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Forum Post: A few old ideas on how to help reverse the OBSCENE concentration of wealth.

Posted 1 month ago on June 17, 2014, 2:33 p.m. EST by StillModestCapitalist (162)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

If this seems out of date, that's because it is. I wrote it several years ago. Well before GM went bankrupt. But it's still relevant.

"Spend your money as wisely as possible. Especially in middle and lower class communities. Check the Fortune 500 list and limit your support of high profit/low labor industries (Hollywood, pro sports, energy, credit, pharmaceutical, cable, satelite, internet advertising, video, and music, cell phone, high fashion, jewelry, ect.). Cancel all but one credit card for emergencies only. Call the provider and demand a lower rate. Be persistent. You may get it. (By the way. I gave this piece of advice long before NBC. I'm not looking for kudos. I'm telling you that NBC is directly affiliated with the credit industry. They could have given you this piece of advice years ago. Instead, they stood by and allowed their parent company, sister companies, and network sponsors to RIP YOU OFF. Even now, they give the occasional 'good guy' financial advice only because they are pressured to do so. They carefully balance every piece of 'good guy' advice with their primary goal to GET YOUR MONEY. Which is why their 'good guy' advice is so often followed by a plug for one of their sister companies, sister channels, network sponsors, or coorporate partners. For example: They tell you to pay down your credit card debt. Good advice. They should have given it years ago. Then, they tell you to GET MORE CREDIT CARDS and use them. Bad advice. One week Jean Chatzky tells you to avoid the 'free credit report' scam because it is always followed by a monthly service charge. Good advice. They should have given it years ago. The following week she stands by as her paid fellow advisor Carmen Wong strongly implies for you to have your credit monitered on a monthly basis and praises a caller for doing so. Bad advice. This is actually a plug for one of their network sponsors, coorporate partners, or parent company. The praise is nothing but a psychological trick. DON'T FALL FOR IT. Don't take ANYTHING they say at face value. Instead, read between the lines. Carefully weigh every piece of 'good guy' advice given against their primary goal. THEY WANT YOUR MONEY.).

If you need a cell phone, then do your homework and find the best deal on a local pre-pay. You may be able to get one for as little as $10 a month. Don't text. The charge may seem low at the time but their profit margins are obscene. If you want home internet access, then check for a locally based provider. They can be found in nearly every city nationwide. Otherwise, use the least expensive big name provider, and share accounts whenever possible. If you need to search, then use the less popular search engines. They usually produce about same results anyway. Don't pay for any internet download. Their profit margins for such data transfers are obscene. Don't pay to see any blockbuster movie. Instead, wait a few months and rent the DVD from a local store, borrow it, or buy it USED. Then loan it to a friend or family member. If you prefer the outing, then choose a film produced by the lesser known studeos with lower paid actors. If you want to see a big name game or event, then watch it in a local bar, club, or at home on network TV. Don't buy any high end official merchandise and don't support the high end sponsors. If its endorsed by a big name celebrity, then don't buy it. If you can afford a new car, then make an exception for GM, Ford, and Dodge. If they don't increase their market share soon, then a lot more people are going to get screwed out of their pensions and/or benefits. Of course, you must know by now to avoid those big trucks and SUVs unless you truly need one for its utility. Don't be ashamed to buy a foreign car if you prefer it. Afterall, those with the most fuel efficient vehicles consume a lot less foreign oil. Which accounts for a pretty big chunk of our trade deficit. Its a reasonable trade-off. Anyway, the global economy is worth supporting to some extent. Its the obscene profit margins, trade deficits, and BS from OPEC that get us into trouble. Otherwise, the global economy would be a good thing for everyone. Just keep in mind that the big 3 are struggling and they do produce a few smaller reliable cars. Don't frequent any high end department store, mall, or any business in a newly developed center or upper class community. By doing so, you encourage greedy developers, make them richer, and draw vital support away from industrial areas and away from the middle and lower class communities. Instead, support the local retailer and the less popular shopping centers. Especially in lower or middle class communities. If you can afford to buy a home, then do so. But go smaller and less expensive. Don't get yourself in too deep and don't buy into the newly developed condos or gated communities. Instead, find a modest home in a building or neighborhood at least 20 years old. If you live in one of the poorer states, then try to support its economy first and foremost.

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[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (162) 1 month ago

"Be on the lookout for commercial brainwash plots on TV. They are written into nearly every scene of nearly every show. Most cater to network sponsors, coorporate partners, and parent companies. Especially commercial health care. In particular, high profit pharmaceuticals and excessive medical testing. These plugs are countless, calculated, and VERY well written. They have commercial brainwashing down to a science. DON'T FALL FOR IT. Get off the couch and take care of your own body the way nature intended. There is no substitute. If you must see a doctor, then DEMAND that he/she give you more than 5 minutes of their undivided attention. Otherwise, dispute their unreasonable charges. Be prepared with written questions about your condition and get them answered one at a time. If they refuse, then dispute their unreasonable charges. If they prescribe excessive medical testing, then ask if they personally own the equipment or if they are paid a commission for each test. If they find nothing new or signifigant, then dispute their unreasonable charges. If they prescribe a pharmaceutical, then ask for a generic. Better yet, concider a change in lifestyle or simple tolerance. If they still recommend the name brand pharmaceutical, then ask about any financial ties or conflict of interest. If they get offended, then dispute their unreasonable charges and consider a new doctor. If you must drug away your sniffles, worries, jitters, aches, and pains, then at least do your homework. Be aware of the possible side-effects ahead of time. Don't be surprised to find yourself back a week or two later feeling worse. In which case, you should dispute their unreasonable charges. If you are diagnosed with another medical condition, then ask your doctor what he/she has done to rule out those possible side-effects. Otherwise, dispute their unreasonable charges. Don't let any greedy doctor treat you like a number, make you wait an hour, or rush you out of their office. Otherwise, dispute their unreasonable charges. Don't fall for this CRAP that doctors have no choice but to over-book their time or over-charge their patients because of a high overhead. ITS A LIE. YOUR DOCTOR IS MOST LIKELY A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE. The same goes for their bogus claim to over-test so many of their patients because they are afraid of missing something and being sued for it. THAT IS ANOTHER FLAT-OUT LIE. Afterall, if this were true, then it would only explain some of the unnecessary testing. NOT THE OBSCENE CHARGES. It also wouldn't explain their own financial ties directly to the manufacturers of said testing equipment. Thats right. Most doctors hold stock in the very same companies that produce that equipment. Its another conflict of interest. So don't fall for their CRAP. Demand their undivided attention and respect. Afterall, they took an oath. If you have the opportunity before being admitted, then check the record of your hospital. Check to see if they have been investigated or sued for providing unnecessary treatment, excessive medical testing, or fraudulent billing. Dozens have already been caught doing so. Do all of the above regardless of your coverage. Don't force your employer to cover the obscene and often fraudulent charges of a corrupt health care industry. By doing so, you make the problem worse.

Keep your guard up when watching ANY talk show. These people are not your friends. They are not your advocates. They are paid actors hired to get your attention and your money. Some of them are also executive producers (Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, and Dr Phil.). Nearly every word, smile, and stupid joke is rehearsed ahead of time. Including those which take place so often during what appear to be 'technical oversights' (Today Show. Even their stage hands are mixed in behind the scenes so that you can hear them laugh at every stupid joke.). Its all fake. Its all calculated. These people are not trying to make the world a happy place. They are trying to entertain you only because their marketing studies have shown that you are more likely to drop your guard and support their sponsors. Nearly every segment is about marketing some over-priced product or service. They will use any excuse to plug a gadget, fashion item, travel destonation, credit card, university, drug, medical test, surgical procedure, movie, TV show, book, magazine, song, website, ect. Almost all of it over-priced. Almost all of it resulting in higher profits for their sponsors, partners, and parent companies. DON'T FALL FOR IT. Big business is fine on occasion depending on their product, ethics, employment, profit margins, and profit sharing. Do your homework. If they are screwing up our economy or society, then don't pay them for it.

If you want to support any legitimate charity, then do so directly. Never support any celebrity foundation. Don't be fooled by the sale of baby photos, lies about percentage of income donated, or praise from other well known public figures. Celebrity foundations are CRAP. They spend most of their funding on PR campaigns, exotic travel, and super high end accommodations for themselves. That's right. Filthy rich public figures have been jet-setting the world in the name of 'humanity' for years. Riding in personal jets, staying in super-exclusive resorts, and living it up in exotic locations around the world the likes of which most people could never afford even if their lives depended on it. They bring along agents, advisers, publicists, hair, make-up, wardrobe, lighting, and photo crews who are also in it for themselves. They are paid six or seven figures for their part to schedule, manage, document, showcase, praise, and publicize the 'good will' of said public figures and their respective industries. Every possible expense is passed of as 'incidental' or 'necessary' and billed right back to some 'foundation' named after said public figure and/or respective industry. Every possible tax deduction is claimed. Which are incredibly vague and diverse thanks to our sold-out government. Deals are cut with major networks who agree to praise the 'good will' or 'humanitarian' effort of said public figures and plug their latest commercial project around the same time. Others from around the world pick up the story and save these industries billions in advertising every year. Resulting in higher profits and paychecks for the 1% club. When its all said and done more wealth is transferred from poor to rich. NOT the other way around. So don't support any charity named after a living celebrity. Don't be fooled or inspired by any photo you see in a magazine, any clip on TV, any affiliation, or any short term short sighted progress report. Instead, go to Charitywatch.org and look up a top rated charity to support your favorite cause. Its all there. For example: 'Habitat For Humanity' is a top rated charity. They have been for many years. They operate with a low overhead, volunteer workforce, and donated materials. They have built homes for the less fortunate in nearly every city nationwide. Including New Orleans. They do so as we speak. No similar effort can match their progress hour for hour or dollar for dollar. So there is no legitimate reason to support a slower, less efficient effort represented by a filthy rich Hollywood actor who flies in on a personal jet, takes most of the credit, and makes a deal with a major network for plugs just days before the premier of his latest film or DVD release. By doing so, you support not only the inefficient effort, but also the filthy rich actor. Concentrating more wealth and dumbing down our society further in the process. Instead, support 'Habitat For Humanity'. Its not perfect. It is affiliated with some big business. However, it is MUCH more efficient, effective, and less corrupt than 'Make It Right'. The difference is profound. In general, support the little guy as much as possible and the big guy as little as possible."

Update: Since this was written several years ago, 'Make it Right' has been proven an utter and profound waste of money. A total embarrassment. This was all too easy to predict. They blew through tens of millions of dollars, only a tiny minuscule fraction of which came from Jolie and Pitt and only managed to build a few dozen homes. Those former residents in need, those who lost the most from Katrina, were RULED OUT BY DESIGN. In other words, 'Make it Right' was never intended to do any such thing. It was intended to help fund the 'for profit' redevelopment of New Orleans while simultaneously increasing property values by displacing the poor. That's right. They were ruled out BY DESIGN. I will dig up one of my old entries which laid out part of the scam and re-post it below. For now, suffice it to say that the money is gone and the stated goals were never achieved. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

By the way, the Jolie-Pitt baby money is gone as well. Less than 1/2 was spent on legitimate charity. The rest was spent on CRAP. Since then, with no more baby money to spend, Jolie and Pitt have dropped right the hell off that 'Most generous celebrities' list. Oprah Winfrey has also now that she no longer has NBC funds to donate in her own name or her own talk show to promote. In fact, Forbes has stopped publishing the donated money list altogether. Now, they publish a 'time devoted' list in it's place.

The dumbing down of America continues. They will never stop until we are too stupid to do anything but breathe, watch TV, and buy product.

Please check back for those old entries. I will dig them up and re-post them as well.

[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (162) 1 month ago

"The rich and famous do not want to be seen as 'pigs' or go down in history as 'villains'. They want to be seen as 'heros' and go down in history as 'humanitarians'. The market for their product has become global. The fan base has become global. Therefore, the 'humanitarian' effort and 'good will' PR machine has gone global. These 'humanitarian' efforts and 'good deeds' are not chosen to address the greatest need or injustice. They are chosen almost exclusively to appeal to the largest demographic for their respective commercial products. The largest fan base. Efficiency or effect is of little or no concern. Its all about PR, marketing, image, and fame.

This is why the rich and famous have all taken up 'philanthropy' or 'good will' around the world. This is why so many have 'schools' or 'foundations' in their name. This is why so many play golf or appear on a TV game show for 'charity'. This is why so many sign motorcycles, other merchandise, or auction off their own 'personal effects' for 'charity'. This is why so many have TV shows with a 'charitable' gimmick. This is why so many arrange photo ops with wounded veterans, firefighters, or sick children. This is why so many have adopted children from around the world (Which they always pay others to care for full time. The hired professionals are sworn by legal contract to confidentiality. Not allowed to discuss or appear in public with the children they care for. Those 'photo' and 'interview' opportunities are reserved exclusively for the rich and famous 'adoptive' parents.). This is why every 'humanitarian' effort and 'good deed' is plastered all over the media worldwide. Its not about 'humanity' or 'good will'. Its all about marketing, image, fame, and PROFIT. This is why we are so often reminded of their respective 'good deeds' or 'humanitarian' efforts shortly before or after the release of their latest commercial product.

Charitywatch.org and Charitynavigator.org are both non-profit charity watchdogs. Of all the well rated charities (about 1500) only three are closely affiliated with celebrities. Michael J Fox (not the primary donor), Tiger Woods (not the primary donor), and Bill Clinton (not the primary donor). That's three well rated celebrity foundations out of 1500. In general, celebrity foundations run like crap because they blow half the money on private jet rides, five star accommodations, and PR crews.

The fans have been terribly misled. For example:

Virtually every penny 'donated' by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to date has come from repeated sales of baby photos. With each sale, the baby money goes to the 'Jolie-Pitt' foundation. A foundation which has never done anything but shelter funds. The 'donation' is immediately publicized worldwide.

When Jolie or Pitt have a new movie to promote, a portion is then donated from their own 'foundation' to a legitimate charity. This leaves their ignorant fans under the impression that 'another' donation has been made. When in fact, its the same baby money being transferred again and again. Another portion is blown on private jet rides, super-exclusive accommodations, photo ops, and PR crap. This saves Jolie and Pitt millions in travel/stay expenses and their respective studios tens of millions in advertising. It's all very calculated.

Of course, Jolie and Pitt could simply endorse any of the 1500 most efficient and effective charities. Of course, the baby money would go much further and do far more good if it were donated to such charities to begin with.

But that would be too boring.

The 'Make it Right' Foundation took in over $12,000,000 the first year alone. Tens of millions overall. Brad Pitt has never been the primary donor, planner, or designer. He is a figurehead and salesman with a position on the board of advisors. Nothing more. Still, he has been showered with glorious praise by fellow celebrities and media outlets around the world. Again, the fans have been terribly misled.

In order to move into a 'green' home, the innocent victims of Katrina are required to provide a property deed, meet a number of financial requirements, and pay an average of $75,000 UP FRONT. The difference is offered in cheap loans or on occasion (according to the website) forgiven. To date, only a few dozen former home owners have qualified.

The 'Make it Right' foundation was never intended to help the lower income residents of New Orleans reclaim anything lost in Katrina. In fact, 'Make it Right' is part of a calculated effort to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward without them. Part of a calculated effort to raise property values in the area by displacing the poor. They are by design, excluded. Unable to qualify. Of course, Brad Pitt could have simply endorsed 'Habitat For Humanity'. A well known, proven, and efficient home building operation. Of course, the tens of millions in funding would have gone MUCH further.

But that would be too boring. Big name celebrities have no desire to make the world a better place.

Their primary goal is to appear as if they do.

It's a sham. Good will has become big business."

http://occupywallst.org/forum/brad-pitt-is-the-latest-filthy-disgusting-rich-fak/

[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (162) 1 month ago

From the same page. November of 2011:

"How do modern era celebrities get so incredibly rich? It's not as simple as making movies and selling tickets anymore. Major studios and TV networks are now owned by giant corporations which also own entities within other industries. Their strategies to maximize profits are more calculated than ever.

For example, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have had a special relationship with NBC for years. Countrywide and other banking entities have been sponsors. Not to mention Lowes, Home Depot, and Electrolux. But it's not as simple as selling ad space anymore. NBC is owned by GE. GE also owns at least one major production studeo and entities within the banking industry.

Giant corporations have been working together for years with major media outlets to increase profits. Part of their strategy has been to cross-market their products and services. Also to affiliate with celebrities and create the illusion of 'good will'. When in fact, the idea is to increase awareness and demand for every product and service provided within the umbrella of parent companies and corporate sponsors. New Orleans is known worldwide for it's unique culture. Tourism has been big business in the area for decades. Make it Right is now affiliated with Hyatt Regency. A high end hotel right next to the New Orleans Stadium. There is already a giant dual promotion planned for next spring. Ellen Degeneres (NBC juggernaut) is going to play a major role in this dual promotion. Housing, the related financing and home improvements have also been big business for decades.

If the Lower Ninth Ward is redeveloped with fewer poor people, property values will be increased along with profits made by all those affiliated with Make it Right. The web of affiliation with Pitt, NBC, GE, Hyatt, Lowes, Home Depot, and the banking industry is sprawling to say the least. The operation has also been used to promote at least one 'home improvement' TV show that I know of. Holmes on Homes. I don't recall the network but the show is designed to sell more high end home improvements. It's all very calculated.

I'm telling you that good will has become big business.

If any of you have some more shady details, I'd like to read them."

[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (162) 1 month ago

Also from the same page. November of 2011.

"Two examples of rotten disgusting immoral behavior involving five very well known filthy disgusting rich multi-hundred-millionaire fake humanitarian celebrity pigs.

The ugly truth about the housing market, Countrywide, predatory lending, and the endorsements of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, and Dr Phil. Ch'Ching!

The first subprime loans were issued in 1994. It was a gimmick to sell more homes, artificially inflate the market, sell more homes at higher profits, foreclose on those who could not pay when the ARM rates readjusted, take their homes leaving them with nothing to show for their payments, resell the homes at a higher profit and so on. It was a cruel and calculated plan to sell more homes and artificially inflate the market. Those loans were incredibly profitable for well over a decade before the house of cards finally collapsed. In the meantime, bankers got richer along with the richest one percent who made off with higher dividends. It was a sham.

The biggest player in the game was Countrywide. Endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, and Dr Phil. If you have their shows from '04' to '06' on tape, watch them again. All three were paid millions specifically to endorse Countrywide by name. The biggest subprime player in the game. They issued more ARM loans than anyone else. Foreclosing on those who could not make their monthy payments when the rates suddenly went through the roof. It was a cruel and calculated plan to sell more homes, artificially inflate the market, foreclose, and resell for a higher profit. The sham worked like a charm for 12 years before the house of cards finally fell in.

At this approximate time, the worthless paper was sold to unsuspecting investors.

Oprah, Ellen, and Dr Phil were paid millions for their endorsements. Ch'Ching!

They have always had their ignorant love-sick fans eating right out of their hands. This alone is irresponsible. But to stand there and tell their ignorant love-sick fans to run out and get a loan from the biggest rat in the industry. That's just sick.

These three pigs are not naive little uninformed twits like Paris Hilton. They are educated, informed, and extremely savvy mass media juggernauts. They knew damn well about predatory lending. It was a common phrase by then. Still, they stood there and endorsed the biggest subprime rat in the industry. They did so with a big fat FAKE smile on their face. Unfortunately, public figures are not legally required to be straight with their ignorant fans.

But they God damn well should be.

Bono is no humanitarian. In fact, he made millions from a shady deal with Live Nation in which other investors were made to subsidize his multi-million dollar stock options regardless of market value. The stock tanked, Bono unloaded, and those 'other' investors did in fact take giant losses in part, so the filthy disgusting rich multi-hundred-millionaire 'humanitarian' Bono would not have to.

Ch'Ching!

Just another rotten immoral disgusting trick perpetrated in the name of greed.

Madonna secured a similar deal with Live Nation.

I've said it many times and I will say it many more.

There is no such thing as a multi-millionaire humanitarian."

[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (162) 1 month ago

This was published on a UK website a few years back. I don't know who wrote it but it was worth re-posting:

"Eco power lists: The fame, extreme wealth and disproportionate influence celebrated by such lists are completely at odds with the values of the green movement.

Is there anything the Sunday papers can't turn into a fatuous celeb-fest? Two days ago, the Observer published its "eco power list". It will come as no surprise that it featured Brad Pitt – which list doesn't? It was more surprising to find Jay Leno there, on the grounds that he has made the, er, 240 cars he runs "as green as possible". And the chief executive of Ford, because he has just unveiled an electric Ford Focus (sadly he didn't simultaneously veil the gas guzzlers he continues to market). Much of the list was a catalogue of rich and powerful people who have now added green – or some nebulous semblance of green – to their portfolios.

But I'm less concerned about the contents of these lists than the principle. To me, eco and power occupy different spheres. The environmentalism I recognise is a challenge to power. It confronts a system which allows a handful of people to dominate our lives and capture our resources. The fame, the extreme wealth, the disproportionate influence celebrated by power lists stand in opposition to the values and principles that green thinking espouses.

But that's not the only problem with these lists. They are invidious. They extract a few characters from a vast collective effort: generally those who are skilled at taking credit for other people's work.

An eco-power list is even worse. First, it reinforces the story, endlessly told by those who hate environmentalism, that it is the preserve of toffs and princes (Prince Charles, inevitably, features on the Observer's list). It is true that some of its most prominent spokespeople are rich and famous. But they are prominent only because this tiny, unrepresentative sample is celebrated and fawned over by the media, while the millions of other people in the movement are ignored.

It also encourages the superman myth: that a few powerful people can save the planet. In reality, only big social movements, emphasising solidarity and collective effort, are likely to be effective. Those who are rich and powerful already will frame their environmentalism in terms that reinforce their wealth and power, ensuring that the system which has rewarded them so lavishly remains unchallenged. I doubt that anyone who works for the Observer believes the superman myth, but they pretend to do so, because power lists – like every other species of celebrity trivia – are popular and easy to read.

Worst of all, it represents yet another attempt to tame and package this movement. As Paul Kingsnorth puts it:

"Capitalism, always so effective at absorbing and defanging dissenters, is transforming an existential challenge into yet another opportunity for shopping." Environmentalism is one of the last hold-outs against celebrity culture. It's not untainted by this plague, but more resistant to it than any other sector. If the papers have their way, they will trivialise and capture us, just as they have done to everything else that once had substance.

Copied from Guardian.co.uk"