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Fantasy Land

March 22, 2012

Once upon a time in a far away land of make believe: Isn’t that how all good fairy tales should begin? This particular fairy tale is about an American President seeking reelection to a second term. His first term was built upon the ethereal “Hope and Change”, but this American President has dashed the hopes of the American populace and his brand of change has been corporate. He smiles real pretty, but acts in an inscrutable make believe sort of way.

He runs for reelection against a host of Republicans who are all losing an election amongst themselves. It is a sad and laughable comedy where the pat lines and campaign promises no longer bite into the public’s imagination. The public is turning from the Republican Party and turning away from the Democratic Party as well.

Unable to generate the “Hope and Change” meme this time around the Obama team has reverted to the use of fantasy and the make believe. Ripped from today’s headlines: “Payroll Employment Rises 227,000 in February; Unemployment Rate is Unchanged at 8.3%.” Not ripped from today’s headlines: “In January 1,424 Mass Layoff Actions Affected 129,920 Workers.”[1] With that those wonderful monthly job numbers are turned into a steaming pile of goat pucky.

The Civilian Non Institutional Population rose by: 166,000

New Entrants into the workforce: 139,000

Re-Entrants to the workforce: 36,000

Employed Persons at Work Part Time: -111,000

Part Time due to Slack Work or Business Conditions: +74,000

Could Only Find Part Time Work: -147,000

So we have less than 100,000 full time new job openings against another 48,000 Americans who lost their jobs last month. Not to mention the 92,000 job leavers. Now who would leave their job in this economy? I’d suspect that only those people who already have another job lined up. How can these numbers be? How can the unemployment picture appear so dark on paper and so bright in the media headlines?

Not in Workforce: -310,000

310,000 American workers made the decision last month, “heck fire, I don’t think I want a job anymore.” They have decided, “I like living under a bridge or in a car or where ever.” Why sure, that’s believable isn’t it? That people could just decide that they don’t want to be able to provide themselves with shelter or food or comfort?

The President is making a photo op tour of factories because the subliminal message here is that he’s really got the economy moving with his agenda of corporate tax cuts, only…

“CPI all items rise 0.2 percent in January, with modest increases in food and energy”

“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.”[2]

“Real Average Hourly Wages Unchanged in January”

“Real average weekly earnings was unchanged over the month as a result of both the real average hourly earnings and the average workweek remaining unchanged. Since reaching a peak in October 2010, real average weekly earnings have fallen 0.9 percent.

Real average hourly earnings fell 1.0 percent, seasonally adjusted, from January 2011 to January 2012. A 0.6 percent increase in the average workweek, combined with the decline in real average hourly earnings, resulted in a 0.4 percent decrease in real average weekly earnings during the same period.”[3]

Isn’t this fun? Your wages fell but don’t worry, because you’ll get to make it up by working longer hours! Well, some of you are working longer hours, the rest of us are just sucking wind. Just who are these lucky fortunates nailing down these illusory jobs? The largest movers in the employment or unemployment field last month were:

Teenagers: + 0.6 percent

Whites: – 0.1 percent

Black or African American: + 0.5 percent

Hispanic or Latino: + 0.2 percent

All other categories were unchanged, so can a 0.1 percent improvement for whites offset the rise of all other categories? There is another interesting tidbit buried in this job compost.

Less than a High School Diploma: – 0.2 percent

High School Graduates, No College: – 0.1 percent

Some College or Associates Degree: + 0.1 percent

Bachelor’s Degree and Higher:  0.0

How can anyone, politician or other creature try and pretend that there is any job growth in the economy when the only improvement comes from the bottom? The indicators shown illustrate what were called “green shoots” by the administration last year but are actually known by the more generic term we know as spring.

The economy is languishing in a stagnant morass making it essential that Barack Obama face down a field of Republican opponents equally stagnant: Why does Sheldon Adelson donate $5 million to Newt Gingrich’s failing campaign? Does Adleson honestly believe that Newt’s time has come? That America needs Newt? Why does a candidate supposedly of the Religious right persuasion take multi-million dollar donations from casino owners?

Likewise, business interests pour money into Rick Santorum’s ill fated campaign, and the question is why? Why spend tens of millions to support candidates without a snowballs chance in hell of winning the Republican nomination? Raw stupidity can be discounted here, these are big boys with big pocket books and they have an agenda here besides birth control and deregulation. In Mitt Romney you have the most unpopular Republican candidate since John McCain. McCain was the most unpopular Republican nominee ever and Romney’s Mormon faith will make him persona non grata in the Bible Belt.

His background in finance and banking makes it possible for him to lose in a close race with Mickey Mouse among Independent voters. Do you see the narrative forming? It can be seen nebulous and taking shape on the horizon; a Republican candidate worn down and dogged out by his own party, while the man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue stays above the fray and looks Presidential. Not just Presidential, but successful — why he’s revived the economy!

In Barack Obama, corporate America has the most pliable and co-operative President in the White House since Ulysses S. Grant. Since taking office Obama has adopted the agenda of a right wing Republican only he’s called a Democrat. The Republican’s call this President everything they can think of except what he actually is — one of their own. Yet it is election season and the Republicans insist instead on self mutilation.

The complicit and contrite mainstream media interests regurgitate the headlines. “As Republican Candidates Pummel each other, Obama can only smile” – Christian Science Monitor

Why would America’s moneyed class spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create such a fantasy? What’s their alternative? Can they tell you the truth, that the American electorate will have no candidate representing their interests in the upcoming Presidential selection? Come November, it will be Mitt the investment banker versus the administration from Goldman Sachs.

After the November selection, we will have Barack Obama 2.0 freed from any interests other than those paving Easy Street for him. A special interest’s Christmas spectacular- Tar sands pipelines sure, why not? Ah, but there is a slight problem. A flaw in the slaw as it were, with interest rates at record lows there isn’t any money to be made in the banking business. Two percent or four percent interest on inflated currency, why that dog won’t hunt.

The only place to make money anymore is on Wall Street and Wall Street is soaring based on? Wall Street is soaring based on being the only place left to make any money in the banking business. Once Obama is re-selected, will it be time to pull the string one more time, one more time with feeling!

In November, Groupon, an Internet company that offers coupon bargains to local consumers through the Internet was promoting its initial public stock offering. Groupon Share Price Soars as Much as 50% in IPO.

CNBC.Com, November 4, 2011 — “Shares of daily deals website Groupon jumped as much as 50 percent in the company’s initial public offering Friday. The stock started trading on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the ticker symbol “GRPN.”

On Thursday, Groupon (GRPN  16.77  -0.29  (- 1.7%)) priced its highly anticipated IPO at $20 a share, above the expected range of $16 to $18 a share. Groupon had considered pricing its IPO as high as $22 a share earlier in the day, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Groupon has never earned a single dime of profit and four months later the stock is priced well below its IPO price. Investors were betting on the next big thing, speculating, hoping to catch the next Apple or Microsoft wave. Only that isn’t investing, it’s speculating, speculating to the tune of 35 million shares of stock selling for $20.00 each or $700,000,000 in capital for a company which has never earned a dime of profit and now ten weeks later the company has lost $113,000,000 in value.

It is a classic case of pump and dump in Fantasy Land; a fantasy land of phony issues, phony valuations and phony candidates; of phony elections, a phony economy and a land where the monsters always win and the good people of this land don’t get to live happily ever after.


David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, The Servants of Pilate.

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics. January 2012.

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics. News Release, March 16th, 2012.

[3] Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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One Response to Fantasy Land

  1. heartdude on April 22, 2012 at 8:43 am

    We live in a very selfish society where both poor and rich try to beat the system; the only difference is that the poor beat it for a few pennies while the rich beat it for a few million. In the end both add up to billions of waste. Obama, or any president, needs to create a new system, one that rewards good work and not good duplicity.

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