Sunday, April 19, 2015

Buying Freedom by Buying Less Stuff

Comment on: Less Is More: Is All Your "Stuff" The Reason You Can't Travel? I really think the idea you captured with

"debt is a good motivator for two things: First, you will work hard; And secondly, you probably won’t leave."

is an important lesson for people. I know travel isn't for everyone, though I enjoy it. And if "3 snowboards" makes someone happy when they understand all the implications for their life, that is fine with me.

What makes me sad is too few people understand the impact the choices they make has on their life.

Related: Too Much Stuff (2007) - Freelance Lifestyle, Finance and Entreprenuership Blog (design your life) - Trying to Keep up with the Joneses (2008) - Can I Afford That?

Monday, April 06, 2015

Selling Out the Country - We are Electing the Wrong People to Control Our Government

Sadly the corruption of the USA political parties has been growing dramatically the last few decades. It is true they have always had a fair amount of corruption and a bit longer ago they were even more corrupt. But the ethics that had been growing that corruption was bad and should be reduced has been decimated by the leadership of both parties the last few decades.

Warren Buffet provided more comments about the damage being done to the country by this corruption.
With Citizens United and other decisions that enable the rich to contribute really unlimited amounts, that actually tilts the balance even more toward the ultra-rich…The unlimited giving to parties, to candidates, really pushes us more toward a plutocracy. They say it’s free speech, but somebody can speak 20 or 30 million times and my cleaning lady can’t speak at all.
I am very frustrated by us continuing to elect people that sell out the country for their person gains (both as politicians and even more importantly staff). The politicians couldn't sell out the country if their staff were not also bought and paid for (normally most completely by the revolving door of huge salaries on completion of selling out the country for the benefit of those paying you huge salaries). The advertising cash for politicians is important but less so than the ability to corrupt the staff.

The corruption, corrupts the entire process. If the parties and staff cared about the country they would not go along with much of the selling out of the country. The differences on tactics to benefit the country would still be in conflict. But if we had patriots in positions of power they couldn't be paid to sell out the country in this instance and then we will let you sell out the country in this other instance to earn your pay (from those corrupting them).

There really is little to do about it until the political scene is much different. As long as the parties are lead by people happy to sell out the country and we continue to elect them things won't change. The process of changing that is difficult. There is a system that re-inforces this corrupt systems continuation. With so much of the power structure so corrupt you can't do much with the few crumbs around the edges that are not interested in selling out the country for personal gain.

And when the public accepts absolutely pitiful journalism and doesn't pay attention to the few worthwhile efforts to look at what is going on it is hard to have people learn about the deeply embedded corruption. The parties play a game of distraction between themselves which when the journalists and public allow to set the conditions for discussion puts the issue of embedded corruption across the board of the political establishment off the table.

To some extent the embarrassing details of the extent of some corruption can be used pressure to reduce the level (not change the system) of corruption. I have a pipe dream that the continued evidence of such wide spread and thorough corruption finally seeping into the understanding of the public, but I really don't believe this will happen - I just hope it does. For now the only real hope is limited the scale of corruption by publicizing the worst and easiest to understand corruption.

To some extent I look to help shine the light on the corruption of the political process (mostly in the USA) on the cash for votes subreddit. I would have thought things like the absolutely horrid practices of Comcast, At&T, Verizon... would at least stop the political parties from acting in the same corrupt way they do with everything for those organization that have actively caused so much pain to so many in the USA. It is a sign of how bad the corruption is that even those companies easily buy majorities of both parties who happily profess that those companies are deserving of favors. When such obvious sell out are so widespread you can be certain the level of other corruption is beyond comprehension.

The damage this does to the USA is enormous.

The current political parties are selling out the country, it isn't quite as noticeable as if they attempted to auction off the Louisiana Purchase for the benefit of themselves, their staffs and their friends but it is doing as much damage as that would do.

Related: The Aim of Modern Day Political Parties is To Scare Donors Into Giving Cash - Reducing Corruption - Research by Princeton and Northwestern Professors Shows USA Political System Very Focused on Doing What Rich Want Done - Lobbyists Keep Tax Off Billion Dollar Private Equities Deals and On For Our Grandchildren - Monopolies and Oligopolies do not a Free Market Make - Anti-Market Policies from Our Talking Head and Political Class