Friday, January 23, 2009

John Thain - Nihilist in Chief - goes Bye Bye

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Merriam-Webster on-line definition for Nihilism:

a:a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless b: a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths…”

Maybe I am just mortal or I live in a scale of things that does not match reality on the lofty heights of Olympus where large corporate CEOs play with virtual reality spreadsheets instead of inspecting authentic reality factory assembly lines.

The abstract world of numbers and corporate spreadsheets has eliminated the human factor out of all corporate equations for decades.

When I read about outgoing Merrill Lynch chief or is it thief awarding 3-5 billion dollars in bonuses to corporate sycophantic louts before he dumped the Merrill Lynch toxic waste portfolio onto Bank of America I am not shocked especially when U.S. taxpayer money is being used to prop up this drunken nihilistic behavior. This drunken frat house nihilistic behavior has been going on for decades in corporate America. Congress will not change anything. Get real.

A microcosm of Thain’s ego and acceptable lack of morals in the business world is his million dollar office makeover in the past year while the company is losing money, hemmoraging it in fact. Nero fiddled while Roma burned. Thain and others redecorated. No doubt this was to improve one’s mood and to enhance positive attitude toward a future pickup in profits.

In his little cocooned privileged world of American business he managed to spend $87,000 dollars on an area rug for his office. This sounds outrageous but here is the good point. Bank of America can take a two year rapid depreciation on a nineteenth century antique Persian rug. That saves money. And in Thain’s contract he probably has exclusive bidding rights on obsolete property in his office. When he bids $10.00 and drags away the obsolete rug, he is being green. The Persian rug will not be dumped into a landfill.

Oh they say that American business can’t hack it in these tough days ahead. Just look to Mr. Thain for examples of courage and nihilism and antique corporate rugs rapidly depreciated from the federal government’s virtual reality spreadsheets.

Good riddins to obsolete corporate trash!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I vote No on Paterson's Obesity Tax !

Nobody these days seems to sit down and calculate the consequences of their actions. In the case of Food or Soda Pop or Obesity many ideas have come along, we have made adjustments to our lives, and nobody reexamines the reason we are doing things.

The local New York State Governor has proposed an obestity tax on soda pop. The theory is that soda pop has replaced the amount and need of the consumption of water in many people’s daily calorie intake. Calories make fat and fat makes obesity. Obesity likely leads to diseases such as diabetes that has increased dramatically in the population in the last decade or two.

Interesting idea for a tax to immediately tackle a possible health hazard. It is not unlike the tax on cigarettes here in New York City. Cigarettes are selling for something like $9.00 a pack these days. The tax will supposedly drive down demand and make people healthier in the sugar and tobacco departments.

Of course more government in our lives to collect taxes is not a great idea from my point of view.

I look at the bottle tax that has been in effect for several decades and wonder where does all the redemption money go if the consumer does not want to stand in line and cash in empty soda and beer containers. Does the supermarket pocket the unredeemed money or does the state? This bottle tax is a nuisance tax and was instituted before mandatory recycling in most local communities nationwide. The state does not review or revoke useless or obsolete taxes especially when it pockets the monies to waste on other government boondoggles.

Going back to the late 1960’s was when soda pop marketing and packaging produced an excess of glass and plastic that overwhelmed trash collections and land fills. The bottle tax was a good idea at one point in time. It is now a regressive and unfair tax on the consumer.

Which leads me to the concept - a green concept - that a lot of restaurants and consumers are going after and that is to consume farm goods produced a small driving distance away. Less driving means less gasoline wasted in transporting food. I do not know how well the theory of this works in the everyday practice of the idea but this green thing almost seems like a religious experience for some. I think it should be considered and used if it works both to reduce gasoline consumption and encourage a redevelopment and expansion of local farms and local labor needed to process local food and produce a local profit.

Last thought. This is a full circle. Maybe just maybe, before the Masters of Business Administration started shaving fractions of penny profits for the food industry over the past few decades, maybe the original give and take of local production and local processing of food and beverages and recycling etc - maybe a smaller soda pop with real sugar and no chemicals, produced locally, is a better way to go for beverage consumption than a temporary, never to be repealed, state tax on soda.

Maybe with a high cost of energy, some old models of production and consumption are viable and indeed profitable and lead to a better way of living in the future. These classic model processes certainly are worth examining and reexamining in the scheme of things.

Maybe even GLOBAL has a limit or point of diminished returns.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Who Runs the U.S. Government?

(Who is running the U.S. Government? - is this a state secret?)

Bush, a supposed conservative, expanded Washington bureaucracy with ease and no discomfort. Agencies like HUD/FHA, SEC, Commerce, Justice are just decorative buildings. Abilities of many life long bureaucrats are an optional thing. Both Bushes are prime examples of that.

Obama’s recycling of Clinton Era wonders means that nobody to going to clean up the financial, regulatory and Social Security mess for the next four to eight years. It is too big a mess for any politician to want to handle.

I have worked for the government. Who runs it? The Real government I mean. The one that makes decisions and ultimately hopefully protects us from them whoever they currently are. The Real one that probably keeps micro-managed tabs on the worldwide distribution of bomb grade plutonium. The Real one that keeps the list of foibles and bribes of any and every public official on the planet.

Hey we have computers. The capacity to do what I am saying is there. Why do we need millions of pencil pushers in DC? It (the chicken) wanted to cross the road. Not a good answer but the best punch line of all times and it surely fit’s the joke of Washington DC.

They want to put a pencil pusher at the CIA-Leon Panetta. Add CIA to the totally obsolete, useless Government agencies behind HUD/FHA, SEC, Commerce, Justice and on and on and on.

The theory is that these recycled hacks have experience to maneuver through Washington bureaucracies. Yeah right. These are just no show jobs. A place to hang out until tee-off time. Washington can’t do jack shit anymore about anything except war and that on a very costly basis.

Washington is the problem; not the solution.

Who runs the U.S. government? And don’t tell me the government is being run out of store front in the some desert retirement community somewhere. Or is it???

And don’t tell me that The Social Security Trust Fund has been invested with Madeoff and Sons. That is far too believable. If Congress had let SS go Wall Street, how big would the Madoff ponzi scheme be right now? Three hundred billion dollars? Four hundred billion dollars?

I can be stupid and na├»ve at times but I don’t think I am as dumb as the phony fronts or do-nothings, nothing expected of you-s now currently being paraded through Congress and the media masquerading as the incoming “real government“.

I hope Obama'a new kitchen cabinet knows how to cook!