Ned Pepper's Outrages

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Younger Female Generation

We admit to a profound sense of befuddlement concerning Gen X'er and Millennial females. Ned has no idea how they think, nor how they view the world. He can see that they can text, but other than that, admits defeat. A recent encounter illustrates his dilemma. At his local Market of Choice, where he was indulging himself in a coffee and trying to read his Economist, what should he see but a Millennial Female with infant in tow. Thinking nothing was amiss, he returned to the bad news in his Economist. But, moments later, another Millennial Female approached, with another infant in tow, It appeared from the conversation that the first female was seeking a nanny for her infant, explaining that her present nanny was leaving and that her life was "going to get crazy"over the summer. The second female replied in a supportive manner, and Ned was content to leave them to their business until he heard one ask the other if "a father was in the picture", to which the female replied "no." And, it turns out, a father wasn't "in the picture" for the other female as well. So, Ned was given to understand that both females had had illegitimate children and had no intention of getting married to the father, whomever that was. In fact, they were content to have nothing to do with him.
Ned wonders how these females can afford nannies? But more importantly, wonders in his most lugubrious 'get off my lawn!' persona, what has happened to this country, when young women can have multiple children by multiple men, and feel no guilt or remorse whatsoever, nor, apparently concern for the psychological wellbeing of the child as it grows up without a father, and begins to internalize a similar "lifestyle."
He begins to see how a Pygmy Narcissist Plutocrat like Romney might well be elected.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Foundations for billionaires

Ned's Economist this week features a story on a meeting of a few dozen plutocrats, deciding how to give away their ill-gotten gains: read, gains flayed from the backs of workers and shareholders. Buffett, Gates, Zuckerberg, et al have amassed such obscene levels of lucre that they are trying to find ways to 'give it away' for the 'benefit of society.' Now, no doubt many of Ned's friends think we should applaud such public spiritedness on the part of our betters: but we do not. Rather, we decry and condemn a society in which it can be thought appropriate to concentrate wealth in so few hands, and then trust them to give it away in the best interests of society. We feel they usually do a pretty poor job, often setting up 'foundations' headed by family members, toadies or lickspittles, which have the authority to give vast sums of money to causes that stroke the monumental egos of these plutocrats, and incidentally help them avoid taxes. For example, we understand that Gates is funding arcane programs in Africa while there are hundreds of thousands of men, women and children living under bridges and in shelters in this country. Moreover, our jails are filled to overflowing with so-called 'criminals' whose crime is smoking a gram of crack cocaine to escape their dreary, meaningless lives, here in The Greatest Country That Ever Was In The History Of The Universe. At the same time, states which have built these jails are slashing spending on higher education, and forcing our kids to take on trillions of debt, that they will likely never be able to repay. So, let's start trying the novel idea of fixing our own house first.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ina Drew's Take Home

Ina Drew, the 'financial genius' who until a few days ago was a Captain of the Universe and head of the London Office of JP Morgan Chase, has, as Ned's friends all know, had to quit after the firm took a $3 billion bath on some bets at the Dog Track that went wrong. But Ned advises his many friends not to feel too sad for Ms Drew, since she took home $14 million last year alone. Ned wonders whether it isn't better to pay 140 people $100,000 a year (so they pay maximum income taxes, and payroll taxes, but can still limp along on that wage) than to pay ANYONE $14 million a year. Just askin.'

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday at the Casino

Ned's tale today concerns Jamie Dimon, former Golden Boy of Sandy Weill at Citigroup (you remember Citi--the stock price was $53 a share in '07 and it's $2.90 today), and now "CEO" of JP Morgan Chase. Ned's friends will recall Ned's love for Chase, as the FDIC stole his Washington Mutual stock, along with that of hundreds of thousands of other innocent people, and gave it to Chase. Well, today Dimon announces that Chase has lost upwards of $2 billion during the last month or so trying to outsmart the market; in other words playing blackjack at the House Table. If they lose, well naturally the Feds will bail them out with our money (money added to the money they stole in the Wa Mu deal, but let that pass), because they are "too big to fail."
Ned's take on outfits like Chase, and Dimon too for that matter, is that these companies are engaged in legalized theft and they use their gains to pay obscene salaries to people like Dimon, who has made hundreds of millions since he was given the job at Chase. But even though Ned's contempt and disgust for these people is nearly boundless, how much more is his contempt and disgust for their rentboys, toadies, lickspittles and stooges in the Congress, mainly members of the GOP, which never met a Sneering Plutocrat's ass they weren't desperate to kiss (or worse). And who are striving tirelessly to cut their already low taxes to the bone.
Ned wishes his friends a very good day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ned's 'Take' on Global Governance

Ned's many friends know that he has a fondness for The Economist, considering it to be the only news magazine worth reading. He has, based on his careful attention to articles in The Economist over the past nearly one year, formulated a hypothesis on the state of global governance. It bodes ill for the future of 'democracy.' We believe that most countries are governed either by despots, religious fanatics, or corrupt forms of representative government. Given that there are more than 170 political entities on the planet, it is far easier to list those countries that Ned accepts as having reasonably competent, responsible governments. They are: Canada, Australia, a few countries in Western Europe, and perhaps Uruguay. The U.S. does not make the grade, since it is governed alternatively by sniveling Democrats or fanatical, hyper-religious sanctimonious hypocrites calling themselves Republicans.
Just consider some of the political entities on this planet: Mexico is corrupt and drug-ridden. Eastern Europe and Russia are corrupt and authoritarian. China is barely governable. Japan has been shown to be corrupt and incompetent. India's government is a corrupt laughing stock. Pakistan is nearly a Failed State, sinking into anarchy, but possessing nuclear weapons. Iraq is a preposterous creation of Western Imperialism. Israel is a religious autarky. Afghanistan is a society firmly wedded to the 7th century AD. The Middle East is clan-ridden and fatally corrupted by religion. If Greece were a business it would have been bankrupt by now. Lebanon would be fine if Syria and Hezbollah would leave it alone. Africa is a write-off, too busy destroying its environment and each other to be taken seriously. Many other countries are simply lines on a map, and are busily trying to subdue ethnic minorities fighting for their own state, like Thailand, Turkey and Sri Lanka.
Whom does that leave? Luxembourg. And it is ruled by a Grand Duke.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Privatizing public space

Ned's many friends know that one of his main irritants is narcissistic, self-centered people who try to convert public spaces like restaurants, parks, coffee shops and stores into their own personal space. He has written irate posts excoriating dog owners who let their mangy curs run wild in public parks, terrorizing children and geezers, all the while laughing and uttering such banalities as 'he's really friendly!'
Today Ned, after a rather challenging night, was having a cup of decent coffee at his local Market of Choice, together with a bran muffin (the bran muffin was his breakfast, not his companion), reading the NYT and minding his business, and trying to ignore a Millennial sitting at the next table who had a classic case of Oral Diarrhea. But this is not Ned's subject, since that occurrence is so commonplace as to be no longer worthy of mention. No, Ned takes to task today a mother ('mom') and a friend who were in nominal charge of a noisy infant. The friend would pick up the small creature and make it squeal. After about ten minutes of this irritating behavior, she put the thing down and it commenced running around the area, periodically screaming, at which both presumed parent and 'freind' derived much merriment.  Ned and many of those surrounding him were somewhat less amused, but, given the state of self-centeredness abounding today, he was not surprised. Ned thought of asking the woman if she was in the mistaken delusion of being in her own living room, but satisfied himself with wishing her in Hell, and turned his attention back to Paul Krugman.