©2011 Ross Williams
Headline: Greek Default ‘Inevitable’
Article Synopsis: Greek debt is “unsustainable”, and no one who knows anything about sovereign debt is saying any longer that austerity can avoid Greek default. Greece has advised that they cannot make the budget for this year or next due to their recession, now five years long. European nations which share currency, and other Greek debt-holders, are girding their loins for up to 50 cents on the dollar payoff, and some are expecting less. Europe is hoping for a “controlled” default to spare the rest of the continent a domino effect.
There, but for the grace of god, go we: Germany, along with Austria and Finland, is attempting to figure out ways to cover Greece’s 110 billion Euro deficit for 2010; they’ve come up with a plan for easy monthly payments of 8 billion Euros. It must be nice to spend money like water in a rainstorm and have someone else pay for it.
The main pieces of Greek debt are national pensions for their workers [who can retire in their 50s], payroll for their government employees [currently somewhere between 25 and 30% of the total workforce], government benefits for all citizens [which includes “free” healthcare and not merely health coverage, and extremely liberal paid vacation policies and other government-paid time off work], and education [which is paid at all levels by the government].
All of what the world recognizes as Greece’s problems are currently being called “solutions” here in the US, by one group or another who demand that government fix whatever it is that these groups claim is wrong in their lives. We are forced to work too much, some say – give us more time off work, and since we need money to survive when we aren’t earning our own, give us money to not work.
We are forced to pay for our own doctors, many others whine – and since it’s not fair that some people are sicker or frailer than others and thus have more medical expenses, pay those medical expenses for us so we don’t have to.
If we want a good job [that we’ll demand more time away from] then we have to go to college – but since college costs money and not everyone has money [or parents who have money] to pay for it, give us the money to go to college ... where we will choose a degree in “women’s studies”, because employers are falling all over themselves hiring well-paid experts on women.
And once we retire it’s not right for us to still have to support ourselves – so give us a livable pension to cover the cost of our whims.
Conclusion: Watch Greece. We’re headed in their direction. Only with our $15 trillion in [current] debt, the number of our creditors willing to take 50 cents on the dollar to keep us alive can be counted on one finger of one hand. And probably fewer.
Headline: Illinois Sees Major Decline in Tech Jobs
Article Synopsis: Illinois lost 6,400 high tech jobs in 2010, the fifth most of all states for that year. That number of jobs represents 3% of the IL high tech workforce. CA lost 18,000 such jobs, the most in the nation. State government apologists remind that IL is still among the leading states for high tech employment in the country.
Not for long, it ain’t: Last year the gubernatorial replacement for Senate Seat Seller Blago got together with his Democratic pals in the state Senate and Assembly and worked up a plan to deal with the IL budget problem by refusing to cut state spending, refusing to cut state employment, refusing to address state pensions, but raising state personal income tax by 67%, and state business income tax by 60%.
Opponents – by which I mean Republicans, independents, libertarians, Martians, Klingons and every other sentient creature not called a Democrat – warned that these measures would make people leave IL, and make businesses follow along behind them. Or maybe in front. South Dakota and Indiana both started ad campaigns – in Illinois – advertising lower state corporate taxes in their respective states.
Democrats, whose collective sentience has been debatable for at least a generation, pooh-poohed the notion of corporate flight saying, to paraphrase, “Where are they going to go? Detroit?”
And, well, since Michigan saw a high tech job increase in 2010 of a modest 2,600 jobs, the answer to that is at least a partial yes.
Here’s the thing: high tech jobs are easily moved. It’s difficult to move assembly plants, refineries, and the like. It’s relatively simple to move computer-based design and tooling.
Blago’s successor, Quinn, figured out – too late – that he fucked up, and attempted to go back on his policy of refusing to address state expenditures by announcing layoffs of state employees and restructuring of state pensions. AFSCME, the state employee union, sued and won. There will be no layoffs, no pension reform, and no spending cuts. Taxes are it.
Conclusion: IL, CA and NY are the three states in the US with the worst debt problems. They are also three of the most liberal states in the US. It’s not a coincidence.
Headline: Johnny Depp Apologizes
Article Synopsis: The publicity-shy Pirates of the Caribbean star dared to claim that submitting to the intrusion of publicity hounds who feed the nation’s appetite for celebrity “news” was like “being raped somehow”. The publicity hound after him was Vanity Fair magazine. Another young celebrity previously described her hounding by free-lance paparazzi to be rape. She also apologized.
Tomato, tomahto...: Some boo-hoo group called Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network – RAINN – piped up to give Depp a ration of shit, which culminated in his apology, which RAINN then accepted with the following self-righteous condescension: “We hope to work with him to get help to victims of rape ... and educate him about the ... experience of survivors ...”
Get a grip.
Bad things happen to people all the time. And bad things happening to one person do not make the bad things that happen to another person trivial. Depp, who is an outstanding character actor, the best of this generation if not several others, has never made a secret of his disdain for the celebrity that accompanies his profession. Without trying to put words into his mouth, it is an emotionally traumatic process to submit himself to the inspection and criticism of millions. It is a loss of control imposed upon him by others.
And unless I miss my guess – and I don’t since I’m somewhat familiar with the psychological renderings of the issue of rape – it is that same exact phenomenon that rape “survivors” declare to be the biggest problem facing them: the emotional trauma of that loss of control imposed upon them by others. Rape is what it is because of the emotional trauma involved.
The self-pitying Katherine Hull of RAINN has no business telling Johnny Depp whether or not he is emotionally traumatized by events he undergoes any more than a defense attorney has in telling a rapee that she was not emotionally traumatized by her own.
People are emotionally scarred by all manner of events: public speaking, TSA “security”, divorce court, being subjected to strangers demanding personal details just because one is an actor, politician or “reality star” ... and by rape. One is not worse than another, none are easier than others to accept if it is contrary to the personality of the person being exposed to it. Many people are not bothered by pre-flight finger fucks dished out by weenies with GEDs; others are – and we have the youtube to prove it.
Most women – virtually all, probably, and with good reason – dislike having sex forced upon them ... and then some women simply consider forced sex to be an unpracticed seduction. Different people respond emotionally to the same circumstances in very different ways: some are traumatized, others are not. One trauma is not more special than another.
We have a word that very adequately describes the phenomenon of imposed emotional trauma, and that word is rape. If Depp, who prefers exposing himself in character rather than in person, feels imposed upon in that way, then he is indeed being raped. And so is Kristen Stewart by the paparazzi.
Conclusion: Being victimized doesn’t give anyone the right or ability to define another’s reality for him. How’s the weather up there on that cross, RAINN?