14 July 2012
Like the Book!
by: Father Tyme
06 May 2012
Let's Talk Money, Honey!
I am already so weary of this so-called "class warfare" thing going on in our political discourse.
For the purpose of what I have to say on the matter, let's remove from the table any discussion of tax rates, what's fair vs. not fair, whether the rich should pay a higher percentage than those at the poverty level, etc.
OK, let me say one thing and THEN we'll take it off the table. The debate at least has some merit. I understand why some people with a rather narrow view might think it's so unfair that someone making $5 million a year is taxed at a higher rate than a family of four trying to get by on $25,000 a year...or less. If you are in the camp that believes everyone, regardless of income, should pay a flat tax of 10% because it's "fair", I think you are full of shit. As soon as a tax rate starts to take basic necessities of life away, then it's too high and unfair.
Someone working minimum wage, or two minimum wage jobs, and trying to support a child while being taxed is going to be forced to do without something basic, and adequate food will quite likely be one of the many sacrifices. Anyone making $100,000 probably isn't going to need to skip a meal due to finances even at a higher tax rate. Depending on where they live, the yacht might have to wait, but so be it.
Now let's just focus on income rather than tax rates. What do you suppose would be the reaction if the top 3% of our school teachers -- the best of the best -- were being paid $300,000 or $400,000 a year? There would be an uproar the likes of which we'd never heard coming from the right, center, and probably even from some on the left. What about the best of the police? (The ones who aren't out using their clubs and teargas to suppress people exercising freedom of speech.) And what about nurses and firefighters?
I can't think of a single ordinary job description which doesn't have some kind of salary range which everyone accepts without question. We all know the kid at the Pizza Hut probably isn't hauling in 70-grand a year no matter how hard he or she might be working, or how great they are at what they do.
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate with my career in advertising (despite my current unemployment). I've always known the positions I've held in the industry were critical for the success of the organization and the client base. If I failed to get creative materials to a media outlet in a timely manner, the advertising campaign could be jeopardized. Having been a media buyer for 12 years, I know that if I don't secure the time slots on desired networks, the commercials will not be seen. And not to strictly toot my own horn, I also know the commercials themselves have to be compelling enough to get a certain number of average television viewers to pick up the phone or go to the website and order the can't-live-life-without-it widget for $19.95 plus $7.95 shipping. If they don't, then it doesn't even matter how well I do my part. No money coming in means I don't have a job, even if I'm the best damn media buyer on the planet. So thank you creative directors and producers everywhere!
I have worked as hard as anyone in the industry and have played my part in generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue for agencies and clients. A lot of profits have been made as a result of my efforts.
All that being said, my compensation has always been salaried with a small percentage of my salary coming as a bonus some years. And by small percentage, I'm talking 10% maximum and as an overall average through the years more like 3%-5%. Regardless of how much revenue I generate or how much profit a client might make as a result of my efforts, I know as a media buyer that I will never make $500,000 a year, nor should I.
I have made as little as $43,000 and as much as $88,000. Those salaries, particularly the latter, would be seen by many people as wonderful and I never took it for granted. The advertising industry is not what I would call stable work and that $88,000 salary lasted less than a year and was followed by 5 months of unemployment and then by a job paying half as much! Worth noting also is that the highest salary I earned did not come with any benefits whatsoever. It was freelance work. No medical, no dental, no paid vacation.
Perhaps because of my experience, and a constant awareness that I've been doing OK because somebody...a LOT of people who might not be doing as well as I am have been ordering a bunch of stuff they see on TV and therefore I knew where my money was coming from ultimately. I, along with everyone else in these organizations, are making a living thanks to people buying mops, steam-cleaners, hideous knives which are guaranteed to send x number of people to emergency rooms, food dehydrators, hand blenders, appliances which catch on fire after 3 uses, robots to vacuum your floor, 935 different devices to make you thin or have awesome abs, ladders, woks, drills, paint appliers, paint removers, pasta makers, chicken rotisseries, cat piss odor suppressors, zit removers, teeth whiteners, breath fresheners, memory enhancers, spray-on hair for bald spots, "gold" colored coins being marketed as "investments" that have a fucking fleck of real gold in them worth about 80 cents, and wealth-building methods which, if successful, God-forbid you should pay more in taxes! And let's not forget pills that make your dick hard so you can always be ready to fuck on a moment's notice. (Make sure you have health insurance because if that boner lasts more than four hours you need to see a doctor right away!)
Yep, I've always known who butters my bread.
I also take it to the next level. I look at corporate profits. Let's take the Waltons for instance. No, not John, Olivia, John-Boy, Mary Ellen and the rest of them. I'm referring to the other, slightly more fortunate Walton family....the ones worth about $93 billion
, give or take a little, thanks to a thriving chain of retail outlets selling lots and lots of people even more cheap shit than I can fathom.
I am trying to imagine how anyone makes money that isn't somehow, directly or indirectly, made possible by consumers like us going out and buying stuff.
On a side note, I do appreciate it when someone like Alice Walton comes along and decides to give a little something back
to the local community, I don't see that happening nearly enough, and
she still could have, and probably would have, if she'd paid 5% more in
tax on those billions. But hey, museum admission is FREE thanks to Wal-Mart!
God bless them.
When I was a child, I remember being able to put 5 cents in a vending machine and getting a cold Coca-Cola in a bottle. A gallon of gasoline was less than 50 cents and some dude would come out and fill your tank, check your oil, and clean your windows! With a smile on his face (sometimes). Back in those days, if you mentioned that you'd bought something made in China you'd probably have been branded a red communist on the spot.
Thanks to corporate greed, it's hard to find an American flag decal for your Hummer that isn't made in China. And this is where I start to come unhinged.
We pay the same or more for the same products as we did a few years ago when those products were made in North America or even Europe. Manufacturing jobs vanished as corporations hauled their production to countries where wages are pennies compared to dollars. Corporations are doing great as a result of these and other tactics aimed at maximizing income and pleasing their shareholders.
As an example I love to use Ray Irani, CEO of Occidental Petroleum, who in 2010 had a salary of $1,191,667. Not bad. I'm not sure there's a man or woman on the planet who is actually worth that kind of money, but hey. I'm sure he has a family to feed just like most other working Americans. And I'll bet his mortgage payment is a bitch. So I don't begrudge him for it. Really, I don't. I'm sure he hates long meetings and conference calls as much as the rest of us do.
However, I do know that salaries like that are made possible, and only made possible, because people like us are buying shit or services.
But here's the real kicker. Mr. Irani can certainly survive quite well on that salary. He might have to make some conservative adjustments here and there. He might have to save up for 7 or 8 years before he can afford to buy his yacht. I have no idea what his living arrangements are but it might be rough if he wants a 10,000 square foot home in Los Angeles, even in Compton (if there is such a thing as a home that large in Compton). Maybe he'd have to settle for 4,000 square feet. Hey, life's tough and we have to manage it.
But he doesn't just make $1,191,667. Mr. Irani also raked in a little extra as a bonus in 2010: $32,975,000 to be precise.
OK, I'll be totally honest here. I just lost any fucking compassion I might have had over his cost of housing dilemma. Or how long he might have to wait before he gets his goddamn yacht. Before all of you start screaming "but...but...what if, like you, he had a rough year in 2009 and only made half of what he was making in 2010!", let me finish. I'm not done yet.
Also in 2010, Mr. Irani got some stock and options to, you know, help pad his condition a little more just in case he might have been irresponsible in some way and squandered $10 or $20 million after too much rum punch at a black tie gala. That bumped him up another $40,250,000. But maybe we shouldn't even count that... it's all just on paper for now.
Total compensation package for 2010: $76,107,010.
If my 2010 bonus alone, as a percentage of salary had been that much, I would have been given an extra $1,660,279.30 for my superb contributions to the advertising agency. I would have told them they were out of their minds (after waiting to be sure the check was going to clear the bank). And then I would have promptly resigned because (a) that's just insane business behavior, (b) it seems unsustainable and would put me under incredible pressure to live up to that value, and (c) I could easily retire very comfortably on that sum.
Now you know why I love using Mr. Irani as my example. He's not even the top dog in the CEO pyramid
for 2010. That honor goes to the head of Viacom who edged him out by about $8 million. That's OK though because they did OK too
based on 2nd quarter financial reports just released on May 3rd. Believe me, that 8:30 AM conference call on Friday was probably worth attending!
In light of all this I totally understand where Mitt Romney is coming from. These are his people and his world. And in their eyes it's just not fair that a majority of us want them to pay a higher tax rate than a Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez trying to make ends meet by pressing out tortillas in Tyler, Texas all day so they can afford to fill up their tanks at the Exxon station on the way to Wal-Mart or Kroger to buy shit for their kids to eat
There's just a couple of things I do not understand. At what point does executive compensation become immoral? How much is too much? Do we draw the line at $100 million a year? And why would anyone in their right mind want or expect to be compensated that much in one year anyway? It's almost more money than any human could possibly spend unless they want to go the extra mile and do something crazy like...I dunno... what? Buy an election? Control the entire political process? You tell me.
One of the joys in life in setting realistic financial goals and reaching them; $70 or $80 million a year kinda takes the fun out of that aspect. Maybe I'm just a little too sensitive because if I was raking in $2 million a year I'd be running a kick-ass food bank or something instead of trying to figure out where my next $60 million was coming from and whether all the liberal socialists were going to jack up my tax rate because of some podunky thing like our educational system falling apart, roads and bridges needing repair, water systems in dire need of updating, and preparing ourselves to be technological stand-outs in the fucking 21st century which, by the way, is already 12% behind us while we squabble over marriage equality and the evils of reefer, both of which will surely, sooner or later, rip apart our moral fiber and destroy our civilization.
But what truly blows my mind to shreds are not the Mitt Romneys of the world, or the people making so much money it can't possibly be spent on any personal "needs" without appearing to be a complete and total self-absorbed prick with horrific taste in chandeliers. If a family of 8 could live comfortably in your master bath and walk-in closet, you might need to take a step back and self-evaluate.
What I'm throwing my hands in the air about are the people like you and I, who are making $25k a year, $50k a year, $75k a year and are actually having to feed and educate their children, and keep them clothed, and look after their health care needs, make sure the mortgage payment is sent in on time, try to sock a little back for unexpected emergencies, and plan for retirement, all of which are generating more wealth for those corporations who control this system, while these very struggling people simultaneously weep these ridiculous tears that it would be so unfair to tax the rich at a higher rate than anyone else, and because those of us who are actually blessed with a functioning conscience, we must be Marxists and anti-American. (Or French.)
I am not a Christian but all of this is enough to make me wish Jesus would come back right this instant and yank so many of his followers' heads out of their asses. But I have a hunch we're just going to have to let this play out, and the ride is not going to be one of joy.
Thanks for listening, and Vive la France!
27 March 2011
Is there a way to chemically neuter these folks so they don't reproduce? Ever?
by: Anna Van Z
The following short articles reveal everything you need to know about the mentality of the repuglicans. Bottom line: It's so ignorant, petty, and ridiculous that it defies any parameters of rational thought. In ‘message’ to big business, Maine governor LePage orders labor mural removed.
And don't miss this one - it adds additional scope and clarity to what it is we're actually dealing with here: Selfish, Vicious, Destructive, Oppositional, Trifling Toadies.
Here's a couple of examples...
The Obesity and Deficit Encouragement Act:
Colorado exemplifies America’s childhood obesity epidemic and its budget crisis. The state’s childhood obesity rate grew at the second-fastest rate in the country, and its $1.2 billion budget gap is threatening the state’s already under-financed schools. Yet, despite the U.S. Department of Agriculture showing that higher soda taxes would drive down obesity, and despite such a levy raising much-needed public revenues, Colorado’s newly Republican House is pushing legislation to create a special budget-busting sales tax exemption exclusively for soda.
The Endorsing Your Own Demise Act:
Between trying to legalize hunting with hand-thrown spears and pressing to eliminate education requirements for those seeking the office of state superintendent of schools, Montana’s Republican lawmakers are also considering legislation to officially endorse catastrophic global climate change.
That’s right, in the face of a Harvard study showing that climate change could destroy Montana’s water supplies, agriculture industries and forests, state Rep. Joe Read’s bill would declare that “global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.”
(Emphasis mine.) The rest can can be read at Alternet.
And this is on top of self-proclaimed nuclear physisicist Ann-the-Man Colter informing us that nuclear radiation is good for us!
Sweet purple pygmy Jeebus on toast - the Idiocracy has arrived!
09 March 2011
by: Anna Van Z
Sweet fuzzy Jeebus. Just when you think these phony wingnut posers can't possibly top their previous self-parodies, they go and do it again. Remember ol' Newt from the Clinton years? Apparently he's come out of his crypt yet again. The fact that this creepy, sociopathic muppet is seen as having any credibility on anything, or is actually allowed on the airways, only illustrates how much our mainstream media has deteriorated. While lately he's been testing the waters for a possible presidential bid, he also made it his business to fund the effort to recall Iowa judges
over their marriage equality votes. This resulted in the ouster of the three judges who supported it. Newt spent several hundred thousand dollars on the campaign, and personally spearheaded the effort.
I also seem to remember that while he was one of Clinton's most vociferous attackers, he was busily conducting his own extra-marital affairs. And while his cancer-riddled wife lay in a hospital bed fighting for her life, he actually served her with divorce papers in her hospital room. Not that she was the only wife who got the heave-ho from the adulterous Gingrich. Talk Left
said that "Newt dumped his first wife, Jackie Battley, for Marianne, wife number 2, while Jackie was in the hospital undergoing cancer treatment. Marianne and Newt divorced in December, 1999 after Marianne found out about Newt's long-running affair with Callista Bisek, his one-time congressional aide. Gingrich asked Marianne for the divorce by phoning her on Mother's Day, 1999. [Source: New York Post, July 18, 2000, Newt's Ex Wife Aiming to Pen Book by Bill Sanderson]."
Nice. That guy's packing some set of morals! Yep, Mr. Contract on Amerika is definitely on my
short list of the most flaming hypocrites ever.
But Newt, always the strategist, now
says that the reason
he was an adulterer is because he was compelled
to be. Because of.... love for his country!
No, seriously. His country made him do it. It's just that he loved us and cared about us all SO MUCH, so intensely, so purely! See, his lust actually SPRANG from his morality
! His huge, bulging, manly morality! So in other words, he's not really
a weak, pudgy, serial adulterer! He's just a "reglur" guy whose gosh-darn heart was just too big for his soft pasty body!
Excuse me, gotta go - I think I just threw up a little in my mouth...
17 February 2011
The "Good" Ol' Days!
by: Anna Van Z
Brought to you by the Teabuglicans! They never really liked the 20th and 21st centuries anyway, what with nasty developments like the New Deal, Social Security, women voting, labor regs, civil rights, environmental laws, and what-not. And because of some gains in the House last November, they've concluded that the rest of America doesn't like those protections either. Or perhaps, being opportunistic viruses, they just decided to ramrod their welfare-for-the-rich agenda down the country's throat. Whatever the case may be, they suck. With a capital S
The other day, one of them commented that American workers had "priced themselves out of the job market", so now they better accept lower wages because they are competing "globally" now. Apparently we're supposed to compete with workers in China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, keep our mouths shut, and just be grateful that we get to labor as low-wage serfs for the financial elite.
In other words, the reason Americans are unemployed in such high numbers ISN'T about corporations off-shoring, and outsourcing entire industries to the third world solely for higher profits - it's because Americans were bad by wanting a middle-class lifestyle, and interfering with Corpoworld's greed-based goals! See? It's all your fault!
But never fear; even though the repugs have yet to produce even one jobs creation measure on capitol hill, they have big plans to make sure labor has no voice and no bargaining power, starting state by state.
Another cool thing about state-level strategies is that America can be rendered a third-world sweatshop one state at a time. For instance, by repealing child labor laws,
states could get those shiftless children busy earning a dollar or two an hour, rather than wasting time with meaningless pursuits like education, or normal childhood play activities. And while the states go broke, regional repugs will continue to make sure that the very important corporate people pay no taxes
, just as they do on the federal level.
In return, Corpoworld just might
toss us a job or two. Whee! The Teabuglican jobs plan. And naturally, what was supposed to be your
Social Security will be given to Wall Street and the Banksters. If there's any left after their
crap shoot, you might be allowed to have a dollar or two. But don't count on it.
09 January 2011
Butterflies and Hurricanes
by: Dark Wraith
Rebecca Mansour, an aide to Sarah Palin, says
of the infamous Palin Website graphic showing crosshairs over congressional districts targeted by the Tea Party Movement, "We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights."
No, of course
Enough is Enough
by: Anna Van Z
Sarah Palin had the unmitigated chutzpah to post "her sincere condolences" to the families of the dead and injured in yesterday's assassination attempt of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson.
Sarah's "sincere condolences". Mmm, yeah, that carries a lot of weight! Coming from the person who may have been a contributing influence in this attack, that's some nerve - and obviously little more than pre-emptive public relations to cover her own ass. As of this morning, all of Palin's crosshairs target symbols on her "target list" have been removed.
The attack was carried out by a muddled, mentally-ill person who is not unlike the other reactionaries
who have been influenced to action by the constant drumbeat of hate speech and violent rhetoric spewed by the mainstream media's wingnut millionaire mouthpieces.
Susie Madrak of Crooks and Liars asks, Remember when Beck ridiculed Pelosi for speaking out against violent tea party rhetoric?
She says that, "I'm waiting for Glenn Beck to finally apologize. I'm waiting for him to acknowledge that violent rhetoric can and does influence mentally unbalanced people
, and that a line has been so clearly crossed
, even Glenn Beck has regrets.When you tell people Obama's planning to kill them
, that has consequences.When you warn people of an impending Reichstag moment and power grab
, you're targeting our leaders.When Byron Williams, armed to the teeth and wearing body armor, drives to San Francisco to shoot officials of the Tides Foundation
and hopefully start a revolution, was it a coincidence that you'd targeted them with your violent rhetoric?When your fan Richard Poplowski became so convinced that the Obama administration would take his guns that he gunned down three Pittsburgh policemen
, you planted those seeds.What's that old saying? "Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind."You can hide behind the flag, Mr. Beck, but now everyone sees you for who you are. You're a liar, and a bully, and a thug. You incite other people and sit back, counting your cash."
also writing on Crooks and Liars, notes that in the coming days there will be much hand-wringing from the media over yesterday's violence, and that "some of it, almost certainly, from the folks at Fox, who will wonder aloud how this kind of thing could happen.
It can happen, in fact, because conservatives so thoughtlessly and readily use violent eliminationist rhetoric when talking about "liberals" (to wit: anyone who is not a conservative). They will adamantly deny it, of course, but the cold reality is that this kind of talk creates permission for angry and violent people to act it out."
Professor Martin Kaplan writes that the "Lock and Load" rhetoric
makes intelligent political discussions impossible, and points out that "The "second amendment solution
," though, does something worse than make politics a branch of entertainment. It makes it a blood sport. I know politics ain't beanbag. But words have consequences, rhetoric shapes reality, and much as we like to believe that we are creatures of reason, there is something about our species' limbic system and lizard brainstems that makes us susceptible to irrational fantasies."
I think that people like Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and others need to be held accountable for their destructive hate speech and materials. The fact that these high-charisma, low-intellect wingnut faves have the extensive media platforms that they do is absolutely shameful. I encourage you to contact their program networks, and tell them that not only will you not
be tuning in (duh!), you will be contacting their major sponsors as well. This will be the only thing that will influence corporate media outlets. They have zero interest in social responsibility or "doing the right thing." The bottom line, as always, is the revenue.
Also, Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, a psychiatrist, has launched a petition to the Justice Department, asking them to indict Sarah Palin for attempting to incite violence against democrats that appear on her "hit list". I've signed it already, and if you feel so inclined, please sign it and send the link to others. Sign petition here.
05 December 2010
by: Dark Wraith
My latest graphic produced for the Cheezburger Network
UNFORGIVEN: Lie low, McCain. Sarah "Superstar" Palin is your fault FOREVER, dumbass.
14 November 2010
What Has Been in Our Darkness
by: Dark Wraith
No longer does it fear the light.
31 October 2010
Ignore the Devil, and He'll Stay for Tea
by: Dark Wraith
Stay home on Tuesday, and bitch on Wednesday about the Right-wingers taking over.
Bitch next Wednesday about the Right-wingers taking over, and whine next Thursday because they stomped your head with utter impunity.
Whine next Thursday because they stomped your head with utter impunity, and howl next Friday because they kicked your ass to the curb.
Howl next Friday because they kicked your ass to the curb, and bawl next Saturday because they threatened your very life.
Bawl next Saturday because they threatened your very life, and pine next Sunday for another rally to restore "sanity."
Pine next Sunday for another rally to restore "sanity," and just sit back on Monday and relax.
You blew your best chance to stop them on Election Day.
But you already know this, yes?
So do they.
19 September 2010
Christine O'Donnell: Qualified to Lead
by: Dark Wraith
Beating off the competition, Christine O'Donnell now stands at the brink of national office, having achieved the climax of a long and exhausting ride through a combination of sheer self-motivation and stroking the right constituency. The pleasure they all feel cannot be overstated: a woman of such morals, a woman of such convictions, a woman of such undampened underpants.
It is, indeed, a time when Right-wing religious zealots across the nation can indulge in a little self-congratulations, even as they deny any tendencies toward self-gratification.
Christine O'Donnell: she doesn't masturbate. I ask you, What more could America want in a Senator of these United States of America?
And while you're pondering the answer to that, see more of my graphical creations at the Cheezburger Network
11 September 2010
Election 2010: Return of the Republicans
by: Dark Wraith
My latest demotivational poster in my gallery at the Cheezburger Network
22 August 2010
by: Dark Wraith
Click on the graphic above to go to this motivational poster at my Cheezburger Network site
and get the code to post this on your own Website. Otherwise, click on the poster so you can go and vote for the graphic.
Spread the word: the Right-wing extremists of this country get no more tolerance for their lives of cynical hypocrisy. The emperors of moral superiority have no clothes, and it's time to let them know that their nakedness is at once grotesque and laughable.
19 August 2010
GOP Hate Machine Cranks It Up
by: Dark Wraith
With thanks to the Atlantic
for getting the word out on this latest, vile trash from the Republicans, without further comment I offer this advertisement from the Minnesota GOP and encourage you to ride the wave out to 2:54 in the video, where the real fun begins.
(NOTE: The copy of the video I published here last night was pulled by YouTube, ostensibly because of copyright violation, so I located this copy, which has been on YouTube since at least last April.)
(Okay, one comment: Photoshop war, Right-wingers? Sweeet
10 August 2010
by: Foiled GoilWhat
GOP leader admits Republicans have "credibility problem" on deficits
Everyone is digging through the lively exchange that David Gregory had with GOP leaders John Boehner and Mike Pence on Meet the Press yesterday over whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich.
Most people are focusing on the fact that the two Republican leaders, under persistent questioning by Gregory, refused to say how the tax cuts would be paid for. No question, that's noteworthy, and Gregory deserves credit for pressing the issue.
But the most interesting aspect of the exchange was that Pence, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, openly admitted that the GOP has a "credibility problem" on tax cuts and the deficit.
GOP Repeats Balanced Budget Amendment Farce
Historical events, it is said, occur twice: first as tragedy, then as farce. Sometimes, though, as with the latest Republican call for a balanced budget amendment, the farce is double. Even as they call for a budget busting $700 billion tax cut windfall for the wealthiest two percent of Americans, GOP leaders including John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence can't - or won't - say where the necessarily draconian spending cuts would come from. And as the numbers show, 16 years after they first proposed it as part of the Contract with America, the Republican balanced budget amendment isn't merely a farce, but a fiscal suicide pact for the United States. [snip]
True to form, the Republican Party in 2010 only wants to make the fiscal crisis worse. After all, the national debt tripled under Ronald Reagan and doubled again under George W. Bush. Analyses from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that the Bush tax cuts accounted for almost half of the deficits during his presidency and, if made permanent, would contribute more to the U.S. budget deficit than the Obama stimulus, the TARP program, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and revenue lost to the recession - combined.