Archive for November, 2006

“Black Friday” explained

Friday, November 24th, 2006

I have to give credit to my wife and friend Judy for this idea. She in turn heard various tidbits on NPR and read local newspapers to synthesize her explanation.
Black Friday is the point in the fiscal calendar when a business finally meets all of its expenses and goes ‘into the black’. The outrageous mall rent. Insurance. Minimum wage salaries (and NO BENEFITS) for its horde of ‘part-time’ employees. Cost of good sold (send the check to China, if you please.). Electricity. Advertising. Etc Etc Etc, to quote the king of Siam.
Finally, that greed-possessed mass of brain-washed uber-consumers fills the tills with enough filthy lucre to turn the tide from net loss to net income, and just in the nick of time, too.

What is this tiger whose tail we have grasped so desperately? Will it prove strong enough to pull the majority of Americans into a future of economic well-being?

Nope, sorry. We pay $1 per hour to chinese slave-laborers to make the bulk of our holiday gifts and impulse purchases. We pay central american sweat-shop ladies and girls $.75/hr to make our trendy fashion apparel and must-have geegaws and bling.

Meanwhile, the guy who used to have a $28/hr job at Goodyear or Ford or Republic Steel is eating macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while he waits to hear the results of his mortgage foreclosure and his bankruptcy proceedings.

Ho Ho Ho.

Enjoy the spirit of the season.

The only war is class war

Friday, November 24th, 2006

Yeah, like he said.

America is a bastard society, composed of mongrels and sports.
We have no basis for tribal, racial or ethnic loyalties, like those healthy societies in the mid-east and Africa.

Instead, we are a ‘rising tides float all boats’ sort of operation where everyone’s self-interest is somehow tied to the general well-being of the entire country. We are ‘the melting pot’, for better or worse.

If the country degenerates into feudalism, then the middle class dies. If the middle class dies, then the source of creativity and innovation that has made us US will also die.

I like making enough money that I can spend time philosophising and puttering around on the farm.
But I see many many people around me in (and am just a few paychecks away from myself,) the state where they cannot afford the luxury of self-expression.

Life carries us along, like leaves downstream, whether we want to go or not.
We do what we can to help our kids and grandkids survive, what more can we do?
We can try to select and promote a system that provides reasonable benefits and safeguards to a reasonable number of people.

In the past, in other countries, this meant fighting alongside your tribe against all outside groups.
This is the biological imperative. In this country however, there is no tribe. If we tried to follow our strictly glandular instincts, we would fractionate into a thousand warring factions. We only have to look at Yugoslavia, Burundi or Iraq to see what happens when a sense of common identity is lost. Is this what we want America to become?

What is the alternative?

Let’s admit that economic classes DO exist.
Let’s get back to the idea that a ‘level playing field’ that favors good ideas over entrenched, inherited, political and economic power, is the best mechanism that we know of so far to engender technological and economic progress.

What does this mean in terms of real decisions?

1) restrict the influence that lobbyists have over legislation
2) restrict the influence that political advertising has over the electorate
3) break up media conglomerates and encourage regional media that are sensitive to regional needs
4) devise an uncorruptable, unfalsifiable, efficient method for voting and mandate its use

Now I know that these goals are vague, and would require actual participation and thought by large numbers of citizens.

The alternative? Line up here, fellow serf, to get your serial number tattoo.

Economic Scoreboard – 11/23/06

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Today’s economic scoreboard from Beautiful Stark County Ohio:

Sheriff sales: 227

Help wanted ads: 45

Index: 5.0

This might look like an improvement over last week, but there were about a dozen foreclosure notices, soon to be sheriff sales.

Another step along the path to the elimination of the middle class and the beginning of feudal society in the 21st century. Who buys all these houses?

Why are we in Iraq?

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

All the bullsh!t we hear every day about the ‘fight against terror’, ‘bringing democracy to Iraqi people’, stopping WMDs before we see ‘mushroom clouds over Cleveland’, is just that: BULLSH!T.

Why are we in Iraq? To get the OIL. To make sure we can continue to GET THE OIL in the future. To prevent China from GETTING THE OIL.
Let’s stop the crap and acknowledge what this war is about. It’s not like this is the first war fought to control a vital natural resource. Economic warfare has a long and admirable history. But until we get clear on why we are there, and what our goals really are, we have NO F^CK!NG CHANCE of ‘winning’, whatever that means.

Every time you hear some tv putz bemoan the fact that the ‘war seems unwinnable’, ask yourself WHAT WOULD WINNING THIS WAR LOOK LIKE?

We need to do two things right away in order to improve the situation in Iraq.

1) acknowledge that we’re in it for the oil. Everyone else in the world knows this, it’s only the US public and the robot media crap-spielers who cannot bring themselves to admit this.

2) devise a plan to share the oil income with the Iraqi people. Enlightened self-interest and greed have solved many internecine struggles in the past, why is Iraq different?

The CR could take the lead by announcing this plan to the world, if they weren’t so busy pushing human interest blather, while waiting for the right to come up with Plan B.

Say What?

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Am I the only person who is mystified by the neologism du jour: “Black Friday”?


Where did this piece of crap come from? I have never before in my life heard this term used to describe the Friday after Thanksgiving, and suddenly, every two-bit local newspaper and tv sheiss-flinger is hyping the sales on “Black Friday”.

I guess it’s better than talking about Noe’s 18 year sentence, or Ney’s resignation, or the fact that Ohio STILL does not have a public school funding plan in place.

More drivel for the morons. You’re doing a heck of a job, CR!!

The Economic Scoreboard – 11/16/06

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

Thursday’s CR carries this news about the local economy. The news is hidden in plain sight, but is visible to those of us who can count.

Number of Sheriff Sale notices: 275

Number of Help Wanted ads: 58

Index: 4.7

You do the math.

Will the newly elected democratic politicians make a difference here at home?
Like the little dog said after crapping on the porch, ‘That remains to be seen’.

Attention Artists: Logo contest

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Attention Stark County artists! is looking for someone to create three new pieces of graphic design: a Logo, a Lead Image, and an Icon.

The Logo should be square, ie. H=W, the Lead Image should be H = 1/4 W, and the Icon should be 32 pixels by 32 pixels.

These graphic designs will be used on the cantondailynews web site to identify the site to the rest of the Wild Internet!

Imagine the bragging rights you will have if your design is selected!

Imagine the gratitude that the operator and viewers of the web site will feel towards you for your original contributions!

Imagine that these imaginary rewards are more than enough compensation for your efforts and talents! Because that’s all we can offer at this time. You will be publicly recognized with a by-line and link, if desired.

Please send your ideas to politics at cantondailynews dot com.

Converting the above email address into something usable is your first challenge!

Thanks in advance!


politics at cantondailynews dot com

Oil War – Part 2

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Here is my plan for Iraq.

1) Use existing political subdivisions, or create new ones based on religious majorities, to partition Iraq into semi-autonomous ‘states’ or provinces.

2) Identify leading civic or religious groups within each political subdivision.

3) Promise a population-based share of Iraq’s oil revenues to the local authorities if and only if they can accomplish the following within their own subdivision:

a) stop street violence

b) improve the delivery of basic economic services such as electricity, water, waste disposal

c) organize local public services such as police, fire, ambulance, roads and health care

d) begin weapons confiscation programs

e) ban inflammatory religious or political rhetoric

These local authorities will be funded from Iraq’s oil revenues. If human nature has not changed, this promise of a fair share of the enormous (and yes, still only potential) wealth that could be generated from Iraq’s oil reserves will motivate the people of Iraq to get their act together as no “shock and awe” or “hearts and minds” campaign has been able to do so far.

Has this solution been tried yet? NO. Big oil, and their political lapdogs in the US, have prevented any discussion of this type of solution. Give peace a chance? Naw, let’s give money a chance!


politics at cantondailynews dot com

Oil War

Friday, November 10th, 2006

Anyone paying attention knows the war in Iraq is, will be, and always was about one thing. Oil.
Iraq is sitting on top of the second largest proven oil reserves in the world. And if the geologists’ guesses are right, the oil under the western desert should make Iraq’s oil supply the largest.

WMDs? Democracy? The end of terror? Horsehockey! This war was never about anything but oil. Ask Dick Cheney and the un-named folks who took part in his energy task force meetings that were held back in early 2001.

So what to do? If we bail from Iraq as George McGovern suggests, we lose control of the oil. And we need it. Hmmm… this could be a problem.

What if we decided to stop ripping off the people of Iraq, (and the gasoline consumers in the US) and actually produced and sold the Iraqi oil at a fair price.

And gave the people of Iraq their fair share of the profits?

And put an end to the unspeakably obscene profits enjoyed by the Anglo-Anerican Oil Company and its descendents?

(all of whom, by the way, are friends ((and sometimes relatives)) of the current administration.)

Would this be so wrong? To actually treat another country and its people fairly? I know it would break a two hundred plus year history of exploiting the rest of the world, but it just might solve two problems: our short-term need for oil, and our long-term need for stability in the middle east.

I think it would be a serious mistake to abandon the oil to our newest and biggest economical competitor, China. A big push by the new Democratic majority in congress to ‘cut and run’, to coin a phrase, will simply hand over a resource that we still need to our competition. (long term – we need alternative energy sources – but short term we drive gasoline-powered cars!)
Why won’t anyone in Washington ‘fess up and admit that our economic well-being (and the obscene profitability of big oil) is the real reason why we are in Iraq. We can’t hope to remedy this situation and get our troops out of harm’s way without a better understanding of why they were sent there in the first place.


politics at cantondailynews dot com


Friday, November 10th, 2006

It should be obvious to the casual observer that the media shape our thoughts and perceptions to a degree all out of proportion to our direct contact with any of the newsreaders or journalists who contribute to the non-stop background drone of current events.

But this shouldn’t surprise us, we are a social species, and give more weight to thoughts and ideas we think are shared by others than to our own original ruminations.

People are echo machines, and they are drawn to other, louder echo machines so that they might have a more reliable source of repeatable sound bites and pre-digested opinions.

This facet of human nature is well known to the conservative right, and their ability to use this trait to promote their own agenda far exceeds that of the liberal left.

So what to do? Write letters to the editor? Organize sidewalk demonstrations? Cry?
How about using this most basic human characteristic, this desire and need to share information with neighbors and to use shared information to develop a consensus for action, ourselves?

The only daily paper in Canton, which has been the default voice and guiding light for Stark County for far too long, is for sale. Let’s buy it. Or let’s convince some liberal ‘angel’, like David Geffen, to buy it for us, and then let us help run it.

(see link to NY Times article on LINKS page.)
I wrote headlines and took photos for the Comet in the late ’60s. I wrote a year’s worth of newsletters for a local anti-dump group, so of course I am well qualified to help! 😉 And I know at least one honest lady reporter at the ‘cretin rap’. Are any of you literate, ambitious and gutsy enough to help?

Does anyone know anyone who knows David Geffen? Get on the phone and plant the idea; farmers plant wheat in the fall, and we eat bread, don’t we?


politics at cantondailynews dot com