Monday, June 6, 2011

Who Are These People?

Greetings good citizen,

Hope you enjoyed your weekend! I started this post on Saturday but never got back to it until now (Monday morning.) It’s been one of those weekends.

What might be of interest is how the ‘theme’ of this post didn’t change with the shifting news picture. I started off with the topic of ‘who are these people’ and found myself in the same place when I returned Monday.

In fact, I had a rather disturbing encounter at yesterday’s family gathering on a subject more closely related to ‘semantics’ and definitions rather than politics.

So is it with our first offering, where we ask Who are these people?

We have already learned that the R and the D after their names has been rendered meaningless; scratch either one and you’ll find a corporate synchopant underneath.

The number of limousines in the federal fleet has fluctuated, but GSA's "unreliable" accounting makes determining exactly how many federal limos have been in circulation difficult.

Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste, was outraged by the GSA's number games. "They can't figure out a way to define a limo? How hard can it be? If the government can't track limos, I'm not sure we should trust the numbers they put out there on anything," she said. Maybe for the government and the GSA, limousines are so routine that they have become continuous with the concept of "car."

Spoiled as government officials may be, some federal agencies and departments may have been victim to unfair limousine distribution. The State Department's 259 limos surpassed every other agency's limo stash in 2010, and the department has gained 194 limos since fiscal year 2008. Of the new 194, 98 were defined as "law enforcement." According to the GSA, these limos are either used for surveillance or undercover operations or decked-out with sweet additions like sirens, lights and high-performance drive trains.

Which is to point out some of what the GSA is defining as limousines may in fact be Chevy Suburbans, ‘tricked out’ for, er, ‘security work’.

Hell for the past six years I drove a Mercury Grand Marquis, which nobody mistook for a limo, even though it was registered as one…

Thus ended Saturday’s ‘digging’, rudely interrupted by orders to do some actual digging out in the yard!

I barely got to read my mail on Sunday and it was off to a graduation party for one of my many nieces and nephews.

This is where I encountered the somewhat disturbing semantics issue. A situation where the guy (in this case) obviously didn’t understand the definition of the word he was using.

Well, you know the old saying, it’s better to keep your mouth shut and have people THINK you’re an idiot than to open it and prove them right!

Which, ironically, I think is the basis for 99% of our media induced disagreement…and brings us full circle to the ‘stupid’ argument that I have promised to ‘back-off’ on for a while.

Our second offering is an issue most of you will comprehend although few of you will agree on the causes of it:

State, Local Governments Set to See Record Job Cuts, Layoffs

June 6th, 2011

Via: CNN:

Don’t look to state and local governments to prop up the job market.

To the contrary, this cash-strapped sector is set to go on a record-breaking layoff binge when the new fiscal year starts on July 1.

State and local governments are forecast to shed up to 110,000 jobs in the third quarter, the first time the blood-letting has risen into the triple digits, according to IHS Global Insight.

One of yesterday’s attendee’s was a local police officer, who was chatting with a retired fireman about the sorry state of public finances…

‘Straight from the horses mouth’ comes this comment: ‘if this shit keeps up, we won’t bother to show up anymore!’

What ‘shit’ is that you may ask?

‘More with less’. As most of you are aware, police work is dangerous even at the best of times. I would hardly call the current ‘working conditions’ most officers’ face daily anything even approaching ‘ideal’.

Desperation levels are sky high and you know what happens when people get desperate…

although that specific topic wasn’t discussed. He neither complained about the cutbacks that will have him facing an increasingly hostile environment with less ‘back-up’ than is prudent, he merely pointed out that he doesn’t do what he does ‘for free’.

If they weren’t going to pay him then he wasn’t about to risk his ass.

Apparently (rumor has it) that a certain amount of ‘extra effort’ was being ‘requested’ from ‘all’ employees to help the municipality with their budget problems.

And you know what ‘request’ means, don’t you?

You will do it and like it.

Anyway, it seems the Average American is wondering where they can go to experience the economic recovery for themselves…

U.S. House Price Collapse Worse Than During Great Depression

June 5th, 2011

Via: Independent:

The ailing US housing market passed a grim milestone in the first quarter of this year, posting a further deterioration that means the fall in house prices is now greater than that suffered during the Great Depression.

The brief recovery in prices in 2009, spurred by government aid to first-time buyers, has now been entirely snuffed out, and the average American home now costs 33 per cent less than it did at the peak of the housing bubble in 2007. The peak-to-trough fall in house prices in the 1930s Depression was 31 per cent – and prices took 19 years to recover after that downturn.

The latest Case-Shiller house price index was just one of a slew of disappointing economic data from the US yesterday, which suggested ebbing confidence in the recovery of the world’s largest economy. The Chicago PMI manufacturing index showed a sharp slowdown in the pace of expansion in May, missing Wall Street forecasts and sending the index to its lowest since November 2009.

Ironically, this subject DID come up in yesterday’s little political debate!

Not the housing market specifically but how the economy was statistically ‘worse’ than the original ‘Great Depression’.

Of course, this being our third consecutive ‘jobless recovery’ most of us have been down so long it looks like up to us!

Naturally, the housing market ‘follows’ the employment market. You CAN’T buy a house if you don’t have a reliable job that pays well. (Although under A Simple Plan, housing, suitable to your circumstances, is both free and one of your rights!

More succinctly, to ‘charge’ you for shelter would be a violation of the Human Anti-Exploitation Law, an exile offense!

As we can plainly see, there is no ‘social benefit’ to turning a basic necessity into an income stream for the predatory capitalists among us.

The effects of which we can see demonstrated by this article

More Americans Think Economy Will Never Recover

June 4th, 2011

Recover to what? Happy motoring on Chinese credit?

Via: CNBC:

Americans are growing increasingly doubtful about direction of the US economy, according to the latest survey from business-advisory firm AlixPartners.

In fact, an increasing number, some 61 percent, say they don’t expect to return to their respective pre-recession lifestyles until the spring of 2014, if ever.

What’s worse, a full 10 percent said they expect they will never return to pre-recession spending.

That’s a more pessimistic view than last year, when those surveyed expected that they could be back to pre-recession spending levels by the middle of 2013.

“Americans continue to push their expectations for return to a pre-recession ‘normal’ further and further into the future—close enough for comfort, but far enough away to seem realistic,” said Fred Crawford, CEO of AlixPartners. “But as that happens, more and more it seems normal is actually where we are right now.”

It’s that last line about ‘normal’ being where we are right now that I find most disturbing. We have only just begun our plunge into the deep abyss of energy scarcity, an event that will redefine the gap between the ‘Haves and the Have Nots’

This will be especially contentious considering the ‘gap’ consists entirely of ‘funny money’ that will become totally worthless to the people who do the actual ‘heavy lifting’ around here.

Like most polls, we can only wonder who, precisely, was polled and how this particular population segment was selected.

Because let’s face it, the data exists to tell pollsters before hand what they are likely to expect from data-mining a particular area.

So anyone who thinks they conduct polls ‘at random’ should be wearing a dunce cap.

But I digress.

Did I mention that the collapse of our civilization proceeds apace?

But you knew that!

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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