Tag Archives: Great Recession

End Stupid Stop Stubborn

Hot Fun in the Setting Sun
Hot Fun in the Setting Sun


More Off the Cuff Links…

We take you to the streets of London where students are marching for, “No tuition fees! No education cuts! No debt!” Let’s go to Milwaukee where what passes for progress we have this pathetic excuse for policy being implemented. Sorry folks we can’t get to the new economy everyone is talking about by dismantling our education system.

Dismantling programs isn’t policy, it isn’t even constructive politics. It is something else. While you were looking to the  left the right was running so far to the right that they’ve run out of room. And speaking of running out of room how about another Robin Hood in reverse episode. Speechless…

And speaking about criminals that never get charged, never are tried, and now no longer go to jail there is this nifty little bit of complaining by the Fat Cats. And Robert Reich explains how the big money boys do it. So, what do you do when the wheels on the bus that keep going round and round seem to be about to fall off the bus? Why you call the Vatican and ask the Pope to come speak truth to power.

Do you love answers to those persistent questions? Like for example how do you give a man a raise? By paying him more.  This “more” we are talking about only works if we don’t blow up the world’s economy. I’m not one of those doomsday machine types, but some of the policymakers in Europe are.

Finally, words of advice from one of the better minds in our country.

“I’m here in Mexico, Playa del Carmen. In my neighborhood there is a man who sells bottled water. Did you know he has a sister that sells hot water that a married man can never get out of?”





The Great Dictator’s Curtain Call

Coatimundi tracks in Talum, Mexico

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe?
And he keeps it out of sight

During hyperinflations grip on the Weimar Republic in the 1920’s Bertolt Brecht struggled with the question of how to dramatize the complex economic relationships of modern capitalism.

And then the wildly Canadian-Canadian Naomi Klein’s new book argues that for the world to do anything about climate change we will have to rewrite how capitalism works. We are finding it nearly impossible to change our economic model because vested interests will not surrender their present profits for future generations benefit. Those Canadian’s…

Since the global financial crisis profits have gone to the elite while virtually every other segment of society has watched while wages have flat-lined. Frustrated with Washington voters vented their anger by electing Republican majorities to both houses of Congress. I’m unaware of the newly elected majorities wanting to do anything that squares with what nonpartisan policymakers might suggest is best. Capitalism is complicated where anger is simple. The electorate vented their spleen. We will regret playing our politics on the basis of bile.

Like Brecht’s struggle to dramatize the complexities of the economy of his era our society has failed to implement the best policy responses to our present situation. Wall Street wants nothing to do with shrinking the size of our big banks, and they certainly don’t want any constraints to be put on carbon based energy companies.

Capital is ascendant and labor’s share of the pie is on the decline. The circular firing squad arrives and future profits are defended by the very people that are harmed by that choice.

This is what is so dangerous about booms and busts. They confuse and frighten people. In this emotionally charged state of mind people vote out of fear, the very fear that FDR suggested was the only thing we had to fear.

I am in the earliest stages of plotting the next comedy. What I am thinking about is the same thing that Brecht was thinking about. We want to understand the world we find ourselves living in and we want to know what path to take to fulfill our promise for a prosperous future.

When capitalism goes bust people go crazy. Depressions are depressing and extremists lurk in disguise at every gate luring the fearful into actions that might well result in tragedy. Chaplin skewered the wicked of his day with The Great Dictator. History might not be repeating itself but it certainly is flirting with the idea of rhyming.

There’s a tugboat down by the river, don’t you know?
Where a cement bag, just a’drooppin’ on down
Oh, that cement is just its there for the weight, dear
Five’ll get you ten Old Macky’s back in town

“The slacker dude no longer has to make an excuse about not having a good paying job because since the global financial crisis there are no more good paying jobs…”

Hot Spring Honeymoon Front Cover
Get it here…

“The story follows a cast of interesting characters in a small desert town as they work to save their local economy and play the games of love.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for fun yet heartfelt read.”

Relevant Links…

Let’s go to Berlin…   Story of internet activists hiding in Berlin from NSA

Modeling other capitalistic enterprises…   Let’s talk about Republican’s and capitalists at their birth

Scotland is ready to Rumble

Las Ramblas

The Good People of the Catalan

We begin today with where I ended yesterday. The failure of the business and political leaders of the major economies of the world to grasp how far out of touch they are with the citizens of their countries.

Yes they may be capable of ramming a new trade deal through a legislature. They might be able to wrangle enough votes to privatize another publicly owned asset. Privatize our water, our parks, our educational systems, and our post offices.

Scotland isn’t having it. The Catalan people of Spain are disgusted. I keep mentioning Quebec, although quiet of late they don’t care for Ottawa’s corporatists pillaging of their nations wealth.

Do you see? The Euro-zone is an incredible mess. Their austerity policies have fueled extremism. City of London has been at the center of fixing interest rates, currency exchange rates, laundering drug money, and skimming money off pensioners.

People on the edges of these empires are sick of it. Just maybe disconnecting from the globalization juggernaut and then negotiating their fair trade agreements not to City of London’s benefit but for the benefit of their citizens might just make sense.

The complicity of the media in all of this cannot be swept under the rug. The Financial Times has more in common with the City of London than the subscribers that read their paper. The manufacture of their opinions and point of view has been decoupled from the greater good of their country.

Our elite will push and get away with the looting until they no longer do. There is always an inflection point, invisible and unanticipated until it isn’t any longer. Pretending that there is a political stalemate when in fact all there is a lack of will doesn’t wash any longer.

Scotland message is simple. If you will not do what is right then we will secede and perhaps within the context of a smaller more governable entity we can.

The world wants an equitable distribution of capitalisms benefits. Climate change needs to be addressed. Our nation-states are mere shells of faux-virtue and patriotism. There is no secret here. The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States have been colluding. Most apparent is the corporatists bribing and buying anything not nailed down by the popular opinion of its people.

I am sympathetic to how a big city is run by a mayor. The worlds mega cities have more in common with one another than they do with the countries they are in. They are operated efficiently. Health care, education and public transportation issues are resolved their practically. Solutions are not framed ideologically. Fixing a sewer is not a socialist democracy run amok. It is the answer to what the people are concerned about.

What is stunning is how rampant this rot has become, how extensive and vast it has spread. Arranging the world for Wall Street, City of London and Hong Kong to flourish while the rest of the world is pillaged is fast hitting the wall of public opinion.

We owe Scotland a debt of gratitude for providing the world with this wake-up call.

A Day in the Year of a Life of an Author…

Calella Eileen Sycamores web

The Sycamores of Calella, Spain

February 2013

Sixteen months ago I put my second novel Bankrupt Heart on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I printed off 50 copies and those have been distributed to influential helpers or sold to fiction readers.

At the same time I began plotting my third novel, a comedy with the working title Hot Spring Honeymoon. I began drafting this third novel on April Fool’s Day of 2012. I thought a comedy started on such an auspicious occasion had if nothing else good timing.

Writing long fiction is complex enough and is made even more so when added to its list of goals is that it must pass the test of being not just in structure a comedy but in fact it turns out that it is indeed funny.

I worked along steadily beginning in April through August. After five months I had the seven of the twenty chapters drafted. I had other work consume my attentions until the middle of December and that is where the book has remained. I resumed my efforts and sit one year later at work on the eleventh chapter.

I have noted that each chapter more or less requires as best I can judge one month’s time to become high enough in quality to join the others. Where a dramatic scene might be put together in two weeks a comic scene requires another two weeks to discover the rhythms, twists of plot and insight of character to birth its comic potentials.

I’ll leave you with a fragment… and for Bankrupt Heart a few new readers reactions to my second novel. To those of you happening by this blog I hope you’ll keep in touch… a comic novelist is in fact lurking in one of the least visited corners of the Universe!

Fragment from Hot Spring Honeymoon

“You just stay here.” Fletch explained. “Come on back for you after I’m done doing my work.”

Wasn’t a word of truth to what he was saying, Bambalina knew all too well he’d be coming back stopping at the Brewery, leave with one of those easy women he ran with. All she had to look forward to was switching her tail and twitching her ears until that man has had his way with another one of his so called girlfriends. Might not be whip smart but a burro had a keen sense of when her master was not forthcoming about how important her welfare truly was to the man her whole life depended upon.

Fletch stood on top of his trucks running boards. “Don’t give me that look.”

Bambalina knew she’d be stuck in this no good miserable dirt lot with nothing to do but count pickup trucks driving up and down the Hot Spring Highway. She looked right through the miner she had cast her whole lot in with. Might fool some of those women he ran around with but not this burro.

“There’s too much dog and too little cat in you.” Fletcher complained. “I don’t want to have to explain myself to nobody or nothing. All I want is a burro.”

Bambalina’s head drooped, she was inconsolable. She lifted her sad eyes and looked up and down the highway, must be a better miner to devote her life to. The burro turned and walked away last thing she had to say came out of her business end, a greenhouse gas exclamation mark. That’s what disappointment can do to a relationship.

 Bankrupt Heart

 Reader Reviews…

“I read a few novels a week. Bankrupt Heart concerned me, it started out slow for my taste, but by the end I thought that this was a great read.”

Anonymous Reader,  Emery Cove Marina, Emeryville, California

I did so enjoy your novel.  It had great elements,  A shining star on your forehead for a stellar first (actually the second, Highway Home was the first) novel.  Laughed my ass off at the restaurant staff commenting on the musicians and their influence on the fidelity of former lovers.

Max Frobe,   Jeweler, Filmmaker,    Nelson, British Columbia

An effortless read, there’s a natural flow to it, and theirs a nice unpredictability, you get caught up in the saga. His new life at the boatyard was unexpected. How Ry Waters came in as an outsider and became part of this group of misfits and how this set of new relationships alters him. He was forced to reinvent himself. I liked the attention to detail. It all felt quite real. It goes places other books don’t go. It opened a door to a whole new world…

Dom Ferry,   Street Act, Yamba New South Wales, Australia

The Courage of the Not For Sale Big Mind

The Courage to Believe in a Bigger Soul

I am a student. I study things. I’ve been working my way through matters as diverse as Basque goat herding skills to what automobile company manufactured the most powerful in line 6 cylinder engine.

These are interesting if you are interested. The answer is 405 horsepower for the motor. It was a British sports car company- TVR- that concocted this record setter.

I also learned that there was an Australian Chrysler motor that never came toAmericathat made 365 southern hemispheric horsepower. This must have been a wicked fun motor to mash the throttle to if you get your fun from acceleration.

The thing you may or may not know is that the inline six cylinder motor is by its very design prone to running smoothly. It is anything but like our politics right now.

The Basque are great herders. I am particularly fond of their cheese making skills. Better still I can afford to eat their finely crafted goat cheeses.

The variety and breadth of man’s inventions are quite remarkable. What is more remarkable is when we hit on a good thing. Improvement is always possible.

I stumbled upon a razor sharp awakening today in my reading. From Norman Mailer and I quote, “One should not live with the given when it is vapid and vaguely immoral.”

This is about an artist’s duty. The animating notion in this sentence is to speak up and speak out. If something has become lifeless it is our duty to reignite our fires and reboot life. It is our ‘inner Zorba’ that must get off the sofa of boredom and dance.

I think the “vaguely immoral” part of this exhortation is hugely resonant with the events of this day and era. The wheels came flying off our collective economic bus and the streets of life are littered with the carnage.

Moneyed interests might be able to afford slick public relationships firms to get their message out about what good citizens they are. Lobbyists might hustle up to Capital Hill and leaven the politicians with timely contributions. And their sympathizers in the media can orchestrate a defense for the indefensible.

One thing they can’t do is stop creativity. Artists often visualize a better path, prescribing a more just and fair way forward. I’m not just concerned about the truly poor I am truly concerned about anyone who is not truly concerned about the truly poor.

You start hollowing out your soul at your own peril. Hiding your money in offshore bank accounts is a step in that direction. Kicking money up to the fat cats while you hollow out support for the weak won’t win you a pass through the pearly gates. It is explicit, graphic, and small. You can encourage a better self or you can cultivate a smaller self. So, we pick, we choose, we can only really be one kind of person, even though all of us can fall prey to this other beast within ourselves. The ultimate fact of a good decent human life is that we must finally reject the least parts of who we are because we can’t be both.

The novel is at Amazon or Barnes and Noble for the ebook price of $1.00



The Ordeal of Change


                                          San Francisco Waterfront… A Changed Landscape

In other words, drastic change, under certain conditions, creates a proclivity for fanatical attitudes, united action, and spectacular manifestations of flouting and defiance; it creates an atmosphere of revolution.

Eric Hoffer, Longshoreman, Philosopher from his book The Ordeal of Change

            I think we all look and wonder at the changes taking place in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. We look at the clash in Wisconsin and some cheer while most look aghast at the effort to rescind the right to collective bargaining. In this hall of mirrors the CEO of 3M, Mr. George Buckley bellyaches on the front page of The Financial Times about how repressive the current President is to his business interests. I grew up along the San Francisco waterfront. There is this concept called foreground/background. In the foreground for example there is an individual and in the background a time, place, and circumstance. Individuals in pursuit of personal change try to cultivate wholesome and skillful means toward that end. In the background it seems there are social/economic/political forces let loose from one side or another attempting to change the balance of power. In my second novel I am trying to describe individuals who are caught up in the Great Recession that came about by the implosion of the financial sector. At least eight million American workers lost their job. It is difficult for me to understand how in the world we have not put a single person in the financial sector in prison and instead political forces sympathetic to this financial sector have decided to launch an attack on the public employee unions. This is change… just not the kind I can believe in….