Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Tyranny of the Investor Class



Definition: Dominance through threat of punishment and violence.

Well, I guess we’ve all seen some of that, through an aggressive boss, a relationship gone to hell of that old standby, bad parenting.

But this is different, a practical and greedy move by the investor class to put us all in a secondary position investment-wise. To say it threatens what we choose to call capitalism is to put it mildly.

There’s a story here and it’s an interesting one should you care to read it and see how we got here. There’s a plot-twist or two along the way to keep you awake. We all like a story, no?

This one begins with post WWII in America, a heady time of jubilation when the world was ours.
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Friday, July 12, 2019

The Left-Out Part of Immigration Reform



It’s very fashionable these days to speculate on immigration reform. Our current president has his own views, most of which are keep ‘em out, but current Democratic presidential candidates have jumped on the bandwagon as well.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is the latest, with I have a plan for that and she has some pretty good ideas.

But one thought I’ve had for decades now gets no  mention at all and I wonder why.
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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Fifteen Dollar an Hour Minimum Wage, Pros and Cons



A New York Times piece crossed my desk a couple of days ago and it seems to see as much down as up-side. NYT writers Jim Tankersley and Emily Cochrane refer to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office, so I guess that says it all—people with no skin in the game making judgements.

It’s bullshit, but we’ll take it a step at a time.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Slavery Reparations. What Does That Even Mean?



Okay, count me on board morally. Slavery was one of America’s most egregious shames and more Americans were killed in our Civil War than all other wars combined. But I've got an ethical problem with handing out cash.

Emancipation didn’t actually solve anything for black Americans. Up to and including today, we simply played out the white/black American conundrum by other means, such as voting rights violations, segregation, economic isolation, backwater education and ghettos.

And now we think we can make things right with money? Well, that’s my stop. Here's where I get off the bus and, until very recently, it was from the front of the bus.
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Drones and the Sound of Silence



Amazon just announced its plan to offer thirty-minute delivery of products to Amazon Prime members.

I greet that announcement with a sigh, rather than any real enthusiasm for the process.

Soon it will be followed by pizza and fast-food deliveries, anything light enough for Wal-Mart to send your way and surveillance by local police as well as private companies promising a good night’s sleep.

If only you could sleep. And that’s my point.
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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Everybody Knows



What brings us together as Americans is far stronger than what divides us. The right-left, conservative-liberal narrative clung to by mainstream and social media moves society in the wrong direction.

It’s time—perhaps way past time—to understand that America’s naked, with its pants around its ankles politically and socially. Here’s a bucket, folks. Everybody bail.

The lyrics of Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows come to mind.

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Our Whack-A-Mole U.S. War on Drugs



We once had a ‘war on alcohol,’ which we called Prohibition. We Americans are good at war with things, but they seem quite regularly to fail us.

Prohibition was a constitutional amendment, no less and its end required another constitutional amendment. Complicated stuff.

Interesting things happened, 14 years later, after repeal.

Joe Kennedy (who made a family fortune from bootlegging) became the American Ambassador to Britain and sired a son, later to become our 35th president.

The Mafia calmed down a bit and got into quieter activities such as extortion and mob-run businesses that, if you didn’t sign on, got your windows (or your legs) broken.

But that was then and now is now, although the parallels are fascinating between drugs and alcohol.
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