Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is the Fed Laundering Money"?

Xtranormal poses the question no one wants to ask about the Fed and the money supply in their campy animated office cooler style. The Machine likes these guys.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Let's not get our hair mussed, Dr. Stragelove

nothing short of brilliant - I often think how this movie changed the world.

The Definition of Insanity
Truthouts piece is perfect reading for this clip, on the use of Orwellian speak in the current campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan and Yemen.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

US Government medical experiments of the past

The apology for this incident may be half a century late, but it was delivered - this pales in comparison to what the Japanese did during WWII, and I still find it trouble how we accepted the ethics of integrating those responsible for the Japanese and German atrocities into our Country in the name of Freedom.
US government deliberately infected Guatemalans with STDs in medical experiment

Monday, May 31, 2010

Historical use of Atomic bombs to cap Oil and Gas Leaks

Perhaps we should throw in the towel and let BP use a nuke to seal the leak.  

This amazing archival footage shows Russia's triumphant use of a Nuke  to seal up a hopeless leak 'back in the day' complete with happy music. Plan N?

Now that BP is apparently allowed to ruin the Gulf of Mexico, and thus far, with consequences seem similar to the fines levied in our Banks for money laundering drug profits,  maybe it is time to start selling nukes to corporations.

However, the Machine calls upon the CEO of BP to rise up and declare the entire shareholder equity of BP to be voluntarily handed over to a governing board of stakeholders, made up of those affected by their reckless error.   It is high time for BP to do the right thing before Hell Freezes over or Obama gives them the Bomb.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Citi Bank, a leading Talibank of America, Chases you after you die

...real dialog with Citibank with customer trying to "hit the easy button" and clear the account of the departed.

Cancel your credit card before you die..........(hilarious!)

Now some people are really stupid!!!!
Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die.
This is so priceless, and so, so easy to see happening, customer service being what it is today.
A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but now somewhere around $60.00. A family member placed a call to Citibank.

Here is the exchange:
Family Member:'I am calling to tell you she died back in January.'
Citibank: 'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'
Family Member: 'Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.'
Citibank : 'Since it is two months past due, it already has been'
Family Member: So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?'
Citibank : 'Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!'
Family Member: 'Do you think God will be mad at her?'
Citibank: 'Excuse me?'
Family Member: 'Did you just get what I was telling you - the part about her being dead?'
Citibank : 'Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor.'

Supervisor gets on the phone:
Family Member: 'I'm calling to tell you, she died back in January with a $0 balance.'
Citibank : 'The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.'
Family Member: 'You mean you want to collect from her estate?'
Citibank : (Stammer) 'Are you her lawyer?'
Family Member: 'No, I'm her great nephew.' (Lawyer info was given)
Citibank: 'Could you fax us a certificate of death?'
Family Member: 'Sure.' (Fax number was given )

After they get the fax:
Citibank : 'Our system just isn't setup for death. I don't know what more I can do to help.'
Family Member: 'Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. She won't care.'
Citibank: 'Well, the late fees and charges will still apply.'
(What is wrong with these people?!?)
Family Member: 'Would you like her new billing address?'
Citibank : 'That might help..'
Family Member: ' Odessa Memorial Cemetery , Highway 129, Plot Number 69.'
Citibank : 'Sir, that's a cemetery!'
Family Member: 'And what do you do with dead people on your planet???'

Priceless!! Have you wondered why Citi is going broke and need the feds to bail them out!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Conducting the Apocalypse

"Conducting the Apocalypse"
 Hand-tinted photographic collage

One of my favorite art pieces — somehow this image seems very timely
Originally created to album cover art for Pablo Cruise, Out of our Hands
Creative collaboration with Cory Lerios and Dave Jenkins
Produced the 'old fashion way' - using a scalpel and dyes applied with a brush, eight images
Hand-tinted collage © Bennett Hall 1984/2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

1099's on steroids coming soon - God I love Paperwork!

yet another example of what appears to be a dedication by our combined Government(s) to wipe out small independent businesses and freelancers.

The "perfect storm' of collapsed sales revenue and prices, over compliance, mixed with the complexity of tax/fine, insurance and regulatory details, sums up to eliminate the incentive to start or even maintain the small business you may have.

Hmmm...[Obama] claimed (SB) was the backbone of new job growth.  What's up?

Anyone studying this of course knows that this was merely an array of PR hack-festivals - stuff the sounds good to the employed and to keep us in line.  

What distills however is simple:

"Change we can believe in, is a Mirage"

We need Thomas Jefferson to come back.

for more - visit the Machine.

PS What did Greece agreed to to satisfy the IMF on their bailout?  read the details if you have not!  Coming to a City, State near you.

CNN Article on the hidden Tax changes

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Martin Luther King, I have a Dream, August 28, 1963

This speech is worth watching from time to time to keep things in perspective.  So much has changed since, we are yet to see a leader like King emerge again, though all leaders have their own unique point  position in history and point of view.  This is change I can believe in.

Here is a graet compilation of 50 speeches from Ghandi to King to check out: 
50 Famous Speech

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shocking Headlines of the day

SEC Staffers watching porn as economy crashed

TruthOut Article

CNN 4-22-2010

Ron Paul vs Bernanke 4/14/2010

Starting a favorite Quotes list... twitter size only this time

“It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” – George Carlin

"Change we can believe in (Obama), is a mirage" - Bennett Hall 

"If you don't like the news go out and make up some of your own"  Scoop Nisker/KSAN - c1970

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Health Care USA Version 2.0

With trepidation and grave concerns arisen, I quote the following by Noam Chomsky, 4-08-2010...
His essay is well worth the read, although like nearly all essayists today or pundits, identifying problems is one thing, providing actionable solutions is another. It does not help that we appear to now be a completely controlled population of 'sheep', living in fear of what the corporations are going to do next as Ralph Nadar often points out.  - the Machine

"A year ago, the business world recognized that the insurance companies and big Pharma, in sharp defiance of the public will, had succeeded in destroying the possibility of serious health reform - a very serious matter, not only for the people who suffer from the dysfunctional health system, but even on narrow economic grounds. About half of the deficit that we are instructed to deplore is attributable to unprecedented military expenditures, rising under Obama, and most of the rest to the increasing costs of the virtually unregulated privatized health care system, unique in the industrial world, also unique in its gifts to drug companies - opposed by a mere 85 percent of the population. Last August, Business Week had a cover story celebrating the victory of the health insurance industries. Of course, no victory is enough, so they persisted in the struggle, gaining more, also against the will of the large majority of the public, another interesting story I'll have to put aside."

-Noam Chomsky, from Truth Out, essay on Fascism

Noam Chomsky, who has taught linguistics at MIT since 1955, has revolutionized the scientific study of language. A prolific author and activist, Chomsky has weighed in on all major political issues of the last five decades. His most recent book, "Hopes and Prospects", a survey of the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century, is available on and elsewhere.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thoughts from a revolutionary to consider today

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and constitutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind, as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances. Institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.  We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

--Thomas Jefferson c1795

What is Hope?

Has hope we can believe in (Per President Obama), turned out have the same substance as a mirage?

Just wondering...

hand-painted image © Bennett Hall 1976

History (* Per Wiki)
Hope was personified in Greek mythology as Elpis. When Pandora opened Pandora's Box, she let out all the evil except one: hope. Evidently, the Greeks considered hope to be as dangerous as all the world's evils.[2] It may be worthy to note that in the story, hope is in effect far more potent than any of the major evils. In some faiths and religions of the world, hope plays a very important role. Hope can be passive in the sense of a wish, or active as a plan or idea, often against popular belief, with persistent, personal action to execute the plan or prove the idea. Consider a prisoner of war who never gives up hope for escape and, against the odds, plans and accomplishes this. By contrast, consider another prisoner who simply wishes or prays for freedom, but without genuine hope, or another who gives up all hope of freedom.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Machine reborn - Radial Engine reborn to the music of historic Germany

I just had to include this - when the Machine finds a machine that stands out for its unique attributes, especially when the creator approaches the project with free spirited intent against all odds as an individual - we consider that news. With some good fortune, perhaps the creator of this machine will provide a follow up and specifications which will be added accordingly.

Banks are dangerous. History has the talking points

'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.'

Thomas Jefferson 1802

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Man Counting Money? Foreclosures! "It's a Beautiful thing."

This in from CNN-a few days ago from a top Chase/WAMU bank analyst
you better be sitting down................

source: Christopher Whalen, of Institutional Risk Analytics:

"J.P. Morgan got a great deal on WaMu, which it bought out of receivership for 3 cents on the dollar. Every time WaMu does a foreclosure, J.P. Morgan makes money. WaMu's a beautiful thing."

How is that foreclosure is a beautiful thing? (for our community, our country, the tax payers, anyone other than Chase?)

I drift to the cut of Slim Pickens yellen' Yaaaaahooo while riding the H-Bomb to global oblivion in Dr Strangelove.  Is that the course we are now charting?

full CNN article 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

U.S. / Mexico drug trade: Strategic analysis

A brilliant analysis of the Mexican drug trade in the context of US strategic interests:  A) do nothing, b) legalize drugs, or c) intervene [in Mexico].   Choices, choices... but, it is 2010, and they are limited to those more popular ones in line with those who are currently running the US.   What is the history? Whose best interest is served by which positions?  Nothing is as it seems,
                                                                                                     —The Machine
Great web resource- sign up!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Senegal unveils colossal statue amid criticism

Greatest Statue in Senegal?

With the help of North Korea, this 162' copper representative of the liberation of the African People, one foot coincidentally higher than the Statue of Liberty, now serves as a beacon the those struggling in Africa.  Or is it something else?  We want to know what the land swap deal was for the North Korean's that inspired them to fund this rather unusual bit of handy-work.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Public Nudity Art video on the Spot JFK was murdered

Erykah Badu gets a fine.

Conceptually interesting and brilliant marketing, and perhaps the next viral on Youtube as well, this packs a punch.  Rooted in history, the history of violence, enacted at the exact spot of a horrific crime that is embedded in all of us who lived through it especially.   Flash mob style rouge camera crew one take approach - well done says The Machine.  Will update once the real video is posted.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Buy Health Care INSURANCE or its FINE/or JAIL

Change we can believe in or a new forced payment plan that will reduce our global competitive position? Speaking today with a buddy in Canada, he was clearly shocked - noting how overpaid our system is relative to deliverables (unless you are part of the machine of course), cumbersome to the max, and how obvious to Canadians the level of propaganda and false information shot by "US" across the borders - emphatically - he said - WE KNOW IT IS NOT TRUE - LIES.   We lose our doctors to your bloated compensation system daily.

To be selfish - I would love it be Law of the land as well that all businesses and public building were required to install artwork and exhibits for their buildings - then may be I would not be losing my house.

Palin Statues to dominate Public Town Squares nationwide

Just heard they are now producing edition of  12-18' bronze statues of Palin holding the constitution and installing them in various town squares nation wide - they have integrated sound/video recording devices and those weird moving eyes used in haunted house oil paintings.  RUN FOR THE HILLS!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pumps On Full - Chris Martenson

A fresh point of view on the interconnected crisis's facing us - monetary system collapse, energy, environment, social unrest, government system failures - the 'perfect storm'.

Pumps On Full - Chris Martenson - bonds, commodities, gold, Insider, Stocks

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Michael Moore says: the "Storm" is getting worse

This is strong even for Michael - and begs the question: OK - recognizing these fundamental problems, what is the plan to cure the systemic failure that is open us?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Importance of relevant laws...


PLEASE: read these words carefully...

Jefferson commented a century or two ago, as etched into the Marble of his monument, that laws must evolve in accord with the human spirit and its discoveries.  He is right.  It is an essential must do; many societal problems and 'roadblocks' to progress root in the failure for this to occur.

Further, Jefferson I think would agree that obsolescence, when recognized by a duty bound public servant, should carry forward ASAP to a much needed "delete button".

I suspect that such a delete button is yet to be invented.
California and San Francisco edition in example:

  • Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.
  • Peeling an orange in your hotel room is banned
  • It is illegal to posses bear gall bladders.
  • It is illegal to trip horses for entertainment.

  • Prostitutes are not obliged to make change for bills larger than $50.
  • There is a law that prohibits elephants from strolling down Market Street in San Francisco unless they are on a leash.
  • It is illegal to pile horse manure more than six feet high on a street corner
  • It is illegal to wipe one’s car with used underwear

I will append this list as more laws are identified as candidates for the delete button.

Image: Words in Marble Jefferson Memorial, hand-tinted, BH © 1978

to purchase this image and view our web galleries

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Apple may soon control the world as we know it, maybe it already does

Perhaps at some point later this decade, it is project that Apple Computers may be able to buy the the U.S. government using newly formed credit default swaps?  Steve would be  King and Savior.   Clone up a few thousand more perhaps with visionary genetic engineering and there could be hope for the future.

Apple hits another record higAppleh - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Brainstorm Tech

History repeating itself

The costumes have changed but the issue remains the same - the fight over the exchange of value, control of planetary and local resources, and who is the  ultimate survivor and top dog continues today just as it has for thousands of years. 

Artwork available through : WorldWide Archive Galleries

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Honoring a true hero

He stood up to Patton and held his ground. Like so many, they wanted to silence the opposition, ironic in a democracy by definition. Bill Mauldin spoke from a WWII trench, covered in mud, bullets flying around him, soaking wet and frozen to the core; from there his talent gave light to his comrades.   Mauldin is gone, died a heroes death in a nursing home, surrounded by those to whom he gave so much light.  He was a lucky one.

So where is today's Mauldins?  Are they allowed to speak out against 'Patton' and if  so would Ike come alone and tell Bill to charge on? It seems that despite the noise that we hear everywhere, that there is a general silence today, and pins dropping can often be heard.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Concern about the future, now more than ever

Image available through World Wide Archives web galleries:

The Work the Machines do for us...

Kenneth Boulding  postulated in 1968 that unless an evolved system of 'value exchange" that compensated people displaced by the work machines increasing do FOR humans, that the system will eventually collapse.  As only the owners of the machines are in effect paid for the work the machines displace, and the "surplus population" is relegated to a purgatory envisioned by one Ebenezer Scrooge, suffice to say, "Houston we have a problem."  

Capitalism, as defined by the our two-party monopoly, spineless congress et al, is far divergent from the founding Fathers vision, and is no longer working. We know socialism is not an option. So who will be the economic-social-political visionary that steps up with a solution for this conundrum.

What is NEXT?

Given the span from Iacoca to Moore to Ron Paul to Ralph Nader to Palinesque Tea parties and now coffee parties, mixed with the salt of Sunni-Shia Muslim extremism - who the heck knows -but it will be interesting.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It IS time.

The more one reads this document, the more one realizes both its brilliance, and how much things have changed. 

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wells Fargo Speaks on Accounting

Quote today from Wells Fargo Home Equity Department;

Subject: Inquiry from a customer regarding paying a bill to bring an account current

Q: What  is  a balance Sheet?

Supervisor: " I imagine its got a bunch of numbers on it and you are trying to balance it out" So say Carl Youngberg - Supervisor - Portland area

And he works for a bank??

New Question: Is there hope for America's Banking institutions?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dailykos POV on Joe Stack

Manifesto from a man who snapped, 2-18-2010

The Last words of Joe Stack

Presented for information and archival purposes - a glimpse inside the mind of a man who utterly snapped and in the process hurt a lot of people and brought to light the vulnerability of uncontrolled private airports.

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.
While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.
Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.
And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!
How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.
How did I get here?
My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.
The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.
That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.
Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.
On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.
The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.
In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.
Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer... and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.
For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report ( regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here (
(a) IN GENERAL - Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:
(d) EXCEPTION. - This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.
(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. - The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.
· "another person" is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.
· "taxpayer" is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.
· "individual", "employee", or "worker" is you.
Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.
During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.
After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.
Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.
Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.
Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.
By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.
To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.
So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.
When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.
This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.
I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.
As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.
I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.
I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.
I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.
The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.
Joe Stack (1956-2010)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ralph Nader at his passionate best

With astonishing relevancy to the current debacle of Machine Politics as usual, the oft branded America's favorite grump, has a lot of important things to say about the challenges facing the planet right her and now that are shaping our future. This is worth the time to watch this piece.