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Playing Along?

12:33 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Playing Along?
By David Glenn Cox

Benito Mussolini

Finally, today is the day, when billions upon billions of dollars culminate in drawing millions upon millions of American’s to stand in line and vote for the candidate of their choice. Only, they aren’t the candidates of our choice. We didn’t choose these candidates; they have no earthly connection to us.

They never really did have any connection to us, but now, in this new life; it is even more obviously so. In retrospect, the rise of Barack Obama looks trumped up and foisted upon us. The rise of an articulate political unknown young black man, versus a crotchety old white man after eight years of George W. Bush. It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled…

George W. Bush was never lawfully elected President of the United States. In 2000, the Supreme Court stopped the vote count, no differently than Manuel Noriega or Fulgencio Batista in Cuba. The Constitution sets the operation of elections as the prerogative of the states, which means the intervention of the Federal court in a state election laws was not just wrong or misguided, but criminal. These well educated individuals pretending not to know the difference between legality and criminality.

In 2004, the vote in Ohio was tainted, manipulated and down right stolen. A criminal conspiracy run from the office of Ohio Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell. In every case of over vote and under vote the Republican candidate George W. Bush was the beneficiary. Statistically, that is impossible. Statistically, exit polls had always been accurate. So then came 2008, the United States of America had suffered two tainted elections in series, and there was every reason to believe that the election process had become nothing more than a show.

The country needed a clear winner, we needed flag waving and large cheering crowds to make the public go to sleep and forget about a series of stolen elections. Barack Obama is elected to the cheers of the throng, promising hope and change only, there is no change. Barack Obama has ruled as a right wing Republican. He has passed more tax cuts than Ronald Reagan. He allowed GM to write their own bankruptcy. He has launched more drone missile attacks than George W. Bush ever did and at more places.

Four years of hope and change finds no improvement in the foreclosure crisis, little improvement in the economic crisis and finds the too big to fail banks operating just as they have always operated in the past. The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness meets in the White House and the members of the council are appointed by the President. There is no Congressional approval needed, so the President can choose those individuals he feels will most assist him in moving the economy forward. Barack Obama chose Jeffery Immelt the CEO of G.E. and G.E. Capital to head the council.

Ursula Burns – Chairman and CEO Xerox

Steve Case – Co-founder CEO America on Line

Kenneth I. Chenault – Chairman and CEO American Express Corporation

John Doer – Partner Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Investment and hedge fund.

Roger W. Ferguson – President and CEO of TIAA-CREF a Fortune 100 financial services Company

Mark Gallogy – Cofounder and managing principal, Centerbridge Partners, investment banking

Joseph T. Hansen – International President UFCW one of two labor representative on the council

Lewis Hay – Chairman CEO Next era Energy, He is also a director and past chairman of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, which encompasses all U.S. commercial nuclear operating organizations, and he is a director of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Gary Kelly – President & CEO of Southwest Airlines

Ellen Kullman – Chair & CEO of DuPont Corporation

Eric Lander – Director, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Dr. Eric Lander is the President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, a new kind of biomedical research institution focused on genomic medicine. Dr. Lander is also Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Dr. Lander was a principal leader of the international Human Genome Project (HGP), which completed mapping the human blueprint in 2003. A geneticist, molecular biologist and mathematician, Dr. Lander’s biomedical research also has ranged over mammalian genomics; human population genetics; medical genetics – including cancer, diabetes, inflammatory diseases and many other genetic conditions; evolution; and computational biology.

Monica Lozano – CEO ImpreMedia the largest Hispanic newspaper in the country and Ms. Lozano is also serves on the boards of the Bank of America, the Walt Disney Company and the University of Southern California..

Jim McNerney – Chairman, President and CEO, The Boeing Corporation

Darlene Miller – President & CEO Permac Industries, from the Permac website, “A success story in an industry that has increasingly been affected by offshore manufacturing migration, Permac has achieved broad favor with customers by serving as a knowledgeable partner, by managing the entire parts lifecycle including inventory and shipping, and by helping set up offshore production for customers when it makes good business sense.”

Paul Otellini – President & CEO, Intel

Richard D. Parsons – Chairman, Citigroup, Inc. Prior to serving in that role, he was the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Time Warner, Inc., the world’s largest media entertainment company, from 2002 to 2008. In its January 2005 report on America’s Best CEOs, Institutional Investor magazine named Mr. Parsons the top CEO in the entertainment industry.

Penny Pritzker – President & CEO Pritzker Realty Group, she’s also Chairman of the board of TransUnion, Chairman/CEO of Pritzker Realty Group, and Chairman and co-founder of Vi (formerly Classic Residence by Hyatt), The Parking Spot and Artemis Real Estate Partners.

Brain Roberts – Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation

Matthew Rose – Chairman and CEO, BNSF Railroad, he is a member of the Board of Directors of AMR Corporation (American Airlines), AT&T Inc., the Association of American Railroads, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Sheryl Sandberg – Chief Operating Officer, Facebook

Richard L. Trumka – President AFL – CIO, “Trumka led the creation of the AFL-CIO Capital Stewardship Program in 1997 to promote the retirement security of America’s working families. AFL-CIO member unions sponsor pension and benefit plans with more than $400 billion in assets and are a major force in the global capital markets.”

Laura D’Andrea Tyson – S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, “Dr. Tyson serves as a member of the Boards of Directors of Eastman Kodak Company, Morgan Stanley, AT&T, Silver Spring Networks, CB Richard Ellis, the Peter G. Peterson Institute of International Economics, and New America Foundation.”

Robert Wolf – Founder & CEO 32 Advisors, “Robert Wolf is Founder and CEO of 32 Advisors, a boutique consulting and advisory firm serving public and private companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, money managers, governments and other institutions. Wolf previously served as Chairman for UBS Americas and President for UBS Investment Bank. While at UBS, Robert held several senior positions including Group Regional CEO, COO of UBS Investment Bank, Global Head of Fixed Income and Chair of the firm’s Diversity and Community Affairs Committee. He joined UBS in 1994 after spending approximately 10 years at Salomon Brothers.”

Christopher Che – President and CEO of Hooven – Dayton Corporation, “Che is the president/CEO of the Che International Group, LLC (CIG), a multinational holding company that he founded in 2005 with the objective of creating subsidiary companies in diverse industries through strategic acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. Under his visionary leadership, in 2007 the Che International Group successfully acquired Hooven-Dayton Corporation (HDC) as its first wholly owned subsidiary, which he is also leading as President/CEO.” He is an investment banker just like Willard (Mitt) Romney.

These are the people whom Barack Obama has chosen to ally himself with. These are the people who make the recommendations on upcoming legislation crossing the President’s desk, what would this august group think of the public option in health care? What would this august group of intelligentsia educated in America’s finest universities think about off shoring jobs?

Do you notice anyone missing in this council? Do you notice anyone strangely missing? There are no workers opinions here, no just plain Joe’s or Josephine’s only the massively rich and it is quite intentional, your opinions don’t matter here.

When Barack Obama campaigned four years ago, he promised to close the concentration camp at Guatonomo. As a candidate, he might have actually wanted to close the camp, but as President of the United States he was told no. The Commander and Chief over all armed forces can’t close a concentration camp. Instead, there will be close to a hundred million dollars spent to expand and modernize the camp facilities.

What does that mean, when the commander in chief has so little control over what is going on? Why does the US military seem to march to the beat of its own drummer regardless of who sits in the oval office? If Barack Obama is actually in charge of the Pentagon, ask yourself this, in the light of the operations he has approved, what sort operations could he have possibly said no? We are the most aggressive war-like country on the planet, our economy is quite literally coming apart at the seams and yet there is no talk in the administration of bringing peace.

In January, no matter who is selected as President, the Congress and the administration face automatic budget cuts of $600 billion dollars the first year. Thirty years of tax cuts for the rich are off the table, but mortgage interest deduction is on the table, especially now, since we have so many fewer home owners these days.

Benito Mussolini said, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” He should know, he quite literally wrote the book on Fascism, where he said, “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” These members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, are they lions or sheep? Whose interests do they serve? When the President orders a Navy Seal Team to go into another sovereign country and murder a suspect, is that really Americanism?

This is not the United States of America, this is a corporate Fascist regime which has been at war with the world for nearly twelve years. Your rights have been eviscerated and they aren’t coming back. Your jobs and your wealth have been shipped away as your standard of living has been stripped away. It is a nation which operates concentration camps and detains individuals for years at a time without ever bringing charges against them.

The candidates are merely corporate spokes models; they work for corporations and the wealthy elite, the proverbial two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for supper. Vote if you must, vote if you like, but come tomorrow, no matter who you vote for the same people will still be in charge. When you understand that and when you understand who these people are and what it is that they propose to do to you and your children, you can either play along or push back.

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!” – Mario Savio

“If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and those who claim to be the bearers of objective immortal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than Fascist attitudes and activity. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, we Fascists conclude that we have the right to create our own ideology and to enforce it with all the energy of which we are capable.” – Benito Mussolini

The Song Remains the Same

1:49 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

The Song Remains the Same
By David Glenn Cox

Bamboo Bridge

Soon we shall hold the non-election, to decide between the two major non-candidates based on their positions on the non-issues. Lots and lots of amorphous talk, little about reality and none about sequestration. Hard talk is for after the election, looking at Greece and what austerity has done to her people; one can only hold our heads and weep for the future.

Another thirty days has passed and the BLS this morning released its monthly jobs report. It’s almost lost its thrill, settling into a monthly rehash of filtered numbers, take for instance, Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 171,000 this month, while the numbers of workers entering the workforce increased by 578,000 so from the get go, we’re down 400,000 jobs. In a calendar year the number of Americans employed, rose by just over three million while at the same time the number of Americans entering the workforce seeking a job increased by 3,714,000.

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes its jobs report and you can’t blame them, really, for trying to put the best face on it. Each month, the report lists the number of new jobs created without supplying context. The unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 this month which is referred to as;

“Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade.”

But unemployment was changed, it went up 0.1 percent, if the number had gone down 0.1 percent the administration would jolly well be shouting it from the rooftops, as proof positive, their economic policies were working. Most of this months job gains came as follows,

Professional and business service – 51,000
Health Care – 31,000
Services to buildings and dwellings – 13,000 (what a strange category)
Computers systems design – 7000
Retail trade – 36,000
Construction – 17,000

From the BLS report – “Mining lost 9,000 jobs in October, with most of the decline occurring in support activities for mining. Since May of this year, employment in mining has decreased by 17,000.

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.”

“Little change,” four years of little change, but there is some change.

Self employed workers, unincorporated – October 2011, 873,000 and this October, 758,000

Part time for economic reasons – October 2011, 8,258,000 and this October, 8,344,000.

Could only find Part time work – October 2011, 2,488,000 and this October, 2,614,000.

The U-6 unemployment rate dropped from 16% last October to 14.6% this October.

Officially, the shiny official polished number of unemployed stands at 12,258,000 this month, officially this month, a population larger than every man, women and child in Los Angeles, Miami and Dallas / Fort Worth combined, are seeking a job in the United States, but that is not all, it couldn’t be? You see there is another sub set (read that, untermunchin) another population not counted as unemployed.
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Playing with Numbers

2:02 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Playing with Numbers
By David Glenn Cox


I only watched the first of the three Presidential debates and after the media declared Willard (Mitt) Romney the winner of the first debate, I didn’t see much point in watching any further. I had mistakenly thought this was an audience participation event, when it was merely a spectacle to be observed by us weed benders. The thundering media herd declares for us the winner and we are expected to sit there, over awed and clap when the applause sign lights up.

I don’t have a dog in this fight; I could easily do fifteen hundred words on the deficiencies of either candidate. In the words of George Wallace, “There ain’t a dimes worth of difference between them. “Two candidates, both, unknown quantities, Barack Obama has been in the public spotlight through two Presidential campaigns plus, four years as President and yet all we know of him is a public image.

We know that when push comes to shove Obama will side with Republicans over his own party. We know Obama will never, ever, ever side with the American people over Corporate America. We know American foreign policy under Barack Obama is no different than it was under Bush / Cheney. The American Imperialist Juggernaut continues unimpeded and will continue unimpeded regardless of who wins this stage show election.

The only thing we really know with any certainty about Willard (Mitt) Romney is that he is insanely rich. He was born insanely rich, attended all the best schools and he took his top drawer education and proceeded to use it to milk the American economy, like a cow. He is a leveraged buy out specialist, he buys up companies to loot them of their assets and once the process is complete, throws the husk and the workers away.

Personally, I thought Obama won the first debate, though Romney certainly looked Presidential enough with his professionally frosted side burns. But when put on the defensive Romney’s voice pitch began to rise, it was a clear sign of rising tension and a failure of debate 101. Despite this, the media claimed Romney won the first debate and then the media declares Obama won the second debate and then the third.

The media claimed Romney earned a huge bump in popularity because of his debate performance, really? While 67 million people watched the first debate, how many of them were undecided voters? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, 10% were undecided voters or 6.7 million voters. So let’s say, that every last one of those undecided viewers decided right then and there, “You know what Margaret, I think that Mitt Romney is on to something, I’m kicking Barack Obama to the curb and voting for Mitt Romney.” There are 236 million people of voting age in this country and almost half of them vote, so if half of those undecided voters turn up at the polls and vote for Willard (Mitt) Romney were looking at 3.4 million votes. Not bad, but certainly not a game changer in an election of 91 million votes.

Ten days ago, every national poll listed Barack Obama as way out in front in the contest. Even Fox News had Obama out in front and now… the contest is deadlocked despite Barack Obama being declared the winner of the last two debates. How can that be? How can a sitting President with adequate approval numbers lose his dominating lead in ten days to a candidate who basically calls 47 percent of the electorate unnecessary untermunchin.

It is a game called swing state, Ohio is the swing states of all swing states and is leaning toward Obama with a 6 percent undecided. How much is 6 % of the Ohio electorate, 83,000 votes.

Time – Obama 49-44 with 3% undecided
Rasmussen – Tied 48 – 48 with 6% undecided
Quinnipiac / CBS – Obama 50 -48 with 3% undecided
Fox – Obama 46 – 43 with 10% undecided

Total Number of registered voters in Ohio, 7,722,180
Combined number of voters polled in the four national polls above; 4,171

Four national polls ask less than one than one tenth of the voters in Erie county Ohio their preference and then proclaim this number as a valid indicator.

The next toss up state, is Florida, hmmm, Florida. What do we know about Florida, orange juice, beaches, Mickey Mouse and senior citizens, lots and lots of senior citizens. So, hypothetically, if a campaign were to talk about privatizing Social Security in Florida it would be suicidal, right?

Rasmussen – Romney 51- 46 with 2% undecided
Fox – Romney 48- 45 with 6% undecided
CNN – Romney 49- 48 with 2% undecided
Survey USA – Obama 47- 46 with 5% undecided

Total number of registered voters in Florida, 11,778,140
Number of voters identifying themselves as Democrats, 4,715,684
Number of voters identifying themselves as Republicans, 4,214,241
No party affiliation, 2,516,757
Combined number of Florida voters polled in the four national polls above, 3,246

So hypothetically, Obama should have a 500,000 vote party advantage. If we split the “no affiliation” category between the two candidates Obama still leads. There are 4.2 million seniors in Florida over 60 years of age. It comprises the states largest voting block, in a state which technically, at least, leans Democratic and the national polls have Romney in the lead over a sitting President by asking one third of one percent of likely Florida voters.

Out West, Colorado is also listed as a “swing state” most of the national polls show Romney with a slight lead. Some of the national polls used a few as 500 likely voters to determine that outcome, the outcome they (the media) wanted.
Colorado has just a few variables which don’t show up in telephone polls of 500 likely voters. First, since 2000, the state’s population has increased by 15% mainly in the urban areas of Denver and Boulder. Secondly, these numbers are younger and better educated, both poor indicators for Republican candidates.

Colorado’s Hispanic population surged by 41 percent since 2000 and Hispanics represent 21 % of the population in Colorado. This combined with the fact that Obama carried a vast majority of Hispanic voters in 2008 carrying the state by nine percentage points over John McCain. What swing state, is Willard (Mitt) Romney really that good of a candidate?

Iowa where the campaign began so long ago and yet is still to decide on a candidate. The state has 607,936 registered Republicans versus 595,423 registered Democrats. In 2008, Barack Obama carried the state with 54% of the vote, what could have changed? Iowa’s economy has fared better than most places in the United States, so why the change?

Rasmussen, Tied, 48- 48 with 2% undecided.
PPP – Romney, 48-49 with 4% undecided
NBC/WSJ/Marist – Obama, 51- 43 with 4% undecided
We Ask America – Obama, 49 – 46 with 4% undecided

Registered Iowa voters – 2,090,309
Total number of Iowa voters polled above- 4,005

Now it all gets very interesting when we look at these amazing number shifts which have closed a once lop sided race and turned it into a nail biter. Did the rescue helicopters crash in Iran; was Obama filmed while driving a tank? Was Willard (Mitt) Romney’s debate performance so magnificently strong, that overnight, millions upon millions of Americans just up and changed their minds?

“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.” – Mark Twain

Polling data from thirty days ago;

NBC/ WSJ, Obama 49 – 46 with 3.4% undecided
NPR, Obama 51 – 44 with 4% undecided
ABC/ Wash Post, Obama 49 – 47 with 4% undecided
Quinnipiac, Obama 49 – 45 with 6% undecided
Wash Times, Obama 50 – 41 with 7% undecided
Politico, Obama 49 – 47 with 5% undecided
FOX, Obama 48 – 43 with 4% undecided
Bloomberg, Obama 49 – 43 with 4% undecided
National Journal, Obama 50 – 43 with 3% undecided

Either a sitting President with no major gaffs in his campaign has suddenly become unpopular for no particular reason, what so ever as to prompt tens of millions of voters to change their minds about him in a scant thirty days. These millions are suddenly willing to do a complete 180 degree about face in their political preferences, swayed by the person, persona and politics of Willard (Mitt) Romney. Either it is so, or the numbers are jimmied. It is an impossibility outside of the domain of heaven.

“A statistician is a person who draws a mathematically precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.” – Unknown

“In earlier times, they had no statistics, and so they had to fall back on lies.” – Stephan Leacock

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

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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A Line Drive in the Box Score

11:35 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

A Line Drive in the Box Score
By David Glenn Cox

He’s been called Mitt the twit and Mitt the unfit and he has successfully made John McCain look like a master politician and even the incompetence of Sarah Palin has faded into a distant memory. Romney made a smile and wave trip to Great Britain earlier this year for the Olympics and within 24 hours had created an international incident by questioning British security. Now wait a minute, sure, it’s hard to run for President, but if George W. Bush can do it twice, without wetting his pants or appearing without shoes, then Romney should be able to manage it.

My father was an amateur boxer and for years used to say, “When the champ trains himself, the champ is going to lose.” Could that be the case? Could Romney be incapable of taking advice or of staying on the script? Something is going on here, for the second time in as many tries the Republicans have chosen a total incompetent as their Presidential nominee.

Okay, the Republican’s aren’t necessarily the brightest bulbs of intellectual thought; they are dogmatic and ideological, Bibles, bullets and tax cuts. Still, this should be easy peasey for them and yet it has turned to disaster, a Republican Dukakis. Things were going so bad for the campaign that Romney announced his running mate Paul Ryan, even before the convention. The choice of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate was either a stroke of political genius or political suicide.

Bloomberg – “Unfavorable Views of Romney Cloud His Message on Economy”

“Republican Mitt Romney’s negative ratings are preventing him from capitalizing on President Barack Obama’s vulnerabilities in the race for the White House, according to a new poll that gives the incumbent a lead heading into the first of three presidential debates.”

Fifty percent of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Mitt Romney while the other fifty percent just don’t like him at all. So the idea of choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate was? Ryan has all the appeal of a cold plate of spaghetti and his politics are down right offensive to the mainstream electorate. Paul Ryan’s budget plan was viewed in a negative light by close to 80 percent of Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, so why choose him? Because Romney was so unpopular he had to choose Paul Ryan just to shore up the base in his own party.

The Republican field of candidates was so weak as to be laughable. Let’s be honest here, I don’t agree with Republican politics, but these folks aren’t so stupid as to pick a nit wit to be their candidate, are they? I mean, true, they ran George W. Bush and got a way with it, but let’s remember Bush’s best campaign tactics went on behind the scenes. Romney’s campaign is a fiasco; if the powers behind the throne tried those election stealing stunts with Romney, there would be blood in the streets!

Now, let’s look at this thing from the other side, looking from the Republican perspective is Obama unbeatable? Hardly, Obama has done his best to alienate the left of his own party. He is the first President to ever keep more of his opponent’s campaign promises than his own. John McCain proposed freezing government spending, Obama, enforced it. John McCain proposed more nuclear power plants and Barack Obama funded them. John McCain and Sarah Palin proposed “Drill baby, drill!” Barack Obama proudly boasts of increased drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Barack Obama’s policies are center right. If Obama ran for office against Richard Nixon, Nixon would be the Democrat. Obama never saw a corporation, a free trade deal or a tax cut he didn’t like.

In his jobs bill, Obama proposed allowing workers to continue drawing an unemployment check while working for corporations. The corporations would be allowed to hire workers for 90 days before they would be obligated to pay the workers. At the 90 day point, the corporation could either elect to keep the worker and start paying them or choose new workers from the draw pile and start to 90 day clock all over. This is the sad and lamentable state of Democratic politics.

Something’s way wrong here, in a real world, in a real election, wait, let’s go back, in the year 2000, the Presidential election was stolen by a Supreme Court which intervened illegally in an election. The Supreme Court of the United States stopped a vote count, no differently than some strong man in some banana republic. In 2004, the votes of the people of Ohio were stolen. Not maybe, but demonstratably, it was done crudely and without sophistication but with the blessing of Kenneth Blackwell, the Secretary of State and a complicit media who neatly buried the episode like a Tabby would in a cat box.

In 2008, there are rumblings, that the United States needed a clear winner and an unquestioned vote count. From out of the field of candidates, a bright shining star appears on the horizon. He’s young, handsome with a beautiful wife and adorable children. He’s part Jack Kennedy and part FDR, his politics are left leaning, his delivery polished and confident. Okay, I admit it; I bought into this sap sucking bullshit, but who wouldn’t? After eight years of that drunken little weasel and the Machiavelli Cheney I’d have voted for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. But not this time, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice and we go to that dark place.

So we anoint this Bozo messiah and his only serious competition for the throne is Hillary Clinton. There is bad blood between them and yet suddenly, all is forgiven and Hillary throws her support for Obama. Hillary is named to the post of Secretary of State and for the last four years has acted as almost a co-president. She is almost an independent agent. She is never reported as flying back to Washington for consultations with the President. When Gaddafi’s death was reported, Mrs. Clinton smiled gleefully, while rubbing her hands together saying, “We came, we saw and he died.” This is American foreign policy in the twenty first century, coups, assassinations and war?

This isn’t hope and change; this is all just very, very strange, who gains by this? Why did John McCain go to Florida four years ago to tell a room filled with seniors about the need to cut Social Security? It was almost as if he wanted to lose the election and then choosing Sarah Palin, well for me at least, that sewed it up, he did want to lose the election.

Flash forward to now, after the election, what will be the number one issue before Congress? Budget cuts and sequestration are set to take place automatically in January, immediately after the election. The President’s Bowles – Simpson cat food commission couldn’t even get their report passed out of a Congressional committee, but what did Obama call Bowles –Simpson, he called it a good start. There is an old expression in baseball when someone squibs a ball through the infield for a bloop base hit, “it will look like a line drive in the box score.” So as Mitt the unfit prepares for the worst drubbing since walking Wendell Wilkie, we must ask ourselves, just what the hell is going on here?

Could the Republicans be anymore incompetent in the midst of a banker inspired, second Great Depression as to nominate a smarmy investment banker and a black hearted Neo-liberalist? Could Mrs. O’Leary be elected Mayor of Chicago on a platform of more cows and lanterns, or is the public being manipulated yet again?

How can the public be encouraged to vote for a weak sitting President, with no real record of accomplishment, save for passing more tax cuts than Ronald Reagan. Barack Obama is the most right wing President ever to sit on Pennsylvania Avenue and the only way to get a public energized to vote for him is to do just what is being done. To find a candidate, so awful and so hideous as to scare the Bejesus out of the American public.

So here we sit five weeks before the election and… well, it’s gonna look like a line drive in the box score, isn’t it? Then come January you will be introduced to someone you have never met before, the real Barack Obama and the first words out of his mouth are going to be about his electoral mandate.

“…for the game had never been fair, the dice were loaded. They were swindlers and thieves of pennies and dimes, and they had been trapped and put out of the way by the swindlers and thieves of millions of dollars.” – Upton Sinclair

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” – James Brovard

The Polish Daily News

1:10 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

The Polish Daily News
By David Glenn Cox

God has been throwing acorns at the house lately, too much time on his hands, I suppose. He can’t kill African babies all the time and he sure hasn’t been helping Willard (Mitt) Romney any. The acorns come down hard on the roof like rocks or like Mitt’s falling poll numbers whichever you prefer. I think I like Cleveland, its comfortable like an old pair of shoes. They have this lake front, where regular people can live. In Chicago, they would be million dollar properties, here they are just apartments. To me of course a Great Lake is a Great Lake, I’m not about to get snobbish about it, especially as a new comer.

I went to see the Christmas Story house and while we were in the neighborhood we visited Saint Theodosius Cathedral. Poor little Ralphie, his neighborhood falling into disrepair. When we arrived we saw the obligatory leg lamp in Ralphie’s front window and an excavator climbing up the rubble pile of a demolished house next door. Your eyes quickly adjust to this carnage and boarded up houses of what must have been at one time an urban paradise. As we cruised the neighborhoods we saw an old brick building with a concrete mantle which proudly proclaimed, “The Polish Daily News -1922”

It was a time when America held promise, when Ukrainian immigrants could pool their collective resources and build not just a church but a cathedral. They were staking their claim as Americans, they were Ukrainians but now, they were also Americans. They fought for their labor rights and survived the last Great Depression and in their prosperity they were assimilated into the American maelstrom.

The neighborhoods of Cleveland remind me of the neighborhoods of Atlanta, only older. Boarded up windows and doors spare no architecture, be it period housing versus boarded up bungalow ranch style with its vinyl siding and faux brick. Decay is decay, but there is more, this plague cannot be isolated to architecture alone. It permeates our society as a whole, when I was in Portland; I was walking to the coffee shop one morning about 9:30 and all around me were groups of men in twos and three’s who should have been at work.

I was filled with stories of cars which no longer run and of owner’s with no money to fix them. My uncle used to buy a new car every two years. He was a foreman in a factory, I knew lots of people who bought new cars, these were happy times and prosperous memories. Days when people had “good jobs,” remember, “Oh, Mary’s got a “good job” but what is a “good job” today? Just down the street from here is a pretty little three bedroom, two bath period home probably built sometime in the 1920’s. It’s big and roomy, warm and cozy with period trimmings of wide oak moldings, large windows and a big old fashioned front porch surrounded by a heavy railing.

I’m told that this house could be had for $8,000 American and that there are in Cleveland, hundreds of these houses. The simple reason they’re selling so cheaply is because there are no jobs and no credit for what I call the poor, and the politicians call the middle class. The middle class is an imaginary group of American’s like Bill Cosby’s Huxtables who live mainly on TV and on Madison Avenue. But, if these houses are bad assets driving down the banks ability to be profitable and if we have millions of unemployed and millions of homeless including half a million who are children aged 0-5. Then let’s take these houses off of the banks hands. Then let’s hire these unemployed to do the repairs necessary to make the homes livable.

Then let’s sell the house for a reasonable price, say $16,000. We help the bank, we help the poor, we create jobs, just another big govement program, which helps everyone, instead of just the banks. When FDR tried to help people to keep their homes in 1933 with the Home Owners Loan Corporation, the home price slide ended within a year and who did that help the most but the banks. We are entering our fifth year of home price declines, culling the fringe, but now the plague is infecting the whole. If the free market can correct itself, how much longer is this going to take?

We could do a lot of things, God’s not throwing acorns at us, this plague is man made, but Damn it Mitt, you’re not supposed to lose this bad. Not since Montgomery Burns was forced to take a bite from Blinky, the three eyed fish has there been a politician been so publicly debased. Paul Ryan the ambitious man, faced off against a hostile Louisiana crowd, and as Ryan spoke, the crowd murmured aggressively. As Ryan explained that he and Mitt Romney wanted to fix the economy by doing away with Obama care, the crowd loudly booed and cat called.

It was a surreal moment and had it been in black and white would have resembled that scene from “The Bride of Frankenstein” where the monster puts his hands up defensively yelling, “Fire Bad!” from the balcony of the old wind mill. That moment when the flaming torch salesman sells out his stock and the networks begin offering gaff to gaff coverage. Still, I admired Ryan’s courage, Louisiana crowds can be tough even when you’re just playing football against them but when you start talking about taking mamere’s Social Security they will call you, bebette mal pris.

But now with Willard imploding, Obama with no real record to run on and the worst economy in seventy years will coast into office with an alleged mandate of public approval. This too is a part of the plague, this too affects our national mindset, just when the public asks, “Could there ever be a worse candidate than Sarah Palin?” the Republican’s choose two, count em, two Sarah Palin’s.

Did you know that the F-22 fighter program is going to cost us over 66 Billion dollars? Do you know how many homes we could purchase and rehab for 66 billion dollars? How many people we could put to work and in a home? Suddenly we wake on the bus and realize in terror we’ve missed our stop. The President elect will dredge up the corpse of the Simpson – Bowles commission and begin to build a new monster from its parts. The Commission’s report was aptly named, The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Whenever politicians start talking about Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, you have a pretty good idea where they plan on getting the heart and the ass for this new monster.

There are moments when there is no turning back, when your fate has been decided, one is when they push the bar down into your lap on a roller coaster another is when political campaigns no longer have any relationship to what is going on in the general public. Willard promises [Generic Right Wing Political Message Here] while Obama offers us Forward! How many people will work in this forward? What kind of wages can I expect in forward? Can I join Local 12 of the forwarders union? Can I eat forward? Will forward keep me warm this winter?

Where is the vision thing and now that Willard has so screwed the pooch, the Democrats might gain control of the Congress and be forced to actually do something, but what will they do? Personally, I see the kites being launched from the castle, I see a thunderstorm brewing and lights on late in the laboratory windows at night.

Portland is Like Algebra

3:05 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Portland is Like Algebra
By David Glenn Cox

Portland is like Algebra, it is hard and it’s complicated and I just don’t get it. This has been a hard one for me, my luck had been changing, I’d got an ID and a cryptic letter from the state of Georgia which promised hope when out of the blue, I lost a dear friend. I lost a friend while trying to be one, by telling the truth when they didn’t want to hear it. When you leave out of Portland all is lush and green, by the time you reach The Dalles, the scenery is tan and golden brown covering over the volcanic basalt rock which pops through periodically.

It wasn’t until I reached Baker City, Oregon before I’d finally figured it out. The Cascade Range shields Portland; it is like a Shangri-La unto itself, separating its self, from the real West waiting, just on the other side of the mountains. By the time you reach Umatilla County, the land is sandy brown and dry on undulating hills frozen in time. They made it into an Indian Reservation, if that helps sharpen the image. But now, Baker City is famous from Oregon Trail fame. It conjures up images of covered wagons, pioneers and John Wayne movies.

I guess what upset me the most, was watching my friend dismantle her own life. Not through drugs or alcohol, that would be understandable, this isn’t. You can stop drinking and dry out, but this? I don’t know, maybe something snapped, maybe it was chemistry, or stress or paranoia or dark demons from the past come to call. Whatever it was, it hurt, because I don’t have much real family besides my son and I loved her like a sister.

Maybe it’s just the luck of the draw, but there is a full moon out tonight over the high desert, seems I always travel on the full moon, maybe its astrology, or maybe just dumb luck. We rumble along in this rattly Greyhound bus, which is far from the pride of the fleet. That’s a funny story in its self, I stood outside gate number eleven for about a dozen hours and right on the other side of that door sat this beautiful rich blue and grey shiny new bus. It proudly advertised WiFi and electrical plugs and I got all excited, then at the very last minute, I mean the absolute, very last minute, as we stood in line waiting to board they pulled it away from the gate and pulled in this bus. Which I suppose was the pride of the fleet a dozen or so years ago. The overhead lights don’t work, the air conditioner fan rattles and outside of the window passes some of the most extraordinary panoramas the human eye can ever experience.

We’re headed for Boise, Salt Lake and Denver now, funny thing, the last time I was in Denver I snuck up on it from the other side. It gets really dark when the mountains block the full moon; through the dusty windows it appears to shine two searchlight beams. When it hides, I can’t read the road signs like, Dead Man Pass or Old Emigrant Hill, the last one made me smile, conjuring up images of old Emigrants sitting up on a hill in rocking chairs. The roads are twisty and the turns are sharp, it feels as if we’re following the Chef Boyardee route. Foothills on both sides of us, as the moon pops over a hill once in a while, just long enough to wink.

We are out in the high desert headed for Boise, a haze now covers the moon, and it’s a spatial filament letting off a warm and comforting glow, like a night light, which watches over us but doesn’t listen. Boise appears to be a city of consequence with a five lane Interstate highway, sound barriers and billboards advertising gambling casinos. It’s really too dark to tell much more or perhaps is it too light? The Interstate has homogenized our cities with the usual assortment of fast food joints and only occasionally something odd. As we pulled out of B town, there was a neon lit marquee sign for a funeral home and it just struck me as less than somber or subdued. Out of the dark, off to the left, ghostly mountains appeared, at least the way the light played on the shadows they looked like mountains to me. The lights of civilization stopped right where the shadows began, so I have named them the Phantom Mountains, at least until the sun comes up. As I look out the other side of the bus I see my other dear friend the moon, is also slipping away, I will miss her, hell, I’ll miss them both.

As the new sun rose in the morning, we were headed for the land of Mormons and murder. It appears some of them Mormons beat me to naming those mountains. You get a little loopy after hours on a bus, but you know what? You only live once, and it’s a fair trade for a full immersion in America. They’s real folks on a bus, ain’t no sissified dandies here. They’s folks going home or moving on, going to a job or leaving one or leaving someone. You start as strangers and in a couple hundred miles, your pals. We hit all the high spots in the Mormon holy land with their nice bus station with a lousy intercom. The station was filled with last nights overflow and so, I began to worry.

Two lines divide the station from front to back, with some folks who’d been waiting since I began my relationship with the moon the night before, but it all ended well. They brought us out a shiny bus with WiFi, enabling me to catch up with my E-mails. Before long, we were into the lunar landscapes of Wyoming, shining with glass shards from broken beer bottles. Kind of like sticking a wad of gum on the Mona Lisa, nothing but scrub, greasewood and sagebrush as far as the eye can see, and still, man finds a way to fuck it up.

They’ve got snow fences put up and signs which read, “Interstate 80 Closed when flashing.” Way off in the distance I can see downpours, cloudbursts maybe twenty or thirty miles away. It’s the closest I’ve been to rain in months, as even soggy Portland has dried out for the driest August on record.

Perfect silhouettes of ancient nature made pyramids arise, as the blue grey down burst shimmer off in the distance like flowing curtains. The color of the land cannot be described; it is sand and tan, brown and black, tinged in pale illusive greens. It is all so humbling and awesome and magnificent in its own special splendor that it makes you weep for the blind. Ancient palisades capped with cell phone towers as the pallet plays out in colors Crayolla never dreamed of. It’s is so beautiful, I’d ride on top of the bus just to see it. The down pour has been here, but we’ve missed the show as it appears to be going the other way.

I’ve heard too many conversations about people late on the rent and folks looking for a couch, small world, ain’t it? Fence posts, telephone poles and open land, that’s it, but I can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s ten in the morning but it feels like ten at night and it is overcast and around every turn is a new vista and a new pallet of color. Strange sights peculiar names, Green River, Rock Creek and Covered Wagon Road, Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, in the land where old cars go to kill time.

We just crossed the Continental Divide at 7000 feet, while above me, white whale clouds swim by in a deep blue sky. The railroad has on its sidings hundreds of grain cars which won’t be used this year. It is a strange dichotomy, an ocean above a desert below. The high water mark of a continent, being crossed by a bus carrying the bottom 10% of the 99%. We are all lost here, lost in a continent, lost in a government and lost as a people.

Then, just as suddenly, a cloud burst gets us, ten maybe fifteen seconds of spitting rain which appeared out of nowhere and disappeared just as quick, just a reminder, if you close your eyes here, you might miss something. Isn’t that just the way of things, how much we miss while looking at nothing in particular? How many roses we might pluck when not worried about the thorns.

The sun rose slowly over Minden Nebraska, a beautiful fiery orange sphere burning off the night’s gathered haze. Exposing the lush green rolling hills and the specter of dwarfed and dead corn plants, all stunted between three and five feet tall. I’ve never seen a total crop failure before so, now I have and there is something almost apocalyptic about it. Maybe I use that word too much and perhaps, I must learn a new word. Because yesterday, before this sun fell, we rolled into Denver and amidst the glass and steel towers, amidst the beer drinkers on the warm Café patios there was this rescue mission and directly across the street, a small concrete plaza.

The plaza was filled with several hundreds of people of all ages and descriptions. They were poor, so poor that they were ragged. They weren’t just down on their luck, they were down to their last, and it reminded me for all the world of a scene out Mad Max, Beyond Thunder Dome. I’ve never seen a total crop failure before so, now I have and there is something almost apocalyptic about it. Maybe I use that word too much and perhaps, I must learn a new word.

It is all the same, isn’t it? One, ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million, ten million, twenty million on and on. Come spring we shall replant our corn, but what of the people, what of their lives? I travel across thousands of miles of this amazingly beautiful land with a beneficent sun by day and reassuring moon by night. I see something which cannot be described nor quantified, something like a cancer, something like a feeling in your bones, something you can’t describe, but you know it when you see it.

Mitt accepted the nomination for President of the Suicide Party last night and now he and his evil little co-conspirator must go out and convince the populace to elect him and to commit societal Hara-kiri. What Mitt doesn’t know and what his grubby little brown noser can’t see, you can see from a bus window, in America, the ponds have dried up. After the show is over, because that’s all that this is really, is a show, the comedy team of Romney and Lewis will return to their fine homes, they will eat their sumptuous food and live their sumptuous lives. Maybe they will look back and reminisce, saying, “gee whiz, where did we go wrong?”

Never, have so few, been so wrong about so much. Never has a nation’s leadership been so blind as to have not ended up with their brain trust riding on a pike. The sand flows through the hourglass and tells a tale of time, the bough breaks and the limb falls and down will come baby, cradle and all. The mobs will grow in number and intensity, legions of the hungry and dispossessed and today they call for food, but if left unmitigated, will someday call for blood.


11:54 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

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;

Really Polite Fascists

6:08 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Really Polite Fascists
By David Glenn Cox

I had an appointment this morning at the Northwest Pilot Program in Downtown Portland. Since this was my first visit and I was technically a “walk in,” I was advised to be at least an hour early for the 9:00 AM opening. Well, as I’ve explained before, I’m a little anal about being on time for appointments and I knew well, that when you ask for help in America, you had better bring your lunch.

I’d planned to take the seven o’clock bus to arrive ninety minutes early, but I left the house early enough to catch the six thirty bus. A quick walk from the bus stop and at ten to seven, I arrived to find myself fourth in line. At first, all was quiet in the line. Soon however, the ice was broken and we all became fast friends. Michael was first in line as he played his digital card game and when I asked, what time he had arrived to be first in line, he answered without looking away, “5:30.”

Johnny was second in line, he was younger than Michael and had hearing aids in each ear and was a bit more talkative. He commented, on a pretty young girl across the street, “How old do you this she is?”

“Old enough to ruin your life,” I answered. Our line was quickly filling now, I was number four, two hours early. Five, six and seven showed up right behind me. The staff’s warning of only serving the first four in the morning session rang in my ears and made me grateful I had caught that early bus. Several walked away, unwilling to wait, seeking that Domino’s America, thirty minutes or its free. Some in line had canes, some had walkers and none were too well dressed and all were seeking housing.

My primary goal in coming was to seek assistance in resolving my ID problem. It was after eight, when an older woman approached us from the sidewalk announcing, “The door unlocks automatically at eight o’clock.” I thought, ain’t technology grand? It unlocks a door automatically, without ever communicating that somewhat important fact to anyone at all. For some reason, the hour wait inside seemed so much longer than an hour wait outside, but it ended with them offering to help me. First, I would have to make a trip to the Social Security office.

Released into the streets of Portland with a lightly printed map I would make the overland trip to Social Security on foot. Portland is the city of Roses; people like me, Easterners mainly, think its Pasadena, but nope, it’s Portland. I try to write about these places where I’m immersed and I have held off writing much about Portland because Portland is weird. At least that’s what the bumper stickers on the back of every third car say anyway. I think, weird is kind of an over generalization. Portland is unique, funky and Bohemian. It is a low city; it has its share of high rise, sterile steel and glass skyscrapers, if you like those sorts of things. But mainly, it is a brick and mortar town.

Tree lined city streets are filled with a varied assortment of generations of funky architecture. There are so many coffee shops in Portland; I think you could probably run from one to the next while holding your breath, without ever turning blue. Me, I’m a coffee slug; I happily drank Folgers or Maxwell House for years never knowing the difference. But to do so in Portland is like going to the wine country of France and ordering “Ripple.”

Nestled along the banks of the Columbia River, it is a city of bridges, industry and quiet neighborhoods. Compared to homicidal traffic of Atlanta, her traffic her almost genial, but because of the hills and the rivers and time, you can suddenly find yourself at a geometric convergence of half a dozen roads which could confuse even Stephan Hawking. Always off in the distance is the ghostly image of Mt. Hood, a sleeping and hopefully, dormant volcano. Though the temperature has been in the eighties and nineties for several months now, on top of snow white Mt. Hood this morning it was seventeen degrees. I visited this mountain back in May and as we pulled into the parking lot of the ski lodge we were surrounded by snow banks towering fifteen feet above us. Snow banks not piled high or shoveled high, but snow fallen high, still hanging around in May!

I am closer to Alaska and Hawaii here than I am to my native South; The Pacific Ocean is a scant forty five minutes away. Currents carry air and water in from the North Pacific and it means, the Ocean is truly beautiful and truly cold. On a ninety degree day when you approach the ocean, from three feet away, it as if you have just opened the door to a refrigerator cooler. Yet, if you drive east from Portland, suddenly as you crest the top of a hill the trees and greenery disappear, replaced by an amazing high desert panorama and just for good measure, this high desert like the one in the cowboy pictures has a beautiful river running through it. The Columbia River Gorge to the North is a one of a kind splendor and it is as if Portland is a city surrounded by theme parks. Pick a direction, pick a climate and pick a landscape.

The big financial institutions seem to be the only chain stores; there is a noticeable and pleasant absence of fast food chains. In central Portland, there are colorful Jitney’s, small trailers selling all manner of ethnic foods and in two of the cities parks, what else, but coffee shops. I navigated my way towards the Social Security office crossing a bridge across the 405 and I couldn’t help but to take note of the decorative high iron bars and steel lattice installed at public expense to keep our people from killing themselves by diving off of the bridge into traffic. Why do you suppose that is, I mean, government is not so proactive as to install such a thing unless absolutely necessary and decorative no less.

Arriving at the Social Security office, I was greeted by a rent a cop and a metal detector, well, two rent a cops actually. An extra was present, just in case the other needed back up in this scary, scary Social Security office. The first cop was genial enough, as he searched my shoulder bag and he reminded me a lot of my cousin Tommy. Of course, Tommy was taller and didn’t slouch as much, Tommy was also bigger across the chest and better looking, but their hair cuts were strikingly similar. As the cop searched my bag pulling out each of the six CD cases I was carrying. I asked, “If you don’t mind my asking, what are you looking for?”

In a no nonsense manner he explained, “Weapons.”

Thinking about that for a minute, I asked again, “You mean like razor blades?”

I want to get this right; he wasn’t obnoxious, only noxious. In an overtly Fascist police state, he hadn’t lost his sense of polite decorum. Even if he did miss two compartments in my bag including the one containing my camera he remained very polite. Due to his polite negligence, if I had decided to, I could have gotten the photographic drop on the both of them. I could have illegally snapped photographs and the cops could have only responded with pepper spray, night sticks or by shooting me dead with their service revolvers.

But again, I want to emphasize, he was very polite as he said, “Thank you very much sir, take a number from the machine over there.” I had come to obtain information from my government, but first I had to deal with armed men threatening deadly force searching my valuables. I took a ticket from the computerized machine, I was number B522 and the next number called was 53, then 54, then 55. So I went back over to the two ersatz Gestapo fascists keeping me safe from Democracy and asked, “Is this right? Am I really 467 numbers away?”

He explained the machine cycled the numbers and I guess he was satisfied having done his hardest work for the day. A few moments later, my number was called and I quickly received the information I needed to obtain a print out of my social security number, so that I could take that to the state government which would allow the state to grant me a photo ID, so that I could then return to Social Security to replace my card lost in a tragic washing machine accident in back in 1972.

But by now, it was lunch time and I’d had a busy day and yes, I really did pack my lunch and I shared it with a pigeon in Teacher’s park. The children were playing in the fountain when this gray fellow with a black head and just a spot of green ambled up to me. He looked up at me, right in the eye as if to say, “What’s up bud?” Let me be clear, he didn’t beg, but asked politely, “what you got there?” I threw him some crust and he seemed to approve, so I threw him a Cheese it.“ He pecked at a corner of it, but then politely declined, so I threw him some more crust and he gratefully munched it down before nodding to me as if to say “thanks”, before ambling on.

After lunch, I faced a moral dilemma. Should I walk another mile or two down to get a TB test as required by the homeless shelters or call it a day? I was a little tired but thought I would give her a go. It was a beautiful day, just a scoush over 72 degrees, with the sun shining. The streets and parks are filled with art of all descriptions honoring pioneers, sailors and the nondescript, but as I walked, I was overcome by the numbers of truly desperate homeless people in the streets. More homeless people per city block than I could ever have imagined.

They were literally competing for intersections, from the hard up to hard bitten. From young to old, from prey to predator. Some held signs while others stared blankly, aimlessly into the sky, just killing time. They all remained perfectly silent, perhaps they no longer had anything left to say or maybe that’s the rule, you can beg, but you cannot make noise. It is a beautiful city in a garden spot of the world, but there is also a yin to this yang. Fading light and long shadows, art appreciation amongst the ruins with food festivals amongst the hungry, in the city of Roses.