2016 Presidential Election Should be about….

The promises made when there were 7 workers for every retiree cannot be kept when there are only 2 workers for every retiree.

In an auto-mechanic analogy, the Powers That be are assuring us those grinding noises under the hood and the black smoke chugging out of the tailpipe are no big deal and can be fixed with a minor tuneup. They’re wrong; we need a total overhaul to avoid a total system breakdown.

The grinding noises and black smoke are telling us the engine of our economy is on its last legs. The Powers That Be (Federal Reserve, government at all levels, mainstream corporate media, etc.) have been masking the need for an overhaul with trickery for the past seven years, the financial equivalent of using heavy oil and spray-painting the battery to make it look new.

With the tranny and top end about to blow, the Status Quo keeps claiming everything’s running great and the new set of sparkplugs and minor valve adjustment (i.e. zero-interest rate policy and more banking regulations) have restored the economy to top performance.

It’s all lies, fantasy and propaganda. Nothing has been fixed. Automation has just started devouring human labor/jobs, corporate profits have peaked, the trick of pushing the stock market higher by borrowing money to buy back shares is finally falling apart, the trends of wealth and income inequality are roaring ahead full steam, and our entire system of taxation, entitlements and debt is about to blow up.

The promises made when there were 7 workers for every retiree cannot be kept when there are only 2 workers for every retiree. As automation commoditizes labor, goods and services, the ratio of full-time workers to retirees will continue to slip: it’s already under two-to-one, as there are 123 million full-time jobs and 65.48 million Social Security beneficiaries.

Please glance at the following charts. The point here isn’t to play doom-and-gloom; it’s to accept the reality that the current set of promises and power arrangements is going to blow up and we’ll need a complete overhaul of our system.

Chart 1: Medicare costs will continue skyrocketing for decades:

Chart 2: all three major entitlement programs–Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security–are expanding rapidly while tax revenues are stagnating (and could plummet in a systemic recession). (For context, the entire defense budget is around $700 billion.)

Chart 3: the inevitable consequence is soaring entitlement deficits for decades:

Chart 4: we are at the base of a steep mountain of government spending:

Chart 5: funding this mountain will require a doubling of federal taxes:

Toss in the crushing burden of skyrocketing debts and the rise of inflation (already running 20% hotter than official statistics) and the meltdown of the status quo is only a matter of time. Anyone who thinks taxes can double and the consumer-based economy will be just fine is delusional.

We need a complete system overhaul, and the sooner we face up to this sobering reality, the sooner we can start working on real solutions. 

But chin up, our government will soon decide who can pee where…..we are saved!!

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“Crooked Clinton” Goes to Panama

Secretary Clinton inserted herself into the controversy surrounding the Panama Papers with following quotes.
Some of you may have just heard about these disclosures about outrageous tax havens and loopholes that super-rich people across the world are exploiting in Panama and elsewhere……
Now some of this behavior is clearly against the law, and anyone who violates the law anywhere should be held accountable, but it’s also scandalous how much is actually legal. That’s why last year, I proposed a plan to shut down the so-called private tax system for the mega-wealthy……..
“We’re going after all these scams and make sure that everyone pays their fair share here in America. I’m gonna hold them accountable and we’re gonna have a special effort to track all these resources wherever they might lead.”   Hillary Clinton April 5, 2016
I wonder if “Crooked Clinton” will include the following individuals on her pursuit of those paying “their fair share” or will she suddenly develop her legendary memory lapse of “I am sorry, I can’t recall….”
Gabrielle Fialkoff, finance director for Hillary Clinton’s first campaign for the U.S. Senate; Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate who has traveled the globe with Bill Clinton; the Chagoury family, which pledged $1 billion in projects to the Clinton Global Initiative; and Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng, who was at the center of a Democratic fund-raising scandal when Bill Clinton was president. Also using the Panamanian law firm was the company founded by the late billionaire investor Marc Rich, an international fugitive when Bill Clinton pardoned him in the final hours of his presidency.
All of the above have direct ties to the Clinton’s and all listed in the “Panama Papers” and this all came to light in two short weeks.  How many more skeletons will come forward?
Sorry, Madame Secretary if the name fits “Crooked Clinton”………..you may have to wear it.
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Tax Day………

More is always better, right?



If you hate taxes, you are far from alone.  According to NBC News, here are some of the things that Americans would rather do than pay taxes…

Six percent would rather sell a kidney, eight percent would rather name their first-born “Taxes,” and 11 percent would rather spend three years cleaning the bathrooms at noro-torious Chipotle.

Of course our system was never intended to be like this anyway.  Our founders hated taxes, and they fought a very bitter war to escape the yoke of oppressive taxation.  During his very first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson clearly expressed what he thought about taxes…

A wise and frugal government… shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.

Why couldn’t we have listened to him?

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AI taken to the sewer on Twitter

WARNING: The following contains profanity and racial slurs.  You have been warned!!


Two months ago, Stephen Hawking warned humanity that its days may be numbered: the physicist was among over 1,000 artificial intelligence experts who signed an open letter about the weaponization of robots and the ongoing “military artificial intelligence arms race.”

Overnight we got a vivid example of just how quickly “artificial intelligence” can spiral out of control when Microsoft’s AI-powered Twitter chat robot, Tay, became a racist, misogynist, Obama-hating, antisemitic, incest and genocide-promoting psychopath when released into the wild.

For those unfamiliar, Tay is, or rather was, an A.I. project built by the Microsoft Technology and Research and Bing teams, in an effort to conduct research on conversational understanding. It was meant to be a bot anyone can talk to online. The company described the bot as “Microsofts A.I. fam the internet that’s got zero chill!.”

Microsoft initially created “Tay” in an effort to improve the customer service on its voice recognition software. According to MarketWatch, “she” was intended to tweet “like a teen girl” and was designed to “engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation.”

The chat algo is able to perform a number of tasks, like telling users jokes, or offering up a comment on a picture you send her, for example. But she’s also designed to personalize her interactions with users, while answering questions or even mirroring users’ statements back to them.

This is where things quickly turned south.

As Twitter users quickly came to understand, Tay would often repeat back racist tweets with her own commentary. Where things got even more uncomfortable is that, as TechCrunch reports, Tay’s responses were developed by a staff that included improvisational comedians. That means even as she was tweeting out offensive racial slurs, she seemed to do so with abandon and nonchalance.

Some examples:


This was just a modest sample.

There was everything: racist outbursts, N-words, 9/11 conspiracy theories, genocide, incest, etc. As some noted “Tay really lost it” and the biggest embarrassment was for Microsoft  which had no idea its “A.I.” would implode so spectacularly and right in front of everyone. To be sure, none of this was programmed into the chat robot, which was immediately exploited by Twitter trolls, as expected, and demonstrated just how unprepared for the real world even the most advanced algo really is.

Some pointed out that the devolution of the conversation between online users and Tay supported the Internet adage dubbed “Godwin’s law.” This states as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.

Microsoft apparently became aware of the problem with Tay’s racism, and silenced the bot later on Wednesday, after 16 hours of chats. Tay announced via a tweet that she was turning off for the night, but she has yet to turn back on.

Humiliated by the whole experience, Microsoft explained what happened:

“The AI chatbot Tay is a machine learning project, designed for human engagement. It is as much a social and cultural experiment, as it is technical. Unfortunately, within the first 24 hours of coming online, we became aware of a coordinated effort by some users to abuse Tay’s commenting skills to have Tay respond in inappropriate ways. As a result, we have taken Tay offline and are making adjustments.”

Microsoft also deleted many of the most offensive tweets, however, copies were saved on the Socialhax website, where they can still be found.

Finally, Tay “herself” signed off as Microsoft went back to the drawing board:

We are confident we’ll be seen much more of “her” soon, when the chat program will provide even more proof that Stephen Hawking’s warning was spot on.

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Fascist States of America….


fbomb“If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States.” ? Henry A. Wallace, 33rd Vice President of the United States

This is an indictment of every politician who has ever sold us out for the sake of money and power, it is a condemnation of every politician who has ever lied to us in order to advance their careers, and it is a denunciation of every political shill who has sacrificed our freedoms on the altar of Corporate America.

They’re all fascists.

If Donald Trump is a fascist—as nearly half of Americans surveyed believe—then so is every other politician in office or running for office in America who has ever prioritized money and power over human beings.

Truly, apart from Trump’s virulently bombastic comments and his metaphorical willingness to spit in the wind in order to garner media coverage and notoriety, how is he any more of a fascist than Hillary Clinton and the millions she has amassed from the financial sector?


How is Trump any more of a fascist than Barack Obama, whose willingness to march in lockstep with the military industrial complex has resulted in endless wars, covert drone strikes that have killed hundreds of civilians abroad, and militarized police who have killed thousands of American citizens here at home?


How is Trump any more of a fascist than Congress, the majority of whom are millionaires and who are more inclined to do the bidding of their corporate sponsors and benefactors, all the while remaining deaf to their less affluent constituents?


For that matter, how is Trump any more of a fascist than the Supreme Court whose decisions in recent years have been characterized most often by an abject deference to government authority, military and corporate interests?

Writing for the New York Times in 1944, Vice President Henry A. Wallace noted that

American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust…”

As Wallace concluded, American fascists are not pro-Constitution:

They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead… They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

We are being played for fools. Again.

The United States of America, that dream of what a democratic republic ought to be, has become the Fascist States of America. We have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age. You can call it the age of authoritarianism. Or fascism. Or oligarchy. Or the American police state.

Whatever label you want to put on it, the end result is the same.

Driven by our fears, we have entered into a corporate-controlled, militaristic state where all citizens are suspects, security trumps freedom, and the U.S. government does not represent the majority of American citizens but instead is ruled by the rich and powerful.

Any semblance of constitutional government that we might still enjoy today is a mere shadow, a mockery of what the founders envisioned. Constitutional government today—much like the farcical circus that purports to be the presidential election—is a sham, a hoax, an elaborate ruse maintained by the powers-that-be to mollify us into believing that we still have a say in the workings of our government. We do not.

Shortly after World War II, historian William L. Shirer predicted that America may be the first country in which fascism comes to power through democratic elections.

Former presidential advisor Bertram Gross also warned that we would not recognize fascism when it took over:

Anyone looking for black shirts, mass parties, or men on horseback will miss the telltale clues of creeping fascism… In America, it would be supermodern and multi-ethnic—as American as Madison Avenue, executive luncheons, credit cards, and apple pie. It would be fascism with a smile. As a warning against its cosmetic facade, subtle manipulation, and velvet gloves, I call it friendly fascism. What scares me most is its subtle appeal.

They were both right.

However, what we failed to realize is that the fascist coup took place long ago. It was that subtle and that incremental.

We are now ruled by the velvet-gloved, technologically savvy, militarized iron fist of what Gross termed “friendly fascism” or fascism with a smile.

Under fascism, the government:

  • is managed by a powerful leader (even if he or she assumes office by way of the electoral process)
  • assumes it is not restrained in its power (this is authoritarianism, which eventually evolves into totalitarianism)
  • ostensibly operates under a capitalist system while being undergirded by an immense bureaucracy
  • emits powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism through its politicians
  • has an obsession with national security while constantly invoking terrifying internal and external enemies
  • establishes a domestic and invasive surveillance system and develops a paramilitary force that is not answerable to the citizenry
  • and its various agencies (federal, state, and local) develop an obsession with crime and punishment (this is overcriminalization)
  • becomes increasingly centralized while aligning closely with corporate powers to control all aspects of the country’s social, economic, military, and governmental structures
  • uses militarism as a center point of its economic and taxing structure
  • and is increasingly imperialistic in order to maintain the military-industrial corporate forces.

Compare that to America today where, as economist Jeffrey Tucker rightly observes, “every industry is regulated. Every profession is classified and organized. Every good or service is taxed. Endless debt accumulation is preserved. Immense doesn’t begin to describe the bureaucracy. Military preparedness never stops, and war with some evil foreign foe, remains a daily prospect.”

Fascism thrives by hiding behind the entertainment spectacle that is partisan politics. As Tucker points out, “It’s incorrect to call fascism either right wing or left wing. It is both and neither… fascism does not seek to overthrow institutions like commercial establishments, family, religious centers, and civic traditions. It seeks to control them… it preserves most of what people hold dear but promises to improve economic, social, and cultural life through unifying their operations under government control.”

In this way, American-style fascism is deceptively appealing.

It appears friendly.

The news media covers the entertainment and political trivia. The basic forms of government remain intact. The legislators remain in session. There are elections.

Consent of the governed, however, no longer applies. Actual control has finally passed to the oligarchic elite controlling the government behind the scenes.

Yet the most crucial ingredient for fascism to succeed in America is that the majority of the people would have to agree that it’s not only expedient but necessary for the government to assume greater powers in order to keep them safe and secure, whether it’s by militarizing the police, stripping them of basic constitutional rights, criminalizing virtually every form of behavior, or spying on their communications, movements and transactions.

Sound familiar?

When you really drill down to what the various presidential candidates believe about the issues that will impact the future of our freedoms long-term—war, surveillance, civil liberties—you’ll find that most of them support the government’s position, which conveniently enough, profits the corporate sector.

This is not freedom.

It is despotism, which Gross refers to as “faceless oligarchs [who] sit at command posts of a corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many decades.” Gross explains:

In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of their institutional or personal greed. For Americans, these consequences include chronic inflation, recurring recession, open and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of air, water, soil and bodies, and, more important, the subversion of our constitution. More broadly, consequences include widespread intervention in international politics through economic manipulation, covert action, or military invasion…

It is, in Gross’ words, “pretended patriots who desecrate the American flag by waving it while waiving the law”:

I see at present members of the Establishment or people on its fringes who, in the name of Americanism, betray the interests of most Americans by fomenting militarism, applauding rat-race individualism, protecting undeserved privilege, or stirring up nationalistic and ethnic hatreds.

It is, concludes Gross, Big Business and Big Government in bed together:

In this present, many highly intelligent people look with but one eye and see only one part of the emerging Leviathan. From the right, we are warned against the danger of state capitalism or state socialism, in which Big Business is dominated by Big Government. From the left, we hear that the future danger (or present reality) is monopoly capitalism, with finance capitalists dominating the state. I am prepared to offer a cheer and a half for each view; together, they make enough sense for a full three cheers. Big Business and Big Government have been learning how to live in bed together and despite arguments between them, enjoy the cohabitation. Who may be on top at any particular moment is a minor matter-and in any case can be determined only by those with privileged access to a well-positioned keyhole.

When the votes have all been counted, “we the people” will be the losers.

The joke will be on us. Whether we ever realize it not, the enemy is not across party lines, as they would have us believe. It has us surrounded on all sides.

Even so, we’re not yet defeated.

We could still overcome our oppressors if we cared enough to join forces and launch a militant nonviolent revolution—a people’s revolution that starts locally and trickles upwards—but that will take some doing.

It will mean turning our backs on the political jousting contests taking place on the national stage and rejecting their appointed jesters as false prophets. It will mean not allowing ourselves to be corralled like cattle and branded with political labels that have no meaning anymore. It will mean recognizing that all the evils that surround us today—endless wars, drone strikes, invasive surveillance, militarized police, poverty, asset forfeiture schemes, overcriminalization, etc.—were not of our making but came about as a way to control and profit from us.

It will mean “voting with our feet” through sustained, mass civil disobedience. As journalist Chris Hedges points out, “There were once radicals in America, people who held fast to moral imperatives. They fought for the oppressed because it was right, not because it was easy or practical. They were willing to accept the state persecution that comes with open defiance. They had the courage of their convictions. They were not afraid.”

Ultimately, it will mean refusing to be divided, one against each other, as Democrats versus Republicans, and instead uniting behind the only distinction that has ever mattered: “we the people” against tyranny.

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Moocher States……

Do you live in a “moocher state”, odds are yes.

Moocher State:  Any state receiving more Federal tax dollars than actual tax dollars paid

Currently 11 states are exempt from the “moocher” label, meaning that 11 states are carrying the financial burden for the remaining 39.

Could explain Bernie Sander’s love of democratic socialism…..he has managed to wrangle $2.05 in Federal kick backs for every $1.00 in Federal Taxes paid by Vermonters…….

So much for the 10th Amendment…..huh??

See the Chart below to find out if you live in a state that is actual part of the problem not the solution………



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Jobs Report…..

Jobs were good; earnings were a disaster – that’s the best summary of today’s jobs report.

February suffered the biggest ever monthly drop in average weekly earnings, because not only did hourly earnings drop but so did hours worked, resulting in far lower overall weekly wages.


What caused this?

February was even worse: most of the jobs that were created, if only on a goalseeked, seasonally adjusted basis, were of the lowest paying, worst possible quality as has been the case for the past 7 years as the BLS desperately seeks to “pad” its political mandate of providing proof in a recovery which however is impossible if it were to tell the truth.

As a result, as the BLS itself admitted, “job growth occurred in health care and social assistance, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and private educational services” – all of which are the lowest-paying wage groups.

The full detail is shown below:


The breakdown: of the 242K jobs created in February, 189K were of the minimum-wage variety, in:

  • Education and Health (+86K)
  • Retail Trade (+55K)
  • Leisure and Hospitality (+48K) .

In other words, a whopping 82% of jobs “created” in February were minimum wage teachers, retail trade, and waiters, bartenders and chambermaids.

What about well-paying jobs like finance, trucking, manufacturing or mining? +6K, -5K, -16K, and -18K, for a net loss of 33k jobs.

Perhaps the bigger surprise is how wage growth wasn’t far worse.

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