Juno & Palin

Watching the film ‘Juno’ I am seeing strange coincidental connections between the film and Sarah Palin, the erstwhile VP pick of the dead and dying Grand Ol’ Party:

1) Alaska
2) A pregnant teen who plans to have her baby
3) ‘Ya know’
4) ‘There’

There are probably other odd connections that I have yet to see, but these are the ones I know about so far and have chosen to chronicle.

On Protectionism, Jobs, Etc.

Few people benefit from ‘free trade’ when ‘free trade’ is defined as laissez-faire for multi-corporations that can afford to take root wherever they will most benefit. Ordinary people do not have the option of simply moving to wherever the good jobs are.

But opponents of protectionism do not see the problem. If jobs are moved to Mexico, learn Spanish and pack your bags. If jobs are moved to India, brush up on Hinduism and buy a plane ticket. Never mind the communities that make America what it is. Never mind the families that go back generations. Never mind the friends and colleagues and ties to culture and heritage. Take a picture, store it on cell phone and move on. There’s work to be done for the almighty corporation.

Multi-national corporations that take advantage of third world conditions to lower their ‘labor costs’ are morally bankrupt. Equally, any business that views the people that perform the work of the business as a ‘cost’, are fools.

Yes, there are efficient and inefficient models of getting work accomplished. However, the number one priority of any business should be to find ways to optimize workforce performance and treating the people who do the work as an investment, not a cost. Yes, there is a price to pay for investing, but the idea is that, by investing, you multiply your investment over and over again so that the price is irrelevant. You make the money back and then some.

But that’s not good enough for multi-national corporations. They don’t just want laissez-faire, they want carte blanche to do as they please with not just minimum government interference, but no government interference at all.

Let’s face it, nobody wants to be told what to do. But I think it is prudent to follow certain rules that help society function. Traffic lights are important so that people can get around with running into each other. Equally, living in an area and paying taxes that help pay for the proper functioning of that society is part of being a citizen. Just as much, it is important that corporations operating within the jurisdiction of a certain country give back to that country in the form of taxes, jobs, or some type of corporate stewardship that makes that country a better place to live due to the economic activity occurring. It is a fair give and take. The government provides access to infrastructure, a labor pool, etc. The corporations feeds into the infrastructure and labor pool by providing jobs, products, etc. It’s a happy cycle.

No, that’s not what multinationals want. They want to pollute with no remorse. They want the closest to slave labor as they can get. They want to live like kings and answer to no one. They want raw, unadulterated power to operate in whatever way they see fit. They do not want to provide for anyone but themselves. This is a happy situation for them. It is hell for everyone else. And they’re laughing all the way to the secret, offshore bank.

But, American prices would skyrocket if we didn’t use cheap foreign labor, these corporations will say. So? Let the prices rise to their true cost. And let the market adjust. American workers are already underpaid. Corporate executives are grossly overpaid. Even out the difference and maybe ordinary workers could pay the higher prices to keep jobs in America. Also, if more Americans had jobs, more Americans could afford to buy things that companies make, which would create demand for more products, which would create even more jobs. Then, you have an upward spiral of economic success, rather than a downward spiral of rampant consumerism with no consumers.

Protectionism simply means that a country defends its borders economically. Any entity that wants to set up shop or trade with my country, would face rules that would be designed to protect the citizens of my country. Avoiding competition is not the answer. Annihilating competition is the answer. You simply don’t compete with my country’s citizens. Imports would be things we don’t make or can’t make. Exports would be things that other countries don’t make or can’t make. Imports would be raw materials we don’t have.

The global marketplace has always been in existence. The idea that we now live in a ‘global’ economy and therefore have to have global rule by multinationals who decide who lives and who dies by fiat in a board room somewhere is utterly stupid.

The U.S. has the power to go after criminal corporations who usurp our national resources for their own gain and provide nothing in return but empty theories and promises of prosperity. These multinationals are no different from pirates who hijack ships in the ocean, answerable to no one and holding what they capture for ransom.

Anti-protectionism is the last plank of George W. Bush’s failed economic policies. His ideas of a North American Union that effectively dissolves our country’s political structure in favor of a transcontinental, corporate fiefdom needs to be thrown overboard to sink with Davy Jones’ locker.

The Fake Economy

For years, we have lived in a fictitious economy, where many Americans lived paycheck to paycheck with incomes barely enough to scrape by. These people seemed to be middle class because they lived off of credit cards and home loans. It seemed like everything was OK as long as everyone could keep making their minimum payments.

But all it took was one disaster or even one changing variable: a lost job, a car accident, a property tax increase, a rise in gas prices, an ARM inflating like a black balloon looming over the losers of the crashing housing market.

Employers thought they were paying their employees enough. Everything seemed OK. Employees didn’t complain. They just kept using credit to buy the things they needed and wanted.

Now that the curtain has been raised and we see the truth behind this ridiculous system of over-extended credit and underfunded middle class jobs, we can only sit and wait to see what will happen. We look to government to bail us out because god forbid big corporations ‘spread the wealth’ by paying the ordinary worker more and their overpaid executives a little less. After all, executives have to make sure they can pay for their private jets and country club fees.. they are entitled after all to do as they please with the money they have leeched from the working people of America. They are entitled.

Let Them Sink

American automakers, often referred to as ‘The Big Three’ (General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford), are looking for $25 Billion and more to bail them out due to decades of inept management. For years, these automakers have built cars that are sub-par and built for obsolescence. There is a reason that people who want a good car buy Honda, Toyota, Mazda or, for those who can afford it, BMW and Mercedes. These cars last longer, require less major fixes, and

The Big Three want to use the current economic situation as a lever to gain an upper hand on their rivals who have kicked their butts in the market place for the last twenty years. These companies need to declare bankruptcy like all failed companies do and we need to forcibly remove the giant ‘sacred cow’ sticker off the nameplates of each of these automakers.

Yes, it will hurt a lot of people, but it will hurt more to delay. Giving $25 Billion would only be a good idea if we were to nationalize the industry and make it directly accountable to the American taxpayers. Then, emission standards, safety standards as well as energy innovations, smaller cars, and smarter transportation solutions could be reliably part of our future. Otherwise, more money spent on the same old ideas will only prove that we have a current Congress full of suckers.

It’s All About Jobs, Stupid

Regardless of productivity and regardless of any other measure, you must have jobs to keep the economy running. If I have doubts about whether I will have a job in the future, I will not borrow money and I will not spend money on things I do not need, like big screen televisions, a new car, etc.

The idea that people are an expense and that you can get rid of your employees and not have a domino effect on the entire economy is simply stupid.

If you give people a job, they will have the money to spend. If you give them job security, they will have confidence to spend the money. Otherwise, they will squirrel away the money and spend only what they have to.

There really is nothing simpler than this one economic concept. The entire economy is based on jobs. The very last thing you should do is cut jobs. Cut pay for everyone by percentage points when productivity wanes. Use incentives to boost productivity. However, cutting people is a recipe for your own destruction. Just ask Circuit City. Just ask John McCain. Just ask every other loser who have crashed and burned due to the terrible U.S. (and global) economy.

What’s happened is that huge corporations have seen boosts in productivity and decided… hey, we don’t need these people. Rather than redeploy or retool the organization, they just got rid of people… as if jobs grow on trees, as if worker bees who toil in cubicles suddenly can become whiz bang entrepreneurs, start their own business and make it big. Then, as they offshore still more jobs to places where labor laws are lax, they patted themselves on the back and gave themselves huge raises. The money floats up rather than trickles down. It’s inverse Reaganomics. Adding insult to injury, these same wealthy people got tax cuts, as if they needed them. So where is all the money going? Who has it? Why is the economy shrinking?

Greed at the top and ignoring the rule that people are the foundation of the economy and without jobs, people don’t have money to spend.

Note To Sarah Palin

The First Amendment means that the government cannot curtail your free speech. Anyone who wants to challenge your ‘free speech’ also has the freedom to do so. So, you cannot expect that you get a free pass to say anything you want and have it go unanswered.

You have every right to raise any issue your pretty little head can think of, regardless of how bad it sounds or how baseless your accusations. However, you also have to expect everyone, not just press pundits, to challenge your thinking and call you out when you completely get it wrong. That’s freedom of speech.

Face it; the age of senseless attack politics is over. People are too smart to fall for it. In the age of the internet, we can look up the facts and see past your phoniness.

And here’s what’s really going to hurt: being white and pretty no longer means you automatically get people to vote for you. You have to earn it. You haven’t.

Quote of the Day 2

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” Thomas Jefferson 3rd president of the US (1743-1826), Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin (1802)

Quote of the Day

“Capitalism should not be condemned, since we haven’t had it. Capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. It’s not capitalism when the system is plagued with incomprehensible rules regarding mergers, acquisitions, and stock sales, along with wage controls, price controls, protectionism, corporate subsidies, international management of trade, complex and punishing corporate taxes, privileged government contracts to the military-industrial complex, and a foreign policy controlled by corporate interests and overseas investments.” –Ron Paul