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Archive for the ‘Consumerism’ Category

Dick Morris on Illegal Immigration

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

The link

Here is a nicely written non-partisan article which describes how the immigration issue is buthchered by corrupt politicians.  Over and over again, Americans poll that they want the borders closed down and illegal immigrants approached instead of ignored or legalized, but over and over again, the leaders of the establishment are very reluctant to do what should be very easy.

Quotation from Dick Morris

Both parties are hypocritical on immigration. Democrats, controlled by unions, want Latinos to vote but not work. Republicans, controlled by agribusiness interests, want them to work but not vote. The answer is to stand up to union and to agribusiness pressure and take tough action to stop the hiring of illegal immigrants.

In their desperation, President Barack Obama and senators with large Latino populations in their states (like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.) are seeking to polarize Hispanic and Anglo sentiment over the issue of illegal immigration. In his frequent messages calling for higher Latino and black turnout and his condemnation of the Arizona immigration law, Obama is trying to recapture over immigration the voter approval he lost over healthcare.

Arizona acted as it did because of a lack of federal enforcement of federal law barring undocumented immigrants. With a porous border, they felt that they were left no choice but to pass a law allowing potentially intrusive searches to ferret out illegal immigrants. Because this law could subject American citizens of Hispanic origin to undue scrutiny and perhaps to needless trips to the police station, the Arizona law antagonizes the jump ball in the immigration debate — Latino-American voters. If there were a real national identification card, the requirement to produce papers might be less intrusive. But, as it is, with the burden of proof on the citizen (or the illegal immigrant), the law is bound to raise tensions between Anglo cops and Latino citizens.

But being forced to support or oppose the Arizona law is a false choice. It reflects the unimaginative politics of confrontation that jeopardize race relations and elect demagogues like Barack Obama. (Obama’s share of the white vote was the same as Kerry won in 2004. He was elected only because of a three-point increase in black turnout and a shift in Latino votes to his corner. He won because of race, and now he schemes to keep control of Congress by using the immigration issue.)

The real answer is not to round up Latinos in the streets of Phoenix and hope to catch illegals in the net. Nor is it even to pretend that we can stop determined men and women from crossing the border by way of more guards, more troops and better equipment. The answer is to dry up the will to cross the border in the first place by stopping employers from offering jobs to undocumented workers. If there were felony penalties — jail time — for hiring illegals, they would not be hired. And if there were no jobs, there would be no illegal immigration.

The Republican position on illegal immigration should be to demand tough employer sanctions, including jail, and coupling that program with a vigorous guest-worker program to bring needed workers in legally, pay them a living wage and then escort them out when they are no longer needed. The United States, in need of a younger population to pay for our current and future retirees, should also raise the allowed levels of immigration.

Both parties are hypocritical on immigration. Democrats, controlled by unions, want Latinos to vote but not work. Republicans, controlled by agribusiness interests, want them to work but not vote. The answer is to stand up to union and to agribusiness pressure and take tough action to stop the hiring of illegal immigrants.

If there were no jobs for illegals outside of guest-worker programs, there would be no need for amnesty. They would all go home of their own accord or wait until they got legal status.

We would need a foolproof, biometric identity card to speed identification of those eligible for employment to accompany the sanctions against hiring illegals, but this is a small price to pay for an answer to so pressing a problem.

But Obama will not take the step that could end illegal immigration. Why? Because he wants immigration. He seeks to reshape the partisan balance in America by increasing the number of Latino voters and marrying them to the Democratic Party by provoking Republicans who just want law and order to appear racist to Hispanic-Americans. His is a game of great duplicity and racial opportunism. But good legislation can defeat his designs and solve one of our most pressing domestic problems at the same time.

Consumers have changed their spending habits

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The link
The recession has influenced people’s behavior. The recovery will be more difficult because even though people are starting to make more money, they do not wish to reinsert that money back into the economy. This whole meltdown has been a deeply harmful situation from the beginning.

Even as the economic recovery plods ahead, many American consumers are refusing to come along.

They’re not spending freely – and they have no plans to.

Many of them have steady income. They aren’t saddled by high debts. They don’t fear losing their jobs. Yet despite recent gains, they’ve lost so much household wealth that they’re far more cautious about spending than before the recession.

Their behavior suggests that the Great Recession may have bred a new frugality that will endure well into the recovery. And because consumers fuel about 70 percent of the economy, their tightfisted habits means the rebound could stay unusually sluggish.

That’s the picture that emerges from an Associated Press survey of leading economists and interviews with more than two dozen ordinary Americans. The new AP Economy Survey asked 44 leading economists whether the recession created a “new frugality” among consumers that will outlive the recession. Two-thirds said yes.

They had in mind people like Marjorie Feldman of suburban St. Louis, who retired three years ago as a systems analyst for a utility company. The stock investments in her retirement account have sunk 15 percent from 2007. The value of her home is down 20 percent.

“I had retired assuming I’d make money” off the investments, said Feldman, who’s in her early 60′s. “I just don’t feel as confident in the economy, and I never will again. I won’t spend money the way I used to.”

Feldman’s husband works full time in academia. She has a part time job preparing tax returns at H&R Block. But her prime earning years are behind her.

“I don’t think it will ever get back to where it was before,” she said of her nest egg. “I won’t spend money the way I used to.”

Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics at Moody’s Economy.com, notes that baby boomers, in particular, enjoyed spending sprees for most of their adult lives as their assets steadily grow.

“But the recession changed that,” Hoyt said. “Many have retirement and children’s education looming. All of a sudden, they see their balance sheets decline in a way they’ve never seen before.”

To be sure, many shoppers, especially the wealthy, are buying into the recovery. Partly on the strength of consumer spending, the economy emerged from recession last year and has been growing steadily, if moderately, since. Major retailers logged solid sales in March. Employers have begun to add jobs, including a net increase of 162,000 in March. The stock market has risen 70 percent from its low in March 2009.

Yet many who became penny-pinchers during the recession are in no mood to start shopping again with abandon for clothes, cars and home additions. They’ve discovered the peace of mind that comes with rebuilding savings, shopping more prudently and learning to live with less.

At their nerve-racked peak last year, Americans socked away 6.4 percent of their disposable income. That compared with less than 1 percent hit at one point during the pre-recession boom. The savings rate has since dropped to 3.1 percent. Yet few expect it to approach the near-zero savings rate that would signal high-octane spending has roared back.

Susan Wilson, 55, a freelance PR specialist in Scottsdale, Ariz., says her business is picking up. But her spending isn’t. Wilson still feels burned by the recession, when she lost her home to foreclosure.

“Shame on me,” she said. “I wasn’t paying enough attention to my financial health. That will never happen again.”

Wilson is renting now. She traded in her leased car for a used car she could buy outright. She’s started growing her own vegetables and air-drying her laundry to save money and stay out of debt. She’s looking to buy a home, but not one with an outsize mortgage.

“I’m looking for pretty much the smallest house I can live in,” she said.

Interviews with ordinary Americans suggest a new frugality endures even though consumer spending has risen for five straight months and retail sales for three.

In the AP’s new quarterly survey, a majority of economists agreed that a new frugality will persist even as the recovery gains firmer footing.

“I would call it a ‘mini age of austerity,’” said Sean Snaith, an economics professor at the University of Central Florida.

“Consumers will not run up multiple credit cards to their limits, and when buying a house the objective will not be to get the maximum square footage for which they can afford the payment. A higher savings rate will be in place for several years.”

Jeff Thredgold, an economist at Thredgold Economic Associates, predicts “less impress-my-neighbor-type spending” in coming years.

Count Keith Flowers of Manassas, Va., in that category. He’s decided that the hit he took in the housing slump requires him to continue to rein in spending. He’s cut off his landline phone and has become a regular at discount retailer Costco.

He isn’t worried about losing his job in business development at an information technology company. What’s led him to cut back spending is the sunken value of his condominium. He bought it in 2005 for about $270,000.

“I doubt right now it’s cracking $100,000,” Flowers said.

Rajeev Dhawan, director of Georgia State University’s Economic Forecasting Center, says: “I think the chances of us being big spenders in the next 10 years are pretty low.”

So much household wealth was inflated by the housing boom, Dhawan said, that the real estate bust spooked consumers. States hardest hit by the bust – California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona – together account for about 30 percent of national economic activity, he noted.

Household net worth – the value of assets like homes, checking accounts and investments minus debts like mortgages and credit cards – has risen for three straight quarters. But economists say consumers would need a stronger and prolonged increase in wealth to lead them to ratchet up spending. Net worth would have to rise an additional 21 percent just to get back to its pre-recession peak of $65.9 trillion.

Some economists put their hopes for the economy in the rich, who are spending more freely than the rest of the population. They hold out hope that this will encourage more hiring and stimulate spending by the less wealthy. More spending could increase companies’ revenue, which allow them to boost hiring and pay. And that would lead their employees to spend more.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. returned to a first-quarter profit as more travelers vacationed on its ships and spent more money on board. And makers of luxury goods are benefiting from a release of pent-up demand for jewelry, watches and high-end furnishings.

High-end retailers have reported blowout results. Nordstrom’s revenue in stores open at least one year jumped 16.8 percent last month. Saks’ surged 12.7 percent.

McClaren Automotive has announced it will debut a $200,000 sports car in the U.S. next year. And business is picking up faster at high-end hotels than at mid-priced and budget hotels.

Whether spending by the wealthy will cause the less-well-off to spend freely, too, remains unclear. For now, though, many people have embraced a more frugal approach to spending.

Or maybe they’ve just learned to go without.

Jan Iris Smith, 57, and her husband of Cabin John, Md., put off furniture and clothing purchases after the stock market’s collapse in early 2009.

“We were counting on our income from our investments,” said Smith, a psychotherapist whose husband is retired. “We just stopped pretending everything was going to be OK anytime soon.”

The Free Market is the American Religion

Monday, March 1st, 2010

The link
The reason America never fixes its problems is that it believes they will auto-correct. This article is the ideological foundation of authoritarianism. If you prefer to smear it, I guess you could call it “emergency dictatorship,” “capitalism in decay” or “fascism.” It is the idea that freedom and liberty “don’t work,” but the logical conclusion is that authority is needed to patch society. It is not really stressing class conflict or the need for the complete elimination of private property, and thus not really addressing the issue from a Marxist-Leninist standpoint but a corrective authoritarian standpoint.

It requires a religious belief in capitalism in order to keep trying to succeed against all odds, because otherwise it is easier to give up. After all, to succeed requires many failed attempts and/or a special networking connection, especially in this global economic meltdown. I can attest to the fact that most hardcore entrepreneurs truly believe these values.

WASHINGTON — The most popular religion in America isn’t Christianity, as most of us have been taught to believe. The most cherished belief system celebrates the principles of unfettered capitalism.

That misplaced faith in free markets was on display in this past Thursday’s health care summit, when — between sound bites and talking points — Republicans argued that “choice and competition” would largely resolve the country’s health care problems. That belief — that the arbitrary, confusing and consumer-unfriendly policies and practices that we euphemistically call a health care “system” can be transformed by relying on free market principles — is confounding.

Except for beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Affairs system — all government-run insurance programs — those of us who have insurance are utterly reliant on the private market. That’s what got us into the mess we’re in.

The health care market simply doesn’t operate like the market for cars or computers or flat-screen TVs. Sony and Samsung make their profits by selling as many of their products as they can. Health insurance companies make their profits by selling as many of their products as they can and then trying very hard not to actually deliver them.

Try to imagine that you’re awaiting delivery of your brand-new 50-inch TV, for which you’ve already made a hefty down payment. But the company calls to tell you that you violated some obscure clause in your contract, so they’re not going to bring it! In the health insurance world, it’s called “rescission.” Insurers decide they won’t honor the contract because of some alleged violation by the policy-holder.

They do that to keep their fat profit margins. Health care giant Wellpoint has proposed substantial rate increases in the individual market (policies for individuals who don’t have employer-based insurance), not just in California but in several other states. In congressional testimony last week, WellPoint president Angela Braly said the company had to raise premiums because of soaring health care costs. But Wellpoint hardly seems to be hurting; it reported a profit last year of $4.7 billion.

California’s Wellpoint subsidiary, Anthem Blue Cross, is not only proposing stunning rate hikes. The state’s insurance commissioner has announced that the company has also repeatedly violated state law by failing to pay medical claims on time and by misrepresenting policy provisions to consumers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

So, it seems, the company tells you that a policy offers broad coverage when they’re trying to get you to buy insurance. But when you need the coverage, you find out that the policy doesn’t offer broad coverage, after all. That helps explain why so many people, even with health insurance, go bankrupt after a costly illness.

Without stricter government oversight and regulation — which is the essence of the health care reform proposed by President Obama — health care costs will continue to soar while consumers get less and less. Obama’s proposals don’t represent a “government takeover,” as critics contend. The vast majority of Americans would still get their insurance in the private marketplace. But insurers would have to live by a different set of rules.

Vice President Joe Biden said it best at the summit: If Republicans agree that insurance reform is necessary, that health insurance companies should be prohibited from turning away consumers because of pre-existing conditions, that they should be prevented from enforcing lifetime caps on benefits, then the GOP must see the need for strict government regulation. You don’t get those changes in the “free market.”

And, unlike the choice of buying a computer or a car, you’d don’t really get to walk away from health insurance. If you do, you take your life into your hands. Having health insurance increases your chances of longevity.

Once upon a time, political leaders realized that all Americans needed access to electricity, and they stepped in to ensure that all households got that small miracle at reasonable rates — something that the “free market” could not provide. Americans need a similar intervention in health care now.

An Article that Suggests that Capitalism is becoming Nepotistic

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

The Link
What frustrates me is the older generation. The older generation denies that this is the case and promotes ignorant viewpoints – such as the viewpoint that your success in the market is a direct return on your skill level and work ethic. Only a very privileged person would believe that.

Thankfully, in my case, things are finally starting to break again.

With job openings few and far between, it’s more important than ever that job seekers’ strategy is on target — and networking should be the basis of that strategy.

Rather than sitting in front of a computer, searching online postings and blindly sending out dozens or hundreds of resumes, job hunters have a better chance of success through networking. The adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is more accurate than ever.

The more time you devote to networking, the higher your probability of finding that elusive job, corporate insiders and job-search experts say. One reason for that: Companies often fill positions by making internal employee referrals part of the company culture. Some firms even make hiring new workers through referrals a strategic goal.

That’s a development job hunters can leverage to their advantage by honing their networking skills. For companies, having current employees recommend new hires gives them access to pools of talent they might not normally attract. And current employees get the opportunity to recommend skilled newcomers and reap cash bonuses and internal recognition.

“Prudential has always viewed their employees as talent ambassadors. Our employees are an excellent source for referrals,” said Peter Price, director of global communications for Prudential Financial Inc.

Prudential employees earn between $500 and $2,500 for each successful referral, depending on the job level. Hiring managers are not required to hire a referral over a more qualified candidate — decisions are based on skills, experience and qualifications. But “serious consideration is given to those candidates who are referred by Prudential employees,” Price said.

At Vistaprint, the company’s “Everyone Here is a Recruiter” program, launched in late 2006, offers a $1,500 referral award for each successful hire, and a home theater system for the employee with the most referrals hired.

“At the end of that first year of the program, employee referrals jumped from 19 percent to 42 percent,” said Kevin Murray, director of recruiting at the firm. Vistaprint USA Inc., a print company focused on business cards and brochures, is a subsidiary of Vistaprint N.V.

“By 2008, employee referrals had grown to 48 percent of all new hires. The program is on track to pass that number this year,” he said.

Will Robinson, a job coach in Arlington, Mass., said in this economic downturn he’s seen a growing number of new hires coming from employee referrals

“In some companies, as many as 75 percent of placements are done through networking,” Robinson said. “Employee referrals are hugely important to companies. They are even more important in a soft economy, when companies are flooded with resumes, and many of them are bad resumes.”

From the organization’s perspective, employee referrals are extremely valuable, said Alexandra Levit, author of “New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career.”

“Not only do you receive a steady stream of qualified applicants without having to spend big dollars on recruiting, but those applicants come with built-in, trusted references,” said Levit, who is working with the Labor Department on a plan to make American workers more competitive in the job market.

Many companies consider employee referrals so important they mandate a specific percentage of positions be filled by referral, and human-resources representatives have to meet quotas, Levit said. That creates opportunities for anyone wanting to work at those companies: Networking with the right people can help get your resume in front of someone who actually wants to see it.

Employee referrals also help cut the cost of finding candidates, said Prudential’s Price. “In most cases, the awards that are paid out for an employee referral will be significantly less than the cost of other sourcing methods, like advertising.”

While the extra cash is a strong incentive for employees to suggest qualified candidates, it’s not the main draw of employee-referral programs.

“Employees are definitely motivated by the bonus, but I think they also want to do something that helps a person in need and their organization at the same time,” Levit said. Making a successful recommendation not only helps the company; it also helps the reputation of the employee who made it, Levit said.

“I am an individual with a success story,” said Kindra Hall, vice president of sales at Orenda International, a Tempe, Ariz.-based natural health product marketing company. “I am the one who has offered the insider’s referral. So far, my company has hired all three of the referrals I’ve made.

“I want to make sure that I’m working with the best people, that my team is strong,” Hall said. “Though a bonus would be nice, I was more motivated by what the referred person could do for the growth of the company and therefore my future income.”

Many job seekers don’t realize most openings aren’t advertised, Levit said. Many businesses prefer to hire from within the company or through word-of-mouth. “If you’re coming in from off the street, you could be out of luck,” she said.

While job seekers should use all the tried and true networking techniques, those looking for work should never stalk someone in a bid to network, Levit said.

Instead, practice what Levit calls the 3/6 rule. “Contact the person three times over a period of six weeks, and if you don’t hear back, move on to someone else who will be more open to helping you.”

Vistaprint’s Murray said job seekers tend to overlook their college or university’s alumni resources. Many schools have a dedicated alumni site linked to the larger school Web site, which often includes access to online job boards and discussion forums, and information on alumni networking events all over the country.

Robinson, the job coach, said people should spend 75 percent of their search time networking, and job hunters should use a “targeted company” networking strategy. You first target companies you want to work for and then network to find people in those companies who can eventually tell you about job openings, and ideally, refer you for a spot.

Said Robinson: “Instead of … blasting resumes out to every company that may have an opening, you first identify target companies—usually 10 — and start a networking strategy to find individuals in these companies.”

The recession was caused by women

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The link
If you are really anti-recession, then you have to be anti-women. If you enjoy the recession, then enjoy women. The current economy and unwillingness to loan forces men and women to live together. Men have to either live with their Mothers or a girl-enemy, because the economy sucks too much to actually find a steady job and thus isolate oneself from the need of assistance towards housing. The current economy is a result of a deliberate conspiracy of women to buy expensive houses in order to keep their husbands in debt, and to crash the whole economy so that men can’t live without a roomate. I pointed out in an earlier post that women have not been harmed by the recession nearly as much as men. But dick masterson argues that they engineered it.

Perhaps good women are the ones who take on their co-sexualists, and admit that they are responsible for everything that is wrong with America right now. It doesn’t matter if women are necessary for reproduction. We can change that with a technocracy.

This letter was sent to me from America’s Heartland.

Dear Dick,

I live in Nebraska where anyone with a decent job can afford to buy a house. Recently, I’m seeing a trend in the amount of women who feel that they can AND SHOULD buy their own house. “How the fuck do these women expect to mow the lawn?” I asked a friend of mine who is buying a house. She replied, “You.” After I finished laughing, she asked if she could borrow my lawnmower to do it. “How are you going to get the mower from my house to yours?” I said. She replied, “Your truck.”

Property ownership for women should be discouraged, starting at the real estate agent.

CE in Nebraska.

Well said, CE in Nebraska. Women should not own property.

A woman owning property is like giving a monkey a dog on a leash. It doesn’t mean the monkey has a pet. It means some idiot tied a dog to a monkey.

Women owning property doesn’t mean that they themselves aren’t property.

But what’s the worst that could happen? So a few women buy a few houses and fuck them up, it’s not like that will fuck up the entire global economy, right?

Wrong. Women caused the subprime mortgage meltdown.

You Are What You Eat

Women don’t know how to treat property. Just look at how they treat themselves! Getting fat as hell, speaking when they could just sit there and look pretty, giving it up on the first date. Women are the world’s oldest property and they treat themselves like shit.

They also treat their cars and houses like shit. The last time I let a woman drive me anywhere, I didn’t. I insisted on driving her car myself and she had to kick through a foot of trash and debris in her passenger seat to even sit down. That’s how a woman treats something she owns. She lets it go to hell.

If women can’t fuck to make a problem go away, or at least pretend they’re going to fuck after the problem goes away, then the problem goes unsolved. Take my new best friend CE from Nebraska. Sure, he could get his freak on for mowing some dozy bitch’s lawn, but that’s a waste of time and worse yet, it’s a loss of Man Points.

The maximum amount of work any man can do to get laid without losing Man Points is 30 minutes. Any more means you give a shit.

Women Are Consumers

Women don’t understand ownership. They only understand consumership. That’s why they should only purchase things that can be used. Things like make-up, clothing, pots and pans, and especially birth control; all things meant to be used up or thrown away when something better comes along — just like women.

Men are owners. We invented ownership and we fought the wars that resulted from this awesome invention. Ownership is about putting work into something, including ourselves, in order to increase its value. Women just complain until someone either pays more for access to their sex organs, or lies better while doing it.

A boob job doesn’t make a girl smarter, it just makes her look smarter.

Subprime Fuck Up

Subprime is the first word I think of when I think of women and their shit brains. However, it also perfectly describes their real estate investments.

If you don’t understand what the subprime mortgage crisis is, I’ll explain it in man terms.

Let’s say you’re throwing a party and stocking it with booze. You get a bottle of Patron, a 12 pack of Pacifico, and a case of Ralph’s brand charcoal filtered potato Vodka.

Guess what, no one will fucking drink Ralph’s brand charcoal filtered potato Vodka and the people who will drink it, you don’t want at your party! That’s the subprime alcohol at my party crisis. The Pacifico will be gone in ten minutes and the Patron will get smashed on your car by pissed off, sober party guests during an angry mass exodus.

In 2003, one in five home purchases were made by single women.

In 2006 women were 32% more likely to receive a subprime mortgage than men.

In 2006 women were 41% more likely to receive a high-cost subprime mortgage than men.

In 2006, 30% of mortgage borrowers were women

In 2006, 38.8% of subprime mortgage borrowers were women.

In 2006, women were 29.1% more likely to be stupid and irresponsible.

Men are better than women.

The economy is like a symphony. It doesn’t take an orchestra to fuck it up, it just takes like 29.1% of the instruments.

Accountability? Who Me?

Women are experts at shooting themselves in the foot. I think men have too much practice not shooting ourselves in the foot from pissing outside our entire lives. We learn to account for wind, splash factor, all kinds of shit. We learn not to piss all over our shoes. But women don’t. According to women, the reason they accepted shitty mortgages from banks and didn’t use LendingTree.com to shop around like TV told them to, is because banks are sexist.

Fuck you. Banks hate everyone. To banks you are a number not a name and a collection of statistics to milk for cash — not a person. For more information on banks, consult your local library — or ask Mel Gibson. I’m sure he has some interesting theories.

Financial Advice From the Retarded

Aside from trash books telling women not to base their self-worth on men — which they will anyway — financial advice books written by women for women are some of the biggest selling titles out there.

Among money saving pearls like, “Bring your own snacks to the movies”, and “Don’t bother getting a car, just get some man to drive you everywhere!” you’ll will also encounter the following gem amongst the kitschy self-empowerment slogans:

Home ownership is the key to building wealth.

What women fail to realize is that affording a home is the key to home ownership. Women are economically retarded. They’ll write checks until their checkbook is empty. They’ll pay the minimum required amount on their credit cards just for fun. They’ll buy the Extended Warranty because it makes them feel better. Then they’ll throw all the fucking receipts away and cry when their shitty little television breaks two years in.

The point is, women are fiscally retarded.

Financial Advice For the Retarded

“Women are Disproportionately Represented in High-Cost Mortgage Market.” -CFA 2006

So what if women got offered shitty deals? They still took them. That makes it their fault. Who knows how much shit women forgot to put on their applications or how much effort they put into researching the loan process or even looking up the word “loan” before taking one out and leaving the global economy alone on the swing set while trying to convince her friends that she’s had a busy day. Running errands is not having a busy day.

Women wouldn’t know a good deal if it offered them a ride home in exchange for a blowjob. That’s a good deal! It’s five minutes of work vs. an hour of walking. Do the math.

But women can’t do math. Women look at APR and amortization rates and closing costs and fiduciary terms and their little heads start replaying the training montage in Dirty Dancing. “Maybe this time she’ll get in the air without laughing like a whore!” thinks a woman as she’s signing away daddy’s retirement plan.

Daddy

All problems by women are actually caused by men. Men who think their daughter, wife, sister, girlfriend, mother, fuck buddy, or co-worker, has anything more than shit between her ears.

In the case of the subprime meltdown, some man thought it was a good idea to give his daughter a down payment. It wasn’t.

Welcome to the big leagues, ladies. Having the world on your shoulders isn’t as fun as it looked, is it? Make sure your degrees in Political Science are framed to match your bedroom set when the repo man comes to collect both.

“Though no statistics exist to compare foreclosure rates among men and women, it is logical to conclude that higher rates of subprime mortgages among women translates to higher rates of foreclosure.” -Allen J. Fishbein

Here’s a statistic for you. Women have only been allowed to own property for 1% of the time we’ve been around as a species. There’s a reason for that.

Manclusion

“35 percent of women home equity borrowers used the loans to pay off credit card debt, and a third of those borrowers had rebuilt the same credit card debt within four years.” – Money Magazine, July 2004

I should have just lead with that quote, but since it also ends the discussion, I saved it for the end.

End of discussion. Women are fucked.

If I was a bank, I would never lend money to a single woman wanting to buy a house because I know she’s going to blow half of it on overpriced furnishings and a new puppy she won’t discipline for shit. Besides, she’s just going to get married in a few years anyway, and the day a woman gets married all her money suddenly becomes discretionary. Yours is hers and hers is hers. Welcome to marriage. That means whenever a bank signs a mortgage over to a single woman, they’re actually signing it over to her future husband.

Since when is it good banking to give loans to imaginary people!

Class Realism

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Outside of wanting the basic needs of survival, I don’t consider myself a materialist in the purely economic sense. But I realize that other people are, and I realize that a pragmatic person must know how to motivate people.

On a personal level, one can minimize the importance of class. But if others are class conscious, one should not deny that they are.

The Posse

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Jim Giles likes to talk about getting a posse. This caused me to think.

And I’m being an “intellectual” here. If Besoshvilli and me got a posse going in real life, we’d both know who to METAPHORICALLY AND NONVIOLENTLY lynch. It would be the liberal capitalists in power positions. But we’d have a different solution afterwords.

War in Iraq vs War in Afghanistan

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

The war in Iraq is a war for oil. The nature of the conflict is indeed that of a profit motive.

The war in Afghanistan is completely different. Bush didn’t plan on invading. 9/11 happened and put him on the spot. I don’t take people seriously who argue that 9/11 was an inside job and will just laugh at them if they comment.

The war in Afghanistan is a war against Islam, but it is corrupted by the profit motive. But the war does not have an original class nature. Bush didn’t plan on invading Afghanistan before 9/11. The original nature of the war was to destroy Sharia law and destroy Al-Qaeda

It is the profit motive that corrupts the American military into democratization, but the original motive was indeed an anti-Jihad motive.

I still oppose the Afghanistan war at least as it is being fought under the current conditions, but it is different. I do not think the war in Afghanistan is as ethically flawed as the war in Iraq.

War Strategy for the Middle East

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Feed people pork.

If they refuse to eat it on explicitly religious grounds, oppress them.

At some point, nobody will be left to resist you.

For your information, Pol Pot actually did this (in the name of Maoism).

I know it sounds harsh, but when you consider the way religion has been poisoning the world for so long, it is completely justified on utilitarian grounds.

What we have in America is people who want to convert Muslims to capitalism. The policies of the neo-cons in USA (Bush, Cheney, Obama) include nation building and cooperation with reactionary forces. My policies would be intentional nation destruction of all backwards theocracies. The primary goal of foreign policy should not be material – converting Muslims to capitalism for business – but secular – destroying Islam even if it is bad for business. The strategy of the neo-cons is to divide between extreme and moderate Muslims. This delusional greed has prevented the secular world from really burying Abrahamic backwardness into the sands, even if it disrupts business contracts and relations. I don’t understand liberalism. By expanding liberal democracy to Muslims, and not becoming energy independent, you give them the industrial capability to eventually wipe you out using military technology that of course only infidels could invent.

I consider Saddam Hussein a hater of Islam and so does Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, The Iranian regime and virtually every Islamic movement. Saddam Hussein was one of the most brutal secularists in Middle Eastern history, and supporting the Ba’athist and the Iranian regime at the same time makes absolutely no sense. Only a Marxist who views the world ONLY through materialism cannot see the contradiction there.

Congress – Looking at Internet Privacy Legislation

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

As a supporter of populist and interventionist ideology, I hail the heroic legislatures who are lobbying to control abusive internet techniques.  The more society moves away from freedom and towards “decency,” the happier I am.  Hail the heroic government watchdogs who put control over the “free market” using populist rather than Marxist-Leninist justification.  A small step in the direction of the correct ideology is still a step, as small as it is.  On principle, however, I must support the small step towards authoritarian control over consumerist degeneracy and liberalism.  The market must bow to the public good…and not the other way around.

The Article

The Web sites we visit, the online links we click, the search queries we conduct, the products we put in virtual shopping carts, the personal details we reveal on social networking pages – all of this can give companies insight into what Internet ads we might be interested in seeing.

But privacy watchdogs warn that too many people have no idea that Internet marketers are tracking their online habits and then mining that data to serve up targeted pitches – a practice known as behavioral advertising.

So Congress could be stepping in. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, is drafting a bill that would impose broad new rules on Web sites and advertisers. His goal: to ensure that consumers know what information is being collected about them on the Web and how it is being used, and to give them control over that information.

While Congress has waded into Internet privacy issues before, this measure could break new ground, as the first major attempt to regulate a nascent but fast-growing industry that represents the future of advertising. Boucher insists his bill will benefit consumers and preserve the underlying economics of the Internet, which relies on advertising to keep so much online content free.

“Our goal is not to hinder online advertising,” he said. “This will make people more likely to trust electronic commerce and the Internet.”

Although his proposal is still taking shape, Boucher is confident lawmakers will pass an online marketing privacy law of some sort. He is working with Cliff Stearns of Florida, the top Republican on the Internet subcommittee, as well as Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who chairs a separate subcommittee on consumer protection.

Already, Washington’s interest in Internet marketing has put online advertisers on notice. In July, the industry released a set of self-regulatory principles in an effort to head off concerns in Congress and the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC put out Internet ad guidelines early this year.

Boucher’s efforts have encouraged privacy activists, who point out that Internet surveillance has evolved beyond just data-tracking files, known as cookies, that Web sites place on visitors’ computers. Technologies such as “deep packet inspection” can now monitor a user’s every online move.

“Consumers have no idea that they are being followed online and that their information is being compiled into invisible digital dossiers,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, one of 10 privacy groups that recently issued recommendations for lawmakers. “There is an incredibly sophisticated, ever-advancing system for profiling online users.”

Chester believes several developments have put the issue on Washington’s radar. Those include the rise of social networking sites that capture detailed personal information, like Facebook and MySpace; Google Inc.’s acquisition of the Internet ad service DoubleClick Inc.; and the proposed Internet search partnership between Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc., now under review by the Justice Department.

“Online privacy has finally taken off and become a serious political issue,” Chester said. “A perfect digital storm has created momentum toward action.”

The challenge facing Washington, said Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, is to strike the right balance between “protecting the fundamental rights of consumers” and preserving “business equilibrium.”

Boucher’s bill will seek a middle ground in a long-running debate over what the default assumptions should be when companies monitor consumers’ online interests.

On one side, privacy watchdogs say Web sites should be required to obtain user permission – that is, people would “opt in” – before collecting most data.

On the other side, Web sites and advertisers insist such a mandate would overwhelm consumers with privacy notices. The companies argue that it is more practical to simply allow people who do not want to be tracked to “opt out” of data collection.

Boucher expects to set different rules for different types of sites. Sites that collect visitor information in order to target advertising on their own pages, for instance, would have to offer consumers a chance to opt out of having their interests tracked. These sites would also be required to prominently disclose what information they collect and provide a detailed description of how that information is used.

Web sites that deal with sensitive personal information, such as medical and financial data, sexual orientation, Social Security numbers and other ID numbers, would have to ask users to opt in to being tracked.

Boucher’s bill would not be the first significant online privacy law. In 1986, Congress passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which placed privacy obligations on companies and organizations that offer e-mail services. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 requires commercial Web sites targeted at children under age 13 to obtain parental consent before collecting personally identifiable information.

But the current bill would mark the first significant attempt by Congress to regulate Internet advertising. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said there had been little need for Congress to impose privacy protections on advertisers offline, since traditional media such as TV, radio and newspapers don’t enable marketers to profile individual consumers as easily as the Internet does.

Now, Rotenberg said, “privacy laws should be updated to reflect new business practices.”

It’s too soon to know whether Boucher’s final bill will go far enough to satisfy privacy activists. But they agree that a law would do much more than the self-regulatory principles released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and three other advertising trade groups in July.

Among other things, those principles call for consumer education efforts and disclosure of behavioral advertising practices.

ANA Executive Vice President Dan Jaffe said self regulation is the best approach for managing an industry evolving as quickly as online advertising.

“Legislation would be too rigid because this is a moving target,” Jaffe said.

Mike Zaneis, IAB’s vice president of public policy, added that self regulation is effective since it is in advertisers’ interest to make sure consumers trust them.

“At the end of the day, the most important asset any online company has is a strong relationship with the consumer,” he said.

Yet that’s also why Chester insists that tougher rules from Congress would not cripple online advertising. Consumers might be more likely to favor Web sites that allow them to see and influence their personal data.

“It’s about treating consumers with respect,” said Joseph Turow, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. “Companies keep saying they want to engage users. That means opening up and not sneaking behind someone’s back to draw up pictures of them. We need information reciprocity.”

Turow added that while he supports opt-in mandates as “the ultimate form of respect,” the debate over opt-in versus opt-out rules won’t matter “when people really have an opportunity to interact with their data.”

For now, privacy activists are pinning their hopes on lawmakers. Evan Hendricks, editor of the Privacy Times newsletter, believes Boucher’s bill will find bipartisan support in Congress.

“This stands a very realistic chance of passage,” he said. “Privacy is the kind of issue you can’t be against.”


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