Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Enough of this crap!

I've sat down numerous times the past day and a half to update this blog, and frankly folks it's just been a bitch. I had hoped to use this space to point out some of the insanity around us, and to question just where we, as a society are headed. But it's coming too fast, and there is just too much of it to list.

I just realised that the list of recommended blogs that I had so carefully typed up when I started this has somehow disappeared - to those folks who were on the list, I apologize. Let me aim my readers at just a few tonight, and when I get more time I will sit down and see if I can't repost the entire list.

Two blogs that I check several times a day are Pam's House Blend and Americablog. Go read them both. When you are Pam's place, scroll down and check out the story about the Army rewriting the rules to allow women on the front lines in Iraq. The need for fresh meat to run through the grinder of Rumsfeld's war keeps on growing, and short of a draft the folks in the Pentagon are running out of bodies to send.

Then go over to Americablog and look for the story about the 11 year kid with strong anti-war feelings who refused to write letters of support to the troops in Iraq. "They can all die, as far as I am concerned" he said. His mother got a call from the school, the kid got expelled for a day because of his attitude. But then the friggen cops showed up at his house, demanding to know if his parents were teaching him "Un-American values"? WTF???

And speaking of WTF scroll further down over there at Americablog and read about the anti-gay preachers who attempted to disrupt a gay pride celebration. These fools are comparing their actions with the civil rights struggle of the '60's. Hell, I guess that they have a point, only contrary to their view of themselves they are not acting out the role of the minority, but rather that of the bigots who did everything possible to keep Black Americans from a position of equality in this country.

WTF is this attitude from right wing so called "Christians" that they are coming under attack and are a poor suffering minority? The truth is they have it better than they have had in decades. G.W. Bush has gone out of his way to scrap the constitutional prohibitations against merging church and state. Hell, we even had an Attorney General who led prayers every day before allowing his employees to begin their work. It just goes on and on.

Now our Dear Leader is moving in to dismantle health care and social security with his so called "ownership" ideas. Make no mistake about it, privatizing the few social programs which help the citizens of the US will result in you and I and the young who follow after us scrambling in our old age to survive.

If you want to know just how much putting social programs in private hands will result in you and I getting screwed, consider this. The people who will run those businesses to which we will turn to invest the $$ that now go to social security and health care are the same folks who own the banks who issue the credit cards that we all carry. So, you ask?

So go watch and read the PBS/Frontline report The Secret History of The Credit Card. I almost puked after watching the show. An awful lot of us get into trouble with our credit cards, and most of us blame ourselves when we do. Stop pointing that finger of blame in the wrong direction folks. Over the past few years the credit card companies have written the rules to screw the public while the government, which is supposed to protect us, has not only turned a blind eye, but has gone out of its way to make sure any agency which wants to protect us, can't.

When you watch the show you will learn that credit cards are a "honey pot". The credit card companies can do whatever they want to ensnare the consumer into a situation in which a small debt becomes so large that it can take decades to pay off. The credit card companies can change that nice low introductory interest rate pretty much at will. They don't have to have a valid excuse. For example many people complain that their interest rates, which were at 2% to 4% suddenly were jumped up to 15% or 20% or even more.

These are people who have had the cards for years, have never been late or missed a payment. When they ask "why?" they get told such things as "Yes, you have never been late with a payment to us, but you were late on your house payment" or some such.

The fact that the credit card company or bank has no relationship with the people who provided your home loan is immaterial as far as they are concerned. Others find the interst on their cards skyrocket when they have the terminity to apply for some other completely unrelated credit. The credit card companies and banks constantly scan the credit reports of their card holders searching for any excuse to kick the rates up so far that the cardholder cannot keep up with the new "minimum payments", at that point they start charging late fees, which are added to the balance. Pretty soon the balance is greater than the credit limit of the card - That triggers more fees, this time for going over the limit.

Many, many people are forced into bankruptcy because of this. Credit card companies and banks don't like bankruptcy, so they are well on their way to getting the bankruptcy laws changed so that even after you file for bankruptcy you will still have to pay off that credit card debt.

Why did I bring this up? Because these are the same free market providers who are going to go after every penny that you and I try to invest for our futures. Hell, come retirement time you and I are not going to have an account balance to give us enough to at least buy a little food in our old age. We are going to go into old age with less than nothing, we are going to owe and will still be saddled with debt from that Ownership Society.

But you know what? It probably doesn't make a bit of difference because right now the only reason the dollar is worth anything on the world market is because of force of habit. Remember that budget surplus we had when Bush took office? The one he blew through with all the tax cuts for his rich friends? We are so far in the hole now, and our balance of trade is far off that the rest of the world is asking itself, for the first time ever, whether there is any reason at all to assume that we will get our fiscal house in order before the whole thing comes tumbling down.

Experts tell us that the whole house of cards could come tumbling down at any time. All it would take would be one country to start dumping their dollars, figuring that they are only going to be worth less in the future. Right now the eyes of the world are on the Bush Administration to see what actions it is going to take to rein in the growing debt and trade deficit. You think that George is going to do a 180 degree turn and start acting responsibly? I sure as fuck don't, and when it all starts unraveling the shit is seriously going to hit the fan.

Think of Germany after WW-I when that country was saddled with huge international debts for war reperations. Inflation was so bad that it literally took wheel-barrels full of money to buy a loaf of bread. Really. I can remember seeing photos of that in my history books. Remember too what that led to in Germany....

So anyway this is all getting to me. You all have a nice day, hear?


Blogger Tyson said...

People screw up their credit becausey have very little knowledge of personal finance. They do not understand how credit cards work. Only recently a few credit card education programs have been launched. And the banks are the ones to finance them because they want to clear their names.

5:18 AM  

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