Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
Thinking About Presentation
Despite all the brouhaha and positive spin, the US economy is far from fixed. The predicted economic and financial Armageddon appears not “avoided” but rather “delayed.” Presentations are at work in this critical misconception.
I’ve been thinking about presentation. Actually I’ve been thinking about 2009, Obama, the economy, jobs, bailouts, Bernanke, and St. Johns Lutheran Church. The year 2009 will always hold a special place in my memory. The two open heart surgeries and a “generally fatal” MRSA infection almost ended my stay here on planet Earth. During the ordeal, I experienced so much love, concern, and prayers from lifelong friends and from new readers of my column all around our lush little planet. Still... there were many events going on in 2009 which impacted literally everybody in the negative while much of the presentation was in the positive.
You see presentation is everything. It has been said that “truth is not based on reality... it is based upon perception.” Perception comes from presentation. One need only look to the events of 2009 to realize how true that observation was. On January 21st we installed our first African American President. With all the hoopla, bon mots (kind words), and visions of change, “we” felt optimistic that our problems were over --- or were soon going to be fixed. Barack Obama began his presidency with the highest of ratings --- on an undercurrent of change. He was even rewarded with the Nobel Peace prize for all the work and accomplishments he was yet to do. The presentation and packaging of him was incredible. Not quite twelve months later his ratings set a record for the largest decline of any US President during the first year of his administration. So... what happened? “Change” is looking more and more like “continuity.” Both are “C” words but what a difference they make to any presentation.
Despite all the brouhaha and positive spin, the US economy is far from fixed. The predicted economic and financial Armageddon appears not “avoided” but rather “delayed.” Presentations are at work in this critical misconception. Domestic net job losses are still running roughly a quarter of a million a month. If you don’t believe me, read the revised (downward) numbers which are buried in the tailings of the news media a couple of months later. The initial stories had been positioned on page one and at the top of the broadcasts. Unemployment/underemployment are acknowledged nationwide at just above 10%. Some cities and regions are showing rates in the 30%, 40% and 50% range. While our Rochelle area is actually having some growth on the jobs scene (with more local good news coming in 2010, trust me!), there are many families locally who are hurting big time.
The economy (no make that high finance, biggie banks, and Wall Street) avoided disaster in 2009. A bullet was dodged at a cost to the US citizenry of a TRILLION. (OK, make that several HUNDRED BILLION. I can play the presentation game, too.) The TARP program was aptly named, but not as the presented Troubled Asset Relief Program. A drop cloth used to cover up and protect the problems really sums up TARP quite well. Those few who truly benefited can be IDed and publicly named. Those few are paying back their bailout monies to enable their payment of CHRISTMAS and yearend bonuses. Many of these will exceed the lifelong earnings of the ordinary Joes and Johns in one “thanks for a great year” bonus to a fat cat. Meanwhile restructuring of the debt on underwater homes (where outstanding loan balances exceed the market value of the property) number in the thousands while numbers of submerged borrowers number in the tens of millions!
The naming of FED Chairman Ben Bernanke as Time magazine’s man/person of the year fits the power of presentation to a “T.” Ben did what he had too, to bailout and save the big boys; but just what has the FED done to help out the mortal masses. Interest rates for a bank’s borrowing from their regional Federal Reserve Bank stand at ZERO (OK, at .25%). Any loans made to the public reflect a “market rate” of 6%, 8%, or more. Don’t forget that some credit card rates just hit an APR of 79% to lock in a juice loan rate before the rate caps hit in January. Bernanke clearly deserves a special mention, but NOT so positively as Time magazine’s man/person of the year” to spin him ahead into 2010.
Sunday evening saw the Sunday School Christmas presentation at my home church of St. Johns in Creston. It was a fun presentation to watch. This was a Christmas that shouldn’t have been for me; and on Saturday, I actually turned 60! May GOD bless you one and all. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at email@example.com.
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This story was published on December 21, 2009.