Just a few silly thoughts today

Scared the hell out of myself this morning…

Stepped out of the shower and saw a saggy old fart looking at me.  Momentary shock until I realized I was looking in the mirror.

“Moanin” Joe big news this morning..

NBA basketball player comes out; As far as I can tell everybody but the pope has come out in support of this guy?  Have not heard from Limbaugh yet so I would guess the republicans are waiting for instructions on how to respond.

Local television shows people complaining about pot holes in the roads. Damn socialists, if they want the holes in the roads patched they should get up off their duffs and patch them. Some people want the government to bail their butts out all the time.

And now a story about how the government wants to raise rates for water. We pay taxes water should be free, unless you are a member of Nestle’s board of directors in which case water is or should be a for profit commodity.

Speaking of for profit enterprises, did you see where that judge got 28 years for sending kids to private prisons on a for profit basis?  Geeze, can’t a guy make an honest living in this country anymore? We should be praising this guy for his entrepreneurial spirit.


From the Great Depression to the Great Recession

The presentation last Saturday regarding unions in America continues to linger in my thoughts.

From the Great Depression to the Great Recession was the term used to describe this presentation.

The first thing that excited this old guy was the slide showing the similarities of our country’s economy in the late 1920s early 1930s to the current conditions.

Concentration of wealth at the top

Massive unemployment of the working class

Union membership at the lowest level in years

In the 30s they had “Hoovervilles” and soup lines

Today we have repossessed homes sitting empty and never ending unemployment checks

Hoover did recognize the dire condition of the economy, but thought it was a cyclical thing and the only thing of real economic importance was a balanced budget

Sound familiar to you?

The main theme of this presentation was unionism and to make a point here I am going to include an exact somewhat lengthy quote.

George Barnett.  Economist, Presidential Address to the American Economics Association

“American trade unionism is slowly being limited in influence by changes which destroy the basis on which it is erected. It is probable the changes in the law have adversely affected unionism. Certainly the growth of large corporations has done so. But… over and above these influences, the relative decline in the power of trade unionism is due to occupational changes and to technological revolution.

The changes—occupational and technological—which checked the advance of trade unionism in the last decade appear likely to continue in the same direction. It is hazardous to prophesy, but I see no reason to believe that American trade unionism will so revolutionize itself within a short period of time as to become in the next decade a more potent social influence than it has been in the past decade.”

This presidential address was made in 1932!

And then came 1936 and the famous sit down strike in Flint Michigan.  Details of which were explained at length in the presentation; details that were both interesting and eye opening to this observer.

The explanation and slides of the Flint sit down strike made this program worth the time and effort to attend in and of itself. It is like a movie that you want to see again knowing you will get more out of it with additional viewings.

The presentation was by a gentleman named David Reynolds a labor educator from Wayne State University.



Off Topic… I suspect I may have snagged a troll, watch for more.

James Corbett – The Corbett Report – The War On Terror Is Over. America Lost – 24 April 2013

A more detailed piece of my short blogs re the war on terror and the Boston bombings.

Lucas 2012 Infos

JamesCorbett4Link to podcast video/audio

By James Corbett
April 24, 2013

It has often been observed that the war on terror is unwinnable. After all, how could a war on an abstract noun ever have its “Mission Accomplished” moment? It is, according to this wisdom, meant to drag on forever.

View original post 562 more words

We went to a Detroit Tiger ball game last week

As always we pulled into the handicap parking area directly across the street from the main entrance to the stadium. The attendant asked if we wanted to park in front row. I responded yes and he told me to open the trunk for inspection. This request was surely brought on by the bombing in Boston.

Now as an old grey haired fart hooked up to an oxygen tank I hardly fit the profile of a terrorist bomber. At least that’s what I think.

Lovely wife and others have commented “Better safe than sorry” and “I do not mind giving up a little freedom for safety’s sake”.

In discussing this incident with a couple last night they shared these thoughts. Many in America got all upset with the Patriot act.  Well it is just a fact of life and we are going to have to learn to live with it.

Some years back a group of rebels from Chechnya invaded a school house killing many children. I commented on this event with “What do you suppose Putin and/or Russia could have done to these people to make them perform such atrocious acts?”

I was duly chastised for not condemning the thugs who had done such a dastardly deed.  Of course I responded with a statement explaining my sentiments were not with the thugs they were just meant to open up a discussion of what actions would provoke such a violent re-action.

And this brings me full circle to asking what actions are we doing to cause the continual attempts at terror attacks? Not only here in America but worldwide attacks.

After some thought my conclusion is the so called war on terror may be a major cause.

Carrying this thought process further reaches this.  How about we change tactics? How about instead of a war on terror we have a war on economic inequality?

This is not a suggestion we feed the world, this is a suggestion we work to help the world feed itself. Of course we could start right here in America by helping to educate the less fortunate

We could provide training for the millions who have lost their jobs to outsourcing.

There are many other methods we could implement worldwide using both private and government resources to help eliminate poverty.

These actions would do much more to extinguish the anger so prevalent in the world today then all the drones we can build, don’t you think?

Austerity is not the answer

“Michigan’s economy will not improve until we find a way to get some of the wealth to the middle class.”

On a daily basis we see stories of how local governments are cutting back on essential services.

Layoffs of first responders is the last resort in balancing local budgets and it is taking place right now.

We hear of local schools continuing to cut back, merge districts and closing schools in an effort to stay within their budgets.

Both of these bad news stories are rooted in a condition that has been going on and growing in the United States for the past 30/40 years.

That condition is the transferring of wealth from the middle class to the upper class that then transfer it to the Cayman Islands or some other off shore accounts to avoid taxes.

The primary cause of this is corporate powers taking control of our government at the national, state and local levels.

Bay City, Michigan recently discarded a prevailing wage condition in contracts with private contractors.  These will most likely result in lower wages for the workers; if this will save the city any money is yet to be determined.

At the state level, Michigan joined other states in passing a right to work (for less) law resulting in eventual elimination of unions and/or decreasing their power.

At the national level the U.S. Supreme Court has declared corporations to be people.

Our government and the MSM have fallen for the austerity push as promoted by the Simpson-Bowles commission.

Simpson Bowles findings were based on a flawed study as explained in the link.

Link exposing fallacy of Reinhart/Rogfoff study


And here is a link that shows the results of following the austerity plan in Europe.


As these links show, the actions of austerity taking place in this world, based on a flawed study, are not working.

The opening quote in this blog is something I said to some Republican friends a few years back while discussing our state’s economy. The same quote could probably be used for the whole world; what do you think?

The freedoms we have as Americans?

Have you ever heard one of those right wing characters saying “The reason the Muslims hate us so much is they’re jealous of our freedoms?”  Yes and so have I.

And I always wonder what freedoms they are talking about?

Freedom of Assembly, and freedom of speech?


Voting rights?


Freedom of religion?

Snippet “With this in mind, Rep. Frank Wolf, R.-Va., and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D.-Calif, have proposed that the U.S. State Department have a special envoy for vulnerable religious minorities. (The idea has a precedent, as Wolf has pointed out; already, the U.S. has a Sudan special envoy and a North Korea envoy to monitor human-rights violations.)

Govtrack.us gives the bill only a 26 percent chance of getting past committee, and a 7 percent chance of being enacted.”

Full article link..


We could go on but, if you look you will find the corporate powers running this country have infringed on every basic right we have in our bill of rights in one way or another;  With the glowing exception of their cherished right to have killing tools.

These words are of course my opinion. If you disagree with them feel free to comment or send me email at larryjben@gmail.com

Late post today and sort of off the wall

A wise lady from Canada posts a daily blog under the name notestoponder. I read her blog daily as it is always both interesting and entertaining.

This led me to thinking of something that I have pondered occasionally in the past.

Have you ever wondered why a squirrel will run both ways when crossing a street?  I mean the little critter can be 3/4s of the way across and upon sensing an oncoming vehicle will reverse direction and head back to where the journey began.

What is it in this pea sized brain that causes the squirrel to run back 20 or 30 feet rather than continuing on the 5 or 10 feet to safety?  Occasionally this action leads to the critter becoming a dinner for various birds.

Giving this some thought I am thinking perhaps it is a natural instinctive reaction, when confronted with a perplexing condition retreat to a safe place?

This led me to think perhaps we as humans have similar instinctive reactions? When confronted with perplexing situations do we retreat to safety?  Do we pop open the Bible or a beer? Do we turn on the television or join our friends in cheerful banter?

We cannot overlook the fact that many of our actions are strongly influenced by outside forces. It may be lifetime learning or a barrage of media sensationalism.

The invasion of Iraq is an example of the latter. And the Boston bombing is another example.

How do we respond when we hear our government is creating laws that take away our voting rights?

How do we respond when we hear our government is creating laws that continue to make survival of the weakest among us more difficult?

There are additional activities by our government that we should respond to in more aggressive actions then just running back to our personal safety nets.

Next time you are confronted by such a situation do not be a squirrel, get up and do something about it!