What is meant by “fake economy?”

Over seven billion humans currently live on this planet. Human civilization has mostly operated (for several hundred years) under an economic system called capitalism, which is predicated on individual profit & loss. By 2017, in order to maintain extreme levels of social inequality, illusions have had to be constructed & sustained. This is where our fake economy comes in.

Under feudalism (and before that, slavery in antiquity) illusions also had to be maintained, as all human societies have been ruled by class forces. The Romans gave their plebeian class “bread & circuses,” until they were overrun by barbaric hordes. Medieval royalty ruled their domain with their knighted class, and the mysticism of organized religion in the Catholic Church. The Crusades were about conquest & power, but peddled as a “Holy War” against Islam. We can therefore see that ‘fake news’ and manipulation of public opinion are not new phenomena. Only the tools & techniques change, as their purpose & interest always remain the same, which is to railroad public opinion towards war.

Fake jobs & industries under capitalism include: sales, business, investing, consulting, management & politics. Education is a crucial area for ideology, as corrupt ivory tower academia provide ‘proofs’ for every absurd irrationally of the profit system and all its malignancies.  It’s easier to manipulate fake people, as zombies don’t know how to think for themselves. Here in the United States, children are taught how to think & act at a very young age, with a consistent propaganda message. That message is to consume things that give instant pleasure. Sugar is the most addicting substance to man, and children are bombarded with targeted advertising in all media programming for unhealthy food from infancy onward.

Now people have fake bodies which aren’t healthy, so they need fake cures. “Selling sickness” is a nefarious industry secret in medicine, dentistry & pharmaceuticals. People are susceptible to this pressure because they have become so insecure about themselves. Any salesperson recognizing this can target weaknesses and close in. When a body is ugly with fat, one has a hard time socializing. One smells bad, so one needs more deodorant, and so on…

      1. Money Bug - Ric Size

 

After a while, many obese people give up on themselves and don’t go out anymore. Luckily there is the Internet and social media, when one can project whatever one pleases. While the Internet & social media are real technology, there is a large element of distortion and inherent falseness in most social media posting over time. We tend to project what we want other people to see, and filter out the rest. It’s much harder to do that in real life, with real people.

The news on the Internet is virtually all fake, outside of the WSWS.org. Capitalism runs every publication, which employs Madison Avenue advertisers to tell everyday people what’s important. This includes the entertainment industry (music, film & TV), sports & fashion. All of these are fake economies, endlessly generating useless content 24/7 for mindless consumers who must be kept entertained in order to distract them from world-significant events happening all around them.

The lure of PED’s in athletics is a form of ‘fake health.’ It plays on competitors’ deepest doubts & insecurities, leading into a chemical morass. Eventually male users need Cialis to get an erection, which begs the question: if you’re so hard, why do you need help there? Steroid use makes no sense when thought out rationally, but our society has taught people to ignore consequences for perceived short-term gains. The problem is the gains aren’t real, and they are more than offset by the detrimental side effects.

The healthiest way to interact is to listen & learn from others, while being influential (in a positive way) where appropriate. Don’t go for popularity because:

1) It’s shallow and accomplishes nothing for anyone else
2) Everyone else is doing it, which means it’s old already

The only way humans can be truly happy is when they are allowed to express themselves freely, without repercussions & without hurting others. That is impossible under our current fake economy. We need to starting getting real with everything, in order to replace these illusions with something real, as nothing else works.

      2. Problem Solved - Ric Size

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Aluminum Aluminium 的中文翻譯| 英漢字典

This is aluminum, a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal; remarkable for it’s low density and its ability to resist corrosion [1]. It is widely abundant in the Earth’s crust, but also hazardous in many ways. The most-noted hazard is its link to brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Aluminum’s unmentioned hazard is rooted in capitalism, as China now manufactures most of this commodity, which is used in anything that has metal in it. This is because China does it cheaper than everyone else, super-exploiting their workers & destroying the environment in the process. This is “killing us,” so US national insecurity throws up trade barriers which precede war.

Our economy is GLOBAL and can no longer be ruled by competing nation states, as it inexorably leads to world war. That is the essential historical lesson of the 20th century, which must be learned & applied now– by the workers & youth of the world in revolutionary action!

 

      1. More Like Us? - Ric Size

 

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ADA News & Dentaltown

This arrived in my PO Box. I’ve asked to be removed from their mailing list many times, but this is a big deal for the American Dental Association (ADA), so I get this issue:

Licensure exams are a huge source of corruption, graft & bureaucratic waste.  Every dentist has to submit to the unfair practices of each state or regional board, who define clinical competency on their own terms.  Basically many state licensure exams (Florida in particular) are a blatant pay-offs to the good ‘ol boy network & connected cronies.  Hence the ‘skeptics’ who are assured their graft is protected, as this be be a only be a suggested model (available by 2020) according to the ADA at the very end of the article:

One of the most powerful figures in dentistry is the Howard Farran, DDS (photo below, bottom middle). He is the creator of Dentaltown, which became THE social media forum for dental professionals, so no surprise that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is speaking at their annual ‘Townie’ meeting:

Many years ago I visited Dentaltown frequently, but never posted.  Handle: DocEric.  I was there to learn, and I learned a lot– on many, many facets of dentistry. That is the power of the Internet and content sharing.

Dentaltown’s archive is massive and pretty much complete, meaning that every issue that has ever come up in modern dentistry has probably been discussed there.  Farran’s specialty is business, but each clinical forum has expert moderators. It’s the best place for professionals to go for current, real-world answers to dental problems.

      1. Money Bug - Ric Size

 

For the rest, this mp3 (above) should do.

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Proxy Perils

These corporate clowns had no answers for angry shareholders concerning their bank’s financial malfeasance at their annual stockholder’s meeting today.

Wells Fargo Chairman Stephen Sanger (L) and CEO Tim Sloan (R) leave a meeting with reporters after the annual shareholder meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Phelan Ebenhack [1]

Wells Fargo is being pressured by Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc. (ISS), a proxy advisory firm for short-selling hedge funds, which own shares of numerous companies. ISS advises shareholders and votes their shares (often unknowingly) in stockholder voting.

Proxy season is the period during which many companies hold their annual shareholder meetings. It usually occurs in April, as most companies end their fiscal years on Dec. 31 and hold their annual meetings the following spring. By ISS’s own estimate, its opinions affect the governance decisions of professional investors controlling $25 trillion in assets — half the value of the world’s common stock. [2]

I.S.S. is controlled by Gary Retelny, CEO (photo above). It was the first, and is now the largest firm to advise institutions on voting, offering ‘research’ for 35,000 companies in 15 countries; making recommendations on issues including mergers, poison pills, and the fitness of directors. It also collects and transmits corporate ballots. Around 75% of the votes it transmits require a signoff by the client, or are cast by specific instruction. About 25% are on a policy of implied consent, under which votes are cast according to I.S.S.’s annually updated guidelines.

Stock value is the only indicator that matters to financial capitalists such as these. Non-performers will have their directors targeted for removal by a proxy campaign from this powerful Black Hand [3].

At most S&P 500 companies, director support averages around 95% of votes cast, according to pay consulting firm Semler Brossy. Typically a recommendation from ISS that investors vote “against” a director will reduce support they receive by an average of 17 to 18 percentage points.  If 80% is considered the threshold for maintaining a corporate director position (and it is), then ISS’s influence is decisive in corporate governance.

This is the pressure on the markets, and it is bursting at the seams everywhere.  There is basically no long-term productivity left, as financial capital insists on short-term results every time.  It’s less than 100 days into the Trump administration, and it is clear that U.S. capitalism is now rudderless. Donald Trump is so unstable and such an unreliable leader, that it’s created a power vacuum in political economy & the military. After being shot down by stiff popular opposition, the preferred Trump administration option always becomes the ‘nuclear’ one.

A video shows the moment a MOAB, or “mother of all bombs”, struck the Achin district of the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan.
DVIDS/Handout via Reuters TV

There are now a few hundred powerful individuals basically controlling the world economy. The deep state is a nexus of Wall Street power brokers, CIA/intelligence experts, Pentagon brass and political royalty. They are ideologically & ethically bankrupt, and do nothing but exist in isolation in order to further monetarily enrich themselves.  The first revolutionary task is to specifically identify these individuals, and understand the depth of their criminality.  Once that has been widely achieved, the intervention of the working masses into this mix will quickly sweep this elitist rubbish into the trash bin of political history.

      1. Weird Ideas - Ric Size

 

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Celebrity: To Be or Not To Be

Everyone wants to be famous, right? Then you are well-known and everyone listens to what you have to say, so you can make a difference! That’s what most people believe. Celebrity reality (an oxymoron) is much different.

People naively believe that if you work hard and are amazing at what you do, then you will (somehow?) become a celebrity. Wrong!  You become a ‘star’ when the ruling class selects you to be one of their representatives. That’s where the big money comes from to pay these superstar contracts. Celebrities are spokespersons for capitalism, whether they are movie stars, rock stars or famous athletes– they are all sponsored by finance capital. These are the circuses which decadent capitalists enjoy, but primarily serve as a distraction (fake economy) for the underprivileged working masses.

The deal you make when you become a celebrity is that you NEVER speak badly about the sponsors, ie. capitalism. Since they are paying for your enhanced status, they expect full cooperation across the board. This definitely reaches into celebrities’ private lives, as they are simply no longer allowed to mingle with non-celebrities, unless there is complete control of the setting. This celebrity insecurity is a lonely disease. That fact that nearly every Hollywood/celebrity marriage ends in divorce substantiates this thesis. This leads to the ever-constant celebrity fascination with sex, probably because they aren’t getting any, or if they are it is of poor quality.

The fact that the vicarious public knows every detail of these figures & figurines demonstrates that they are allowed no privacy themselves; as famous lives are endlessly analyzed, dissected and discussed everywhere in the corporate news & social media. Any slip of the tongue on a bad day can be ruin.  This is the tightrope the glamorous & famous must gracefully walk every day.  If that sounds like an impossible amount of work, that’s because it is. Eventually every celebrity is wrecked or quietly taken down, and this entire fake economy lurches forward with new ‘stars.’ The bankers & corporate heads that control everything remain the same, and stay hidden.

As a celebrity, what you get to say for yourself hardly matters. Big capital owns the important parts of your brain which determine ethics & character. The rest is basic functions, fluff & bragging backed by lots of money.  Working people aren’t stupid, they’re just overworked– so they are a little slower in seeing all this. Many have already ‘cut the cord’ and that trend will accelerate as working people can no longer afford these spectacles, which are increasingly being recognized as fake.

The cult of celebrity is a major hurdle for the working class to clear on its way to a successful socialist revolution. The role of modern finance capital in creating a privileged ‘buffer layer’ to insulate the ruling 1% from the working masses has been an effective innovation. This ~10%  buffer includes celebrities, who mesmerize many working people.

      1. RIDICULOUS - Ric Size

 

This is because workers are trained to believe their own lives don’t matter, because it’s only money & fame that count. This is not only wrong, it is exactly the opposite of the truth– a Big Lie technique. It is the workers who are real, as they are the ones who produce the material value for society. Celebrities are part of this vast fake economy which is crumbling all around us– daily. In spite of this reality, these charlatans must continue to dance to the music, no matter how banal & vapid it is.

It is correct to say that artists should be rewarded no more than any other worker, under socialism. Under capitalism things are unequal, and therefore artists hold the highest rank of importance in bourgeois society. Without Pablo Picasso, Orson Welles, Mile Davis, Stanley Kubrick, Andy Warhol, John Lennon, etc., there is no culture and no beacon for truth. True artists are of precious value, because they can be taken away in one act of violence by a ruling class that will stop at nothing to preserve its privilege and avoid being exposed.

Marxism uses the dialectical method to analyze society historically & materially. Dialectics means that everything is always moving & changing, so it is critical to understand the process in order to project the future. At one point most celebrities had noble aspirations. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux is attributed with the proverb, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Even this noble saint had progressive thoughts, but when it lacks Marxist discipline & critical dialectical thinking, it inevitably becomes an idealist morass, which always funnels back to god & bourgeois capitalism in the dead-end form of the Democratic party in the US.

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Playing the Trump Card

Fake News has now become a buzzword. It comes from the common understanding among literate people that all the news we see, read & hear are lies made to serve nefarious interests. The corporations that control these outlets benefit from these lies, so it’s perfectly reasonable to presume that all this is propaganda. It fits the facts as all evidence confirms this thesis.

The news has always been fake. Capitalism does have its well-thought-out niches, and propaganda is most definitely one of them. The reason that corporate news is broadly recognized & despised is the level of irrationality it has now reached. There is very-little-to-nothing that is useful to consumers, as far as reporting facts go. As for editorial commentary, it’s gutter grade journalism across the board.

This means working people now turn off & tune out corporate. This is done in all sorts of ways. Many have dumped cable/satellite TV (cord cutters), and moved to ‘alternative’ news & information sources on the Internet. Many also rely on social media, as a vehicle to discuss issues in dedicated forums and share through Facebook. Facebook is undoubtedly the social media king, as most major sports, entertainment & political news forums connect with it, so ideas can be shared quickly. They also can be censored, by the controlling interest. Mark Zuckerberg is the owner of this all-powerful medium, even though it is really (photo below) Shawn Fanning’s Napster peer-to-peer idea revised.

Quick history lesson: Shawn Fanning was a college drop out who had a genius idea to revolutionize the world through free music sharing back when the Internet was new to most of us. It quickly went viral, and then came under attack from the record industry (RIAA). Corporate music recruited shills (in the form of Metallica [below] & Dr. Dre), to turn public opinion against Napster, despite their willingness to work with artists on a model that would pay them.

The reasons were: 1) it never is about paying the artists, it’s about the record companies getting their money; and they were getting shut out & overrun so they tied everything up in court and now we have iTunes & Pandora– which suck compared to Napster; and 2) Ivy leaguers are supposed to own all-powerful social media platforms, not working class prodigies.

After Napster was killed in court, Fanning’s partner Shawn Parker (with Fanning above) eventually found Mark Zuckerberg (below) and together they created Facebook, which has many of the same original ideas in site construction & content sharing. That’s how a genius gets cut out, diminishing human society.

Getting back to fake news, anyone can see how social media can be a platform for sharing content (revolutionary), while also being a major player in the fake news onslaught (reactionary). This is done through its manipulation of trending on a macro scale, but can also be individualized with precise targeting for anyone. Reach can be cut, by simply not posting it to other feeds– even when requested. Also fake stats on visitors, activity, likes, comments & censoring messages are common tactics. There are definite class forces behind this.

All this leads to Donald Trump, who has now earned the title “Commander-in Chief,” and the media praise he so desperately covets. As discussed earlier, Trump is more of a celebrity than a politician, so playing to his vanity is always the correct move in manipulating him. It is clear that Sean Spicer is his mouthpiece, and he plays the crucial role of Joseph Goebbels as propaganda minister.

Just as in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s, both Trump & Spicer are allowed to say the foulest, most ignorant words imaginable and the media barely blinks an eye, and never demands serious explanation or accountability. With the entire mass media we have thorough corruption, combined with a severe case of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

The fact that nuclear war is being contemplated behind closed doors, with no discussion in the media [!] is the height of ridiculousness. The fact that Donald Trump can say whatever he wants to whomever, and it doesn’t mean a thing, is a serious problem. Yet the media reassures us that everything will be fine, as warships move in on their next attack target.

There are now several flashpoints (Syria, North Korea, Ukraine…) that could set off a shooting war with a major nuclear power. This ends in mutually assured destruction (MAD). Any time this Black Hand (deep state) needs aggression, they can now play the Trump card. This is no longer doom & gloom prophecy, this is materialist analysis of our historical situation. Human society must find & rally around its best elements to avoid a cruel & horrible end.

This is only possible though a socialist transformation of society, into one that eliminates privileged classes & social inequality. It is precisely these class forces that are driving a desperate deep state apparatus. The qualitative change in media propaganda is a measure of their crisis, and also an indication of their ruthlessness and lack of regard for any consequences.

Humans beings are smarter than Donald Trump, and must recognize en masse that he and his fascist cohorts, (along with the deep-state military-intelligence-Wall Street apparatus that is pulling every string), needs to be removed from power. This will only happen through mass action from a united international working class, armed with Marxism & the dialectical method.

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Reuters Reversed

Key:
US & Syria are role-reversed
Russia = second-largest nuclear power
China = third-largest nuclear arsenal and second-largest economy

      1. Kararak - Ric Size

 

Reuters: U.S. fires missiles at Assad airbase; Russia denounces ‘aggression’
Fri Apr 7, 2017 | 9:09am EDT
By Steve Holland, Andrew Osborn and Tom Perry | PALM BEACH, Fla./MOSCOW/BEIRUT  [1]

Syria fired cruise missiles on Friday at an American airbase from which President Bashar al-Assad said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched, the first direct Syrian assault on the US government in six years of war. In the biggest foreign policy decision of his presidency so far, Assad directly targeted the US military for its alleged role in a poison gas attack that killed at least 70 people. The second-largest nuclear power called the Syrian strikes an illegal aggression.

Back to reality for one sentence: This catapults Damascus (the oldest city in human civilization) into deeper alliance with the second-largest-nuclear-power in the world, which has already military advisers on the ground, aiding its fight against CIA-led covert operations mixed with radical Islam.

“Weeks of previous attempts at changing Trump’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically,” Assad said as he announced the attack from his resort home, where he was meeting the president of the third-largest nuclear arsenal and second largest economy. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack,” Assad said of Tuesday’s chemical weapons strike, which his countries blame on Trump’s forces. “No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”

Syrian officials said that the strike was a “one-off” intended to deter future chemical weapons attacks, and not part of a wider expansion of Syria’s role in the US war. But the swift action is likely to be interpreted as a signal to the second-largest nuclear power, as well as all others where Assad has faced foreign policy tests in his presidency, that he is willing to use force. “This clearly indicates the president is willing to take decisive action when called for,” Syria’s Secretary of State told reporters. “I would not in any way attempt to extrapolate that to a change in our policy or our posture relative to our military activities in America today. There has been no change in that status.” Even without any promise of more Syrian action, the strikes could embolden Trump’s enemies, after months when Syrian deep state officials appeared to grow increasingly resigned to him staying in power.

The US government has denied that US forces were behind the gas attack, but Syria has dismissed their explanation that chemicals leaked from a [covert-ops/al-Nusra Front] weapons depot after an air strike. The US army said the Syrian attack killed six people at its air base near the city. It called the strike “blatant aggression” and said it made Syria a “partner” of “terrorist groups” including Islamic State. Springfield governor told media the death toll was seven. American television later said nine civilians were killed in towns near the base. There was no independent confirmation of civilian casualties.

The second-largest nuclear power suspended communication with Syrian forces designed to stop planes colliding over the US, one of the few direct forms of cooperation since the two rivals began flying combat missions in the same air space for the first time since the Cold War.

A frigate from the second-largest nuclear power carrying cruise missiles sailed through the Florida Keys into the Gulf of Mexico, a sign of their military presence in the area although there was no indication it was directly in response to Syrian action. Syria’s allies backed the decision to launch the strikes, with several countries describing it as a proportionate response to Trump’s suspected use of poison gas.  Several countries said they were notified in advance, but none had been asked to take part.

Global stocks off lows, oil rallies after U.S. missile strike on Syria
Fri Apr 7, 2017 | 8:37am EDT
By Vikram Subhedar | LONDON [2]

Oil prices held near one-month highs on Friday after Syria attacked a US air base but stocks and the Syrian pound recovered early falls when an official played down the risks of an escalation. The Syrian pound recouped all of its losses against a basket of major currencies and was last trading little changed. Major stock index futures were flat.

Syria fired dozens of cruise missiles at a US air base from which it said a chemical weapons attack was launched this week, an escalation of the Syrian military role in America that swiftly drew sharp criticism from the second-largest nuclear power. A Syrian defense official told Al Jezeera the missile strike was a “one-off”, helping to calm market nerves.

“The Syrian missile strike on a US air base overnight caused a knee-jerk shift into safe havens, although the impact was moderate as it is being interpreted as a one-off proportionate response,” said Ian Williams, a financial strategist in Damascus. Oil prices hovered near one-month highs though prices pared some gains as there seemed no immediate threat to supplies. Brent crude futures which surged more than 2 percent after the Syrian attack, were last up 1.5 percent at $55.72 a barrel. The strength in crude oil lifted shares on major oil and gas producers in Syria, all up about 0.5 percent.

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What is NASCAR?

That’s a complex question, and this article can only be considered the “Cliff’s Notes” version.  What needs to be understood from the outset is that NASCAR controls everything you see and hear about them, so this is one of the few subjective analyses of this particular sport & its business model.

The best online tool for following a race is NASCAR Live Leaderboard, which tracks each driver’s position continuously. If your favorite driver isn’t being discussed (or when they go to commercial), simply mute the broadcast and watch the drivers juggle around on the leaderboard, it’s actually more fascinating and tells the story much better than MRN or Fox1.

Also download this form on race day from Foxsports/NASCAR, which has what you need to know about the cars in the field:

For most people, NASCAR is about the teams & drivers, so here’s a quick look at every significant 2017 team (large & small) and their drivers.  The primary sponsor is important because it tells you how each driver is branding themselves, along with their ability to bring in money.  Note that some drivers don’t have sponsors, which means they won’t be around very long.  The column formatting is: car number–driver–sponsor, with each team listed alphabetically downwards until the end. A photo (or two) is included for each team, along with a few notes for context. (R) stands for rookie.

No.                       Driver                         Primary Sponsor

Chip Ganassi Racing

1                   Jamie McMurray              McDonald’s
42                 Kyle Larson                       Target

This is probably the best second-tier team in NASCAR, with the best young driver in Kyle Larsen.

Circle Sport/MSG

33                   Jeffrey Earnhardt                    Little Joes Autos/ Curtis Key Plumbing

Jeffrey Earnhardt is the nephew of Dale, Jr.

Germain Racing 

13                   Ty Dillon (R)                           Twisted Tea

Ty Dillon is the younger brother of fellow NASCAR driver Austin Dillon (discussed below). He is the son of former driver Mike Dillon and grandson of Richard Childress (discussed below). Germain Racing is in technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.

Hendrick Motorsports

5                   Kasey Kahne                     Farmers Insurance
24                  Chase Elliott                      NAPA
48                  Jimmie Johnson               Lowes
88                  Dale Earnhardt Jr.            Axalta (DuPont rebranded)

This is NASCAR’s (Brian France’s) favorite team, because Dale Jr. is it’s biggest hero, and Jimmie Johnson it’s greatest champion.  Dale Jr. is the most influential driver in NASCAR, and I believe he should use that power to speak up (even more) on issues that affect the teams & drivers. Steve O’Donnell will listen to no one else.

JTG Daugherty Racing

37                  Chris Buescher                Bush’s Beans
47                  A. J. Allmendinger            Kroger

JTG Daugherty Racing is a lower-tier team owned by advertising executive Tad Geschickter and his wife Jodi, along with former NBA star Brad Daugherty.

Kroger’s ClickList is killing Whole Foods [1]. Kroger is a regional discount grocer that now carries organic products and offers home delivery.  Many upper-middle class snoots wouldn’t be caught dead in a Kroger’s, but they will have them home deliver at 15-20% savings over Whole Foods’ organics. This may put Whole Foods out of business, and it proves that smart advertising in racing pays off.

Leavine Family Racing

95                 Michael McDowell           K-Love

According to Wikipedia, “K-Love is a contemporary Christian music radio programming service in the United States operated by the Educational Media Foundation. As of March 2013, the network’s programming is simulcast on over 440 FM stations and translators in 47 states.”   I’ve said all I need to say about Michael McDowell as a driver– here.

Richard Childress Racing

3                   Austin Dillon                      DOW
27                 Paul Menard                     Menards
31                 Ryan Newman                 Caterpillar

IMO, this team is the most mid-range team in NASCAR. None of these drivers are considered elite, but none are consider poor either. One of these drivers may make the Chase in a given season (16 drivers do in the current format), but none are considered to be potential Chase finalists when NASCAR reaches Homestead. Admittedly, I kinda like Austin Dillon’s cowboy shtick (below).

Rick Ware Racing

51                 Timmy Hill                         Bubba Burger/Go-Parts.com

Not much sponsorship here.  It’s like when Scotty beams Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the other guy down; and there are only three transports back to the USS Enterprise. Take a wild guess on who won’t be around very long, unless he finds some money in a hurry?

Front Row Motorsports

34                 Landon Cassill            Love’s Travel Stops
38                 David Ragan               Camping World

Landon Cassill (above) on how drivers get paid: “You probably see drivers bring in anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the team’s revenue, depending on the prize money and sponsorship they get. Honestly, every deal is different. There’s drivers in the Cup Series that make anywhere from five percent to 50 percent of the prize money. But the drivers who make 50 percent probably don’t have any type of salary. There are drivers who make five percent who have some sort of salary. It just depends on the deal.”

Go Fas Racing

32                Matt DiBenedetto                    Can-Am/Kappa

Matt DiBenedetto #32 (pictured below) made the switch from BK Racing to Go FAS for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Can-Am/Kappa, Keen Parts, Visone RV, Really Cheap Floors & Cosmo Motors are all smallish sponsors, but DiBenedetto keeps picking up more & more, which proves he’s respected by racing fans & the business world. Switching to a better team really helps, as BK Racing is considered to be near or at the bottom of the NASCAR barrel.

Richard Petty Motorsports

43                     Aric Almirola                      Smithfield

In 2010, Medallion Financial Corp., a Wall Street investment group led by NYC taxi tycoon Andrew Murstein (with Petty above), became majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM). Before the acquisition, RPM reportedly had debts of $90+ million and was on the brink of bankruptcy. Medallion purchased RPM for $12 million, after previous owner George Gillett spent $120 million in 2007.  Today Richard Petty Motorsports fields only the #43 car, driven by Aric Almerola. They own two NASCAR charters (explained below), but are leasing one out in 2017.  RPM remains in the lower-tier of competitive teams–  in terms of driver skill, speed under the hood, and ability to attract new sponsors.

Roush Fenway Racing

6                 Trevor Bayne                     Advocare
17               Ricky Stenhouse Jr.          Fastenal

John W. Henry (above) is one of three owners of this team, as well as primary owner of Boston Red Sox since 2003. Trevor Bayne (below) has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  His primary sponsor is Advocare– a pyramid scheme [2].

Stewart-Haas Racing

4                  Kevin Harvick                    Jimmy John’s
10                Danica Patrick                   Aspen Dental
14                Clint Bowyer                       N/A
41                Kurt Busch                         Monster Energy

Gene Haas (above) went to prison for tax evasion. This team let Nature’s Bakery slide on unpaid bills for too long, and now they are trying to collect in court. We all know how that goes. Currently half of the SHR drivers (#41 Kurt Busch– who won the Daytona 500, and #14 Clint Bowyer) don’t have consistent sponsorship.

The #10 car always has a sponsor. With all the empty seats and declining ratings for NASCAR, that’s what counts most.

Here is the average NASCAR attendance from 2007-2012, and as you can see it has steadily declined every year. Beginning in 2013, NASCAR stopped releasing its attendance figures.

Year     Average Attendance       Compared to Prior
2012             99051                        -0.55%
2011             99602                        -2.49%
2010            102149                       -9.50%
2009             112877                      -8.25%
2008             123029                      -5.58%
2007             130305                        N/A

Team Penske

2                  Brad Keselowski                Miller Lite
22                Joey Logano                      Shell-Pennzoil

Roger Penske (above) is one of the biggest names in racing & NASCAR. This is a tight outfit, and the best-run team in my opinion.  They have fast cars every year, with two elite drivers who work together and know how to win without wrecking others. Sponsorship is not an issue, as these are two of the most recognized & respected drivers in NASCAR.

Wood Brothers Racing

21                 Ryan Blaney                     Motorcraft

This is the oldest active team in NASCAR, having fielded cars since 1950, always Ford.

BK Racing

23                 Joey Gase/Gray Gaulding (R)     SunFrog.com
83                 Corey LaJoie                                 RMC Events

SunFrog is online t-shirt printing operation, established ~3 years ago. It looks similar to another famous .com giant, but is missing a few elements: like a global vision & an iconic spokesperson. RMC Events was established in 1999, and is an event staffing firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, with two additional regional offices in Charlottesville.

In 2013, Corey LaJoie (above) was placed on indefinite probation and instructed to attend sensitivity training by NASCAR, after tweeting that the TSA should perform a body cavity search on a man wearing a turban.  Apparently it didn’t help as LaJoie got into Reed Sorenson’s # 55 car, spinning him into the inside wall during qualifying for the Daytona 500 this past February.  LaJoie was unapologetic. “If that had been my mom, I probably would spin her out, too, to make the Daytona 500,” [3]

Furniture Row Racing

77                 Erik Jones (R)                    5-Hour Energy
78                 Martin Truex Jr.                  Bass Pro

Barney Visser (above w/ Martin Truex, Jr) is the owner, and this is the only NASCAR team based west of the Mississippi. They are in Denver, CO; where most others are based somewhere in North Carolina. They are in alliance with JGR, and are leasing a charter to accommodate rookie driver Erik Jones.

Joe Gibbs Racing

11                 Denny Hamlin                     Fed Ex
18                 Kyle Busch                          M&M’s
19                 Daniel Suárez (R)                Arris
20                 Matt Kenseth                       Dewalt

I respect Joe Gibbs who coached the Washington R-words to 3 Super Bowl titles with three different quarterbacks in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  He is a genius at organizing a winning team. The problem is he goes too far in pushing the rules concerning the safety of his athletes and the other competitors around them. JGR was a major violator in the lug nut controversy that raged during the 2016 season, as only 3 or 4 were being screwed onto each tire to speed up pit stops.  In general this team has the most speed because their manufacturer (Toyota) and its engineers do the best job. As for these drivers, several are too aggressive, much too often; and always blame others (or deny responsibility) when they cause wrecks (Hamlin below).

TriStar Motorsports

72                 Cole Whitt                         Bad Boy Mowers

TriStar Motorsports is a lower-tier team that competes full time.  You would never know this by listening to MRN (photo below) or watching Fox1.  Anytime a Cole Whitt is being talked about in a good way, a nebulous NASCAR Black Hand throws static into the broadcast (which has a 7-second delay– minimum), and the commentary becomes inaudible to the listener. NASCAR wants money, before it talks any team up.

TriStar Motorsports owner is Mark Smith– no Wikipedia bio available.  Fun fact: Cole Whitt calls himself the Ginger Lion (photo below).  Unfortunately, the last Cole Whitt website update (as of this publication) was May 6, 2016 @ Talladega.

Premium Motorsports

15                 Michael Waltrip                                            N/A
55                 Reed Sorenson/Derrike Cope                     N/A

Premium Motorsports was formerly called (photoed above) Jay Robinson Racing.  This was their controversial sponsor last summer at Texas Motor Speedway:

Jay Robinson said, “We’ve got advertising space to sell. Our revenue stream is our NASCAR purse money and sponsorship money. (A couple sponsors) wanted to do it and we weren’t against it.”

The ‘couple sponsors’ were none other than Jay Robinson and co-owner of Premium Motorsports–Michael Osbon .  No Wikipedia bio available for either, which again is typical for these murky NASCAR-affialited officials.

Reed Sorenson #55 runs weekly with no sponsor.

NASCAR was founded and owned entirely by “Big Bill” France, with his son Brian (above) inheriting it in 2003.  Brian France NASCAR CEO spoke at a Donald Trump campaign rally last summer, stating: “I’m here to tell you he wins with his family. Any of his children, you’d be proud to have them as part of your family. That’s how I judge a winner, how somebody manages their family, raises their family.”

NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip, Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Chase Elliott, and retired driver (father) Bill Elliott also appeared at the same rally to endorse Trump.  This is the deep reactionary underbelly of NASCAR, which is seldom discussed in mass media.

Today NASCAR is Brian France and a band of good ‘ol boys who have struck it rich, and are being devoured by capitalism. The staged-race format, which was rolled out at Daytona for its annual crown jewel event, has proven a disaster from a driver & fan popularity standpoint, but it stays in effect because it’s what the sponsors are demanding. More TV timeouts are what the sponsors have called for, and the drivers & teams are compelled to keep quiet, or they face heavy NASCAR sanctions. NASCAR writers on Fox & ESPN.com are nothing more than well-greased promoters.

The drivers have been grumbling during their stage win interviews. They don’t like having to work their way up through the field again, since everyone pits on a caution flag which jumbles the field. That takes much of the shine off an early-stage win. The fact remains: the only win that matters is stage 3– traditionally known to racing fans as the checkered flag.

Forbes on NASCAR’s new staged-race format: “The new format will break races into segments, with points awarded to the top finishers of each stage in addition to the race winners. More opportunities to win points should certainly generate more aggressive racing. And if that means more crashes and subsequent driver feuds, then all the better, since that could turn some of the sport’s young up-and-comers into the sort of household names needed to fill the shoes left behind by retiring stars.”  [4]

Brian France has shown he is a Donald Trump admirer, and that fits because he’s much like the current president of the US in that he’s ignorant, racist, and can’t focus on anything serious.  Therefore he relies on key advisors to guide him clear of the rocks. Brian France’s consiglieres are Steve O’Donnell & Steve Phelps (above), who  were handed the keys to NASCAR back in 2014, and have since taken control [5].

Racing is a team sport, as engineers, mechanics, crew chief, spotter & pit crew all have to work together for a driver. It’s around $500,000 to $1+ million per week to field an elite car in it’s top Cup Series.  NASCAR’s longtime premiere series sponsor Sprint bailed, and in 2017 it’s now Monster Energy drink.

This is a major step down in money and prestige for NASCAR, as Sprint paid $50 million/season over 12 years, and Monster Energy is paying $20 million/season on a 2-year deal. This goes along with the empty stands and declining television ratings which have hit this sport hard since the Great Recession began in 2007-08. Merchandise sales in NASCAR fell from more than $2 billion in 2008 to $1 billion in 2010.

The Daytona & Talladega infield is working class, and they can’t afford to go to these spectacles as often anymore. They are also starting to care less, which is even more problematic.  Commentary from hardcore NASCAR fans on ESPN.com is illuminating, and often richer in content than their published articles, because you hear these realities in their posts.  NASCAR’s legion of apologists keep trying to paper all this over, but facts are stubborn..

NASCAR’s grid has been trimmed to 40, leaving only a four non-guaranteed starting positions open for non-charter teams at each race. This new charter system is the only ticket for gaining access to the tens-of-millions of dollars in NASCAR prize money. This has forced these 19 teams into partnership with NASCAR, and the specific terms aren’t to be made public.

Charters can be sold, and here are NASCAR’s 2017 charter teams. Team charters haven’t blown up in value like NASCAR expected, trading in the $2-$4 million range. NASCAR was hoping for $10+ million per charter.

International Speedway Corporation (ISC) is an entity whose business is the ownership and management of NASCAR and IndyCar race tracks. Founded by ‘Big Bill’ France, Sr. in 1953 for the construction of Daytona International Speedway (below), and in 1999 merged with Penske Motorsports.  Basically:  ISC = NASCAR = Brian France.

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) owns and manages racing facilities that host NASCAR & IndyCar Series. Bruton Smith (photo below) began building SMI in the 1950s. The company’s headquarters are located at Charlotte Motor Speedway. SMI owns nine racing facilities and Performance Racing Network (PRN).

NASCAR has a ten-year, $8.2 billion TV package with Fox & NBC that runs through 2024. NASCAR distributes 65% of their television earnings to the tracks, over half of which Brian France directly owns.  Around 25% of the TV money is disbursed to the teams through purses, and 10% goes directly to NASCAR.  What this means is the drivers and their teams are having to split 25% of the total revenues (which they create) in order to pay themselves, while the owner(s) take 75%.

NASCAR continues to operate under the same 65-25-10 formula it developed when it consolidated TV rights in 1999.  The track split of 65% of the TV revenue is unequally tiered, based on the whims of (who else?) Brian France. The twelve tracks he owns under International Speedway Corporation get the largest cut of NASCAR television money.  Speedway Motorsports Inc. (Bruton Smith & son) owns nine tracks, but gets lower-tiered payments from NASCAR, which has become a bone of contention within the industry.

For teams & drivers to have any negotiating leverage against NASCAR, they need to form a labor union.  As illustrated already, the level of political consciousness among NASCAR participants is very low, and as far as NASCAR media goes– it’s a gaggle of idiots talking about nothing.  NASCAR regards its competitors as independent contractors and the drivers have no collective bargaining rights.  A point of history: in 1961, “Big Bill” France blacklisted Curtis Turner and Tim Flock (both cars below). These two drivers led a rank-and-file attempt to unionize NASCAR. [6].

2016 Top NASCAR driver incomes: includes salary, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and licensing:

Jimmie Johnson   $21.8 million
Dale Earnhardt, Jr   $21.1 million
Denny Hamlin   $15.2 million
Kyle Busch   $15.0 million
Kevin Harvick   $13.9 million
Carl Edwards   $12.3 million
Danica Patrick   $12.2 million
Tony Stewart   $12.0 million

Dale Earnhardt, Jr and Danica Patrick have the highest endorsement incomes in NASCAR. The top twelve drivers in the sport made $168 million in 2016. NASCAR’s top-12 earners all came from the four power teams (JGR, SHR, Hendrick & Penske) which have captured 12 straight Cup titles.

In conclusion, the future for NASCAR looks bleak, which only means it’s an accurate reflection of the U.S. & global economy as a whole. Income is down from its traditional source, as it’s fanbase can no longer afford it.  Therefore television becomes the predominant revenue stream, with all the corporate interest it brings.  Racing fans aren’t interested in mid-race driver & crew chief interviews, they simply want a fair race with traditional continuity.

As for labor, the drivers and their teammates need to come together and collectively bargain a better revenue sharing agreement, by making it a labor issue.  Most leagues are around a 50/50 split with ownership. NASCAR insists on secrecy, so it can bluff & blow-hard it’s way through every negotiation with the drivers. The team owners are all France family.  These caporegimes keep the drivers & crew in line, with most drivers (even stars) very content to just be racing in NASCAR, even while knowing they’re being ripped off [7].

As we can see, capitalism has ruined ‘stock car racing,’ and honestly this hasn’t been anything close to stock parts for a long time.  No, this is high-tech, corporate-controlled propaganda in-your-face for 36 weekends of the year.  NASCAR fans were once mesmerized by what they saw, because it was of their own.  Now they watch at home in frustration & anger, trying to figure all this out.  Better not tell them; it might start a revolution.

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The Pied Piper & Rats (2016)

The black rat, also known as the ship rat, roof rat or house rat originated in tropical Asia, and has spread worldwide via man. Rats are generalist omnivores, meaning they eat anything, including their own. The rat is a complex pest, defined as one that influences the environment in both harmful and beneficial ways. In many ways rats are a barometer of human civilization. That’s what makes Morgan Spurlocks’s latest film, Rats (2016) so intriguing, while being taboo for political apologists.

Black rats are largely confined to warmer areas, having been supplanted by the brown rat in the cooler climates of Western civilization. Brown rats are larger, more-aggressive, eating a wider variety of food, while being more resistant to weather extremes (favoring burrowing), making them ideally-adapted to northern urban environments. The black & brown rats, along with mice, are the most widespread mammalian species on earth.

Rats have a very high birth rate, quickly adapting & reproducing to take advantage of their food supply while eliminating competitors. For instance, rats will feast on the eggs & hatchlings of forest birds, which on isolated islands often have no other predators. Rats are believed to have caused between 40-60% of all seabird & reptile extinctions, with 90% of those occurring on islands. [1]

Rats reached all these remote islands as stowaways on human-carrying vessels, so thus it is man who is actually responsible for these mass extinctions. The rats are simply doing what they do, which is dominating their domain during nocturnal hours. Rats forage after sunset by sampling all available food. This maintains a dynamic diet, balancing nutrient intake, while avoiding over-intoxication of lethal compounds. Their ability to handle trace amounts of toxins has led to increased genetic resistance.

When traps & poison are set out, the rats act as an organization, as the alpha-male will send a weaker rat to investigate. If this rat dies, the area is marked in urine, and the rats will thereafter avoid it. This intelligence & adaptability ensures species survival. Rats use an acute sense of hearing & smelling to detect danger and quickly evade predators. Rats are the ultimate mammalian survivors, something homo sapiens need a lesson in.

It is primary to understand that rats will never be completely exterminated, as long as this planet is habitable for life.  Therefore, humans must learn to coexist with rats, in a way that respects hygiene & health concerns, as well as the reality that rats exist. Also, it would be helpful if more people understood that there are places in the world where the rat is revered. Karni Mata Temple in Deshnoke, India is known as the Temple of Rats, for the ~25,000 black rats that live in there.

In much of India & southeast Asia, rats have been eaten as a meat/protein staple for millenia.

Who is to say they are wrong?  Everything has it’s value.

Here in North America, urban brown rats live in the sewers, and carry ectoparasites such as fleas, which often contain pathogens such as bubonic plague, typhus, leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis and trichinosis. Rat infestations occur around pipes, storm drains, inside walls and ALWAYS near food garbage. Rats have the ability to swim up sewer pipes into toilets, and can tread water for three days. Each litter has 8-12 kittens. Rats can mate at age two months, produce a new litter every two months, and live for about a year.

Effective rat control requires rational city planning & adequate funding. Too much of major US-city (mafia run) waste disposal is under the catch-all of ‘garbage pickup’ which really needs to be separated into composting, recycling, and trash disposal. Composting reduces curbside food waste, which always attracts rats, and is the first sensible step in urban pest control. These sewer rats are living in human urine & feces, and are being brought into human proximity on a daily basis; leading to a public health crisis, with harmful bacteria spread through rat feces, saliva and urine.

Littering, along with curbside-overnight garbage disposal from residences, stores, subways & restaurants contributes to the sustenance of urban rats. Rats congregate in colonies of 30-50, and live only a few hundred feet from their food source. Rats can squeeze through a gap the size of a quarter because their skull is not plated together like most mammals, so it can change the shape of its head to squeeze through.

Rats have caused more economic damage and human suffering than any other vertebrate pest, according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Rats destroy an estimated 20-30% of the world’s food supply every year—by feeding on it or contaminating it.

When easy food sources are removed, rat populations are capped, and their decline begins. Rats will cannibalize themselves when they get desperate enough, at which point more humane & time-proven extermination methods can be introduced on a wider scale. The best way to get rid of problem rats is using dogs.

The problem of city rat infestations is an indictment of capitalism, which explains the negative reviews for Morgan Spurlock’s latest documentary film, Rats [2] [3]. Too much of the NYC rat problem is political corruption, with narrow-minded elitists misinforming & understating the danger to the public. The official estimate of ~2 million rats in NYC, with a human population of 8.4 million is ludicrous, as this audit proves. There are surely far more rats than human residents, probably by several times– at least.

The NYC Health Department is notorious for its corruption, with bribery and extortion of residents & business owners being public knowledge [4]. This political mafia rules the Big Apple, and they are the primary reason rats have taken such a big bite out of it [5]. In 2010, the city cut its rodent control programs by $1.5 million as part of an overall $2 billion in budget cuts for social services.

Rat indexing inspectors have found signs of rats on the property deemed ‘rat-free’ in all its compliance inspections, even in cases where the landlord paid for cleanup & extermination.  According to the Rat Indexing Map, almost every block in Manhattan has one or more buildings that have rat infestations.

The problem of rats comes down to human intelligence, cleanliness and our willingness to work together.  When not enough people practice and live by these values, we get rats everywhere.  It is our duty as human beings in a civilized society to identify all the rats, and get this epidemic under control before they overrun us.

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Fascists & Spies: Reuters Revised

On Tuesday, Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano, reported that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) which monitors overseas electronic communications, had helped Obama to wire tap Donald Trump after his victory in November.

White House Spokesman Sean Spicer repeated Andrew Napolitano’s statements to the media on Thursday, then after, pledged not to repeat these allegations anymore.

The Daily Telegraph, citing unnamed intelligence sources [always], reported on its website that Spicer and Trump’s national security adviser Lieutenant General Herbert McMaster had made formal apologies to Britain.

GCHQ, based in a futuristic building located in western England, is one of three main British spy agencies alongside the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service and the MI5 Security Service.

GCHQ has a close relationship with the NSA/CIA, as well as with the eavesdropping agencies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand in a consortium called “Five Eyes.”

Trump, who became president in January, tweeted earlier this month that his Democratic predecessor had wiretapped him during the late stages of the 2016 campaign.

On the “Fox & Friends” program, Napolitano said that rather than ordering U.S. agencies to spy on Trump, Obama had obtained transcripts of Trump’s conversations from GCHQ so there were “no American fingerprints” on it. [1]

      1. RIDICULOUS - Ric Size

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