Category : poverty

This is the BEST video I’ve found of the Rage Against The Machine free show that didn’t really happen. The cops refused to let Rage take the stage. After arguing with the police for awhile Rage decided to bust out an a capella version of a few of their songs. This video captures that moment (props to PP for finding):

Then the band urged the crowd to join the Poor Peoples’ March. The police didn’t like that much and things started to get a little tense. Here’s an account from Matt Snyders on what happened next:

There is currently a buffer zone between the corner of Wabasha and 7th and the corner of St. Peter and 7th St. near Mickey’s Diner. In that buffer zone, there are two ambulances, an SUV and a white van. Police are also blocking 10th St. in both directions.

At about 7:55, advancing police began creating the buffer zone. Police told demonstrators, media and onlookers to move back. At 8:15, they started blocking off the way south. At 8:25, there were a few small explosions, and plumes of smoke began to rise. Some bombs went off, and we got the hint of tear gas on the air.

Demonstrators were chanting “We want peace, we want peace,” before the gas went off.

I was on Wabasha and 7th Street when this happened.

The cops received orders to begin advancing at us in order to close off the intersection.

I started capturing video of this and it’s some scary shit. About 80 seconds into the video a series of explosions go off. I can only assume these were the smoke bombs and/or tear gas cannisters being launched. The cops were chanting as they marched towards us in lockstep. It was some freaky shit:

At the end of the video the teargas starts blowing our way so we got the heck out of there.

I wasn’t even with the main protest group. There was a much larger group (the Poor Peoples March and the Rage Against the Machine crowd) that was being broken by the cops. I met up with fragments of this larger protest after they had been tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed.

This guy was getting some assistance from a friend after being doused in the face with pepper spray. It looked more than a little bit painful.

The cops continued clamping down and pushing the protesters back across the Cedar bridge. They didn’t seem to be encountering any resistance, but they were intent on smashing the protest. They set up perimeters and used the barricades to corral the marchers back across the Wabasha bridge:

The protesters made a last stand of sorts at the (heheheh) Peace Officers Memorial.

bike cops form a line


They used cops on bikes to quickly block off streets and other avenues of escape and then sent in the baton-weilding foot soldiers to disperse us completely.

peace officers memorial at the peace officers memorial


I can say with 100% accuracy that the police stormed the Peace Officers Memorial. Apparently the irony was lost on them.

Check out my earlier post about the more peaceful Anti-War protest the previous day. And there are more photos to view in my photostream.

Eat The Rich

Europe is not immune from stupidity, greed, fascism and ignorance. It’s good to remember that sometimes.

Italy is experiencing a fascist resurgence not seen since the times of Mussolini. It’s a wonder that there’s so little memory of those hard times, but I guess the war has been over for 60 years and to remember it well you’d have to be 70 or older, but it’s still distressing that the authoritarian streak has not run its course. Instead the Italians are rounding up and fingerprinting Gypsies and soon-to-be-Chancellor Berlusconi signed a new law outlawing gatherings of 3 or more people. I don’t know how you can go out for a walk with more than one friend without running afoul of this law, but that, we should remember, is the point of fascist laws.

However opposition councillors [sic] said it was “reminiscent of Benito Mussolini’s edict of the 1920′s which banned groups of five or more people”.

The ban will not affect courting couples who flock to parks and gardens in the northern Italian city of Novara, where Mr Giordano holds power, but if anyone is caught in a group of three or more they face a fine of 500 euro (£350).

That’s a fuckload of money, to me at least. Then again, the point of such laws is to make it impossible for poor ruffians to gather. There will be no such problems if the rich decide to gather. Assuming they even get fined (unlikely) they will be able to pay the fine without a second thought. Wealth, or lack thereof, is the new apartheid.

Speaking of the rich, they have a different outlook on things. Whereas I look as this law and see cheerful fascism, they look at it and see a good, strong, hard-line against lazy trouble-making youths and other undesirables. Put those Gypsies on a train to Dachau for all they care. Having clean streets and no thieving Gypsies around is all that matters.

Fascism is the codification of the rights of the rich and comfortable. These rich-rights are a little more encompassing than normal rights since the rich already have those rights; they want to be secure from beggars (read: “undesirables”), assured of good pay (for themselves), protected from economic turbulence (privatizing profits but socializing losses) and ensconed in communities of like-minded peers (gated communities and absurdly posh condos).

Why? Because they deserve it. Or at least they sure think they do:

One banker said: “It’s a fact of modern life that there is disparity and ‘Is it fair or unfair?’ is not a valid question. It’s just the way it is, and you have to get on with it. People say it’s unfair when they don’t do anything to change their circumstances.” In other words, they see themselves as makers of their own fortune. Or, as another banker said, “Quite a lot of people have done well who want to achieve, and quite a lot of people haven’t done well because they don’t want to achieve.”

So you see, the real problem is that the rest of us are lazy, no-talent, whiners who didn’t work hard enough or aim high enough.

That might be true of some people, but most of us would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to me $250,000 a year. Shit, if all we had to do was work harder why didn’t somebody tell us that?

Oh wait, it doesn’t matter how hard you work as a teacher, nurse, construction worker or shopkeeper: You will never make $250,000.

They had chosen a life that would make them rich while others, making different and morally equivalent choices, had abdicated their right to complain. “Some of these are vocational, things like nurses . . . It’s accepted – they go into it knowing that that’s part of the deal.” Another said: “Many people, like teachers, don’t do things for the pay. But you won’t find a teacher that works as hard as we do.” This was categorical, evidence unnecessary. They spoke of heroic all-nighters drawing up contracts for clients in time zones on the other side of the globe, a Herculean effort that justified fat pay. But did they work 10 times as hard as a teacher on £30,000 a year or, in the case of some lawyers and bankers, 100 times as hard? Such disproportionality did not enter their scheme of things.

So I guess the real solution is for all of us to be become bankers and lawyers. Can you imagine a world in which everybody was a banker? It’d be great except that nothing would get done!

For all their talk about making the world work most bankers never lift anything heavier than their laptop computer. They are useless parasites on the neck of humanity. But fire them all and a new crop of greedy junior bankers will arise. The problem is systemic. Why do the bankers get paid so much? Because they can.

All of this talk about the free market and other such justifications is a tired excuse. The free market is not a benevolent hand making everything okay. It’s a ruthless mosh-pit of greedy, back-stabbing, amoral snakes all out to achieve dominance at any cost. The bankers are simply superior at being sleazy.

Look at what the rest of the population makes in comparison to those $250,000 (minimum) salaries:

The rich think that they are the uppercrust of humanity because their skills, talents and brains were allowed to rise to the top of the heap. I think it’s very much the opposite: Those on the top already have an easy time bringing their offspring to the same level while simultaneously rigging the system to keep the rest of us down.

Money, after all, is a zero-sum game and when you have a lot of it you can use it to create advantages for your kind (swanky private schools with huge tuitions) and disadvantages for those you want to keep down (regressive taxation, pointless wars, decrepit public education systems, etc.). It’s almost too easy. They don’t even have to think up plausible explanations for why they’re so rich and we’re not.

“Providing for children” was flourished as a trump card, as if spending on offspring were automatically moral and good, regardless of how other people’s children fare.

“I work hard, I’ve got two boys and I want to provide for them.” Providing for children meant buying them access to high-earning jobs, taking trusted routes through school and university.

The worst part about all of this is that most of the rest of us may feel a twinge of jealousy over their wealth but if given the chance to become rich like them or change the system most of us would choose wealth.

There’s nothing quite like money for proving to the world that you’re better than everyone else, and the only people who believe that more fervently than the rich are the poor.

… their companies pick up the bill. Isn’t that nice?

You may think I’m just making stuff up, but this info is from a new study (via USA Today):

A new study from The Corporate Library finds that the most common form of perk being granted to CEOs these days is something called a tax “gross-up.” In plain English, it means that a company pays the taxes owed by the CEO on benefits granted by the company.

The Corporate Library, a shareholder watchdog group, found that 20% of major American companies, or 657 of nearly 3,300 examined, picked up the tab on at least one tax owed by the CEO.

“We are sure that many U.S. workers would be grateful if their employers also paid their income tax obligations,” writes Paul Hodgson of The Corporate Library in the report.

You’re damn right, Paul. How fucking sweet would that be?

Those poor, hard-working billionaire CEOs! We can’t just hand them a billion dollars and expect them to pay their own taxes can we? Heck, no, we need a welfare program for CEOs.

What utter fascism.

What’s that you say? This has nothing to do with fascism? I disagree; here’s why:

The guiding fascist principle is “might makes right”. Fascism is all about making things orderly, especially for those who rule. Far from being the goal, social equality is looked at as something undesirable, perhaps even unnatural. Fascists love the pyramid structure. They want a firm, unyielding power structure that’s easy to understand; they need a strong leader who is completely above everyone else, like a Pharoah or a Emperor. That’s why Bush is so popular with so many people who are actually adversely affected by his policies. They love being ruled with an iron fist. The opposite makes them feel afraid, whereas the pyramid structue makes them feel safe. Democracy is chaos. Fascism is order.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that our business leaders organize things in a pyramidal, hierarchical fashion as well. It’s not necessary to pay CEOs and other execs huge sums of money; they don’t really need it, but they do want it. It’s a status symbol. Their obscene paycheck makes them a god, a pharoah. It places them way beyond the reach of the rest of us. They represent the ultimate promise of capitalism: to become godlike without being born into it. And of course, if you want to emphasize your godliness, you must also emphasize the weakness of the puny, pathetic mortals who work under you. That’s why perfectly rational companies gladly pay obscenely wasteful amounts of money to CEOs while simultaneously pinching pennies when it comes to regular workers.

It’s no fun being a god if there’s no one to worship you. But it gets funny. Search around and you’ll find plenty of people defending CEO salaries and this gross-up technique. They’ve slurped the Kool-Aid and they think they can become CEOs one day too. It’s the American Dream after all…. but what percentage of us actually becomes a CEO?

The article above focuses on 3000 major companies. There are 300 million Americans. You have a 0.001% chance of being one of their CEOs. Good luck.

The pyramid scheme that is our economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. The subprime loan disaster is looking more and more like the detanator that will nuke the dollar, the banking industry and our economy as a whole.

When US homeowners default on their mortgages en-mass, they destroy money faster than the Fed can replace it through normal channels. The result is a liquidity crisis which deflates asset prices and reduces monetized wealth, says economist Henry Liu.

The debt-securitization process is in a state of collapse. The market for structured investments, MBSs, CDOs, and Commercial Paper—has evaporated leaving the banks with astronomical losses. They are incapable of rolling over their their short-term debt or finding new revenue streams to buoy them through the hard times ahead. As the foreclosure-avalanche intensifies; bank collateral continues to be down-graded which is likely to trigger a wave of bank failures.

Henry Liu sums it up like this: Proposed government plans to bail out distressed home owners can slow down the destruction of money, but it would shift the destruction of money as expressed by falling home prices to the destruction of wealth through inflation masking falling home value. (The Road to Hyperinflation, Henry Liu, Asia Times) It’s a vicious cycle. The Fed is caught between the dual millstones of hyperinflation and mass defaults. There’s no way out.

We are so fucked.

Unless somebody has a new economic system waiting in the wings I’ll have to start learning how to survive on rats, rabbits, squirrels … and probably human flesh at this rate. And that is not my idea of a good time.

The worst part is the feeling of helplessness. I can only watch these “financial experts” make one stupid decision after another. They’re only really experts at making themselves massive short-term profits. They don’t care about the damage they’ve done to the economy, which affects all of us.

The whole affair is depressing and maddening, but if you want to learn more, visit the Market Oracle.

As for me, I’ll be learning to hunt small suburban mammals.

This blog is your leading pants-related resource. Okay, so this is the first time I’ve blogged about pants, but dammit, with a name like Electric Monkey Pants I better have some pants turf staked out, ya heard?

The Threat
Okay, so some uptight folks are trying to introduce stringent pants regulations when we don’t even have decent electronic voting regulations. I guess it’s easier to legislate against somebody who can’t fight back. Pretty much everybody who wears saggy pants is not in a position to pass laws, which is probably part of why they’re wearing the damn saggy-ass pants in the first place.

Check out this article in the Trib:

Proposals to ban saggy pants are starting to ride up in several places. At the extreme end, wearing pants low enough to show boxers or bare buttocks in one small Louisiana town means six months in jail and a $500 fine. A crackdown also is being pushed in Atlanta. And in Trenton, getting caught with your pants down may soon result in not only a fine, but a city worker assessing where your life is headed.

“Are they employed? Do they have a high school diploma? It’s a wonderful way to redirect at that point,” said Trenton Councilwoman Annette Lartigue, who is drafting a law to outlaw saggy pants. “The message is clear: We don’t want to see your backside.”

The bare-your-britches fashion is believed to have started in prisons, where inmates aren’t given belts with their baggy uniform pants to prevent hangings and beatings. By the late ’80s, the trend had made it to gangster rap videos, then went on to skateboarders in the suburbs and high school hallways.

I didn’t know that shit started in prison, but it makes sense: That’s where our (mostly minority) youth are spending a lot of time these days because of insane, pointless drug laws and a prison-state mentality, with GW as the crooked warden.

It’s worth noting that black people face harsher, less forgiving punishments from our draconian drug laws even though the percentage of white & black teens using pot is almost the same.

Shop owner Mack Murray said Trenton’s proposed ordinance unfairly targets blacks.

“Are they going to go after construction workers and plumbers, because their pants sag, too?” Murray asked. “They’re stereotyping us.”

The American Civil Liberties Union agrees.

“In Atlanta, we see this as racial profiling,” said Benetta Standly, statewide organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “It’s going to target African-American male youths. There’s a fear with people associating the way you dress with crimes being committed.”

A Few Questions
There are some questions that popped into my head after reading this story. Let me try to answer them as they come:

Are these laws targeted at blacks? Almost certainly.

Are saggy pants a real problem? Fuck no, it’s mostly a fear-based response by legislators who are terrified of their own kids.

Will there be more laws like this? Of course. Like I said, those wearing saggy pants are generally not in a position to legislate back.

Are these laws going after a deeper problem? Yes, but they’re attacking the symptoms rather than the core issues. The real problem is that our society requires an underclass to clean our toilets, mow our enormous lawns and serve us our drinks.

The Racial Divide
If you’re a rich, white person who has his or her Harvard graduation date marked on the calendar from the day you’re born, you probably have no idea why someone would hang around in the ‘hood all day selling drugs, listening to that “crunk” and sagging your damn pants.

Well guess what, elitists?! They don’t fucking want to live in the ‘hood and sell drugs to get by, but what other options do they have? Are you gonna hire’em? They’re not like you, are they? They speak differently and they have weird customs like the way they sag their pants. (OMG!)

Sagging pants are a way of fighting back against the uptight culture that demands conformity even as it espouses the (vague, far-off) concept of “freedom”. They look ridiculous precisely because that’s the goal. If it pisses off whitebread America, it’s cool. As a way of fighting against the system it’s pretty feeble, but that proves my larger point that the underclass has no other options available to them.

For my part, I would encourage people not to sag too low simply because it becomes hard to run from the cops when you’re sagging down to your ankles. Am I gonna create a law to fight this scourge? Fuck no; I would repeal laws, starting with our drug laws, which seem designed to permanently disenfranchise our poverty-stricken youth. The upper class can buy their kids out of jailtime, but if you’re living in the ‘hood you probably can’t afford Johnnie Cochran.

Black people are especially fucked these days since the elite is coming down on them harder than ever while the Mexicans are coming across the border anxious to take their jobs, eager to be the new underclass. Shit, due to this competition among the disadvantaged, rich people now get to watch labor costs drop even more than they dared dream; meaning they can get their landscaping done cheaply than before (“yay, Capitalism!”). Of course, that cheap landscaping doesn’t pay enough to enable the workers to buy a house and become citizens. Nope; gonna send that money back home (where things are just as stratified by race and class).

The Class Divide
Ah, race and class. Two things Americans hate to talk about, yet the problem stares us in the face every day. Who’s washing those dishes in the restaurant after dinner? Who’s cleaning those toilets? Instead of paying a living wage and giving the underclass a hand up so that they can join the middle class we seem to be focused on keeping them down.

Then we blame them for their position, as if it was all their fault.

The truth is that America wants an underclass. We need it. We need somebody to do the crappy jobs that nobody wants because we’re unwilling to pay a fair wage to the people who break their bodies doing hard physical labor. In many ways slavery, or at least some of the ideas that fed it, carries on today in that the rich like to set up pyramids with themselves at the top. If you’re gonna be on top of a pyramid, that means many, many more people have to be on the bottom, and (most important) you have to prevent them from getting up to the top.

The pyramid theory of society has been tried many times and it always fails. Weren’t we trying something new in America? Weren’t we trying to level the playing field and give everybody a shot? Somehow that got lost as the rich set up their system of control so that a free people became bonded by economic manipulation far beyond their control.

Political freedom means nothing if you have to work all the time just to keep food in your belly. What the underclass wants is economic freedom. It may be too late since the rich already control everything of value. What’s left but revolution?

We Know Best
If sagging pants are our biggest problem we should consider ourselves lucky. Surely there’s more important things to consider, but these laws against clothing point to some deeper issues. So, should we ban those baggy pants?

I’ll tell you what: We can ban saggy-ass pants if those who like their pants baggy also get to pass a few rules and regulations of their own. I foresee an ordinance that requires people wearing suits to loosen those ties. After all, if you wear your tie too tight you risk cutting off the circulation to your brain, leading to an increase of shitty laws like this one.

This needed to be said. This was a long time coming. In fact, I feel like we should’ve had this discussion and stopped the stupid practice back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper (that was many moons ago, ya see?). But here we are in 2007 and women still expect a diamond ring from a guy as if diamonds were some sort of magical talisman that grants access to her vagina. And guys know diamonds are like gigantic “No Trespassing!” signs that keep other (honest) males away. Are we really so base and banal?

Slate’s running an article about the insidious practice of giving/receiving diamond engagement rings. O’Rourke goes after the engagement ring in particular because it’s like giving a “pre-gift” gift and it’s only for their girl (the price for access?), but I think the whole practice of buying absurdly expensive rings for the purposes of betrothal is antiquated, offensive and stupid. Let’s have a look into how this scam by the diamond industry got started:

In fact, the “tradition” of the diamond engagement ring is newer than you might think. Betrothal rings, a custom inherited from the Romans, became an increasingly common part of the Christian tradition in the 13th century. The first known diamond engagement ring was commissioned for Mary of Burgundy by the Archduke Maximilian of Austria in 1477. The Victorians exchanged “regards” rings set with birthstones. But it wasn’t until the late 19th century, after the discovery of mines in South Africa drove the price of diamonds down, that Americans regularly began to give (or receive) diamond engagement rings. (Before that, some betrothed women got thimbles instead of rings.) Even then, the real blingfest didn’t get going until the 1930s, when—dim the lights, strike up the violins, and cue entrance—the De Beers diamond company decided it was time to take action against the American public.

De Beers proceeded to brainwash the public into thinking they needed to buy diamonds, wedding bands, engagement rings, matching trinkets and assorted crap. Fuck all that status-seeking consumerist bullshit. Diamonds are not even that precious. Their value has been greatly inflated by the diamond industry’s tricks, which have revoked supply and demand through the power of advertising and a monopoly on distribution. The whole diamond wedding ring “custom” is a tradition manufactured and sold to the American public through marketing, PR and Hollywood glamour.

Don’t believe me? Try to sell a diamond.

De Beers proved to be the most successful cartel arrangement in the annals of modern commerce. While other commodities, such as gold, silver, copper, rubber, and grains, fluctuated wildly in response to economic conditions, diamonds have continued, with few exceptions, to advance upward in price every year since the Depression. Indeed, the cartel seemed so superbly in control of prices — and unassailable -that, in the late 1970s, even speculators began buying diamonds as a guard against the vagaries of inflation and recession.

The diamond invention is far more than a monopoly for fixing diamond prices; it is a mechanism for converting tiny crystals of carbon into universally recognized tokens of wealth, power, and romance. To achieve this goal, De Beers had to control demand as well as supply. Both women and men had to be made to perceive diamonds not as marketable precious stones but as an inseparable part of courtship and married life. To stabilize the market, De Beers had to endow these stones with a sentiment that would inhibit the public from ever reselling them. The illusion had to be created that diamonds were forever — “forever” in the sense that they should never be resold.

When you give your loved one a diamond, you give them a symbol of greed, albeit one of ingenius avarice far outpacing your standard, run-of-the-mill greed. It’s a pretty fucking impressive pyramid of greed and faux-glamour, I’ll admit. But it is fake and empty nonetheless. Blood Diamonds, they call’em, and not for nothing.


And what are you saying about each other if you need a diamond to seal the deal? Does the man have to be a breadwinner of a certain caliber to merit your hand in marriage? Guys, does the girl not sparkle enough without a diamond on her finger? If that’s the case, let her go. Girls, refuse those rings. Your affection should not be for sale, and all you’re accomplishing is putting a guy in debt. Then you marry him in a lavish ceremony and — bingo!you’re both in debt. Brilliant.

I know we’re all concerned about De Beers’ profits and whether its CEO can afford that third yacht, but try to think of yourself first. Do you really really need a sparkly rock at the end of your finger?

If so, might I suggest quartz?

I noticed this little tidbit on Slashdot, which is explained in more detail at the San Fran Chronicle:

Analog TVs will no longer receive a signal come Feb. 19, 2009, unless users update their hardware to receive a digital signal.

Federal officials announced details Monday about how that transition will work, saying the government will help consumers buy the necessary equipment to upgrade to digital — a converter box that attaches to the TV set.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said it is setting aside $990 million to pay for the boxes. Each home can request up to two $40 coupons for a digital-to-analog converter box, which consumer electronics makers such as RCA and LG plan to produce. Prices for the box have not been determined, but industry and consumer groups have estimated they will run $50 to $75 each. [emphasis added]

Yes, that’s right. The government is going to pay you to keep watching that boobtube. The government is subsidizing mind control devices in order to ensure the passivity of the populace.

As a person who hates TV and doesn’t own one, it really pisses me off that my tax dollars are being spent on this boondoggle. I’ve long had a nagging suspicion that TVs have always been subsidized to some extent because the powers that be wanted a window into the lives of their subjects. It’s worth noting that in 1984 the TV’s watch you.

TV is bad for you. It’s bad for your mind, your body and your soul. Why is the government subsidizing something that, by almost all accounts, is detrimental to our health? Children spend 44.5 hours per week in front of screens — as much time as I spend at my job — and the government is not only unconcerned they’re funding this? Don’t you see something wrong here?

The Romans had their bread & circuses and Americans have their TV. This is about pacifying the population. If we didn’t have TV to numb our brains people might start to wake up to all the nefarious shit going on around us. Ideally, TV would be an excellent medium to tackle these social ills, but the mega-media-corps rarely seem to do so, especially when their own bottom line is at risk.

Instead, we will all continue working all day, going home to veg for a few hours and then waking up and doing it again… and with our softened brains we’ll never have time to ponder why a highly-advanced country like ours works so much, yet has so little to show for it (besides bigscreen TVs). With American Idol on we’ll never deduce that the rich are stealing from us through inflation, real-estate boom & busts, taxes and other financial trickery that make it possible for the middle classes’ earning power to actually decline over the last 30 years despite the rich getting fantastically richer.

We are being FUCKED. But most people are too hypnotized to notice.

There’s a discussion over at Slashdot concerning the income disparity we face today. I expect it to be modded into oblivion by fascists, capitalists and morons, so I’m reposting it here:

So, who got a check from the government last year to make up for all the money you lost to inflation? Anyone?

Whenever topics like this come up all the libertarians, fascist/corporatists and foaming-at-the-mouth capitalists come out of the woodwork to say that “anybody can make it in America!” even though none of them have been poor, black, suffering from disease and fleeing from hurricanes while still succeeding in business. Hey, I like kool-aid, too, but this is total horseshit. Let me be absolutely clear:

THE RICH “CREATE” POVERTY. Clear enough? Without rich people actively trying to fuck over poor people we wouldn’t have the income disparity that we presently have. To see it in action, all you have to do is look at the Republican party and their collaborators in big business. They try their best to cut taxes for the rich and slash spending on social programs, no matter what the human cost. The Democrats help by increasing federal spending to obscene levels thereby necessitating increased taxation. We get fucked from both ends, like a double-sided dildo.

As amusing as it is to read white-bread, middle-class slashdotters talking about how easy it is for anybody in America to become a captain of industry, I feel compelled to take a shit on your Capitalism Cake. Fascism is alive and well in this country, which should be no surprise to anyone who knows what Fascism is: Corporatism. Basically, it’s the merger of the state and big business. Fascism is the governmental system that is most favorable to business, bar none. Big Business is fascist not because they believe in Hitler’s aryan fantasies but because they stand to gain from a government hopelessly devoted to improving market conditions for greedy multinationals.

The income gap is not a new thing because greed is as old as humanity. There is no such thing as being “rich enough.” There is only MORE. More money, more power, more disparity. And how do you really know that you’re rich unless somebody else is poor? How can you really enjoy being wealthy unless you have servants? The rich mindset is dead set on creating inequity because the rich benefit from it, and like I said, there is no limit to their desires.

This is aided, abetted and made possible by the Federal Reserve System. Each year the Fed increases the money supply, and each year money becomes worth less and less. That’s the problem with fiat currency. Since it’s not backed by gold the dollar bill has no intrinsic worth. It is just paper. Since it’s just paper/electrons it can be created with a flick of the wrist. And so it is. When that money is created, who gets it? You? Does the government/private industry send you a check each year to account for inflation? No, the money is simply stolen from you by those who create it: The bankers. Bankers are the Kings of Capitalism. They are the new aristocracy, the ruling class that maintains control with an iron fist. They control the corporations and our government.

But this system, which appears impossibly strong from the outside, is actually rotting from within. Things are falling apart. If there was a run on the banks our economy would collapse into a pit that would make the Great Depression look like a tea party. That’s because of the deposits vs. cash-on-hand ratio. Banks are able to create money simply by making loans. How? Well, they don’t really have your money in the vault, you know. For each dollar you put in your savings account the bank is able to lend 10 dollars out because bankers have figured out that they only need to keep 10% of their total deposits on hand at any given time. (I’d like to have a 9x or 10x multiplier on my wealth. Maybe I should start a bank and screw you people over! It’s the American way!) The Fed backs them in case of a run, but they don’t have the money either. The money doesn’t exist. It’s imaginary. It’s not backed by anything like gold and it is only accessible during normal business climates. In the event of a nationwide run on all banks the first 10% might get their money out. The other 90% are totally and completely fucked.

Our economy is based on smoke and mirrors. The Federal Reserve is a privately owned corporation that loans our government money at interest, even though the money is completely fake. This is why we have a 9 trillion dollar federal debt (well, that and profligate spending by Congress). It’s a total scam. And most importantly, it’s a system of control, courtesy of the ultra-rich. They know that money is worthless; it’s only a means to an end: Power.

So does income inequality matter? Of course it does. It matters to the rich, who count on poor people for cheap labor (thus, the love affair with illegal immigration — would you rather pay $2.50 an hour for a Mexican gardener, or $10.50 for a citizen gardener?), and it matters to the poor, who can’t afford to go back to school to get more skills and get a better job… working for a rich guy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, went to Harvard’s kindergarten, etc.

So please, spare me the platitudes about how anybody can make it in America. If you do make it you’ll have to spend the rest of your life looking after your money, investing it properly and being successful at it or inflation will turn your wealth into a big pile of nothing. This should be nothing new to anybody who’s familiar with the ruling class. It’s the same in this country as it was 2,000 years ago during the Roman Empire. One of my favorite scenes from Mel Brook’s History of the World: Part 1 is the one in the Roman Senate:

Leader of Senate: All fellow members of the Roman senate hear me. Shall we continue to build palace after palace for the rich? Or shall we aspire to a more noble purpose and build decent housing for the poor? How does the senate vote?

Entire Senate: FUCK THE POOR!

Shitty day.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

What a shitty day. Nothing too horrible, just left me wondering: When’s Timmy-time? When do I get time for me? It seems like I’m working my life away… and I am. Is this really what I want to do with my life? It’s so short, and it’s slipping away… Is this it?

Why does it seem like we get busier and busier every year? Why don’t Americans use their supposed wealth to stretch out their leisure time? Isn’t that the definition of freedom? But I bet most of you are stuck with whatever PTO time the company gives you… and the rest of you can only wish you had PTO time.

Is this freedom? Is this wealth? How come I feel so poor in the time department? I’d gladly trade some money for some more time… but I don’t have enough money either.

They keep telling me that Americans are rich, richer than most of the rest of the world. Is that so? Then how come we have to work so much? After cost of living expenses and inflation are factored in it seems to me that we’re just like everybody else. Just trying to get by, day by day. Working more than we should because we can’t control our own hours. We can’t get the job we really want, we can’t spend as much time with friends and family as we’d like and if we complain too much we’re out on the streets. You call this freedom? I call it economic bondage.

So this is what it feels like to be a wealthy slave.