Home > Uncategorized > The System at Work

The System at Work

smileynewsI’m not a conspiracy theorist.  Really.  Unlike some, I don’t believe the one percent get together every third Saturday in a smoky room to plot.  I don’t believe reporters are told what to report.  I think any decent conspiracy could have come up with someone approximately 10,000,000.5% more appealing than Mittens.

But I do believe the media generates blather, and I do believe the system is well set up to ensure the wealthy get wealthier, and I do believe many people vote against their basic interests because they are fooled by campaigns.  And I do believe that, when it comes to some things (banks come to mind), the parties are tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum using different ad executives.

This morning’s online T-S carries a national “lifestyle” AP article that seems to me to be a great demonstration of how the system works.  http://www.times-standard.com/lifestyle/ci_22439763/new-york-city-extols-virtues-tiny-apartments

It’s by a reporter named Ula Ilnytzky, who I’m sure is pleased with her work and has not been told by anyone to go out and pacify the masses.  Ula has generated a piece on the new trend of micro-sized apartments in New York City, and what a delight they can be.  It could easily have been written by a popular local “reporter” who comes to mind.

Bottom line is it looks like you’ll be able to live in Manhattan in 280 square feet for $2,000 per month rent, and you can get a great view of Central Park.  (For comparison, a small single-wide trailer is 720 square feet.  This fact is not in the article, so I asked my friend QuickDraw McGoogle to research it for me.)

Now I don’t doubt that living small is an appropriate, future-oriented thing to do.  We don’t need McMansions, we don’t need nearly as many things as we stuff into storage units, and one of the values that cities offer is high-density people.  All of that is true.

But when it costs 200 hours per month of minimum wage work to occupy an apartment that squeezes kitchen, living and sleeping area, and bathroom into a 14×20 foot space, something is wrong.

Yet Ula has made lemonade from lemons, with quotes like the following:

”It helps us focus on one another,” he said. Without a lot of maintenance, “it’s amazing how much free time we have to be with one another. It also allows us to explore New York more.”

She makes an excellent “lifestyles” reporter.  Someone who got all grouchy about what’s happening would probably not advance as quickly as she will.  If she’s not plain, she may even be able to become a teevee reporter, where she’d be highly paid to speak to an audience that doesn’t like reading, because it’s way more fun to look at pretty, perky folks than it is to read.  If she were appealing enough, she might get her own celebrity-style show, in which case she’d be set financially for life, even if her show was just a one year wonder.  School-children would want to be her.

When I think of conspiracy-theorists, I’ll remember Ula, and follow her career.

  1. January 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Wow, a link to facist mass media of the day – baaaa.

  2. Mitch
    January 24, 2013 at 9:52 am


    I try so damned hard to come off as nice in dealing with SL, and then you come along and push my every button in only two sentences, one of them one word long. Curse you, FQ! Curse you!

    Caution: obscure old-geek joke follows:

  3. Sigh
    January 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Is your quibble with the size of the apartment, or the cost? The cost is supply-and-demand. If it’s unreasonable, people won’t rent the apartments. If they do rent, they’re choosing that lifestyle at that cost.

    All over the world people choose crazy things that make sense to them given their current situation. Me? I bought a house to live in for way too much money so that I could be surrounded by vacant houses filled with pot, guns and an ever-present fire danger (and home invasion risk if my house is mistaken for my neighbor’s). I could see someone sitting in a New York apartment laughing at me. Nobody is renting a micro-apartment to turn it into a drug house.

  4. President Camacho
    January 24, 2013 at 10:16 am

    “I know shit’s bad right now with all that starvin’ bullshit. And the dust storms. And we runnin’ out of french fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution.”

  5. President Camacho
    January 24, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Yeah! No one is forcing those kids to apply for 10 cents per hour at Nike factories, no one is forcing people to pay 200 hours wages for an apartment smaller than my walk-in closet. Survival of the fittest! Bootstraps!

  6. Mitch
    January 24, 2013 at 10:26 am

    My quibble is with neither the size nor the cost of the apartment; I agree that anyone who chooses to pay $2,000 per month to live in 280 sq. ft. of Manhattan real estate is making a voluntary choice to do so.

    My quibbles are with what has happened to our country with respect to income inequality, and with the way in which the mass media functions. I confess it does surprise me there’s been so little violence since 2007, unlike what happened in 1968. I think the system has evolved, and I’m someone who believes systems can evolve without guidance.

  7. High Finance
    January 24, 2013 at 11:15 am

    All the wealthy get wealthier is the biggest cannard of all.

    If you look at the statistics of movement between income classes you will find a lot of mobility over the years. Movement of many of the upper 5% down to lower brackets and from the lower brackets up to higher brackets.

    I know that doesn’t fit your class envy and conspiracy theories but facts are facts.

  8. Anonymous
    January 24, 2013 at 11:21 am

    That doesn’t change the fact that wealth is concentrating at the top as it is sucked out of the worker’s pockets which is harmful to both our economy and our democracy. Does it matter which fat cat’s offshore account it ends up in?

  9. President Camacho
    January 24, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Bootstraps! The wealthy become wealthier because we pay our neighbors less, we charge them as much as we can, and we pay ourselves as much as we can. Hasn’t HiFi explained this dozens of times already? We’re not in the business of creating jobs, we are in the business of creating wealth, for ourselves!

  10. High Finance
    January 24, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Anonymous :
    That doesn’t change the fact that wealth is concentrating at the top as it is sucked out of the worker’s pockets which is harmful to both our economy and our democracy. Does it matter which fat cat’s offshore account it ends up in?

    Your concerns are already addressed through the tax code. The upper 5% pay close to 60% in federal & state income taxes. They already pay close to 40% of all income taxes paid in this country. As long as they acquire their wealth legally way is it of concern to you ?

    And oh yeah, they also provide most of the jobs in this country for the rest of us. Either directly through ownership of businesses or indirectly by investing in businesses.

    Meanwhile the bottom 50% pay only a few percent of the total income taxes paid. In fact millions of the working poor not only pay zero tax but instead get paid themselves through the earned income credit.

    The entire tax code is already a wealth transfer system.

  11. Mitch
  12. President Camacho
    January 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Yeah, the middle class are transferring their wealth to billionaire Bankers and Wall Street. The whole tax code is a wealth transfer of taxes to the rich. When there is a deficit, Uncle Scam comes to us for money then taxpayers pay us back our loan to Uncle Scam plus interest. Ka-ching! Survival of the fittest baby!!!

  13. Anonymous
    January 24, 2013 at 11:48 am

    HiFi: It matters because the money they are stashing away is not being paid to the workers in wages and spent in the Main Street economy where it is needed for a healthy economy. The legality of their greed need to be changed. If they weren’t taking such a large share of the pie they would pay lower taxes and the workers would be paying more.

  14. High Finance
    January 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    That money invested allows businesses to expand or new businesses to start. Without an investment pool our economy would be in shatters.

    Stashing away is a ridiculous term. That money is not being stuffed in a mattress.

  15. Anonymous
    January 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    If it was paid to workers they would spend it and that would create jobs, increase tax revenues and pay down the debt. Businesses don’t create jobs just because they have money to expand if there is not enough consumer demand to justify it, and there isn’t. The increase in private sector jobs (with lower wages and benefits) has been almost neutralized by layoffs and lower wages in the public sector. Almost everyone recognizes the damage being done to our country due to increasing inequality in wealth and wages, but some find in their own short term best interest to pretend they don’t get it.

  16. President Camacho
    January 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    And this is why giving tax dollars to the 47% is a waste and giving trillions to Banksters helps them create jobs for CEOs and maybe some will trickle down to some $8.45 per hour part time bank teller jobs.

  17. Dan
    January 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    “That money is not being stuffed in a mattress.”
    Sans Fidelis #14

    Of course not. You’ll find it in Swiss accounts and the Caymen Islands.

  18. Anonymous
    January 24, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    The Untouchables
    Frontline investigates why Wall Street bigs haven’t been prosecuted for fraud for selling bad mortgages


    Note the DOJ Criminal Chief Brewer resigned yesterday, one day after this aired.

  19. Anonymous
    January 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    When did the word “conspiracy” become inherently suspect and discredited, has no one watched a group of 9 year-olds on a playground…? It’s in our genes.

    Media censorship is media censorship whether its demanded by the editor or self-censored by individual “journalists”.

    Persistent censorship is the reason you don’t know how many of your neighbors in your community are suffering foreclosures and bankruptcies. Altruism, like democracy, depends upon a free-flow of information unavailable to average citizens who now lack many basic necessities of life.

  20. January 25, 2013 at 7:19 am

    And here I’d thought it was laziness and the new American spirit of “I’ve got mine, Jack.”

    But you’re probably right, there’s simply no way for a concerned public to claw the information out of the authorities. Except for googling “foreclosure rate humboldt county california,” which turns up these obvious lies:


    But to use Google, you’d have to have access to the internet, and know how to use a language, and to get right down to it, you’d have to know that the internet exists. And the American public doesn’t know any of that, because the conspirators have kept anyone from learning any languages, and have kept the public from knowing about the internet’s existence, and have seen to it that except for the wealthy, no one has access to the internet, even if they somehow hear rumors of its existence.

    How did they keep the public from learning any languages? Simple, they demanded people go to public school, where they could be dumbed-down and where all the teachers, conspirators every one, could prevent them from learning to think. Just ask any teacher — they’ll tell you that they’re not part of any conspiracy. Could you ask for better proof!!

    Except for good old KM, who has somehow, thanks to his brilliance and persistence, managed to pierce the Matrix illusions.

    Thank god for KM.

    Dman those conspiratorial wealthy people! Dman those bastards!!

  21. Anonymous
    January 25, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Did anyone watch the Frontline documentary posted above?

  22. Anonymous
    January 25, 2013 at 8:00 am

    That documentary should have its own thread.

  23. Mitch
    January 25, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Nah. I’m keeping it censored. I don’t want Herald readers to discover PBS. But I’ll make you a deal. Sit down and write 500 words about what the documentary had to say, post it to “quick notes” with the phrase “my guest post,” and I’ll post your words.

  24. Anonymous
    January 25, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Nah. People too lazy to spend 53 minutes to watch a documentary which explains why our economy collapsed and why nothing was done to punish the crooks who caused it aren’t worth 10 minutes of my time trying to make them give a damn.

  25. January 25, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Well, speaking as someone who has spent ten minutes of my life, possibly more, trying to convince people to give a damn about a variety of things, I figure a good test of your concern, Anonymous 8:28, is whether you’d be willing to spend the time involved in actually writing 500 words, rather than whining. Otherwise, any time invested on my part would be what’s generally called “pissing into the wind.”

  26. Anonymous
    January 25, 2013 at 9:23 am

    People too lazy to watch a video are too lazy to read.

  27. Mitch
    January 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Very, very true.

  28. Anonymous
    January 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Since either no one bothered to watch it or were insufficiently outraged by the corruption and cronyism exposed by it to comment, I’m not wasting another minute of my valuable time on such lazy and morally bankrupt locals. You should be ashamed of yourselves, but that would take a bit of thought.

  29. Mitch
    January 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

    It’s an outrage, Anonymous #28. Harrumph! On the other hand, think of the children!! The little children, and all the poor blastulas. Something needs to be done. I demand it, right now! In fact, I double-demand it!!!!!!!!!

    If only everyone weren’t so overwhelmed with working or getting unemployment or welfare, and with raising their families or reading the blogs or painting their toenails, there’d be daily marches in the streets for justice, because everyone really cares deep, deep down! But we’re all censored. Sigh. They’d be listening to me, up at the podium, explaining it all to them through my personal bullhorn. And they’d be so very, very grateful. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

  30. Smart 5th Grader
    January 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Someone has gone Meta.

  31. Mitch
    January 25, 2013 at 10:39 am


  32. January 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    No person or society has ever restored disease or disorder to ease and order without first acknowledging and diagnosing the malady’s existence. The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science, or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction, its own madness. Eckhart Tolle.
    “Daily marches in the street for justice” – the people have no idea what justice is – maybe it’s
    Lady Justice blindfolded in the foyer of the D.A.’s office – Could you ask for better proof?

  33. January 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    The battle we face now is not against some external King, but rather against our own internal conscious and unconscious limitations, against our distorted misperception of human nature and human potential. We are at war with the out-picturing of our own fears and habitual defenses against something that might not even exist anymore. The sad joke is that most of us are “remotely controlled” by the belief limitations of people who have lived in the past – and we don’t even know it.

    Myth perceptions disproved:

    Only matter matters –
    It’s in your genes – ‘predisposed’ bullshit
    Survival of the fittest – gave us competition rather than cooperation
    Evolution is random

    In our collective affirmation that only material can save us, we put our faith in the most insane, expensive, and harmful military machine in the history of humanity, and in doing so, we have empowered a sinister force – the lowest common dominator.
    ‘Spontaneous Evolution” – our positive future.

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