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Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man

Neil Young's "Union Man" covered at the 2008 International Rust Fest at Old Princeton Landing, CA.

I'm proud to be a union man
I make those meetings when I can, yeah
I pay my dues ahead of time
When the benefits come I'm last in line, yeah.

I'm proud to be a union man.

Every fourth Friday at 10 am
There's a local meeting of the A F of M, yeah!

This meeting will now come to order
Is there any new business?

Yeah, I think 'Live music are better'
Bumper stickers should be issued.

What was that?

'Live music is better' bumper stickers
Should be issued

The gentleman says
'Live music is better' bumper stickers
Should be issued
All in favor of what he said
Signify by sayin' "ay"


If, however, you are opposed
Signify by saying "no".

I'm proud to be a union man.


An Original R@D "Live Music Is Better" Bumpersticker

ps - Free concert TONIGHT in Madison, Wisconsin. See you there?!


Also, see more on the question of whether Neil Young is proud to be a union man?

After all, isn't all about the "Ordinary People"?

UPDATE: 2/28

From | Wisconsin is the front line in right-wing class warfare by Laurence Lewis:
The political showdown in Wisconsin is about class warfare.

No one in the traditional media wants to admit it. No one in the traditional media wants to admit that the Republican agenda is about class warfare. Many in the traditional media long ago chose sides, and they don't want anyone to know that the war exists. They only call it class warfare when those who aren't of the plutocratic elite try to stand up for their rights. They only call it class warfare when those who aren't of the plutocratic elite attempt to draw attention to what the plutocratic elite are trying to do.

Wisconsin has become ground zero in the class war. That's the real story about Wisconsin.


At 2/21/2011 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Yes indeed stand firm in solidarity that you union freeloaders will insist on the taxpayers of Wisconsin paying for 100% of your health care and 100% of your retirement. Why should union members have to actually contribute one thin dime? Continue neglecting the children by not showing up for work thus closing schools. Continue shirking your responsibilities Democrats by running away to another state.


At 2/21/2011 12:03:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Jonathan - i love you dearly, man but seriously?

You are just so totally wrong on all of this. You've bought into the Tea Party/FOX/Murdoch/KochBros mentality.

You constantly cast these issues of disagreement as Left/Right, Dem/Repub, Conservative/Liberal.

These are false equivalences.

You hate the Middle Class and everything it stands for. You hate freedom. Face it. You're just a tool of the wealthy elite and being used.

You don't know it but you are.

Stop reading from the Rush Limbaugh conspiracy scripts and understand some real labor history.

Or maybe you're not in favor child labor laws, minimum wage, safety regs, etc.? That would be very sad.

Wake up dude.
peace, bro.

At 2/21/2011 01:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that the investment bankers who have destroyed our nation's economy and pilfered the pension funds are not held to the same degree of accountability as the working class Americans who they left behind. Why so many Americans are willing to forgive corporate greed escapes me. I only pray that more Americans come to their senses before the middle class has been completely obliterated. The worst part is that the army of anti-union voices that have been created by the Right Wing media are assisting in their own downfall. Another artful shell game orchestrated by the GOP.

Brian, Tinley Park IL

At 2/21/2011 01:16:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Brian - You're absolutely spot on.

Why is the Tea Party against middle class working families with teachers and letting corporate welfare, mortgage fraud, insider trading, etc get a pass?

Here's why....

ThinkProgress » How John Birch Society Extremism Never Dies: The Fortune Behind Scott Walker’s Union-Busting Campaign

ThinkProgress » Koch Industries Slashed WI Jobs, Helped Elect Scott Walker, Now Orchestrating Pro-Walker Protest

At 2/21/2011 06:06:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I mostly agree with Brian. Like so many states, Wisconsin is in this state of affairs largely due to the wrecked economy, which was precipitated by years of "war, and war preparedness", and bogus “money” policy by the Federal Reserve, all finished off nicely by corporate greed, i.e. the financial markets. Add to these our involvement with sovereignty and job destroying world agencies like GATT, NAFTA, and the World Bank, and you get what we have now. Wisconsin is just the beginning, and it serves no useful purpose to reassign blame onto such easy targets as unions. As far as that goes, the only thing worse than a union is the need for one, and American business owners have historically offered very little alternative for American workers.

But to try and pin it all on the republicans and the tea party, is short sighted and too easy. If you really want to pin it on just one thing, which you can't, it would be much more accurate to say that Americans themselves are to blame, for having acquiesced to the manipulation of both the republican and democrat parties, the two sides of the same coin political system that has been in lock step, lo these many years, in perpetuating such things as the Federal Reserve system, and the long standing cancer of Goldman, Sachs. It was Bill Clinton who relaxed crucial banking restrictions, and the likes of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd who sat idly by while the financial markets created bogus financial instruments like credit swaps, elbow to elbow with their republican counterparts who were just as responsible.

This is only one part of the story, but the right place to start, rather than falling for the misdirection of media created frenzies.

A Friend Of Yours

At 2/22/2011 12:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg, Your comments are well taken. It certainly is an oversimplification to cast all of the blame on the GOP. The destruction of the middle class has been a bipartisan effort. The reason I cast more of the blame on the GOP is because they are the ones championing the anti-union rhetoric. Republicans have continually campaigned on the platform of American values, and yet the policies they have supported have served to grow the underclass. While not without flaws, unions have unfairly become a smokescreen to shield the true criminals.

Brian, Tinley Park IL

At 2/22/2011 11:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I always assumed UNION MAN was making fun of the union mentality. I'll stick with that!!

At 2/22/2011 12:11:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Marmooskapaul - well, i suppose that's one interpretation.

nevertheless, Neil Young is proud to be a union man we'd argue.

At 2/22/2011 01:12:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Respectfully Thrasher I am holding back. But I and my family ARE the middle class, even though you dismissively say that I hate the middle class and freedom itself. So sad that ignorance is our nation's most expensive commodity.

Your comments reflect the mind numb liberal talking points that have more than run their course long ago.

"False equivalences"? Sheesh.

What's happening currently up in Wisconsin is indeed a conservative vs. liberal issue, but you seem to want to immediately change the subject and then attack for something that we weren't talking about - typical liberal reaction though.

I love how you throw in the Koch brothers and Fox, etc. - good for laughs.

You are correct however in that my mentality is extremely conservative - keep the government out of my life as much as possible.

Now back to the issue at hand which is public sector teacher unions in Wisconsin who are on strike because they don't want to have to contribute one thin dime to their own health care and retirement. They, like most Democrats, want these things funded with public money - other people's money.

My wife is a PUBLIC school teacher here in Virginia - where public employees are not allowed to unionize. Hmmm, Virginia is running a budget surplus.

How are other state budgets doing where public unions own the Governorships and state legislatures? Bankrupt or damn close to it.

I'm wide awake Thrasher and love you and your site and of course - Neil!!!

Peace and love - no sarcasm either

At 2/22/2011 02:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


A pension is part of a person's wage. It is deferred money. They take less up front to have the security in the long run. Not sure how that makes them freeloaders. Public sector makes FAR less than private based on education. By performing a public service and getting crap pay for it, they get security in retirement.

And here is what not having a union gets your children in Virginia:
Average reading SAT score: 512
Average math SAT score: 513
Average writing SAT score: 500

reading: 588
math: 600
writing: 577

At 2/22/2011 02:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition, the union has agreed to pay more into their pension already (you know, the same one that was solvent until wall street collapsed). They have agreed to all the cuts. They just want their rights to bargain retained.

Maybe Wisconsin could save some money by not allowing Wall street to "manage" the pension funds for a fee of 2 cents per dollar or giving tax breaks to corporations. Just a thought.

At 2/22/2011 02:55:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Jonathan - thank you for the reply and keeping things civil.

Look, obviously, we disagree.

There are much larger stakes at play here.

Corporations have always wanted to destroy unions and that plan is play in WI right now. The unions are the only thing that stands between the ppl and complete corporate control.

All due respect, you need to wake up here and stop citing talking points. Again, this is not conserv/liberal.

It's about the elite 1% vs everyone else. It sounds like you're voting against your own self interest. That's not good.

At 2/22/2011 04:14:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

When are guys gunna realise that the wheat isn't a platform for political debate and viewpoints..because everytime it is friendships seem to be lost on a stance someone minute you'll have someone pretending to be you and cast aspursions on someone's integrity leave it alone both of you.
i love healthy debate...but as you say to me so many times before Thrash..there are plenty of forums out there to vent your spleen more appropriately. Like my good "friend" Jonathan who massively assumes someone's political stance or viewpoint from a few chosen words on A neil Young forum...lets stick to Neil...I'm lovin the nostalga clips and memoribilia. but everytime the the post gets Americans are very passionate about your stance..and as i have said many times before..diversity of personality is the spice of life!
everyone seems to love ,controversy, debate and adds to enjoyable reading...just don't take to heart someone elses viewpoint to the stage where we have another Thrash
rebellion ok
just my opinion

luv this site and the people that visit and always have
keep on rockin in the T world!


At 2/22/2011 08:50:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

"The insurmountable hurdle for so-called populist movements is having the nerve to attack the rich instead of the poor. Even after the rich almost destroyed the entire global economy through their sheer unrestrained greed and stupidity, we can't shake the peasant mentality that says we should go easy on them, because the best hope for our collective prosperity is in them creating wealth for us all. That's the idea at the core of trickle-down economics and the basis for American economic policy for a generation.

The entire premise--that the way society works is for the productive rich to feed the needy poor and that any attempt by the latter to punish the former for their excesses might inspire Atlas to shrug his way out of town and leave the rest of us on our own to starve--should be insulting to people so proud to call themselves the 'water carriers'. But in a country where every Joe the Plumber has been hoodwinked into thinking he's one clogged toilet away from being rich himself, we're all invested in rigging the system for the rich."
--Matt Taibbi from Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America

"In a larger sense, it is the story of all those tens of millions who came to America searching for peace and several kinds of freedom--and in the main found what they were searching for; the story of the wit, humor, irony and compassion of ordinary people made extraordinary in the process of braving an extraordinary time. In short, this is the story of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and neighbors; of their voyage to America and their passage through Ellis Island to freedom."
--Irene Franck, David and Douglas Brownstone from Island of Hope, Island of Tears

We can conquer our problems and fears, or they can conquer us. When my Oma came to America, she sacrificed everything to get on a boat with three young children and sail the Atlantic Ocean in early winter...all for a better life where hope and promise could triumph over fear and resignation. That belief continued with my dad (a proud Republican) and also with my mom (an equally proud Democrat), who was one of the most hard working persons I've ever known. They lived through the Great Depression and a World War, but never once thought that things wouldn't get better. Seems that we could all use a little bit of that right now.

Your friend Mr. Henry

At 2/22/2011 10:04:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2/22/2011 10:08:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

doc, I hear you, and you are right: “just don't take to heart someone elses viewpoint”. We should be able to talk and not take personal offense at what someone else earnestly believes. I think Thrasher and Jonathan have shown some success at this, which is not to say that we couldn’t all try a little harder. It took me the first fifty years of my life to understand that using words as venom is just plain destructive, and I am still learning this, unfortunately. I think up to a point political debate on this site should be the exception, partly for the reasons you cite, but I also think that the words and stances of Neil himself encourage us all to explore things in depth, and that sometimes this must necessarily lead us into the realm of politics. But you’re right, this should not be an invitation to attack each other, especially when we have more in common than we sometimes care to admit, starting with our deep appreciation of Neil.

Brian, I can see what you mean by republican partisans fomenting this latest attack on unionism, which is true, and I can also see Thrashers point about the Koch’s and Birchers waging subterranean attacks on anything threatening their devil take the hindmost world view. The distinction I am trying to draw is not that the merits of unionism are not worthy of discussion, but that the events in Wisconsin are a text book case of “divide and conquer”. The republicans and their minions rail against unionism, causing the democrats and their minions to respond with impassioned outrage, all of which serves to inflame still more class war, which in turn only serves to draw all of us into a discussion that ingeniously deflects the bottom line truth that multiple states are on the verge of going belly up as a direct result of a destroyed economy driven by war expenditure and financial and political fraud. Guess who bears the brunt of all this? Thrasher said it best: “It's about the elite 1% vs everyone else”, and as you also alluded to, the destruction of the middle class. If the people of this country knew the truth of this single thing, there would be riots in the streets tomorrow. In fact, we are closer to this day than ever before, which would be both good and bad, but not if demagogues of all stripes can lead otherwise well intentioned, but unsuspecting people into a vicious circle of conservatives vs. liberals nonsense. Don’t ever think that the elite 1% is deluded by this false dichotomy. They draw their numbers from both camps of pretend antagonists. Anyway, as I said before, Wisconsin is just the beginning.

At 2/22/2011 10:09:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Below is an excerpt from an article explaining our Ponzi scheme monetary system, driven by the Federal Reserve, and then some of my own intemperate words. Ponzi schemes only last as long as it takes for people to realize that there is no more money to keep the thing afloat. Can anyone say Wisconsin?

"Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen, are only the beginning. The sting of inflation will be unbearable as austerity measures take hold in Europe, and the potential for riots in Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy looms large. The most volatile environment on the planet to date, however, is the United States, which, as we have shown in previous articles, is being DISMANTLED DELIBERATELY and VICIOUSLY in preparation for IMF REGULATION and CENTRALIZATION(emphasis mine). Today, the IMF is stalking Egypt, ready to pounce as the nation goes mad. Tomorrow, it will be us. I will be very surprised if we are not hearing about IMF intervention in the U.S. economy and the dollar by the end of this year, offering more debt, and more unaccountable governance." (The Great Global Debt Prison,

Where are our elected officials to shout from the roof tops that the Federal Reserve is a usurpation of the Constitution, which explicitly provides that it is Congress that has the duty to coin the money supply, and not central bankers? They have sold their collective souls in acquiescence to the powers that are intent on destroying this world, all for the 30 pieces of silver of winning reelection, doing as they are bid by their party masters instead of their dwindling conscience's. We all should heed the advice of this author, and start thinking in terms of local supply and distribution, and join ranks with the anti WTO protesters that get beaten to a pulp every time these jackals show up for a meeting. It's time for all countries to extricate themselves from this quagmire, and go back to basics- starting with using real money, backed by real assets, and minimal or no debt.

Can anyone in Wisconsin hear any of this above the din of the enemy within the gates, partisan politics?

Mr. Henry, my German forbears came to this continent for all the same reasons you cite, as did my Albanian grandparents. They came to live for themselves, and the aspirations of their children and grandchildren. They lived and suffered through all kinds of deprivation. Some made it, and some didn’t. But even the ones who didn’t, died trying. All of that is about to be flushed down the drain if we don’t wake up. I don’t want to believe it is too late, or that things won’t get better. Maybe this is the ultimate truth of “Keep on rocking in the free world”. As bad as it is, we have to keep trying, and let the indomitable side of our spirit stand up to the “wreckers”. Maybe this is at the heart of thinking that things must get better. We are in danger of seeing Atlas leave the room, only if we fail to keep trying. After all, even Atlas can’t do for us what we won’t do for ourselves. We don’t have a new world to emigrate to, we have to make our stand right here, and right now. We can do it, but only after we move beyond partisan politics, and the belief that we must submit to those who would be our masters.

A Friend Of Yours

At 2/23/2011 09:20:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Doc - here's the deal. As long as things are civil & respectful, politics is OK. The intersection of music, politics & our times is too important to have any knee jerk policies. You're quite well aware of the Comments Policy.

@Mr H - The Matt Taibbi quote is spot on. Taibbi is one of the few journalists out there today speaking the truth. His latest RS article about Why Wall St Isn't in Jail is revolting.

@Greg - “divide and conquer” is the strategy at work and its pretty well for years now. The people have to come together. The fact that we can't even all come together on this blog is pretty indicative of the divide & conquer strategy. We gotta come together & imagine.

At 2/23/2011 06:44:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I agree 100% with Greg's comments about the Federal Reserve - thank you for bringing that up. I also agree with you, Thrasher that this entire two party system has become fodder to keep things in a state of...well the mess that they are in. I think that's a fair assesment of "divide and conquer".

I'm NOT a Republican. Perhaps I'm a rare breed in that I believe the federal government should fund the military and guard the borders. That's about it.

The Governor in Wisconsin is attempting to balance his state's budget for crying out loud - something that's become a lost "art". Will Obama sue them too like he's suing Arizona over its attempt to protect its citizens? There are currently 26 states suing the administration over the implementation of the unconstitutional Obamacare debacle. Twenty six. What the hell does that say about what this agitator from Chicago has done so far to our nation?

Crazy times for sure - think I'll roll another number here in the vaporizer and settle down.

You guys are all cool in my book - even all you libs whose heart is likely in the right place - just not your mind.


At 2/23/2011 07:07:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Mom said no politics or religion at the table. or anywhere else!

I'll only say, that I work with and for many public agencies & employees; private enterprises as well. I own my business. That's my choice. I have heard the cry that there were no raises in the past few years, gonna affect the retirement calculation in a few years if it stays flat (top 3 years of service is the basis of calculation) And I somewhat cringed.

I certainly understand the statement. I also have seen the private enterprise experience the same exact thing. No growth in profit. No growth in salary. I have seen market price for services in my industry be nearly flat for 25 years.

So the only way I have to 'grow' is to become more effecient. Technolgy has balanced the stagnation of prices with it's great effect on production. That has kept me in place. My personal growth in understanding the industry and it's operations has affected my effeciencies as well.

The publice service employee & sector also has benefitted from these tehnological advances as well. The longgevity of service employment also results in growth of the service and the value of the worker.

The question is the balance of legitimacy of the workers actual benefit and value (ie, the best and most motivated vs the slothful, uncooperative, surly..whatever). In private enterprise you doze, you goes. Meet the grade or get out. Private individiual accountability.

The inability by contract to make cuts to the squad and refill with more qualified workers impacts these total efficecies.

Anyway we look at it, we have to have the services.

The absolute focus then needs to be on the waste/effeciency part of the equation, and the fraud, and the hidden manipulation of policies for personal gain.

The Public employees are taxpayes too. They are contributing to paying themselves. Lets make sure to focus on the issues and policies creating the divide, rather than on normal indiviuals on either side looking to make sense of it. It's down to reasonable compromise regardless of party, gender, race, wallet, ancestry, goats, chickens, whatever.

Get smart or get gone.

May cool heads prevail.

At 2/23/2011 09:39:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Oh yes thrash..I KNOW ALL ABOUT THE comments policy believe me!! lol

..and I know all about being totally misconstrued and misunderstood!..but i can live with that..I'm a big doc now! lol

At 2/24/2011 03:04:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

I beleive villifying the union or business is another poltical tactic of the right and left to keep themselves entrenched. America is in this hole for two reasons -- (1) bad public policy and (2) globalization particularly pronounced by foreign governments that bend the rules ('ie' currency manipulators, ect...) -- the world is now eating our lunch, jobs and whole industries have been offshored ... that's the fault of government not business ... I'm talking about 25 years of policy errors not 5 years ... and bottom line if we hope to maintain the American dream we need to promote, not destroy, the middle class ... the way to do that is to invest in infrstructure, new technologies, innovation, and spur competitiveness ... right now China is developing a global wind turbine dominance with unfair policies ... we can't allow that to happen ... we do need to regulate business and ensure business (a) pays workers fairly and (b) doesn't take risks that emperil the financial system ... and we need to make CEO's accountable and pay them for performance BUT if we always villify business and assume we can just raise their taxes and increase mindless regulation that makes Congress look good at the expense of small businesses trying to grow, that will push more jobs offshore. Unions can be a good thing if they create security and fair pay for their workers but corruption and laziness is inexcuseable .... the American dream is not about entitlements without effort ... ya know, one of the things that I've always admnired about Neil is that every single show I've seen back to the 80's he's given it 110% ... I've never seen him slack off ... state governments should not seek to strip unions of collective bargaining but unions need to create accountability .... no gravy trains just because you've been signed up on the rolls for a number of years ... finally, new union people need to realize that the days of fat pensions and health care are probably over until we right the ship ... the country needs to honor its obligations to those union folks who earned those benefits but new union folks have to realize the old deals can't continue without bankrupting the union ... collectively we need to realize the common enemy is external and we need an honest government from both aisles to put their own selfish interests and extreme ideology aside, come to the center, and regain America's respect and competitiveness in the world.

At 2/24/2011 03:30:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

One more thought -- if we want a better society, one that is more free, open, prosperous, then teachers should be paid MORE not less ... these folks are educating our children and helping to develop the future leaders and workers of our country .. if we want the best and the brightest to go into teaching (rather than finance) we need to pay them a generous wage ... of course, we also need a better system to ensure teachers are held to some reasonable accountability standard too .. and that's the kind of thing I think we should expect our elected officials to focus on --rather than trying to generate a standoff, shutting the government down, killing the middle class .. ect

At 2/24/2011 08:47:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Dan1, good comments.

A Friend Of Yours

At 2/24/2011 09:34:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

2nd Greg's comment. Good points.

As has been mentioned, there's only one person to blame for the mess. Me. You. Us.

Here's the trouble. We're not recognizing what's happening here. There is something here. truly.

It becomes more apparent everyday that "trickle down theory" is the greatest scam ever perpetuated.

Over the last 30 years at an ever accelerating pace, it has actually been trickle up economics.

Destroy the middle class and cut taxes for the wealthy elite. The wealth transfer is a giant ponzu scheme. Or a bailout that's not for you.

And that's what's happening in WI. Some argue that cuts are to deal with the deficit. False. The union concessions are to pay for tax cuts.

If tax cuts had not been enacted, teachers' pay wouldn't be cut. simple.

You're right Dan. Hurting teachers, hurts the children. But that's the plan. Can you imagine if folks were educated and figured out they had been totally scammmed?

At 2/25/2011 04:32:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining.
--Old Yiddish Saying

I've been a fiscal conservative for a long time and championed a balanced budget. You do this with steady fiscal and monetary processes that combine tax policy with government initiatives: "more free stuff" like the GI Bill, Social Security, public highways, school systems, Medicare. I believe in the theories of John Maynard Keynes and feel the government is there for more than just defending the borders: nice in theory but doesn't work.

Jimmy Carter leaves office and national debt is 900 billion; took two hundred years to get that high. Ronald Reagan triples that to 2.7 trillion. He's broken inflation continuing the policies of Carter and Paul Volcker and stared down the Soviet Union, seems like Social Security is saved...that's a lot of added debt but at least we got something for it. Economy going well. Bush Sr takes over and debt is adding up. He makes the hard decision to raise taxes, gets the budget back on track but still another 1.5 trillion in just 4 years. Doesn't get reelected. Clinton adds 1.5 trillion over 8 years, most in first term; by the last couple years, we have a surplus. Should we pay down the national debt or cut taxes? We elect Gore and things continue along, with a combination of tax cuts and reducing the debt...NOT.

Instead Bush and Cheney sneak in, initiate the most flagrant abuse of the federal budget in history, search for WMDs and make their friends even richer. Drastically cut taxes during an expansion, wring all the life out so there's no option when things go south...well maybe we can cut taxes some more: 28 cents of each dollar goes back into the economy (that darn govt spending returns over 2 dollars). Raise taxes during an expansion to build a surplus and cut them during a contraction to stimulate the economy? Those are stupid liberal democrat ideas and Voodoo trickle down trumps Keynesian multipliers; after 8 years we've got the national debt at over 11 trillion fucking dollars and time to go write your book, go on the talk shows and tell everyone what a tough time it was. Decision points indeed. Obama inherits two wars, worst economy in 60 years, lots of red ink and bail out $$ issues. So the "agitator from Chicago" tries to get folks to work together, even the ones openly saying "I hope he fails". Works on health care, just like Harry Truman tried to do. Keeps the auto industry afloat and the banking system from collapsing on itself. Compromises to get things done, keeps things going, just like a president is supposed to do. Budget commission comes out with solution to balance the budget and save social security; very similar to other solutions (see Esquire magazine's panel). Requires everyone to make sacrifices: raise taxes, raise the social security minimum, cut programs and defense. Hate this on the left and the right, new budget comes out with cuts but still ridiculous red ink, have to keep Bush tax cuts to maintain the status quo. And here we are with states going broke and a weak economy.

I've worked in Financial Services for over 30 years and have an MBA in Finance. Knew things were in disconnect when I had no idea what a Credit Default Swap was...and I have a broker's license. I pay a lot of taxes and I don't have a goddamn clue how we're going to dig ourselves out of this 14 trillion dollar hole that we're now in, but I know it's not what we're doing so far.

The pump don't work cuz
The vandals took the handle.
--Bob Dylan

At 2/25/2011 05:02:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

The "average" analyst will probably fare about the same as the average member of any other profession. But for the outstanding man--who combines native ability, a flair for the subject, and a courageous, independent spirit--the sky is the limit.
--Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd from Security Analysis: Principles and Technique (Intro to 1951 edition)

At 2/25/2011 07:02:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Mr. Henry, a fair historical time line and analysis, up until your take on the Obama administration. I don't have a dog in the fight, I think Obama is just a continuation of everything that came before- "meet the new boss"... The answer to your question of "how we're going to dig ourselves out of this 14 trillion dollar hole that we're now in", is that we aren’t going to. What’s happening in Wisconsin, and soon to reverberate all through the country- and the world, is symptomatic. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it all comes back to the Federal Reserve and its Ponzi scheme money policies. The only way to keep the thing afloat is to sell confidence to the next debtor in line that a return on investment will be forthcoming. But the Chinese and others have long since figured out that no such return is possible, and like someone who does not want to be without a seat when the music stops, are in the process of elbowing their main obstacle to that out of the way, namely the US and the value destroying central bank it does business with- the Federal Reserve (a consortium of foreign banks owing no fiduciary duty to the American people).

My bone to pick with Obama is that he has done nothing to rein in the power and control of these "wreckers", they or their Goldman Sachs brethren. In fact, he has increased their power to heretofore unprecedented levels. But what is going to happen when the Chinese and others do what the American people should have done long ago, a la Andrew Jackson, and slay this leviathan that is sucking us dry? What is going to happen when the worthless dollar is decoupled from the oil exchange? Hyper inflation, and the end of whatever tenuous hold the average Joe had left on the American Dream, is what. My personal belief is that Obama was installed to put the finishing touches on what so many previous blackguard presidents of both parties before him have advanced. I would love to be wrong about this, but even if I am, what's the difference? Americans need to wake up and smell the coffee: your governments don't care a hang about you, and it is time to start thinking in terms of self reliance and local cooperation with each other. It's a big subject, but this is all I can say right now.

The "vandals" are the elite, and the orchestrated meltdown of the financial markets the handle they stole off with. My Dylanesque sentiment to pass on is this: "How does it feel to be on your own? With no direction home? Like a rolling stone." Americans are not alone in this. Everything I say about our state of affairs here in the US is analogous to what is in the offing for other countries all around the world, because they are all a part of the same web of destruction that’s been weaved by the elite throughout the world. Space is not the final frontier. The final frontier is right here on earth, the expanse of human experience after we throw off the parasite of central government, and start living for our own aspirations, and not for those who have so much disdain for us. Will we be worthy of it? This is the ultimate question.

A Friend Of Yours

At 2/26/2011 03:18:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

"The establishment of an organization's purpose is critical; for, without a concrete statement of purpose it is virtually impossible to develop clear objectives and strategies. Furthermore, an organization's purpose must be defined not only at its inception but also must be redefined regularly during both difficult and successful periods."
--Lloyd L. Byars from The Strategic Management Process: A Model and Terminology

"The equation simply could not be worked out...there were just too many participants in the struggle, doing too many illogical things...entirely on their own."
--Phillip K. Dick from Clans of the Alphane Moon

Hey Greg, thanks for your thoughts and analysis...good stuff. My intention was not to excuse or defend Obama but simply to point out how we got into this mess by straying too far into uncharted and unproven economic territory. My feeling is that Obama is getting too much blame and not enough credit for keeping things from completely falling to pieces, but also that he hasn't done nearly enough to aggressively target the financial situation and keep it from happening again and again. So we're not least not yet...but you can only tread water for so long.

I'm afraid you might be right in saying there's really no way out of this untenable spot we're in...that's why I was concerned a decade or more ago, when we could have stopped the bleeding. When the metaphorical basement started flooding, we should have had the pumps going full blast. Instead we've been moving to the upper floors and now there's no place left--we're already in the attic.

By confusing our fiscal affairs with our political beliefs and philosophies, we've allowed the tail to wag the dog. A nightmare world where the US must spend all monies on debt and defense only seemed like a paranoid illusion; now it's getting hard to envision anything else. And sadly, this is the major goal of many who are in charge, and our "cross of gold" moment is no longer a question of "if" but rather "when".

She said
When my leaders started
Lyin' to me
I was shattered
It just didn't make sense
--Steve Wynn...No Tomorrow

"Call this a govment! why, just look at it and see what it's like."
--Mark Twain from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

At 2/26/2011 04:48:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I hear you, Mr. Henry.

At 2/27/2011 12:54:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the run said...

All this "union bashing" lately is just a whitewash for all the stuff that has been going on behind the scenes with state legislators and governors who were responsible for defunding the public schools over the past 15 years by giving tax breaks and subsidies to the businesses.

Overall statistics show the good unions do for the teachers by protecting their job security. Teachers have little trust in administrators because they have no protections or safeguard at the state level. Administrators always side with children or the parents because they know better than anyone how bad news travels fast within a school district.

I think the NCLB drove that divide between administrators and teachers even wider. Many administrators use it as a tool to get rid of teachers they don't like even though it's pretty clear that no matter what a teacher does in the classroom, some of the kids will never be motivated because they're not motivated at home, either.

The tax breaks and subsidies that companies have received in the past 15 years has created a serious shortfall of funding for public schools. Funny thing though we have nothing to us in 15 years.

In some cases, there was a 40-51% shortfall. The state also cut MR/dd funding which provided a HUGE cost savings to the school districts serving kids with special needs. Why do you think Pegi started a school?

Governors should have never allowed the tax breaks to companies unless it was proven it would increase and sustain living wage jobs.

Does anyone know what kind of tax breaks companies are given to move in a community? Are they paying the equivilent in property or state taxes, same as property owners nearby? They provide jobs, sure, but do the employees get benefits? Are they making living wages to support a family?

They get a profit and we get what? Non exempt status jobs? So families can supplement their day job and spend more time AWAY from their families?

I agree with you that all of us have to become more resourceful and efficient with our money. But to use the example of the unions, the money it takes to support one, the money it takes for due process and other protections services that are not provided by the state or business is really unfair and looking at the problem through a very narrow lens-colored by politics.

If ya'll don't wanna job supported by a union, then find a job somewhere else and leave the fucking unions alone.

At 1/01/2022 12:05:00 AM, Blogger 2spothipshot said...

Wow, actual truth on a pro-marxist site, who woulda thought?


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