Wednesday, May 28, 2014



               REST IN PEACE IRIS


"IT" always begins on this date every year.

My beloved sister Iris died on May 28th, 2004, and "it" starts the beginning of the period each year that represents  incredible, inexplicable unfairness, incalculable suffering, and tragedy that has wrought its massive destruction of so many good, loved, close members of my family, who deserved so very much better than they received in life and death.  

Once again, another year has passed and the dreaded agony of overwhelming grief for those of my family continues.

I painfully miss, mourn those who have died,  "it" envelops my entire being, more so than at any other time as each year passes.

It  always begins on this calendar date, May 28th as a not really necessary reminder, each year at this time, and lasts forever. I need not be told that it is here, since the pain is an always present bleeding part of my soul, all the time, all year round, but becomes insidiously unbearable as of this date, and in the next few months, every year, implodes beyond that which I can even feel as a human being. 

More difficult than ever, filled with the aching of a lifetime beaten down into ever present, increasingly toxic, non stop personal demons, nightmares, flash backs, with memories vividly stamped inside my brain, as if it were just yesterday that we were all together as a family, and of course, little brother and big sister.

I planted those purple Iris flowers pictured above in the garden out front of my house when my sister Iris died. I liked the idea that they are perennials, each year flowering in all their beauty, now looking so alive on another yearly anniversary today of the day she died, after a courageous and agonizing battle to live. 

We do that a lot in my family, fighting to live life to the fullest, and when our time comes, refusing to let go until our last precious breath. They call our family fighters, survivors, and that is what we do in both living our happiness as a gift never to be taken for granted, and the darkness which is part of remembering.
 Iris was a unique and compassionate person who quietly touched everyone she met with her kindness and strength. Iris is missed by all of us who loved her. We will never forget her beautiful smile.

My sister Iris was full of life, insightful,quiet, courageous, loyal, sagely wise, and then she was gone forever, tragically, agonizingly painfully, and irrevocably. 

She deserved so much better in her short time on this earth but it was not to be. Why her? Why??

Iris, my sister, a gift to me in life, was more beautiful in a million ways than these plants. 

I will miss you forever my dear sister Iris, but most of all I will always miss your caring love. 

I love you. 

Love, Jerry.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the country's armed forces.

Yesterday, May 26th was Memorial day, a time unfortunately spent by many Americans shopping for sales to buy "stuff", going on vacations, and bears very little resemblance to the true meaning of what that sad day is all about.

Simply put, Memorial Day is about Americans, mostly young soldiers who went to war and died, never to return to their loved ones, never to live their lives, and all their dreams stolen by the evil of this world

It is fitting to write this blog about Memorial day, the day after this "holiday", since mostly no-one, except the families of those who died fighting in these wars, even remembers the significance of what yesterday was truly about.

In recent weeks, the every few years "new news" about the disgraceful conditions of the dysfunctional Veterans Affairs (VA).

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense.[1] With a total 2009 budget of about $87.6 billion, VA employs nearly 280,000 people at hundreds of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, clinics, and benefits offices and is responsible for administering programs of veterans’ benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors. In 2012, the proposed budget for Veterans Affairs was $132 billion. [2]

The VA 2014 Budget request for 2014 is $152.7 billion. This includes $66.5 billion in discretionary resources and $86.1 billion in mandatory funding. The discretionary budget request represents an increase of $2.7 billion, or 4.3 percent, over the 2013 enacted level.[3]

In particular, the problems veterans experience getting Veterans Affairs medical care and with VA mental health care, where veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and even those at high risk of suicide face long waits, according to VA staffers and internal investigations.

At some VA medical centers, qualified mental health professionals, nursing staff and bed space are in such short supply that some mental health patients are discharged early. "The turnaround on patients has gotten faster, there's a lot of pressure to get them in and out and a lot of them aren't ready to leave," said a VA psychiatric nurse, who added that patients are sometimes discharged "AMA", against medical advice.

The raging discussion over the VA waiting list scandal is about who's to blame, and the consensus of the political talking heads is that it's President Obama's fault for breaking a promise he made in 2008 during his first campaign.

"I am tired of hearing stories of vets navigating a broken veterans bureaucracy," he said in 2008. "I will promise to make that a priority of mine when I'm President of the United States of America."

But as I read through various articles, it's also President Bush's fault for launching two long nation-building wars - breaking a promise he made during his first campaign.

"If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world, and nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road and I'm going to prevent that," said Bush.

But then, as it turns out, 37 percent of the VA's caseload has nothing to do with the last two wars but is in fact linked to the use of Agent Orange during Vietnam.

Which means President Kennedy is also to blame. "I don't agree with those who say we should withdraw, that's be a grave mistake."

JFK authorized the use of Agent Orange, and President Johnson said later during the Vietnam War, "And we will stay until aggression has stopped."

LBJ is to blame for deploying it.

Then there's President Carter who started an Agent Orange Registry, but not much else, then President Reagan who decided the government would not accept liability at all for Agent Orange, and just kicked the can down the road.

Not a great track record for the White House, but what that means is, we can finally agree: It is the Presidents fault.


Not just for the VA mess but in general for the deaths of the brave soldiers who died as victims of the politics waged by cowardly politicians sitting safely in the White House, sending our young soldiers to fight and die in wars that get waged using "patriotic" hollow words that years later are exposed for the lies that they originally were.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014


The financial world is going gaga over the alleged great jobs numbers and economic gains reported about the U.S. economy over the past few months.

We’ve been over this saga many times. The methodology for calculating jobs gains is not even close to accurate. The unemployment rate is now a marketing gimmick rather than an accurate economic metric.

Indeed, here are some staggering statistics that indicate just how messed up the US economy is right now.

·      The labor participation rate is the lowest since 1978.
·      There are over 90 million Americans without a job right now.
·      An incredible 20% of all American families do not have a single member who is employed.
·      There are over 47 million Americans on food stamps.

There is simply no way to spin these numbers. The US Federal Reserve has spent over $3.2 trillion and generated virtually no real job growth (accounting for population growth).

See for yourself:

Well, what about as a percentage of the population?

Has the percentage of working age Americans that have a job been increasing or decreasing?

As you can see from the chart posted above, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has been in a long-term downward trend. 

When the year 2000 began, we were sitting at 64.6 percent.  By the time the great financial crisis of 2008 struck, we were hovering around 63 percent.  During the last recession, we fell dramatically to under 59 percent and we have stayed there ever since.

And the numbers behind this chart also show that employment in America did not increase last month.

In March, 58.9 percent of all working age Americans had a job.

In April, 58.9 percent of all working age Americans had a job.

Things are not getting worse (at least for the moment), but things are also definitely not getting better.

The month that Barack Obama entered the White House, we were in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and only 60.6 percent of all working age Americans had a job.

Since only 58.9 percent of all working age Americans have a job now, that means that the employment situation in America is still worse than it was the day Barack Obama took office.

When you account for how the potential labor pool has grown, the number of employed Americans has gone almost nowhere but down since the 2008 recession supposedly “ended.”

At the end of the day, spending money doesn’t create real job growth. An employer only hires someone if they believe that the person’s output will have a net benefit for the firm (meaning the money the person’s output brings in is larger than the money the firm pays them for their work).

That’s what creates a sustainable job. Spending money just to create some position where a person sits at work 50% of the time doing nothing is of no real long-term value to the economy, the person, or the firm.

In simple terms, the great attempt to prop up the US economy through spending and printing money is at an end. The world takes a long time to catch on to these changes, but the shift has already begun. It’s now just a matter of time before stocks figure it out.

The issue of creating jobs is now front and center in regard to setting monetary policy. Sadly the people in Washington remain clueless in understanding how "real" jobs are created; Creating jobs in a mature market should be required to pass a certain "taste" test.

When a job that falls outside the description of government worker fails to make economic sense it becomes a form of working welfare with the taxpayer picking up the tab. 

We as a country and as a society have paid dearly for each unsustainable job created through government incentives and partnerships, because of the nature of many of these jobs, we might even call them temporary.  

It is becoming apparent to many that the financial system has become dysfunctional.  People are forced to loan their savings to governments and banks with negative interest after adjusting for inflation. 

Today for other than student and auto loans there is scant demand even at low interest rates. We must differentiate the kinds of economic growth and understand that all growth is not created equal. If you spend money, but afterwards have little to show for it, you have wasted it.  

There are nearly 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.  And 20 percent of all families in the United States do not have a single member that is employed.  

So how in the world can the government claim that the unemployment rate has "dropped" to "6.3 percent"?  

It all comes down to the manipulation of how the U.S. Labor department defines who is "unemployed".  For example, last month the government moved another 988,000 Americans into the "not in the labor force" category.  

According to the government, at this moment there are 9.75 million Americans that are "unemployed" and there are 92.02 million Americans that are "not in the labor force" for a grand total of 101.77 million working age Americans that do not have a job.  

Back in April 2000, only 5.48 million Americans were unemployed and only 69.27 million Americans were "not in the labor force" for a grand total of 74.75 million Americans without a job. 

That means that the number of working age Americans without a job has risen by 27 million since the year 2000.  Any way that you want to slice that, it is bad news.

Unemployment statistics have been manipulated for decades by numerous administrations from both political parties to project this distorted, artificially inflated, "happy" amount of Americans who have jobs.

Don't let anyone fool you with talk of an "employment recovery".  It simply is not happening.   

The official unemployment rate bears so little relation to economic reality at this point that it has essentially become meaningless.

How in the world can we have an "unemployment rate" of just "6.3 percent" when 20 percent of all American families do not have a single member that is working?

Here is how that 20 percent figure was arrived at:
A family, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a group of two or more people who live together and who are related by birth, adoption or marriage. In 2013, there were 80,445,000 families in the United States and in 16,127,000, or 20 percent, no one had a job.
So if one out of every five families is completely unemployed, then why is the official government unemployment rate not up at Great Depression era levels?

It is because, in my opinion, our government has been manipulating the numbers to make them look much better than they actually are.

Why don't they just go ahead and get it over with?  

They can just define every American that is not working as "not in the labor force" and then we can have "0.0 percent unemployment".  Then we can celebrate how wonderful the U.S. economy is.

And don't be fooled by the "288,000 jobs" that were added to the U.S. economy last month.  For workers under the age of 55, the number of jobs actually dropped by a whopping 259,000.

If we were using honest numbers, the official unemployment rate would look a lot scarier.  John Williams of has calculated that the unemployment rate should be about 23 percent.  I don't think that is too far off from the actual amount.

Meanwhile, the quality of the jobs in our economy continues to go down.  The House Ways and Means Committee says that seven out of every eight jobs that have been "added" to the economy under Barack Obama have been part-time jobs.  But you can't raise a family or plan a career around a part-time job. To be honest, it is very hard for a single person to even survive on a part-time wage in this economic environment.

As the quality of our jobs goes down, so do our incomes. The median household income has declined for five years in a row, and the middle class is falling apart.

Without middle class incomes, you can't have a middle class.  Considering what we have been watching happen, it should be no surprise that the home ownership rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level in 19 years.

Please don't blame the people of the U.S. for this mess.

The economic catastrophe of the U.S. economy, and as an extension, the world's economy should not be blamed solely on President Barack Obama's administration as he inherited a shit load of major, crucial financial structural problems from the previous Bush administration.

Also, don't dump this, as being caused by the entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. It cannot be blamed or fixed on the backs of the average American who receives entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare that they deserve and paid for with their own money.

These Entitlement programs have NOT contributed to the financial debt of the United States (CLICK HERE), despite the popular political rhetoric that it has, or should be drastically reduced in benefits given to regular folks. The idea that these programs should be reduced or eliminated is just typical political bull shit of scapegoating the most vulnerable, instead of facing the real truths of decades where government mismanagement, waste, and corruption have bled us dry as a Country.

At a gut level, most Americans understand that things are much worse than they used to be.

The Pew Research Center recently asked people what "class" they consider themselves to be.  The results were shocking.

Back in 2008, only 25 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be "lower middle class" or "poor".

Earlier this year, an astounding 40 percent of all Americans chose one of those designations.

We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline, and no amount of propaganda is going to change that.

But based on the "happy numbers" being trumpeted by the mainstream media, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, it is slowly bringing their quantitative easing program to an end.

When quantitative easing is finally totally cut off, we shall see how the financial markets and the U.S. economy perform without artificial life support.

Personally, I don't think that it is going to be pretty.