The Deutsche Bank Irony

If you missed the story, very recently Deutsche Bank (DB), the largest banking system in Germany, laid off 20,000 people. DB does business in numerous countries and the layoffs were spread across each country in which they have offices located.

Still, think about the fact that they laid off twenty thousand employees.

On top of that, DB is now being investigated by the American DOJ for money laundering and fraud in the Malaysia development fund. This raises a number of questions and is truly ironic.

First of all, what does the DOJ have to do with this? The development fund was Malaysia state-owned under their ministry of finance. DB is a German bank, not American.

Know who else was implicated in the scandal involving the Malaysia development fund? Goldman Sachs. An American investment firm.

Remember that as of this date, not one single person has ever gone to prison for the economic crash of 2008. Nobody from Wells Fargo has gone to prison for insurance fraud. No actions have been taken regarding the fraud and money laundering revealed in the Panama Papers, which was massive.

So, the question really becomes what the goal of the DOJ is in investigating a scandal which began in 2013 in another country, now implicating a huge bank in Germany which is on the verge of collapsing as we speak?

It becomes deeply suspicious when this is happening as Germany turns against the US for the completely separate issue of the Russian pipeline Nordstream 2 and defending Iran from US sanctions. This appears to be a literal attempt to hasten or force the absolute collapse of the German banking system in retaliation for these political actions and standing up to the US Empire. Obviously any opposition to the Empire must be met with force. That’s the way the Empire operates. If military force is not an option, then economic force will be used, even against our alleged allies.

Perhaps the US government believes that forcing further economic crises on European countries will somehow benefit the US. That’s not going to happen. The EU has been having their own debt crisis since 2009, partly caused by the US economic crisis. Causing greater economic stress on EU states will not help the US situation, which is far greater. The US national debt accounts for over 1/3 of all global national debt. That is before factoring in consumer and corporate debt. So if the German or EU economies suffer, it’s not like we can help them. Not like they could help us. In fact, it would drive them further away from us out of both resentment and the need for trading partners that allowed them to save money on trade. In other words, Russia and China.

Of course, what is most obvious about the DB situation is what it indicates. It indicates growing weakness in the global banking system. One can believe that the US banking system is immune to what is happening in Europe but we live in a tightly interconnected world. As one economy or banking system declines, the effects will be felt across every continent. Laying off tens of thousands of workers only serves to reduce incomes, which will worsen conditions. Do that across numerous countries, numerous industries and the picture becomes gray at best.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Automation- Your Job Is Not Safe From Indirect Effects, Pt 2- Solutions

Part 1 of this series addressed the challenges involving automation which affect our economy and job market. Part 2 addresses solutions which we cannot avoid having to implement at some point. If we do not implement these solutions at some level, our economy and our society as we know it will continue to deteriorate and ultimately collapse. We’re already well on the road to that conclusion.

There is no stopping it. You will not stop the advance of technology and automation. It’s here to stay and is accelerating. Technology has been advancing since prehistoric times. Technology multiplies technology. Humans have always used tools to build bigger tools, better tools, buildings and factories to create tools. Computer programs speed the development of better, faster programs. We now have programs that write programs. Computer hardware is used to develop the next generation of hardware, faster, more capable, more resilient. The more the tools advance, the fewer the number of workers needed to accomplish the greatest amount of work. The only time this is bad is when it happens in a capitalist system. Remove money for survival from the equation and it is a positive. Keep money in that equation and it becomes deadly.

WE need to adapt our attitudes. Many Americans are still stuck in the concept that Socialism is bad. Never mind that without Socialist-leaning programs our economy would collapse right this minute. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, public roads, health departments, fire departments, police, jails, prisons, etc. Millions of jobs rely on a Socialist ideal right now. The problem with the advance of technology is that our economy has not kept pace. Our attitudes as a society have not kept pace.Most of this is because of capitalist ownership of media and domination of education, all pushing a capitalist agenda. “Capitalism good, Socialism bad.”WE need to evolve beyond this mindset. Stop giving in to fear of change. See what is happening. Stop trying to prop up a collapsing building.

Advances and opposition. Technology will continue to advance no matter the economic system. It is part of our evolution. It is the human drive to solve problems and defeat challenges. The first humans that used rocks as hammers made no monetary profit. The first humans to develop bronze, iron and steel made no money. The problem is that the same mindset to evolve and defeat challenges in our economy is opposed by a barbaric need to dominate, by greed, by ego. It is an absolute indication that our society has not evolved socially. It is this barbaric mindset which holds us back, which is apathetic or even sadistically jubilant at the suffering of human beings who lack the resources to dominate, even if that person is born with artificial socially imposed disadvantages which have nothing to do with their capabilities or true potential. It is this barbaric mindset which refuses to grant anything for free and pushes to make even the most basic needs like clean water a commodity available only for an ever-increasing price. It is that barbaric mindset which keeps those born or forced to the bottom of the economic ladder constantly fighting for mere survival until they have no time, energy or resources remaining to even make the attempt to climb higher. Mental slaves to that barbarism attempt to blame the victims of this system for their alleged failings. Surrendering our minds to that barbaric mentality means surrendering our lives, our society, our health, our children and our futures to someday be on the victim side of that equation. Many are experiencing this today as the middle class loses ground and becomes ever more insecure.

Limited options. There are only a limited number of solutions to the conditions which we are facing. Every one of those solutions involve some form of Socialism. Trickle-down economics is a demonstrated failure. Capitalists still try to claim that only capitalist solutions can save capitalism. Yet none of that is true. We have watched the flow of wealth to the top over nearly 40 years and we are now in crisis mode globally. You can cheer for your favorite gazillionaire all you like, that doesn’t mean that your paycheck grows any larger, that your personal future becomes any more secure. The rich have had sycophants groveling at their feet through all of history but when you no longer present a profit to the rich, your purpose has been served and you get thrown out like so much garbage along with everyone else. Stop licking boots.

Drop the resentment of the poor. Resentment of the poor does no good. Let’s say that some people take unfair advantage of welfare and avoid that argument. The fact is, if 25%, 1 out of four of Americans, took advantage of welfare to the tune of $1000 a month every month, that would equate to an annual cost of $990 billion. Now consider that most of those welfare recipients are likely to be supporting families. Consider that this spending would be spent in the economy, supporting jobs and incomes. The government surrendered more money than that giving tax breaks to the rich in 2018. The rich responded by using that money to buy back over $2 trillion in stock. In other words, enough to give HALF of Americans an extra $1000 a month. Yet that tax break created exactly zero jobs. Bloomberg recently reported that the job market declined by 600,000 since December 2018.

Solutions. It is obvious that the only way that the general population and capitalism itself will survive is by implementing some form of Universal Basic Income (UBI). As more jobs cease to exist, competition for remaining jobs becomes more fierce and as a result wages plummet, we are driving headlong into conditions ripe for unbridled civil war. You can deny it but that doesn’t change the truth. Look through history and the same conditions have always resulted in civil war by some name. Call it revolution, uprising or anything else, they all mean the same thing. The only thing missing at this point is some spark to light the final fuse. That fuse is lit. Flooding in the midwest, decreased imports and increasing prices due to tariffs mean that we are now facing a shortage of resources which will only be available to those higher on the income scale. As resources become more exhausted, it will mean more jobs are lost and prices escalate further. Cutting social support programs to support warfare and corporate welfare is exactly the wrong thing to do at exactly the wrong time. Yet that’s what is happening.

New ideas. It is obvious that new ideas and approaches are needed. We cannot keep applying the same old ideas which have NEVER worked and expect them to suddenly solve our problems. We have to be brave enough to accept the fact that the old system has failed and will continue to fail. Remaining in the same system for fear of change is no different than remaining in an abusive relationship because the abuser tells you that you cannot survive without them. It is the rich, the capitalists who will not survive without us. We literally don’t need them at all. Workers build and produce everything. Our national resources, including intellectual property, belong to us, not them. The profits from our efforts, our lands and waters do not belong to them by any authorization but our allowance, which has cost too much destruction, too much suffering, too many lives. The time for UBI is now. Not later. Later will be too late. Corporations are not your friends. The rich are not your friends. Corporate media are not your friends. Politicians who push the capitalist agenda are not your friends. The sooner YOU realize that, the sooner we can move forward together and build something better than we have. The other choice is that we all fail together.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Automation- Your Job Is Not Safe From Indirect Effects, Pt 1- The Challenges

I’ve been writing about the effects of automation reducing jobs for several years now. More jobs are being eliminated through automation than the number sent to other countries.

Jobs which become automated will never come back. Period. The jobs do not even have to be automated in this country. They can be automated in another country. The result is the same, that the job no longer exists.

I still encounter people continuously that insist that technology creates more jobs than it eliminates. When challenged to explain how that works, they consistently fall silent. All they have is propaganda which they regurgitate, either programmed into them or which they directly promote with full knowledge that their words are false. Many of those who have challenged my statements work in the tech and robotics field, trying to justify their positions. I will admit that some of them seem to be trying to ease their own conscience. Sorry, I cannot be that nice to them.

I am not a Luddite or against technology. As a nurse, I prefer computer charting and despise paper charts. They’re a pain in many respects. They may be more secure for privacy but there have been many cases of paper charts being damaged, burned or destroyed. Once they’re gone there is no backup, they’re just gone. Forever. Plus the whole thing of chasing down the single copy of a chart when multiple offices or doctors want to access it while medical records sits on their thumbs is not fun, to say the least. As a writer, this effort relies almost exclusively on technology. Accessing information today takes a fraction of the time it once did. Sharing valid information is done in milliseconds. Mass social movements can be built in short order in this way. Independent media relies on technology, allowing us to bypass the multibillion dollar corporate propaganda machine.

Their rationale fails every time. The point where the tech propagandists fall is when I ask them to explain why companies would invest in expensive systems to reduce labor, when it would only result in more labor cost. I’ve stated before how jobs for auto workers, telephone operators, print setters, proof readers, toll booth attendants, accountants, bank tellers, cashiers, file clerks, manufacturing jobs and many more have been eliminated due to technological advances. Once systems are built, it takes only a few workers to maintain them. Updating software is done remotely, so one worker in another state or country can maintain systems. One or two technicians for a large company or from a contractor can maintain hardware for a city or several cities. Repairs are a matter of replacing disposable components.

No, trades are not safe. Of late, I have heard from people who say that trades are secure. No, they’re not. One person replied to a comment by saying he is a painter who does mold remediation. I concede that his job is secure. For the moment. Yet over time it will not be. This is true for many occupations.

The threat does not need to be a direct one.

The race is on. On his own statement, I directed him to do a search on YouTube. Right now there are many companies and universities in multiple countries developing home painting systems. Each one first does scanning and mapping of the space to be painted, stores a 3D model and then starts painting. So they are not limited to a set environment. It is a race for the first system to be patented and implemented. These systems do not do remediation but focus on viable structures and new construction.

Now, think about the implications.

Overcrowding. I’ll stick with the home painting issue as an example. Painters do not all do remediation. However, once robotic systems become widely used which eliminate an ever-growing number of jobs for new and stable construction, painters who relied on new or stable construction for income will acquire new skills which add on the their existing skills. Like mold remediation. This results in increased competition, driving down prices for remediation. Reduced pricing then results in reduced income per contract. The number of contracts will remain constant, while more workers will be competing for them. Less income per job, fewer jobs available.

Expand the concept. I have challenged the growing cry of people claiming that trade skills are secure. See that article here. However, let’s say that they are correct and I am wrong. If other occupations continue being eliminated while trade/vocational occupations remain secure, what happens? You’ve seen this before. What happens is that the number of people entering those careers skyrockets. The field becomes overcrowded, competition for those jobs becomes fierce, driving down wages and available opportunities are spread among a greater number of workers.

Ask a Programmer. One of the claims that will not go away is that there is an increasing need for programmers. That information is sorely outdated. Years ago, there was a demand for programmers who developed entire programs and systems. Those who had the skills could demand high wages. Today, thanks to competition, a programmer who could once demand $100 an hour can barely demand $30 and have to compete for that. Today, rather than building programs and systems, we have developers who develop applications or “apps” which run on top of operating systems. In many cases, apps can be developed with drag-and-drop programs developed by someone else. Even that has seen competition which demands short development time, perhaps only a few hours, at lower cost, meaning less income. In fact, tech development has resulted in systems which can create simple apps with no human programming needed. Tell the system what you want the app to do and it compiles an app for you with pre-written scripts pasted together. Developers have developed themselves out of jobs.

We already see the effects. The dwindling number of remaining occupations, the increasing number of applicants into these occupations is already apparent. Careers which once demanded high skill levels have been “dummy-proofed” through technology. That means fewer literal skills are required for most occupations. That means companies can pay less to workers and offer fewer benefits. Corporations can move entire operations to different states or countries and hire people with no skills at all. Just follow simple instructions for actions they repeat all day, every day for years. Auto workers demand far less pay than they once did. Programmers rarely program. Cashiers don’t have to be accurate. Trust me, I used to run a manual cash register. Riveters don’t rivet, they push a button and the robot rivets.

Many jobs are centralized. Talk to a telephone operator in your own state lately? Customer service technician in your own country? When you get invasive sales calls, chances are they are in New Mexico, Texas or some other country routed through a US number. I lived in San Antonio and New Mexico and those jobs have a high level of competition. My brother made a decent income decades ago as a telephone sales person for the San Antonio Light Newspaper. The Light no longer exists, driven out of business by Rupert Murdoch long before Fox News ever existed.

Worker productivity. We hear reports on financial news that worker productivity keeps rising. This is good news to investors, not to workers. Increased productivity means fewer workers are need to produce the same amount of goods. That means fewer jobs available. It’s that simple.

This is the end of part 1 of this series. Part 2 will delve into solutions.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

By The Numbers

According to Dr Richard Wolff, who is always very accurate, the average pay for a CEO today is $238,000 a week. (Just under $1 million per month.)

I broke down the numbers further.

This comes to $5950 per hour (for a 40 hour week).

Going further, it equals $99.16 PER MINUTE.

Which equates to $1.65 PER SECOND.

Simply put, a CEO makes more money in 5 seconds than a minimum wage worker in the same company makes in one hour. The CEO can take a long sip of water or coffee and make more money than the worker, who spent an hour on their feet, tired, possibly sweating, dealing with difficult customers, handling sharp or hot instruments, etc.

I won’t bother going into the difference in benefits much which for the CEO means stock packages, bonuses for cutting staff, more bonuses for declaring bankruptcy and raiding pension funds or retirement accounts, full insurance paid for by the company (in other words, by low employee wages and jacked up prices for customers). All that becomes fairly moot when they could afford any catastrophic illness and have more money in investments than a real person could ever spend in multiple lifetimes.

I see capitalist puppets defending this system all the time. People who consider themselves oppressed billionaires, yet make less in a year than the CEO makes in a month. People who have no grasp of economics. They think they understand economics because they can use a computer program to balance their checkbook for them. Or because they made $1000 on the stock market last year in a folio managed by someone else. They are economic geniuses in their minds.

Back to the numbers.

I previously explained exactly how much $1 billion is because most people have no concept of it. They just hear the term all the time and have never even considered how large that number is. So, here is that explanation again-

If you make $50,000 a year, it would take you 20 years to make $1 million.

Now, $1 billion is $1 million times 1000. Yes, I mean 1000, not 100. Check your math class.

This means that at $50,000 a year, it would take you 20,000 (Twenty THOUSAND, not a typo.) years to make $1 billion.

Maybe you make $100,000 a year. Okay, so your numbers are cut in half. You would have to work 10 years for $1 million, 10,000 years for $1 billion.

Or maybe you make $1 million a year. Then you would only have to work 1,000 years, a full millennium to reach $1 billion.

Keep in mind that at the end of that time, you would not have $1 billion, you would have earned $1 billion. You would be spending during that time frame.

Thus, at $50,000 a year, to earn the $150 billion which is Jeff Bezos’ net worth, you would have to work 3 million years. (Go ahead. Check my math.) Oh yeah. He lost some of that in his divorce recently. So I guess he’s onlyworth around $115 billion now. Poor Jeff. The struggle is real.

Some people will attack me and ask, “Are you proposing class warfare?”

Actually, yes. Yes I am. That doesn’t mean I am proposing violence. I am proposing legislative changes that equalize the balance of wealth, improve the economy, improve living conditions for the 99+%.

I’ve written extensively on how the wealthy hoard money. Like capital gains. Capital gains refer to investments. Investments are not taxed until they are withdrawn, then considered income. This is no different than your own 401k. Then capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages. There is a cap on federal capital gains tax of 20% at the highest level. That only applies if the money is withdrawn. So, if you make $100 million a year and invest $90 million of that, you evaded taxes on that $90 million. Keep doing that for 10 years and you have evaded taxes on $900 million.

Now, apply that concept to Jeff Bezos, other billionaires and corporations. Yes, corporations do it too. One way they do this is by spending money on stock repurchases to boost stock value. Stocks they bought back using money they gained from the bipartisan tax break they recently got.

This has not even reached the concept of taxing wealth. This is only discussing income. Meaning an individual or company evades taxes on cumulative trillions of dollars in income each and every year, year after year.

Meanwhile our government debates whether we should raise the minimum wage, cuts food stamps, denies Social Security applications/claims, reduces Medicare and Medicaid benefits, schools cut teaching positions, roads and bridges collapse.

When anyone proposes increasing taxes on the top earners, that’s not taking away anything they already have. It is an increased tax on income only and is not retroactive in any way. It also does not mean they pay a 70% tax on income over $10 million, it does not mean they pay a 70% tax on the whole thing. OVER $10 million means exactly that because of the incremental tax system. So if a person makes $10 million and $1, they only pay the 70% tax on the $1. Plus, it does not affect the capital gains tax I already discussed, where they can evade most of their taxes.

So the discussion on increasing the top tax brackets sounds Progressive but it’s really an illusion. CEO’s can take bonuses in stock packages. Capital gains are still a thing. Corporations pay no taxes on money spent on stock repurchases, bonuses, etc.

I’ve previously suggested a much more effective idea. Implementing a maximum income. Not wage, income, meaning from all sources.

Such a maximum income could be quite generous. Like $50 million. That is annual income. If you need more than that to live on every year, you don’t need more money, you need therapy and lots of it. Anything above that cap would be taxed at 100%. Corporations should be taxed at a percentage of profits. A 15–20% profit margin should be enough for any corporation. Bonuses and stock repurchases would not be deductions. Of course, capital gains would be taxed annually and at the standard tax rate.

If this idea were implemented, then over time it would be a possibility that Americans below that income level would not have to pay any income tax at all. Especially if we cut our military spending. The result would be all the money currently paid by most Americans on taxes would then be spent in the economy. Know what that does? It increases profits for the rich while improving lives for the rest of us. It creates jobs, real jobs with living wages. It boosts the middle class considerably. The rich do not create jobs. Consumers create jobs. In fact, the rich destroy jobs by laying people off to boost stock values and dividends. Corporations force small businesses out of existence.

These are not radical ideas. This is reasonable. It preserves capitalism but balances it. The alternatives to this are radical, either in favor of the rich as we have now or in favor of literal revolution. These ideas are peaceful and rational.

Back to that class warfare thing. One thing to realize is that the rich have waged class warfare against us for generations. We have simply hunkered down and tried to avoid the missiles and mortars falling all around us, destroying our planet, our country, our lives. It’s time to fight back.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Happy Independence Day

Freedom!

Some Americans are free from having a roof over their heads.

Some are free from knowing where their next meal is coming from.

Some are free from a living wage. Or any wage at all.

Some are free from financial security, too far in debt because of the loans they signed to get an education.. so they could gain financial security.

Some are free from the life maintaining medications they need.

Some are free from the basic medical care they need.

Some are free from bodily limbs or emotional stability, surrendered to wars for corporate profits.

Some are free from having a choice over their own body.

Some are free from their freedom because they ingested a substance deemed “illegal”. Or because of planted evidence.

Some are free from a safe environment because of the crossfire between criminals and law enforcement.

Some are free from feeling safe if pulled over or just walking down the street because of the color of their skin.

Some are incarcerated, held in cages, possibly too young to walk, because their freedom to remain safe and alive in their own country was taken.

Some are free from the right to speak their own voice against corporate interests.

Some are free from the ability to reveal the truth about the atrocities and illegalities of our own government.

Some are free from the right to vote, to change things. Possibly even with no criminal charges against them but because of where they reside or changed registration or discarded ballots.

Some are free from the right to openly practice their own religion.

Some are free from the right to use a bathroom of the gender they associate with.

Some are free from the right to marry the person they love.

Some are free from the right to enlist in the military because of their sexual orientation and/or body self image.

Some are free from having safe water to drink.

America. Land of the Free. Home of Independence. Where none of us are free and all of us are dependent on one another, like it or not.

This Independence Day, ask yourself what you are celebrating. Recall that this country was created by Revolution, by people rising up against an oppressive government and corporate power.

It’s not enough to be unhappy with the conditions in this country. We must be willing to stand up and DO something about it.

I’m ready. Are you?

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Flooding In Midwest, Huawei, China, EU Tariffs.. It’s Not Looking Good

It was announced this week that Trump will ease sanctions on Huawei following an 80 minute discussion at the G20 Summit. While some may find this a good thing, many others say not so fast. Huawei is not expecting that this means they will be allowed further access to the US market.

In any case, easing of such sanctions tends to negate the claims that banning Huawei had anything to do with national security.

Trump claimed some weeks ago that China had agreed to purchase more agricultural products from the US. There were no specifics given in that statement, true to form for Trump. This must be called into question with recent flooding in the Midwestern US, which has caused late planting of millions of acres of crops.

The fact is, many crops will simply not be planted at all this year. Most strains of corn take too long to reach harvest to bother planting at all at this date. Farmers may be able to plant other crops in some limited cases. Though much of that will be determined by whether weather permits, availability of seed, if their equipment is compatible with other crops, time to harvest for the alternative crops and other factors.

No matter what, with sanctions on goods from other countries, including agricultural products combined with extensive flooding, you can expect grocery prices to increase in the near future on top of the price of other products imported from China, Mexico, Canada and the EU.

It was also announced this week that Trump will be imposing tariffs on multiple EU products, allegedly due to subsidizing of aircraft parts. Never mind US subsidizing of oil, coal, agricultural products and other industries. The EU is expected to respond with tariffs of their own on US products.

Translation- You pay more.

OPEC has chosen to limit oil production until next April. Which will drive the price of oil and gas higher in this country. They made this decision at the same time that the US has an embargo on oil from Russia, Iran and Venezuela, three top oil producing countries, coupled with sanctions on countries that still trade with these countries.

Keep in mind that if the price of oil and gas increase, the price of all consumer products increase along with it due to increased price of manufacturing, processing and shipping at every level.

With the way things are shaping up, not only will we be paying more but there is the distinct possibility that availability of many items could be in shorter supply. Of course, that means capitalists will take advantage of that situation and increase prices on those items, even when the cost has not increased for them. This will result in some items only being available to ever-higher income levels.

Increasing prices, especially in relation to income level, are something this country has become accustomed to over many decades. However, we have not been subjected to limited availability of consumer goods or food. This may be the straw that breaks the social camel’s back.

To make it clear, I do not think that what is coming in the near future will cause large numbers of deaths, perhaps not even illnesses. However it will cause enough inconvenience to those in the middle class who view themselves as “privileged” that it can change their stance. No question the media will blame Trump, China, Russia, Iran and anyone else they can blame. We know the truth, that while nobody controls the weather, corporations dictate trade and both parties have the power to reduce Trump’s power.

This may be enough to start a real Revolution. Let’s do what we can to keep it a peaceful but effective one.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

The Case For Forgiving Student Debt And “Free” College

I have been in favor of forgiving student debt since first hearing Jill Steintalking about the subject. To be honest, while I have been in favor of universal adult education for decades, I had not considered this possibility until I heard her speaking about it.

I get sick of hearing people calling this idea “Bernie Sanders’ idea”. No, it’s not. Fact is, this has been on the Green Party platform since 2014. Yes, the party platform. Compare to the DNC, which opposes the idea as a party. This is not something which will make it to the DNC platform any more than universal healthcare will. BTW, universal healthcare is also not “his idea”. I have been in favor of universal healthcare for decades also. Numerous countries have had universal healthcare and adult education for as long as 70 years.

If you truly support an idea, an issue, that means voting in a way that you can believe it may be acted upon because it takes more than one person to bring it to reality. When a party opposes legislation and a candidate has a history of compromise on vital issues, then talking points mean nothing at all.

No matter who may or may not bring student loan forgiveness into being, it is a very good, very effective idea which would benefit the economy to a great degree. So, let’s explore how it would help the economy and real people on the ground.

First of all, this would free up billions of dollars in a single year which is currently being paid to banks. In other words, this money is suspended from being used in the general economy. So forgiving student loans would put money back in the pockets of consumers. This is money which would nearly all be spent in the general economy. This would increase real profit margins, maintain and create jobs.

Obviously, this would generate sales tax revenue for municipalities and states. In addition, it would increase income tax revenue from workers who benefited from the jobs maintained and created.

This would not be a short term boost to the economy. A one time forgiveness of student loans would mean increased money in the general economy for years, even decades. Students who currently have large student loans with years to pay on them would instead be boosting the economy with the money currently going to banks for the entire length of the remaining time left on their loans. So this would not be a one-time-and-done deal. Nor would it be like tax breaks for the rich, which just went to increased profit margins and stock repurchases.

Student loan forgiveness would be best if coupled with universal adult education. In other words, “free” college for US citizens.

However, in each case this should come with certain limitations and exceptions to truly benefit the economy.

First, both student loan forgiveness and free adult education should have an income cap. Being reasonable, say only available to students whose family incomes are below $200,000 a year. (Income meaning from all sources.) For families with incomes above that, it would simply result in more welfare to the rich. The wealthy simply don’t even feel the cost of education like poor and middle class people do. That’s not saying they could not deduct tuition, fees, books and student loan interest on their taxes, so that amount is not taxed.

There should also be legislation placing a cap on profit percentage for adult education facilities and organizations. Something reasonable like 15% at most. No deductions allowed for executive bonuses, sports facilities and related expenses, advertising and extracurricular events/facilities/etc. This would limit the continued rise in the cost of education.

Participation in universal adult education should not be mandatory. Colleges and universities that choose to opt out should be allowed to. However, this should come at the cost of no longer receiving any federal or state funding at all. No federal research contracts, either.

For those that object to student loan forgiveness because “I paid for my college”, I challenge you here and now. Pick a college or university. If the one you attended still exists, use that one. Go to their website and look at what the current costs are to attend compared to when you attended. Be sure to include all fees. Then look up the cost of textbooks for the subject you studied. Multiply the cost per credit hour times the number of hours you completed. Do not comment until you do so. When you do reply, be sure and include how much you paid and how much the same program costs now. Then and only then, explain how you don’t understand the situation students face today. No insults, no profanity, no diversions, no exceptions.

If enacted these issues would improve the US economy, the standard of living for millions of Americans, expand availability of higher education and improve the education level of the US, which has badly fallen behind other countries.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Why Stock Repurchases And Low Interest Rates Are Problematic

We hear a lot of opinions stating how stock repurchases are a problem, yet no detailed explanation of why they are a problem. In tandem with low interest rates, both pose major issues for the US economy leading to the diversion of wealth to the top. In other words, wealth inequality.

One of the biggest reasons stock repurchases are a problem is because when companies spend their liquid assets to buy back their own stock, those funds do not go to infrastructure, capital improvements or employee wages. In fact, much of the time employee wages suffer for the sake of diverting money to buying back stock.

Why do companies focus so much on stock value, when it has little or no correlation to profit margin? Mostly because for many years corporate executives have received stock packages as part of their compensation. Sometimes the stock packages can actually exceed their wages. Stock packages as compensation are not taxed when disbursed to the recipient. They are not taxed until the stock is sold. As a result, corporate executives are more than willing to sacrifice profits, employee wages/benefits, capital maintenance, improvement and repair in order to artificially increase stock value. If the stock value increases, so does their wealth.

Now, you may think that this is fine because they will have to pay taxes on any accumulated wealth when they sell the stock. That’s not exactly true, either. As a general rule, what they are likely to do is buy other investments immediately, once again deferring taxation. Even if they cash out stock entirely, it is taxed at the capital gains rate, which maxes out at 20%.

The damage and denial to employees via denial of wage increases, increasing employee cost of insurance or complete cancellation or raiding of employee benefit programs is something which is never recovered for the many working for a company that engages in such behavior, which has become extremely common. If employees fall short on wages or benefits, the result is often debt to meet an emergency. Debt which can take years to pay off and can set off a chain of debt which they may never escape.

In addition to corporate executives, major stockholders demand making dividends and forced increase of stock values. This often leads to layoffs, wage reductions and loss of employee benefits as well. If they get what they want, this is why CEO’s of failed companies are given massive bonuses voted in by corporate boards, even as the company declares bankruptcy.

Low interest rates have been contentious for many for several years now. This is considered by many, including myself, to be a form of continuous quantitative easing. What it means is that financial institutions can borrow money from central banks at very low rates, all the way down to 0%. In some cases, the financial institutions are the stockholders. In other cases they can then loan money to corporations at extremely low rates to fund stock repurchases.

This leads into a cycle where the corporation borrows money to repurchase stock, increasing stock price. Now they have a debt to pay. Company profits are then used to pay the debt, rather than used for wages, improvements, etc, same as mentioned above. The company may state a certain profit but not mention that that profit is before making payments on outstanding loans. Of course, the loan allows them to maintain a certain level of cash on hand, obscuring the fact that the company may be deep in debt. Long as the stock price looks good and continues to rise.

Just this week, stock prices have been climbing after falling for a month. Not enough to overcome the losses, so the stock market has still lost nearly 1700 pts in only one month. The reason for the rise was the Federal Reserve Bank stating they may decrease interest rates soon.

At the same time that stocks are rising again, so are precious metals. Historically, stocks and precious metals are on a negative feedback mechanism, where if one rises the other falls. This alone is a clear indication that stocks are rising via stock repurchasing. Outside investors are diverting their funds to precious metals, which are far more secure. Generally if investors do not invest in stocks, they move to bonds, which are more mobile than metals. This is an indication that investors are now setting in for a longdecline in the stock market and business climate. They do not see stocks or bonds as safe or profitable.

Until the early 80’s under Ronald Reagan, companies buying back their own stock was illegal for exactly the reasons detailed above. Because allowing them to do so allowed them to manipulate stock price at the expense of the actual business, employees and even outside investors. The thing which limited the practice organically for many years was the balance of using available cash versus taking on debt with loans. Since 2008, the debt from taking on loans and paying interest on those loans has been nearly nonexistent.

If liquidity runs dry, companies have one of two options. Sell off stock, driving stock value down. Of course, the first to sell off the stock while it is at peak will be corporate executives. Any punishments fail to ever equate to the profits made. Or the company can declare bankruptcy. Not because the business is not profitable but because of losses in stock value.

The result for outside investors, employees, contractors and debtors is the same- they lose. Mass layoffs and loss of benefits. While executives walk away richer than ever.

The Next Crash Is Mandatory

We all know that another crash is coming and it’s not far off. Some will not admit they know it because of their own fear. Basically, if they admit knowing, it becomes real. Better to close their eyes, plug their ears and remain in denial. That’s not going to stop it.

Perhaps they think something will change and avert it at the last second, like some action movie. It’s too late for that. The timer on the bomb has reached 0 seconds, the fuse is gone. We’re just waiting for the actual explosion.

What I am saying is that anything that could have stopped it from happening was not done when it could have been done. Now it is unavoidable. Just a matter of when.

Honestly, the next crash started some time ago. It’s more of a phased demolition than an outright explosion. A planned demolition.

Some sources claim it will happen in 2020, some slightly later but not much. Others say it is going to happen this year. I’ve been expecting it for a long time and have stated numerous times it would happen sooner rather than later. The ones saying it will happen in 2020 or this year were saying not that long ago that it was ten years out. They revised their predictions earlier, I revised mine later.

Considering that the crash has already started, my own predictions have been far more accurate. The signs that the crash is happening now are all around us for those that are conscious enough to see. From the stock market falling in late 2018, barely becoming stable and then falling again, again and again. Those recoveries were false, brought on by stock repurchases funded by tax breaks courtesy of Trump and a bipartisan CONgress. I repeat, bipartisan.Now that theater has ended and stocks are falling again. This time, so are bonds. The federal bond yield curve has been inverted for months now, meaning 3 month bonds have a higher yield than 10 year bonds. Yet 3 month bonds aren’t selling. Not enough confidence in the next 3 months for them to sell. The stock market will not be recovering again. There is no more quantitative easing available. Bonds dropping means liquidity is dried up. Investors are pulling out.

Outside of the stock market, we’ve heard the reports. Wages flat or below real wage growth when accounting for inflation. More people without insurance than in decades. Consumer confidence and CEO confidence is down, capital investments are frozen in place or falling. We’re well on track to have more retail closures this year than at any time in US history. Contrary to MSM reporting, production is down as well. Mass layoffs tell that story. All of that is without even mentioning farm losses from extensive flooding through the entire Midwest.

So, it’s established that the crash has begun but isn’t yet being called that. It may be called a market decline or whatever term some WAR Street puppet uses to make it sound nicer. It’s still the later part of the leading edge of a crash.

Here is what many do not realize. That this crash is not only inevitable, it is now mandatory. This is the late stage of capitalism which Marx predicted long ago. This is the point where capitalism feeds on itself because there is nothing else remaining for it to feed on. The UN issued a report stating that capitalism is unsustainable at this point, as it is the greatest threat to the environment we face. I have written before, explaining how perpetual growth is unsustainable and not necessary. At this point in capitalism, only the largest entities have the capacity for growth and that can only happen by consuming all it encounters.

The coming collapse will be difficult, violent, tragic and will take lives. How many lives depends largely on us. How we function as a society, as a community to support each other and unify to stand against the economic powers attempting to oppress us even further. Attempting to feed on us.

We’ve allowed them to feed on us for far too long, allowing them to get stronger while we got weaker.

The good part is that when this collapse comes, that is going to be our chance to rebuild as something stronger, something more sustainable. Believe it or not, society can function without money. Society is older than money. There are societies in the world today which function without money. Am I suggesting eliminating currency? No. I am suggesting not allowing our society to be monopolized by those who hoard money and use it to rule over us. Could we eliminate money? Yes, we could but I know we are not yet evolved enough as a society for that to happen. Too many are too brainwashed.

What I am suggesting and what we absolutely must achieve is a society in which society comes first and foremost. Money comes much later and is not allowed to take precedence over life, health, environment or anything else. A society where limits are placed on capitalism and the rich pay their fair share. Where limits are placed on how rich a person or business can become. Where our government has no direct ties to business, thus corporate/business lobbying and campaign donations are criminalized.

This will be our only realistic path forward where we don’t wind up with just more of the same as we have now. The only people who support our current system are those who have benefited from this system until now, with no view or concern for the damage it has caused, even if they were aware of that damage. Some could claim at some point to be unaware but in the last few years they can no longer make that claim. They know but don’t care. Even as they see the system imploding, they think they will be immune. They are wrong.

Every end is a beginning. As this economic cycle comes to an end, we need to insure that this end is permanent. We need to lay unbridled capitalism to rest in a forgotten grave with no ceremony, no remorse, no bereavement. We can do better, we must do better.

Before that beginning comes to pass, we must suffer this collapse. Then build again from the ashes.

No, Things Are Not Getting Worse (Socially)

My gf, among many today, feels overwhelmed and believe that our society is getting worse. I beg to disagree ferociously.

This has been one of my major points in the Marketing of America series. That the media makes it an absolute point to promote the negative. To make you fearful, angry, anxious, depressed. Then advertise military contractors, antidepressant drugs, etc. Be sure to tune in tomorrow so we can tell you what else you should be angry and depressed about, who we need to invade/bomb/hate next.

However, that’s not even my point here. My point here is that our society has gotten considerably better on social issues over the last few decades. It continues to improve, especially with younger generations. They are the least racist, sexist, prejudicial, warmongering, most aware and supportive of Socialism in many forms in the history of this country.

Over decades, we have battled against prejudice. We’ve made tremendous progress which we would not have recognized 25 years ago. We have Muslim members of Congress, more females and openly gay members of Congress, state and local governments than ever. Though none of that means their policies are good as a general rule. Don’t vote for gender, sexual identity, religion, etc. Be informed of policies. We have openly gay military members, including transgender.

Look at the advances we have made against domestic violence.

We’ve had a black president. We have black television stations.

We have Russian television, local Asian radio and TV stations, Hispanic stations, social groups for Muslim-Americans, Russian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Atheists and more. Gay pride parades, Black History Month, museums dedicated to the atrocity of slavery while we have movements to remove racist figures from public spaces.

We have rising awareness of the role of Russia in WWII while more awareness of the frauds the US government has instigated in starting wars dating back more than a century. We know Hawaii became a state because of US military occupation for capitalist interests.

We know the wars we are in now or trying to start which our government is trying to incite for the purpose of stealing resources from other countries. Not many people 25 years ago had any idea what the petrodollar was. Today, that system is failing and we can talk openly about it and be understood in many cases.

Our awareness has increased, social movements to enact change have happened rapidly in the last 25 years because of the internet. Even more rapidly since the rise of social media and independent media. While the corporate media still pushes fear and false narrative for the sake of profit, we have other sources asking the questions that need to be asked, revealing truths that need to be displayed.

The real problem we have is that for too many years we were blindfolded without realizing it. That blindfold has been ripped away. As a consequence, we have the powerful attempting to force the blindfold back on against our will. Some people want the blindfold back on so badly they shut their eyes forcefully and try to insist we do the same. For the rest of us, we are trying to adjust to the light and see clearly. That process can be painful. Some of us had that blindfold ripped away much earlier than most. We can lead the way but cannot force anyone to follow. Though like it or not, eventually we must all open our eyes to see the path ahead.

That path ahead is one we must walk together. We cannot allow for treachery. The powerful, failing to blind us again, will try and lead us along a far more dangerous path and divide us. We can allow for minor mistakes but be always careful to avoid intentional deception. Once a so-called “leader” has been shown deceptive, we need to never follow that person again.

I know it is uncomfortable, even highly distressing to see the ugly face of the monsters we live amongst. However, they have been here all along and with us every single day, hiding their faces. The one thing I can say is that it is much easier dealing with the monsters and monstrosities they represent when they are out in the open.

The main thing to grasp is that the monsters are the minority. We have seen multiple white supremacist rallies where opposition protesters have vastly outnumbered the literal Nazis on hand. Compare that to KKK marches of the 60’s.

As a majority of society, we now oppose the Clinton Crime Bill of 1996, welfare reform, trickle-down economics, for-profit prisons, police abuse, incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, sexual assault in all forms, corporate bribery of elected officials, wars for profit, price gouging by drug companies, the poisoning of the environment… In other words, we have awakened. Many of us. Sadly, some have not awakened yet but more are doing so daily.

I know, not quickly enough. Much as I would like, we can’t smack the rest of them on the head with a 2×4 to beat some sense into them. Long as they think they are in some way secure, they will not be remotely aware of the suffering around them. That’s why I recently wrote that the coming crash is something which absolutely must occur. To bring discomfort to the too-comfortable. It’s the only thing they will understand. Rip the privilege out of their hands. When the stock market crashes, they cannot blame immigrants or Russia. Though you can count on them trying to do just that.

We’ve been through far worse, especially if we have lived long enough. At least the media discusses some of it because we have a president who is too stupid to hide it behind pretty words. We’ve had a fence along our southern border since Bill Clinton. We’ve had the largest prison population for well over a decade. For all his bluster, so far Trump has not started any new wars yet. Yet. What is happening with the economy would have happened under Hillary. More gradually perhaps but it was going to happen. We could have another president who used nice words, allowing the media to cover up everything they did in some way, just as they have for years.

So stop stressing over current conditions. Yes, we have things to worry about but it’s not all because of one name or one party. Knowledge is power and we must share our knowledge. Real knowledge, not just blame. Blame fixes nothing. We absolutely must do all we can to awaken those around us who are not yet awake. We can’t do that if we are so anxious and petrified that we cannot function effectively. Focus on the real source of problems, not some knee jerk emotional reaction every time you hear certain names. Know who the real enemies are and call them out.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is here and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.