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If They Were You

10:14 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

If They Were You
By David Glenn Cox

The problem we face isn’t the NSA and the problem isn’t the CIA. The problem isn’t Barrack Obama or John Boehner. The problem isn’t the Patriot Act or the rising police state. The problem we face isn’t Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden. The problem isn’t television or mass-media. The problem we face isn’t Monsanto or Microsoft, it isn’t marijuana reform or Gay rights, because as human beings, we already have these rights. The problem is the state denying them. The problem is an illusion of public control over government and media. These problems cannot be answered with ballots. We’re grown up children now, no longer believing in ballots, ballerinas or fairy unicorns to save the day.

It would be wonderful if workers could go into the boss’s office and demand a fair contract. If they ask for a dollar, the boss will offer a dime. If they ask for two dollars, the boss will offer twelve cents. If the workers ask for three dollars, the boss will close the plant and move to China; to a place where a military police state will be more persuasive in labor negotiations. The world economy has been poisoned by Neoliberal Capitalism.

You must understand, neoliberal capitalism is a heinous belief system. These neoliberal capitalists do not believe in human society, they do not believe they are their brother’s keeper, they don’t believe in the principles of the Magna Carta, the Constitution or The Rights of Man. Neoliberals believe that human beings are a commodity, like bushels of wheat, barrels of oil or broods of pigs. To neoliberals, there is only one right on earth which actually exists – property. To them, all other human rights are just made up play pretties, not worth the paper on which they’re written.
- See more at: http://www.leftistreview.com/2013/06/26/if-they-were-you/davidcox/#sthash.cYBI7ucV.dpuf

True Definitions

11:33 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

True Definitions
By David Glenn Cox

I’ve been reading Conservative websites for the last day or so, curious as to how the Republicans viewed the outcome of the Presidential election. Probably the funniest or the most curious statements were made by Donald Trump. “This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!” quickly followed by “More votes equals a loss…revolution!” To me at least, it is a clear sign that America needs to be more careful about to whom it gives a reality television series.

Many of Trump’s minions quickly aped their leader bringing up the whole birther scenario and even Obama’s college transcript gate. Of course, the usual racist remarks were woven into the subtext along with claims of Obama being a Socialist. I guess, that is what I find most appalling in this maelstrom, the inability of millions of otherwise sane and normal individuals to discern one political philosophy from another.

Cap•i•tal•ism, from Dictionary.com
an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

So•cial•ism, from Dictionary.com
1. A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

2. Procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.

These are general descriptions, but good enough for our purposes. Under these guidelines, is Barack Obama a Socialist? Obama care is called Socialist, but Obama care mandates were backed up by the Supreme Court of the United States. The decided legitimacy of a mandate on the general public declaring they must purchase a product from a private corporation under penalty of law. It doesn’t sound very Socialist to me, millions of government tax dollars being filtered from public coffers to private hands?

What’s more, Obama care places insurance corporations in full control. Provided the insurance companies stay inside the law, there is no appeal. Under Medicare, the US government is charge and private insurance companies must conform to Medicare in order to participate. So Obama care then becomes the antithesis of Socialism; maybe it was Obama’s bailout of GM and Chrysler which convinced the multitudes of Republican voters that this President was a Socialist.

During the GM bankruptcy, General Motors was allowed to pick and choose which assets to keep and which to discard. Among the discarded assets was an aluminum casting plant along the banks of the Hudson River. The State of New York and the Environmental Protection Agency had listed the plant as a superfund clean up site and estimated the minimum cost of cleaning the site was between $900 million to a billion dollars.

When the auto executives came to Capital hill hat in hand, they were excoriated by our representatives for flying to Washington on board a private jet. They received a very severe tongue lashing, then they given everything which they had asked for. Not one word was uttered during the process, about General Motors being the second largest auto manufacturer in China. Nor were GM’s profits in China exceeding $3 billion annually considered. Over ten thousand white collar employees were let go at Chrysler and GM, their pensions and benefits vanished like a mirage at the hands of these… Socialists?

Thousands of pensioners woke to find their pensions had disappeared as well, GM’s pension obligations were largely eliminated, pushing seniors over to the public trough of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation = (You & I). There were no strings attached to this agreement, GM was free to take the money and if they so chose, to lock the door on every domestic manufacturing plant and laugh about it all the way home. Clearly, if this is Socialism, Obama is not very good at it, but likewise, this isn’t really Capitalism either.

“GM now has about a $2,000-per-car manufacturing advantage over its Japanese and European rivals, a swing from a similar-sized disadvantage before the restructuring,” said David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research. I guess that’s why GM has reduced prices to reflect their more competitive stance in the market place … not! An August 2012 report to Congress from the White House stated if the US government were to sell its remaining stake in GM, it would result in a loss to tax payers of $25.1 billion dollars. This was a government beat down of workers, young, old and retired.

In Obama’s $787 billion dollar stimulus, one third of that total went in the form of tax cuts to private corporations. With approximately 30,000 firms in the US that works out to an average benefit of 8,743,000 per firm. You and I, well, let’s see, we received an estimated benefit each from the stimulus of $1,668. No one is arguing over the need for a stimulus, what I’m saying is that this was neither Socialism nor Capitalism. The original idea was to stimulate the economy, but a disproportionate amount of the money went to the top of the economy instead of where people were hurting at the bottom, kind of like fighting a forest fire by hosing down the tops of trees.

This was the same path begun by Herbert Hoover when he initiated a program with $2 billion to refinance the debts of banks and railroads. Was Hoover also a Socialist or is Obama a Republican? Cash for Clunkers was a program designed to help the big three automakers facing 30,000 leased vehicles being returned per month. With a crumbling economy this spelled disaster for all automakers, foreign and domestic. Disproportionately, the domestic lots saw returning Denali’s and Escalades, Explorers and Ram Trucks with Hemi’s, yeah cool; Hemi’s with $4.00 a gallon gasoline. The same program had been tried by Henry Ford back in the last Great Depression.

Ford’s program, bought back Model T’s and crushed them when the customer bough a new Model A. Only, there were already so many Model T’s out there and only a few people who could afford a new Model that the program was a failure. This time around, the program worked by stabilizing the price of new cars by eliminating the supply of used cars. Arguably, government intervention in an industry could be considered a sort of left handed Socialism. Except that, in Socialism the government moves to create the greatest good for the greatest number, while with this program, it did the opposite, giving tax breaks to those able to afford a new car, while punishing those who could not afford a new car by raising the price of used cars, a sort of Socialism in reverse.

Was Obama acting as a Socialist? Was Henry Ford acting as a Socialist?

Many on the political left were also greatly disenchanted by the performance of Barack Obama in his first term. To me, I fall back on the takes one to know one rule. The attacks on Obama from the left were as loud as the attacks from the right; it was Rahm Emanuel who said “Fuck the UAW” he did not say, “Fuck the UAW, comrade.” Asked in anger by Obama’s press secretary if we, (the professional Left) wanted a Canadian style health care the left answered resoundingly “Yes!” the right answered, “Oh heavens, no!”

There is a disconnection here, a jumble of political philosophies and of political rhetoric. The political right seems obsessed with chasing non-issues or serving up tired political bromides of Socialist, Communist or foreign born alien. On Election Day, I even saw NRA ads claiming Barack Obama was going to take your guns away, despite the fact that Obama couldn’t be lured into a gun debate even in the wake of the Batman massacre. The political right has attempted to paint Barack Obama’s first term as a failure and speaking as a Socialist, I have to agree. It was a failure, so much so, that Michael Moore posted an election day plea to forgive and forget Obama’s Right wing transgressions or else the sky would fall.

The left was pleading to the faithful to forgive Obama’s Right wing policies, while the Right was pleading to elect Romney. To return America to the traditional Republican values of smaller government except, Obama cut the size of government more than any president in recent history. It doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? Obama isn’t a Socialist but he isn’t a Capitalist either, he is something else entirely. A Right wing Democrat, corporate plutocrat with a license to kill in his finger tips.

We’ve see a continuation of the Bush war policies and a continuation of Bush Tax policies. We see our rights extinguished as the Supreme Court becomes openly politicized and criminalized as well. Two major political parties which agree on most matters of war and of rescue, of free trade and of monetary policy, as an insane black curtain of world turned upside down madness descends upon us. It is now a one party state, where disputes are settled along the margins.

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power…. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion.

Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.

They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.” – Henry A. Wallace

So, what does it all mean? It means Donald Trump is correct, but for all of the wrong reasons. This country does need a revolution; there is no other means of rectification. Your taxes will continue to increase; if you have wages, they won’t keep up with inflation. The public school systems will continue to deteriorate and your children will fight endless wars of aggrandizement until the eventual collapse comes, which by the way, will be blamed upon you.

http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html

Surrealistic Pillows

11:41 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

By David Glenn Cox

A crude roadside 'jobs' sign

Good news? Image: Doug Geisler / Flickr

Oh, heavens be praised! It’s a miracle right out of scripture! The gods of political rhetoric and book keeping have favored us to look upon its countenance. I’ve been reading the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report, every month, for over two and a half years and I’ve never seen anything even remotely similar to this one.

From the BLS –

The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 7.8 percent in September. For the first 8 months of the year, the rate held within a narrow range of 8.1 and 8.3 percent. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.1 million, decreased by
456,000 in September.

Why that’s the most amazing thing since, well… ever! Just five weeks before a Presidential election, the economy suddenly takes off like a Shelby Cobra, as the number of unemployed drops by almost a half a million workers in just 30 days! No telling how many jobs were created to make the unemployment rate drop 0.3 percent, it must have been in the hundreds of thousands of new jobs!

From the BLS:

The unemployment rate decreased to 7.8 percent in September, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 114,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care and in transportation and warehousing but changed little in most other major industries.

114,000??? But, but, but, the economic created 206,000 new jobs last month, at least, according to the revisions made in last months figures. It can only be explained as the hand of the deity, as the number employed miraculously explodes.

Number employed in July – 142,220,000
Number employed in August – 142,101,000
Number employed in Sept. – 142,974,000

Number unemployed in July – 12,794,000
Number unemployed in August – 12,544,000
Number unemployed in Sept. – 12,088,000

It must be the wondrous action of the deity, like that loaves and fishes thing, all over again. How else could 114,000 new jobs account for 456,000 less unemployed? Obama has employed the multitude, with his basket filled with a few new jobs and fishes.

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More Than Skin Deep

6:52 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

More Than Skin Deep
By David Glenn Cox

http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q771/Daveparts/Pictures054_zpsbb6bb90d.jpg

I watched Patrick and Sherri Brandon moving out from the home they’d purchased in 2000, for $96,500. They couldn’t pay the Mortgage and the bank foreclosed. The bank took their bad mortgage to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and thanks to Tim Geithner, was made whole. The Federal Home Lone Mortgage Corporation will take this property and bundle it with other distressed properties and then auction them off to(drum roll here)… the banks.

The banks will re- purchase these properties for .22 on the dollar and offer them again for sale at $78,000. See how this works? The Brandon’s were foreclosed on for $45,000 and the FMLMC repaid the bank in full; the government insurance policy recovers the .22 cents on the dollar or $12, 3700. The only ones out here are Patrick & Brandy and their children. Patrick and Brandy ran Spirit & Truth Design ware LLC. They are also Ministers in a local church, but that doesn’t matter much, does it? As common as sands on a beach, blown away by the corporate storm, a sale item on the discount rack of the Corporate – Government great super market of give away days.

If the bank sells the house and turns a profit, it kicks some money back to Uncle Money Bags. If, in three years the bank hasn’t turned a profit Uncle Money Bags will cut the bank a rebate check, sound fair enough for you? The bank forecloses on a family and throws them out into the street and your government goes into a partnership deal and guarantees a profit to the bank. It’s kind of the reverse mirror image of Mitt’s Romney’s forty seven percent, where the one percent are force fed, goodies and freebies and you and I pay their freight.

How do you love a country that won’t love you back? Robert Moses is ninety two years old, he’s a WW2 veteran with a heart condition and he too, is facing foreclosure. Who would have thunk it, a WW2 veteran trying to game the system by taking advantage of those poor unsuspecting bankers. Or maybe, Robert Moses is the worst house flipper in American history after having lived in his home for over four decades.

“Seniors have been set upon by these banks in a very, very vicious manner,” asserted Archbishop Franzo King of the St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, who said he was himself a senior and lost his home to foreclosure recently. “We have to shake off that cloak of shame and put on our war clothes and fight these gangsters.”

I ride these streets of Cleveland and it is like a scene out of a post apocalyptic movie. Empty factories, empty buildings, just a mile from where I sit, there is a three story office building as long as a football field and as empty as a government promise, with its front door just swinging wide open. I joke that when I get rich, I’m gonna buy it and live there and it would be funny except, this isn’t an accident. This was a well orchestrated plan, to set us up, just to knock us back down.

It is a treason of the highest order regardless of the political party, but what can you expect, but to be sold out like a discount Jesus marked down to nineteen ninety five, silver on the barrel head. Yes indeed, Soylent Green is made of people. They would make food out of us if they could get away with it and put it together with the right marketing plan. Soylent Green! Now in Jalapeño Cheese Flavor!

This is a little convoluted, but I want you to understand how this all works in the Corporate Playhouse we call Washington, Patrick and Sherri Brandon and Robert Moses…out, because the government is leveraged against them. Mortgage rates are at 3.3 percent on a thirty year loan. The loan originator earns 1% of that amount and then the bank has to borrow the money from the Federal Reserve at 0.25% so the bank makes 2% less their paperwork and overhead. Take Patrick & Brandy’s house at $78,000 the bank would make less than 2% or around $1,560 on a thirty year mortgage. True, if the bank were making hundreds of these loans, I suppose they could make it up on the volume, but then they would have to hire more employees.
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Kingfish

11:54 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Kingfish
By David Glenn Cox

How often the name of Jesus Christ is commonly bandied about, and for a fictional or faith based character, I suppose that’s all right. I mean, well, Jesus allegedly cast the money changers out of the temple and he healed a few lepers and cured a couple of cases of blindness. He was, after all, a carpenter by trade and a messiah only by a calling later in life. Jesus received much well deserved praise for siding with the poor, the uneducated, and the troubled. The common folk loved him for it. But the rich folk, as rich folk often do, perceive any such individual who avows a mission to assist the poor as a threat, and so, as the story goes they nailed him into the sky.

Funny thing about these religious messiah’s, they always want to help the poor but they always tell’em there’s a better world a waiting for them somewhere else, tomorrow, if you’ll only believe today. The Buddha traveled through the land and met with kings and potentates and told the poor people it was their desire which was the cause of their suffering. Politics has long been called the art of compromise, give and take or what’s commonly referred to as log rolling.

What if there was a politician who wouldn’t compromise on his principals? What if there was a politician who dedicated his life to aiding the poor and unfortunate. A politician who didn’t just rub spit and mud into the eyes of the blind, but instead built hospitals for the blind and trained doctors for the sick, schools for the children, night schools for the illiterate. What if there was a politician who cut taxes for the poor, abolished the poll tax and instituted a foreclosure moratorium, built a medical school, doubled the size of the state university and built a public hospital for the mentally ill? Not to mention, over nine thousand miles of paved roads, 111 bridges including three major bridges.

What would you call such a politician in America? He was called a scoundrel and a crook, a demagogue and a dictator.

“A man is not a dictator when he is given a commission from the people and carries it out.” – Huey Long

Everybody gather ’round
Loosen up your suspenders, hunker down on the ground
I’m a cracker, you are too. Gonna take good care of you
Who built the highway to Baton Rouge?
Who put up the hospital, built you schools?
Who looked after shit-kickers like you?
The Kingfish do

Who gave a party at the Roosevelt Hotel?
Invited whole north half of the state down there for free
People in the city had their eyes bugging out
‘Cause everyone looked just like me

Who took on the Standard Oil men and whipped their ass
Just like he promised he’d do?
Ain’t no Standard Oil men gonna run this state
Gonna be run by little folks like me and you

Here’s the Kingfish, the Kingfish
Friend of the working man
The Kingfish, the Kingfish
The Kingfish gonna save this land
– Randy Newman

More at The Leftist Review;

http://www.leftistreview.com/2012/08/20/kingfish/davidcox/

The Past Is Prologue

12:12 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

The past is prologue, the future is yet defined, the emergence of a Fascist police state is now clearly rising and almost impossible to argue against. From New York City’s controversial “stop and frisk” program to this from the, Atlanta Journal Constitution:

“Code enforcement officer fired after entering woman’s bedroom”

“He let himself in and actually came through the house and into my bedroom and yelled at me to wake me up to let me know that I needed to come back outside and sign the violation notice,” Masters told WJBF-TV News Channel 6 station in Augusta.

“I woke up, I didn’t have my glasses on or my contacts in and all I see is this big burly figure standing in my doorway,” she said. “A big huge guy with a grey shirt, it scared the mess out of me.”

The video shows Vowell at the front door, then moments later walking slowly through the home and peering into rooms. Moments later Masters is seen nervously walking through the home. Vowell, who first denied he’d entered Master’s home, was fired Monday over the incident.

In a Facebook posting, Vowell said he called out to Masters several times before entering after he said he smelled something, according to the Columbia County News-Times.”

Of course he was fired, as he should have been, but where despite training, did he ever get the idea he could enter a citizen’s private residence over a grass citation? But a larger question prompts us to ask, was he fired because of his actions or because he lied about them to his supervisors? Why in a time of tight budgets are there still code enforcement officers on the payroll in the first place? Why should we keep even one code enforcement officer to make sure our grass is the appropriate length, when we are laying off school teachers?

http://www.leftistreview.com/2012/07/17/the-past-is-prologue/davidcox/

Hollowed Out

3:15 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Hollowed Out
By David Glenn Cox

I’ve gotten into the habit each month of reading the Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner’s statement, on the employment situation. This month’s report was as somber as a suicide note, after reading it all I could say was, “wow.” The report displays an economy flat on its back, prostrate and starved. It is a story of a people toiling for little renumeration, as the average American worker’s paycheck increased by one single, shinny, penny last month.

The chart below displays mass layoffs for March; mass layoffs are fifty or more workers by any one employer. At first glance, it seems, not too bad, but with a closer inspection it becomes quite dire indeed.

Table A. Six-digit NAICS industries with the largest number of mass layoff initial claims in March 2012, private nonfarm, not seasonally adjusted.

……………………………………………………………………..​……..March peak

……………………………………….Initial Claims……Year………Initial claims

Industry

Temporary help services ………………..11,732…..2002………….14,338

Food service contractors …………………9,629……2012…………..9,629

School & employee bus transportation..6,815……2008………….8,073

Motion picture and video production….6,367……2005………….7,192

Payroll services ………………………………2,563……2001…………..5,099

Warehouse clubs and supercenters …….1,900……2012…………..1,900

Discount department stores ………………1,776……2007…………..3,670

Supermarkets and other grocery stores. 1,713……2009…………..2,220

Professional employer organizations……1,663……2009…………..4,892

Automobile manufacturing ………………..1,627……1996………….15,411

With a closer look you see record high layoffs in 2 of 10 categories. We are only 2,600 layoffs away from a record high in the largest category, involving the largest number of claims. You see, it isn’t just the number of jobs lost, but what kinds of jobs were lost. Think of it, 11,732 American’s were handed a pink slip last month from a temporary help agencies. They were laid off from the very place most of these workers went looking for work, after they lost their regular job. The very place where they went as a last resort just to try and do something, just trying to hang on, to keep from losing everything.

There is this recurring theme to these otherwise dry statistics; there were record high job losses in Food service contracting, Warehouse clubs and super centers. Just 500 jobs short of record layoffs in Supermarkets and other grocery stores as for some, odd reason, the American people appear to be eating less. The number of hours worked each week by American workers is virtually unchanged from a year ago and in all job categories.

“In 2011, 11.5 percent of families included an unemployed person,

falling from a peak of 12.4 percent in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of

Labor Statistics reported today. Of the nation’s 78.4 million

families, 79.8 percent had at least one employed member in 2011.”

I know, I’ve used this paragraph before, but it bears repeating, because it so clearly illustrates just how the employment numbers are sliced, diced and spread all around. If you take that same number of, 79.8 percent of families which had at least one member employed and invert it, it means that 20.2 percent of all American families “Do Not” have at least one employed member.

“Over the past12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent.

From March 2011 to March 2012, the Consumer Price Index for All

Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 2.6 percent.

Turning now to our survey of households, both the unemployment rate, at 8.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 12.5 million, were little changed in April. Among the unemployed, 41.3 percent had been looking for work for 27 weeks or more.

The labor force participation rate–the share of the population that was working or looking for work–declined to 63.6 percent in April. The employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little.

In summary, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 115,000 in

April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1 percent.”

* Commissioners Statement

The media and politicians stand proclaiming, we must have a better educated work force to compete for jobs. Yet in the previous year the participation rate for those with Bachelor degrees and above, fell at double the rate of those without even a high school diploma, from 8/10ths of one percent versus 4/10ths of one percent. Now add in, there were there were 11,703,000 without high school diplomas last year versus only 11,490, 000 this year. While for the college educated the number of jobs created for those with a Bachelors degree or above was only 172,000 for the year, out of a population of over forty four million

We see a repeated up, down, yo-yo effect in unemployment, one month is up and everyone cheers, the next month is down and the pundits scratch their heads. Yet the average time spent on the unemployment rolls is little changed, last year was 41.4 weeks, down this month to 39.1 weeks. Forty one percent of the unemployed have been unemployed for over 27 weeks, six million of them last year, with five million this year. Despite the addition of 138,000 new entrants to our workforce each month, 300,000 Americans disappeared from the work force last month, with another 522,000 disappeared from the work force this month. Over 800, 000 American workers have been disappeared from the labor roles in the last 60 days.

They must be disappeared for it is the only way to drive down the U-6 unemployment number from 15.5 percent unemployed last April to 14.1 percent this April. Officially acknowledged are 12.5 million unemployed Americans, only nobody really believes the official number to be very accurate. Yet each percentage point of error represents tens of thousands of Americans. American’s who struggle each day to get by while their government ignores their plight and does its level best to ignore them by erasing them from the figures.

From Realty Trac – Foreclosures sold in February, 73,687 and the number of new foreclosures this month is 198,853. Currently, an estimated four million mortgages are more than 90 days delinquent and these are the same people who just got pink slips from temporary agencies, the same people who are just trying to hold on. This month’s employment report is stark; no doubt about it, there were no bright spots or silver linings.

Even when sanitized for your protection, the employment report illustrates a very sick economy. It is an economy stagnant and rife with unemployment, rising inflation and falling wages. Despite this being for millions of Americans a Great Depression of the first magnitude, the Dow Jones Industrial average has risen nine percent this year based on??? It is based on artificially low interest rates, interest rates which makes it almost impossible for banking interests to profit in their traditional business of lending money.

With home prices still falling sales and sales expected to reach a fifty year low, what sort of banker wants to risk $200,000 on a mortgage for a lousy 3 percent? If you were a loan officer, what would you consider a safe occupation for a borrower to have these days? Who is safe from a layoff in this economy? Who among us once laid off, stands half a chance of landing a new job for the same wages?

The only answer for the banks is to play the stock market, to play pump and dump. From its initial public offering in March, Groupon raised $750 million selling stock for $20.00 per share. Touted to be the next big thing by the Wall Street experts, the company sells discount coupons for Internet advertising’s, brick and mortar… what’s that? Those who bought early and sold early made money, now its stock chart looks like a ball rolling down hill. It just goes to illustrate exactly what that this is, a paper thin, hollow economy.

What other reasons are there for Americans to be eating less? Last month, less than 50 percent of same store sales equaled or exceeded last year. Nearly 20 percent of Americans have no bank account and the use of prepaid debit cards is soaring with unregulated card companies charging users four of five dollars per transaction to use their own money.

We read these things and we shake our heads and say, “gee it’s really tough out there, but these numbers are real flesh and blood people. People just like you and like me, they are men women and children. They are the elderly whose savings have been wiped out and yet their government simply ignores them.

A California man in his foreclosed house which he owed $552,000 shot and killed his wife and her elderly parents after being notified he was about to be put out into the street. The house appraises now for only $240,000. The couple had lived in the house since 1999; these weren’t speculators or house flippers. They were honest working people abused by the system and ignored by those who are supposed to protect them.

A former Chillicothe Ohio couple facing eviction from their Athens County home were found dead in their house Monday morning in an apparent murder/suicide. When Robert T. Nusser age 68, was told by deputies he would have to leave the home responded by asking, “What am I supposed to do? Where am I going to go?” His answer was to shoot his 64 year old wife Paulette in the head and then to turn the shotgun on himself.

Tampa- Florida Man Shoots Terminally Ill Wife on Day of Foreclosure Sale

This is carnage; this is a blood bath far beyond an accident or tough breaks. This is the abandonment of a people, left behind, in an economy hollowed out.

“The hopes of the Republic cannot forever tolerate either undeserved poverty or self-serving wealth. We know that we still have far to go; that we must more greatly build the security and the opportunity and the knowledge of every citizen, in the measure justified by the resources and the capacity of the land. But it is not enough to achieve these purposes alone. It is not enough to clothe and feed the body of this Nation, and instruct and inform its mind. For there is also the spirit, and of the three, the greatest is the spirit. Without the body and the mind, as all men know, the Nation could not live. But if the spirit of America were killed, even though the nation’s body and mind, constricted in an alien world, lived on, the America we know would have perished.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1941

(Excuse the formatting errors as the site won’t show a preview)

Hollowed Out

2:37 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Hollowed Out

By David Glenn Cox

 

I’ve gotten into the habit each month of reading the Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner’s statement, on the employment situation. This month’s report was as somber as a suicide note, after reading it all I could say was, “wow.” The report displays an economy flat on its back, prostrate and starved. It is a story of a people toiling for little renumeration, as the average American worker’s paycheck increased by one single, shinny, penny last month.

The chart below displays mass layoffs for March; mass layoffs are fifty or more workers by any one employer. At first glance, it seems, not too bad, but with a closer inspection it becomes quite dire indeed.

Table A. Six-digit NAICS industries with the largest number of mass layoff initial claims in March 2012, private nonfarm, not seasonally adjusted.

 

Industry                                                                                                        March peak

Initial claims       Year       Initial claims

 

Temporary help services (1) ………….    11,732           2002             14,338

Food service contractors ………………      9,629           2012                9,629

School & employee bus transportation    6,815            2008               8,073

Motion picture and video production      6,367            2005               7,192

Payroll services …………………………..      2,563             2001               5,099

Warehouse clubs and supercenters ….    1,900             2012               1,900

Discount department stores …………….   1,776             2007              3,670

Supermarkets and other grocery stores  1,713             2009               2,220

Professional employer organizations        1,663             2009               4,892

Automobile manufacturing ……………..   1,627              1996              15,411

With a closer look you see record high layoffs in 2 of 10 categories. We are only 2,600 layoffs away from a record high in the largest category, involving the largest number of claims. You see, it isn’t just the number of jobs lost, but what kinds of jobs were lost. Think of it, 11,732 American’s were handed a pink slip last month from a temporary help agencies. They were laid off from the very place most of these workers went looking for work, after they lost their regular job. The very place where they went as a last resort just to try and do something, just trying to hang on, to keep from losing everything.

There is this recurring theme to these otherwise dry statistics; there were record high job losses in Food service contracting, Warehouse clubs and super centers. Just 500 jobs short of record layoffs in Supermarkets and other grocery stores as for some, odd reason, the American people appear to be eating less. The number of hours worked each week by American workers is virtually unchanged from a year ago and in all job categories.

“In 2011, 11.5 percent of families included an unemployed person,

falling from a peak of 12.4 percent in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of

Labor Statistics reported today. Of the nation’s 78.4 million

families, 79.8 percent had at least one employed member in 2011.”

I know, I’ve used this paragraph before, but it bears repeating, because it so clearly illustrates just how the employment numbers are sliced, diced and spread all around. If you take that same number of, 79.8 percent of families which had at least one member employed and invert it, it means that 20.2 percent of all American families “Do Not” have at least one employed member.

“Over the past12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent.

From March 2011 to March 2012, the Consumer Price Index for All

Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 2.6 percent.

Turning now to our survey of households, both the unemployment rate, at 8.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 12.5 million, were little changed in April.  Among the unemployed, 41.3 percent had been looking for work for 27 weeks or more.

The labor force participation rate–the share of the population that was working or looking for work–declined to 63.6 percent in April.  The employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little.

In summary, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 115,000 in

April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1 percent.”

* Commissioners Statement

The media and politicians stand proclaiming, we must have a better educated work force to compete for jobs. Yet in the previous year the participation rate for those with Bachelor degrees and above, fell at double the rate of those without even a high school diploma, from 8/10ths of one percent versus 4/10ths of one percent. Now add in, there were there were 11,703,000 without high school diplomas last year versus only 11,490, 000 this year. While for the college educated the number of jobs created for those with a Bachelors degree or above was only 172,000 for the year, out of a population of over forty four million

We see a repeated up, down, yo-yo effect in unemployment, one month is up and everyone cheers, the next month is down and the pundits scratch their heads. Yet the average time spent on the unemployment rolls is little changed, last year was 41.4 weeks, down this month to 39.1 weeks.  Forty one percent of the unemployed have been unemployed for over 27 weeks, six million of them last year, with five million this year. Despite the addition of 138,000 new entrants to our workforce each month, 300,000 Americans disappeared from the work force last month, with another 522,000 disappeared from the work force this month. Over 800, 000 American workers have been disappeared from the labor roles in the last 60 days.

They must be disappeared for it is the only way to drive down the U-6 unemployment number from 15.5 percent unemployed last April to 14.1 percent this April. Officially acknowledged are 12.5 million unemployed Americans, only nobody really believes the official number to be very accurate. Yet each percentage point of error represents tens of thousands of Americans. American’s who struggle each day to get by while their government ignores their plight and does its level best to ignore them by erasing them from the figures.

From Realty Trac – Foreclosures sold in February, 73,687 and the number of new foreclosures this month is 198,853. Currently, an estimated four million mortgages are more than 90 days delinquent and these are the same people who just got pink slips from temporary agencies, the same people who are just trying to hold on. This month’s employment report is stark; no doubt about it, there were no bright spots or silver linings.

Even when sanitized for your protection, the employment report illustrates a very sick economy. It is an economy stagnant and rife with unemployment, rising inflation and falling wages. Despite this being for millions of Americans a Great Depression of the first magnitude, the Dow Jones Industrial average has risen nine percent this year based on??? It is based on artificially low interest rates, interest rates which makes it almost impossible for banking interests to profit in their traditional business of lending money.

With home prices still falling sales and sales expected to reach a fifty year low, what sort of banker wants to risk $200,000 on a mortgage for a lousy 3 percent? If you were a loan officer, what would you consider a safe occupation for a borrower to have these days? Who is safe from a layoff in this economy? Who among us once laid off, stands half a chance of landing a new job for the same wages?

The only answer for the banks is to play the stock market, to play pump and dump. From its initial public offering in March, Groupon raised $750 million selling stock for $20.00 per share. Touted to be the next big thing by the Wall Street experts, the company sells discount coupons for Internet advertisings, brick and mortar… what’s that?  Those who bought early and sold early made money, now its stock chart looks like a ball rolling down hill. It just goes to illustrate exactly what that this is, a paper thin, hollow economy.

What other reasons are there for Americans to be eating less?  Last month, less than 50 percent of same store sales equaled or exceeded last year. Nearly 20 percent of Americans have no bank account and the use of prepaid debit cards is soaring with unregulated card companies charging users four of five dollars per transaction to use their own money.

We read these things and we shake our heads and say, “gee it’s really tough out there, but these numbers are real flesh and blood people. People just like you and like me, they are men women and children. They are the elderly whose savings have been wiped out and yet their government simply ignores them.

A California man in his foreclosed house which he owed $552,000 shot and killed his wife and her elderly parents after being notified he was about to be put out into the street. The house appraises now for only $240,000. The couple had lived in the house since 1999; these weren’t speculators or house flippers. They were honest working people abused by the system and ignored by those who are supposed to protect them.

A former Chillicothe Ohio couple facing eviction from their Athens County home were found dead in their house Monday morning in an apparent murder/suicide. When Robert T. Nusser age 68, was told by deputies he would have to leave the home responded by asking, “What am I supposed to do? Where am I going to go?” His answer was to shoot his 64 year old wife Paulette in the head and then to turn the shotgun on himself.

Tampa- Florida Man Shoots Terminally Ill Wife on Day of Foreclosure Sale

This is carnage; this is a blood bath far beyond an accident or tough breaks. This is the abandonment of a people, left behind, in an economy hollowed out.

“The hopes of the Republic cannot forever tolerate either undeserved poverty or self-serving wealth. We know that we still have far to go; that we must more greatly build the security and the opportunity and the knowledge of every citizen, in the measure justified by the resources and the capacity of the land. But it is not enough to achieve these purposes alone. It is not enough to clothe and feed the body of this Nation, and instruct and inform its mind. For there is also the spirit, and of the three, the greatest is the spirit. Without the body and the mind, as all men know, the Nation could not live.  But if the spirit of America were killed, even though the nation’s body and mind, constricted in an alien world, lived on, the America we know would have perished.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1941

War Correspondent

5:09 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

War Correspondent
By David Glenn Cox

There is a war going on our there, a war without and the war within, a war for the soul of America. For three years now, I have lived on its societies lowest wrung. I pay the tax rate of “zero” percent, which so many Republicans dream of paying. I sit here and I do what I do and I love what I do. I just hate the reason that I must do it. It is neither cute nor amusing to me, I am neither boastful nor proud about it, I am a war correspondent and I will continue to report the crimes against the people, unto the end because it is all that I have, it is my only tool.

Throughout these three years lost, I have talked with literally hundreds of people in various states, regions, occupations and situations across this country. We have 6.8 million American seniors living in poverty; those over forty struggle to find work. We have over with twelve millions officially unemployed, but unofficially, its many more. Their stories are all similar and yet individualized, there is an underlying theme to them all, of a people struggling just to get by and of a government which ignores their plight.

We live in fear for each day, locked outside of this economy, despite a resume’ filled with a twenty year career of a successful sales and management. I have been forced into day labor just to survive. I’ve shoveled rock and built fences, I’ve stained decks and torn out dirty carpet trying to keep this dream of mine alive. I began writing in my spare time not long before the world caved in. The ability to write had helped me to get through school and had assisted me in my business career. However, writing for a living is far different proposition than writing a business report or a term paper.

The decision to take up this strange craft did not come easily, but was instead a decision made for me. It was the inability to find conventional work which motivated me, hardly a day goes by when I don’t see or hear something which reminds me that I am living out a modern day version of John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath.” When I question my own sanity and self-worth I hear John Steinbeck’s character, Muley Graves, “Do you think I’m touched? Cause if I’m touched, I’m touched and that all there is to it.”

That is a part of this experience which is repeated in each of these individual stories, people who have become invalidated, people having lost their self-worth and who are trying desperately to get reconnected with it. The Preacher Casey answered, “You ain’t touched, you’re lonely, but you ain’t touched.” I read the story the other day of another young woman, and she told her own tale of descent from prosperity into poverty. She lives in a tent now, in a campground in California and sells her belongings from a storage building to get by. She had inherited millions and she also had a fine education and yet in this country, she is homeless.

I identified with her immediately, because her story is so similar to all of our stories. That is why I do this, to tell these stories. This woman’s story was filled with rage and animosity, she’s been robbed and pilfered by the system and I understand that, I was robbed and pilfered by them as well. Only, she has not yet come to grips with where she is now, the new world in which she occupies space.

Al Joad: Ain’t you gonna look back, Ma? Give the ol’ place a last look?
Ma Joad: We’re going’ to California, ain’t we? All right then let’s go to California.
Al Joad: That don’t sound like you, Ma. You never was like that before.
Ma Joad: I never had my house pushed over before. Never had my family stuck out on the road.
Never had to lose everything I had in life. – (Grapes of Wrath)

To me at least, these stories are valuable. When stacked together they are news and these are the stories of real people whose miseries, by their preponderance, defeat any political spin or arguments of right and wrong. Because these people are our own people, they might have been rich or affluent a while back, but now they live here with us, with you and me.

Tom Joad: That ain’t it. It’s just, well as long as I’m an outlaw anyways… maybe I can do somethin’… maybe I can just find out somethin’, just scrounge around and maybe find out what it is that’s wrong and see if they ain’t somethin’ that can be done about it. I ain’t thought it out all clear, Ma. I can’t. I don’t know enough. – (Grapes of Wrath)

There is no other in this thing, no purpose in writing other than to tell a human story which is both true, tragic and needing to be told. Apparently, that concept has grown quaint in modern media circles. For seven years before the outbreak of WW2, Ernie Pyle traveled the United States telling the stories of average Americans for the Scripps-Howard news service. During those days, Ernie lived in relative obscurity with few newspapers showing any interest his columns.

At the outbreak of the war, Ernie went overseas and wrote the stories of the GI’s far from home. He wasn’t doing anything that he hadn’t been doing all along. He was telling the stories of the common people. His dispatches weren’t filled with facts and figures or the fluff reports released by headquarters, Ernie’s dispatches were about the people.

“A narrow path comes like a ribbon over a hill miles away, down a long slope, across a creek, up a slope and over another hill.

All along the length of this ribbon there is now a thin line of men. For four days and nights they have fought hard, eaten little, washed none, and slept hardly at all. Their nights have been violent with attack, fright, butchery, and their days sleepless and miserable with the crash of artillery.
The men are walking. They are fifty feet apart, for dispersal. Their walk is slow, for they are dead weary, as you can tell even when looking at them from behind. Every line and sag of their bodies speaks their inhuman exhaustion.

On their shoulders and backs they carry heavy steel tripods, machine-gun barrels, leaden boxes of ammunition. Their feet seem to sink into the ground from the overload they are bearing.

They don’t slouch. It is the terrible deliberation of each step that spells out their appalling tiredness. Their faces are black and unshaven. They are young men, but the grime and whiskers and exhaustion make them look middle-aged.

In their eyes as they pass is not hatred, not excitement, not despair, not the tonic of their victory — there is just the simple expression of being here as though they had been here doing this forever, and nothing else.
The line moves on, but it never ends. All afternoon men keep coming round the hill and vanishing eventually over the horizon. It is one long tired line of ant like men.” – Ernie Pyle

On D-day Pyle could have gone ashore with the first wave in Normandy, but instead he wrote about laborers unloading hundred pound ammunition cases in eighteen hour shifts. They were men assigned a thankless, mundane and repetitive task. But these common laborers knew that their task was not only necessary, but vital and Ernie knew it too. He knew that all of us matter and that there are no stragglers in this long line. When the war ended in Europe, Ernie reluctantly went on to the Pacific theater. Not because he wanted to go, but because he was expected to go.

He felt that he owed it to the mothers and fathers to tell the stories of their boys so far from home in the Pacific. Ernie lived with the soldiers and eventually he died like one of them. He was killed by a burst of machine gun fire on Ie Island just to the west of Okinawa. The lesson Ernie Pyle teaches is that it isn’t how we die, but how we live. It is what we live for and what we are willing to fight for.

As we waited at the bus stop this morning, a man holds his bicycle, his hair is greasy and his pants are unwashed. He is one of the multitude, one of the millions and one of the lost. As the bus rumbles along through working class neighborhoods I saw the legal notices pinned, taped and stuck to the front door glass. During a fifteen minute bus ride I saw three such notices. It is the announcement of three more households joining the society of the dispossessed, announcing three more households who are joining the ten million households who have gone before them into the road.

I watched a program on Public Television the other night about FDR’s tree army the CCC and fought back tears. I fought back tears because of the simplicity of the program, The simplicity of answers which could easily be implemented if only, if only, someone really gave a shit about the well being of our people. Our long line grows, but it does not move.

We Who Are Dead

6:38 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

We Who Are Dead
By David Glenn Cox

It is Easter weekend, a metaphor for the rebirth of new life arising from death. It is a good time to reflect upon our lives and upon how we live. It is also the six month anniversary for the Occupy movement. I saw this article posted by ABC News correspondent Christine Amanpour the other day entitled, “The Next Cuban Revolution?”

“As the winds of change swirled during the Arab Spring over the past year, many began to wonder whether there might be a similar movement in Cuba — a “Cuban Spring.””

Many began to wonder as in, whom Christine? The same cast of neo-liberal characters which have hovered with envious eyes desiring to return Capitalism into Cuba. Many, as in, Exxon – Mobil, BP, Caterpillar, many as in United Fruit or AT&T?

“While visiting Cuba to cover the visit of Pope Benedict, we spent time with students at a University cafeteria, and in speaking with them it was clear that they know they want a better, different life, but they’re isolated to what’s happening off their shores.”

Amanpour’s story is little more than propaganda, arguing that because American’s have broadband Internet and Android phones we have it so much better than the average Cuban. It is little more than a continuation of the America’s fifty year war against Cuba specifically and against Socialism in general in this hemisphere. The success or failure of what the Cuban government has achieved should be viewed in the light of having accomplished it a mere ninety miles from an intensely hostile superpower.

This same hostile superpower which has over the past fifty plus years committed acts of international terrorism, including the blowing up civilian airliners. It has supported terrorist groups desiring to overthrow the lawful and internationally recognized government of Cuba while financing and participating in assassination attempts of Cuban leadership. A government which has over the years, supported a criminal and unlawful invasion of Cuban territory simply because we do not approve of their economic system.

We claim our hostility to Cuba is due to Cuba being a Communist country. Vietnam is a Communist country where we once fought a war for over a decade and lost 58,000 service men to Vietnamese arms and yet, we gladly do business with the nation of Vietnam and invite them to join into our Free Trade Agreements with their workers earning from $67 to $94 per month.

The largest trading partner of the United States is The People’s Republic of China which is also a Communist country where industrial workers earn around $80.00 per month. These Communist countries control their citizen’s access to outside information and to technology. They use surveillance methods to watch their people and do not allow ideas unpopular to the ruling clique to take root. They will crush all opposition to their rule with violence and will jail any who dare to tell the truth with trumped up charges. Oh, and by the way, a retired US Navel officer, Leah Bolger faces twenty years in prison for disrupting a public hearing of the Deficit Reduction Committee for less than a minute before she was handcuffed and dragged away by police. Of course, it is different because this is a free country, not like say Cuba or China.

So it would seem the only appreciable difference in the Cuban model seems to be an unwillingness to allow their workers to be exploited by neo-Liberal Capitalists.

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly jobs report and it was a real barn burner. The corporate, complicit, contrived media will report the following,

“Payroll Employment Rises 120,000 in March; unemployment rate changes little (8.2%)

Only, there are a few other things which won’t be reported;

Civilian noninstitutional population, +169,000
Civilian labor force, -164,000
Participation rate, -0.1%
Number Employed, -31,000
Number Unemployed, -133,000
Not in labor force, +333,000

An agency of the Federal government declares “unemployment rate changes little” as it disappears 333,000 American workers. These are the unemployed Americans who have expended their unemployment benefits and as far as their government is concerned have ceased to exist.

Look at the difference year to date;

Not in labor force, March 2011, 85,608,000
Not in labor force, March 2012, 87,897,000

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a chart which they call, Alternative measures of labor utilization (A-15). These are the categories which are used to determine the (official) unemployment rate.

U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force.
March 2011, 5.3%
March 2012, 4.6%

U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force.
March 2011, 5.4%
March 2012, 4.5%

U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate)
March 2011, 8.7%
March 2012, 8.2%

U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers

March 2011, 9.3%
March 2012, 8.7%

U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.

March 2011, 10.3%
March 2012, 9.6%

U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.

March 2011, 15.7%
March 2012, 14.5%

States with Highest Unemployment

California, 10.9%
District of Columbia, 9.9%
Florida, 9.4%
Georgia, 9.1%
Nevada 13.3
North Carolina, 9.9%
Rhode Island, 11%

It gives one pause if only we were to imagine what these rates would look like if the more accurate, but less politically palatable (U-6) numbers were used. But buried on the 15th page of the unemployment report is the admission by the Federal government that nearly 15 percent of the American workforce remains unemployed. That over the last twelve months unemployment for Americans has dropped a miserable 1.2 percent.

Wages for the average American worker rose only .47 cents per hour during a year which saw inflation rise 2.5 percent and fuel prices nearly double.

RealtyTrac- “February’s (foreclosure) numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide as some of the barriers that have been holding back foreclosures are removed,” said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac. “Although national foreclosure activity was pushed lower by decreases in a handful of larger states, 21 states posted annual increases in foreclosure activity, the most states with annual increases since November 2010.”

Number of foreclosures in 2011, 1.2 million and now thanks to a settlement of the Robo signing scandal ending favorably to the banks home foreclosure filings rose 28 percent in January.

Michael Redman, founder of 4closurefraud.org. said, “The subprime stuff is long gone, now the folks being affected are hardworking, everyday Americans struggling because of the economy.”

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released research in January estimating 3.6 million new home foreclosures should be expected in 2012-13. The numbers are staggering, only they aren’t numbers, they are people. They are real flesh and blood human beings, our people, men, women and children. They are people suffering in record numbers and yet, their government ignores them as they wear their crown of thorns and their government tells lies to them and looks away as they drag their cross on the road to crucifixion, paying for the sins of others.

It is clear to those us living under the bridges and the hard rains of reality that Jesus ain’t coming. We who are dead in the eyes of our government must rise and roll away our own stone. We must roll away all of the obstacles which lay in our path. My eyes weary of the visions of boarded homes, my ears ache from the lies told as my mind reels with the constant liturgy of this faith based recovery while government takes an atheistic approach towards the suffering of its own people.

“While visiting Cuba to cover the visit of Pope Benedict, we spent time with students at a University cafeteria, and in speaking with them it was clear that they know they want a better, different life, but they’re isolated to what’s happening off their shores.”- Christine Amanpour

Yeah, me too Christine, I want a better life, but if you want to see someone who is really isolated and who doesn’t know what’s going on, then simply find a mirror.

Number of Cubans unable to afford health care, “0”
Number of Cubans foreclosed upon by banks, “0”
Number of Cubans with student loans debts, “0”