I have a confession to make. It is official - I just made more money this year trading a single stock than I made either teaching or selling homes or doing any of the other things that I have been trained to “do” or “produce.” Given the fact that I am a card-carrying “progressive” this is a sad state of affairs indeed - particularly since the sum I made trading Apple stock on dips and peaks was hardly impressive. For “playing the game - I do not apologize. In times like this we have to do what works..and like I said - since I didn’t have much money to trade with in the first place - no markets were shaken to the core by my actions.
My financial worries aside - this leads to a bigger issue that has far more serious implications for the American economy and Main Street America.
Perhaps one of the biggest elephants in the room from #occupy wall street movement is that many of the protesters have done a 180 degree turn on that “self determination” thing.
Real estate agents are independent contractors and we are often coach and cajoled into believing that “you make it happen and YOU are in 100% control of your destiny.” That works until it doesn’t. You can be as aggressive as you want - but if consumer demand has completely dried up very few will survive. Like selling coals in Newcastle - selling houses in the biggest recession since the great Depression is about as easy as selling ice to Eskimos.
Much of the criticism levied at the #Occupy Wall Street movement has pinpointed the fact that in general the protesters lack “direction.” These people are not fools or bums and those who would dismiss them lightly do so at their peril. They are savvy enough to know something is wrong. Very wrong. They have the right target in their sites. They are disgusted with Wall Street and the “too big to fail” banks that have yet to be held to account for the misery they have inflicted on millions of Americans. They understand that the banks were bailed out. They understand that instead of lending the largesse from the taxpayers - the banks took the money and locked it up. They get that the super-rich, the big banks, and multinational corporations are sitting on the trillions of $$ that are desperately needed to kick start our economy. They understand that until that money circulates - the misery on Main Street will only increase.
But specific demands are harder to get to…
So here are some demands that would give the movement “direction”. They are particularly relevant to an #Occupy Wall Street movement in that it targets Wall Street and the big banks. (more…)
People keep talking about things that are broken. I’m not talking about a cup or a glass or even Grandma’s antique china. It usually goes something like…”the_______industry is broken!” or “the _____system is broken!” or the ______business. Which begs the question: how can so many industries, businesses, and systems all be broken at the same time?
Personally, I have had two careers and it seems as though academia is broken and the real estate industry is broken beyond repair. My father had cancer and getting him treated because he was in an HMO was a nightmare…so the insurance industry is broken. The big banks won’t discuss loan modifications with clients - so the banking industry is broken.
When there are this many “broken things” shattered on the ground at the same time - something is wrong systemically. It is rooted deep within the our government and the body politic. This is what happens when a government ceases to be functional. When the government is broken, it means that those who would exploit and steal, those who would earn their money on the backs of others are in firm control. In our case, the capitalistic beast has been let loose and its eating its prey. Unfortunately we are the prey and until the beast is contained - we will continue to look at our institutions and business as so much shattered glass.
The Wall Street protests reveal that the public is now aware of the fact that they are prey. They see who the enemy is and are finally standing strong. The response by the police only affirms how badly dysfunctional things are. They are arresting the protesters while leaving the real criminals free to continue the carnage. Pssst…I have a hint for you men in the white and blue shirts….the REAL criminals have suits and carry briefcases…
If I hear one more word about the plight of the “job creators” - I think I’m going to explode. Please let’s get real on this issue. It has degenerated to the point where all you hear is incomprehensible slogans and veiled threats of pulling the plug on yet more jobs if taxes on the rich are allowed to rise by so much as a dime. Since they weren’t creating jobs in the first place - stating that this will prevent them from creating jobs seems a moot point. This is another example of fact-free political pandering. The facts be damned when you are trying to convince the masses that what is bad for them is actually good.
The New York State Millionaires Tax - an onerous burden? Not so much…
Never mind that the Tea Party has no idea about what the real Boston Tea Party was about. Forget about the fact that almost all members of the Tea Party have benefited from portion of our social contract that they call “socialism”. If they enjoyed paved roads and indoor plumbing through a public provider - they are sucking on the government teat - even if they don’t understand that they are. The Tea Party and the radical right share an ideology that is almost completely fact-free.
You are not entitled to your own facts….
Trying to get any kind of common sense through that wall is impossible. Its as if people living in the Fox News Bubble have all bought a top-of-the-line “white noise” machine that selectively blocks out any and all facts. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was fond of pointing out “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” These days the latter does not appear to be true. We are inundated political pablum on the right that appears to be 100% fact free. Junk science abounds - with political operatives filled to the brim with all the pseudo-science the oil and gas companies could possibly provide…
This year I just wanted to get through the 10th anniversary of 9/11… There was a fatigue in me that I think the entire country is sharing that made me want to turn away and move on. Days like this are days of reflection. And given the state of the world our country, the environment and the economy perhaps I thought it was best not to reflect too carefully. After all, we know what we are going to see and it isn’t pretty. It is perhaps best that we pass this one by quickly and not stare at the reflection too carefully.
But I was up late last night and happened by a special on CNN with Sanjay Gupta regarding the “dust” of 9/11 and it brought home to roost many things that I find very disturbing about America.
As of this writing Obama has presented his plan before the American people and a joint session of Congress - A Congress that graciously begrudgingly gave him a time slot at their convenience.
The republicans are probably somewhat chastened by a brutal August among their constituents. I know for our part - New Yorkers gave Nan Hayworth little peace. The heckling started the minute she returned home and she was shadowed by angry constituents every day of her recess. One even stripped off her shirt (she was wearing a bathing suit) saying that she was losing her shirt to tea party policies. Ironic, since she was a “job creator” with her own (now outsourced) business. But I digress. It appears to have been a similar period of purgatory in other districts throughout the county. Sooooooo - doing nothing is probably not an option. But giving Obama a victory is also NOT an option.
The republicans have FINALLY found a tax hike they can get behind. Why? It increases taxes on he poor while sparing the super rich - who are carry so much water for the rest of us - from an more undo responsibility.
But in order to justify the tax hikes - there must be a villian - a group of people who can be demonized for not properly pulling their weight. What better target than Main Street America - particularly the working poor?
No this is not a parody on freedom fries and all things anti-French American.
Once my brain stopped rattling today - I came to a epiphany that had long been hibernating in the darkest corners of my mind. It was one of those “ah -hah!” moments that is generally cause for self-congratulation. But not in this case. My epiphany can summed up in a simple sentence: Our government is no longer a functioning entity.
Our Government has been hijacked a religious and ideological faction:
Our government no longer functions because it has been hijacked by by religious and ideological extremists locked in an unholy alliance with a Machiavellian oligarchy. The power rests with the monied elite in the oligarchy while the tea party extremists are merely tools for business interests. The tea party enables and the oligarchy continues to disable what little is left of our republic.