Knowles' plate of Rockwell's Tycoon

Tycoon? I’m not even close, but frankly, becoming a wealthy tycoon was never on my list.

Yesterday morning, I was speaking to someone on the phone, who imagined I was a tycoon sitting in a grand, plush office. He asked, "What are you looking at right now?" In my home office, the views are:

  • out of the window beyond my computer
  • desktop ‘treasures’ at the back of my desk (not shown)
  • more fun stuff on my left desk (desk #2) and on my right desk (desk #3)
  • and framed pictures on my wall,

but, as it ended up, he was primarily interested in some details about my computer.

Frank Eves desktop

These days I have a very modest computer setup, but it does everything I want it to, plus it’s great fun and never gives me any grief.

Why the ‘Tycoon’ title? The picture is a Knowles’ plate featuring Norman Rockwell’s ‘Tycoon’. I found the plate when I was tidying my office.

Collective Good

"We, Not Just Me"

I was channel surfing when the words "collective good" grabbed my attention. Ends up, the author of a recent book was being interviewed.

That Used To Be Us book cover

Thomas Friedman, co-author of ‘That Used To Be Us’ is an American journalist who has won the Pulitzer Prize three times.

Thomas Friedman

The reason Thomas Friedman’s words, "collective good" resonated with me, is that consideration of what’s good for the country is what’s currently missing in the USA. I’m convinced that greedy conservatives are largely responsible for the current political stalemate.

Wouldn’t you agree that a significant percentage of America’s economy is based on consumer spending?

Q: Why aren’t consumers spending?
A: The top 1—2% of income earners have all the money and many potential consumers don’t even have a job.

Unfortunately, many misguided, billionaire-controlled, GOP/Republicans are selfishly avoiding their responsibility for job creation. Did you know that:

  • most American corporations are enjoying record profits
  • most corporations are not hiring

Why do Republicans still want to "give these so-called job creators a tax break"?

Clearly, reducing spending is only part of the equation, corporations and the rich need to pay their share. It’s past time to consider the collective good and get America back to work.

I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to suggest that the American Dream in play. What does Thomas Friedman think? You might enjoy the following video that features an interview with Thomas Friedman:

>> Order ‘That Used To Be Us’


Selfish Conservatives

Selfish conservatives: Are all conservatives selfish?

In the last quarter century,
80% of income gains, accrued to the top 1% of individuals.

Right now, conservatives in the U.S. are selfishly attempting to hang on to a record low tax rate. The Republicans claim to be concerned about the deficit and debt, but, thus far, they have been unwilling to pay their fair share to help their country survive a financial crisis.

Today we’re witnessing worldwide financial turmoil. Stock markets are watching billions of dollars in equity disappear, presumably in response to S&P downgrading the USA’s credit rating from AAA rating to an AA+.

Q: Why was the U.S.A.’s credit rating downgraded?
A: Enormous debt and politics

Ronald Reagan increased the debt limit eighteen times, yes, that’s 18 times; back then, there was no fuss. What would have happened if the GOP Republicans had not played their politically-motivated, brinkmanship card this time around?

Did Standard and Poor’s conclude “These selfish folks just don’t get it.”

Spending cuts alone will not get rid of the debt. The US Government needs more revenue. Fortunately, the USA, unlike Greece, is a very wealthy country. The best place to get more revenue is from folks who already earn a lot of money. The George W. Bush tax cuts must be allowed to expire, as was originally legislated.

Addendum: John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, recently stated, “I got 98% of what I wanted” in the Debt Ceiling negotiations. I wonder, did that include the subsequent S&P downgrade and the Dow plunging 630 points today?

Conservative Greed

Q: Is conservative greed synonymous with capitalism or just an unfortunate byproduct?

Greed is defined as an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth and power. It has long been classified as one of the seven objectionable vices that are commonly referred to as the Seven Deadly Sins.

Capitalism is defined as an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

The once enviable quest for wealth has recently spiralled out of control. I’m convinced that some rich people, banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions have become very greedy. My suspicion is that ‘dark market’ OTC derivatives and other complex financial products live on the razor’s edge between ethical and unethical (dishonest/fraudulent). It would appear that these ‘black box’ financial strategies have worked well for the top 1% of income earners. The top one percent suffered very little when the world’s economy melted down in 2008; in fact, many dramatically increased their fortunes shortly after the crunch. Sadly, the unconscionable games corporations and rich people played with financial liquidity devastated working people worldwide.

Michael Moore‘s ’Capitalism: A Love Story’ is food for thought.

In the last quarter century, a lack of regulatory oversight encouraged greedy, unethical business practices to flourish. The goal was profit, the means to that end no longer seemed to matter. When the inevitable happened and the banks and insurance companies were on the verge of collapse, who paid for the bailout? It certainly wasn’t the rich, their bonuses continued unabated.

Ethical Profit Is Good, Greed Is Not.

Right now, the news is dominated by the USA’s debt ceiling crisis. Unsurprisingly, the GOP/Republicans, the conservative political party that most American rich people belong to, is unwilling to end the costly George W. Bush tax cuts and to eliminate tax loopholes. I recently read that the richest four hundred people in the USA, worth over one billion each, paid an average of 16% in taxes. Rich folks are are currently enjoying the lowest tax rates in the last sixty years. Can the US afford to continue to fund tax cuts for top income earners by borrowing billions, every year, from China and Russia? Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan doesn’t think so.

It’s time for critical-thinking, ethical rich people to help. Get in touch with your Congressional Representative and instruct them to let the Bush tax cuts expire. You can’t possibly expect the working poor to shoulder most of the debt burden.

A: Greed is an objectionable vice and a regrettable side effect of the capitalist paradigm. Government oversight is necessary to prevent financial disasters.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke

Update (20110714):

Interesting numbers (SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES S.1323.PCS Findings):

1. The Wall Street Journal reports that median pay for chief financial officers of S&P 500 companies increased 19 percent to $2,900,000 last year.
2. Over the past 10 years, the median family income has declined by more than $2,500.
3. Twenty percent of all income earned in the United States is earned by the top 1 percent of individuals.
4. Over the past quarter century, four-fifths of the income gains accrued to the top 1 percent of individuals.

Note: You might be wondering, “Why is a Canadian commenting on US politics?” If the USA defaults the Canadian and world economies will be adversely affected. Yes, it really is that big a deal.

Aside: The conservative musketeers, Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers and wannabe musketeer Dick Armey that have been manipulating politics in the USA, have also infested Canadian politics.

New Website – First Post

Links to NewExtraIncome.com removed, please see below.

The post references the rich getting richer and leverage.

Update 20111103: I’m no longer involved with network marketing.

Success – Tony Robbins and Peter Guber

Tony Robbins and Peter Guber

Are you hungry for success? Peter Guber and Tony Robbins discuss success.

Have you read Peter Guber’s ‘Tell to Win’?

High Gas Prices = Record Profits

old gas pump

I would have thought that the correlation between high gasoline prices and record corporate profits was obvious to everyone. Apparently, that’s not the case, it seems that the oil companies have managed to befuddle quite a few people with their PR. Multinational corporations would have us believe that they are simply passing along their increased costs. My guess is that they also bump their profit margin every time they raise their prices. How often have they raised prices where you live?

High Gas Prices = Record Profits

Uprisings in the Middle-East are the latest excuse for increasing fuel prices.

I suspect gas corporations use a simple formula:

Public awareness of oil and gas supply = Excuse to raise prices

and we know, increased prices are always followed by record profits.

When I filled my tank, a couple of days ago, I paid $1.25 per litre, that’s $4.73 per US gallon (1 Gallon US = 3.785 litres). I live in Vancouver, BC. Gas prices per litre, across Canada, currently look like this:

  • 1.17 Victoria
  • 1.24 Vancouver (includes 15 cent per litre transit tax)
  • 1.00 Calgary
  • 1.12 Regina
  • 1.06 Winnipeg
  • 1.09 Toronto
  • 1.09.Ottawa
  • 1.17 Montreal
  • 1.18 Halifax
  • 1.22 Saint Johns
  • 1.11 Charlottetown

Gas prices aside, did you know that Canada exports more crude oil and petroleum products to the U.S.A. than any other country?

Q: Why do we put up with gas companies gouging us so that they can increase corporate and shareholder wealth?

Interestingly, I’ve heard that you can fill up your car in Venezuela for a couple of dollars, partly because the Venezuelan government heavily subsidizes gas prices.

There should be a middle ground between Venezuela and the damaging corporate greed evident throughout the capitalist world.

Profit is good, greed is NOT!

Old gas pump photo: Daryl Mitchell, Saskatoon SK Canada

Chinese New Year Canada

Chinese New Year Canada dragon

Centuries ago China was a largely agrarian society. The time after the harvest and before the next planting was a time to celebrate that coincided with the lunar New Year. Chinese New Year is a very big deal for Chinese, it’s like our Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s day rolled up into one holiday.

Celebrate Chinese New Year Canada: Wear red, eat prawns, fish, dumplings and angel hair seaweed. Consider gifting red envelopes of money (crisp new bills, an even number total, but not $4, $40, or $400) to Chinese children and those not yet married.

Kung Hei Fat Choy, to my Chinese friends.

2011 – the Year of the Golden Rabbit – 3 February 2011

The Rabbit is the symbol of the Moon (Yin of Heaven – magic).

Enjoy a peaceful year, recharge and rejuvenate. Throughout the year stare at the full moon every month to soak up white light and ‘moon dust,’ it will strengthen your ‘Chi’ (inner energy).

>> Chinese network marketers click here

Link deactivated, please see below.

Update 20111103: I’m no longer involved with network marketing.

Wealth – Grasshoppers Are the Real Elite

Elite palace

Over a decade ago, there was a terrific animated movie about the life of an ant colony, their grasshopper overlords and some other bugs; you know the film I mean. You’ll recall the grasshoppers were able to control the servile ants, until the ants finally wised up to the fact that there are far more ants than there are grasshoppers.

You’ve undoubtedly been paying attention to the recent restlessness in the Middle-East (West Asia/North Africa). Interestingly, the King of Saudi Arabia was one of the first to speak out against the “infiltrators” who in his view were “inciting a malicious sedition” in Egypt. I understand, but have no sympathy for, his self-interested fears.

Frankly, I suspect the majority of the population, in all countries, is restless. Worldwide, the rich have become disproportionately wealthier at the expense of the working poor and the middle-class. The Real Elite need to come to their senses. It’s not time for a repeat of the French Revolution or class warfare, but the world is in need of a new philosophy,

“Greed is NOT good.”

I agree with the following statement:

“Rather than just a handful of companies building up to become billion-dollar enterprises, we need millions of companies building million-dollar businesses. Or even 500,000 dollar businesses. Two hundred thousand-dollar businesses. 100,000-dollar businesses. 50,000-dollar businesses. 10,000-dollar businesses.” — Sramana Mitra