Home > Uncategorized > WalMart distribution center(s) to be Occupied

WalMart distribution center(s) to be Occupied

Former Humboldt County and current San Francisco bay area reporter John Osborn posts good news on his new blog, The Classist:

It appears that the West Coast occupations won’t be the only ones stirring the pot on December 12′s Port Shutdown action.

In solidarity with the December 12 action, Occupy Denver called on “land-locked” occupations to disrupt Wal-Mart distribution centers. Essentially ports of land, Wal-Mart distro centers are the backbone of trucking goods to the thousands of Wal-Marts throughout the country.

More @ The Classist

  1. anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 12:10 am

    The Walmart going into the Bayshore Mall will be in at least two sections. The grocery section will stretch from the recently-closed Hometown Buffet to the soon-to-be vacated food court. There’s also word that pharmacy/optical will be going into the old Borders space.

  2. Decline To State
    December 4, 2011 at 7:30 am

    So that’s the way it’s to be, eh? Then, Occupy the Bayshore Mall!

    At least it will be warm and dry in there with food and shopping opportunities close at hand.

  3. Mitch
    December 4, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Would it be legal for the citizens of Eureka or Humboldt to pass a law requiring, for example, a 50% higher minimum wage for employers who pay the majority of their employees within 50% of the minimum wage, and who employ more than 500 people nationwide?

    Would it be legal for the citizens of Eureka or Humboldt to pass a law imposing a tax on businesses with more than 200 parking spots, to be used to offset traffic problems associated with their operations?

    Would it be legal for citizens of Eureka or Humboldt to impose a tax on businesses selling more than $1,000,000 per year of products imported from outside the United States?

    Would it be legal for citizens of Eureka or Humboldt to require businesses locating in Eureka that have been convicted of environmental crimes elsewhere in the United States to put, oh, half their annual revenues into an escrow account to pay for any future environmental repair required due to their actions?

    Any or all of these strike me as good options. None “oppose Wal-Mart.” I’d welcome Wal-mart, if it met the necessary conditions to do business on a level playing field. Unfortunately for Wal-mart, it cannot meet those conditions and make a profit.

  4. just middle class
    December 4, 2011 at 8:43 am

    No

  5. Mitch
    December 4, 2011 at 9:08 am

    just middle class,

    Why?

  6. Rockhouse
    December 4, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Kudos to Occupy Denver for this call to action; specifically targeting a corporation that takes advantage of the current economic disparity.

  7. Ponder z
    December 4, 2011 at 9:43 am

    why protest? Just don’t shop at walmart if you don’t like them. It is all junk anyway. Protesters are a bunch of assclowns, taking a good idea and polluting it with lunacy and rudeness. They are way outside the mainstrem of the 98%. They are the other 1%.

  8. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Boy, goodbye to Hometown Buffet and the food court in favor of Wal-Mart? They might as well sell everything between Kohl’s and Ross to Wal-Mart. The small merchants are going to suffer horribly and leave. This is good news for Old Town.

  9. jr
    December 4, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Wal-mart has a big distribution center just south of Red Bluff.

  10. anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Hometown Buffet has already closed. At least one business –Nona’s Ice Cream–has moved out of the food court. It’s old location in the court is empty. Los Gallos has announced plans to move after the first of the year–but they don’t know where to yet.

  11. Plain Jane
    December 4, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I’ve heard rumors that those food court businesses which want to stay are being scattered around the mall, but that BK at least is just pulling out and (?) Best Buy is taking over the movies and food court area. Nothing absolutely credible. From what I’ve heard, Home Town Buffet will probably be missed the most and their customers are hoping they relocate outside of the mall.

  12. Apologist Not
    December 4, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Had Jeff Leonard kept his campaign promise (second term) to support a city ordinance to limit the size of future big boxes, there would have been a majority on the Eureka City Council to pass it, and Walmart would not be here.

    A generation of “free-market” ideologues on Eureka’s city council is is anything but free.

    These are the same people who love to whine about the poor, the food stamps, welfare and medi-cal that Walmart requires for its “associates”.

    A “win win” for the whiners..

  13. Hank Sims
    December 4, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Mitch: I think it’s “no” on all of the above except for the parking spaces, because of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

  14. jr
    December 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Check out the video on the Dec 12 West Coast port occupation at http://www.occupyoakland.org

  15. December 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Soon, we’ll all be working at WalMart, but their prices are so god-damned low that we’ll all be able to afford to eat (most of the time)! Shelter will be another matter, but that’s where Floyd Squires comes in to save the day. Good luck!

    Oh, and do not get sick or injured.
    Conservative hugs!

  16. Mitch
    December 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks, Hank. I’m obviously no lawyer — do you happen to know the relevant decisions? It seems on the face of it like such laws would be reasonable as long as they are imposed equally on all businesses of a particular size. I can understand why they would be illegal if aimed only at one particular business.

    Beyond a particular size, it’s a different type of business with different effects on a community.

  17. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Distrupt Walmart?! Sounds really smart? A bunch of losers forcing the local police to take action, and by doing so trying to provoke a reaction from the police for the camera’s! What does that accomplish? What about a boycott of WalMart? I mean if you’re so serious about Walmart?! But then these losers, socialists, commies, and outcasts wouldn’t get the airtime they want.

    I hope they get cold and go to jail.

  18. Seageezer
    December 4, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Anon at 1:14, thanks for the suggestion. Boycotts are a good tool to add to the non-violent civil disobedience tool kit. We’ll keep it in mind. But so are picket lines, sit-ins, marches and rallies, hunger strikes, etc. We will pick and choose which tool to use at which time.

    There is an old adage I really like: “Them that does the doin’ does the decidin’ how.”

  19. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Serious question: what does wal mart have to do with the 1% and the wall street bankers OWS is protesting?

  20. December 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    what does wal mart have to do with the 1% and the wall street bankers OWS is protesting?

    It’s a business.

  21. Just Middle Class
    December 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Good question, 2:35. it looks like another decision that changes the focus and this time attempting to hurt the poor who rely on discount stores. It would be more sensible to boycott Sacks 5th Avenue or your local high end designer store who cater to the 1%. But then if you can’t afford to shop there, then there is no boycott!

  22. Mitch
    December 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    2:35,

    Wal-mart is the sales division of the global banker/corporate economy.

    They have succeeded by using the following approach:

    1) use low-cost foreign labor to build products at the least cost; if the workers’ attempts to increase their wages will be met by government repression, all the better;

    2) play local governments against one another for your sales tax revenue; go to the locale that is willing to sacrifice the most, and stay there as long as you have to in order to get their complete incentive set, then move to lower cost property just across the jurisdictional line;

    3) pay your workers as little as possible and fight any attempts by workers to build collective strength; don’t provide benefits, but let employees know about government benefits (AFDC, Medical, etc…) that are available to them due to their low wages;

    4) lowball prices when you enter a new market in order to destroy alternatives; keep prices at below-market levels until you are the only shopping option available;

    5) and, finally, always follow the globalization motto: externalize what should be your costs onto the suckers wherever and whenever possible. Remember Enron: laugh if granny suffers due to your efforts.

    The Occupy Wall Streeters couldn’t have picked a more appropriate next step.

  23. Just Middle Class
    December 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Wal Marts are everywere as are other businesses. This list of yours is describing actions of many businesses. Only the sector that serves the value shopper uses these techniques because shoppers always looking for the best deal.
    We have way too big a market here to have Wal Mart destroy everyone else, just a pipe dream.

  24. Plain Jane
    December 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Walmart’s got a great thing going – for them. They force manufacturers offshore and competitors out of business with the strength of their purchasing power. The loss of jobs from manufacturing drives wages down for every working class job so people feel they have to shop at Walmart for affordable prices which puts even more people out of work. The Walmart business plan is the epitome of sociopathic corporatism.

  25. Plain Jane
    December 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    “During fiscal 2011, Duke (Walmart CEO) deferred salary, cash incentives and equity awards valued at $14.3 million, bringing the executive’s total deferred compensation balance to $63.3 million, according to a proxy statement Wal-Mart filed with the SEC.”
    while a large percentage of his employees were at least in part supported by the taxpayers with food stamps, Medi-Cal, WIC, AFDC and rent subsidies.

    To make it even worse, Duke and his peers want to slash funding for the programs that are keeping their employees alive to keep their taxes at the lowest levels in modern history. There’s always SOMEONE willing to work for less when labor supply exceeds demand, another wonderful thing we have to thank Walmart for.

  26. Mitch
    December 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    “just middle class”,

    What is the purpose of an economy? Is it to build the most things most efficiently? To make the most people happy? To ensure a minimum standard of living for most people?

    Wal-mart, like capitalism, is a machine. It does its job well. It’s job is to provide things that people will buy, and to do it at lower prices than competitors. The question is whether it should be allowed to destroy everything in its path.

    Machines can help us, but only if we control them. When we decide they are perfect and try to fit ourselves into their patterns, we destroy ourselves.

    Is the profit motive in capitalism bad? In my opinion it’s neither bad nor good, but it did work, once, until groups of people learned to game it. Are we controlling capitalism well, so that there is continuous “creative destruction?” In my opinion, absolutely not. We’ve let the winners of round one control the rules of the game for all subsequent rounds.

    The power of capitalism, which was once grounded in letting people get most of the rewards for their contributions, has been lost. Instead, we have a kleptocratic system where the people best able to cheat, to use existing loopholes, and to buy politicians to create more loopholes are now able to drain the rest of us dry.

  27. jr
    December 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I have just picked up Paul Hawken’s latest book “Natural Capitalism” and can report, although I have just started this book, that some of Mitch’s comments are addressed in it. I suggest others interested in this issue read this book.

  28. anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Want to be involved in the local kick Wal-Mart out of town effort? Call 442-7465 for more information. This is the contact number given on a no-to-Walmart flier.

  29. Plain Jane
    December 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Maybe President Gingrich will revoke child and minimum wage laws like he wants to do and we’ll get some manufacturing back. The minimum wage in China now is about $1.20 an hour. That should be enough for a family if they are all working 2 jobs.

  30. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Do you realize the occupy wal mart is to show solidarity with the longshoremen union who are making $100,000 and would like to make 150,000?

    Seriously, go read the story. Pretty far cry from what Mitch is talking about.

    And this doesn’t look too bad to me:

    http://walmartstores.com/careers/7750.aspx

  31. Plain Jane
    December 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    What did you like about it, 4:49? That they offer health insurance to those who can afford it? Or their matching pension contributions? How many part-time, minimum wage workers do you think have any money left over to pay insurance premiums, co-pays and pensions?

  32. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    i think you have to be full time to get benefits. i like the health insurance and pension contributions. i like the $4 prescriptions. i like the dental too.

    what would those minimum wage part time employees be doing if they weren’t working at wal mart? probably getting minimum wage somewhere else.

    it’s not like they are leaving better paying jobs to work at wal mart.

  33. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    “i like the $4 prescriptions.”

    I bet you do. Pop goes the weasel! Your bullshit reply denies the existence of a crazy little thing we simple minded commoners call “time”, and that if it weren’t for the likes of Walmart, there would be better paying jobs. Instead, we get $800/month to spend the prime of our lives selling stuff made by child labor @ 14 cents an hour.

  34. Plain Jane
    December 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    6:18, do you not understand that offshoring of jobs to those low wage countries so we can buy cheaper junk at Walmart is why there aren’t enough jobs at any pay scale here? Or that those low paying jobs cost the tax payers to help those workers survive, give tax breaks and other incentives to get Walmart to bring all those wonderful jobs and low prices while doing nothing to increase revenues, putting other business out of business and their employees on the unemployment line? Walmart causes a decline in jobs and wages and not just retail wages.

  35. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    you should have stayed in school.

  36. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    really, what stuff can i buy at wal mart used to be made here? they don’t sell weed pj

  37. December 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    These guys are so far removed from the notion of fair wages and job-security, that you may as well be talking about the Tooth-Fairy and Santa Claus.
    The happy slave never did see a problem.

  38. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Seageezer says: I heard another saying, “stupid is as stupid does”. sitin’s protests and all! How about just getting a job and working. If others want to shop at WalMart or Safeway or where ever what the fuck business is it of yours? Is your life so empty and worthless you don’t have anything else to do ?

  39. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    The power of capitalism, which was once grounded in letting people get most of the rewards for their contributions, has been lost. Instead, we have a kleptocratic system where the people best able to cheat, to use existing loopholes, and to buy politicians to create more loopholes are now able to drain the rest of us dry.

    Mitch, if you think what is going on now is new, you should read Plunkett of Tammany Hall.

  40. Kultcha Kampf
    December 4, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Eureka, 2030:

    The shiftless, faceless poor slog from their Floyd Squires West side slums to Wal-Mart at the Bayshore Mall to buy cheap quasi-food and plastic crap. They slog home, pausing to buy highly adulterated crank on a streetcorner. When they run out of dough, they slog over to Social Services to register for more food stamps, general assistance, etc.

    Welcome to our “Victorian Seaport.”

  41. Thorstein Veblen
    December 4, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Surely, the solutions to unemployment in the US are clear to all, and as plain as the nose on all of our faces. First, we need to make our workers as poor and desperate as those in our competitor countries. And thats just a start. We also have to do away with ‘regulations’. So our beautiful country can be just as shitty of a place to live as any craphole of a third world country anywhere on this planet. Finally, do away with liability of corporations, i.e., ‘frivolous lawsuits’, which would require those who harm others to actually bear some responsibility for faulty products and the like.

    These measures will also solve illegal immigration. Really, why would anyone want to come to a country with wages competitive to China and a environment that is not fit to live in?

  42. Mitch
    December 5, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Anonymous 10:21,

    Sure. What’s going on is not new. I wouldn’t use Tammany as an example; I’d use the North American railroad barons. All that’s new is the system is so overwhelmed by its parasites that it is dying.

    There will be parasites in any biological system and an economic system is fundamentally biological as well. A parasite is a creature that is able to divert the resources brought to bear by a host, so that it doesn’t need to exert the energy to build those resources itself. There’s no value judgement implied in the term, at least by me.

    Capitalism has parasites, but the important ones are not where the right wingers pretend. Since capitalism is entirely based on the idea that people will get rewarded for building things to meet other people’s needs, there are two glaring examples of parasitism: advertising, which creates perceived needs rather than meeting real ones, and “risk-free banking,” which sells insurance services to the host economy but is unable to pay up when needed. I’d call these textbook examples of economic parasitism, but the textbooks are written by people who refuse to recognize the emperor of capitalism has been strolling in the buff for the last few decades.

    While the parasites used to drain less than 10% of the system’s energy, they now drain more than half. That’s the difference between a healthy host and a dead host.

  43. Plain Jane
    December 5, 2011 at 8:03 am

    And then there’s the defense industry, Mitch.

  44. Mitch
    December 5, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Oh. Right. Urp.

  45. Mitch
    December 5, 2011 at 8:21 am

    In case my 8:20 wasn’t clear — I shouldn’t assume it was — that was meant as the verbal equivalent of a Simpsons “Doh!” followed by a blush. The military-industrial-Congressional complex is by far the biggest parasite in town. And when I use the word “parasite” here, I DO mean it is a value judgement.

  46. jr
    December 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

    A very enlightening video about defense jobs vs jobs in a green economy can be found at http://www.occupyashlandoregon.org and scroll down to “Is Congress about to put you out of work.”

  47. Seageezer
    December 5, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Anon at 9:42: why do you assume that I need a job, or have a worthless life just because I feel the need to exercise my American right to protest?

    I point of fact, I have had a long, successful and productive career. I have contributed to society, raised two fine children, purchased a house, and have been an involved citizen. But here’s why I feel the need to protest:

    *I saw trillions of dollars ripped off from the American people, almost overnight due to the greedy actions of Wall Street crooks. My pension fund dropped over 40%. No one has been held accountable.

    *I have seen the equity in my house seriously decline. I know people who are struggling to keep their homes from being foreclosed. I see the banks (like B of A) engage in illegal foreclosures, with minimal consequences.

    *The growing income disparity in the US is obscene. In 1965 the average US production worker earned $19.61/hour (in adjusted 2011 dollars). At the same time, the average CEO earned $490.31/hour. In 2007 the average US production worker earned $19.71/hour (again, in adjusted 2011 dollars). At the same time, the average CEO earned $5,419.97/hour.

    *I see stupid trade policies that result in our primary export being jobs. I see Americans blinded by the love of cheap foreign-made crap. Consumerism is an addiction like crack cocaine, fueled by the brainwashing of main stream media. Corporations like Wal-Mart are the main culprits.

    *I see necessary social safety nets being destroyed so that the very wealthy can have a few extra bucks that will make absolutely no difference to the quality of their lives. I want an end to the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

    *Even though I have health insurance, the quality of health care sucks. I have had a number of good doctors driven out of practice by the bullshit of health care economics. I want a rational single payer system.

    *I see rapidly escalating costs for college education, and young people graduating with unimaginable debt and minimal employment opportunities. Even my children, with advanced degrees, have had a difficult time finding work commensurate with their investment in their education.

    *We were lied into an illegal and unnecessary war that cost hundreds of billions of dollars, killed tens of thousands. Illegal torture was done in my name. Our country lost its moral authority. No one was held accountable.

    *I see the environment being destroyed. I see the corporations heavily invested in fossil fuels blocking any meaningful attempt to address the ticking time bomb of climate change.

    *I saw a ridiculous Supreme Court ruling (Citizen’s United) declare that corporations are people, and can contribute unlimited amounts of money to political candidates. Yup, we’ve got the best government that money can buy.

    *Speaking of which, I feel sold out by both major political parties. There is in reality very little difference between them. The system requires even originally well meaning politicians to sell their soul for campaign contributions. They ought to be forced to wear corporate emblems like NASCAR drivers.

    *So Anon, 9:42, that’s why I feel the need to protest. Not because I don’t have a job, or have nothing better to do. It’s because if I don’t, America will soon be worthless. We have to stop the race to the bottom.

  48. Mitch
    December 5, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Seageezer,

    Except for the stuff about your kids… ditto!

    You’ve described it exactly, and it’s very annoying to see everyone who realizes how our country has been sold out characterized as a worthless whiner.

  49. Plain Jane
    December 5, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Well said, Seageezer! 100% ditto!

  50. December 5, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Amen!
    And if Seageezer’s declaration was shown to any of the corporate media outlets, they’d say it proves there is not clear “agenda” or no clear “list of demands.” When what they really mean is: “There is no way to get the complexity of reality on a bumper-sticker; therefore we will pretend it doesn’t exist!”

  51. Highly Financed
    December 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    As long as I can use my various identities to keep you all here, then you won’t be at the courthouse, or protesting against my Walmart!

    If you whiners want the full benefit of your social services, infrastructure and natural resources, then you should start your own national retailer, resource extraction, and shipping companies, and hire your own foreign children to be competitive!

    Lazy, pot-smoking, liberal slackers!

    Our community’s public infrastructure, services and resources have always belonged to the highest bidders to harvest and the public should have no say over how it’s used! Low prices have earned Walmart’s dependence on food stamps, welfare, and Medi-Cal for their employees, they’ve earned the resources and labor force of foreign dictatorships stabilized by 750 U.S. military bases.

    By the time Walmart drains the community of competition and raises their prices…I’ll be long-dead….

  52. retired guy
    December 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Seageezer-Very,very good and accurate post. How is it that the conservatives just can’t see what’s going on? I can’t even imagine what they read or where they get their info unless, of course, it’s strictly Fox news. Thanks for the synopsis of what is wrong here in the good old U.S.of A.

  53. Steak n Eggs
    December 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    retired guy..really? Just cannot comprehend how the other side is so clueless? Well here is a news alert from an Independent to you and all other Repubs or Dems….you’re all fucking clueless!

    As usual, we will be the ones to see through the partisan BS and make the right call when election time rolls around. Good luck with the Heraldo crusade.

  54. Anonymous
    December 6, 2011 at 2:27 am

    I am not sure how many people are infomred regarding Medi-Cal benefits for employed persons .There is a share of cost based upon monthly gross earnings . To give an example . A couple with gross earnings of $ 2000 per month with one dependant has a share of cost of $ 1067 per month . That means that anyone who has the misfortune of having ongoing health problems without being hospitalized is in all probability , going to be responsible for all of their medical bills . If there is a hospitalization , it is a good idea that it occur in one callender month and not cover even one day into a second month or that would result in a share of cost of $ 2134 . The Dept. of Social Services has the sliding scale information available for anyone who is interested in knowing how much the Medi-Cal Share of Cost is according to monthly income and family size .

  55. Anonymous
    December 6, 2011 at 2:37 am

    I was surprised to find that I saved on perscriptions through the Walmart Discount Plan which only cost $ 20 per month . Some percriptions actually cost me as low as $ 3.33 per month . I used to pay $5 co-pays when I had Blue Shield of California . I wonder what Walmart offers on its overall perscription benefits for employees .

  56. December 6, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Obama to Echo Theodore Roosevelt in a Big Thematic Speech on Tuesday
    Steven Thomma, News Report: Franklin Roosevelt had the New Deal. Harry Truman had the Fair Deal. John Kennedy had the New Frontier. Now President Barack Obama takes his stab at wrapping his presidency under one great mantle. Looking to inject his economic agenda with the grand sweep of history, he’ll travel Tuesday to the small town of Osawatomie, Kan., the same place where Theodore Roosevelt a century ago summoned the nation to a new progressive era under what he called a “New Nationalism.”

  57. Apologist Not
    December 6, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Let’s see…..

    President Obama vs the largest media propaganda machine the world has ever known.

    Even our local working-poor republicans, and most democrats, are brainwashed to vote for cheaper commodities over sustainable communities.

    Somebody needs to color-in all those Depression-era B&W photos to see how similar 40 million impoverished Americans look today.

  58. High Finance
    December 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    WalMart is just another bogeyman of the left because of their anti union stand.

    It has nothing to do with the wage rates that they pay. Otherwise you would be slamming all the businesses in Old Town which pay their employees minimum wage with no benefits and some don’t even give paid vacations.

    Silly Apologist Not crys about poor Obama. He will have 1 BILLION dollars to spend on his propaganda in the next 11 months. And that isn’t even counting the many billions spent by the unions, Soros and other left-wing pacs.

  59. Apologist Not
    December 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    We can always count on Heraldo’s resident pathological liar to pretend that our rural non-union hardware stores haven’t retained employees for a lifetime. (Hint: it wasn’t minimum wages that achieved that).

    A few big boxes gobble up the bulk of minimum wage jobs that a small community can sustain in social services, then, they immediately ship the profits out.

    A $1 billion presidential campaign every 4 years is chump change compared to a multi-trillion dollar imperial economy where 5 corporations own 80% of a nation’s media, and a growing percentage of the world’s media.

    Silly rural red-necks think they live in a nation where politics and the economy are level playing fields…. illustrating what Obama is up against. That so many dumb-asses think they’re benefiting is beyond belief, and the result of a propaganda machine that no civilization on Earth has ever seen before.

  60. High Finance
    December 6, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Silly Apologist Not, from where do you get your information about the wages paid to the minions at Pierson’s ???

    Are you making the claim that ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN are somehow right wing because they are owned by corporations ?

    And nowhere has any conservative claimed that national politics are on a “level playing field”. In addition to the billion dollars that Obama has he will have billions more in free advertising by the national media. Billions more in off the book donations of time & materials by big unions.

  61. Apologist Not
    December 7, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Silly Sophist!

    1) To what do you attribute so many life-long employees at Pierson’s? You know damn-well they are the first thing Home Depot would dump.

    2) There’s literally shelves of research and documentaries outlining the broad censorship taking place in U.S. mainstream media! Oh, I forgot, right-wingers aren’t readers.

    3) Every right-winger I’ve ever known regurgitates the level playing- field canard that “anyone” can win public office or become the 1%….with hard work, determination, (and the largess from those with unaccountable access to political power, public wealth, and the military might to harvest other nation’s remaining resources and expendable child labor).

    No problem for High-Liar, who will simply claim that Obama’s $1 billion campaign fund is magically doubled, no tippled, no quadrupled…. to non-verifiable billions and billions to make his point! All flowing from those bogeymen unionists who are, nonetheless, generally outspent nationally and locally.

    To merely complete with the meaningless drumbeat of the Dow Jones and refocus national attention on the actual condition of American workers and their families, (a fundamental democratic platform) would take the sustained investment of tens of billions a year….the equivalent today of returning the labor-reports and entire labor sections that once graced every newspaper and TV news show in America.

    Gingrich will exceed “Obama’s billions”, they almost always do, just like nearly every city council campaign in Eureka.

  62. Anonymous
    December 7, 2011 at 6:40 am

    obama had 2X the money mccain did.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/index.php

  63. December 7, 2011 at 7:05 am

    “Silly rural red-necks think they live in a nation where politics and the economy are level playing fields…”3:29

    No kidding there.
    I’ll never forget the Bush/Cheney posters
    throughout Orick, of all places. Gave me the creeps,
    until I realized for these folks, it was all about guns.
    (single issue, 2nd amendment)

    No libraries=Bush/Cheney posters.
    Libraries=Obama posters.

    Hi Fi, How do you explain this phenom?

  64. High Finance
    December 7, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Explain it ?

    I can’t even understand what you posted ! Somehow you’re linking posters to libraries ?

  65. December 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Sorry HiFi, the link is between voting behavior and libraries, ie
    reading. Can’t /don’t read- votes Republican. Yes, it is a gross generalization, becoming more and more precise as time moves on.

  66. High Finance
    December 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    What a terrible comment.

    Mature adults try to understand why people disagree with them. Instead you call your opponents stupid.

    If you look at studies of who votes Rep or Dem, you’ll find the higher the education level the more likely they are to vote Republican.

  67. jr
    December 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I remember a college professor at HSU who said that a college education creates conservative people. His thesis is that college educated people tend to earn more money and that those with larger incomes tend to be and vote more conservative than those who make less money. Interesting thesis.

  68. Dan
    December 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Yeah Junior be careful with that summation.
    There are many ways to be conservative,
    and many ways to be liberal. I think what we are
    looking for is a healthy mixture of both.
    Fricken vision is what we need.

  69. Plain Jane
    December 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    And yet the least informed people are those who get their “news” from Fox, a decidedly Republican source.

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-11-22/news/30431182_1_fox-news-results-show-viewers

    Why would educated people choose the least accurate news source? Or is it that Fox is accurate but their viewers are unable to process the information correctly?

  70. High Finance
    December 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    That is one way to look at it junior.

    Another way is that it is easy for non thinking people to be generous with other people’s money. That college education prepares most people to think. When they become successful they realize that becoming well off is not due to luck but due to hard work and short term sacrifice for their long term good.

    Then they look around at the people who envy their success. They see how people who didn’t plan ahead, who didn’t make the short term sacrifices and who don’t work as hard want to take their money away from them & give it to less deserving people. The progressive tax system takes away from the productive and gives to less or totally non productive people.

  71. Plain Jane
    December 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Yeah, Steve got educated and realized that inheriting a large fortune wasn’t luck but due to his own hard work and sacrifice.

  72. tra
    December 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    In the past, those with higher levels of education trended Republican, but I’m not sure that’s still as true as it used to be. Here’s what a Gallup poll taken during the 2008 Presidential election found:

    PRINCETON, NJ — Barack Obama leads John McCain by a significant margin among voters with the most education, but trails the likely Republican nominee among voters with the least formal education.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/106381/obama-education-gap-extends-general-election.aspx

    This poll showed McCain leading Obama by 6 points among those with only a high-school education or less, the two candidates being tied among those with some college and among those with a 4 year college degree, and Obama leading McCain by 10 points among those with a postrgraduate degree.

    I did a brief google search looking for more recent data, including actual exit poll data from 2008 and 2010, but no luck. But if someone has the time to do a more extensive search, it would be interesting to see whether the above poll was a fluke, or whether it represents an ongoing shift toward Democrats among college-educated voters.

    If so, I suspect that would be due, at least in part, to the fact that more women and minorities are earning college degrees today. Of course engaging in climate-change denialist conspiracy theories, embracing “intelligent design” and rejecting the theory of evolution, and so on — those things probably aren’t helping them with educated voters either.

  73. tra
    December 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    The progressive tax system takes away from the productive and gives to less or totally non productive people.

    Ah, the “useless eaters” philosophy. Now where have I heard that before?

  74. tra
    December 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Okay, here’s an article that talks about the exit polls from 2008 and 2010.

    In his 2008 victory, Mr. Obama broke through among several important voter groups. Exit polls showed that he carried suburbanites, college graduates and those earning more than $200,000.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/obama-campaign-borrows-from-bush-04-playbook/

  75. Apologist Not
    December 8, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Careful, if you expose Hi-Fi’s ignorance too much he doesn’t play.

  76. Alas
    December 8, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Anonymous says:
    December 7, 2011 at 6:40 am

    “obama had 2X the money mccain did”.

    Sheri Arkley spent 5x John Cumming’s $10,000.

    It’s all corrupt, most Americans know it, that’s why most Americans don’t participate…..an open invitation to tyranny.

  77. High Finance
    December 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Tra, Obama was a special case. The first time in history a black man was the nominee combined with the lack of enthusiasm of people for John McCain.

    Apologist Not should apologise for his constant nastiness.

  78. Fact Checker
    December 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Really High Treason? Obama’s father is black and his mother is white. Why the reference to part of his race? Does race still matter to you High Treason? McCain: How could he and Palin create anything but Late Night Talk Show jokes?

  79. Apologist Not
    December 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    No need to search far for High Liar’s “nastiness.”

    He should apologize to Pierson’s “minions” and, instead, praise our successful local-owned hardware stores that can still retain numerous life-long employees for young Americans to aspire to.

    These are extremely knowledgeable individuals who’s information enabled me to act as my own contractor in building my successful business.

    Is it ignorance or willful ignorance, that keeps the High-Liar from acknowledging national and local research that reach the same conclusion: rural economies are limited in the number of poverty-wage jobs they can sustain.

    Apparently, the same is true for our nation.

    “Ignorance” and “traitor” go hand-in-hand.

  80. Jack Sherman
    December 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Ouch!

    Have a little compassion there Appologist…High Finance probably just beat his dog to death and there’s no one left to bite him.

  81. Alas
    December 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    “The progressive tax system takes away from the productive and gives to less or totally non productive people”.

    As all other industrialized nations discovered long ago, (the hard way), paying up-front to ensure that the country’s poor have basic needs met, is the conservative alternative to paying dearly later on in rising poverty, disease and ignorance.

    Yet, there’s always the radical few who know no other success in life than to benefit on others economic decline, illness, and ignorance.

  82. Thorstein Veblen
    December 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Alas, I think it’s more involved than just maintaining the ‘safety net’, though that important too. People need to feel like they have a fair shot, that the game isn’t rigged, otherwise they won’t buy in to the system. At least, not forever they won’t.

  83. High Finance
    December 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Apologist Not makes up shit all the time.

    The begining employees at Piersons make no more than the begining employees at Home Depot.

    The longer term employees at Piersons make a whole lot more than the shorter term employees. Just as the longer term Home Depot employees make a lot more than their beginners.

    There is no credible evidence that shows Pierson pays his employees more than Home Depot does theirs. Anybody who says differently is either a fool or a liar.

  84. December 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    10% across the board. No loopholes. No deductions.
    There, problem solved; you can all go to bed now.
    Your welcome.

  85. Apologist Not
    December 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    WHAT???

    Hi-Colonic isn’t demanding “credible evidence” that rural economies are limited in the number of poverty-wage jobs they can sustain??

    That’s right!

    Mr. High-Nastiness likes communities and a nation bankrupted by poverty wages, so that he has more “minions” to insult without apology.

    Instead, he demands “credible evidence” to refute his own lying eyes!

    I have been receiving professional advice from the same employees at Pierson’s for over a generation. Imagine that, employees retained and rewarded for gaining/sharing knowledge.

    I must return to Home Depot every year when I visit my daughter and work on her house. I rarely see the same employees, and I always know more about what they carry, where it is, and how it works.

    Hi-liar either never travels, has never been to a Home Depot (or any other big box) or he doesn’t have honest friends to inform him, or he doesn’t read……..

    Fools make the best traitors.

  86. 713
    December 9, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Well apologist, then why do you care about home depot? Nobody will shop there, right?

  87. Plain Jane
    December 9, 2011 at 6:47 am

    HiFi is a building contractor / taxpayer subsidized housing developer who doesn’t need the services of knowledgeable hardware store employees. This is a person whose inheritance and income were / are derived from local sources (garbage, logging, real estate / rentals) who taunts about leaving town to shop, supports national big boxes over local business, denigrates employers who pay more than they absolutely have to in wages and benefits as he insults the employees who need financial assistance to live on the poverty wages he advocates. He rants for a free market and against social programs to even slightly improve the lives of the poor at the same time he is collecting taxpayer subsidies on his low income rentals. As he is complaining about the lowest tax rates in his lifetime being too high and blaming the poor for the economic crisis, he wails about the deficit while sitting on the BOD of a bank which took TARP bailouts. In short, a hypocritical, dishonest right winger for whom the word “enough” is an obscenity when applied to themselves.

  88. Mitch
    December 9, 2011 at 6:48 am

    tra,

    Coming from you, 11:07 is surprising. Correlation is not causation, and there are a zillion confounds related to education: likelihood of unemployment, for starters. Any political differences associated with education level might disappear when adjusted for such things as income, wealth, and confidence that one will continue to have one’s job.

    There’s no need to insult every Republican voter. It’s pointless; the sort of whistling-past-the-graveyard that’s too often engaged in by the left.

  89. Mitch
    December 9, 2011 at 6:55 am

    713,

    You are refusing to understand the obvious: size matters. The free market works when you have competitors with roughly the same resources (three individual cobblers in a town, for example). It fails dreadfully when there is an out-sized competitor. Adam Smith was not envisioning Walmart.

    When a Walmart or a Home Depot enters a market, it does not need to take all shoppers away from a Piersons — it just needs to carve off enough to remove any profitability from the smaller enterprise. The smaller enterprise fails, and then NOBODY has a choice of where to shop.

    Supporting Home Depot or Walmart on the grounds they offer “choice” is simplistic and wrong. Do you really want to live in the future that’s the logical outcome of your thinking — with Walmart being the only remaining retailer for the 99%, and therefore dictating what gets made, by whom, in which country, and at what price?

  90. 713
    December 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

    why didn’t that happen in crescent city, mitch?

  91. Mitch
    December 9, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Is Crescent City your example of a thriving central business district, 713?

  92. Mitch
    December 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I recently had to drive for four hours from one city in the southeastern US to another. I asked a relative where I could find a small store selling toys on that four hour route. She has driven the route many times. All she could think of was Walmart. And when I googled, there really was very little alternative within a few miles of that route.

    In the town about five miles from where she lives, it’s basically Walmart for anything new. Much of rural America is already that way.

  93. December 9, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Upon closer inspection, the Forbes list reveals that six Waltons—all children (one daughter-in-law) of Sam or James “Bud” Walton the founders of Wal-Mart—were on the list. The combined worth of the Walton six was $69.7 billion in 2007—which equated to the total wealth of the entire bottom thirty percent!

  94. Apologist Not
    December 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    The founding Fathers knew the dangers of unchecked wealth and inheritance and were correct that it could return the U.S. to an accumulation of power similar to a monarchy.

    Monarchy or corporatocracy, there are always going to be traitors supporting it.

    The irony is how corporate centralization, ie, interlocking directorates of financiers, manufacturing and distribution, begins to have the same look of “communism” , with its limited diversity of retailers, products, and price.

    It’s only when the people come together in our own economic and social interests that the communist bugaboo is invoked.

  95. Mitch
    December 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Apologist Not,

    You’ve got it exactly right: the common feature between today’s “capitalism” and yesterday’s “communism” is huge bureaucracies that work to the benefit of small groups of insiders and diffuse responsibility. In both environments, people with mainstream educations think that they know more than they really do, and are able to hide their mistakes by abusing their power. In both environments, the worship of the big makes it difficult for the bureaucracies to remain in touch with the reality “below.”

    Read some of Vaclav Havel’s essays if this intrigues you.

    The problem faced by the remains of democratic capitalism is that as large entities appear, they take over the system and turn it into fascism. It’s really only different from Stalinism in that, in our system, the wealthy try to pretend they don’t control things, and in the other system, the people who control things try to pretend they are working for the people instead of themselves.

    The solution is restoring a system of many small players with power and wealth relatively well-distributed, but putting in place protections against the growth of vast power in vast enterprises — including government. That’s what the founders had in mind, and it’s what we give only lip service to.

  96. Plain Jane
    December 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Well said Mitch. Thank you.

  97. Plain Jane
    December 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Corporations are similar to fascism by design and goals. They are ruled by a strong dictator appointed by people he profits while none of the workers’ or community interests and few of the owners’ are represented. They are expansionary, always looking to gobble up one after another to eliminate competition and control a larger share of market world. They use deception, manipulation, propaganda and political bribes to gain power and wealth and use their increased power and wealth as weapons to increase it even more.

  98. High Finance
    December 9, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Is there no end to your abundance of misinformation PJ ?

    Corporations are run by a CEO who answers to a board of directors that are elected by the owners (stockholders). If they don’t answer to the owner’s interests they are replaced.

    Businesses are formed by the owners to make a profit. They are not formed to give jobs to people or to make their communities happy. However, when they make a profit they provide jobs. Those jobs do improve the community.

    Jesus, you would have been happier in the old Soviet Union.

  99. skippy
    December 9, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    An article is in the Humboldt Sentinel about Walmart coming to Eureka and their strategy of keeping it secret to the public through non-disclosure agreements. City officials and Manager David Tyson won’t tell you about it, but the surprising information is here for you and the public to be made aware of. I hope you’ll give it a gander. Thanks…

    http://humboldtsentinel.com/2011/12/09/weekly-roundup-for-december-9-2011/

    Excuse me, I need to go now. The Walmart attorneys are calling and they don’t seem happy.

  100. Plain Jane
    December 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Poor HiFi. How does a man make it onto the Board of Directors of a bank without knowing that not everyone who owns a share of stock has voting rights? Does he really think the majority of share owners (not majority owners) of Walmart could fire the CEO? That he still believes corporate profits mean jobs in a community is just pathetic but he is, after all, one of the misinformed Fox faithful.

  101. Plain Jane
    December 9, 2011 at 9:22 pm
  102. 713
    December 10, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Mitch says:
    December 9, 2011 at 8:36 am
    Is Crescent City your example of a thriving central business district, 713?

    I don’t remember crescent city ever being a thriving business district. It is not the post-walmart wasteland you describe either, now is it? They have a home depot too, but for some reason if those two stores open in eureka, you believe all the retailers will close down even though we have 4X the population of crescent city.

    If you really want to help local retailers, you should ban the Internet. Next time you get a package, ask the delivery person how many of those smiley amazon.com boxes they are dropping off every day around here.

  103. 713
    December 10, 2011 at 4:19 am

    PJ,
    Why would you buy a stock with no voting rights?

  104. Walt
    December 10, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Stockholder voting rights are like citizen voting rights: you can vote your ten shares as you please, but the CEO and his backers have ten billion shares, so you lose. With Citizens United, you have one vote, and you can give Mr. Thompson $20, but Walmart has $20 million, PLUS Nox Spews, so you lose. It APPEARS humans have power, so they keep voting, but really they don’t. It APPEARS stockholders have power, so they keep buying stocks, but they’re just along for the ride.

  105. Mitch
    December 10, 2011 at 7:04 am

    PJ @ 1:42,

    You’re welcome. Now we have to accept that having a common understanding of the problems doesn’t mean we agree on the solutions. Even having agreement on where we’d like society to head doesn’t mean we agree on the road.

    In my opinion, that’s where almost all attempts to stand up to power have failed — wide agreement develops on the problems, but attempts to form alliances toward particular solutions have generally failed. The failures have not been entirely the fault of the participants — the media often contributes, as do police informants and paid disrupters.

    I believe — and I think many people disagree — that it’s going to need a social and individual change before we see an effective political change. I think many people think that changing from “bad” people to “good” people in political office will be effective change. That IS change, but the system is good at absorbing such change, telling us how proud we should be of it, and going on about its destructive business. If the transition from W to President Obama did not make this clear, I don’t know what could.

    That’s why I’m so thrilled that Occupy, despite media “demands,” has refused to offer solutions or goals, instead focusing on the elephant-in-the-room problems. I’m less thrilled with the 99/1 framing, though I admit it makes a perfect bumper sticker and slogan.

    The change that I believe is needed is for people to fully understand that we are swimming in a sea of propaganda and misinformation, leading us to believe we are better served by the existing system and its leaders than is actually true. It’s complicated, because our individual material lives are undoubtedly improved by many of the products that the economic system has brought forth. Trying to tell people the system is broken will bring forth a justified litany of all the benefits we have today.

    Some of the things that need to become widely understood:

    (1) yes, there have been benefits, but they have not been weighed against their costs, with destruction of the global environment being the most well-known cost, but with many others hidden lightly under a lace curtain we all cooperate in not lifting (child labor, for a starter; the military industrial complex as a main course); and

    (2) many perceived benefits are really without value, only desirable due to the sea of propaganda (consumer advertising) in which we swim; and

    (3) many of the real benefits can continue to be achieved without sticking strictly to the corrupted system we now live with; and

    (4) the benefits are being lost as we stick to the corrupted system anyway; and,

    (5) when enough withdrawal of consent has taken place, the corrupted system begins to lose power.

    I think if people fully appreciate these points, there’s a possibility of peaceful change, conceivably via the vote. Bank Transfer Day, in my opinion, was huge, even though we will never actually hear that from the mainstream media.

    We need to try to “be the change [we] want to see.” I recognize that many of the back-to-the-landers in Humboldt are way ahead of me in this. I also recognize how much harder it is to shine the spotlight inside than it is to point blame outwards.

  106. Plain Jane
    December 10, 2011 at 8:14 am

    How can you be so eloquent so early in the morning, Mitch?

    This article is a perfect example of the “power” of shareowner voting rights at BofA:

    “After a furious campaign by some of Bank of America’s biggest stakeholders, including the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the country’s largest pension fund, shareholders managed to walk away from the annual meeting with a tiny victory. By just about the slimmest of margins, with 50.3% of the vote, shareholders forced the company to separate the offices of board chairman and CEO. In theory, an independent chairman would provide an important reality check on the strategies of the CEO.

    In theory. In reality, Bank of America turned this “victory” into a slap in the face. The company’s new chairman of the board is Walter E. Massey, a former president of Morehouse College. Massey, 71, has been a member of the Bank of America board since 1998 and during that time approved all of the Lewis deals that many shareholders were protesting by their votes.
    Lewis, who remains the CEO, is now talking about staying on at least until the current crisis is over and perhaps as long as three years.”

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/JubaksJournal/why-investors-cant-oust-bad-ceos.aspx

    713, I wouldn’t buy voting or non-voting stocks, Class A or Class B, mutual funds or direct ownership. I haven’t owned a single share of anything since the middle of 2008 thanks to Dr. Krugman and P.C. Roberts for their prescient alarms. I’m still sick over my friends economic losses because they wouldn’t listen to “liberal economists.”

  107. December 10, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I think the Occupy has been a great success so far.

    Occupy has brought to the forefront of national debate the real problem of economic inequality and the corrupt influence of money in democracy.

    And it has done so in less than three months.

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  108. Plain Jane
    December 10, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I agree, Bill. As someone who has been debating these issues for years, locally and nationally, the recent meteoric change in opinion (no doubt given a great boost by the horrid economy and real pain that so many are suffering) is phenomenal. Occupy forced the media to move the rising inequality discussion from the opinion page to the front page and gave the majority who share their concerns the confidence to voice their opinions against the “class warfare” smears used so successfully in the past to shut down the discussion. There’s’ an old saying, “Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better” that is proven time after time. If people had started speaking up decades ago about the inevitable outcome of “greed is good,” “deficits don’t matter,” “tax cuts create jobs and decrease deficits,” things wouldn’t have gotten so bad; but they apparently had to get this bad before enough people woke up and said “ENOUGH!”

  109. Just Middle Class
    December 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Now to continue the discussion, not to focus on this stupid camping thing, is the challenge. Although the basic message is good, the specific ways to achieve the stated goals are not acceptable to most folks. The devil is in the details. The basis of our democracy is the majority vote, if you are a minority stockholder or voter, you wil be able to raise the issue, but unless you are able to bring others to your side, you will not make progress.

  110. Anonymous
    December 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

    ” the specific ways to achieve the stated goals are not acceptable to most folks. The devil is in the details. The basis of our democracy is the majority vote,”

    First, the specific ways to achieve the stated goals ARE acceptable to most folks. Second, you’re focusing on the details all the while there’s the bigger issue being addressed by the people. Third, nobody was given a vote regarding the $10,000,000,000,000 in corporate bailouts this decade alone. With 400,000,000 people in this country, how much money is that per person divided equally regardless of age race sex or creed? How much of that money went to how few people instead, and how much labor does their lifestyle consist of? How much is the government’s military budget? How much does contracting money intended for US infrastructure pave new cities overseas instead, spent as “defense funds”?

    Why is food still getting more expensive while portions continue to diminish, right here in the good ol’ U S of A?

    “The protest” is everybody’s protest. The same as every back to back War has been the one same War. When any line is drawn in the sand by us, as it has been done to us by them regardless, “the protesters” are always in the right. In this day and age, with all that my own history of learning has beseached unto me, the importance of keeping the line in the sand in mind is greater than ever. “The protesters”…the campers and the vandals alike…are all on our side. The root of it all is desperation, not aggression. We owe it to everybody to focus effort and discussion on the specific people who are in positons to make changes. I don’t care about people camping on teh courthouse lawn, I care about the fact that I’m dumping money into a system that’s been sinking for so long that the people in charge should be thrown to the curb.

    It’s 2012, there should be noticeable improvements in everybody’s daily quality of life by now. Instead there’s an astounding increase in availability of expensive gimmicky electronic gizmos and a dramatic decrease in natural open space as well as access to it. Instead there is a continuing increase in the amount of time we spend laboring coupled with a continuing decrease in what our labor grants us in exchange for other goods and services Instead there’s way more pollution and way fewer natural, self sustaining ecosystems. More apartment complexes and strip malls are being built, fewer acre’d homes are being made. Commercial costs increase, yet Fortune 500 financial ability still manages to shove advertisements for their junk food and medicines and new cars in our faces all day, every day, everywhere.

  111. Plain Jane
    December 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

    The deck is stacked to make it almost impossible for ordinary share owners to change the leadership or direction of corporations, JMC. Read the article I linked above for the gory details.

  112. Plain Jane
    December 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Remember, most authoritarian governments hold sham elections to allow voters the illusion that they have representation, but they are no more valid elections than corporate elections. Of course, corporate share owners can sell their shares and buy shares in corporations that more closely fit their ideals (or put the money in the mattress where they maintain total control) while voters in countries with sham elections have more trouble changing countries.

  113. High Finance
    December 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    No. What spoiled children need to learn is that an election is not a “sham” just because you lost. It just means that you didn’t have a majority that supported you.

    CEO’s are not replaced because PJ with her 3 shares don’t like them if other stockholders with 3 million shares do.

  114. Apologist Not
    December 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Pj just provided an excellent example of how a majority vote by shareholders does NOTHING to alter its course.

    And thanks Mitch for 1:05.

    It’s pathetic to read how desperate fools are becoming to defend corporate tyranny. And it’s astounding how rural right-wingers still think they are beneficiaries.

    Yes, these corporate behemoths create jobs. Go ahead, wish them larger fortunes and they will reach out to even more dictators and child-labor.

    Fools!

    Any number of catalysts, the end of cheap oil among them, will inevitably motivate communities to return to economic self-sufficiency….few will want to pay 3-times, or more, for the same toxic crap made by children; commodities literally designed to quickly fail.

    It will take much of the cheap oil that remains to accomplish this peacefully and intelligently, and it will take lots of political resolve.

    Once America’s ignorant traitors see how profitable change can be, they’ll be the first to build and maintain their neighborhood’s solar/hydrogen power plant on their land at a stable, low cost.

  115. Anonymous
    December 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    High Finance isn’t a man, he’s somebody’s share.

  116. 713
    December 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    ” I haven’t owned a single share of anything since the middle of 2008″

    You missed the boat. I bought all the way through the dip. Have fun with your 2% CDs. You know you’re losing only at that rate, right?

  117. Plain Jane
    December 11, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I’d rather earn 2% on the 60% I have left than lose even more in the rigged stock market casino, but thanks for your concern.

    HiFi isn’t a reader. He hears everything he wants to hear from his buddies Rush and Glenn.

  118. High Finance
    December 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I love Rush but Glenn should be seeking a lot of mental help.

    But perhaps you wouldn’t be so angry & bitter about your financial circumstances PJ, if you listened to 713.

  119. Plain Jane
    December 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Except I’m not angry or bitter about my financial circumstances, HiFi. I’m quite comfortable and plan to stay that way. Some people have enough and are happy to make a decent living without risking it all to make a killing. I don’t get a thrill out of making money by other people losing it and I certainly don’t want to enrich people like you who do.

  120. December 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    “I love Rush” HiFi
    Oncologist alert, we’ve found the tumor,
    it is aggressive and malignant.

  121. 713
    December 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    PJ,
    I have averaged over 10% annual returns in the last 3 years, closer to 16% overall. You say you lost 40%, but a decent portion or all of that was probably gains anyway if you’d been in the market very long. Earlier you stated you saved a bunch by getting out in the middle of 2008. You would be at 100% now if you’d stayed in, you can’t get greedy.

    The market was only **really down** for a short period. I bought as much as I could afford at that time without getting into my grocery money. It is not a casino game to me. I look at the financial statements, the industry they are in, book value, etc. before i buy anything. Then I hold forever – or at least 5 years. You ought to get back into equities, you are losing your ass in cash. There are a bunch of solid stocks that are paying 2 times what you are getting in dividends.

  122. Plain Jane
    December 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I was in the stock market for many years and all of what I lost was really prior gains. After cruising through 1987 with most of my investments local and then seeing so much wealth (40% of my stock portfolio) disappear almost instantly in the stock market 2007 / 2008 was a real wake up call. I have enough to live comfortably and would rather my money help the local economy which is where my money originates, My score card doesn’t register wealth as a measure of winning. Having enough is enough for some people but for others there’s no such thing. I’d rather be happy with enough than always looking for more. Other opinions obviously vary.

  123. Mitch
    December 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    713,

    I’m curious. You say you read financial statements, look at book value, etc… Let’s ignore stock dividends for the moment, and just look at the prices of your stocks. I’m wondering what you think causes those prices to fluctuate. In particular, for your best investment, what caused the price to rise? And, if you believe in the free market, why was the stock not at its current price when you bought it? After all, everything you knew about the stock was known by other investors. What caused its value to change, in your opinion?

  124. 713
    December 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Expectation.

  125. Mitch
    December 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    So it’s your belief that you are making money because you are predicting changes in the expectations of those who are less clever than you?

  126. 713
    December 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    No, that would be lunacy. Everybody has different expectations, and mine is a longer term approach than some. I believe I’m making money because I am not buying and selling every time some chicken little cries the sky is falling. I buy stock in companies that make money, have a good plan, provide good products or services, and solid book value. I don’t care if they had a bad quarter, what their CEO gets paid, or if they missed their analysts expectations. If the stock goes down, too bad, but the question is whether the underlying reasons I bought the stock have changed. If they have, I sell it whether it is up or down.

    There are people out there buying and selling every day on technical analysis, rumors, gossip, inside information, cash flow, and for a variety of other reasons. Some sell to lock in profits, others to book a loss for tax purposes, I don’t get involved in that and look at it as more of a long term plan. What will the company look like in 5 or 10 years? That’s what works for me.

  127. Mitch
    December 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Sorry, 713, I truly don’t get it. You appear to be saying that you can recognize when a company is undervalued (which is just another way of saying you expect your investment to be worth more in five to ten years), yet you think it would be “lunacy” to predict what I called “changes in the expectations of those who are less clever than you.”

    That sounds contradictory to me.

    People are selling you their shares at $5, and you are buying them because you expect them to be worth $6 (or $7 or $10) in five or ten years. But the people who are selling you their shares obviously don’t think that, or they would be keeping their shares for themselves.

    I can understand how someone with superior information or a better analysis of a company can make money in the stock market, but that always seems to be a zero sum game with someone with less information or a worse analysis.

    Do you not see it that way?

  128. 713
    December 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Timeframes and circumstances Mitch, that’s what you are missing. I buy the five dollar stock because I think it will be worth more in ten years from somebody who may have paid 3.00 two years ago and felt like 5 was a good place to get out. Maybe grandpa sells a certain amount every month to fund his retirement. A mutual fund manager might sell for liquidity purposes. pj sold a bunch of stock because she was worried about her retirement and I bought her stock because I am not close to retirement. Company value and stock price do not always stay on par with each other because of everybody’s expectations, timeframes, and circumstances.

  129. 713
    December 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Also Mitch, don’t take this to mean I haven’t eaten shit on a few of these.

  130. Plain Jane
    December 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    For some it’s not just about where you can make the most money, 713. You don’t care about how much the workers are paid or where they work, just a bottom line. Other people are just interested in a safe place to park their money where it does some good for the community they love. I’d rather loan money via my local banks and credit unions to local people working to make this a better community. Investing in our own community feels good for some but not for everyone. Nothing is for everyone. .

  131. Anonymous
    December 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I’m partial to muni bonds: you can make close to five percent and investing in schools is easier on the conscience than investing in corporate America.

  132. Mitch
    December 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    713,

    Thanks for explaining your beliefs. I don’t think they’re correct, but if they’re working for you I’m glad for you.

    FWIW, I’ve made money in the stock market in the past. I’ve also lost a lot of money on “good for the world” stocks, which I think was just plain stupid — it would have been much more straightforward to just give the money to charity.

    I’m reading Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short” right now. While it deals specifically with the sub-prime meltdown and not the stock market, it does raise questions about whether the stock market is doing the job for which it is designed. And I’ve never trusted a banker or a broker, ever.

  133. 713
    December 13, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Mitch, read this article:
    http://news.yahoo.com/costco-pullback-makes-time-buy-bulk-100319788.html

    I think you will see what I am saying. I wouldn’t buy that stock because it is off its 52 week high or it is oversold due to profit taking.

    Not one mention of how Costco is actually doing, as a business.

    Everybody has their own reasons for buying and selling, that’s what makes it work.

  134. Mitch
    December 13, 2011 at 7:56 am

    OK, I think I understand what you’re pointing out; you are able to buy at a price you consider good value because others are making voluntary trading decisions on different grounds. Then, you are able to sell to others when you think the value is no longer as good, because others are still making voluntary trading decisions on other grounds. Is that it?

    If that’s it, it does still sound very zero sum — every dollar you make on your five year investment is a dollar effectively lost by the trader who sold the stock at an inopportune moment that the other trader thought was the right moment to sell. That direct connection is made less obvious by the other trader’s alternative investments.

    To the extent that the stock market is meant to naturally move capital to places that best meet society’s needs, I find it hard to see how “your gain/their loss” or vice versa contributes to that goal. I can understand how there would be a “natural” price, and that the stock will bounce around that natural price. I can also understand that the natural price will change with events.

    It seems that all the trading is just arbitrage of moves from that natural price — if that’s the service the trading is providing to our society, is it fair to say that the service might be using more of our resources than it is worth?

    Might there not be an alternate way for a society to carry out that price discovery that doesn’t involve the devotion of so many resources to our financial institutions? Obviously large bureaucratic central planning systems have failed dismally, but what about other possible approaches?

    As one (not gonna happen) example, what if stock markets were open for trading one day per month, or one day per year? What would be the impact on capital allocation? And if it would be negligible, why do we have 24/7 trading? Of course, alternate markets would develop to handle the between windows casino, but those alternate markets need not be offered tax advantages.

    My concern/dismay is that we are all so swimming in our assumptions that we don’t even rate questions like that in my previous paragraph as valid questions.

  135. Mitch
    December 13, 2011 at 8:22 am

    713,

    Here’s another question about another alternative approach, probably also inconceivable. My question is why?

    Long term capital gains are treated favorably at tax time, supposedly to encourage capital investment.

    Instead of paying capital gains taxes on transfers of gains from one investment to another, why not have a one-time tax credit (not deduction — no need to offer a better deal to those in higher brackets) upon any form of long term capital lockup (10 years, say), to encourage such investment, then a corresponding fee on any withdrawals from the lockup, and then no taxation difference between leaving your investment with one company vs. moving it from company to company on a daily basis? If the purpose of long-term capital gains tax rates is to encourage capital investment, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to extend the deduction based on the use of funds as capital investment, rather than on investment in a particular stock? Such an approach would eliminate tax-efficiency trading.

  136. 713
    December 14, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Mitch,
    Thank you for your reasonable response and questions. First, I hardly ever sell.

    If you limit the number of trading days or mandate the time one has to hold an investment, you lose the liquidity that makes the stock market so attractive.

    Here’s my .02: If you look at difference between the have and the have-nots, what is the big difference? To me it is equity, or ownership in private property. The people with ownership are collecting dividends and rents, the people without are paying it. How do we fix this?

    You can’t buy a house or start a business with $50, but you can go online and buy some equity in a company. If you take the same $50 and put it in the bank, it will probably never be worth much more than it is now. In the stock market, it could be 10X that in 10 years. If you could scrape together $20 or $50 a month and invest it, in the long term it probably will be worth hundreds of thousands, if not a million. It depends on how long you have compounding interest working for you. Once you get past a certain point, you will be getting exponential returns.

    It is a shame when people discourage investment in the equities because it is almost the only way a person with modest means can accumulate any significant wealth. Please don’t take that away.

  137. Mitch
    December 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

    713,

    Someone investing in the stock market from 1996 to 2008 would have come out with an inflation-adjusted gain of zero.

    It’s true that there are periods where substantial gains can be made. For someone with lots of spare money, it’s fine to take the gamble; for a couple with $50/month to scrape together while trying to support a family on two minimum wage jobs without real health coverage, I’m not so sure. The only way to hit a home run is with individual stock investments, and that’s exceptionally risky compared with, say, an index fund. The index fund will not get you very far.

    This is one of the most fundamental ways in which it is easier for a wealthy person to make money than it is for a person of modest means — if risk raises gains, then the ability to play with “fun money” enables someone to painlessly make high gains that a person of modest means would have to bet the rent to match.

    Have you calculated the “significant wealth” that someone can accumulate at $50/month over 30 years? Try it sometime — use the real, after-inflation return of the NYSE, DJIA, or NASDAQ over the past thirty years and see how much wealth the person has accumulated. It’s going to be somewhere in the $30K to $50K range. That’s nice — it will get you a down payment on a house, and you can begin trying to pay off a mortgage at 50, after 30 years of savings, with perhaps 15 years of income ahead.

    Compare it with the tax break a millionaire gets on a $600,000 mortgage, a break that is completely unavailable to someone who cannot put together a down payment on a small house, a break that becomes more valuable as your tax bracket goes up, and that has the economic effect of making loans more expensive (if some people can count on a highly discounted rate, the banks can charge a higher rate, relying on people taking the discount into account).

    Compare it with the typical bonus a typical Wall Street executive gets for so grossly misjudging risk that his company needs to be bailed out by the minimum wage workers of the country.

    When people suggest the system is rigged against those of modest incomes, I agree entirely. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the political system, if driven by money, will work to the benefit of those with the money to buy entrance

  138. Mitch
    December 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

    A couple more quick thoughts…

    1) Isn’t it weird that the great middle-class tax deduction, the mortgage interest deduction, is offered on the loan instead of the house? Wouldn’t it be more economically effective, less costly (especially in high interest rate environments), and more fair to people of moderate means if the tax break were given in the form of a credit of up to $50,000 of down payment, spread over five years? Which is being encouraged — homeownership or the taking out of loans?

    2) Given the generally acknowledged truth that riskier investments give higher returns, and the fact that it is riskier for a person of low means to invest n dollars than it is for a person of higher means to invest the same amount, wouldn’t it make sense for tax breaks on capital gains to be more generous for people of lower incomes, instead of for those of higher incomes? If the system really wanted to encourage investment by all, that would be a good start.

    3) I believe you are right about early investment and delayed gratification being a key to getting out of poverty, given the system that we are in. So isn’t it amazing that so much of our culture is about convincing people to part with their money NOW, for things they only need as a result of consumer advertising. Isn’t it amazing that credit card teaser rates are legal?

  139. Anonymous
    December 14, 2011 at 10:03 am

    713, your whole argument is garbage. The stock market isn’t sure money. It’s not win/win. People lose their life savings all the time. You’re bellowing the old “I’ve done it, so can anybody!” You have no idea how people who are green to the stock scene are treated by brokers and other investors. It’s a cuthroat gamble, losers lose big and get no second chances. Swindlers are the norm. People who play and win are shaking hands and have lots to lose, because everybody loses at some point, and never just once.

    The stock market lives up to the century old creed “never give a sucker an even break.” Your advice is crap, simple as that.

  140. Harold Knight
    December 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    My daughter needed a safe investment for the $10,000 she had worked many years to save. I sent her to the bank with a simple note to buy a 10 year FDIC CD. It was in the early 90’s and the interest rate was near 10%.

    The WF executive sold her into the money market anyway telling her to ignore my note.

    Shortly afterward, when the market crashed, I told her, aren’t you glad you bought an FDIC CD? When she checked, she noticed she was losing principle!

    I assisted her in demanding her money back on the basis of being manipulated by the bank agent. They refused.

    When they received their notice to appear in court, they returned every penny, plus interest, plus court-filing costs.

    We agreed the case was “settled”, they never admitted fault, and they probably never changed their practices.

    All corrupt systems have their advocates. The brokers will gain 1% off your investment no matter how delusional you are.

    Only the insiders make the big bucks, so they devised strategies that included Congress in their profiteering…you bet they want your business and tax-free trading.

    The corruption and delusion is rampant.

    Apparently, there’s no shortage of local candidates who will welcome Walmart to Eureka, understanding that their Walmart stock will increase. The larger Walmart investors that back these candidates share the same dream.

    Meanwhile, if Eureka were a stock, the safe bet is to sell short.

  141. 713
    December 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Mitch,
    You have to dollar cost average. if you look at the index and say it was x in 1996 and x in 2008, of course if looks bad, but if you made a consistent investment over that time, you would have made money because of all the shares you bought when it was depressed.

    I have done the $50/month thing. http://partners.leadfusion.com/tools/motleyfool/savings02/tool.fcs

    $50/month for 30 years at 12.5% gets you around $150,000.00.

    http://www.fool.com/ has excellent information for beginning investors. I read their book years ago but haven’t look at their website until today.

    I never said it was sure money. There are risks, but they can be mitigated. Buy stock in some fortune 500 company and you are taking less risk than the people who work there. You are believing some hype that you aren’t smart enough to figure things out for yourself or the system is rigged. The system isn’t perfect but I believe it is the best way for a wage earner to get ahead. Come on Mitch, go buy some Walmart stock and when the store opens in Eureka, at least you can be happy people are shopping at your store. I think they pay a dividend too.

    I agree with the NOW thing. It is tough to get off the credit and pay cash when you want something, but it frees up money if you can stick it out and live below your means until you have yourself a little free cash to invest. We have forgotten the difference between a “want” and a “need”.

  142. December 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    $50/month for 30 years at 12.5% gets you around $150,000.00.

    12.5% interest? That’s not investing that is gambling.
    I hope you lose your shirt.

  143. Mitch
    December 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    713,

    Historical returns of the market are not 12.5% after inflation. The real historical returns over the last 30 years would yield $30K to $50K, on a $50/month investment plan, not $150K. You can either do the math or look it up.

    The inflation adjusted market is up about 350% over that 30 year period, which is not at all the same thing as 12.5% annual return (you can’t just divide). It’s around 5.2% per year, at which rate an investment will double in 14 years. Two doublings over 28 years will give a 300% return over that period. Over 30 years, you’d have a 357% return at 5.2% per year.

    If you’re not sure, just imagine you invested the entire lump sum of $18,000 ($50 per month x 12 months per year x 30 years) at the very beginning of the thirty years. It would be up by 350% based on the market’s increase over 30 years. It would grow to $81,000. Since you are not putting $18,000 in at the beginning, your result is guaranteed to be less.

  144. Mitch
    December 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    The various stock sites (fool, etc…) and the sites run by brokerages just love to tell you how you’ll retire a millionaire on $250/month. Yes, if you hit the exact right moment, it’s not absolutely impossible, just as it’s not absolutely impossible you’d end up with far, far less than if you’d just put the $250 in your mattress each month.

    And I’ve yet to see such a site adjust for inflation. Perhaps you have. It’s an enormous difference. I’m not sure there’s a single decade in American history that has averaged 12.5% annual returns after adjustment for inflation.

  145. Mitch
    December 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    One last comment before dinner: 713 and I agree that the best strategy for someone living on modest means is to live below your means. (It sounds better when it’s called “paying yourself first.”) Giving yourself some savings allows you more flexibility in life, and it does open possibilities. It is well worth doing if at all possible, and I suspect it’s more possible than many people realize.

    I say that as someone who was once upset that ATM’s didn’t give out $10 bills, because my balance was well below $10. But I realize I was lucky at the time in having a loving family that would have been there had I needed to ask for help, and I realize many people don’t have that good fortune.

    I think 713 and I may differ on the degree of difficulty living below one’s means presents to today’s minimum wage workers. I’d call it extremely difficult, but still worth doing. The system is set up for people who have some savings set aside — it will give you far more flexibility in your life.

  146. yep
    December 14, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    “the system is rigged.”

    yep.

  147. 713
    December 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Mitch,
    You have to dollar cost average. I dont think your figures account for the differential in the number of shares you get when the prices go down, it lowers your break even price. You buy the same dollar amount every month. Also, stocks provide some hedge against inflation, depending on what you do. Regardless, where would you put your money then? If stocks don’t provide a decent return, your credit union savings account is really losing you money. So what is the better alternative for a person of modest means to accumulate wealth?

    Capital greed, I am getting better than 12.5%. Closer to 17% on the long term average. And fuck you, why would you wish me ill will? What do I have to gain by telling you I think stocks are good investments? I’m not pushing anything I have money in.

    Mitch – I agree, it is tough on minimum wage workers, hopefully they continue to look for better work or develop skills to get a better wage. The first part to me is basic finance. They don’t seem to teach that in school. I left high school knowing how to solve for x but not how to create a simple budget or the concept of opportunity cost.

    Expensive lessons to learn later.

  148. Mitch
    December 15, 2011 at 7:16 am

    713,

    Perhaps I don’t understand it, but “dollar cost averaging” has always seemed overhyped to me. Let’s take an example based on the past thirty years. Over that period, the increase was 350%.

    Let’s find the lowest price over that period and buy everything at that moment, getting the maximum quantity of shares. If we are lucky enough for that moment to be the very first year, we get $81,000 from our $18,000. If the price went down from the first year to the fifteenth year and we bought at the bottom in the fifteenth year, and then the price rose from it’s depressed value all the way up to its end point at the thirtieth year, we’d make more. But over the thirty years ending 2010, the lowest price was in 1980. I’m willing to be corrected, but I think regardless of the swings from 1980 – 2010, $81,000 is the absolute best you would have done.

    You might be interested in this paper, which does not adjust for inflation but does discuss the reasons that hedge funds do not perform nearly as well, on average, as a naive analysis might suggest: http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~mkearns/finread/van_rebuttal.pdf

    During the period analyzed, fund performance consistently deteriorated as the funds aged. Nonetheless, such funds typically collect both a fee on assets managed and keep 20% of the gains.

    If you are doing 17% per year long term (ten years or more), you are a miracle, doing far better than a typical hedge fund. Guarantee me 10%/year on my IRA, or 5% after inflation, and you can keep the rest if you manage my IRA. I’m sure it’s a deal you’ll be able to get from far wealthier people than me. On the other hand, if you are using your total return over 30 years and dividing it by 30 to get 17%, your real annual return is far less, even though you are still doing very well.

    You ask what’s the better alternative to the stock market for a person of modest means to accumulate wealth? Beats me, if you’re talking about the current system. I suppose the person could follow in the footsteps of the investment banks, doing for individuals what the banks did for the country: threaten to bring a person down unless they cough up their life savings. That’s worked really well for the banksters.

    We do agree that it would be smart for the schools to teach such concepts as opportunity cost and budgeting. But I don’t think having that education would have nearly as much effect on a person’s wealth and self-understood happiness as simply throwing out the TV and removing the poison of consumer advertising from your life. If there is anything that prevents people from saving, it is a daily onslaught of scientifically developed, highly produced, highly tested “must have” advertising. Once you take that out of your life, your needs are much more likely to reflect, well, your needs.

  149. Plain Jane
    December 15, 2011 at 7:21 am

    “House Republican leaders have foolishly sidetracked a bipartisan ethics bill in Congress to ban members from using inside information they gain in private hearings and discussions in stock trades.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/opinion/insider-trading-is-illegal-just-not-on-capitol-hill.html?ref=opinion

  150. Mitch
    December 15, 2011 at 7:38 am

    PJ,

    People shouldn’t be forced to give up their right to use insider information just because they serve in Congress. Why do you want to ban everything that made this country what it is today?! Do you really want the Congress to dress in shabby clothes because they have to invest with just outsider information?

  151. High Finance
    December 15, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Only PJ would try to blame the insider trading on the Republicans.

    Nancy Pelosi is one of the biggest offenders. This is a bi-partisan scandal.

  152. 713
    December 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Mitch,

    You are trying to compare an index to individual investments. It doesn’t work unless you are talking about index funds.

    For Example:
    I bought Janus overseas fund from 1994 to 2005 or 2006 every month. Go look at the returns. I don’t think that is a miracle. When I look at my quicken portfolio, the average says 16+% if you select all investments for “all dates”. This is understated as I contribute to a 401k where my contribution is matched by my employer, but I haven’t figured out how to get quicken to recognize the “free” shares my employer purchases for me, it always assigns a cost basis. I am getting a 100% return on those investments before the stock market does anything.

    Agreed on the advertising thing.

  153. Plain Jane
    December 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I didn’t say that the Republicans were the only ones who have been taking advantage of insider information, HiFi. But it is the Republicans who refuse to allow Baucus’ bill to ban it to come to the floor for a vote. You can’t blame that on Nancy Pelosi. It’s sickening that there has to be a special law that prohibits any group from insider trading, especially those who use that information while passing laws for the rest of us to follow.

  154. High Finance
    December 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Well we agree that it is sickening that a special law is needed, but it is needed.

    But there are plenty of Congressmen & Senators in both parties secretly helping to make sure any bill is blocked.

  155. Highly Financed
    December 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    As I stated, I’m against bi-partisan scandals, but must support my party’s ideological madness against the regulations that would address it. But, you knew that.

    I am a provocateur.

    Thank you for the attention, I don’t have many friends.

  156. Mitch
    December 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    713,

    All I can say is I think you’ve done very well. Janus Overseas, according to Google, has had a mean annual return of 1.06% over the past ten years.

    https://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=MUTF:JAOSX

    Maybe you really do have brilliant timing and/or foresight on your investments, or maybe you’ve had an inordinate amount of luck. I’m not sure that most of us can rely on either.

    I was fortunate enough to have invested substantially in one stock that quadrupled for me back in the boom 90s. It provided me a down payment. But I’ve also invested substantially in stocks that have gone to zero. No way I could tell you in advance which was which, or I’d have a lot more money than I do. No way I could have made those investments if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to have had a high-paying job back in those days.

    Homeownership was a no-lose investment for a lot of people back in the early 2000s, remember? You could honestly paint a picture of prices that never fell, but if you bought a house in 2006/7, the American dream isn’t looking so good.

    You’ve been a winner, congratulations. Would your approach work for most people? I doubt it. Is the system fair? I don’t think so. Is the system the best way to get people’s needs met? I don’t think so. Is the system getting better and fairer or worse and more unfair. I think worse and more unfair. And I don’t believe American democracy will survive unless the system is radically changed.

  157. Plain Jane
    December 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    To me it seems like investing in the stock market is like gambling at a crooked casino. Everyone knows there’s lots of cheating going on, but it’s the only casino in town and they can’t resist the lure of possible easy money. How high can the stock market go when the companies whose shares are being traded aren’t making much profit due to low consumption at already rock bottom labor costs?

  158. Mitch
    December 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    It’s not just the lure of easy money, PJ, though that’s part of it.

    I believe a functioning, well-regulated stock market actually has the potential to allocate capital well, if the society in which it operates has low income inequality. Even theoretically, though, the stock market allocates capital based on the “desires” of money, not people, so if money is concentrated, the allocation does not serve most people well. And even serving most people according to their desires doesn’t mean that we won’t all lead ourselves off an ecological cliff.

    Unfortunately, a lot of other capital allocation mechanisms have been disasters, especially the ones that rely on a central bureaucracy being smart and honest.

    I don’t know what the answer is. I’m probably more discouraged today, after the latest Obama cave, than I’ve been since the days of the initial collapse and the sellout of the country to Wall Street. I feel like absolutely every system in our country has collapsed from decay, and I don’t see the crazies losing control of the systems.

  159. Plain Jane
    December 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I’d like to see more ESOP’s, Mitch. A LOT more.

  160. Mitch
    December 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Yes, I completely agree that employee stock ownership plans are a good idea. Unfortunately, I’m not sure they get around the diffusion of responsibility problem. You already have lots of corporations largely owned by public employee pension funds, and that doesn’t seem to be helping their behavior.

    It’s the way we’ve separated out things that can’t really function when separated, treating “economic” decisions as if they are independent from “social” decisions.

    But, yeah, ESOPs are better than no ESOPs.

  161. High Finance
    December 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    The troll shows up again at 1.09pm.

    He always uses what he thinks is some cute anti High Finance name, he only posts once or twice, he always posts a slam at me and he uses different Avatars each time.

    Some say it is Heraldo himself.

  162. Plain Jane
    December 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Some say it is you doing it to yourself when you don’t get enough abuse from me. ;-p

  163. 713
    December 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Mitch,
    I am sorry to be disagreeable, but i think you are looking at some type of measure of risk.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pm?s=JAOSX+Performance

    Shows 8% for the 10 year run. That’s pretty good, considering the past few years.

    Anybody can invest, maybe they won’t get 12% and maybe they will make a milion, but it is a hell of a lot better than pissing your money away on cigarettes and booze and bitching about what everybody else has.

    And if you put it in CD’s you have no shot at a million. You’re going backwards.

  164. Plain Jane
    December 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    After all the discussions, is that what you think the problem with wealth concentration at the top is all about, 713, “bitching about what everybody else has?”

  165. Anonymous
    December 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Did somebody say Fortune 500? Does the term ‘blood money’ mean anything? You can always expect returns investing in the military and mcdonalds and dupont and etc., but one would have to disassociate themselves from their global activities to the point of being a soul-less money vulture. 713, you come across as a soul-less money vulture.

    Stocks are fake money to begin with, bad karma. Your 401 is going to be kaput before you get to collect. <—remember that, I will gloat and say "I told you so."

  166. Mitch
    December 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    713,

    Not disagreeable at all. Thanks for the correction.

    (I’d have thought Google’s listing of “mean annual return” meant mean annual return, but I guess not. Either that or there’s a typo somewhere.)

    Your 8% figure from yahoo lines up with the information from Janus itself for the last 10 years.

    https://ww3.janus.com/Janus/Retail/FundDetail?fundID=5

    If I’m reading yahoo correctly, Janus was negative 1% for the past 5 years, 18% for the past three, and negative 24% for the past 1 year, right? That’s an awful lot of risk for the typical small investor. Also, according to their prospectus, the average return for equivalent funds over the past 10 years was 5.5%.

    Again, I think you’ve done much better than the typical investor would have done.

  167. Mitch
    December 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    713,

    I’d also agree that investing in the stock market is better than “pissing your money away on cigarettes and booze and bitching about what everybody else has,” but I’m pretty confident that there are a lot of minimum wage workers who are not doing that.

    I don’t think stereotypes are helpful from any side of the discussion.

    I think we can agree that things have got harder for minimum wage workers over the past thirty years. We don’t have to agree about why.

  168. Anonymous
    December 15, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    “I don’t think stereotypes are helpful from any side of the discussion.”

    My point about blood money above has a lot to do with the fact that people who engage in the stock market are a stereotype to the rest of the world whether they like it or not. That’s what a stereotype is, and there are methods of acquiring money that only a select type of person engages in. For example, there is a type of person who grows marijuana, who is commonly regarded for better or for worse on this blog. The reletively small population of people who “play the market” are as transparent in character to the majority of the population as any harsh stereotype stockholders percieve of others…publicly or privately…

    …hence Occupy Wallstreet: it really is THOSE PEOPLE who do business through THOSE BUILDINGS. They push a shit ton of other people’s money around every waking minute of the day just like at a casino. And it’s NO SECRET, THEY ALL DO IT FOR THE EASY, EFFORTLESS MONEY. They absolutely have to waive an understanding that the overwhelming majority of industrialized people hold pretty dear.

  169. Mitch
    December 16, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Anonymous 7:57,

    I’m sure you are right that to many people, the person who “plays the market” brings a stereotype to mind. A question you might consider worthwhile is whether the stereotype is accurate.

    I suspect that your stereotype is not accurate, but only you can investigate that. As with all stereotypes, stereotyping a set of people is an easy way to avoid thinking, allowing you to make a snap judgment. That’s great if it’s accurate, not so great if it turns out to be based on not-really-all-that-much-information.

    If by “play the market” you mean “manipulate the market,” that means something different than “play the market” by investing in the stocks of companies you believe produce useful things and are likely to go up.

  170. 713
    December 16, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Mitch,
    I agree it is a lot of risk in the short run, but I have been advocating for buying solid stocks, dollar cost averaging, and holding for a longer term.

    Apologies for the stereotype, I have worked with a number of negative people who complained all the time about what so and so has, and how they are always broke and can’t catch a break, while smoking a cigarette and drinking a $3.00 coffee. I’m thinking – “make your coffee at home and quit smoking and you could probably save a million dollars for retirement…” and yes, i’ve said it too. These aren’t minimum wage people, but many are right on the edge due to certain choices they have made (new car, big vacation, whatever)

    For the minimum wage worker, it has been my experience if people work hard, they usually get a raise but I would agree at that income level, you are probably not wasting any money as there is essentially none.

    PJ – My original point was that equity is what separates the wealthy from the rest of us and buying stocks – or starting a business – is the best way for a person of modest means to accumulate any real wealth. It is really hard to do that working for wages unless you are on commission or something.

    I read a book a long time ago about success or whatever and the main point was if you want to get rich, do what the rich are doing. Go to school, track your expenses, stick to a budget, buy stocks, etc. i think that is pretty good advice.

    You can go online and open an account in 10 minutes. that is pretty unprecedented access to the equities markets. in the old days (the early 90’s) you had to have a broker and were pretty much at their mercy for information and advice.

    758 – stay poor then. If my investments turn out to be worth zero, wherever your money is won’t be worth shit either. The upside outweighs the potential zombie apocalypse scenario, but just in case I will review

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zombie_Survival_Guide

    and stock up on ammo. Thanks for the advice.

  171. Mitch
    December 16, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Anonymous 7:57,

    According to Gallup, 54% of Americans hold stocks or own stock mutual funds. That’s down from more like 2/3 before the crash.

    “The 46%” doesn’t make a very good slogan, but you’re welcome to try it on for size.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/147206/stock-market-investments-lowest-1999.aspx

  172. Mitch
    December 16, 2011 at 7:51 am

    713 wrote:

    “I have worked with a number of negative people who complained all the time about what so and so has, and how they are always broke and can’t catch a break, while smoking a cigarette and drinking a $3.00 coffee. I’m thinking – “make your coffee at home and quit smoking and you could probably save a million dollars for retirement…” and yes, i’ve said it too. These aren’t minimum wage people, but many are right on the edge due to certain choices they have made (new car, big vacation, whatever)”

    I think most people have met these folks. For me, the most important thing is that most such people are victims of our economic system, which is actually DESIGNED to keep them broke.

    If you offer incentives (in the form of salaries) to people who might otherwise have become great orators, or great visual artists, or great authors, or great scientists, and divert them to the production and optimization of little 30 and 60 second propaganda pieces, you can safely assume that the propaganda will work. People will develop artificial needs for a daily $3,00 coffee, which will divert $1,500 per year per person from the propagandized consumer to Starbucks, which can then afford to pay the technical crew for their propaganda. The GDP has been increased by $1,500, so anyone whose job depends on GDP growth is happier. The owner(s) of Starbucks become wealthy, and are able to make political contributions. The political system bends toward their wishes, pushing the economic system in their favor. The cycle continues.

    That is where capitalism has failed to properly allocate resources. Diverting $1,500 to Starbucks is considered in the textbooks and by the MBAs to be morally equivalent to sending $1,500 into food for starving people. If you create crap, but advertise it well and make money selling it, that’s considered by capitalism to be “giving people what they want.” And anyone who has the audacity to suggest that the two $1,500s are not equivalent is told they are a commie elitist who wants to tell people what they want rather than allow them the “freedom” to “make their own choices.”

    Sorry, I guess I’m off on my own stereotyping now.

  173. Mitch
    December 16, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Somebody’s probably going to point out that $3 x 250 working days is $750, not $1,500. It might as well be me.

  174. 713
    December 16, 2011 at 8:51 am

    For me, the most important thing is that most such people are victims of our economic system, which is actually DESIGNED to keep them broke.

    I am with you halfway on that one but at a certain point, people need to look at themselves and take some responsibility for their situation. “Starbucks made me do it” doesn’t fly, in my opinion.

    Propaganda has gone on since the beginning of time, but it preys on limiting access to information. It is hard to believe an argument that the general population in the United States can not easily get information if they are looking for it. Sure, there are hucksters out there and a sucker is born every minute but nobody makes you go to Starbucks. You can just as easily make a cup of coffee at home, if you choose.

    Unless you are saying we have been denied our free will…in that case, how would you explain your ability to see through the ads? You must be a miracle like I am a miracle stock picker, no?

  175. Anonymous
    December 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

    No, Mitch, you two fit the stereotype ver well, sorry to tell you. Snap out of it if you realy believe more than half th epeople you see walking around every day own stock. Owning stock en gratis by employment doesn’t count. I “owned stock” when I worked for Kinko’s, so does everybody who works there…”employee owned”…but not really, get it?

    You’re all in it for the money.There’s a difference between conceding to buy a pair of sneakers that one knows was made by 9 year olds in china and actually making money from that system. Blood money, stocks are a bane of our society. Look at you two, with all your smarts and knowhow, “playing the market” to collect as much easy cash as you can.

  176. Anonymous
    December 16, 2011 at 10:24 am

    “I read a book a long time ago about success or whatever and the main point was if you want to get rich, do what the rich are doing.”

    713 is the type of person who reads “how to get rich quick” books…but no stereotype there? duh.

  177. Anonymous
    December 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

    …also, mitch…do you think gallup polled downtown San Jose? Or southwest oakland? I’ve never known anybody polled by gallup, their numbers are conveniently and without exception pro quo…I’m sure you agree. 54% of the population owns stock…you’re going down a peg in the intelligence department if you really believe that.

  178. December 16, 2011 at 10:49 am

    “I read a book a long time ago about success or whatever and the main point was if you want to get rich, do what the rich are doing.”

    How fricken sad is that? Education RIP

  179. Mitch
    December 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    713,

    No, of course no one is being denied their free will. But a society functions better when the incentives for individuals are aligned with the goals of the society. That’s the justification for capitalism. In my opinion, the connection no longer exists. (Whether it ever existed is another question.)

    People are given high incentives for contributing nothing to the society but transfer of wealth, and are often given counter-incentives against doing productive work.

    Absolutely no one MAKES you go to Starbucks — I completely agree. But there are an awful lot of people paid very high salaries to make you think you’ll be happy if you do go there. Nothing against Starbucks, I’m just following through on your $3 coffee example.

    All those salaries represent economic parasitism unless Starbucks is filling a real need. The system can handle a certain amount of economic parasitism, but only so much. I think we’ve gone well beyond the limit.

    The catch is who is entitled to decide what’s a real need. Clearly, no one has any right to dictate what anyone else thinks they need. But, and this is the big but, we’re crazy if we think our society is not creating artificial needs solely to accomplish transfer of wealth. There has to be something to reduce the incentives to create artificial needs, and to align the incentives with real needs.

    The Declaration of Independence asserts that all people are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t say all citizens, or all Americans: it says all people, and it justifies its universal nature by invoking a common creator. We are living in a world where resources that are desperately needed by starving, unsheltered people are diverted into getting people to drink sugared water. That’s insane.

    Anonymous 10:19 and 10:27,

    I do believe Gallup’s numbers. You don’t have to. When you decide what percentage of people are invested in stocks and stock mutual funds, please feel free to use whatever numbers best suit your argument. After all, you already know exactly what sort of person I am, and I’m not sure we’ve ever even met, so you’re way ahead of me in insight.

  180. Mitch
    December 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    713,

    One further thing about free will and seeing through the ads.

    I’m a former addict, as is probably evident from my excessive blogging. I would sit down in front of the TV, remote control in hand, and click away for hours. That went on for years of my life. The ads did affect me.

    I gave up TV cold turkey many years ago but I’m absolutely sure I still have fond feelings for my friends at Coca-Cola because they like to teach the world to sing. That’s damage, IMO. The first thing that comes to mind when I think “Army” is that I can be all that I can be, rather than that I can get indoctrinated into killing peasants I’ve never met on behalf of oil companies that don’t care about me.

    You can know you’re being gamed and still be altered by it; it takes a huge amount of energy to continually remind ones’ self that ones’ opinions have been manipulated. Kant called some of it “idols of the tribe,” but he predated TV. Every time a new stadium gets named something like 3com Park, I want to throw up. My version of the anti-heroin drugs, I guess.

  181. 713
    December 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Great leap backwards, I was giving you the cliff notes.

    Well Mitch, I am happy you are recovering and this has been an interesting dialogue. It made me think, I hope the same goes for you. I appreciate that.

  182. Mitch
    December 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks, 713. It’s nice to be able to have a civil dialogue with someone with whom I don’t necessarily agree; it definitely does help me think things through. Have a good holiday, and good luck in the market. I hope you make enough to piss off Anonymous 10:19.

  183. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

    The stock market: building strip malls and mcmansionville’s across the planet.

  184. Mitch
    December 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

    9:51 (and, I guess, 10:19/10:27),

    The stock market is the primary means by which most businesses today gets the money with which they build their products.

    It seems sensible to me to complain about the quality of regulation of that market, or its hours. It also seems sensible to me to complain about the behavior, in general, of corporate America. It seems like a category error to complain about investing in “the stock market,” a bit like complaining about “business,” or “food.”

    Maybe you don’t like GE, but you do think that (say) Capstone is doing good work in the world. Maybe you don’t like GM, but do think that (say) Solyndra had a good idea. To say you just don’t like business is silly.

    Maybe you don’t like spinach but think carrots are OK. To say you just don’t like food is silly, unless you have an unfortunate disease.

    It’s the sort of broad-brush complaint that just indicates to many of us that the complainer is upset with the way things are, perhaps rightfully so, but doesn’t really understand what they’re talking about. Or perhaps that they understand, but can’t be bothered to communicate clearly, perhaps because they’ve abdicated thinking in favor of slogans, as so many of us have.

    Lumping “stocks” as a single category is just silly.

  185. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

    “Anonymous 10:19 and 10:27,

    I do believe Gallup’s numbers. You don’t have to. When you decide what percentage of people are invested in stocks and stock mutual funds, please feel free to use whatever numbers best suit your argument. After all, you already know exactly what sort of person I am, and I’m not sure we’ve ever even met, so you’re way ahead of me in insight.”

    Nope, i absolutely don’t believe gallup’s numbers, just like i know the stock market is rigged from the top down. Look into Gallup for some interesting reading, humoring the idea that they’re just another government cheerleader.

    Even pretending it to be true, that half the people in this country own stock (whatever!). Doesn’t change anything I’ve written.

    I have my own stories to tell of the stock market that I would only relate anonymously on the internet. It’s a fucked up game owned and controlled by the greediest of the greedy, Uncle Sam’s all powerful hand takes and takes and takes. Everybody’s in it for the money to the point that our society gives less of a shit about fraud (planned obsolescence is the norm, causing more waste and individual financial burdens than one can even calculate) etc. etc. etc.

    Blood money.

  186. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

    mitch, re what you just wrote…do you see how you fit the stereotype? You believe in the stock market because you make money from the stock market, and you had to believe in it from the get go to even participate. Who would expect you to participate in a corrupt system?

  187. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 10:52 am

    “Lumping “stocks” as a single category is just silly.”

    Nope, it’s the only category, just like the lottery. You need to feel it’s multi-faceted to participate.

  188. Mitch
    December 17, 2011 at 10:52 am

    10:49,

    Not to be rude, but you’re the one buying products you acknowledge are made with slave labor. You rationalize your way, and I’ll do what I think is right.

  189. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I’m not being rude nor do i think you are, but telling that you might think so if relating the market as the scam it is offends you.

  190. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 10:59 am

    In fourth grade our teacher regularly gave us critical thinking excercises. For $10,000 would you tear the wings off a butterfly and leave it to die?

  191. Mitch
    December 17, 2011 at 11:02 am

    The world is what the world is. You can want it to be different, you can even work to make it different, but you live within it as it is, as best you can.

    You may have noticed a distinct lack of winning political candidates willing to unilaterally refuse political contributions.

    I’ve noticed a distinct lack of people who have completely withdrawn from the “system.” That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of young people who want to completely withdraw, and many who may think they already have. More power to them — honest.

    An awful lot of growers drive giant pickups.

  192. Mitch
    December 17, 2011 at 11:05 am

    What did your teacher say, Anonymous? What did you say? What did your classmates say?

    I’m guessing the teacher pointed out the substantial difference you could make to starving people with your $10,000. I’m also guessing you’d be too pure to tear the wings off the butterfly. I’m glad for you.

  193. Mitch
    December 17, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I might as well say it — I’d have asked if the teacher was willing to offer the deal on butterflies in large quantity.

  194. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I notice distinct lack of political candidates who get any airtime being the ones who don’t accept political contributions. I notice ones who already have a lot of money…period. I almost always agree wtih what you write on this blog, has nothing to do with whether or not the stock market is a big corrupt bulldozer driven by the sleaziest, greediest businessmen on the planet, fueled by other peoples’ money.

    A whole awful lot MORE “growers” drive whatever car they can afford…they don’t make any money from the four plants in their closet.

  195. Mitch
    December 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Well, Anonymous, now you know that people you agree with may not be as nice as you thought, or perhaps you have something else to think about.

    Everything in life is a trade-off, Anonymous. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. I wouldn’t blame anyone, especially any young person, for denying it, but it’s the truth.

    You can try to reason with the butterfly provider, asking them why they will give you $10,000 if you pull the wings off, but not otherwise. You can try to see to it that the wingless butterflies are offered up to their natural predators. You can do a little ritual to honor the butterfly’s sacrifice. You can regret having to say to yourself “I’m the sort of person who would pull the wings off a beautiful butterly for $10,000,” but at least you won’t have to say to yourself “I could have fed 1,000 meals to sentient, suffering creatures by killing a butterfly, but I wouldn’t do it.”

  196. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I’m gonna take a wild guess that neither you nor 713 use your stock “earnings” (often refered to as “winnings”…popular as “I won a fortune in the stock market”) to feed starving ethiopians. Obviously, just about nobody who “plays the market” does, or there wouldn’t be any starving ethiopians. Instead, we’ve got skyscrapers full of insurance firms fighting off litigation against their corporate clients, in every city in the world. If you had any money in apple stock, would you have wanted the first generation ipod to have flopped? What a mixed blessing their substandart battery turned out to be! Every ipod owner had to spend at least $150 to have their battery replaced. I never said you weren’t nice, or are you suggesting I’m not nice? Yes, everybody draws lines in one way or another.

  197. Mitch
    December 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Nope, not one starving Ethiopian served. But I feel comfortable with what I’ve been doing with my money and time, as I hope you do.

  198. Mitch
    December 17, 2011 at 11:56 am

    And I couldn’t begin to speak for 713. After all, Bill Gates’ wealth is turning out to be incredible good fortune for the entire continent of Africa. Strange that.

  199. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    yeah, those experimental innoculations are doing wonders in africa.

  200. Anonymous
  201. 713
    December 18, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I donate lots of time and a bit of money to a number of local causes. Mostly education and healthcare related. Yes, I would pull the wings off a butterfly for 10,000, but unlike Mitch, I would only donate half if I’m doing all the work.

  202. December 18, 2011 at 8:36 am

    “Yes, I would pull the wings off a butterfly for 10,000”

    A Monarch?
    How about an El Segundo Blue?

    OR would it even register to you?

  203. Mitch
    December 18, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Lepidopteran,

    It probably wouldn’t register.

    But in the finest tradition of capitalist philanthropy, I might establish a foundation in my name to provide care and treatment for the wingless.

  204. Mitch
    December 18, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Anonymous,

    I’m so embedded in things that I choose to believe this report:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/02/gates-foundation-farming-africa_n_869724.html

    I even believe the foundation has had a major impact on malaria.

    But Google can comfort us all: you’ll probably be much more content to believe this one:

    http://newsone.com/world/ggaynor/gates-foundation-ordered-african-vaccinations-by-gunpoint/

    It probably has something to do with the kids refusing to use Internet Explorer, or perhaps they’d used a pirated version of Windows.

  205. December 18, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Mitch, as long as you maintain the finest
    tradition of capitalist philanthropy, we know
    we’ll be OK.
    The Wingless Center. How will Getty ever
    Trump that?

  206. Anonymous
    December 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Those of us who lived through the 1980s and 1990s — and paid attention — know upon whose backs Gates’ wealth was generated and by what means, and followed the US and European anti-trust lawsuits with dismay as the powerful protected their own.

    There is a rich American tradition of billionaires deciding late in life to clean their past by paying for a new legacy. Yes, be thankful what’s being done with vaccinations, but don’t forget how that money was generated, and at what cost.

  207. Mitch
    December 18, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Mostly, Anonymous, the Gates money was obtained by managing to place an American-legal tollgate on corporate America’s computers. Yes, the tollgate was wider than that, but I’d bet most of it was paid, at least proximally, by the people you don’t like.

    He destroyed competition across much of the commercial software sector, and probably did more to destroy, delay, and discourage technological innovation than any other human being alive or dead. I know I’m prone to hyperbole, but I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic in that statement.

    Gates was a little shit, and just thinking about him used to raise my blood pressure. The media and much of the public, as is so often the case, got things completely wrong.

    But his foundation is real, and forces me to acknowledge what he’s now able and willing to accomplish with his wealth. Melinda probably deserves a Nobel or something. The alternative would be glittering gold Towers, or the purchase of Hawaii, or something like that.

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