Tag Archives: Financialization Revolution

Nook, Current Events, and a Sampling

Caysee Rides: A Story of Freedom, and Friendship is now available on Barnes and Noble’s Nook.   I am excited to be able to publish on this venue as well and look forward to connecting to a wider audience  (also published on Amazon’s Kindle).

In light of current events, the timing of this release is fortuitous.   With an uncertain political landscape taking form, conjectures about things such as California’s succession from the union and state’s rights are being discussed more openly and with sincerity.

In formulating the circumstances of Caysee’s story, I felt compelled to stay true to a somewhat plausible post-United States scenario, utilizing my historian’s eye in the process, and sourcing from Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine.    The connections of today’s sociopolitical climate and the possibility of a state-driven republic are wholly relevant in Caysee Rides. 

I leave with you a sampling from the book, in which the reader learns the history of the breakup of the United States and the subsequent formations of Provinces; with the exception of the Pacific Republic which I further examine here.

Thank you for reading,

A grateful Frankie

“So many people died. It must have been awful.”  Caysee only thought of her parents, she just now realized that other people lost loved ones as well.

“It was.  Still is.  I don’t think anyone expected the country to be split up and separated the way it happened.  We aren’t used to closed and guarded borders, but it was the only way that the Execs could get their way and be successful, too many people opposed the corporate takeover.”  MeeMaw was dishing out large portions of mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and green beans on their plates as she spoke, “So many, in fact, that it became a serious threat to them and they eventually just decided to militarize the entire nation to keep everyone in line, that’s when the Exec Revolution started. ” 

“How were the Provinces were formed?  What was it like before?” Caysee wondered.

MeeMaw sat down to her own plate, a heavy sigh gave away her exhaustion, “I don’t know how much of early U.S. history you know but in the beginnings of the Old Nation the states were hell bent on having their own rights, separate from the central government.  If I remember right the idea was to keep a balance of power and make sure the central government didn’t have too much. The issue of slavery became too big to ignore though and tested the fragile relationship between the central government and the state’s rights.  The Southern states soon declared their independence from the Union and set up their own shop, so to speak, elected their own president and everything.  Once the Civil War came to an end, the Confederacy, as they called themselves was welcome back into the Union but the states never really got over the loss of their independence.  When the chance came for them to separate again during the Exec Revolution, they grabbed it without hesitation. The South set up their own government, built fences around their borders and pledged to keep everyone out.   After that, the Execs sort of just split the rest up into convenient chunks according to their purposes and called them Provinces. But there were enough people and resources in the Pacific Republic states that they decided they wanted complete independence from the New Republic.  They didn’t want Execs running their business, they wanted to keep the democracy intact, and they had the ability to feed themselves, so they built their own border, and that’s how the New Republic came to be the patchwork of Provinces that it is now.”

“Everett mentioned that people try to escape the Confederacy just to go work in the NP.  Things must be bad there if the NP is where they want to go.” 

“Well, even before the Revolution, the south was a bit of a backwater, poverty stricken and closed minded.   Once the Province sealed itself up, all of those issues became worse, apparently thousands alone died of starvation and disease.  They keep closed off from the rest of the world; many people try to escape just so their children have a chance at a better education.”

Mac’s matter-of-fact voice broke into the serious narrative, “Right.  There aren’t many choices in the NP, but I can see how it would be better than a life completely cut off from the rest of the world.”

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Moving On…

This…..

cayseenotes

I was finally able to take this down after having it taped to my kitchen/garage door for this past year and a half!  They are my notes from my newest release, “Caysee Rides, A Story of Freedom and Friendship,” a work spurred by my sister’s comment of “Do you know how hard it is to find teenage books with strong female characters?”

Caysee Rides is an adventurous tale of just such a young female who is stuck in an area where she has few choices as a fourteen year old orphan.  An escape to a more free area of the former US is planned at the same time Caysee meets an unlikely friend who has his own desire for liberty, and a history that makes Caysee’s orphan status seem mild.   The story blends modern technology, current political/social trends, and transgender issues for a read that is satisfying but challenges the reader to think as well.   Working on final editing and awaiting patiently for my talented book cover artist to render something spectacular.   I am officially aiming for an ebook release date of February 1st.    (By the way, I strongly suggest investing in a good cover artist. This is a place where an author can’t afford to pinch pennies.   I simply placed an ad on my local Craigslist, asking for samples of their work in a response.  This was a quick way to get a good feel for a person’s ability and talent, and I could weed through their work and find what suited my needs.  Follow your instincts!  And don’t make a final decision without a meeting or two.   In my very limited experience, I’ve found that giving them complete freedom over the book cover allows for more creativity than giving them some predisposed ideas.   Things can always be tweaked but I find its better to leave them with the ability to openly interpret the text and apply that to the cover without my influence.  I feel as if I get a more objective work that way.)

So what’s next?   Replacing the notes for “Caysee Rides” are notes for “Twenty First Century Treatise”  a nonfiction work that examines the impact of nature’s laws upon human civilization.  For example, nature always strives for balance and I demonstrate that our societal structures, bound as they are to nature’s laws, seek balance as well. Originally perceived as a book, I will be releasing this work one chapter at a time per month beginning in January….look for the Introduction as well as a first chapter with a provocative angle at economics in just a few weeks.   This work has been ‘percolating’ for some six years now, I look forward to sharing it; my hope, as always, is that I give us some talking points with which we can better our future.

Other things going on:  A winter solstice children’s book, aiming for release for next holiday season.   I’ve managed to get a great artist to team with me on this project, I know it will go places.  I also have another web site that gets regular posts from me, The Unseen Revolution.  It is solely dedicated to American economics and politics from the perspective of the Financialization Revolution.  I invite you to peruse the site here if those kinds of issues float yer boat, so to speak.   Annnnnd, finally, the beginnings of another full-fledged manuscript.   A teenage boy is forced to hide a crucial secret from his parents, discovery of it would tear his family apart, how does Brandon resolve the conflict?  Brandon’s Diary tackles modern social issues with an empathetic voice, stay tuned for its projected release date.

It’s quite satisfying ending the year at the same time as ending a project to which I’ve dedicated two years of my life.  It’s more satisfying to have fresh ideas to work with, new challenges to meet, and an entire year to meet them with.   Here’s to writing kids!  The road is long, the work is heartbreaking, the success is always worth it.    May 2016 greet you with new ideas and creative energy…

Yours,

Frankie

 

 

 

 


The Biggest, Fattest Corporate Lie: One Nation Under God

I’ve just come across an excerpt from a new book  “One Nation Under God:  How Corporate America Invented Christian America” written by Kevin Kruse.  I’ll be tripping to my local library this week to check it out.   It’s message couldn’t be more timely for our Nation.

The excerpt focuses specifically on “How one reverend’s big business-backed crusade altered the political landscape.”  It’s an important read because it details the origins of the incongruent marriage between christianity and the corporatocracy.  Here are some quotes from the article:

“Fifield and like-minded ministers saw Christianity and capitalism as inextricably intertwined, and argued that spreading the gospel of one required spreading the gospel of the other.”

“Notably, Fifield dismissed the many passages in the New Testament about wealth and poverty, and instead assured the elite that their worldly success was a sign of God’s blessings.”

“The first step would be making ministers realize that they, too, had something to fear from the growth of government. “The religious leaders must be helped to discover that their callings are threatened,” Haake argued, by realizing that the “collectivism” of the New Deal, “with the glorification of the state, is really a denial of God.” ”

“The magazine (Faith and Freedom) repeatedly denounced the Social Gospel and, just as important, clergymen who invoked it to advocate for the establishment and expansion of welfare state programs.”

With quotes like these, I can now understand memes like these:

republican jesus

According to Mr. Kruse, one individual and a whole lot of corporate money hijacked our democracy under the guise of maintaining our individual independence from government intervention.   What really happened is that we gave up our independence in the name of religion to the coporatocracy and they relentlessly colonized the American public to the point of third world status.

As I read the excerpt, I couldn’t help but notice the effects of Mr. Fifield’s movement in America’s Unseen Revolution where the financial elite control policy making and legislation (a shift from democracy to oligarchy).   Within the framework of Mr. Fifield’s  ‘One Nation Under God’  message, modern corporate leaders are allowed to claim a disproportionate sense of doing God’s work with “a messianic belief in privatization and profits” (John Perkins, Hoodwinked).  One could correctly conclude from the message that God has ordained the third world status of America by empowering corporate leaders.

Corporate leaders are doing a superior job of making loads of money on the foundations of Mr. Fifield’s movement, and they are doing it to the exclusion of the rest of the American population.

We have a few weapons in our arsenal as citizens of the Republic:   We can educate and inform ourselves – no matter how uncomfortable the material.  We can vote for leaders who aren’t afraid to impose boundaries on Wall Street.  We can choose to keep religion within the four walls and privacy of our homes and out of government decision making.

I am not the only one who understands that our nation is at a crucial point in its history – with the next election we will decide whether to continue as a democracy or give over completely to oligarchy.  It is information such as Mr. Kruse’ book that will sway the balance.

Here’s to a healthy nation,

Frankie


America’s Homeless: Taking the Fall for Alan Greenspan, Hank Paulson, and Co.

This past week a well meaning, albeit misinformed youth, posted a link to his facebook page about putting welfare recipients to  work instead of just giving them welfare money.  “Make them earn it” the message says, “They shouldn’t be allowed to be lazy.” it continues.

I quietly fumed inside.

This past year in my hometown there’s been a loud outcry for something to be done with the homeless population, all of them focus on making homelessness a criminal activity and a scourge on our local society.

I am deeply concerned and saddened.

Over and over the message I hear and see is that being homeless or receiving welfare benefits are a huge crime.  They are the ones ruining our nice clean cities.  They are the ones abusing the system and taking advantage of our hard earned money.

They are the ones taking the fall for the ills in our society simply because they are right in front of us.

corporate-welfare5

The real perpetrators, the real criminals, and the true manipulators of the system, people like Alan Greenspan and Hank Paulson are the responsible parties. they escape our focus however because they live quietly tucked away, out of sight of the public and certainly not on our everyday radar.

They are the ones however who deliberately allowed the past two economic crisis to occur and led us into the Great Recession.  It doesn’t take much reading for any citizen to discover that they are the ones who went out of their way to mutilate the economic system entirely in their own favor.   They consciously broke laws.  They ignored loud warning signs from economists that the system was going to crash.  They are the ones who deceptively invented ways to shift massive amounts of money from the pockets of the middle class to their own offshore bank accounts.

This disconnect.

This idea that welfare recipients are ‘milking’ the taxpayer while Wall Street members still receive obscene bonuses.

This stain.

This concept of blaming the homeless for the degradation of society when it was Wall Street who shuttered our homes and our stores.

This shame.

This……is one of the greatest social injustices we’ve ever created as Americans.

It is a situation easily remedied though, if we’re willing to take the time.  It means being aware and educated.  It means addressing problems such as unemployment and de-regulations instead of treating the symptoms such as homelessness.  It means electing leaders who are not afraid to let the right people take the fall.

We are a better nation than this, I am sure of it.  Let’s act like it kids.

Frankie

P.S.  Keep an eye out for a new website I am launching next week intended to help us be aware and educated as I admonished “Twentyfirstcenturyrevolution”.   It’s new information and provides some real focus to our current socioeconomic problems.  Here’s to finding solutions.


Going Back to Work: A Short Story

Carole waited behind the rest of the housekeepers to clock in and then made her way to the cart room with them as well.  Sort of.  She trailed behind with a couple of the older ‘girls’, unable to keep up with the younger generation whose laughter and chit chat echoed along the hallway.

It was her second week back to work and her body was still acclimatizing to the new change.  By that I mean that most of Carole’s sixty something being was aching or paining in some way as she padded along.  Her back was especially sore these past two days since she developed a limp from a blister on her foot due to a new pair of shoes and the limp made her use her back muscles in ways they weren’t meant to be used.  She was exhausted.

About the second or third room into her day she found a rhythm and managed to finish all twelve rooms.  Carole was allotted four hours but it took her four and a half and when she got home she grabbed a glass of ice tea and sat down on the couch to put her tired feet up.

“How was yer day Luv?”  Ed’s gravelly voice reflected her own haggard state and she replied, “Not bad.  We only had twelve rooms today and managed to keep up a bit better.  I am happy that tomorrow is my ‘friday.’ ”

“I am so sorry you have to go back to work Luv,” Ed said as he brought her an ice pack for her back. She knew he meant it.  Ed always prided himself on being able to provide for his family but since his last heart attack he could no longer work.  He had a modest pension, but increasing medical bills, prescriptions and food and everything else made it difficult for them to maintain.  Carole worked just a couple of days a week as a secretary when the kids were in school and that was the extent of her work history.  It took some adjusting within the both of them to see Carole become the ‘breadwinner’.

Ed sat down next to her and opened the bottle of ibuprofen to give to Carole, who upended it to empty three tablets in her hand and then she gulped them down.  As she handed the bottle back to Ed she noticed the tears start to form in his eyes again.

“Now stop Dearest,” she said and wiped the first of the tears from his cheek.  “We are in this together and its really okay.”  Ed could not contain himself any longer and he broke down at these last words.  This was a daily ritual for them since Carole started back to work.  Ed couldn’t help himself.  His dear sweet wife being forced to work at this age and after all this time was a difficult situation for his manly pride to bear.  A part of him was crushed.

Carole found it best to just sit and let the moment pass, she rubbed his hand and kissed his cheeks until he finally composed himself several solemn moments later.    She turned his attention to dinner and asked how the roast in the crock pot was coming along.

“Just fine,” he answered, “and I think I’ve figured out the right way to make the potatoes this time,” referring to the distinct taste Carole always managed to give them – her secret was half and half, lots of butter and plenty of pepper.

“Sounds lovely Dearest, ” she said, smiling adoringly “You’ll be cooking as well as our son in no time!” she laughed.  It was a long standing joke in the family that Sam was even a better cook than Carole.

“Pfffft!”  Ed retorted, “I am not so sure about that, but I do know the value of a good vacuum cleaner now.”  Since his wife went to work, Ed took it upon himself to do all the house chores.  He had Carole teach him laundry and dishes before she went to work so that he could take them over once she did.  It was the least he could do and it helped immensely to ease his guilt and keep him busy during the days she was gone.

The rest of the evening passed as usual with casual conversation about how much things had changed the past twenty years interspersed with the latest family gossip.  They clung to each other mentally and emotionally within this quiet routine and the familiarity of each other.  Ed fixed her plate, the same way Carole use to do for him, and got her bath ready after dinner.   He laid out her uniform for the next day before going to bed.  They snuggled in together, whispering short “I love you’s” in  various form and drifted to sleep together, still holding hands.

At exactly four thirty hours Ed awoke and started the coffee for Carole.  His internal clock never let him sleep past this time for as long as he could remember.   He fixed her breakfast and packed her lunch and tenderly saw her off to work three hours later.  Once her car round the corner of his street, he sat down at the dining table and bawled as if he were three years old again, unbeknownst to his beloved.   Ed would never adjust to the idea of his wife working for as long as he had a breath to breathe.

Meanwhile, Carole waited behind the rest of the housekeepers to clock in…….

 

 

Author’s note:  This story is dedicated to the thousands of senior citizens who’ve had to join the working ranks these past two decades as a result of the financialization revolution.  May they find peace……


from the financialization revolution front…

Lynn Stuart Paramour gives us a glimpse of AynRandian-style economics here in our home nation, as a wall street guru takes over one of our biggest retailers and drives it to ruination.   I worked for Sears a few years ago and can personally attest to the low moral.   In the training room there was a big poster hanging over everyone that had three goals for each employee.  Wanna know what the first was?  

Make more money.

Not customer satisfaction.  Not cooperation.  Just make more money.   To this minimum wage worker, who would MAYBE see a 25 cent an hour raise each year in a continuing slogging economy, the goal to ‘make more money’ was laughable.   More money for who?  Certainly not this worker, or any other Sears employee, who would never see the fruits of their labor if we did make more money.   Turns out we were making money for Lampert………..I don’t feel so bad now for quitting that no end job with its insulting ‘motivational’ attempts…….

http://www.alternet.org/economy/ayn-rand-sears-and-eddie-lampert

 

 

 


Class Reunion: A Plausible Fiction

Stephen and Steven came from more or less the same socio-economic background:  two parents, middle-middle class, products of suburbia and a decade we call the 80’s.   Both went to college and shared some courses as well as a dorm wing together.  They became fairly good friends but upon departing the maternal arms of university halls, their lives went separate directions much like a rail can split a train to either one or another destination. 

Stephen always knew he wanted to be a Public Accountant like his father from the time he could run his own adding machine at the age of four.  His infatuation with numbers bordered upon obsessive (Stephen’s mother actually had a few worrying conversations with his doctor about it, privately of course) and he was certain of his path upon entering his freshman year of college.  After a few semesters of business classes though, Stephen’s interest piqued enough that he changed his direction from public accounting to business major and set his sights on Wall Street.

Steven slogged it out with accounting and his degree earned him a spot as assistant finance manager at the great and honorable metropolis of Sacramento, California.  His aspirations focused on the challenge of climbing the corporate ladder, he chose city employment since he felt he could make a difference at the local level.  He was idealistic and convinced that governments wasted more money than they ought – he wanted to change that mentality.  Steven married a nurse, had three kids, and coached their soccer teams while at the same time achieving his goal of securing the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) position of the aforementioned great and honorable metropolis.

At their ten-year reunion, Stephen and Steven had similar stories to share about their success and its amenities:  travel, bonuses, and dwellings (Stephen had a modest Manhattan gig, Steven just purchased one of the newer homes in a gated community outside of Sacramento and was also investing in other building projects).  Stephen enjoyed the growing niches of Wall Street, while Steven reveled in his budget slashing abilities and his ties with city council allowing him development connections.  It was 1998, Billary was in office, and the financial opportunities they shared with each other were promising, invigorating, and…. well, big.  They vowed to stay in touch and left their three-day reunion with a sense of camaraderie and importance:  they were both affecting financial change and enjoying the accompanying adrenaline rush.

The adrenaline rush lasted nearly until the next reunion.  Stephen (always on the lookout for the ‘next big thing’) managed to wiggle his way into a very specialized branch of mortgage bonds, nearly hidden away in the behemoth known as Deutsche Bank.  He spent hours in a similarly reclusive office, poring over numbers and synopsis, participating in conference calls, and directing the purchase of millions of dollars of insurance against the bonds in the unlikely event that the entire housing industry would suddenly collapse.   At the end of a double-digit  workday, Stephen would slink off to the nearest watering hole with a few of his cohorts where they would rant about the insanity of their days’ work and the fact that they were getting away with something they knew wasn’t quite right.

Steven was investing in housing as if it were gold.  Indeed, for a few years, the market grew as if someone had found just the right fertilizer for it.  His connections with the city council allowed him favorable development terms and he borrowed against his own house and the two rentals he owned as a means to further his sub-division – building frenzy.  He bought, built, sold, and extended his credit far beyond what he knew his limit to be…..and his bank was more than willing to throw money at him.  On occasion, Steven would worry about his debt ratio (he recalled his business classes and their logic), but this or that detail concerning the next building project always saved him from admitting there was something wrong with the entire operation.

He was forced to admit it by the time of their twentieth reunion, which he barely made.  He had lost everything except his family and was utterly ruined.  The only reason he decided to check out the reunion was the hope that maybe there were others like him with whom he could commiserate.  Stephen attended the reunion only because he was experiencing some downtime from Wall Street.  The fat cats were lying low after they blew out the housing bubble and many of their underlings had scattered for a time to let things settle.

Stephen barely recognized Steven when he saw him.   Steven spent the previous few months watching his entire life’s effort dissolve in front of him, similar to the way a single, lazy ocean wave can claim a sand castle.  He had lost his job (massive government layoffs accompanied the housing crash), his wife was forced to go back to work, his two oldest sons were sharing a bedroom and their higher education options were severely limited. He was dressed haphazardly, his hair needed a style, his razor had apparently gotten lost.  The overall effect was disconcerting to Stephen.  He rushed to his old friend and scooped him up in a hug, “What the hell happened to you?!” he asked.

Steven mumbled something about the housing market crash and Stephen took off with the narrative:  “I know, wasn’t that some ride?”  he asked and then went on to give the juicy, sick details of buying poorly packaged  mortgage bonds.   He often interjected an excited “We couldn’t even believe they let us get away with this shit.”  Stephen was caught up in his story of Wall Street mania and didn’t notice that his friend’s expression had changed from apathy to a combination of deep interest and ….. recognition, as if a lost memory suddenly made its way to his conscious. “….We had to fight it out a bit, but they gave us our bonuses any way and I am off to my favorite Tahitian island after this reunion.”

Long silence followed this last comment while the two Stev(ph)ens just looked at each other.  ‘Tahiti’ hung in the air like the acrid smoke of a firecracker and refused to go away.  Stephen was first to speak, he sort of cleared his throat and mumbled a poor criticism about the tropical locale as a means to appropriately diminish the enthusiasm he had just moments ago.   He realized that he hadn’t asked Steven about his life the past ten years and lamely inquired about it.

Steven simply laughed a loud, long manic laugh.  It made Stephen uncomfortable – he downed his gin and tonic in one gulp, looking around at the same time for an escape.  What occurred to Steven was this:  here, right before his very eyes was the personification of the entire racket that led to his downfall.  He heard and read reports coming out of Wall Street and understood enough to know that whole setup was one mass rip-off of millions of people by a small group of number crunchers tucked far away in isolated offices and presumably unaware of the devastation wrought by their deeds.  He laughed because he had a chance to tell one of those bloodsuckers exactly what he thought of them – an obsessive monologue he’d rehearsed a million time over in his head.   He laughed because of the absurdity of it all.  He laughed because it was either that or a mental meltdown.  He laughed because he could see it made his friend uncomfortable and that was the only safe revenge he could affect.

He stopped suddenly, catching Stephen off guard once again, and wrapped his big arms around his friend in a hug that could be interpreted a thousand ways.  Holding him at arm’s length, hands upon Stephen’s shoulders, Steven looked his friend in the eye with immense scrutiny and said “We each had a different end of the same stick, didn’t we?”  He turned around and walked out of the reunion without a goodbye to anyone.  Stephen was left holding an empty glass, a shallow plane ticket, and a laugh that would haunt him for years.

(Acknowledgement must be made to author Michael Lewis and his book “The Big Short” which intricately relays the story of the housing bond bubble and the persons involve.  It was a rich resource for this storyline.  No similarities should be drawn from the ‘Stephen’ character in this story and Steve Eisman in Mr. Lewis’ narrative.  I chose the name simply for the two variations of spelling since I wanted to work with the idea of the two characters also having their name in common. I liked the way it provided consistency and delineation at the same time.  Be Well, Frankie)