SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

February 7, 2014

Ready for 2016? (i’m not)

Hear those “drums’ beating?

Do we really need to be thinking about the 2016 Presidential run already?  Ye Gods!  Our crappy political scene is so completely disgusting at the present time, it’s hard to understand that what we are daily seeing is actually America.  Such hatred and passion is most generally attributed to the other side of the world.  But because the end result has generated chaos, distrust and complete unrest — along with all the corruption and dishonesty spouted from mouths of some or many of the GOP’s  prominent and well- known . . . .well, . . so many of “us” just watching are . . . disheartened.  It’s rather immature to say – disillusioned!. . . but,

Don’t you get the feeling that this must actually be some futuristic dream-type thing.  Couldn’t be happening.  The stock market, the economy and those top 3 -5 % of the population called the uber rich folk have all done splendidly well;  in history – NEVER BETTER. Some well-meaning ‘pol’ on TV a bit ago was trying to explain why no jobs and incorrectly referred to the poor economy.  Trouble is, we don’t have a poor economy, it’s never been better.  But there is no job market.  Doesn’t matter about one’s work-ethic,  XLNT  job history or how many or what kind of degrees one has;  there are no jobs.  If one also happens to be aging a bit say closing in on 50 or so,  forget it;  you’re retired!   Can’t afford to retire?  Well, join with millions of others who also are considering their options.  Got lots of company.  As to that economy,  if people don’t have jobs,  they have no money and that means they have nothing to spend on anything (As an aside, went to a Burger-King a few days ago with grand-daughter and we were stunned.  This place used to be packed with every reason to be; nice place, good food done as you want it,  great environment for kids and priced right.  It was still good, more expensive and dyeing on the vine empty)  But high end places are still jumping, which is the point, isn’t it?  (adding a news article showing just this)


Middle class is eroding — just ask business world

By Nelson D. Schwartz THE NEW YORK TIMES

In Manhattan, upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose store closes in a few weeks. Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving. And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators dwarfs sales growth in mass-market models.

As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate.

The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away.

In response to the upward shift in spending, PricewaterhouseCoopers clients such as big stores and restaurants are chasing richer customers with a wider offering of high-end goods and services, or focusing on rock-bottom prices to attract penny-pinching consumers.

“As a retailer or restaurant chain, if you’re not at the really high level or the low level, that’s a tough place to be,” said John G. Maxwell, head of global retail and consumer practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

New research by economists Steven Fazzari, of Washington University in St. Louis, and Barry Cynamon, of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, backs up what is apparent in the marketplace.

  • In 2012, the top 5 percent of earners were responsible for 38 percent of domestic consumption, up from 28 percent in 1995, the researchers found.
  • Even more striking, the recovery has been driven almost entirely by the upper crust, according to Fazzari and Cynamon . Since 2009, the year the recession ended, inflation-adjusted spending by this top echelon has risen 17 percent, compared with 1 percent among the bottom 95 percent.

More broadly, about 90 percent of the overall increase in inflation-adjusted consumption between 2009 and 2012 was generated by the top 20 percent of households in terms of income, according to the study.

  • “It’s going to be hard to maintain strong economic growth with such a large proportion of the population falling behind,” Fazzari said. “We might be able to muddle along — but can we really recover?”


Being unemployed, it’s hard to borrow in order to start up your own business. . .but that is one path.  Be sure to keep looking for work, of course.  Suicide is another option, but that is a loser’s game.  Americans ARE NOT LOSERS!  We are creative, savvy and the closest thing one will ever get to the  Super-man class of people. We’ve got what it takes to succeed;  to do anything we set our minds on; and maybe, herein lies a potential basis for our problem.

We’ve been letting those with the biggest mouths get away with murder, deceit, scandalous behavior, partial truths [sometimes called lies];  letting the influence pushers set all tones in Washington;  pay for what bills to get on the books – get passed – thereby setting the stage for how we live our lives.   Who are these people — some scum of the earth humans?  No indeed,  it’s what many aspire to do when their term in office is over. . . they know everyone, who to talk to and how to grease palms and pad bank accounts and do the job they are hired to do by those wizards behind the curtain. (come-on, we’ve all seen Wizard of Oz!)  If you don’t understand the current “Facts of Life” — maybe that is another reason why we have let the ‘bad guys’ take our piece of the pie away from us. 

Gotta start with what America stands for, how we were built, what it took to get here, what we’ve already been thru and how we landed here, where we are — LOST and floundering.  Not interested in politics – well,  YOU SHOULD BE.  They have taken your pie!   How the hell  can you tell where you’re going if you don’t even know where you are or where you’ve been? (that’s the collective ‘you’)   Your voice,  mind, thinking and need structure is just as important as mine [and maybe, more-so]  but we all must find an  avenue to be able to express it.  We have to care about what is going on.  We must do stuff that matters.  We have to live larger, brighter and with purpose.  Deep inside, we are keenly aware.  We know right from wrong.  We identify with others who have been wronged or who suffer — we get it.   We could organize our priorities better;  shore up what may be lacking – tell the universe, it’ll respond.  We must NOT allow our humanity to be dimmed or pushed aside no matter what justification is jimmied up.

Some of this is called right action. Or even, just expanding one’s viewpoint. .  . whatever,  just words.  Gotta do stuff, take back your clout, it’s your’s and you have every right to it.  We can’t allow our country to be taken over by uncaring, greedy multi-billionaires!  They are doing a good job of accomplishing just that.  If you know how the system works, you can take corrective action.  Apart, and one at a time won’t cut it.  We have to educate ourselves and unite and pull together — — THEN WE WILL BE UNBEATABLE!  We can then assert the rational, legal rights that we will not give up or cede to others.  We can guard against the improprieties of corporate infringement as they mount the passing of bills as was just done by the current FARM BILL to which I was violently opposed as should everyone with a brain have been.  With it’s passage, the corporate “give-a-way” to the rich and obscenely influential farmers (some of which, of course are politicians) continues unabated [in the $ billions and slightly re-named],  while those  impoverished, unemployed, and indigent needy folk must endure the loss of food-stamps so vital to their very existence.  There is no reason to any of this, it can’t be justified.  One can’t call a class of people “lazy” because they are jobless when most all of the jobs have been shipped to other countries so that the manufacturers could increase their bottom line. But then, they don’t even bother with an effort to explain their thinking relevant to the well-being of the working class of people in U.S.A.

The needless misery our country has been made to endure because the Grand Ole Party was so incensed over the rise of this black man who had the gall to sit in the White House and occupy the Oval Office — twice, is almost more than they can bear.  But they would make him pay.  Make us all pay!  This charmed African-American man so captivated the American mind and soul with his vision and eloquence, that he had us at “hello”  And he was brilliant, had high aspirations — almost all of which THEY have managed to thwart.  It is delicious to anticipate what our country could have looked like had not the GOP deliberately blocked each and every effort this man has put forward. . . even the ideas they dreamed up and were for;  if agreed to by him, then they opposed it!   For it was the primary business of this Republican Party with it’s “Tea-party” membership feeling it’s oats loudly- that all they demanded was that Obama fail at anything he tried to do.   Sad, as our president so wanted to do for us what my beloved FDR did for us at the time of the Great Depression. And yet, the taste of bitterness is the blame for all the failure the GOP attributes to Obama’s ineptitude, trying to disgrace him further.  The roadblocks, subterfuge and rigid resistance to any progress toward progress and harmony is all Obama they say — HE won’t talk to them.  GOP blames him for lack of jobs, whereas they indeed have done ALL the blocking of any improving jobs picture.  It didn’t have to be this way.  But this is how it is.  So all suffer and are frustrated.

Instead of putting people back to work with his great plans, the GOP decided they had to start being grown up and reducing it’s financial burden.  So, Austerities it was.  They had blinders on.  Truth and facts were with Obama, but the House could not be deterred.  One could say — they were driven [by the Koch brothers and executed by ALEX).  So instead, the GOP has eroded the rights of Women,  eroded Roe vs Wade,  changed the political boundaries enabling them to win even when the Dem’s had more votes;  cut back on civil service jobs to the bone – even the marrow.

The GOP has single-handedly abused this dignified, intelligent man in no less a fashion than what America used to do to black men in the south 100 years ago.  This is an American Tragedy.  Our President deserved a cooperative Congress with thinking people intent on doing the work of the people.  He didn’t get that, but instead, hatred, endless insults, and wicked obstruction which has been far more evil and costly to our American lifestyle, reputation and well-being.  They have hurt America, dragged us down instead of helping us rebuild.  They deserve prison for what damage they did to our country and all its people.  If there is no law for which they can be impugned for refusal to do the people’s work for which they were elected,  then they should go on a 50 year leave of absence to let others repair all the damage that’s been done.  Their history is a point of record.

As I began this post, I was bristling at the continued assault on any who  may want to give it a go on the campaign trail 2016.  It still is a forgone conclusion that Hillary is the only logical choice.  Much talk all around about the enormity of her treasure chest already.  Taking in more money than may even be in the world,  All this reinforces my thinking already expressed several times.  No one is ever entitled to the job.  Not a point worth raising, for it should only be who is most qualified to do the job?  Who might do it best?  Who brings what to the table?  I have not changed my thinking to date.  I am very impressed with all that I have seen and read about with Elizabeth Warren.  She is a doer, an activist, moves people and her heart is of the average American’s because that is who she is, proudly.  All the stuff which moves her relate to what is now called “Populism.”  Again – makes perfect sense.

One wouldn’t say the same for Hillary, for she and Bill have kept company with all the well-heeled, high-born leaders of the world. Their friends are among the well-placed in industry, governments, entertainment, finance and entrepreneurial fields known.  This is not a bad thing, to be sure.  But it does not speak to the populist movement, not what comes to mind.  One could wonder about the ramification on anything having to do with financial interests – BIG financial interests.  Just saying. . . whereas, I know where Elizabeth stands as does almost everyone else.

I do not cotton to commentators who criticize Bill for his libido.  Have always thought this to be off limits and of a rightful personal nature.  Further, happen to feel that a healthy sex drive is a normal thing or a natural reflection amongst highly motivated people.   FDR carried on with his lady love under Eleanor’s nose.. . .and Kennedy was seemingly a bit overdone with his allowing of gossip to spread where it could hurt his family, but the three of these loved their wives and seemed to treasure them.    I too, adored Bill and loved his presidency.   Did not approve of the concept of raising all boats [around the world] with regard to jobs and I believe the facts speak for themselves;  it opened the door to send our jobs elsewhere and Bill seemed to have started that, so. . .not a good thing.  And if that thinking runs in the family,  well,  . . .just sayin’. . . .  if Elizabeth won’t run and no other lady shows up – Hillary gets my vote.    Jan


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