Monthly Archives: July 2012

ON The Money; Getting Emotional

On The Money;

Economic Advice for the 99%

Getting Emotional

In our culture, reason reigns supreme. In school they teach us to value reason, logic, and rational thinking, but they teach us to control our emotions, to keep them to ourselves, and not to let them interfere with our work. While the rational mind constantly gets rewarded through good grades, high-paying jobs, etc, our emotional responses, especially negative emotional responses, invoke scorn and discipline. We learn to override our emotional responses early in life, but we have emotions for a reason, and often they carry a lot of wisdom.

 

We learned to override our emotional aversion to school, which made it easier to override our emotional aversion to work. Pretty soon we start to recognize the thump of our heart, as it hits the bottom of a pit of despair, as the call of duty, and we do what we’re supposed to. We learn to expect life to suck. We rationalize it. We invent ethical codes and religions around it. We say it builds character, but have you looked around lately? I see more shallow, greedy, status conscious, small-minded idiots every day, and we here in the US work harder than anyone in the developed world. Is that the kind of character we need more of?

 

We learn how to pretend we like it, saying we love our job, doing extra work and kissing ass to prove it. We learn how to cope with life as a wage slave, while our desires, hopes and dreams turn to bitter resentment. After a while, when your emotions finally realize that you’ll never to listen to them, it all turns to depression. Depression sells pharmaceutical drugs like no other condition on Earth. If you have it, its why you can’t afford to be without health insurance. If you don’t have it, its why you can’t afford health insurance.

 

Depression, refers to the complete loss of enthusiasm for life. You may think emotions are inconvenient, silly, or irrelevant, but when your emotions give up on you, nothing else matters. Your emotions are smarter than they look, but they deserve close scrutiny. If your emotions are telling you to buy something, chances are they are being manipulated.

 

After almost 100 years of subliminal manipulation of our emotions through advertizing and mass media, we often find our emotions working at cross-purposes with our best interests. The 1% uses your emotions against you through a campaign of very sophisticated psychological warfare, carried out through advertizing and media. As a result, the more media you consume, the more inadequate you feel, the more needy you feel, and the more stuff you want.

 

Watching TV instantly turns you into the ugliest, poorest and dullest person in the room, by filling the room with sexy, witty, well-dressed people who completely ignore you. Don’t invite them into your home! Even though they seem to ignore you, everything they say and do is designed to take advantage of you, and use your emotions against you.

 

Not only has the field of psychology completely failed to help the millions of people who suffer from serious mental illness, they have induced mental illness in millions more by collaborating with business to manipulate buying, voting, driving, smoking, or any other kind of behavior they choose. Psychology is not about understanding the mind, psychology is the study of behavior, and how to manipulate it. Right now, thousands of college educated psychologists, with mortgages and student loans to pay off, are telling their bosses how much they love their job, and really knocking themselves out to find new ways to manipulate your behavior, by using your emotions against you.

 

While real rich, snooty obnoxious people might make snide comments about you while they drink all your booze and grind their cigarette butts into your carpet, they wouldn’t have an army of mad scientists orchestrating every word and movement purely for the purpose of taking advantage of you. It really pays dividends in your sanity to strictly limit your exposure to mass media, because that’s how the 1% turns your emotions against you, and you need your emotions on your side.

 

Its worth examining your emotions, because sometimes they well up from the very fiber of your being, and that emotion always has your best interest at heart. Your heart instinctively knows what’s best for you, and it will tell you so. On the other hand, if your heart’s not in it, get your body, mind, time and money out of it as well, and quit telling yourself how much you love it. Remember “the pursuit of happiness”? You will not find happiness by plunging yourself headlong into misery, day in and day out, no matter how much it pays, how proud it makes your parents, or how secure it makes you feel.

 

While you read On The Money; Economic advice for the 99%, pay attention to how your heart reacts to the ideas in this column. If you hear that little voice inside you say “Yes!”, “Right On!”, or even “That’d be nice.” when you read the ideas I present here, it’s because these ideas resonate with who we are as human beings, and our hearts remember what it was like to have meaningful, satisfying lives, instead of working ourselves to death for meaningless stuff.

 

In On The Money; Economic Advice for the 99%, I show you how to break out of those destructive habits that define our sick culture, and help you reclaim your life, your time, your dignity and your humanity, the things that really matter in life. On The Money;Economic Advice for the 99% represents a completely original and revolutionary approach to personal economics that challenges conventional thinking in a way that reveals the deceit, cruelty, and violence of our current economic system, and shows you how to turn the tables on the 1%.

 

So, read this column with an open heart, and realize that economics is bigger than money, its bigger than goods and services, its bigger than “the economy”, in fact. Economics is about how we live, how we exchange goods and services, and our impact on the environment, but economics is also about how we think and feel about our lives, and those things matter a hell of a lot more in life than the GDP, the unemployment rate, or the movements of any stock index. There’s a view of emotions in economics that’s On The Money.


On The Money; Standard of Living

On The Money;

Economic Advice for the 99%

Standard of Living

 

People make a big deal about our “high standard of living”. Just last week local blogger Eric Kirk invoked the “high standard of living” in western Europe as evidence of the unrivaled superiority of the democratic system, as though democracy were an economic system rather than a political one, and completely ignoring the environmental impacts of the European lifestyle. Apparently, to Kirk, a high standard of living, regardless of how fleeting, or how high the price paid by the rest of the world, is the sole measure of success, but what do we mean by “standard of living”?

When was living standardized? Can’t we customize our lives individually? Do we have standardized tests to measure our standard of living? If so, how much do we “live to the test”, so to speak, just to artificially elevate the results? …and what do we mean by high? I know how high I have to be to reach my standard, but that’s a very personal thing. My partner Amy hardly smokes any pot at all. Does she have a lower standard of living than I do? If so, I think we’d all be better off with more people like Amy and fewer people like me, rather than the reverse.

Amy is a smart attractive woman who takes care of herself, me, two cats, two snails, our home and a few non-psychoactive potted plants that I would never bother with. She takes no drugs, has no interest in mass media, the internet, or fashion. She cherishes her interactions with wild plants and animals, enjoys living close to the earth, and has learned to do so responsibly.

I, on the other hand, am a fat, bald, multi-drug addicted middle aged white guy who spends his time thinking unclean thoughts about Bratz dolls, playing with electronic children’s toys and filling web servers with pointless blog posts about it. I can’t wait to try those new “bath salts” I’ve been hearing so much about, and even though about 80% of my waking thoughts revolve around sex, I still find it easy to blather endlessly on subjects I know nothing about, and I expect everyone to listen. Clearly I exemplify a higher standard of living than does my partner Amy, but who would you rather spend your time around?

While raising our “standard of living” has opened a Pandora’s Box of previously unimaginable new opportunities for fat, bald, sex-obsessed, drug-addled white guys with huge egos, like myself and Eric Kirk to amuse ourselves, those gains have come at tremendous cost to bright, good-looking people who know how to live on this planet without fucking it up, like Amy.  In fact a rising standard of living is always marked by the extirpation of healthy good-looking people who had quietly lived, in the same place where their ancestors lived for tens of thousands of years, without depleting their resource base, and by the rise of fat, bald, white egomaniacs who shamelessly exploit everything, and for whom, sustainability is, at best, an abstract concept.

Fat, bald, white egomaniacs, around the world, all live pretty much the same way. We all want anything we see any other fat, bald, white guy with. We think its great to live in a world where every fat, bald, white guy gets to have anything that any other fat, bald white guy has, so long as he has enough money. That’s what we mean by “high standard of living”.

On the other hand, the people who inhabited this world before this new “high standard of living” all lived differently. They all developed cultures adapted to the peculiarities of the places they lived. Nothing about human culture was standardized, but all of it was sustainable.

In the “high standard of living” world of fat, bald, white sex-obsessed egomaniacs, we have building codes, a general plan, and college educated, taxpayer funded eggheads who are full of advice, but none of it is sustainable.

This is why we should value our “high standard of living” over the rich diversity of our human cultural heritage. For unless we exterminate what remains of human cultural diversity, exploit the Earth’s natural bounty, and sacrifice generations of our own progeny in the name of our “high standard of living” fat, bald, white egomaniacs with money will not be able to use economic extortion to compensate for being so sexually repulsive.

There’s a view of our “high standard of living” that’s On The Money.


On The Money; The Sick Ideas Behind Healthy Humboldt

On The Money,

Economic Advice for the 99%;

The Sick Ideas Behind Healthy Humboldt

 

Listening to Dennis Huber’s Monday Morning Magazine show on KMUD last week, I heard the voice of a representative of Healthy Humboldt talking about the thrilling conclusion of the Humboldt County General Plan Update. While the endless acrimonious bickering on this issue highlights the complete failure of county government and private enterprise to address the county’s housing needs, or provide good stewardship for the resources and lands of Humboldt County, Healthy Humboldt’s cheerful proclamation that they advocate for “sustainability” particularly irked me.

I know they mean well, and I understand their reasoning: If we encourage people to live closer together, and closer to jobs, services, and public transportation, we can lower Humboldt County’s carbon footprint. However, a lower carbon footprint does not equal sustainability, not even close. The county goes to great lengths to prohibit sustainable housing, and even greater lengths to encourage resource exploitation and consumption. Healthy Humboldt wouldn’t dare suggest the county operate in any other way.

So, whether you’re an egghead ecofascist, a greedy fuck-all real-estate developer or a blood-sucking dope yuppie, you’ve got your head up your ass when it comes to sustainability in Humboldt County. The same goes for the bureaucracies in Eureka who issue permits and enforce the reams of pointless and arcane regulations the county has already adopted. These people have already made an unholy mess of Humboldt County, and this GPU won’t change that one bit.

Face it, as a culture, we have no idea how to live on this planet sustainably. Most of our building codes and housing standards were established in the post WWII boom years, the period of the greatest increase in American consumption, and before the concept of a finite planet ever crept into the American psyche. Today, building codes still largely reflect the values and attitudes of that bygone era.

The whole point of building codes was not to make homes “safer” or whatever, but to make them cost more, use more stuff, keep more people busy, and waste more water, energy, space and resources. In other words, building codes were established to spur growth in the economy. The entire regulatory system was designed to make housing less sustainable, and it has been fantastically successful. They gave us suburban sprawl, gridlock, and homelessness. They’ve made homes so expensive that most people can no longer afford one.

As a result, people have become slaves to their homes, if they haven’t already lost everything to their home, through foreclosure. They’ve successfully turned “home”, which should be a place of comfort, security, and sanctuary, into a source of stress, anxiety and endless toil. This is a remarkable achievement, even if it is not exactly something to be proud of.

We should acknowledge the county government, land developers, the construction industry, real-estate agents, appraisers, bankers and mortgage brokers for their role in generating an enormous amount of unnecessary economic activity by making life suck for so many people. They really deserve more than a token of our appreciation.

If you are homeless, facing foreclosure, struggling to make payments on an underwater mortgage or throwing your money away on rent in an overpriced housing market, you should know that it’s not by accident. Some people believe that it is more important for them to make more money, that it is for you to have a place to live, and those are the people bickering over the Humboldt GPU.

No, no one at the table at the GPU wants to see hillsides dotted with cabins, shacks, yurts and teepees. No one involved with the GPU wants to return to the days of out-houses and pit latrines, but that’s what sustainability looks like. That’s what home should look like, simple, tidy, and homemade. That is what the Humboldt County General Plan exists to prohibit; sensible homes built by hand, from local materials by the people who intend to live in them. Instead, the county employs a small army of personnel to insure that everyone in Humboldt County, lives up to their unrealistic expectations born in an era of unrestrained, bewilderingly wasteful consumption.

They all want housing costs to continue to rise because they all want more money for themselves, more money for their land, more money for their existing homes, more expensive new homes, more grants for Healthy Humboldt and more revenue for Humboldt County bureaucrats. They don’t care whether or not you have a home, or what kind of torture you endure to keep it.

Everyone involved in this seemingly endless saga with the GPU deserves your contempt, as does the GPU itself. You deserve a home, and not one that you have to spend half of your waking hours at work to afford. There’s a view of the Humboldt GPU that’s on the money.


On The Money, Obamneycare is a Symptom, Not a Cure

On The Money

Financial Advice for the Working-Class;

Obamneycare is a Symptom Not a Cure

In an attempt to alienate all of my readers by denigrating their political views, I weigh in on a hotly, although mostly inanely, debated topic, the new mandatory health insurance law, the Expensive Insurance Act, also known as Obamneycare.

With people currently paying $500 or more a month for a health insurance policy with a $5,000 annual deductible, you are better off diagnosing yourself and buying drugs on the black-market than buying health insurance.

 

At 50 years old, I have never run up $5,000 worth of medical bills in a year, if I had been insured since I was 25, I would have already paid 150,000 for nothing, and if I missed one payment, even that flimsy coverage is gone. Health insurance has become a ripoff of epic proportions, and Obamneycare just made it mandatory.

 

While conservatives cling to the delusional belief that the worst people, acting for the worst reasons, will always produce the best results, liberals think they know what’s best for everyone, and live in a grand illusion of their own design. When liberals and conservatives work together, they deliver the worst of both worlds. Such is the case with the new Expensive Insurance Act aka Obamneycare.

The American people gave Obama a clear mandate to make health-care more affordable, and he used that mandate to sell us all out, especially young people. According to Harper’s Index, in the last 25 years, the net worth of Americans 65 and older had risen by 42%. In the same 25 years the net worth of Americans 35 and younger dropped by a whopping 68%. Now Obama has screwed young people again, the very same young people who got him elected, by imposing a huge new tax on anyone who chooses not to pay for an extortionately overpriced product, that most young people don’t need, and would be better off without.

 

Obama didn’t make health-care affordable, he fed the people who elected him, to the bloated health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Health insurance rates continue to climb because our health-care system remains broken. Thanks to this new legislation, we will all be sicker and poorer as a result. Obama sold out young people with this new law, just like Clinton sold out American workers with NAFTA.

 

Once Democrats know you like them enough to vote them into office, they can’t wait to screw you for the people who paid for their campaign. Republicans know you don’ like them and screw you anyway. Romney screwed people in Massachusetts with a very similar law, because this is what democracy has come to. Politicians exist solely to sell us out to a corporate agenda, Democrat or Republican, they all work for the same people.

 

So, Obama caved to one of the most predatory industries in our whole economy and screwed young healthy people with an expensive new tax for not buying a ripoff product they neither want nor need. So, now life sucks even more for young working people who face rising tuition, inflated housing costs, stagnant wages and scant employment opportunities, and have already lost almost 70% of their net worth in the last 25 years. Like that wasn’t bed enough, now Obamneycare forces America’s young and healthy working people to subsidize two million BMW driving yuppies in Hartford CT, even though they could never afford to live there themselves.

 

It is surprising that we actually have any healthy people left in this country, considering how sick our culture is. Today, millions of children will consume psychiatric drugs, millions of senior citizens will take insidious cholesterol lowering drugs with side effects far worse than high cholesterol, and millions of adults will take mood-altering drugs that cost in excess of $1000 a month, to treat anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression caused not by a “brain chemical imbalance’ but because life sucks, because people are under attack, being played like pawns, and they have no idea how to make sense of their lives.

 

You can’t solve the problems we face with elections, no matter how many people tell you otherwise.  Obomneycare does not cure anything. Obomneycare is a symptom, and the disease is democracy. The sooner we stop trusting the people who caused our problems, to solve them, the better off we will be.


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