Break Them Up! Break Them Up!

Google has been sued for using their influence on the web…..

The Justice Department is expected to file a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that Google has been abusing its online dominance in online search to stifle competition and harm consumers, per the AP. The Washington Post also has the story, saying it “could have vast implications not only for Google but the entirety of a tech industry that has faced new, unprecedented scrutiny in recent years for the unrivaled power, money and data it has amassed.” The litigation marks the government’s most significant act to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. The suit could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon, and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

Lawmakers and consumer advocates have long accused Google, whose corporate parent Alphabet Inc. has a market value just over $1 trillion, of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and boost its profits. Critics contend that multibillion-dollar fines and mandated changes in Google’s practices imposed by European regulators in recent years weren’t severe enough and that structural changes are needed for Google to change its conduct. The case is expected to be filed in federal court in DC, and will also allege that Google uses billions collected from advertisers to pay phone manufacturers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers.

The next question should be…just how does Google’s monopoly hurt you?

I am glad you asked…..

Let’s Google together. Open a Web browser and search for T-shirts. I’ll wait.

Is the first thing you see a search result? I’m not talking about the stuff labeled Ads or Maps. On my screen, the actual result is not in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or even eighth row of stuff. It’s buried on row nine.

Googling didn’t used to require so much . . . scrolling. On some searches, it’s like Where’s Waldo but for information.

Without us even realizing it, the internet’s most-used website has been getting worse. On too many queries, Google is more interested in making search lucrative than a better product for us.

https://www.thehour.com/business/article/How-does-Google-s-monopoly-hurt-you-Try-these-15657855.php

That question has been answered,,,the next is….what to do?  What to do?

I say treat them as we did AT&T in the 1980s…..

How many remember the days when AT&T was broken up?

Are you scratching your head?

If so then you are too young to remember that break-up of AT&T under the Reagan administration…..let Wikipedia fill in the gaps for you….

The breakup of the Bell System was mandated on January 8, 1982, by an agreed consent decree providing that AT&T Corporation would, as had been initially proposed by AT&T, relinquish control of the Bell Operating Companies that had provided local telephone service in the United States and Canada up until that point.[1] This effectively took the monopoly that was the Bell System and split it into entirely separate companies that would continue to provide telephone service. AT&T would continue to be a provider of long-distance service, while the now-independent Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), nicknamed the ‘Baby Bells’, would provide local service, and would no longer be directly supplied with equipment from AT&T subsidiary Western Electric.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakup_of_the_Bell_System

I bring up this bit of history because there is a plan afoot to try and break up the mega-corporations…..

The Democratic Party-controlled House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee released its report on big tech last Tuesday concluding a 16-month investigation into the business practices of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google.

The 449-page majority report, entitled, “Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets,” states in the foreword that the four corporations worth a combined $5 trillion—more than a third of the S&P 100—wield their market dominance “in ways that erode entrepreneurship, degrade Americans’ privacy online, and undermine the vibrancy of the free and diverse press.”

The House Judiciary subcommittee chair, Democrat David Cicilline from Rhode Island, wrote in the forward, “To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.”

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/10/13/tech-o13.html

Did you see this bit of news on your favorite channel?

I am guessing you did not….another way the MSM is used to keep the public in the dark on what is actually happening.

I agree that they should be broken up but I also fear that this plan could create even bigger and more powerful corporations.

What makes me think that?

AT&T dominated the telephone market for most of the 20th century. The company was so big, it was forced to break up into eight smaller companies in 1984. Today, almost all of those companies are once again part of AT&T, along with cellular carriers and cable providers. Here’s how the company grew so big that the government broke it up — only to see it become even bigger. Following is a transcript of the video.

https://www.businessinsider.com/att-breakup-1982-directv-bell-system-2018-02

This plan may not be in the best interest of the nation….especially when Dems are concerned for they are just as deep into the pockets of corporations as the GOP.

Vox also looks at the way to deal with the mega-corporations….

Much of the debate has focused on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and, most recently, a Trump administration initiative to get the Federal Communications Commission to modify the law. As my colleague Sara Morrison explains, they can’t really do that. The Section 230 debate, however, has been awash in misunderstanding and misinformation, with lots of hectoring about an alleged (but fake) legal distinction between a “platform” and a “publisher.”

What the law actually says is that if I run a computer service and you use it to libel someone, then you are legally responsible for the libel but I am not. At one point in the early internet, there was concern that if a company edited or moderated its comments sections in any way, that would expose the company to legal liability for anything it failed to remove. Section 230 sought to encourage moderation (there’s no porn on Instagram, for example) by clarifying that this is not the case.

Meanwhile, Democrats in the House have been pushing for antitrust scrutiny of big tech companies, something Republicans have at least rhetorically backed from time to time.

https://www.vox.com/21520568/social-media-phone-company-big-three

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Winner-Take-All Economy

We are told almost daily of the attributes of the “free market” economy….but those markets are far from free….for many years I have written numerous times about this lie….this illusion…..

https://lobotero.com/2008/09/20/free-markets-truth-not-spoken/

https://lobotero.com/2020/05/25/that-free-market-illusion/

Then there is the economic inequality….where 1% of the population owns more than the bottom 80%…..but how bad can it possibly be?

Well as you might imagine I have also written numerous posts on this as well…..

https://lobotero.com/2014/02/25/the-increasingly-unequal-states-of-america-income-inequality-by-state-1917-to-2011-economic-policy-institute/

https://lobotero.com/2018/03/17/inequality-how-bad-can-it-be/

After WW2 the economic growth ranged across all levels of society but that equality was to be short lived……our economy has become winner take all….and each passing year the inequality spreads.

In the three decades following World War II, the US saw economic growth that was shared across all levels of income, from the working class to the richest 1 percent. But that changed after the mid-1970s as income inequality increased exponentially during the next four decades.

A new study by nonprofit research organization RAND nails down what really happened. It shows that this rising inequality took a substantial bite out of the earnings of up to 90 percent of American households.

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, we talk with the authors of the RAND study, mathematician Carter Price and labor economist Kathryn Edwards.

Price and Edwards detail the unique approach they took in putting this report together. Up until now, they explain, nobody had devised a formula to show just how individuals and their families were affected by the rising inequality across the entire income spectrum. 

Proof Positive of the Winner-Take-All Economy

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Closing Thought–20Oct20

Do you collect Social Security?

If so then you will be getting a rip-roaring 1.3% COLA for year 2021…..but not to worry your insurance will eat up most of that raise…..

The Democrats in the Congress have called the COLA “absolutely anemic”……and will try to do something about the small COLA…..

In the wake of the federal government’s announcement this week of a paltry 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients in 2021, a pair of House Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation that would more than double the benefit increase next year as an emergency measure to help seniors cope with the devastating economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, seniors are facing additional financial burdens in order to stay safe,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who unveiled the bill alongside Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). “This absolutely anemic COLA won’t even come close to helping them afford even their everyday expenses, let alone those exacerbated by Covid-19.”

Endorsed by advocacy groups representing millions of seniors and retirees across the U.S., DeFazio and Larson’s legislation would boost Social Security’s COLA to 3% in 2021 because, as the Connecticut Democrat put it, “a 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment is just not enough during these difficult times.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/15/remedy-absolutely-anemic-social-security-increase-amid-pandemic-democrats-bill-would

Sorry to be a Gloomy Gus but I will believe it when I see it…..we Seniors have been promised so much and given so little that I doubt any party’s claims of support.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

A Look At That Great Economy

Trump keeps telling the people of the US that this economy is great and that we all will be on easy street soon enough……(well that part was me being sarcastic…..

I would like to know where it is so great.

Jobless rates are still not good……even the last numbers were not so great….

New unemployment data came out Thursday morning, and the numbers are not sitting well with Wall Street investors. The Labor Department says 898,000 people applied for jobless benefits last week, exceeding estimates by about 70,000, reports CNBC. The figure is up more than 50,000 from the previous week and is the highest since August. The stock market opened an hour after the report came out, with the Dow down about 300 points in the early going, or roughly 1%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were down similar percentages.

“Given that we’re seven months into the pandemic now, these are still incredibly high numbers for initial claims,” AnnElizabeth Konkel of the job site Indeed tells the Wall Street Journal. Also contributing to the sour mood on Wall Street is the increase in COVID cases and continuing uncertainty about whether lawmakers in DC will be able to settle on a coronavirus relief package, per the Journal.

What part of unemployment is great for us mere mortals?

The threat of a massive new round of layoffs looms. Officials in Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, announced a new operating budget this week that includes the elimination of 659 jobs, including 130 health workers in the midst of a pandemic. Rutgers University is planning additional layoffs after the 900 layoffs and 6,400 furloughs it has already implemented. The Tropicana casino and resort in Las Vegas announced 828 layoffs while Rochester, New York schools are cutting 200 non-teaching personnel.

The predictable result of this has been hardship and poverty for millions of unemployed or partially employed workers. Several new studies have shown a significant growth in poverty, particularly in the period after the expiration of the $600 weekly unemployment supplement at the end of July.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/10/16/jobs-o16.html

Then there are those markets…..the game that only the wealthy get to play…..seems they are in a bit of a funk as well….

After last week’s strong performance, the stock market now can’t find any forward momentum. On Thursday, the Dow fell 19 points to 28,494, the S&P fell 5 points to 3,483, and the Nasdaq fell 54 points to 11,713. Worse-than-expected unemployment data, rising pessimism about a coronavirus deal in DC, and a continued rise in cases in the US and around the world were blamed for the market malaise, report the Wall Street Journal and the AP.

“The stimulus talk continues to be a little negative, and the virus outbreak in Europe that’s going to probably cause more shutdowns in various cities and countries, that’s a little bit of a negative, too,” said Scott Wren of the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. The day started out even worse, with the Dow falling about 300 points, though the selloff eased considerably in afternoon trading.

What do you think 8 million people think of this “great economy”?

The world’s poor have been hit the hardest by the pandemic—and in the US, that group includes 6 million to 8 million more people than it did a few months ago, according to two studies released this week. Columbia University researchers found that the number of poor people in the US actually fell in the early months of the crisis, when the $2 trillion Cares Act provided $1,200 stimulus checks and an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits, but the gains were reversed as aid dried up, causing 8 million people to fall into poverty since May, reports the New York Times. Researchers from Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, who measured income by year instead of by month, put the number at 6 million, including 2.5 million children.

“These numbers are very concerning,” University of Chicago economist Bruce D. Meyer tells the Times. “They tell us people are having a lot more trouble paying their bills, paying their rent, putting food on the table.” The studies found that Black and Latino Americans are around twice as likely to be in poverty as white Americans. Authors of both studies found that the Cares Act had been extremely successful in keeping people out of poverty and urged Congress to consider their research when crafting future stimulus programs, the Guardian reports. “The Cares Act was very successful,” says Columbia researcher Christopher Wimer. “But one of its shortcomings was its temporary nature.”

What part of this with less than 3 weeks until the election talks of a better day to come?

My question is do the voters truly give a shit about their fellow Americans?

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“lego ergo scribo”

How About Some Economic News?

Trump tells us that since the markets are making CEOs wealthy the rest of us are doing super good…..let me say here…there is more to an economy than what the markets do or don’t do…..but hey you believe the crap you want then don’t coming crying when it all goes to sh*t.

Markets are up….unemployment is high…..foreclosures on the rise…..food expensive…….medical expensive…..but according to Trump all is well….even good.

First let’s look at Q2 (Second Quarter)……

The US economy plunged at a record rate in the spring but is poised to swing to a record increase in the quarter that just ended. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday in its final estimate for the April-June quarter that the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, fell at a rate of 31.4%. (This estimate, the third, is down from the initial estimates of 33% and 31.7%.) The report shows a decline that is almost four times larger than the previous record-holder, a fall of 10% in the first quarter of 1958 when Dwight Eisenhower was president. The Washington Examiner reports the biggest GDP drop during the Great Recession was 8.4%. The Q1 decline was 5%.

The AP reports economists believe the economy will expand at an annual rate of 30% in the current quarter as businesses have re-opened and millions of people have gone back to work. That would shatter the old record for a quarterly GDP increase, a 16.7% surge in the first quarter of 1950 when Harry Truman was president. The government will not release its just-ended July-September GDP report until Oct. 29, just five days before the presidential election. Many are forecasting that growth will slow significantly in the final three months of this year to a rate of around 4% and could actually topple back into a recession if Congress fails to pass another stimulus measure or if a rising number of coronavirus cases sharply curtails economic activity.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news…..but inflation is already here….at least for the stuff you buy as a normal person…..

If it feels like the price of everything you buy has been soaring, that’s because it has—even as central bankers everywhere worry about the danger of deflation.
The gap between everyday experience and the yearly inflation rate of 1.3% in August is massive. The price of the stuff we’re buying is rising much faster, while the stuff we’re no longer buying has been falling, but still counts for the figures.
Economists will be relieved that the laws of supply and demand are still working, at a time when so much in the discipline is in doubt. But for investors it hangs a veil over the outlook for perhaps the single most important issue for the markets: whether we’re headed for a future of inflation, deflation or a continuation of the past decade’s lackluster price rises.
 
Have you noticed that banks can do whatever they want and never have to pay for their stealing and perjury?
 
Take JP Morgan got caught manipulating the stock and what was the penalty….a slap on the wrist and a fine…..
Following hard on the heels of revelations that major global banks have been involved in a network of criminal money laundering, JPMorgan Chase has been fined $920 million for manipulating markets on two of its trading desks.

The charges involved the practice of spoofing—quickly placing and then withdrawing buy and sell orders to give other traders and their algorithms the false impression that there is a surge of activity.

The spoofing activity covered trades in gold, silver and other metals futures markets as well as markets for Treasury bonds and cash. It covered thousands of trades and involved numerous traders and staff at JPMorgan in New York, London and Singapore.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which conducted the investigation, said traders knowingly placed orders on trading platforms they did not intend to fulfil in the hope this would trick others and enable the JPMorgan traders to obtain a better price.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/10/01/jpmo-o01.html

Now think back to 208….Morgan was part of the problem that cause the recession and the economic crash….and they are still doing illegal stuff and getting away with it.

And you think it is a fair and equatable system…..NOT!

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“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–13Oct20

Do You Make $400,000 a year?

If so then according to the chairman of the RNC you are the same as 82% of the American people.

Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chairperson of the Republican National Committee, on Sunday faced backlash after suggesting that “82% of Americans” make more than $400,000 per year.

In a tweet on Sunday, McDaniel pointed to a video clip from a conservative media group, which asserted that “middle income earners” will see a tax increase under a Joe Biden presidency. However, Biden has said that he will not raise taxes on individuals making less than $400,0000 per year.

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/10/twitter-buries-gop-scumbag-liar-ronna-mcdaniel-for-claiming-82-of-americans-make-over-400000-year/

Is this broad that out of touch?  Maybe she is just a long toad like her fearless leaders.

Are you in that false 82%?

I’m not.

This is just one example of why I have a hard time voting GOP at any time….they are just so damn out of touch with the society that they cannot possible do anything for the whole country.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Biden/Harris Financial Policies

Time to look at Biden and what are his financial policies and will they do any good for the American people…..

While Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is unlikely to prioritize a financial industry crackdown if he wins on Nov. 3, he is expected to take a much tougher line than Trump and his former boss President Barack Obama.

Banks and investors were preparing for a Biden victory over the weekend after Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, in a blow for his campaign.

Here are some of the key areas his administration and agency picks would likely focus on.

THE COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT
HOUSING FINANCE
CONSUMER PROTECTIONS, CREDIT REPORTING
CLIMATE CHANGE RISKS
BANKRUPTCY REFORM
POSTAL BANKING
 
All pretty good ideas….but knowing what our politics is like I d not think they will be nearly as all powerful as they pretend….after special interests get through they will be toothless tigers….as usual.
 
The tax policies of the Biden/Harris team is also good ideas…..

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have an opportunity to cut poverty in America in half. A new study finds that the Democratic ticket has put forward or endorsed a set of proposals that, taken together, could add up to the biggest anti-poverty plan in decades.

Three specific measures — Biden’s plan to make Section 8 housing vouchers universal; congressional Democrats’ plan for a $3,000-a-year child allowance ($3,600 for kids under 6), and Harris’s LIFT Act proposing new tax credits for low-income households — would have lowered the poverty rate from 12.7 percent to 6.5 percent if they had been adopted in 2018, according to researchers at the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia. That’s 20.2 million fewer people living in poverty.

The reduction in child poverty would be larger still, from 13.7 percent to 3.6 percent. Only about a quarter as many children would remain in poverty after the policy package’s adoption.

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/21456242/joe-biden-poverty-checks-kamala-harris

Once again good plan…but it will probably not hold up to the brutal American political process….more promises that will go unfulfilled thanx to lobbyists and cash spread around.

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VOTE!

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“lego ergo scribo”

 

Trump’s Trade Wars

Are you a Trump supporter? If so, how do you think his numerous trade wars are faring for the country?

I have written numerous posts on what I think of this sanity that is nothing more than a political stunt.

But let’s look at the results of the so-called trade war with China just weeks before the vote.

trade warAs the curtain falls on the first Trump presidency, it is timely to reflect on what has been achieved – or not. And nothing could be more at the heart of US President Donald Trump’s mission to “Make America great again” than an audit of his
on China.
costly claim….It is more than two years since his crassest, most significant and most
: “Trade wars are good, and easy to win.” The shocking naivety of that statement still makes me shudder. But having declared war, he has fought it, and continues to fight it, unflinching in his conviction that one way or another he will eventually succeed, and that the United States will have been made stronger in the process.
Whether Trump wins another term in office or not, he can take comfort that his good fight will continue. His opponent in the presidential election, former US vice-president Joe Biden, has given
every indication
that Trump’s trade war on China will rage on.
tariff wars
But how well served have the US economy, American companies and workers been by the, and unprecedented efforts to roll back seven decades of globalisation and trade liberalisation?
 
I have listened to his drooling slobbering supporters applaud and scream when he mentions what is war is doing to China…..it is nothing but make believe and wishful thinking…..
 
Further Reading…..If you dare…..
 
 
To be honest I am not thrilled with the trade policies of the Dem candidate, Joe Biden, either…..on which I wrote recently….read those thoughts as well…..https://lobotero.com/2020/05/27/biden-on-trade/
 
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“lego ergo scribo”

Who Controls The Nation?

We can pretend that it is the president….or Congress…..or even the people….all would be truly ignorant answers…..the real power at the helm of the nation is……the “Markets” control it all.

You really believe that it is different?

For instance Donald the Orange called off any more stim packages until after the election….and the markets fell drastically….

Stocks turned sharply lower on Wall Street Tuesday afternoon after President Donald Trump ordered a stop to negotiations with Democrats on a coronavirus economic stimulus bill until after the election. The S&P 500 index slid 1.4% after having been up 0.7% prior to the president’s announcement, which he made on Twitter about an hour before the close of trading. The late-afternoon pullback erased most of the benchmark index’s gains from a market rally a day earlier, the AP reports. The S&P 500 fell 47.66 points to 3,360.97. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 375.88 points, or 1.3%, to 27,772.76. It had been up by more than 200 points. The Nasdaq composite lost 177.88 points, or 1.6%, to 11,154.60.

The comments from the president came just hours after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urged Congress to come through with more aid, saying that too little support “would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses.” Optimism that Democrats and Republicans would reach a deal on more stimulus ahead of the Nov. 3 election had helped lift the stock market recently. Now, investors face the prospect that more aid may not come until next year, after the new Congress is seated, says Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. “This isn’t just pushing it off until after the election, this realistically is pushing it off until spring,” Delwiche said. “I don’t think this is just a one-day financial markets reaction. This really goes to the health of the recovery.”

Then after the fall Donald the Orange had to try and save the markets with the less than 30 days away he needs all the good news he can steal just to keep what little support he has now…..

Donald J. Trump
 
@realDonaldTrump
If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?
 
 
Nothing I like better than a decisive president….(that is sarcasm in case you missed it)…….
 
And you think you matter.
 
Think Again!
 
The telling question will be….can Trump revive the stim talks by a simple text?
 
I Read, I Write, You Know
 
“lego ergo scribo”

Delusional Amount Of Cash

I see that the Congress has left town , go figure, that is the one thing they all agree on, without any action on the new economic stim package to help the country deal with the costs of the pandemic.

People will soon lose or have their benefits cut or lost….and yet the only ones showing a profit out of the pandemic is corporations that are 100s of million of dollars that have seen profits jump by double digits……and what is the answer for the Fed?

Give the rich bastards more cash…..

Federal Reserve officials have launched what amounts to a full court press aimed at ensuring that Congress provides a further fiscal stimulus to corporations, as the COVID pandemic continues out of control and the limited revival of the US economy stalls.

While Fed representatives always couch their remarks in terms of giving assistance to the economy and even to workers, the fall in the stock market since the beginning of the month—the most significant downturn since the plunge in mid-March, when all financial markets froze—is the underlying concern.

The push began on Tuesday, when Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services. Powell repeated earlier calls for fiscal action, on top of the more than $3 trillion made available under the CARES Act.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/09/25/econ-s25.html

All this leads me to ask the one simple question….why do we give corporations so much power over our lives?

The media leads us to believe that the markets going up is good for the people….it is not the only people that benefit are the CEOs.

Then why do we give them the power?

The American people own most of the wealth—private and public—and most of the information in the country. The top one percent do not.

The American people have most of the power in the country. The top one percent do not.

(If you believe any of that then I have a bridge I will sell cheap)

These assertions may surprise you, because the top one percent and the giant corporations work overtime to control what you own. This means they do not have to seize what you own so long as their control provides them with both riches and power over you.

Let’s spell this out with specifics. Our Constitution starts with the words, “We the People…”; it doesn’t start with ‘we the corporations’ or ‘we the Congress’ or ‘we the super-rich.’ The sovereign authority under the Constitution is us; we the people are the bosses. But we give our power away to the Big Boys who run the big companies that control most of our elected politicians. The politicians in turn proceed to corrupt our elections with campaign money, gerrymandering, deceitful ads, voter obstructions, and a totally dominant two-party duopoly. This corporate state destroys competitive democracy which would give our votes meaning, choices, and effectiveness.

The corporate “Borg” is sucking the ready availability of the good life, decent, secure livelihoods assured by our collective self-reliance, and the freedom to shape our future out of our political economy.

We have been brainwashed….and it has been a rousing success for we equate our personal success by others standards.

For Christ Sake—-Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”