect on my political beliefs, studying the economy and the political tenants of both major parties more vigorously. What an eye-opener my research has been, and how naive and ignorant I've been most of life.

I felt foolish to learn that the Republicans have always disdained the working-class (me) and were only beholden to the big-businesses (my bosses), those immoral entities that I once despised as a young and uninformed man.

I used to watch Glenn Beck occasionally when he was still at CNN, when I was still working. After I was laid off in 2008 I watched Beck every day he aired at his new gig at Fox News. Once he joined Rupert Murdoch's rabid "news" crew, Glenn Beck's sanity really began to unravel. But because I watched him all the time, and because I still thought I was a conservative Republican, I didn't notice the gradual change from one day to the next. I had already been brainwashed by the time Glenn Beck first started railing against America's unemployed.

The summer of 2010 was about the time I went from Republican to Democrat, and I have Glenn Beck to thank for that, and for opening my eyes. He had lied about me - personally. I was so shocked that I had to ask myself, "If he will lie about me, what else has he been lying about all this time?"

Before, when Glenn Beck had bashed Obama and the Democrats and the unions, like an idiot, I cheered him on. When he blamed the demise of our country on all the socialists in our government, I despised all those evil-doers as much as Beck did. When he attacked Obama-Care, so did I. When he ridiculed the progressives, so did I. When he called the 99ers Socialists who only wanted a government hand-out and were trying to bring down our country I stopped dead in my tracks.

WTF?!?!? I had asked myself, "Did Glenn Beck just call me a Socialist?"

Regarding the 99er rally in NYC: On August 12, 2010 at 1 PM (PST) Neil Cavuto on Fox News insisted that the 99ers were only protesting for more jobless benefits, and not for jobs. His guest, Tara Setmayor (a Republican "communications director" / corporate propagandist) agreed with him, implying that the 99ers were only looking for more entitlements (government hand-outs). She had used the same old tired argument that the unemployed would rather collect unemployment benefits, rather than find work. But that's also a lie, and I can prove it.

A few days later (when I still considered myself a conservative Republican) I wrote a press release about Glenn Beck's rant.

And what Fox News also deliberately failed to mention at that time was, there were no jobs for the 15 million unemployed. A few members of the AFL-CIO such as the UFT (Teachers Union) only showed up at that 99er rally in NYC to show support for the 99ers (many who were laid off union members themselves). I saw only two members of the Democratic Socialists of America there with a single banner.

But for the most part, it appeared to be a largely average and diverse cross-section of ordinary American citizens who showed up at the rally. So as usual, Neil Cavuto and Fox News had been bashing the labor unions and unemployed.

Mister Nickels, a co-founder of the Unemployed Workers Action Group and the American 99ers Union responded to Glenn Beck's ignorant rants about the rally in this post.

I began listening more carefully to what the real message of the GOP was all about and what their media propaganda arm (Fox News/Beck) were spouting, reading between the lines. After a while, I didn't have to read between the lines at was all out there for the whole world to see.

I started a "Fox News Wall of Shame" on my last website (which is down now for lack of funds). I had carefully monitored and made notes and counter-arguments for all their lies. But after a while, I found  myself getting so angry that I could barely watch the likes of Glenn Beck any longer. After only a few short minutes of just seeing his face, I was prompted to quickly change the channel - I was that disgusted. I suppose I just couldn't stand the thought that I had been so taken in by him and his puppet-masters for so long, and my shame of my own ignorance was shoved in my face every time I saw Fox News on my TV set.

And it made me many millions of others who used to think like me are still out there, but who might still be employed and still believe all the insane rhetoric that Beck spews. That it's the labor unions who are to blame - it's the unemployed who are to blame - it's the poor who are to blame - it's the Democrats who are to blame. How many people in America still believe this nonsense? That the Republicans (corporations and bankers) are the "good guys" and the labor unions and laid-off workers are the "bad guys". Scary!

People like Glenn Beck of Fox News always wants their audience to believe that all liberals are Socialists. But only a small number of Americans actually call themselves that, and just affiliate themselves with the Democratic Party because MOST support the average working American, not the greedy banksters and multi-national corporations. What red-blooded communist would associate themselves with the GOP, those who are more like Nationalists, and don't believe that the other half of the country aren't even true Americans?

Myself, I believe that all members of the GOP leadership are true Americans, they're just "anti" anyone who earns less than $50,000 a year - and are only "lukewarm" to small businesses owners that GROSS between $1 and $5 million a year. The Republicans are against average working Americans and primarily support the's that simple, and has always been. Stupid me.

While I still don't consider myself to be a far leaning left-wing liberal, I might considerate myself to be a moderate Democrat. I still don't agree with idiots like Al Gore on global warming, but even though there is some man-made global warming with our carbon emissions, the next long great Ice Age will most likely be the result of the naturally re-occurring 25,000 year cycle this planet experiences because of earth's spin on its own axis. Al Core is still just a fear-monger, creating and profiting on the ignorance of others...much like those in the GOP.

But I'm definitely no longer a "conservative", which in itself is misleading. There's nothing conservative about giving tax breaks to the rich while people who busted their backs all their life are being threatened with more years of hard labor before they can retire on their measly Social Security checks, getting very little cost-of-living increases. Glenn Beck is rich now, so he and HIS family no longer needs Social Security. Although 15 years ago he would have. But most average Americans can't be wealthy, because somebody has to do the REAL manual labor.

And I know for a fact that I'm no longer a Reaganite or Republican either. I'm just a regular guy who supports average working Americans and resents greed and corruption in our politicians and corporations. And I despise liars like Glenn Beck too. Go ahead Mister Beck, sue me for slander, I dare you! Kick this little blogger while he's down! You kicked me before when you slandered me!

"When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose."

Like Glenn Beck, I was also born a Catholic. But for one or two weddings, I haven't been to church in 30 years, so I'm probably a very bad Catholic. But unlike Glenn Beck, I never converted to Mormonism - but maybe now, instead of being a bad Catholic himself, Beck's become a very good Mormon at the urging of his wife. But Glenn Beck's no Saint. I just hope I'm not near as bad as all those who are not true Orthodox Jews, those that the all-knowing Glenn Beck has been ranting about lately. But Mister Beck is no Mother Teresa himself; he never took a vow of poverty to help the poor and disenfranchised. He, like the rest of Fox News and the GOP and the big corporations and our government leaders and the wealthiest 2% of this country - all wants everybody else to do most of the sacrificing during the Great Recession, but they all offer to sacrifice so little themselves. I've lost everything, what has Glenn Beck lost? So who truly holds the moral high ground?

Withholding the funding of federally extended unemployment benefits (for the jobless and the other potential 99ers who still qualified) last December in exchange for extended tax cuts for the richest 2% was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. The GOP was never so transparent.

Glenn Beck said the long-term unemployed (the 99ers) should be ashamed to call themselves Americans. I admit it, I am ashamed. But not for being a 99er, nor for being un-American, but for being a recovering Beck-o-holic. But I'm also proud to report to you that for the last several months, I've also been clean and sober. I used to be one of these Fox News sheeple, but no more.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My America, from Middle-Class to Food Stamps

I never thought it could ever come to this. Thank God my father can't see me. At 55 years old, I now need food stamps just to eat.

Most people in this county who STILL HAVE jobs in 2011 (and aren't "under-employed") will most likely tell you that it's all my fault. I sometimes read the reader's comments whenever I am mentioned in a news article, and their ignorance still amazes me. I'm amazed, but not surprised. I've been reading their garbage for the past two years while all the mass layoffs were occurring.

And in 2011 the general public (those who weren't affected by outsourcing, layoffs, or wage and hour cuts) are all still saying the same exact things that were being said during the height of last Great Depression. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt had addressed this farce in one of his famous speeches saying [paraphrased], "Millions of hard-working Americans didn't suddenly become lazy alcoholics overnight."

I grew up once believing that America was exceptional, even though I always knew that most politicians were never doing a "service" to this country, but were only servicing themselves. Hell, that's been common knowledge to the citizens of this nation since the founding of this country.

From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem wage of $6.00 a day, but only while actually in session - except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. They first began receiving an annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year. The current salary in 2011 for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is now $174,000 per year. But the average median household income for ordinary Americans (many with both husband and wife working) is only $46,000 a year.

But as corrupt as America's system has always been, I was taught to believe that it was the best in the world. And that if I worked hard, was honest, and gave my best efforts, I would have a much better chance to become successful than I would if living under a dictatorship. But now I suppose it had always been just a matter of choosing between the "better of two evils".

A little over two years ago in 2008, after working hard for almost four decades, I was on my way to retiring. While I had been earning the "median household income" I was laid off. Now I've lost almost everything I owned, I have no job or income at all, I have no money left in the bank, I have no prospects for the future, and I only subsist because of the charity of another person and government food stamps ($200 a month for 6 months). Did I (and 15 million other Americans) suddenly fail, or did our system of government, our leaders, and capitalism fail?

Most average Americans who were born and raised in my era were taught to think that the ideologies or Marxism, Socialism, and Communism were evil. Despots and dictators ruthlessly ruled their countries by oppressing the masses and acquiring their nation's wealth for their own personal use. They lived in elaborate palaces and flaunted their wealth and power while their people lived in poverty. Their armies were used to control their own population, besides just being used for their national defense...but they usually only defended the dictator's status, not so much for the people's personal safety.

America was supposed to be much different, better, and a model of democracy. A place where their citizens had a voice in their day-to-day lives. Americans were taught that the ideologies of Marxism, Socialism, and Communism were our enemies, and that they threatened our way of life, where everyone had a say as to how their lives were lived.

We were taught the "Domino Theory", that America (as the World's policeman with a $700 billion annual defense budget) could not allow a Communist country to invade and conquer another sovereign  nation...that eventually the whole world would be dominated by the "Reds" - and then a new World Order would eliminate America and shackle it's citizens into slavery.

But right after World War II corporate America empowered the "bad guys" by building factories in all these "rouge" nations. GM had already been building cars in Germany while Hitler was still in power. America, as a "nation builder", promoted "democracy" in these defeated nations to open up "emerging markets" for corporate America. But even long before that, raw materials that were discovered in Third World countries were already being exploited for industrialized nations (Europe and corporate America).

China armed and supplied North Korea and North Viet Nam to kill over 100,000 American soldiers; and to cripple and maim countless a huge cost to the U.S. taxpayers and to the country's unity. These were countries that corporate America envisioned as "emerging markets" (they learned of the potential for profitability long before Germany and Japan). How many factories do American corporations now have in China? Remember the Chinese, the Communists, the Reds, our enemy, the ones who will forever try to dominate the world and enslave American citizens?

Weren't countries like China oppressing the masses, violating human rights, and acquiring their nation's wealth for their own personal use? Don't their leaders lived in elaborate palaces? What of America's masses, who only control 10% of the nation's wealth while the other 10% of the population (the corporate "elitists") control the other 90% of the nation's wealth - and who don't live in palaces, but rather mansions? What is the difference in this disparity of wealth in a Communist country or a capitalist country if the only difference is that America's dictatorship consists of 545 mini-dictators (the President, 535 members of Congress, and 9 Supreme Court judges) instead of just one all-ruling despot?

But long before corporate America had sent all the jobs overseas to places like China, "corporate America" had used even cheaper labor, they were called slaves. Big businesses in this country never did, and never will, have any morals when only aspiring for profits. Today they would just as soon divide this nation, as was during our Civil War (and move their wealth elsewhere), rather than ever do the "right" thing. Corporate America has no patriotism and are not honor-bound to anyone, anything, or to any country.

Today the men and women who rule this country through the banks and multi-national corporations are no better than the Robber Barons of yesteryear. If they could, they would, still pay you with company tokens to be spent in their company stores, and have you live in company housing...controlling every aspect of your life to further enjoys the fruits (wealth) of your labor. There would be no labor unions, bargaining agreements, labor laws, paid holidays, 8 hour work-days, or minimum wages. If they could, they would, beat you with a whip to induce higher productivity.

Our Constitution proclaims that (at least, here in America) "all men are created equal"; but over the years quiet discussions persist behind closed doors of population control - because of the limited and finite natural resources that are available for human existence as we live today. The people of the working-class in America don't even hold the value of 3/5ths human to the "powers that be" - as did the slaves when our Constitution was written. American corporations treat the citizens of this country with no more respect, and they have been systematically eliminating us entirely by economic means. We are no longer hunter-gatherers or farmers, so how do they expect us to survive? They don't, and they don't give a damn either.

America is not going forward, it's going backwards for the working people. American corporations (with the help of our government "leaders" using the media) has been deliberately doing this for years, using a variety of strategies. Outsourcing jobs, eliminating labor unions, increasing the prices of commodities, offering meager wages with little to no cost-of-living increases, and making it much more difficult to regulate them. Then to add insult to injury, they slander the workers after laying them off, calling them unskilled while desperately fighting against any increases in their own tax obligations for corporate and income taxes - revenues that we desperately need to finance government services to help the jobless people. Then they have their political hacks cut everything that usually the working-class and the poorer people need.

Who really still believes that your voice is heard unless (or until) you use your right to assemble and gather a few hundred thousand bodies together in one geographical location and carry a sign and chant? Otherwise, your voice is NEVER heard, not even in the elections. Your vote never counts because no matter who is elected among our corrupted politicians, they are beholden to their campaign contributors and only think about re-election. They will always lie and say ANYTHING to get elected, but never abide by your wishes - and they will always cling pathetically and desperately to their power. But of course, that too is common knowlege and has been since the founding of this nation.

And almost all of our mini-dictators, the dirty politicians and their puppet masters (the filthy CEOs) target the poor, the disenfranchised, and the unemployed...blaming them for America's woes while comfortably relaxing in their palaces mansions and limos while collecting their very generous shareholder-paid and/or taxpayer-paid salaries and pensions. Who is REALLY getting the hand-out? Who is REALLY on the dole? Who is REALLY the freeloader? Who is REALLY the enemy of America and her working-class? Is it Marxism, Socialism, and Communism? Is it China or terrorists? Or is it our domestic enemy, the enemy within?

Congress makes (not "earns") $174,000 a year, and the CEOs and bankers are raking in millions (and paying less in taxes while receiving extravagant benefits, bonuses, and "allowances" - not to mention the best healthcare that money can buy), as 15 million Americans are no longer even given an opportunity to earn a skimpy $46,000 a year - (let alone qualify for any further unemployment compensation). Eventually they will all (like me) lose everything and become destitute too, just like those protesting in the Middle East today.

The Middle East is on fire now; big changes may soon be on the horizon - whether it's good for American corporations or not, that doesn't matter at all to me. As an American citizen, I wish the citizens of the Middle East and North Africa all the best of luck. What will be, will be. Those oppressed peoples of despots and dictators have had enough. When will the American people say the same thing? When will THEY have had enough? If we take to the streets, will our armies fire upon us like the armies in Libya - or as our own National Guard did at Kent State (Four dead in Ohio)? Will American citizens do nothing until, just like the people of Egypt, they have nothing left to lose (like I do already today)? I pray the tipping point comes in my lifetime...nothing would make me happier than to see those who destroyed our American Dream being destroyed themselves.

Then maybe all of the Glenn Beck's of this country, those who helped enrich the few and denied 15 million Americans a way of life, will all have to beg for food stamps too.

If I were to write another book, it might be...

Two related articles:

Federal poverty levels are so far out of line with actual basic living costs, that rent alone would consume the annual salary of anyone living below the poverty threshold.  You simply cannot afford to rent an apartment anywhere in America , if your income is below the poverty level, never mind also pay for food, health care, transportation, heat and electricity.
There's no doubt that government budgets are in trouble. The big lie is that the reason is excessive spending. Public budgets are in trouble because revenues plummeted over the last two years of the Great Recession. They're also in trouble because of tax giveaways to the rich.
The problem isn't that we've been spending too much. It's that most Americans have been getting a steadily smaller share of the nation's total income. At the same time, the super-rich have been contributing a steadily-declining share of their own incomes in taxes to support what the nation needs -- both at the federal and at the state levels.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Jobless Class

America used to consist of the Upper Class, the Ruling Class, and the Working Class (once called the "middle-class" by rich people to make all the smucks feel better about their status in society). Now we have the Jobless Class.

The CEOs created this new class of people in America - the Jobless Class, vastly expanding our national poverty rate. You no longer have to be a minority living in an inner city to be poor, nor do you need to be a high-school drop out living in the rural deep South. Now poverty exists as an equally equitable economic condition all across America. People of all races, color, creed, and national origins have been thrown under the bus for corporate profits.

Corporations act anonymously as limited liability bureaucracies - and whenever possible no single person ever takes blame or responsibility for killing people for lack of recalling defective products, nor does any one person ever take blame for screwing up or outsourcing jobs. As individuals they hide behind corporate titles - CEOs will say they have "shareholders" to appease and the board of directors must do everything they can to maximize profits. It's the American way. It's capitalism. It's what made our country great.

Maybe 40 years ago that was true, just before oil production peaked in America, but it's no longer true today. Capitalism as is exists now in 2011 has been a disaster for this country.

Click chart to enlarge

Currently in February 2011 the true (U-3) unemployment rate is about 15% - not the 9% the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, and that the media then passes on to the public to digest. The reality is, it will be impossible to ever put the present 15 million jobless Americans back to work...those jobs have been permanently lost. The very best we can hope for now is that new jobs will be created for all those who are first entering the job market, but it will take years to reverse the course of out-sourcing. Going forward, the best America can do now is to elect government leaders that will address the problem of out-sourcing. The longer we wait for such action by our government leaders, the longer this will take, and the longer it will be to turn the economy around and to re-build America's working class.

The stock market has only recovered because American corporations have empowered foreigners as consumers, by giving them jobs and thereby enabling them to buy their products. When the cost of oil becomes too prohibitive to ship their goods that are being manufactured overseas to America for sale to us, they will already by that time have a solid customer base in the countries where their factories exist. Any imports America receives from abroad will have huge markups to cover the cost of shipping them around the world to us. An America corporation making iPods in China can sell them there (in an "emerging market"), they won't need to sell them to us, a shrinking market because of unemployment and low wages. China, on the other hand, has 1.2 billion people (with a 4% unemployment rate) to sell their widgets to, as opposed to America's measly 308 million people (with a whopping 15% unemployment rate).

The best is behind us as for the is a permanent economic condition that (because of 40 years of outsourcing) will take another 40 years to correct - IF WE START CORRECTING THIS NOW. If not, the longer we wait for such action by our government leaders, the longer this will take, and the longer it will be to turn the REAL economy around and to re-build America's working class.

Outsourcing was discovered through America's wars when our GIs (even on their meager GI salary) had enormous buying power with American dollars overseas. My father used to buy the very best in electronics (stereos and TVs) that were being manufactured in Japan when he was stationed in Asia, and he was allowed to ship a limited amount of weight as his personal belongings back to America for free when his tour of duty had expired. He brought back things that would have cost 3 or 4 times as much here because of shipping and import taxes (This was just after World War II, when GM collected "war reparations" and "tax credits" from U.S. taxpayers because our bombers had destroyed their factories in Germany. That was GM's FIRST government bail-out).

Many of the people in corporate America realized that with such an enormous population base in places like China, that by giving them jobs (and paying them less than their American counter-parts, and with much less government regulation), they could also eliminate shipping and added taxes before trying to make profits selling their goods to American workers. It cost a lot more money to build factories in America too - there is no Carpenter's Union in China demanding fair wages. And energy was much cheaper too because the government of China was much less concerned with the environment than we are in America.

From the Huffington Post today on outsourcing: "The once-supreme American semiconductor industry had 90% of the world market in 1980, but have less than 10% today."

The reality is, it will be impossible to ever put the present 15 million jobless Americans back to work...those jobs have been permanently lost. The very best we can hope for now is that new jobs will be created for all those who are first entering the job market, but it will take years to reverse the course of out-sourcing.

The new "normal" unemployment rate for America will no longer be 5%, but closer to 10 or 15%...that is the reality. Corporate America destroyed the working class for higher profits (raking in HUGE salaries, stock options, and bonuses), but they don't want to pay any more in taxes to help all the new poor people they created in America.

Reuters reports: The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005. During that same time corporate sales in the United States totaled $2.5 trillion. Senator Carl Levin of Michigan said, "Too many corporations are using tax trickery to send their profits overseas and avoid paying their fair share in the United States."

Corporations were contributing just 6.6% and 7.2% in 2009 and 2010 of the total federal tax receipts - - - a 50% drop relative to the rate before the financial crisis > Source

Thanks to the CEOs (who I think have no "class" at all), the Working Class has been vastly reduced and the Jobless Class is here to stay. Chances are, if you're over 44 years old and were laid off these past two years, you'll never work again...ever, for the rest of your life.

* Google George Green, who talks about population reduction after the economic collapse - "How I Went From New World Order Player To Adept New World Order Exposer!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

National Deficit - The Scalpel or the Axe?

How can we see something as big and as bright as a star if it doesn't even exist?

When we think of the vastness of space - whether it be the entire Universe, our galaxy, or just our own solar system - it's incomprehensible to us. NASA scientists have tried to put this into perspective for us by using graphics that were created using data from satellite telescopes. But that little image we see on our computer monitors or TV sets doesn't tell the whole picture. It's only a snapshot in time (which is relevant to space-time). When we look at a star, we see it as it ONCE was many light years ago...we're looking into the past. It could no longer exist today but we wouldn't know this for a very long time - because its light takes so long to reach our eyes over the vast distances of space.

Our federal bureaucracy and our budgets are almost as vast and incomprehensible as the Universe is to most of us. Yet our politicians (and the supposed "economists") crunch the numbers as though a company bookkeeper or an accountant might...and even within their tiny budgets huge mistakes are often made and embezzlement occurs, bankrupting the company. This happens in government as well, but on a much grander scale (government waste, fraud, and abuse).

President Obama talks about taking a scalpel to the budget, while at the same time the Republicans want to recklessly use an axe. Both are wrong and both ways are impossible to do. After cutting or adding a dollar here or there, we won't see the actual outcome for a very long time to come - we won't see the immediate repercussions. After I lost my job two years ago (source of revenue), I didn't know I would have burned through my savings (budget surplus) and ended up broke (bankrupt) and still remained unemployed. In hindsight, I would have done things much differently.

The problem we have today was allowed to happen over there can not be any quick fixes. It's just like turning a huge super-tanker 360's not going to turn on a dime. And with America's vast financial problems, the deficit will have to be fixed incrementally, a little at a time. But before we can fix a problem, we have to identify the problem first, then try to fix the problem, and then wait to see the results.

We are in a deep hole and it will take a long time to dig out. The GOP's plan to use an axe is like spinning your rear tires when you're stuck in sand or'll just dig yourself in deeper. Obama's plan to use a scalpel is too little, too late. No amount of financial surgery will help if time is the only thing the patient needs before they can heal. But we first have to properly diagnose the patient's illness before we can administer the proper treatment (I mention a few below).

Let's start with jay-o-bees - JOBS. Jobs are a global (and universal) necessity. Humans need things to do to fulfill their primary needs of food and shelter. If millions of American jobs are going to China, that's a very good thing if all America wants to do is to improve the human condition for people living on the other side of our planet. Why don't we help those in another galaxy as well, before helping those living across the street from us? Zorons living a million light years away can pay taxes to THEIR extra-terrestrial treasury before we can lower our national debt too!

It was (mostly) Republicans who caused the Great Recession...but the Democrats helped too, such as Senators Frank and Dodd and all the others involved in the collapse of the housing market due to such things as poor oversight, unregulated financial markets, un-enforced laws, and poor laws to begin with (and let's not forget those who actually created the "housing bubble").

  - Two years ago we were in the middle of massive layoffs as the stock market was crashing.
  - A year ago we had 10 million jobless Americans receiving unemployment insurance compensation.
  - A year from now those same 10 million Americans will most likely still be jobless but with no income at all, yet the stock market could be trading at all-time highs.

All the jobs created last year in 2010 weren't even enough to employ those first entering the job market. Younger graduate students are taking any new jobs being created before the unemployed are ever even being considered for re-hire again. Older workers have been discriminated against for both: being old, and for being unemployed. But usually they are given the excuse of being either "over qualified" or "lacking the necessary skills". (All those "old" people always seem to be falling between the cracks somewhere outside the middle.)

Last month we only netted 35,000 private sector jobs when 1.25 million a month for a one straight year is needed just to break even. Now the GOP wants to bust public worker's unions, lay off more people, and raise the jobless rate even higher (GOP House leader John Boehner: "So be it.") Why don't we lay off some damn political hacks too!

America's "normal" unemployment rate had been raised by the government from 5% to 6% - now there's talk of 7% (today China's new "normal" unemployment rate is 4%, just as ours once was a few short years ago.)

The stock market (corporations and banks) have been recovering, but 15 million (plus) Americans still remain jobless. So, is the economy recovering? Where is the rising tide, lifting all our pathetic little boats Mister Reagan? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

Ask the CEOs and bankers: "What's in your wallet?" when your jobless benefits run out and you are forced to apply for food stamps.

With so many people laid off and being unemployed for so long (and because of property values), the federal, State, and local governments are all going broke for lack of tax revenues.

...yet the corporate executives and bankers had their tax breaks extended another two years...

...but jobless benefits were only extended 13 months while the stock market just hit another two-year high.

 - Republicans (who wanted tax breaks for the rich) also want to bust up labor unions for workers.
 - Republicans (who demanded tax breaks rich people) want to cut Medicare for the elderly.
 - Republicans (who always cater to the richest 2%) want to cut heat and food stamps for the poor.
 - Republicans (who favor the rich) want to cut Social Security and raise the eligibility age again.
 - Republicans (who only love the rich) want corporations giving bribes to politicians for campaigns.
 - Republicans are anti-government (anti-people) because they never want to FUND the government (The People).

Corporations and banks want to cut the budget, but don't want to pay into the budget either...
...and it's common knowledge that Republicans (and most rich Democrats) cater to BIG BUSINESSES. Politicians on both sides of the aisle only give lip service to true financial reform (and to actually helping the long-term unemployed).

Democrats and Republicans allowed the outsourcing of America's jobs for the past 40 years, further enriching the corporate and banking executives, while widening the disparity in our wages. But it was (MOSTLY) the Republicans going back to Ronald Reagan who reduced the middle class. He fired all those air traffic controllers and now the GOP wants to lay more off in 2011.

The Republicans (with the Tea Party) control the House, so expect much more of the same of all-of-the-above.

 - It's not getting any better for US, it's only getting better for corporations and banks.
 - It's not getting any better for US, homes are under water and millions still remain unemployed.
 - It's not getting any better for US - a year from now at least 15 million Americans will STILL be out of work - - - but by then they will have NO INCOME AT ALL after their UI benefits have expired or been exhausted.
 - It's not getting any better for US - suicides, home foreclosures, homelessness, bankruptcies, and repossessed cars are all UP. But as Vice President Biden tells us, "Hang in there." Why sir? Is the best yet to come?

The problems that America faces are as vast as the universe, but most of all the pain is being felt by the unemployed. When there's annual inflation, people WITH jobs have a little less buying power every year with their dollars, but people WITHOUT jobs have no dollars and buying power at all.

 - People WITH jobs can cut back a little on their budgets, but people WITHOUT jobs have already cut back as far as they can.
 - People WITH jobs don't need home-heating assistance, food stamps, Social Security, unemployment compensation, SS disability, or any other "government hand-out". People WITHOUT jobs can die.
 - People WITH jobs don't feel much of the pain, it's the people WITHOUT jobs that have to do most of sacrificing...yet the politicians insist that they have to sacrifice more. What has Congress ever had to sacrifice for themselves?

In this vast Universe that the politicians (and those WITH jobs) live in, I can only wonder sometimes...what planet do they live on? Did the star I wished upon as a child explode into a super-nova and burn out, now just a blackhole in space - just like my American Dream?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The 99ers: America's Tempest-tost

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me - I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

This, a welcome and a promise from our Statue of Liberty.

The Current Debate on the Deficit, Social Security, Tax Breaks for the Rich, and the Unions

Basically we now only have 3 classes of people who live in America:

   1) - The Upper Class - Who are the wealthiest 2% and includes the big bankers and the big corporate executives (who control the Ruling Class)
   2) - The Ruling Class - The politicians, many of whom belong to the Upper Class and include the President (plus his cabinet, diplomats, and "czars"), 535 members of Congress, and 9 Supreme Court judges.
   3) - The Working Class - The rest of us (the majority), of which a very small minority also belong The Ruling Class.

Of the Working Class 13% aren't working at all, 17% are under-employed, and 12% are retired and rely solely on Social Security.

Of those employed full-time in the Working Class only 12% belong to labor unions (with collective bargaining agreements) and may have received fair and equitable wage increases and benefits along the way - the rest have subsisted on relatively flat wages and may have decreased wages and benefits.

Over the last 40 years people dependent on Social Security have lost ground with the skyrocketing cost-of-living-index which corporate America created, driving many elderly people into poverty because of the meager COLAS they received throughout the years - not getting the same generous increases that congressional members and corporate executives have enjoyed. (NOTE: But yet many of these congressional members and corporate executives are critical of the public employees unions).

The Year-To-Date Consumer Price Index rose 1.6% higher. Are you earning 1.6% more in your paycheck today than this time last year, just to break even? How much more are the CEOs and banksters earning today than they were last year? What about the year before? And 30 years before that?

Have you, the desperately hard-working rabbit, been running at top speed all your life while the fat and wealthy tortoise had been sluggishly passing you by with no effort at all? Now 30 years later that old rich turtle is light years ahead of you.

Wouldn't 1.6% mean a hell of a lot more to you when paying your monthly rent and utilities for a place to live - and for food? What would it mean for a multi-millionaire who can pay cash-in-full for their 15-bedroom mansion and eat out at 5-Star restaurants and hire their own live-in chefs?

Now the wealthy had their tax cuts extended, just as they had after the last ten years when all the jobs went away - - - and just as the deficit rose. No coincidence there. Now we have more poor people because of the Great Recession, but yet the politicians want to cut home heating for the poor and Social Security and Medicare for the elderly to reduce the deficit.

READ: Six Things Everybody Knows About Deficits...That Are Completely Untrue

Exerpted: "Deficits aren't caused by spending. They're caused by spending more than you collect. Yet in a year when the mediasphere is breathlessly sounding the alarm over "entitlement" programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which will cost around $800 billion this year, it remains rather silent about ten years' worth of tax "entitlements" - sorry, tax "breaks" - to the wealthiest 2% of Americans, which cost more than $1 trillion."

And why do the politicians, on behalf of the taxpayers, keep giving the oil companies subsidies when over the years they have been consistently the most profitable companies in the world, netting billions of dollars annually? ExxonMobil has 82,000 employees worldwide and earned $46 billion free and clear after ALL expenses in 2008 alone.

That's $46,000,000,000 divided by 82,000 employees = $561,000 net profit for every single employee in ONE year alone! But the politicians gave these people extended tax breaks and wants to make up the difference by cutting heating, food stamps, healthcare, and Social Security for the poor and elderly!

Social Security was enacted in 1935 when the life expectancy of a man was 60 years old, but they couldn't qualify for Social Security benefits until they were 62. They weren't supposed to, they were supposed to die before getting one dime. Then the age was raised to 65, then later to 67. Now, because we're living longer (and have to work harder and longer as elderly people), the government wants to raise the age again to 70.

The rich don't need Social Security, so they don't want to pay for it. But not only was this country supposed to take care of their own, didn't we promise the rest of the world too? What about OUR poor, OUR elderly, and OUR "tempest-tost" (pounded or hit repeatedly) such as the "99ers"?

America has been known to break promises to other countries, and to throw their leaders under the bus when we no longer needed them...when they lost their economic and/or strategic value to us. But should America be allowed to break its promises with its own citizens when they are no longer economical or strategically viable to the country? Should they be tossed like old tennis shoes in the dumpster?

   Definitions of ENTITLEMENT
    1 : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract.
    2 : belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.

Social Security isn't an "entitlement" as defined in the 2nd definition - as the media and politicians proclaim with such distain when saying the word - likening it to some wealthy estate that a rich man would leave to his bratty and spoiled son; and the elderly aren't the heirs of a vast fortune either. Social Security is for  people who had an agreement with their government - a contract that said if they and their employers contributed to the Social Security fund all during their hard-working lives, they would have a supplemental income to help sustain them in their "golden years", when they could no longer break their backs in the factories and mills and shipyards any longer.

Now the government wants us to break our backs even longer, because despite our failing health, our hearts now beat a little while longer because of great strides made in medicine and pharmaceuticals.

But were these scientific break-throughs meant for just the rich, so they could enjoy their power and wealth longer while still mortals on earth? Were the poor just meant to only have these new medical miracles just so they could work longer for the wealthiest?

Are we, the "little people", all being forced to work until we're 90 years old? Or if we don't, die sick and homeless in the streets of America?

It's our government leaders that have entitlements: Huge salaries that are 4 and 5 times greater than the national median, and "allowances" and healthcare benefits that usually only the wealthy enjoy - - - all at the expense of the little taxpayers in a Great Recession when everyone else is getting laid off or taking cuts in salaries or hours.

It's the rich that have entitlements: Tax breaks for no other reason that just to further enrich themselves when the national and states' deficits suffer while local governments struggle just to pay for basic services. Yet the rich want to cut the budgets, reduce services, and screw the elderly just so they won't have to pay any more into the U.S. Treasury to maintain our government and our way of life.

Are you tired of working 20, 30, 40, or 50 years and getting nowhere fast with no end in sight because the government keeps moving the finish line with Social Security, all while the vast Abyss in the disparity of wages grows every year between the rich and the rest of us?

Read: "How the middle class became the underclass"

The politicians and CEOs are, and have been for many years, the biggest problem to average working Americans...but THEY blame old people, the poor, and the unemployed for the deficit!

READ: The revenge of trickle-down economics - "The differences between Democrats and Republicans on the deficit are cosmetic. Both are committed to a broken, corrupt system."

How many yachts do you need sir, and how many jobs do yacht building yards create? And what of all our pathetic little boats that no longer float, but have sunk to the bottom where the bottom feeders dwell - there in the depths of the murky and muddy waters along side the rusted out hulk of what was once called the American Dream?

Those words that once held promise and hope to those first coming to America, are crumbling like this country and the Statute of Liberty some day will - when this once mighty country is destroyed from the enemy within - our honor-less corporate and political leaders.

The Statue of Liberty is about as passé as Ellis Island - just another historical place of interest from our past. We might as well pack up the old girl and ship her back to France. It's become more of a symbol of broken promises than of hope to anyone. It is we, the American people, who are now the tired, the poor, the homeless, and the huddled masses...the "99ers", their tempest-tost.

And the torch of liberty, forever extinguished, may be long forgotten in our future.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Supreme Court in Bed with Big Business

So much for ANY ethics in all branches of our government.

A little more than a year ago the Supreme Court had ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns.

During President Obama's State of the Union speech last year Justice Samuel Alito mouthed the words "not true" when President Barack Obama criticized the Supreme Court's campaign finance decision.

Obama had said, "Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said. "Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong."

The court had overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads.

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.

Now we learn from Common Cause that just a few weeks before that infamous 5 to 4 decision that two sitting Supreme Court Justices (Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas) had attended seminars sponsored by the energy giant and conservative bankrollers Koch Industries (the Koch brothers have been a longtime underwriter of libertarian causes)...just for the purpose of discussing the laws governing corporate campaign contributions.

Clarence Thomas defended his attendance there saying he "just dropped by", but records for his expenses when he filed for reimbursements indicated food and lodging at the Koch affair for four whole days.

And for 5 years Justice Clarence Thomas didn't report any income for his wife on his income tax returns, until Common Cause also called him out on that as well...and ONLY THEN did Justice Thomas file an amended tax return to report his illegal omissions.

It's all over folks. A President (extended tax breaks to the rich), both political parties (allowed outsourcing of jobs), and the Supreme Court (allowed corporate bribes) - all three branches of our government - are in bed and beholden to the very corporations that killed the America Dream for a large part of the working class. And people working in the Federal Reserve and Supreme Court are cheating on their taxes too.

This country has been governed by people for decades who have no honor at all, so it's no wonder we are where are we today - - - 20% unemployment, bankrupt, failing as a nation, and in decline.

As far as I'm concerned our "leaders" are all just common criminals and should be arrested and thrown in jail.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

They Got Theirs, The Working-Class Got Jacked

Recently Deborah L Purdom on an unemployed Facebook page had took note and made mention - "It is so sad to notice that, as time goes on, we have lost more and more of the original members of this page, and unfortunately, have gained more new ones. I sometimes wonder what happened to the 'first' members and how they are faring. I hope they are managing to survive somehow! Bless them all!"

I would tell her: It's probably all part of the government's plan to eliminate a huge chunk of the middle-aged working-class. Gradually reducing the numbers, incrementally shoving them into poverty (or worse), until they all just fade into obscurity (or die). A leaner and meaner economy, but with a reduced workforce and less tax revenue going in to the treasury (and because of tax cuts extended for the rich). Most programs for the poor will be eliminated first before any goodies for the rich will ever have to suffer.

The politicians cater to American corporations, and they in turn cater to their "emerging markets" overseas. 15 million Americans were sacrificed to further enrich the very few. All the complaining in the world will do nothing for the unemployed. No meaningful laws will ever be enacted to protect American workers and consumers. If anything, just window dressing will be applied to assuage and assure the other 80% of the population who's still gainfully employed - and they will be told that everything that can be done for the jobless, is being done.

It takes 50% of the population to be disenfranchised enough before true revolution breaks out, but the government and America corporations carefully maintain a well-planned balance in this ratio to prevent this "tipping point" from ever occurring. American consumers and workers aren't high on the list for corporate profiteers - American corporations don't feel any sense of honor, patriotism, or responsibility to this country. They are strictly profit-driven with no "human" connection at all.

The politicians are the same way...I can hear them now, "I got mine!" America has been a ME society for a very long time, and everyone who can, will, step over a corpse to make an extra dollar in revenue. Greed prevails, and all their talk about "family values" and "moral principals" is nothing more than the usual BS.

It's not just the federal government that's going broke, the States are too. Nobody has any money except for the rich people (and those in China) and they're not paying any more into the State and federal kitty, nor are they creating jobs for Americans. We can't outsource teacher's, firefighter's, and policemen's jobs overseas; but if WE aren't working, then we can't pay their salaries either. When State and federal jobs are all eliminated, who's left paying taxes - what's left in the treasury to pay THEM unemployment benefits? The downward spiral. We can't even afford to pay the salaries to the people working in the unemployment offices!

Home foreclosures haven't even peaked yet and most home prices are still underwater. If you're rich, it's a great buyer's market, sweeping up all those nice homes for pennies on the dollar from the banks (who wouldn't refinance). I can see a vast number of private homes being permanently rented. We might see many of them turning into multi-family housing units like the old mansions of yesteryear.

"Uncertainty" has been the GOP's and the wealthiest excuse for not hiring before they got their tax cuts extended late last year, but they still aren't hiring. Most of the jobs that were permanently lost were all lost while they had those very tax cuts since 2001. Yet the GOP complains about the deficit, and that's why we're going broke. House leader John Boehner on Meet the Press today was blaming the "federal government" going back 40 years for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but aren't people like he and the GOP part of this federal government?

The politicians and the corporate profiteers want to blame everybody else but themselves for destroying middle America, and instead of working on solutions, they just continue to allow what collapsed the economy in the first place...while playing the useless blame game. The Vice President tells the unemployed in "hang in there" as they lost their life's savings, their homes, and their cars. What's left to hang on to when everything else is gone, including hope Mister VP?

How does someone who lost their car and now barely subsists on food stamps get back into the job market when jobs are finally (if ever) created? I can't even buy a new shirt or pair of shoes for work if I needed to. I buy items like shaving cream with money I get from my DONATE button on this blog. And I'm one of the lucky ones!

Recently the fed chief Ben Bernanke said it could take up to 4 to 5 [more] years before we ever see a "normal" unemployment rate of 6% again (NOTE: It USED to be 5%, so the bar has been lowered by the feds). But how can even 5% be considered "normal" when ours was only 4% not too long ago (just like China's is today). And the way the government has been manipulating the unemployment numbers for the past two years, a "normal" unemployment rate of 6% in 2016 could very well be a REAL unemployment rate of 10% (it's most likely about 13% today, not 9% as the government boasts).

Smoke and mirrors, lies, and more BS is all we've been getting from the politicians, bankers, and CEOs. They got theirs, and to them, that's all that matters. American citizens, to them, are just a necessary nuisance for them. They would prefer not to have to deal with all our complaining, and to just keep socking away more cash in the bank...because if the dollar loses any more value, and if prices go up much more, those rich pigs might need a wheel-barrel full of cash just to buy a damn loaf of bread. And the unemployed (who got NADA) will be fighting each other just to feed off their crumbs.

This time last year I said it was going to get a lot worse before it got any better. And today I'll say it again. This slaughter of the middle-class isn't near over, not when we still have millions of people who are still dependent of unemployment benefits - their only source of income that will expire in 12 short months. Even if another 14 weeks were ever added, it only delays the inevitable.

And I agree with Deborah - I hope "the lost ones" are managing to survive somehow too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Being Cool in an Era of Age Discrimination"

"I'm bad. I'm cool. I'm a happening fool!"

I could simply say that getting old is as natural as being born and dying; and that unlike in America, other cultures respect and care for their elderly people...but my words would only be falling on deaf ears.


I started this free blog because the website I once created and maintained for the last 7 years ( went down when I no longer had the money to renew my hosting plan. After losing my job two years ago I began blogging about the economy and unemployment. This blog that I'm currently using was meant to be a continuation of another website I created ( which focused primarily on the 99ers, the economy, corporate out-sourcing, labor statistics, government and corporate corruption, and the plight of the long-term unemployed.

And since age discrimination in job hiring has always been a problem for older people in America (such as the "99ers"), and has recently been more pronounced and much more open since the recession began, I thought I would write about being "cool" this morning (instead of my usual rants against the evil corporations and banks).

First off, let me start by saying that being truly "cool" is much more than a passing trend, the latest fashion, or the newest gizmo. True coolness is as timeless as a work of art, an idea, a philosophy, or a state of mind. A restored vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the Great Pyramids of Egypt are both very cool. The latest cell phone has a very limited "cool factor" because in 6 months something newer comes along with more pixels for the camera and/or more megabytes of storage space (or whatever else happens to be more cool at the time).

When people are cool, they either are or they're not. Many people might say Bill Gates was a nerd when he started Microsoft - - - and even as a multi-billionaire, he might still be considered a nerd. Who would call him cool? Maybe when Windows 98 first came out everybody thought that THAT was REAL cool. But how cool was his Windows ME (Millennium Edition)?

Chances are, if you were cool in school 30 years ago, even if you're a grandpa today, you're probably still cool now. If you were a slovenly jock, you most likely still are today. The same goes for nerds, idiots, psychopaths, narcs, and do-gooders. It's a personality trait that's inherent in people, it doesn't necessarily go away with age, although it can. Just as nerds can grow up to become cool, and cool people in school can become dickheads when they become adults. It's all relative.

Age doesn't have to factor in to the "coolness aspect" of the individual; it's their inner karma, their relationship with the immediate environment, and what they have, or will, or can, exude in skill, grace, style, pizzazz, and innovation. Sometimes age itself is needed to have experienced all those cool things from the past, so that those experiences and ideas can be passed on to newer generations.

I know of lots of celebrities, actors, and musicians who are past 50 years old who I think are just as cool today as I thought they were 30 years ago. While some may have slid into obscurity, and others have fallen in disgrace, many others went on to maintain their coolness all through-out the years. Just because they're older doesn't necessarily make them less cool. Some may even think that Bill Gates (without his money and fame) is cool...I'm guessing his wife might think so. Is Mick Jagger nothing more than an un-cool old man today?

In a recent article featuring me in my local newspaper a couple people had made comments referencing my age in the profession of casino bartending - as though I were too old, not cool enough, and had overstayed my welcome in Las Vegas. This really pissed me off. I just turned 53 when I was laid off and those bozos thought it was time to put me out to pasture? Would the casinos turn down Mick Jagger for a bartending gig?

The people who say I'm too old to be a casino bartender also probably believe in the concept of Soylent Green too.

Lots of 21 year-olds think Jon Stewart is very cool and Jon will be half a century old next year. Should Jon be considered obsolete? Why don't all these young "cool" kids barf all over their TV sets whenever they see him? Not all young adults relate to "older" people as an extension of their own parents.

When I was 21 I owned cool things and did cool things and went to cool concerts and wore cool clothes and hung out with cool people and listened to cool music and went to cool clubs and visited cool beaches and dated cool girls who had cool friends who went to cool places... I began to wonder, at what exact point in my life did I suddenly become "un-cool" and why? Was it when I first bought a house? Or when I stopped smoking pot? When I ran a small business? When my ex-girlfriend dumped me? I still like the Rolling Stones, so did THEY become un-cool when I wasn't paying attention? I'd still like to own a restored 57' Chevy one day, but is that considered un-cool, like an old man's car? I never wore "high-water" pants either, so are they now in fashion?

What makes me so old-fashioned, un-cool, and old that some people don't think it's appropriate that I bartend in a casino any longer? I still have all my hair, I don't smell like rotten leather, and the last time I bartended I could run circles around the younger barbacks. So why is being 55 years old considered to be taboo and un-hip in Las Vegas now? I always got along with younger people, and much older people as well.

Liz Benston, the reporter who wrote that Las Vegas Sun article about me, also wrote a couple of other interesting articles that touches on age discrimination in the casino industry:

Not hip enough?

$25,000 check cuts no ice with bartender

Youth, good looks a gold mine on LV Strip

Do people like Greg Abate of the ABC Bartending School in Las Vegas think 21-year-olds should fill all the upper-management level positions as well? Should they rule the world? Or does he think it's OK to be an elderly CEO (or an old fuddy-duddy manager like himself), but it's not OK to be an older bartender? How about an old president? (Oops! I'm older than Obama too! OMG!!!)

It's ludicrous to think I'm too old to bartend behind a casino bar simply because I passed the 50 yard line.

Since losing my job two years ago I've lost almost everything I've owned. I still have my TV, stereo, computer, and guitar. While most people might say my best years are behind me, and I'm not as fast or as handsome as I once was, maybe some folks might think that the best is yet to come.  (You can tell that this has really hit a nerve with me.)

I never thought of myself as ever being "ultra-cool", those were the people that set the standards and led the pack in coolness. They started all the cool trends, they were the "trend-setters". Me, I always thought of myself as being only "semi-cool", just a regular guy with my own quirks who sometimes drove cool motorcycles and cool cars and listened to cool music and dated cool girls and hung out with cool friends...

...but sometimes I also said and did some really dumb, stupid, and very un-cool things too.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I once had this really cool 8-track tape deck installed in my bitchingly very cool 1969 Triumph TR-6, but I'm sure it wasn't nearly as cool as the CD players are today.

And I'm also very sure that in a very short 30 years from now most of the very cool 21-year-olds today will be told they're old and obsolete "has-beens" too, just like me. The difference being, they may very well be, but I'm still cool. And I'll still be cool when I'm 80 years old too (you just won't notice as much, but on inside, I'll know).

Nobody likes the aches and pains that naturally comes with getting older, or the receding hairlines, wrinkles, or bags either. But I especially hate being disrespected, called names, and insulted as though just the act of aging alone were some kind of an affront on a decent and civilized society. To those critics I would say, you are very UN-COOL, and so therefore, you can go "F" yourself.

True coolness isn't based on how old someone is, it's a state of mind. Take by dad for instance. He was one of the most coolest guys I've ever known. It's just that when I was much younger, I hadn't realize it at the time. Sometimes you have to grow up first to know what truely cool really is.