Monday, May 17, 2010

The Ten

2010, that is. The Ten that may kill us all. Goldman Sachs, Greek debt relief, climbing housing prices, rising next to more and more foreclosures, unemployment rate at 13% for the Golden State, and Tuesday, we get to vote again as though that will make a difference. The Repugs yelling "liberal" at each other, while neither has the credibility of a snake. The Dems waiting to see if voter unease, the Tea Party, the youthful Independents will make a difference. We are broke and devoid of workable compromisable ideas. They say, the political blogs, the media punDITS, and even some of my less than knowledgeable friends, that this 2010 election year will be the one to set the tone.

Me, I am positively tone deaf. We are broke and no one has come forward that can bring back the music of hope and possibility. There is work that needs to be done. But we live in a world where those that have all the money think that it makes sense for the rest of us to live in dire need of it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We will be moved by the end of the week

I am glad to see that several readers have responded to my last post and moved to the new blog at

Monday, October 1, 2007

I didn't want to do this but . . .

Blogger you are forcing me to. This week I will be moving this blog to a new location and address name at I know if you have been reading here for awhile you haveseen me mention that I really want to have discussions about what I am writing. Unfortunately Blogger does not allow the use of a comment count widget and that means that readers and email subscribers can not comment about my posts. Ah well, I have continued to post here while I tried to figure out a solution but I am giving up. So this week, you will probably see some version of this message. Meanwhile, if you'd like to subscribe to my new blog just click on the link above and join in. Thanks. And oh yeah, I hope you like the new blog name. I think it reflects more what I think than my original. Bye Bye.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Capitalism Is Like Water, You Can't Hold It in Your Hands

"But how do you get people to see that they are being screwed by their own dominant economic beliefs?" asks Jan Frel of author Naomi Klein. It's a question many of us are asking as the economic climate of the US heats up or cools down depending on your point of view. In Klein's new book, The Shock Doctrine, there are those who can't wait for the next disaster to appear so they can reap the economic benefits. In the personal finance blogosphere this discussion about motive and economic opportunism doesn't appear to have started.

It's been my experience that it's not always the issue that the media is preventing discussion, but rather that the media working on behalf of the public's general desire (of) not wanting to get into an issue. For example, this Monday, AlterNet ran article about the recent report that 1.2 million civilians have died violent deaths since the U.S. invasion. It was our top story, and the number of people who read it (24,000) was far lower than we expected.

Frel's observation jibes with the response I received when I mentioned this last week in a post on in response to a discussion about learning to live simply.

Meanwhile, Klein goes on to point out what happens in some of the media when they do talk about these issues:

but look at Lou Dobbs. Here you have a CNN news anchor who makes a concerted decision that he is going to put the disappearing American middle class and the effects of outsourcing on TV every night, and he's going to use his pulpit to drum up outrage, except that he decides that he's going to direct that outrage to the weakest people in society; to immigrants.

I have said it before at this site, I really believe in the god of serendipity. Yesterday, I just finished reading a new novel by British journalist turned author, Humphrey Hawksley, called the History Book. In it he poses what has become a standard theme in today's thrillers, a conspiracy theory. Persons in government are taking the opportunity provided by the fear of terrorism to use the fear to seize more and more dictatory powers. I know, it's just another story right? But Klein has done more than pose the question. She has spent four years documenting her book.

The timing of The Shock Doctrine's release in Canada is very relevant here because it just hosted a summit with George Bush and Mexican President Calderon to meet with Prime Minister Steven Harper to talk about the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) which is basically like
NAFTA-plus; NAFTA plus security issues. The SPP is an example of the shock doctrine I outline, in the sense that this was an agenda that would have been unspeakable in terms of integration with the United States before 9/11, and in the panic after -- in that shock -- the SPP agenda moved forward in
technocratic circles, and it was presented as a done deal.

She is presenting facts. And the interviewer is asking why we in the US
wont discuss them. I find myself thinking of New Orleans and the line from a song by Aaron Neville, "You can't stop running water" as I ponder this situation. Most of us benefit everyday from the system of capitalism, but the question that is appearing more and more in blogs and news papers, is this at the continuing expense of our democracy?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Financial Problems Aren't Just For the Other Guy

So what started off with a decision to read a post at about blogging ended up taking me to England and Wisconsin and back. At the easel, a sketch artist's blog was pointed to as an example of how to attract visitors. But when I got there I discovered the artist/blogger was posting about what she found out by standing in line waiting to get into her bank, Northern Rock.

Apparently, the subprime lending situation isn't limited to the US. In England, when the folks who placed their money at Northern Rock found out that their savings, etc, were not fully insured, they began to line up to move their money. But after several days of the pressure building the bank announced not only were they now fully insured but anyone replacing their money before Oct. 9 would receive a full refund of any penalties they had to pay for early withdrawal. We aren't the only country feeling a credit crunch.

Here in California we haven't seen any bank runs yet, as far as I know, but that hasn't stopped us from beginning to wonder and worry exactly how banks work.

And for that matter what is going to happen in the whole credit industry has become a question that over the next few days I intend to study.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I am not an investor . . . part 2

Whoops, if you were a reader here yesterday you were sent to the wrong (but it may turn out to be serendipitous) address for alternet. The correct address is not which appears to be a multi-purpose address for a variety of topics. But if you click on the alternet button you will find some interesting and contrasting articles that look to be worth your while. Or not. When I first clicked on this button it took me to the home page that showed a lisiting of related links for the site. When I clicked on the alternet link I was sent to a collection of articles headed by one written by Anne Coulter for her new weekly newsletter. The rest of the list was composed of alternate viewpoints from the liberal side. However, when I came here to correct the mistake I clicked on the link again and now the list with Coulter, etc is gone. Replaced by something called alternate which provided a list of computer suppliers. Weird, eh?

I am not an investor . . .

but I am interested in the subject because my partner T. is. So I read with interest J.D.'s post at today when he mentioned a site called Transparent Investing the brainchild a San Francisco based financial planning group called Iperio Group LLC. A quick overview of the site revealed a simple but articulate 10 step approach to designing your own investing strategy. I especially liked the calculators and links to sites. Also, several of the steps were accompanied by video presentations which was excellent for my wife who is much more of a visual learner than a reader.

Meanwhile, at one of the day's lead articles was about America's apparent addiction to credit. At first, as I read the headline and opening sentences, I thought no it's not an addiction. But then I thought back to the Christmas before last when I was in the midst of a cash crunch and how I justified using my card by comparing myself to the country's trillions of debt. Hell, I thought, why should I worry about a $1000.00 when the whole country is pushing 8 trillion? Sounds a lot like the justification a drinker might make just before that fatal car crash, right? Unfortunately, in the article, John Ince, fails to fulfill the promise of the headline. Yes, he does provide several examples of over indulgence in the use of credit that could be very useful in arguing that such behavior is out of control. But no he does not stay with the argument long enough to prove satisfactorily that the reason for the behavior is that it is addictive. Instead he goes off on the tangent provided by the examples and discusses what will happen as we continue on this course of irresponsibility. Too bad, I liked the premise. But I might argue that we are really addicted to the things that the use of credit brings us. Credit in this case is the enabler that when abused becomes the destroyer.