Archive for the Pogo Plight Category

NATO: Nations Aggressively Taking Over (March 31, 2014)

Posted in Foreign Policy, Military, Pogo Plight, War on March 31, 2014 by e-ssay.org

. . .

1          “How about Nations Advancing Territorial Objectives.”

2          “Or Nations Aggressively Taking Offense.”

1          “Or Nations Aggressively Giving Offense.”

2          “That is it.  NATO became NAGO.”

. . .

1          “When the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States was in the rare position of being able unilaterally to create some semblance of world stability.  Expanding NATO was threatening and counterproductive.  The United States should have concluded more trade agreements and created additional student exchanges.”

2          “Create more economic interdependence so that war is unprofitable.  Foster student exchanges so that a leader is reluctant to attack a former beer drinking compatriot.  Yet that is the underlying and overriding problem.  War is so bloody profitable.”

1          “After the Christmas present in 1991, the United States transitioned from one of the superpowers not to the world’s policeman but in many ways to its bully.  America undermined its and the world’s security and well-being.”

2          “War is so bloody profitable.  And there are so few individuals and institutions with an economic incentive to speak the truth.”

. . .

1          “We need the good old days when NATO meetings assembled the French, British and Americans who could be condescending, dismissive, arrogant and petty toward each other and perhaps keep the Russians in the bay.”

2          “The French could be French, the British could be British, and we could be us.”

1          “And the Germans could be German.”

2          “We need to figure out who is us.  Have we met the enemy.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

What if war became unprofitable?

Bombing may be a tactic, but it is not a strategy

If Bush can invade Iraq without any good reason, can Putin invade Ukraine without any good reason?

“No one deserves it.” (February 10, 2014)

Posted in Estate Tax, Pogo Plight, Taxation on February 10, 2014 by e-ssay.org

. . .

C          “No one gave me anything.  I worked for everything.  I had three jobs and did not even get the minimum wage for one of them.  They expect everything.  They have already spent it many times over.  I am not even dead yet.  I feel that way.  They act that way.”

L          “I understand.  You are among a small group who really did it the old-fashioned way by taking risk and working hard.  And it is yours.  In your eyes and in the eyes of the law.  It is also your decision.”

C          “I didn’t build my business out of a garage.  I didn’t have a garage.  We hardly kept a car on the road.  We built it from our dinette table.  They’ll sell that Formica® table for a few dollars at a yard sale.  If they even have the gumption to have a yard sale.  What if I don’t give it to ‘em?”

L          “It is yours to give or not to give to them or to someone else.”

C          “That would be givin’ it to ‘em.  Know what I mean.”

. . .

L          “Probate and estate issues like this are among the most frequent legal matters and concerns for older folks.  Trillions of dollars are transferring to the next generation.”

C          “I heard someone call it ‘entitlement’.  I don’t know who’s entitled to my money, but I know it’s not those kids.”

. . .

L          “Probate is not evil.  However, probating a will is expensive, protracted and public.  By putting your assets in a trust, you create a legal entity that survives you and eases transfer.  The process is cheaper, shorter and private.  Many trusts are designed not just to ease the transfer but to elude creditors and avoid taxes.  Many of the trusts designed to avoid taxes are legal theft, but that is where America is in the arc of this country.  This basic trust is simply a mechanism to make the transfer simpler with some tax portability and a layer of creditor protection.”

C          “That all sounds good, I think.  So you think it’s a good idea.”

. . .

L          “You could set up a foundation.  The goal is usually virtuous, yet the smaller personal foundations usually do little more than feed an ego and pay administrative expenses.  The folks on the payroll are pleased to have the job and the paycheck.  I was impressed that Warren Buffett did not establish his own foundation and instead gave most of his assets to the Gates Foundation.  That approach saves on administrative costs and focuses efforts.”

C          “What group should I give it to?”

L          “Which group do you want to give it to?”

C          “I don’t know.  That’s what I pay you for.”

L          “I am here to determine what you want to do.”

. . .

C          “What if I give it to you.  You said it’s mine to give to anyone I want to.”

L          “With a very important proviso.  You cannot give your money to your attorney who is obligated to represent your interests.”

C          “Then I’m not absolutely free to give to anyone I want to.”

L          “For these purposes, I am you.  You cannot give it to yourself.  And I cannot take it under rules that are in your best interest.  For what it is worth, there was a time or two when you were reluctant to pay attorney’s fees that were earned twofold.”

C          “I figure that if you are not able to make sure that you get paid then you are not able to make sure that I get paid.  I’ll throw nickels around like manhole covers until the day I die.  You know me.”

. . .

C          “Those kids didn’t have to work very hard to be entitled to my hard-earned money.  But they don’t want to work.”

. . .

[See the “e-ssays” under http://e-commentary.org/category/estate-tax/.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Easy come, easy go; Hard come, easy go; Hard come, hard go.

Boycott Futball? (February 3, 2014)

Posted in Boycott Series, Consumerism, Football, Hypocrisy, Pogo Plight, Sports on February 3, 2014 by e-ssay.org

. . .

F1        “Are you crazy?  Apple pie and motherhood are as American as futball.”

F2        “Soccer Moms wielding mini vans hold the keys.  Will they make a motherly pitch to the kids and drive them to the pitch or accede to pressure and deposit them on the gridiron.”

. . .

F1        “Watching it for the ads seems akin to buying a girlie magazine for the articles.” 

F2        “Spectacles are always spectacular.  A brand is a story.  This year the brands really tried to tell stories over a number of ads throughout the extravaganza.”

F1        “Seemed to be fewer ads for ED medication and the usual number for EtOH self-medication.”

F2        “Capture the audience and then captivate the audience.”

. . .

F1        “The NFL is the big winner.  They scored non-profit tax-exempt status long ago.  The public pays for the millionaires to play for the billionaires.”

F2        “And the public finances most of the coliseums.  The teams are tantamount to unregulated public utilities.”

F1        “Perhaps citizens should pay a monthly bill for water and sewer, telephone, gas, and for futball.”

. . .

F2        “Football is counterproductive because it destroys so many gladiators along the way.  Society is left weaker.”

. . .

F1        “Sports has always provided every society with a forum to train warriors and titillate the populace.”

F2        “ROTC with colorful, multi-color uniforms, cheerleaders and beer.”

F1        “Tiddlywinks simply does not train warriors or titillate the public.  Few aspire to a career in the NTA – National Tiddlywinks Association.  Our need for blood sports is hard-wired into our dna.  Coursing is coarse, but the desire courses through our blood.”

F2        “Auto racing appeals to our love of speed and lust for a crash.  The most skilled drivers are at the wheel to maximize the speed and minimize but deliver the inevitable and cherished crash.”

F1        “Satisfying our need for immediate gratification led them to accelerate the process and fashion the ‘demolition derby’ that provides what the fans really desire – a string of premeditated crashes – without the wait.”

F2        “Rather than going in circles, they go right at each other.  Perhaps football could be reduced to fifteen minutes of uncontrolled mayhem with the gladiators going right at each other.”      

. . .

F1        “The ideal winter sport is the biathlon . . . shoot and ski in the winter and then run or bicycle or pogo-stick in the summer to stay in shape.  The ideal summer sports are soccer and women’s rules lacrosse.  Men’s rules lacrosse is for insecure sissies.”

F2        “Men’s rules lacrosse is the outdoor version of ice hockey.  Is there women’s rules ice hockey?”

F1        “What about co-ed inner tube water polo played indoors in the winter and cricket played in the summer?”

F2        “Moms may need to select among competing pitches.  Cricket Moms would emerge as another target demographic for advertisers.”

. . .

F1        “What would happen to Monday morning quarterbacking?”

. . .

Bumper sticker of the week:

“Is Dylan a Cadillac shill or a Chrysler shill?  . . . . . . .  or a Ford shill?”  “I think he was a Victoria’s Secret model.”

Humanity’s Motto: To Enslave And To Colonize (January 27, 2014)

Posted in Blue States / Red States, Economics, Immanentizing The Eschaton, Markets, Pogo Plight on January 27, 2014 by e-ssay.org

. . .

A          “You can now add Bezos to the legendary ‘CDEs’ of exploitation – Carnegie, Disney and Edison – who made their fortunes exploiting others.”

B          “And the kingpins of exploitation – the Waltons.  As humans, we seek to enslave and to colonize, not to nurture and to develop.”

A          “Take one’s liberty and take one’s property.  It’s the human way.  We established a Constitution to protect life, liberty and property.”

B          “He too seeks to enslave.  Amazon has become the CyberWalmart.”

A          “Like Walmart, the prices are very low and allow some shoppers to afford to make it through the day.  Some of the customers may be the same employees who cannot subsist on Walmart wages.  The Amazon prices are usually lower and the guarantee is objectively better than the guarantees offered by locally owned businesses that may be going out of business in part because of Amazon’s competition.”

B          “By contrast, Costco pays a living wage and offers health care and retirement to its employees while offering very low prices and an unconditional guarantee to its customers.” 

A          “Walmart is a Red State company headquartered in a Red State.  Costco is a Blue State company headquartered in a Blue State.  Amazon is an anomaly – a Red State company headquartered in a Blue State.” 

B          “Look at the state they leave the employees in when a company pays slave wages.  Slaves don’t make profitable consumers.” 

A          “If there are no consumers, you can’t have seventy percent of economic growth fueled by consumer spending.”

. . .

[The author has no financial interest in Amazon, Costco or Walmart and has shopped at all three institutions.]

[Pete Seeger - May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014]

[“Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population, and seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.  The World Economic Forum has identified economic inequality as a major risk to human progress, impacting social stability within countries and threatening security on a global scale.”  http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/working-for-the-few-economic-inequality.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

To Enslave And To Colonize.  Hey, it’s who we are.

The American Menu: Three Food Groups (January 6, 2014)

Posted in Consumerism, Food, Health Care, Market Solutions, Plastic, Pogo Plight on January 6, 2014 by e-ssay.org

. . .

The Gyre of Death:

Breakfast:     Sugar, Fat, Salt

Lunch:            Fat, Salt, Sugar

Dinner:           Salt, Sugar, Fat

Rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat.

. . .

A          “New Year’s resolutions are one of the earliest examples of recycling.  The list of resolutions could be stored with the holiday decorations and reused each year.”

B          “We need to reduce.  Hope springs eternal, particularly in the winter.  Better to have propounded New Year’s resolutions and lost than never to have propounded them at all.”

A          “We need to resolve to shed calories responsibly all year.”

B          “Better to have lost pounds.”

. . .

A          “Disregard the class and cultural arrogance and condescension that underlies the discussion and the problem still weighs on us.  We as a people are too chunky.”

B          “Too many Americans drive around all day poisoning themselves at the food shacks that litter the highways and byways and then drive to a bar and poison themselves with liquid intoxicants before taking that last drive of the day late at night back home.  We need to change our life style.”

A          “Obesity imposes a staggering additional tax on health care costs.  If the government chimes in and proposes something, someone whines about the ‘nanny state’ interfering in our lives.”  

B          “Granny may have been right about these things.  Moderation always in all things.”

. . .

A          “Beer companies seek to decant 11 rather than 12 ounces into a bottle and grocers now package five rather than six avocados in the bag.  How do you create the market conditions so that a sugar water company reduces the ounces in the bottle and the purveyor of French fries puts fewer spuds in the bag?”

B          “And change our life style so that no uses plastic bottles.”

. . .    

[See the “e-ssay” titled Back Door Inflation (July 16, 2007).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

‘Mericanize: Monetize, Mechanize And Militarize (December 30, 2013)

Posted in Economics, Energy, Kleptocracy, Markets, Military, Pogo Plight, Society on December 30, 2013 by e-ssay.org

. . .

C1        “America makes nothing but monetizes everything.”

C2        “And makes things up.” 

C1        “We make up fake money, but we cannot make up fake energy.  We need to energize not monetize.  We need to measure the energy inputs and environmental outputs before we do or make or consume anything.  Money is not the measure and sends the wrong signals.”

C2        “Even by their own terms, money and markets are far too broken to work either efficiently or equitably today.”

C1        “We aid and abet the rich players taking money electronically from the poor and middle class.”

C2        “Everything is an accounting hijink and a legal mirage concocted by the accountants and the lawyers.”

C1        “And the e-con-omists.  Everything is virtual; nothing is real.”

. . .

C1        “Now they are proclaiming that the great American heartland will be saved by the construction of new factories and a renaissance in manufacturing.  However, the typical factory does not actually employ more than two employees who turn on and monitor the machine.”

C2        “And billions are spent to keep those two employees from receiving a slightly higher minimum wage.”

C1        “Economic slaves make unprofitable consumers.”

. . .

C1        “The response in Boston is another display of the militarization of society.  The town was invaded by American storm troopers who dressed and acted like they were invading Fallujah or Kandahar.”

C2        “We lost the race years ago.  The camo armored personnel carrier replaced the black and white Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.  The .308 replaced the .38.  Kevlar® replaced khaki.”

C1        “The old saw says it all:  ‘A YouTube video is worth ten thousand words.’  The vignettes told the most harrowing stories as the militarized police broke into houses and pulled citizens out of their homes.  A few folks were shocked, a few were outraged, and a few were disgusted, yet there was an undertone of acceptance and obeisance.”

C2        “We are lost.  We are neutered and anesthetized.”

. . .

C1        “We are the Etch-A-Sketch® society.  Nothing is real or permanent.”

C2        “We are the Play-Doh® people.  No spine and no substance.  Malleable as clay.  There is no there there.” 

. . .

[See the “e-ssays” titled Minimum Wage and Maximum Earners (July 31, 2006), Racing Backwards; Moving Forward? (July 27, 2009), Occupy America: The “Bonus March/Chicago Police Riot/Kent State” Of 2011? (October 17, 2011) and Men In Pink: Today’s Sensitive New SWAT Togs (August 20, 2012).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Too much information, too little insight

Everything is virtual; nothing is real

Energize don’t marginalize

We need fewer folks chasing fewer flora and far fewer fauna

The cup is one sixteenth full

In the end, the physicists always triumph over the e-con-omists

Foot Longs and Football (September 2, 2013)

Posted in Football, Fracking, Health Care, Perjury, Perjury/Dishonesty, Pogo Plight, Society, Sports on September 2, 2013 by e-ssay.org

. . .

F1        “One is bad for us and the other is bad for them.”

F2        “How about hot dog buns and pig skin antics.  Today’s version of bread and circuses.”

F1        “The fans poison themselves in the stands while the combatants bang their heads on the field.”

F2        “And on the heads of their opponents.”

F1       “Those who make it to the top have been pummeled for years if not decades and performed on Friday nights and then Saturday afternoons and then all day on Sunday.”

F2         “And on Monday and Thursday and Wednesday and Tuesday.”

. . .

F1       “America was about education, now it is about revenue sports.  Two sports are the revenue sports in high school, in college and in the prose.”

F2        “College combatants do not even receive workmens’ compensation insurance coverage while on the job let alone a share of the profits.  We celebrate Labor Day but do not reward them for their labor.”

. . .

F2        “The NFL executives testified before Congress in 2009, under oath as always, that repeated head contact by players has not been shown to lead to brain injury.  One representative, Linda Sánchez, noted that their testimony is the same as the tobacco company executives denying the link between smoking and lung disease.”

F1        “Every generation can be defined by its Big Lie.”

F2        “The danger from fracking also may be our generations’ Big Lie.” 

. . .

F1        “There are rumors of a legal settlement with a gang of retired gladiators who are suffering all manner of predictable maladies.  Most settlements include a provision enjoining future violations, but the games go on.” 

. . .

[See the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/sports/football/29hearing.html.] 

[See the "e-ssay" titled Gettin’ Health Risks Right (June 25, 2012) discussing the Big Lies of past generations.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Play ball

Digital Deception (August 5, 2013)

Posted in Consumerism, Digital, Economics, Perjury/Dishonesty, Pogo Plight, Privacy on August 5, 2013 by e-ssay.org

. . .

1          “I mentioned to a close friend privately that digital is holding its own against analog.  However, digital has some downsides.”

2          “I call it digital deception.  Digital allows for so much more deception because nothing is permanent.”

. . .

1          “I clicked ‘add to cart’ to add a product on the ‘Styx’ e-commerce website, jotted down the price and noted the free shipping on a sheet of paper.”

2          “Which gets us back to the need to make a written record that is permanent.”

1          “I minimized the site on the screen, called a local store for comparison and then maximized the site on the screen.  The price was the same, but the free shipping was changed to a much more substantial cost.”

2          “Bait and switch transcends technology.  You may find that the shipping is free, but the shipping date is in a month or longer.  That may prove to be an unprofitable stratagem because it goes against the all-consuming desire for immediate gratification.”

. . .

1          “Now it is offering free shipping and delivery in a week.  It is almost as if the system detects that I will purchase the product if the shipping is free.”

2          “If you leave the site for a period of time and then return, the algorithm may reset to bait you with free shipping.  Switch from the site for a while and see what happens.”

. . .

1          “The ‘Fly By Night’ travel web sites provide the best price for a flight and then in a subsequent visit to the site a few minutes later increase the price or offer less appealing routes.  Once they have gotten you, they have got you.”

2          “Unless you don’t let them get you.”

. . .

1          “The ‘Pillow’ real estate website regularly changes and updates information including what it represented to be historical data.  The predicted price for my house in 2007 is now materially different.”

2          “I can predict the closing price of the Dow last week.”

1          “Taking a screen shot requires a clever workaround.  I filed a printed screen shot of my property and then compared it a year later.  The figures and historical graph were different.  I printed the subsequent results to keep a record in a printed format and then check later.”

. . .

1          “I checked on the availability of a website address and was shocked at this late stage of web address homesteading that it was still available.  I then checked the availability of another more general website and discovered that it was already staked.  When I returned to purchase the first website, it was not available.”

2          “If I find that a website address is available, I immediately purchase it.” 

. . .

2        “You could use another computer and search for a product or flight without revealing your identity or propensity until you sign in to make a purchase.  However, the dubious real estate data appears on every computer screen.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Clio needs to clutch the parchment scrolls tenaciously

Let the buyer be aware and be wary and be weary

Mano-a-mano with a machine

Hero or Traitor? (June 10, 2013)

Posted in Internet, Pogo Plight, Privacy, Technology, USA PATRIOT Act on June 10, 2013 by e-ssay.org

. . .

X          “Julian Assange.  Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

. . .

Y          “Bradley Manning.  Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

. . .

X          “Edward Snowden.  Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

. . .

[Reflect on the ideas and experience of Daniel Ellsberg in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-united-stasi-america.]

[See the “e-ssay” titled “Brave 1984 Farm: The Best Of All Possible Worlds (March 19, 2012).”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

In a dozen plus years and without a debate or a vote, technology has deprived us of privacy.  With little debate and many hasty votes, Congress has deprived us of privacy at every opportunity.  We as a society should create a rebuttable presumption in favor of privacy even if it appears to sacrifice security.  Our personal insecurities are actually creating greater national insecurity.  

Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  Benjamin Franklin

Did Bin Laden win?

On Community (June 3, 2013)

Posted in Guns, Pogo Plight, Society on June 1, 2013 by e-ssay.org

. . .

A          “Seems that you have the ‘guns and ammo’ crowd and the ‘beans and band aids’ folks.”

B      “The ‘bullets and bandoliers’ boys and the ‘kumbaya and jambalaya’ community.”

A          “The ‘whole wheat set’ espouses something called ‘community’ that sounds good but is far more elusive to achieve.  My long-term study of the ‘community clan’ continues.  “Develop community” is a more mature and rational response to the challenges ahead, but most of the adherents would not respond that way in a pinch.”

. . .

A             “I wonder if we are too late and too far gone.”

B           “We may be too self-indulgent, self-absorbed and selfish to take care of anyone but ourselves.”

A      “We have been acculturated to behave as a self-interested consumer consumed with our self and our interests and our own consumption.  We collect stuff but are certain that our stuff is better stuff than the next guy’s stuff, so everything is righteous.”

B             “When we are really challenged, we will need to fundamentally retool our soul and learn to use hand tools.  The transition will be wrenching and will require us to use wrenches.”

. . .

[See the “e-ssay” titled “Beans and Bullets (April 6, 2009)."]

Bumper sticker of the week:

It’s all about me

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