Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Office budget woes, dematerialization, and economic reality

An article from today's Morning Edition (an NPR.ORG radio program) discusses troubles the U.S. Postal Service is facing budget problems. It has a deficit of $8.5 billion or more, and that's led to cutbacks across the country. It means local post offices being shut down, deliveries reduced, etc. The NPR article focuses on personal impact it's meant because of jobs lost due to the cutbacks, but what about the other angles not covered by NPR? Do we really need the Post Office in an era where the Internet has taken over communications? And what about the positive environmental impact from shifting communications to the Internet?

small_usps_truck.jpgObviously any business facing steep losses would have layoffs and reduction in business operation. The U.S. Post Office is run as a business, but is owned by the government and has different imperatives than normal businesses. Cuts to the specific Post Office they focus on (East Cleveland) will save the Postal Service $200,000, reduce transportation costs, etc. In a way this is no different than a department store chain, like K-Mart who went out of business a few years ago, closing stores and laying off workers. Except that this is one of those vital government services. The impact extends to East Cleveland's city budget, the workers losing their jobs collectively paid $100,000 in taxes, making it harder on East Cleveland to stay afloat.

Post Office spokesman Victor Dubina is quoted saying "The popularity of online bill-paying and email" have cut postal delivery rates back to 1960's levels. Tough choices have to be made and if they don't make tough changes required to keep the organization viable, then the whole of the Postal Service will collapse. Sounds like any business leader facing a revenue collapse and the need to shore up corporate finances.

Internet-map_0.gifThe move to Internet communications is Progress, in the form of electronic digitization of what used to be done with paper and delivered by humans driving postal trucks. A side effect of the Internet is this effect upon the Postal Service. If we are able to do our communications over the Internet then why does the Postal Service need to continue existing?

dematerialization.jpgThis is an example of De-materialization, namely the ability of electrically digitized communication to replace the consumption of physical materials. Using the Internet to send e-mail means you didn't write a letter, put a stamp on it, and send it via the post office. Likewise, online shopping means the mail order catalog retailers don't have to send you a physical book, because their catalog is on-line.

Many resource impacts we used to do using paper delivered manually by humans are now unnecessary because of the Internet. Supposedly this is a good thing, because of the trees that aren't being cut down by the paper that isn't being consumed.

Fox News is about to launch a "newspaper" delivered via iPad. While I have huge concerns because it's Faux News doing this newspaper, it's another example of dematerialization. Rather than get news via a bundle of paper printed every day for manual delivery by humans to our doorstep, it's delivered as bits to a convenient portable electronic device. Many newspapers around the U.S. have shut down despite some of them having 100 years or more corporate history in delivering news to their audience. Why? Advertisers and readers shifted to the Internet, long before Rupert Murdoch and his Faux News organization decided to launch their virtual newspaper.

Forest destruction Sinar Mas_0.jpgIt's wonderful and very green, these resources not being consumed by these digitized communications. Rather than kill forests to deliver news, it's done electronically. And as the gizmos offer a better user experience we can expect more of this. Why do any of this by printing paper (killing forests) for manual delivery through the postal service (burning fossil oil, polluting the environment, etc)?

However, there are still some things that must be sent via physical mail. The carrot cake your Aunt Bettie makes for your birthday, for example, can't be delivered electronically. More practically many kinds of legal documents have to be done on physical material.

The U.S. Postal Service is in competition with several package delivery services (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc) and the USPS is not doing much to make itself relevant against those services. Obviously the popularity of FedEx etc indicates there is still value to stuff being sent to distant places. Enough value to keep FedEx/UPS/etc in business. The USPS woes are hence in part their own issue, that they haven't kept themselves relevant in the face of changing times. If the bread-and-butter of delivering bills and letters is dropping off because of "the popularity of online bill-paying and email," then shouldn't the USPS reshape themselves to serve their changing customer needs?

In the meantime - when someone clings to the existing way things are done, is that good or bad? Change has both positive and negative impacts.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Faith based global warming denier, Rep. Shimkus, seeks to be chairman of Energy and Commerce committee

You might have heard we recently had an election and that the House of Representatives now has a Republican majority. It means they're going to come in like barking attack dogs and seek to enact all sorts of business friendly nonsense. One of them is the guy speaking in the video below, Rep. Shimkus of Illinois.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) will seek the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship if Rep. Joe Barton (Texas) — the panel’s senior Republican — is denied the role when the GOP takes control of the House next year, an aide said. Rep. Barton is the one who apologized to BP during the hearings to berate BP for blowing up their oil well in the Gulf last summer. Yup.. the choice is between a Representative who apologizes to the massive polluter, because of the scrutiny our representatives were placing them under for having committed wrongful negligent operation of their oil platform .. the choice is between such a Representative, or one who is governing from "Faith" in the "infallible word" that is engraved in the Bible.

In the video below Shimkus is quoting from the Bible that God will never destroy the Earth again because of the agreement made after The Flood. And that therefore global warming must be a hoax. Uh... And this is the guy who might be overseeing the Committee who would be up to its eyeballs in determining things like Cap-And-Trade legislation?

The video simply reminds me of a blog post I wrote some time ago:- Establishing control over a society.

It establishes four steps to build control over a society through perpetuating a set of religious writings as the infallible word of God. Those who can lay claim to being official interpreters of the infallible word of God can then claim themselves to be speaking infallible truth.

And this is the sort of government which just got elected.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Tapeworm economy, looting the world financial system, by Catherine Austin Fitts

The following is a very important interview with Catherine Austin Fitts about the looting of not just America, but the world economy. It's being done by what she calls the "Tapeworm Economy". A tapeworm lives by causing a host organism to eat foods which benefits the tapeworm, but isn't necessarily helpful to the host organism. The analogy is that various organizations in the world economy are enticing the people into economic activity that's not healthy to individuals, but is healthy to the tapeworm-like organizations. The result is a looting of the world economy to benefit these tapeworm-like organizations.

Catherine Austin Fitts was the deputy Housing Secretary in the Bush41 Administration. Prior to that she was a high level Wall Street executive. Definitely an insider, but she since bailed out of that sort of role and has been working to educate and inform the population about the massive looting that's going on.

Catherine Austin Fitts: The Looting Of America part-1of5

Catherine Austin Fitts: The Looting Of America part-2of5

Catherine Austin Fitts: The Looting Of America part-3of5

Catherine Austin Fitts: The Looting Of America part-4of5

Catherine Austin Fitts: The Looting Of America part-5of5

Friday, November 5, 2010

Federal Reserve celebrates 100 years of dominating America

This week is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Federal Reserve.

It was formed during a meeting held, 100 years ago this week, at Jekyll Island in Georgia. To honor the 100th anniversary they are holding a meeting at the same Jekyll Island resort.

The video below starts at that point but goes on to rant a bit about how the Federal Reserve was invented to enslave the U.S. with a mountain of debt. That may be, or might not be. It is true that the U.S. is saddled with a mountain of debt but it's plausible the debt could be paid off if everyone were to focus on doing so. That is, including the Fed.

The system as it is seems geared to continue the debt situation. The people who make megabucks by loaning money to the federal government will want the current system to continue. The Federal Reserve is the largest entity to be making money by loaning money to the federal government. Clearly they want the current system to continue.

As it stands a huge portion of the national income (taxes etc) is siphoned directly into paying INTEREST on the national debt. When the Bush Administration (both of them) participated in raising huge amounts of debt, this directly benefited the bond holders, the largest of which is the Federal Reserve.

What it means is that a huge portions of our lives are wasted on paying the interest on the national debt. Paying interest on debt does nothing other than enrich the bond holders.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Interview - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Interview with John Perkins author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" - This is a very important set of information to hear and understand to get an inkling of what's really going on in our world. You may think the war in Iraq or Afghanistan is about some people who attacked a building in NYC a few years ago. Nope. It's part of a global game of controlling the resources of the world.

The interviewee is the author of an important book (linked at right) that exposes the line of work he used to hold.

An "economic hit man" is an especially placed person inserted into companies by a secretive group who uses both government and businesses to maintain the economic empire the global elite is using to control the world.

The work of an economic hit man is behind the scenes, producing slanted reports and otherwise pulling strings of control. The result is control over the worlds resources to benefit the rich.

Scroll down to find a pair of youtube video's with an extensive interview with John Perkins