Friday, March 18, 2016

The Emergence of the New Aristocratic Era

I think we are headed back to a form of the Aristocratic era that preceded the Industrial Revolution (IR). The IR changed the world in an unprecedented manner. Jobs, Opportunity, wide spread Equality, and Wealth; the creation of a huge Middle Class. But no one saw it coming to an abrupt end; What futurists foresaw did not happen... e.g. a world in which all humanity enjoyed leisure (not enforced unemployment) and wealth (not minimum slave wages nor the humiliating dole). Think for a moment what "slave wages" are are: (eliminating "ownership" of the person) slave wages pay an amount that feeds and clothes and provides minimum housing - nothing more; exactly what slave holders of yore provided. 
The governments of the 1ST World are the new slave owners, but have not provided jobs for their slaves, nor income from those jobs with which to feed the kitty to keep the system going. Instead 1ST World Governments are simply dissipating the wealth that was generated during the IR period And worse they have borrowed against wealth that has for intents disappeared. Even emerging economies are dissipating their natural wealth: Venezuela, the Ivory Coast, etc. 
What a glorious, albeit short, period the IR was. You and I received the best of it and are living to witness the end of it. The period we are in right now is what I'll call, for lack of a catchy phrase, the period of Equity Dissipation/Debt Acquisition; it will be shorter than the period of equity building that occurred during the latter stage of the IR since spending is quick, thoughtless, and requires neither skill nor effort. We are seeing it all around us: Governments of every stripe in debt up to their noses, most people struggling with debt, home ownership declining, home equities evaporating. Even a minimal college education encourages debt and in many fields requires huge debt levels. All only exacerbating and furthering the dissipation of wealth. 
I see it in my own family and in most of the families I am familiar with: the adult children of many would be poor if it weren't for government subsidy and dependence upon parents. Compare those to the economic health of the previous generation: that role was reversed! That generation aided in the financial support of their parents.

The near Future is not rosy: No jobs for the hoi polloi, no broadly enjoyed equity creation. Further concentration of enormous wealth into the hands of the few: Gates, Zuckerberg, Allen, Buffett, Trump, etc., the new Aristocrats. They wield enormous power both economic and political. They generate jobs, but few high paying jobs compared to the era of the IR. 
The new Aristocrat's vast wealth is a result of the nature of the Technological Revolution in which a handful of people (or even a single individual), using digital tools creates a product (using another digital tool, the simple computer, that needs no direct support of a broad spectrum of industrial might - as did say the IR era automobile industry) that when combined with modern financial resources generates - almost overnight - billions of dollars for the "inventors" of products like Facebook! 
The nature of that particular product needs little infrastructural support: little or physical industrial development, no wholesale or retail distribution apparatus... nothing but another $200 digital tool - the iPhone.... which, by the way, needs no telephone lines, no phone poles, no telephone operators, no switchboards, no phone repair men, no millions of miles of copper wires, etc.  

Cheers, Mel

Saturday, March 5, 2016

This Screwy Election Can Get More Bazaar!

 How stupid I've been! Here I am, 75 years old and all those years I've thought that we had free and open elections. Closely following this current Presidential election cycle has opened my eyes: we don't. The election of the President and Vice President of the United States is an indirect vote in which citizens cast ballots for a slate of members of the U.S. Electoral College. Period.

The states hold primaries/caucus, wherein citizens choose a "preferred" candidate. After the state primaries the "Parties" hold a convention - that's where the real voting begins. Democrat's have something called Super Delegates; these actually pick the nominee: Those Supers Ds are the Ins that can use their votes for anybody, someone that might not have even appeared on a single primary/caucus ballot! They can simply "name" their candidate using the power of the Super D's. Similarly the GOP can at their convention choose anyone they wish to appear on the ballot.... Unless that GOP aspirant has won 1236 delegates thru the primary/caucus system prior to the convention; if none has won 1236 Delegates a "brokered" convention is set to make the choice of Nominee.  The number of "votes" citizens have cast for individuals is irrelevant.

Then once "The Parties" have chosen Nominees we the citizens can vote for one. But wait, there's even more: regardless for whom you have cast your vote, all you've done is made a choice. "Electors" then cast their vote, it could be for whomever they choose, for the Candidate.

Bottomline? Unless there is a landslide election - from Day 1 - your vote and mine are simply meaningless.
One Caveat: I think this was covered in my 7TH Grade Civics Class, but somehow I still thought our system was superior to the Soviets. All very confusing - on purpose I think - and I may well be wrong on the details....

Voting is simply a way of allowing ill informed citizens TO THINK that it was they who elected their President.

Cheers, Mel

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Conservative Republican Establishment?

 Who and what is the "Conservative Republican Establishment?"  Dinosaurs or Fantasy Creatures? We only know that they are unsatisfiable. They threaten to vote for an Independent, they threaten to vote for Hillary or Bernie. Or they threaten to not vote at all! Unless they get their way... Fine. Be the spoiled kid on the block... take your ball and go home.

  These folks are living in some sort of Fantasyland.

 So, who was the last President of these folks? Will no one will fit their bill this time.. again? It still comes down to two available choices. Choice One: Vote Trump or don't vote, which is a vote in favor of the status quo or worse, continued galloping socialism and reckless spending. Granted, you'll not be voting for the "Conservative," but you will be voting for the America that made us great.

 And then there are those mindless conservatives: Spiteful. They choose Choice Two: They would actually prefer the corrupt Clintons to Trump! The only rational I could guess at is that they are in the mental state of "happy-power-lite." Their elected are happy to enjoy the occasional ride in Air Force 1, and an invite to the occasional State Dinner, and of course get the perks of a comfortable life in D.C. (now the third richest City in America, in spite of the fact that they make nothing!). These are sycophants to power and in reality have no principles. But make the same sounds of the conceited elitist progressives that got us here. Where they ran for office there must have already been a "D" on the ticket... but hey, there was an "R" spot open! These mindless ones are free to continue their bitching without responsibility. There is the Third Choice: Don't vote. Don't vote don't care. Not a choice of the thinking person.

  The reality of the situation has to be confronted. There is no Conservative Republican Establishment  only a Fantasyland of Republican Conservatism... i.e. there is no "there" there. We have to wake-up and face reality.

  We will never get rid of most of the social welfare programs the progressives have been able to initiate but perhaps we could at least return to the concept of "country," security, and opportunity. Our government has become an organization of thugs and muggers. Those in power see citizens as targets and will do what ever is required to push their agenda. Cut-off their money you say? Go ahead, they'll just print it. And that's exactly what has happened... to the tune of twenty one trillion(!) dollars and growing! 
  We have to get real! 

 The national debt - - with the help and assistance of the Establishment Republican Party is drowning us. Imagine what will happen when interest rate rise? How will the debt be paid then? With confiscatory taxes or with the printing presses that will, with every dollar printed, eventually destroy the value of all those already printed? 

 I'm looking for a leader that can change the thinking process of government. A government that can help return America to a business oriented national agenda... away from the progressive one that will end in the destruction of the country that I see as America. 

  Profitable American Business - the only viable way to paying down the debt.

 Check out the short film below... Donald Trump is the orator. The Donald is the only candidate qualified to get us back on track.

Cheers, Mel

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I Like Trump!

It's a matter of choices. The political establishment on both sides of the isle have had little regard for the Constitution since the turn of the last century, especially so since the years of the Great Depression. That said.... we aren't going back to an earlier time.... it just doesn't work like that. We move forward until the system breaks. To me Trump promises a partial restoration of our system. I say partial because we Americans, like all peoples are still humans, not perfect, but still better than the current crop. Obama has denied that - - Hillary promised last night to continue the Obama "legacy." Sanders wants to break the system. Neither Rubio, Kasich, Christie, nor Bush have the magic touch to pull us together, and they all represent the Establishment. Carly, Ben, Rand, Rick, or Huckabee have no chance of getting the nomination. Nice, earnest folk all, but they don't have the charisma required to win the Presidency, which Mr. Obama proved is necessary in today's celebrity crazed world.

That leaves Ted. Ted is a true Conservative but is disliked by both parties. Ted has no business experience - which is sorely needed. Can he get along with Congress? Not well if his record is any indication. And they know him... know his weaknesses and without a clear Mandate could ignore him. But my biggest concern is that he is an Ideologue. We, I think, have had our fill of Ideology.

America to survive must have good dose of business. Profitable Business. With the rest of the world joining the industrial/technological age competition is tougher than ever. Trump can deal with business. And business is the only route to prosperity. Prosperity is the only solution to the looming abyss of debt and insolvency: Twenty one trillion dollars(!) of government debt, perhaps Seventy trillion of unfunded total debt. The interest on these debts can only be paid with profits afforded by prosperity; or by inflation, insolvency and bankruptcy. 

Bringing it down to Trump this is the way I see it: 

1. He ain't in it for the money; he's got plenty, more than he knows what to do with
2. He has no commitment to any party nor to any lobby
3. His power will vanish if his base - the public - turns against him. Remember that he has no number 2 as ultimate support; only "the people."
4. His swagger, his self confidence, his "John Wayne" is powerful. I see him as the American I grew-up admiring.
5. He is very smart, very accomplished, very generous, and has a beautiful family... they are all winners! These things mean something to me.He's not perfect. None are.
5. Lastly, He is not an Ideologue; he does not scare me as did (and still does) Mr. Obama and Hillary and Sanders.

This last is important as he won't be shoving his "wouldn't it be wonderful if just..." ideas, as have been fostered upon us by the Establishment, down our throats. Like Ronald Reagan was, he is the throw-back now needed; the throw-back to the American that we loved on the big screen of AMERICA the GREAT. He is our last ratchet-latch. 

Trump: A Happy Warrior.

Cheers, Mel

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hillary Off the Bus?

Libya. As you know, our Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and 3 other government employees were murdered in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12. Ambassador Stevens is reported to have been horribly tortured and brutally raped before he died. No US Marines to protect him..... at Administration direction.... no guns, no bullets in these most dangerous Embassies of the Middle East (there was a "local" Libyan security man employed who "disappeared" when the attack occurred!) - - BUT we do have Marines, with weapons, in places like ....... PARIS!? AND all in spite of the FACT that our Libyan Embassy ASKED for 12 Security Men, BECAUSE THEY KNEW they were about to be attacked, but were still DENIED protection. 

During the VP debate Biden stated that "we didn't know the Embassy asked for help....." and this in spite of the FACT that under sworn testimony by State Intel this week that YES THEY WERE INFORMED!

Now the Administration is saying it was the State Dept.'s fault...... yep, get the bus door open, Hillary is about to go out and under! The White House is NEVER AT FAULT. NEVER. Always someone else's fault. ALWAYS. 

Think about it: 9/11; Libya; Al Qaida flags flying high; Embassy Begs for Marines....

I think about it: I think.... WHY?

I wonder if Bill will continue campaigning for BHO?

Cheers, Mel Shapiro

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our MONEY is at stake....

M O N E Y, our money, every country's money, has a reason behind its value: some (were) backed with gold, other's - oil (and every manner of natural resources), still others the value of their labor, or their geography, etc. Since America left the gold standard our money's value has been based on a couple of things, amongst them are the wealth of our natural resources: now depleting; our political stability: now polarizing; military strength: waning; the educational level of its citizens: dumbing-down; and perhaps the most important when combined with that list is the value of American's  industriousness: now being stifled .... by our own government!  

The value of and therefore the purchasing power of the US dollar has, in the past decade, severely diminished - - all the while the country's foreign debt has grown dramatically. Just compare the purchasing-power of the American dollar to the NZ - DOUBLED, the Australian - DOUBLED, and the Canadian - UP 50%! American Illiteracy is deepening as the rest of the world's increases. Cultural icons, the American cultural touchstones, are being systematically destroyed, the traditional family exists in fewer and fewer homes; the church is on the way out. 

The "profit" of an economy is, just as in a business, at the margins. By that I mean profits come at the end of efficient business practice; in a nation-wide economy that comes when there is effectively full-employment. A Big Government taking of an ever bigger slice of whatever success remains and giving it to non-producers is a recipe for a continuing downward slide!

If these events continue on the course now carved-out, our wealth, yours and mine, will not be enough to keep us from poverty. it is imperative that our money continue to have value, since we are not rich enough to have "a diversified portfolio," i.e. our own off-shore bank as do the truly rich; they'll be rich regardless. 

We need a businessman, in particular one that is a turnaround specialist as CEO - President, to restore value to our dollar. You've heard the adage: "Voters always vote their pocketbooks." Now that so many are in the pocket of the government either via employment or entitlement, and since we have been politically identified and segregated by the world's greatest community organizer, many voters will vote for more government entitlement - regardless of the final effect on our financial worth; like eating the goose that lays those shiny eggs. 

This election is truly about choosing sides. I'm on the side of those values that made my country, -- going back to the boats -- successful. 

What side are you on? Deciding to change the character, values and fundamental ethical positions of a country is dangerous. Like war plans; once the plan gets underway one can toss out the plan..... things don't necessarily work out the way one might wish. Ask Adolf, Hirohito, and Napoleon. 

We are in trouble when so many simply want their fellow citizens' stuff! Next thing you know they'll want their heads too!

Cheers, Mel 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Death of the American City

I've thought about this problem: John Ransom: Union Greed and Politician Apathy are Killing Cities, in the past, and although Ransom is right in his analysis of the immediate problem facing many cities, this is only part of what is "killing" cities. Some cities, like NYC, Boston, Seattle, and others are not being killed - - yet. What, in my opinion, has killed many cities are the same forces that have killed the mainstream media and is killing other sectors of the “old city” economy.... Societal Evolution and the Invention of the Internet. 

Today there is little need for big cities. Sweatshops have all but disappeared. Manufacturing has disintermediated, as has much of the old traditional economy: Supplier > Manufacturer > Wholesaler > Retailer to finally, Buyer, has been replaced with: Just-In-Time Manufacturer > Buyer; and this to large degree has been facilitated via the Internet. Even the traditional salesforce has been severely diminished. In the traditional economy, of just a decade or two ago, the old model business chain clustered in and around the city, providing millions with jobs. Many of those "jobs" have simply disappeared - never to return. Not just outsourced manufacturing jobs, but most "middleman" jobs as well.

Today, especially in the high-tech world of electronics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, "campuses" have sprung-up in the suburbs and even the exurbs. What little population support needed by workers quickly develops around these campuses as, what I call, "a city in a box." The box is nearly pre-manufactured and merely needs assembly. It generally consists of the familiar modern "town" of a few big-box stores, fast food franchises, and necessary services such as: a complete medical building, perhaps even a small hospital; various and sundry mechanical services including a local airport; educational facilities and minimal county government services.

Crowds, crime, the uneducated, the unemployed, the unemployable, the unwashed of the present, if you will; those are the peoples of the dying cities. Those folks do not pay substantial taxes and are supported to a large degree by government: police, the courts, other government service providers; the bureaucrats. The very presence of this growing segment of modern society is exacerbating the death of the city. President Obama, and others are attempting to stop and even reverse this trend, to financially gut and strangle those suburbs and exurbs in order to force the tax paying population back into the cities and thus support the old culture there. Drive-up the cost of fuel is one ploy, but is back-firing; the one-time commuter will look for work closer to home or move even further out rather than return to that which he/she ran from: the big (and now dirty and dilapidated) city; and simply use less fuel. Starting a business today requires, in city services, little more than an internet connection! Gone is the glamour of the city. Good food, culture and entertainment are all available just about everywhere, and once again the Internet aides and abets.

Cheers, Mel

P.S. Sorry Governor Brown (CA), High Speed Rail and other rapid transit public transportation schemes won't stop, let alone reverse, this trend. It's called: evolution.