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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Morning News and Views

Well the latest version of my one man shows as Frank Crowe are behind me. It went well Friday night, and events on Saturday were great as well. From CSN professor and KNPR contributor Michael Green: "Well done, indeed, Frank!"

It’s kind of neat we now have that book signed by the author of “Colossus”- mentioning me as Frank Crowe.

For those who have not read a Sunday News and View entry before, it rambles and like a magazine or magazine formatted program, covers a wide range of topics, issues and features..beginning this week with the communication topic of language, and my usual political bias explanations..

Language is everything in politics, as meanings are twisted or changed to the liking of whomever has the most money or reach. Liberal became a dirty work, Christian equals conservative, stimulus becomes money down the drain...

Making sure that I, and the millions of others who have been rejected for health insurance due to "pre-exiting conditions" is labeled "socialism."

A president who happens to be black, is "foreign", "not American" and "a closet Muslim." Even though he is Christian, it is immaterial as the Muslim faith is somehow painted as "anti-American" and "the enemy" as words are used to create fear, and fear helps move people to vote for the agenda of those who use hatred as a campaign.

I was recently involved in a union political campaign where jobs were promised while running for a position that has no power to create jobs, and social meeting were equated with union activism. Voters believe the rhetoric, and seldom research if there is anything to substantiate it. Not from lack of intelligence, or lack of education, but from succumbing to the sheet simplification of accepting rhetoric and the emotional manipulation behind it.

Tax increase is one of those terms. Taxes run the work we live in. While Libertarians may disagree, the reality is that we require tax revenue to provide the education Jefferson said was needed for Democracy to function; to pave the roads needed to deliver our food fuel and goods; police and fire professionals to keep us safe and hold back the dam of crime and disaster; support to assure reliable and affordable health care, including hospitals and the training needed for the medical professions; and to support a needed and essential military.

When is a tax increase not an increase? Well the claims of an increase by President Obama represents just that. For one, the president does not levy taxes, the congress or state legislatures do. Second, ending a tax cut is not a tax increase.

The increase ignorant people are sure has come due to the president is actually ending a cut on income earned beyond a quarter of a million dollars a year. Only those whose net income, after deductions exceeds $250,000 and begins at and is only on income starting at the $250,001st dollar. In fact Obama has proposed cuts in federal taxes for the vast majority of Americans.

Now taxes will go up, like it or not. The reason is that many state, county and local governments are locked into balanced budgets by initiatives conservative voters passed when the money was there. Others have no choice due to a drastic drop in tax revenue when the recession hit, the very taxes we depended on to keep essential services operating.

Of course the fight will go on, and to be honest it should be on what we consider "essential" and how much we are willing to do without, risk or gamble on with each thing we cut.

And things are interconnected more than most people think. If you cut fire protection, your fire and homeowner insurance goes up. Renters are hit by rent increases to cover the landlords insurance. The same is true with police. If you cut education property values go down, so tax revenue goes down and the need for other methods of financing services, such as tax increases, become needed.

We do not live in a world where simple slogans and emotional reactionary-ism can solve the very real problems of this recession. Home values, paying for services when the money is no longer there from traditional sources, unemployment, prosecuting an expensive but needed war, homeland security (which takes a large percentage of the budget at all levels from our US military to local police, fire and medical services), a dated and decaying transportation infrastructure, over dependence on foreign manufacturing and in some areas food, all have real price tags and someone somehow has to pay, or we suffer the greater costs of doing without.

The end of a costly private insurance industry government money trough is presented as a massive "cut" in Medicare, when in fact it was redundant with other programs and actually saved money, the very thing those who yell about "cutting" Medicare are seeking the government to do in every area including medicare, It's all in how you say it..."cut" instead of "trim" or "remove unneeded expenses."

To the one percent of America who control 80% of the wealth, international corporations who send American jobs overseas and who are investing US earnings in foreign facilities and foreign economies the answer is simple...rape the taxpayer and then leave for greener pastures.

Oh, did I just use the word "rape".

It's in how you phrase it.

"Patriotism","American", "illegal", "tea party", "liberal", "Muslim", "Christian"...all are words that have been stolen and adapted for special interests, used to manipulate voters and public opinion.

The language of marketing has changed the way we speak. We are target markets or niche markets, so we now say we are “targeting” someone or something, and we use the world “niche” as if it meant something more than a simple segment. We did not have “needs” or “wants” but perceptions. Our “wants” become “needs” and we inflate our own value in money and other terms as if we were products being positioned for a sale. People and works of arts are “products” and writers or actors are “brands.” Brands do not have a right to have opinions or points of view, but are owned and “owe” to their fans. “Up” and “Down” markets are now parts of our conversation, “targeting” people or audiences a part of how we plan almost everything from our shopping decisions to how we plan our vacations. We no longer spend or charge, but “invest” while using up our savings or running up our credit cards. Think about it.

Nevada has been hit hardest by this recession on a per resident basis. But the pain is national, with Vets having trouble finding jobs, home prices still going down or at best inching up, credit tight and misplaced blame fueling a less than rational movement toward the general election in just over a month.

14.3% of Americans are legally poor, the highest in 15 years. In the last year alone the number of “poor” Americans grew by over 4 million, to over 44 million Americans. For the first time since the Great Depression, one in 7 Americans qualify as poor, including 1 in 5 children. A recession caused by years of moving away from focus on the individual and civil rights toward corporations and corporations as “individuals”, and which escalated and exploded under President George W Bush is now impacting the presidency of America’s first African American president, and conservatives bent on turning their trust back to the corporations that got us here.

Meanwhile churches, social institutions, families and those who would traditionally cushion the blow are themselves short or tight on funds. Americans also live further from family, are less likely to have solid nuclear families and are unable to relocate to where there may be work or family because of top heavy mortgages or lack of funds for transportation.

Get used to it!

Things will get worse, amplified by the current political trends.

Tea Party, reactionary or conservative movements in all of the Western World are putting blinders on and even accelerating our decline in wealth and power, according to one of the worlds most successful investors and the former decade long Prime Minister of England.

New international banking laws will keep another bank crash from happening but will drive up costs on goods, services and finances while at the same time making credit much harder to achieve on a global basis. The International banks will increase costs and slow growth in all of the traditional industrial markets.

Bill Gross of Pimco, and manager of the world’s largest mutual fund. He ways the new normal is diminished expectations and slow growth. The global economy will allow developing countries to grow faster, shifting economic power from the established industrial nations to new growth markets. International money will not go into US jobs or the US economy directly, but into the areas of fast potential capital growth.

Gross says that we need continued and increased government stimulus, but in a coordinated policy like is happening in higher regulated countries like China, or as wide spread and government controlled as under FDR in the US. Unfortunately the political reality in the US will work against us, giving too much power back to the private market, a costly decision for the next two to twenty years. He believes in government influence and government cheap financing.

Expect lower returns on investments; say two to five percent instead of ten percent or more as was the case before the now titled “Great Recession”. Gross says invest in safe environments as an individual, and developing markets as an overall corporate philosophy.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was on the Wall Street Journal Report this weekend. He says the most difficult decisions in office are the war and peace decisions, because the sense of responsibilities includes people’s lives literally at risk.

He is active in the Middle East Peace process, leading to a different take on extremism all over the world. The tendency after September 11 to think of the attack as from a small group of individuals who could be “gotten” rid of by invading a country or strikes against leaders. Clinton, Bush and of course, himself, were living in and thinking in a world that no longer exists during the aftershock of 9-11, as were most of the people of the western world. Brown says that the problems are deeper, rooted in poverty, deep religious resentment, a natural resistance to and rebellion against those who dictate things to be the way they believe things should be. Have we become the bully that increasing numbers of students are learning to resent and join together to defeat?

The world of politics is now dominated by the “tyranny of the protest” in our 24-hour news cycle. In a group of 100 there will be 5 people who will out shout the majority and therefore get more than 50% of media coverage.

Brown believes that this is a world as it is developing alliances are needed to exercise power.

The population of China will grow next year more than the entire population of the United Kingdom. China will build 70 new International airports in the next ten to fifteen years. Britain one new runway, if they can afford it. China is building industrialization four times larger than the US and Britain combined and 500 times faster. India’s growth over the next five years alone exceeds the US and Britain combine. Blair says that conservatives in the US and Great Britain are living in a past that no longer is applicable. The truth is that history is being written, for the first time in centuries, by non-European and non-US style Americans.

The reality is that the US and Britain, perhaps all of Europe, are going to see slow growth against a rapid decline in industrial and economic power. These are trends that Brown believes, cannot be reversed.

Today is the 70th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain, the bombing of civilians in British cites by the Germans.


President Bill Clinton says that posted job openings are double actual job hires in America, with many reasons for the difference on both sides of the equation. Over the next year, he told CBS Sunday Mornings, the Clinton Global Initiative would work on ways to bring manufacturing and other jobs back to America while helping people in need worldwide.

One in 7 Americans lives in poverty, in 5 children. Clinton says back in the early 70’s corporations began to globalize the economy without focusing on how to compensate in the US. This resulted in the top one percent controlling over 80% of our income. 90% of the benefits of the last decade went to the top ten percent of the population, with over half of what is left to the poor or “those in need”, meaning the middle class did not benefit.

One in ten Americans lives in homes that are worth less than the mortgage they are paying on.

Time to end name-calling says the former president. Time to work toward solutions, and help those that need help as soon as possible.

On President Obama’s he says “we need to give our friends in the Republican Party their fair credit…when President Obama got elected he said he did not want any investigations into the Bush years and move forward…a courtesy a Republican congress would certainly not offer to Obama, who worked to be bipartisan, and find friends…but they didn’t. He was shocked by the intensity of the Republican opposition. The Republicans are doing just what they did in 1993 and 1994, only more so, and they are being rewarded for it, even thought it harms the citizens of the United States to have a stalemated government.”

Clinton says Obama’s has accomplished a great deal and he is capable of much more, if the Democrats focus on what we are going to do instead of responding to Republican rhetoric.

“I am worried that we are going to force the very people out of office who have the plans and expertise to reverse a problem that will take a long time and real expertise to overcome. You can’t create jobs and restore an economy without that expertise. Change the government, defeat the incumbents is not the way to move the nation forward.”

Oliver Stone was interviewed on CBS on his 64th birthday, revealing his Vietnam experience and how he turned it toward three award winning films. He uses the passion and pain of Vietnam in making his docu-drama on Bush, Nixon, the Doors, Castro, and others. He says that people confuse sympathetic with empathetic. “Going across the valley and walking in the shoes of people you do not like” is cathartic and allows you to see the world in ways that make you a better person, even if your views do not change. A liberal, Stone still does like George W. Bush, but understands the man and his decisions in ways that make Bush more human and less an icon of his times. “Anytime that happens, with any one, is good and in the long run makes us better human beings.”

It's the end of the old joke about stomach's turning because "As the World Turns” joined “Guiding Light’ in the landmark soap opera graveyard. It ended on Friday, turning off the lights on 54 years of Oakdale, Illinois as everyone’s home town. Meg Ryan is one of many stars who launched their careers or visited Oakdale over the years. The young doctor who moved into town five years into the show, ended the program with is retirement, spinning a globe on his desk as he left his office for the last time.

“To boldly go where no man has gone before” is alive and well. I am not referring to the next “Star Trek” movie. Modern day exploration here on earth is in high gear, according to the BBC; in places no man was ever meat to go…deep places. Manned exploration of the deep sea floor continues, however tethered robotics and increasingly A.I. deep-sea robots survey the deep where none of the sun’s light can penetrate. Robots do most of the work, as the ocean goes to pressures no man can tolerate, even within a specially build aqua-craft. There are no safety requirements, oxygen to breath, and decompression risk or temperature fears for robots. Unfortunately these robots are capable of only limited tasks. They are the lawnmowers of the deep, traveling on preplanned grids and gathering what they can with specific equipment for specific studies. Man, however, can react, think, change tasks and interpret the data on the spot. So it is that there remain men willing to risk crush depths just as astronauts still travel into earth orbit in “outer” space.

Do we know our history? Catherine the Great’s real name was Sophie. She was not Russian. She was highly educated, a great enlightened set of rules that inspired the US Constitution. She did enjoy young male lovers, but for their conversation, observations about the Russian people and help in giving perspective to what she did, as much as for the sex. She did not die the fabled way, but suffered a heart attack sitting on the toilet, passed away in her own bed.

France is the first to ban "our body, the universe within" using human skeletons, organs and bodies bonded in polymer. The issue is the source of the bodies, which France claims came from the bodies of prisoners executed by the Chinese government and then sold for profit, which is against French law.

25 years ago today Frank Zappa testified before congress against censorship, and in favor of artistic freedom.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Off Strip Productions Presents
Richard O' Briens The Rocky Horror Show  LIVE at the Onyx Theatre                                                                                            
Contact:
Michael Morse
Onyx Theatre
953 E. Sahara Ave. Suite 16
Las Vegas, NV 89104
702-238-3896

 Las Vegas, Nev. - Off Strip Productions proudly announces The Rocky Horror Show - LIVE - the musical that spawned the longest-running film of all time, running October 15-31 at the Onyx Theatre. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.onyxtheatre.com, by phone at (702) 732-7225, or at the box office located at 953 E Sahara Avenue, Building 16 inside the Rack Clothing Store in the Commercial Center.
 The Rocky Horror Show - Live is a fully staged rock musical, and includes such infamous songs such as "The Time Warp," "Science Fiction", and "Sweet Transvestite." This will also be the first time the live Broadway version of the show is being performed in Las Vegas.

Click "read more" below for additional details.