William Thien

Archive for October 2010

I “approve this messagemostly because it makes me look good. Yes, well that’s kind of academic isn’t it? I mean you are talking to us right now in the advertisement. I am sure the viewer presumes that you approve the message. What, are you trying to insult the viewer? Of course you approve the message. Is this what campaign finance reform was all about?

I recall the massive media interest during 2002 in the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Legislation, the apparent legislative failure meant to completely overhaul allowable campaign method in an all-encompassing way, to rewrite all law governing political campaigns, making campaigns more honest and less socially toxic. There was to be great peace in campaign land as the bipartisan legislation was sponsored by both a Republican AND a Democrat. It was the mudslinging across the aisle that was particularly difficult to endure during campaign season which brought the two fine gentlemen Senators together to provide a solution. Somehow that seems to have failed…miserably. Or lo, wherein lies a design? What was meant to be?

And what is that unruly political advertisement that was spawned along with the reform act? What are those mysterious, biologically unclassified advertisements that seem to slither up from some swamp which have proliferated everywhere like something biblical? Do you approve of those ads as well? In fact, I think I see the media trying to make excuses for such toxic transgressions, now. That is now that people are turning off the television and putting down the newspapers.

Indeed, the only ones profiting from “the act” appear to be the media.

The ads are no more honest. In fact it is quite the opposite. They seem now more than ever to be dishonest, rapid slights.

So what is going on? What is this deceit descending upon the country? Nobody knows who is behind the ads. There isn’t enough time to read the small print, and you have to really turn up the volume to hear who claims to be behind the ads. The media do not do a really good job of policing the ads because it is their bread and butter. Rather, it’s their filet mignon. They look forward to campaign season like a child does the holidays.

I’m not certain the constitution covers the methods used.

Personally I don’t believe there was any reform at all. Senator Feingold, my Senator, a decent guy, though clearly misguided and now apparently misguiding, seems to have given everyone the old political try on the matter. He is after all an attorney, highly skilled and educated. If anyone should know what the result of such legislation would be, it is he. Were doors left open for such behavior in the law? Deliberately? Secret doors behind the bookcase, beneath the stairs that only he would know of for which the bastard creature of reform could access?

Now that it is election time, though, you don’t hear him taking credit for unleashing the slimy creature that Campaign Finance Reform is upon the already heavily burdened constituency. He does remind us that he approves of his own ads, though. My good man, of course you do.

It makes you wonder, is that what democracy is going to be for the next one hundred years? Is democracy even the best political solution for the country any longer? That’s a rough question for someone such as myself to ask since I have developed democratic concepts involving a redistribution of democracy right to the individual, essentially bypassing the voting power of the elected and dividing the power up for the voter to have, something politicians, and the media that profits thoroughly from such a state, fear with great zeal and resistance. Yet, I still vote and I campaign for others as well. Do unto others.

In response I have heard more than once, “democracy is still the best method of determining our leadership.” That might be true. But the decisions made by the voter have to be based on honest, accurate information. The ads I am seeing clearly are coming from the bottom of the deck (and lo, wherein lies a design?), out of the corner of the mouth (what was meant to be?), and a few other places as well of which I shall refrain for the sake of the fairer sex.

I say repeal it, the campaign finance reform bill. Perhaps an evolutionary democratic step or two back may be necessary. Or maybe campaign finance reform was a step backward in the first place, sponsored by the media. They are after all the primary beneficiaries.

The media appear to be covering their tracks as if they were not part of the process, as if they were not the facilitators in the first place, with their own analysis of the ads using such clever, cute devices as “Truth Meters” and saying whether or not the particular advertiser’s pants should be on fire. No, no, no! You are supposed to warn the weary travelers before they drink from the poisoned well, not whence the toxin has left them helpless and without medical aid, paralyzed, unable to rid themselves of the gathering, biting flies that crawl into the tender corners of the mouth, that bite at the sores, blisters boiled open by the searing heat of the sun, no, the stage lights above the cameras where they mix the media poison.

Repeal it. Because from what I can tell, that’s a cliff up ahead. By the way, who led the country in this direction in the first place?

Don’t forget to vote.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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How many times have you heard the statement that the reason the media slants things so far to the left is because the media is “liberal?” You have probably heard such a statement hundreds, perhaps thousands of times.

I have a different perspective on the matter. I do not believe the reason the media appears to slant things to the left is due to the fact that the media is liberal. I believe it is something else entirely.

First, let’s ask the question, ‘What do many people do when they are at home if they are not taking care of some domestic requirement?’ Watch television. Nothing wrong with that.

I think the media is up to something else entirely than simply making life better for everyone by instilling so-called liberal values to everyone sitting in front of the tube. Knowing that slanting things to the left is not good for our industrial economy, that portion of our economy which has traditionally required the greatest number of employees, and will put companies out of work and send people home, the media has implemented a business plan. The media know that if people are out of work, they watch television. And you know what? That is good for ratings. And ratings in the television world mean advertisers have to pay more for advertising time. The supposed liberal slant is good for media business. And what is liberal about that? Nothing.

And there are entire social groups that such behavior appeals to since they don’t want to work anyway. They have brought up several generations on entitlements and increased their populations while simultaneously being catered to by such a media. Consumer products are tailored to such populations. The liberal slant is really a multi-level marketing plan with a so-called liberal media in complicity, implementation.

There is of course a humanistic slant to the media. But the old saying, “If it bleeds, it leads,” or what story begins the news show, a common journalistic saw, indicates predation, not liberalism. What more must one say?

No, the media is not liberal. I believe instead the media is exercising an elaborate business plan, all the while hiding behind the constitution, surreptitiously undermining our economy to improve its own. The men and women of the media are not wholly humanistic as we would like to believe. They are chosen based on thorough studies completed by massive media conglomerates. Since when are corporations liberal?

And who can blame them? It is business. Since when was business easy?

That is what is going on with the media. The media could care less about liberalism, otherwise. The apparent left slant to the media is a business plan to increase ratings and thereby improve its bottom line.

And our constitution supports that type of behavior, the subtle yet elaborate deconstruction of our economy and way of life for better ratings.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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One of the problems Germany had prior to World War II is the desire to print money to solve its economic problems. The measure was counterintuitive to the belief that it would help the economy at the time. More money?! Well, we should be able to buy more things and pay more bills. Eventually, a wheelbarrow of Deutschmarks was required to buy a loaf of bread. The effect was a devaluing of the currency to mere worthlessness. Fuel for the furnace. Of course if you have had a World History course you know that the method was horribly unsuccessful.

Recently The United States Federal Reserve Chairman, Mr. Ben Bernanke, announced that the Fed would make more money available for lenders to stimulate the economy. They are essentially printing money much like Germany did. They don’t really have any more money. But through manipulations of the value of the dollar and some other tricks, more money is made available. It is not like there is a big pile of money in the basement at the Fed and somebody says, “Get the shovel!”

The “stated” hope (I say “stated” to mark the notion for reference later on in this post) is that the measure will hopefully lower interest rates and make it possible for automakers and real estate brokers to sell more. In general, the method is to be ‘stimulative.’

I hope this will be the net effect. Because we recently saw the same method used by Alan Greenspan during the Clinton and Bush administrations and it resulted in the real estate bubble and a substantial stock market correction, what some are now calling a crash in slow motion because it didn’t happen all in one month. Homes that were mere shacks suddenly were priced like the proverbial mansion because it was so easy to come by a home loan. But the result was that a working stiff could no longer afford to buy a decent home, nor maintain it for that matter because even though loans were more available, wages have not increased for decades, some believe average wages haven’t increased for fifty years. Demand increases price though on homes.

Everyone knows that wages and salaries do not and have never really kept pace with inflation. And generally, for some reason the government’s forecasts and readings of inflation don’t seem to coincide with the truths of the free market. When the government talks about things, they always seem to come out a bit rosier than the dandelions which populate the lawn.

So, if the government (The Fed) wants to make more money available for loans, which is great really (unless you know it will drive inflation up), and the same method used within the last decade no less caused the worst recession in The United States since The Great Depression, then why are we doing it again so soon? What really is behind the repeat performance?

I think I may have at least a partial answer. Taxes.

If interest rates are lowered, people can afford to buy more house and more people, theoretically, can afford to buy their first home. The problem is that the artificial demand created by a Fed manipulated market drives up the prices of the homes. Greater demand increases price. Basic economics.

So why do it? Why drive up the prices of products? Why not let the market work itself out? Is not that what the government is supposed to do in The United States? Protect the free market? Not manipulate it? If they could manipulate it for everyone’s benefit (and let us hope this latest measure will do so) that would be great. But many believe they rarely do so. Yet, again, within the last decade, the constant tinkering with interest rates by Alan Greenspan and the Fed brought about a current economic downturn that even the Fed thinks will take years from which to crawl out of.

So what is going on? A surreptitious increase in taxes. But why? The economy is bad. Sales are down. Fewer sales, less taxes. Sounds devious beyond the scope of the government, right? Why not let the market correct itself? Why not let the price of cars come more in line with what the American public can afford? It is after all a free market, is it not? Let’s find out. Read on.

If you drive up the price of a home, the sales and other taxes are concurrently driven up as well. If you make a car more expensive, you increase your tax levy on that car automatically. In effect, you raise taxes without legislating an increase in taxes, something nobody will go for today. It’s tricky. Real tricky.

The stock market does well also when interest rates are lowered. The problem is when things return to normal, the market corrects itself. I would say that would be fine, but the problem is that so many organizations, both government and private have all of their pension funds wrapped up in the market that when the market corrects itself, people who have been working for five or six decades suddenly find themselves unable to retire because all of their pension funds have mysteriously vanished. That is tricky as well. Perhaps even trickier than the loose monetary policies themselves that bring about the problems in the first place. The problem with driving up the value of the stock market by lowering interest rates and making more money available is that not everybody has the time or the ability for that matter to watch the market and to be prepared when it does correct itself. Since most government pensions are the result of taxation, I think it is incumbent upon our elected officials to install some form of regulation upon the market to address such corrections on behalf of the pensioners, or to ensure that the Federal Reserve is not so liberal with its monetary policies, whether they be to stimulate the economy or to increase taxes as I’ve described, indirectly.

In this anti-big government environment we are currently in nobody wants to say “I’m going to increase taxes.” I have not seen a single political ad (and we are swimming in them right now) that is endorsed by any politician, even the most left-wing, that has said “Elect me. I’ll raise your taxes.” If you are going to say that, you may as well commit political suicide because as they say, “you ain’t gettin’ my vote.”

I believe in fact that the reason Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates so much was exactly that. To raise sales taxes. It’s much easier than legislating higher taxes, making them law, and most people do not really know what is going on when it is done in such a slick manner.

I think it’s great that The Fed is making more money available to lenders to make loans more available to the market.

But let’s not make the same mistake again, so soon, particularly since we are not out of the hole they dug for the country like, what, was it yesterday?

And what repeats itself, again?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what is behind the latest measures at the Fed. The government is looking out for its bottom line. Which, by the way, is right about at your neck level. And from what I can tell, you have had it up to here!

By the way, the best time to shop for cars is on Sunday morning.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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October 2010
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