Why the Right Should Love Obamacare

Yes, you read that correctly.  The people who are angriest at the just signed Healthcare Reform Bill should love it.  Let me explain.

Its a shit bill.  It really is.  And that is why you should love it.  Forget that there will be some subsidies, some tax hikes, that the government will expand a bit more.  Forget that in certain, very rare, cases abortion might be covered.  Forget that it was the other party that passed it.  You should love this bill.

Other than eliminating some of the worse insurance practices, it hardly does anything to them.  Its not socialised medicine.  The private insurance companies will have way more costumers.  What they will lose in ripping off their clients, they will make up in bulk sales.  The only bit you should be mad about is the mandatory buy in.  And even that is not so bad, what’s bad about having health insurance?  Really.

But here is why you should love it:  Healthcare reform was passed.

Yep, it was.  And now the debate is over.  Remember how Clinton tried to pass it?  He failed.  But it did not go away.  And Obama run on passing it.  Hell he got elected because the people were clamouring for healthcare reform.  Lets face it, the system needed reform.  And sooner or later they would have gotten it.  What they got was nothing that you feared.  No socialized medicine.  No single payer.  Not even a public option.  And now the debate is dead.  And will be dead for quite some time.

And that is why you should be happy.  No more healthcare reform.  Despite the right wing talking heads screams this bill is very right wing friendly.  If it did not pass then the Democrats and the American people would still want healthcare reform.  Yes they would.  You know it, I know it.  And sooner or later it would happen.  5 or 10 years from now it would.  And then the people would be angrier and would want more and better healthcare.  And that includes public option, or universal govt run healthcare.  When Clinton tried to pass it they were not ready for it.  Now they are.  And just think that if this failed how much more ready they would be in some years.

And you know they would.  Socially America is moving to the left.  And the angrier it got the more it would want.  And once it would have passed then you know you could never go back.  It would be political suicide.  Because systems like the French, Canadian, British or German, may not be perfect and people still complain about them, but you don’t see mass protests screaming “we don’t want no stinking healthcare.”

So you may have lost a battle, but I think you won the war.  Because further healthcare reform is dead now.  So don’t worry.  We wont become Canada.  Not any time soon.  Obama and the Democrats made sure of that.  For that you should applaud them.  They just passes a bill that does not go anywhere near where most on the left wanted it to.

Enjoy this moment. 

The Great Republican Lie- Healthcare Debate, Obama, and the Left

Now I am a left leaning person, just so we’re clear.  But I consider myself politically sane.  I have values, beliefs, think one rule is better than another.  But all my beliefs come from rational thought.  In certain areas I believe the government can do good things and should be involved, but in certain things, I would like Washington to stay the fuck out.  I had many passionate political debates, but again, my views are not that passionate.

Its not relativism where I just change my point of view with the wind, but what I consider, a logical approach to each issue, and after I have learned about it I make up my mind. not before.  And I do not view changing one’s mind as a bad thing, or a lack or firm beliefs.  After all, as the Polish saying goes, only cows never change their minds.

My approach however is rare in American politics, any politics actually.  Not only are we polarized these days, we also stick to our side no matter how little sense it makes.  No matter how badly this country needs healthcare reform, neither side is willing to give an inch.  And its the same for each and every issue.  What I find strange however is the lies the right wingers in America say and believe.  And how much hypocrisy is there in American politics.  Now this of course is not new, after all hypocrisy came a minute after the first politician was born.  But this is more than that.  Its not just politicians now.  Its regular people and the pundits on tv that became huge hypocrites.  Its gotten so bad that they rival the politicians they despise.

This little rant will be about the Republicans and the right in general.  But I am sure a logical, rational, right leaning person (yes, such beings still exist, though they should be put n the protected species list) could find the same in the left.  So no, “my side” is not full of principled angels.  I do see it.  But the left is not angry right now.  Or not as angry as the right, so its not as bad, or as visible at the moment.

But why is the right so pissed off.  Short answer is they lost an election or two.  Losing power will make people do stupid things.  And I will show you a few examples of how stupid.  The main culprits, along with the idiotic politicians, are the right wing pundits on radio and television.  And of course being on tv and radio makes them opinion makers, because Americans will believe any shit that is on tv.

Take FOX News for example.  They put “fair and balanced” as their motto.  Now anyone with a half a brain knows there is nothing balanced about Fox’ news coverage, yes even its “hard news” programs, nor is the coverage fair.  Easy example.  At the time of the Pittsburgh meetings and some leftie protests there, were also a lot of Tea Party protests.  So the Fair and Balanced network shows both at the same time in two windows on the tv screen for comparison.  And the commentary:  Peaceful Tea Party protest.  And raging left wing rioters.  And of course these left lunatics are all anarchists who want every problem to be solved by the government.  What?!  An anarchist is someone who hates government, think a badly dressed Libertarian.  And they want govt to solve their problems?  It should make me laugh.  But.

Yes, but.  This was not the lunatic Glenn Beck, this was one one of Fox’ real News Shows.  Fair and Balanced?  I think not.  And they were so desperate to show how bad and violent these anarchists are, that they showed… one of the protesters walking towards and hugging a cop.  Yes, those evil huggers, jail them all.  Now I don’t like anarchists, I like order, to a degree.  But this was just a biased hack job, nothing else.

Lets take the presidency.  Before November 2008, according to the right, it was unpatriotic to criticise the president.  Especially in the time of war.  Now that’s fair enough.  Or it would be if we lived in a totalitarian state.  But it gets better.  As of 2009 if you don’t criticise the president you’re some kind of brainwashed socialist.  What gives?  Oh, right, the wrong guy won.  Otherwise, no matter what he did, we still would have to support the president cause it was patriotic.  And what’s more, George W. Bush was praised by the right for standing by what he believed and doing not what is popular but what he thought was right.  Ok, I’ll buy that, its not every day we have a principled politician not pandering to everyone.  Good on you Dubya.

Except for the little fact that Obama is now a shit president because he is trying to do what he believes in.  Everyday the right wing pundits show us polls of how Americans hate the proposed healthcare bill, and they say how, based partly on that, he should not be pushing it.  So which is it my right wing friends?  Principles or popularity?  I get that you hate the healthcare reform bill.  You have a right to, but your arguments are shit.  And you contradict yourselves.  And the biggest lie is how all this “anger” about the healthcare bill is grass roots anger and Fox only reports it.

Bullshit.  Everyday Fox tells people why this bill sucks ass.  Everyday viewers are told to call their representatives.  They are told to act.  They are made and kept angry by the same people who claim that America is angry.  Talk about your self made and self fulfilling prophecy.  Grass roots my ass.  Most of the people don’t even know what the bill does really.  They are told slogans and propaganda about socialized medicine, about govt taking over 1/6 of our economy, about the deficit, about how much it will hurt us.

Really?  More people getting health insurance is bad?  Now I don’t like the bill myself, from what I know of it, its quite flawed, it wont solve our problems.  But in the end what we have right now sucks.  So anything, even something so imperfect, would be better than this.  And most people would see it too, if for one second they stopped listening to the screaming and actually thought about it and learned about it.  Yes folks, thinking does not hurt, and thinking for yourselves is not as bad as advertised.

But no, most people do not think for themselves.  Instead they like to be told what to think.  And the right leaning of us turn on the most popular news network in America and hear about the liberal media bias.  What?!  Yes think about that for a second (again, thinking does not hurt).  Of course to Fox and its pundits anyone who does not parrot them is part of the liberal media elite, whatever the hell that means.  It seems that all the right wing opinion makers needs these days is a slogan and the sheep will buy it.

Socialised Medicine.  Liberal Media Elite.  Liberal Media Bias.  Socialist.  Communist.  Nazi.  Un-American.  Death Panels.  Kenyan.  Big Government.  Real America.  Family Values.  War on Christianity.  And many more.

They just keep throwing them out there and hope something sticks.  And of course people buy their bullshit.  Why not.  They are angry, made angry by those who throw those labels.  And they are told what they want to believe.  After all, its not their guy who is in the office.  Its not their party ruling congress.  So they willingly accept everything sold to them.  Even when those labels are contradictory.  Small details.  And the worst part is, that they say it with a straight face and people believe them.  Like sheep.  Somehow we are led to believe that the left and its politicians hate America.  Somehow the right believes it holds a patent on patriotism.  Somehow deficits are ok if the Republicans are in charge, but bad when the Democrats are.  Somehow Ronald Reagan raising taxes is ok, but Clinton reducing taxes is bad.  Somehow Ronald Reagan’s expansion of government is fine.  Yet under Obama its evil.  Somehow Bush’ screwing up two wars for years is ok.  But Obama’s every move is criticised.  One apparently loved the military, by sending it to fight and die in two wars.  The other hates it.

No proof is needed.  All one has to do is to say it on television.  And immediately millions of morons will believe that person.  How?  Why?  Why do we allow for such bullshit to exist and to flourish.  Its not that I disagree with them.  People are allowed to believe what ever the hell they want.  I have no problem with that.  Its the level of debate that pisses me off.  Its not debate really, just a slugging match.  And it does great disservice to America.  We do not need shouting.  We need a proper, civilized, exchange of ideas.  We do not have to agree on them.  But we need to learn what the other side actually thinks.  And we wont get that from Fox News.  If one is a Republican, Libertarian, Tea Party supporter, one should stay the fuck away from Fox.  Instead, you right wingers should be listening to what those on the other side have to say.  So you can learn by yourself where they stand and then you can disagree or agree with them.  By letting the likes of Beck and Hannity tell you about what the left believes you are not only getting lies, you are also lied to.  And no one wants that.  Do they?  At the same time the left should not be watching shit like MSNBC.  But watching and reading sane conservatives who will explain where they come from.

Do we really all just want people to reaffirm our beliefs and prejudices?  Do we really want people to make us angry about really trivial shit?  Do we really want shouting instead of a debate?  Are we that divided?  Can we not listen to one another?  We are all Americans.  Compromise is in our system.  But we can’t compromise if we disagree with the other side before they even propose anything.  Politics is never about all or nothing.  No law will be perfect, no reform will solve all problems.  No party knows how to “fix” America.  Both want to fix it.  Both love it.  They just disagree on methods.

Does anyone rationally believe that Obama hates America?  Or that Bush wanted to screw our country?  I disagreed with Bush’ policies a lot.  But not on everything, and never have I accused him of bad intentions.  He made mistakes to be sure, but who hasn’t.  Obama made them too.  He will make more of them before his term is up.  This is not a shock.  Or it shouldn’t be.  But the man wants to do the right thing.  As George Bush did.  Their intentions should not be questioned.  But we have come so far that we do question the intentions of our leaders.  That is not good.  How many of you know that Obama lowered taxes for most of us?  Really, he did.  How many of you knew that?  Instead you were told he is going to, or is, tax you to death.  How many of you remember that Reagan raised taxes.  And that unemployment under him was quite high, it rose in his first years.  It only started to go down late in his first term.  But apparently he was a great president, while Obama is the worst in our history after being in office for only a year because he hasn’t yet lowered unemployment.

Washington, we are told, is this evil place that wants to ruin America.  Well guess what.  Our Founding Fathers set up this system.  We love them for it.  And since they set it up it can’t be as bad as some claim.  The people in Washington are OUR representatives.  We put them there.  We elected them, many time and time again.  But somehow we are supposed to hate them?  Does no one see the contradiction there?  Government of the People.  By the People.  And For the People.  Sure they are a bunch of corrupt fuck ups.  Sure they listen to the lobbyists and not us.  But come on.  They are also Americans and we let them be this way.

Every year we moan about fat cat politicians in the pockets of lobbyists, but every year we elect the same guys.  And when we finally have enough of one party we vote for the other side.  And they make promises, and do the same things over and over again.  But its our fault, we entitle them.  We do not demand what we claim we want.  Look at banking reform.  Where is it?  The Democrats, the champions of the people, we are told, have had over a year to come up with regulation legislation so we wont have another financial meltdown.  Where is it?  Nowhere.  You know why?  Because you and I are at fault.  The banking industry is said to be spending about a million dollars on each representative to stop the reform of the financial industry.  But what are we doing.  For all the banks’ money, they do not have the votes.  We call the representatives because Fox told us we want to stop the healthcare bill, or worse, we call the to demand Obama’s birth certificate.  But we don’t call them to tell them to make sure we don’t get screwed out of our jobs, savings, pensions?  Really?

Why not?  We are in this mess because the banks were allowed to risk our money, that they did.  So millions lost jobs, life’s savings, pensions, their homes, everything.  Yet we listen to some moron tell us that the free market will solve everything for us.  Well the free market did this to us.  We helped to be fair.  We are part of the problem.  But we did nothing illegal.  The banks did.  We supposedly hate Wall Street.  But we entitle them.  After our money was used to bail them out (a necessary evil imo), we demanded nothing.  Because Hannity and company screamed socialism.  Yes, the dreaded “S” word.  Apparently the United States people and government are supposed to hand over billions upon billions of our money and hope for the best.  Because the tyrant Obama would run our auto industry, or the banks.  Ohhh, govt, meddling, bad!!  So what do we have.  A bailout, banks doing the same fucking thing again, and giving themselves huge bonuses for ruining our economy.  But as long as the government does not interfere its ok.

So according to the populist right wing morons you are supposed to hate the government meddling.  But they supported the bailout.  I don’t know much, but bailout is like meddling, isn’t it?  You are supposed to let the free market run its natural course.  But when that free market screws you out of your job and home you are supposed to blame the government.  We are told regulation is bad.  But then scream to high heaven when our kids get poisoned by unregulated Chinese toys.  Or drink dirty water.  Or eat poisoned food.  Yes the government is not protecting us.  Washington is at fault.  But we don’t want regulation.

We are told that those poor dead Haitians are poor because they never learned to fend for themselves.  And that with hard work, no regulations, no welfare, free market they would be better off.  But they have no regulations, no welfare really, weak govt.  Yet Chile had a much bigger earthquake.  However their casualties were nowhere near as bad.  You know why?  Because their government mandated that the homes in Chile have to be built to a certain standard.  Damned socialists, their evil government meddling in their lives and saving hundreds of thousands of them.  Yes, that was sarcasm, and of the cheap low kind too.

But that was also a point.  Not everything the government does it to keep us down, to control us.  Take the census for example.  Hell the morons at Fox and their minions even moan about that.  But it was our Founding Fathers who made the census.  Its in the Constitution.  And no, they did not ask only one question.  Six of the ten questions are pretty much the same as they were in 1790.  Some have changed of course, no one asks any more how many slaves we own.  But really.  Its a census.  We have been doing it for 220 years every decade.  How can any one object to it?  Well the morons who want you angry will tell you how of course.  I have filled and mailed mine out already.  I even answered all the 10 questions.  So far, no black helicopters appeared.  But I am keeping watch.

Now I understand that we have real disagreements in this country.  I understand that many dislike Obama as much as the leftie loons hated Bush.  I get that many people do not want big govt, they rightfully fear huge deficits.  They do not want too much govt meddling.  But most govt is services not meddling.  Services we demand and require.  Police, fire departments, road repair, defense, quality control.  I understand that many are angry and that some even have a reason to be.  But most things in America are not as bad and divided as the talking heads want us to believe.  There are no two Americas.  There is only one Real America.  Its all of us.  And our diversity, of cultures and opinions, while it can be divisive, it also makes us great and unique.  Being American can have many different meanings, unlike being French or English, or Japanese.  But it is also based one a similar value of beliefs.  The important ones.  Love of freedom, democracy, opportunity.  These are what makes us great.  Not whether or not someone believes in the same god as I do.  Or whether or not Democrats or Republicans are in charge.  We are American not because we always agreed with each other, but because despite our disagreements we respected each other.  There is great strength in our diversity of beliefs and ideas, not weakness.  We should celebrate that instead of hating the “Rednecks,” or “East Cost Liberals.”  In the end we all love the same country.  We all want to see it great.  We had problems before, but what made us great was that in bad times we forgot our differences and worked together, not hated each other more.  Something Fox and Friends should remember.

Now if you have read all the way down to here, and would like to respond you are more than welcome to.  I don’t even have moderation turned on.  Your comment will be public immediately after you press submit.  However, please refrain from pointing out that the left spews propaganda too, as I have already stated it myself.  But any rebuttals of what I written above are welcome.

American Exceptionalism and History- The Case of Thomas Jefferson

Land of The Free.  Home of The Brave.  And We the People, of the land of self evident truths.  And the Land where all men are created equal.

Ooops, those last ones do not apply any more.  Apparently some are indeed more equal than others.  Really?  Thomas Jefferson?  Seriously?  The dude who wrote the Deceleration of Independence?  Our 3rd president.  One of our Founding Fathers, one of the most influential ones too.  The man who exemplifies America.  And America is what it is largely thanks to him?  But what?  He did not like organized religion and now kids wont be learning about him.  Seriously!  What the fuck?!!!

My god (pun intended), what the hell has this world come to when a few religious freaks can dictate the removal of a very important American from history books?  Who is next?  Lincoln?  Washington?  Why not them?  Jefferson was just as important.  Its not the fact that some idiots can do this that really pisses me off.  Its the fact that there are people in important positions who are so clueless and can do this that pisses me off.

If I was to guess my guess would be that these people consider themselves good Americans.  That they love this country and that they actually believe most of what Jefferson taught and believed.  Yes, to these people this man should be their hero.  But no, he does not fit into the new Christian Right agenda, so fuck you Tommy, out off the book you go.

I mean come on.  Expansion to the West?  Louisiana Purchase?  States Rights?  Limited Federal Government?  Gun Rights (hell he should have a statue in every town in Texas just for that)?  Really?  He could be a right wing Republican poster boy.  Ok, so he did not like organized religion.  And was a scholar.  But nobody is perfect.  So maybe he was for some regulation of banks and corporations.  But really, he who is without sin and all that.  Its not like the guy believed in evolution or something silly like that.

My god, the left dislikes him for many reasons.  Now the right too?  He’s on money for fuck’s sake.  He is on Mount Rushmore!  He has a dedicated Memorial in Washington (cleverly named The Jefferson Memorial).  But now some bible thumping cretins want him gone?  This is why I hate all religious freaks oh so much.  Their beliefs and agenda are not based in logic.  And they are willing to go to any lengths for their twisted beliefs.

I could understand it if they wanted to eliminate some of the less savory (by today’s standards) aspects of him.  Hell I get that kids instead of proper history need to be taught propaganda so they’ll grow up to be good patriotic boys and girls.  So I don’t mind bullshit being taught in the classrooms.  Its not like Americans are alone in this.  Everyone brainwashes their kids.  In that sense American Exceptionalism is not really all that… well, exceptional.  Like religious teachings, kids can’t really process so much gray area.  Somethings do need to be taught in black and white, if they are smart enough later, they’ll learn real history and will deal with it.  If not, they can always sit on school boards.

But the Separation of Church and State is one of the foundations of our beloved republic.  So please, stay the fuck away.  Now I am not asking for “under god” to be excluded from the Pledge of Allegiance.  No, nothing crazy like that.  Its no biggie really.  But please.  Leave one of the most important Americans in the history books, you stupid, ignorant, fanatic morons!!!

It Sucks Being A Manchester United Fan- Thank You Glazers

It does suck.  Really it does.  I know what you will say:  “Shut up moron, your club is winning everything under the sun and you’re moaning, you could be a Pompey fan, or Leeds (if you are really unlucky).”

Well yes, I could be.  But not really, and I’m not.  I’m a United fan and yes my team has won 3 League titles in a row.  Won 2 Carling Cups in a row (last less than a month ago), and won the Champions League in 2008, made the final last season.  This season we are in the middle of a fight for another, unprecedented fourth in a row, League title.  The 19th in our storied history, the one that would put us above the hated Liverpool FC and truly “knock them of their f***ing perch” as one great man said.  Last week we have just won a tie against the great AC Milan (3-2 and 4-0 were the results of the two legs, truly historic and a show of domination) and got into the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League.  Wayne Rooney, United’s star is scoring goals for fun (32 so far this season).  Life could not be better.

Except, it could.  Despite all that great, and unprecedented success on the football/soccer pitch I am not all that happy.   Hell, I worry everyday.  In fact, I am almost depressed because of United.  Why do you ask?  Well its simple.  My club is in trouble.  Great trouble in fact.  We had all this success, and in today’s game it means huge financial rewards.  Last summer we sold a player who wanted to go to follow his dream.  We sold him to Real Madrid for record breaking and staggering 80 million pounds.  United’s revenue last fiscal year was close to 300 million pounds.  If it wasn’t for the weakness of the English pound we would be the richest club in the world.  We have signed a new, very lucrative shirt sponsorship, on top of that we are signing many other deals with companies all over the worlds.  Yes the money is pouring into Old Trafford.

And that’s the problem really.  The money is pouring in, but more is pouring out.  No we are not like our bitter neighbours Manchester City, we are not buying 200 million pounds worth of players.  We are not building a new stadium.  What for?  We have one of the best stadiums in the world.  Old Trafford just celebrated its 100th Birthday.  Its capacity is over 76,000 and over the decades it has been modernized, there is no need for a stadium.  United’s matchday revenue is around 3 million pounds per match.  We’re good there.  So where is it going?  Its going towards paying off our debt.  Well not ours, our wonderful owners.

Yes, our great and wonderful owners “bought” the club while having no money.  So they borrowed and borrowed and now our debt is 716 million pounds.  Yes, 716 million English Pounds.  Over a billion dollars.  A football club is in debt for that much.  And through no fault of its own really.  United before the summer 2005 were a PLC, a publicly traded company.  The club made a profit pretty much every season despite breaking numerous British transfer records (yes we bought some great and not so great, expensive players).  The club made profit despite paying very high wages to players.  The club made money despite rebuilding/expanding the stadium on a couple of occasions in the decade plus before the takeover.  It was the richest club in the world.  Then the takeover happened.  I wont bore you with all the financial details, many of you know them (those who do not go to here:  http://andersred.blogspot.com/ its a great blog by a financial expert who writes about United’s current sorry state).  I’ll just give you a quick run down and my view of it.

My view was quite distant.  I am not English.  Not a season ticket holder, I did not own shares of United that I was forced to sell (many supporters did).  The takeover did not really affect me personally I thought.  Before the age of fast internet there was not too much a person like me could learn or get involved in.  I am an old-ish fart and so my computer experience was limited till around 2004-05.  I did not have much time anyway.  So my involvement with United was limited to watching games on television and reading the odd article that appeared in American or Polish papers (was born in Poland and we have decent Polish language press here and from Poland).  I also do not come from a tradition of local, fan owned clubs.  Most people know how sports clubs are run and treated in America, and from what I remember Communist run Poland was even worse.  So I have no natural aversion to some private person owning and running the club I love.  Hell I do not care if he is English, Polish, American, Chinese, or green with pink polka dots.  Matters not to me really.  Well it didn’t, till I got to understand truly what English football culture is about.  So to get back to the story.  I had a rather neutral view of the takeover.

Some American billionaire wanted to own Manchester United.  Oh well.  What I knew of the Glazers is that they owned Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL.  Well I did not know much or care much about Tampa, Jets are not their rivals, so whatever.  And the Glazers managed to gain ownership of United.  There were protests.  Thousands of fans protested the takeover.  At first I did not understand why.  When I learned a bit I had some sympathy for them.  Then the unthinkable happened, several thousand gave up their season tickets, boycotted Manchester United, the club they claimed to love, and left.  They formed a new little club.  Football Club United of Manchester.  What?!  How, what happened?  Surely being owned by some Yanks can’t be as bad as that?  Even if they borrowed money to buy the club.  They’ll pay it off eventually I’m sure.  So what it they wanted to make money off the club.  They are businessmen, why shouldn’t owner make some money?  Hell under the PLC the profits went to shareholders in dividends.  What’s so different about this?

Well it turns out, a lot.  There were warning signs.  The first should have been the leveraged buyout.  But then every year United had to show something of their finances to the British govt.  So every year more warning signs.  And it soon became obvious.  Those who protested were right.  The doom and gloom brigade was right.  Each year the debt increased!!!  Yes.  First it was due to refinancing.  Then it turned out that despite paying around 60 million per year in interest and loan payments, United’s debt got bigger and bigger.  Still, somehow it will work itself out.  The Glazers are not stupid, they must have a plan, they’ll do something and get this under control.  it was worrying but let not jump to too many conclusions without all the facts.

The facts came this winter.  It turned out that the Glazers were selling 500 million pounds worth of bonds.  Now that’s not so bad at first glance.  But then they opened up the books, in order to sell the bonds.  716 million worth of debt!  Almost 200 million more than less than 5 years ago when they bought the club.  Not only have they failed to pay any of the debt, it actually fucking increased.  What the hell?  As any person on planet Earth knows, yes its possible.  We have seen some strange financial dealings over the years, and the meltdown proved anything is possible.  Eyes were really opened.

United Protest: Green & Gold Campaign

Yes, those on the fence, those who did not want to believe it, those who worried, but put off worrying to concentrate on the football, finally opened their eyes and joined those whom they called the doom mongers not long ago.  It was easy for many, especially during such great success, to avoid thinking about United’s financial state.  But now only the most deluded wont.  The successful bonds sale put off doomsday till 2017.  That is when the bonds will mature.  The bonds will cost United around 45 million per year in interest.  But where the hell will the Glazers find half a billion pounds to pay them off?  Simple answer is they wont.  But it gets better, there is still the small matter of the other 216 million pounds to pay off.  Those loans mature quicker.  And some are PIK (payment in kind) loans, high interest loans from hedge funds.  So the payments wont be 45 million per annum, but somewhere between 60 and 70 million pounds per season.  That’s just maintenance, without paying off the principal (again, for details I urge you to visit :  http://andersred.blogspot.com/ .

Yep, 60+ million per year, just to service unneeded and unwanted debt without ever seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and United debt free.  Because by now its obvious to everyone that they have absolutely no intention of paying the debt off.  Happy days.  Yes, even the biggest muppets are opening their eyes.  After all where will the money to buy new players come from?  Just how much can the Glazers milk the fans out of?  The ticket prices are already very high.  How many more new sponsorship deals can we sign?  We already, through our success, made as much money as we could, from television and prize money.  What happens when we stop winning?  And we will stop, sooner or later.  No team keeps on winning forever.  What then?  Well then we will be truly fucked.

And fans are beginning to protest and boycott.  Yes, Manchester United’s biggest and most loyal supporters do not wish to give any more of their hard earned money to the Glazers.  The problem is that by their actions they might be quickening the demise of the club they love.  That is what the Glazers have done.  And mass boycott will have far reaching consequences.  But what else are the supports do to?  Wearing Green and Gold  scarves at matches (green and gold were the colours of the original team Newton Heath LYR, when the name was changed to Manchester United in 1902 the colours changes to red and white) and singing anti-Glazer songs can only go so far.  And to be frank.  Its temporary.  Just how genuine a protester will be if he keeps coming back and will be giving money to the Glazers season after season?  Its a problem.  A big problem in fact.

That is why I am writing this.  Not to bore you with a badly written outline of the takeover and the current situation.  I too am conflicted.  Thanks to some lovely people from Manchester I am currently reading the latest issues of United fnazines (independent United magazines run by the fans not by the club).  And it breaks my heart to read them.  Many of the stories in Red News, Red Issue, and United We Stand deal with the problem of possible boycott.  And they are truly heartbreaking.  Fans who have been going regularly for decades are considering giving up their season tickets.  Many of them are not priced out.  They just can’t go anymore because of the Glazers, the debt, and the modern football culture.  Yes.  Loyal supporters are willingly considering of not attending any more Manchester United games.  And at a time when United are winning.  These are not some jcl glory hunters, but true die hard Reds.  Think about that for a while.  Just how bad does a situation have to get that thousands are considering seriously to leave.

And its all the fault of those gimps from Florida.  These people stayed, conflicted, through the new SKY football era.  They stayed when the Football League changed to the Premiership.  They kept coming even after the atmosphere was diluted by bunch of corporate gimps.  they stayed after the ACS (Automatic Cup Scheme) was announced and implemented.  They kept going knowing full well that to the powers in charge they are not fans or supporters who come to cheer on the team they have loved all their lives, but instead they are costumers only.  To be ignored and milked out of money at every opportunity.  Yes they stayed.  Until now.

Now I don’t know how this will turn out.  I don’t know just how successful the G&G protests will be, whether or not they will do any good.  I don’t know if the consortium known as the Red Knights will be successful in buying the Glazers out.  Hell I don’t know how much better they would be if they did.  I don’t know what will happen at the end of the season, on and off the pitch.  I don’t even know whether or not we’ll be able to beat the hated Liverpool on Sunday.

But I do know this.  I sucks being a United fan.  It sucks that true and loyal Reds have to worry over things they should not.  It sucks that the Football Association and the Football League saw that the Glazers were somehow “fit and proper” enough to own Manchester United.  It sucks that there are no laws preventing there things form happening.  It sucks that in the most successful era of English club football the supporters have to see one club after another go down in yet another financial meltdown, where only relegation, administration, or wind up are becoming norm.  It sucks when so many of England’s historic clubs, large and small are under threat and their fans fear for their existence.  It sucks that an otherwise, a very competent football executive, David Gill, if forced to lie through his teeth when he talks about United’s finances.  It sucks that the greatest football manager in history, Sir Alex Ferguson, has his values questioned by fans.  Yes.  It really does suck.

Finally it sucks that even an inconsequential armchair supporter like me is forced to write this.  It truly sucks that I can’t buy a United t-shirt because that would mean compromising whatever little principles I have.  I sucks that whenever I put on previously purchased shirts I feel conflicted.  And it really sucks that if (as reported) United come to the States for a summer tour i will be forced to choose between the club I love and want to see live, and between those said principles.  It sucks that I have to sit and worry about things that really should not matter to some foreign git like me.

So yes, it really sucks to be a United fan.  For that we all have to thank the Glazers.  So in conclusion.  Love United Hate Glazer.  Green and Gold till they die or the club is sold.

Will Consumerism “Consume” Us?

After September 11th 2001 President George Bush told us to shop.  Made it a patriotic duty of every American to go and buy useless crap they don’t really need, otherwise the terrorists will win.  Now his heart was in the right place, but it had consequences.  We have become a consumer society.  That is our great achievement.  We buy shit.  We didn’t revolutionize society.  We did not fix the environment.  We did not eradicate disease, or hunger.  We did not eliminate wars.  We do not create great art, write great books, make beautiful architecture.  We did not go further into space.  No, none of that.  But we did something no other generation or culture did before us.  We bought a lot of useless, cheap, and unneeded crap.  That is our mark in history.  We won the Cold War and we went to the mall.  And already we see the results.  because not only did we go shopping, we bought everything on credit.  Now not everything is our fault.  The technological revolution of the past decades made our lives easier, but that came at a cost.

Lets look at our bills and compare them to bills our parents or grandparents had.  Just a few decades ago people had to pay rent/mortgage, gas, electric, telephone.  That was it.  Now we pay all those mentioned above and we add, cellphone, cable/satellite, and internet.  Some families have 4 cellphones.  Cell plans vary too, texting, internet, can add up.  That’s about $ 200 to $ 400 per month depending on family size and needs extra on top of what our parent had to pay.

And bill sizes for the traditional stuff have greatly increased too.  Our energy consumption has skyrocketed over the last few decades.  A home 40 years ago probably had a refrigerator, washing machine, radio, television, a toaster, air conditioning.  Now we have more than one radio, most homes have multiple television sets, coffee maker, microwave oven, computer, printer, cable box, dvd player, a video game system, and numerous chargers for all the portable gadgets.  That’s on top of the juicers, espresso machines, humidifiers, air purifiers and a lot of other stuff.  Even if all those things are much more energy efficient, the electric bill is still much more than it was.

30 years ago no one collected movies, or TV shows.  Almost every home these days has a sizable collection.  Music is available in many different formats.  The gadgets we own bring more expenses.  That iPhone needs a case, a bluetooth head set, the printer needs ink and paper, the computer new programs, games, anti virus software.  The XBox, Wii or PS3 has a new game coming out.  The new season of Lost is out on BluRay, the electric toothbrush needs changing.  Plus there is a new good movie available on demand, or an event.  Etc, etc, etc.

We simply have more shit to buy.  And in a society like ours its hard to not to fall into the cycle of constantly buying new things.  Some of them we even need and could use.  Hell some are quite beneficial to our lives.  We are barraged by images and sounds all urging us to buy.  Our neighbours just bought a new tv, our 2 year old plasma is ancient technology, we need the new LCD tv.

And that’s on top of what we eat.  Now we maybe a country that eats badly and wastes money on junk food, which btw, is quite expensive, but even normal food costs a lot these days.  We have more choice now.  No more of 3 types of cheese and two types of ham.  Now we have food from all over the world.  All that costs more than domestic products.  We have beer from all over the world too.  Hell we buy bottled water now.  For generations people got by drinking from the tap.  Now we wont have it.  At the very least we filter our water.  Hell we pay for filtered bottled water (check your brand folks, you’re probably paying a lot of money for tap water in a bottle).

Yep we have choices.  Choices in everything.  We might have stopped buying newspapers and magazines, but we get more information then ever before.  And its not just local information.  In my bookmarks I have 8 different news sources from all over the world, all just a mouse click away.  We have several 24hr news networks (no matter how bad they may be, but still, we have them).  We have hundreds of channels to watch.  We play video games.  We chat, blog (yeah, I see the irony), we go on internet forums, social networking sites, sport websites, hobby websites and on and on and on.

Its not just more money that we are spending.  We are busier than ever.  Again, its not all bad, hell a lot of it is great.  But it does come as a price.  While going broke we are also losing sleep, friendships, family time.  And the worst part is, we do not appreciate what we have.  We work our respective asses off to get the crap we have and we appreciate none of it.  Those older of us can remember how big a deal a new toy was.  It was cheap, quite likely not what we wanted, but hell, we got something new.  And we cherished it.  And cherished it for a long time.  Can a person who has 200 movies really cherish each and every one of them?  How long will the joy of a newly purchased movie last?  Or a new video game?  A new album?  Not very long is my guess.

That is a problem with choice.  Its great to have choice, but when we let things consume us we become like modern children.  Every year, with a very few rare exceptions, kids fall in love with something.  And before their parents or uncles and aunts figure out what it is, they call it lame and move onto the next thing.  We have toys and tv shows that pander to specific age.  Not age groups like 5-10 year olds.  But a single  age.  The following year the thing they loved so much is now lame, and they watch new shows and need new toys.  And kids are not the only ones.  Adults are just as bad, worse actually.

Adults work hard to get their stuff.  But they need that new iPhone, or the new iPod.  But next year Apple will come out with a new model, the one they must have, so that old will go into rubbish and the new version of the iPhone will be bought.  We simply must have it, it has more memory, looks nicer, it can record videos, or we can watch tv on it.  Great.  Just the thing that we need.  We definitely do not spend enough time watching television, we need to be able to do it while we are out of the house.  Because what is the alternative here.  God forbid we would be forced to look at our surroundings, or worse, talk to another human being in person.  Can’t have that.  We buy a new television.  We spent a lot of money for it.  Now we need a new HD box, and new surround sound system.  A BluRay player.  Our film collection needs to be replaced.  And when we finally set it up some asshole comes out on tv or internet and tells us that there is a newer and better television out.

Yes folks, as soon as we bring something home its pretty much obsolete.  So we watch our television, and soon we will be tired of it.  And soon we will be working hard to get a new one, a better one.  Till we buy it.  Cause by then an even newer one will be made, and that’s the one we will need to have.  We actually obsess over these stupid things.  And no, I am not some preachy superior asshole who thinks he is better.  I am a part of this society, I am part of the problem.  Not as extreme as many, but no saint either.  But where does it end?  It ends with us very briefly adoring inanimate objects for a very high price.  We bought (literally) into this notion that we must, to have any sense of self worth, own a lot of stuff, and not just any kind of stuff, it has to be the newest and the best.

Is a new video game or a toy worth spending precious hours that we waste standing in line for it?  Really?  We must have it the day it comes out otherwise our lives will become meaningless?  Will our kids stop loving us if we do not buy the hundreds of dollars worth of crap they wont touch six months from now?  Will our friends stop talking to us if we call them on an old model phone?  We have become what the advertisers wanted us to become.  We have become addicted to their products.  Will my old 4 blade razor not shave as well as it did a year ago now that the 5 blade razor is available?  Did no one think of making a 5 blade razor when only 2 blade razors were available?  Was our skin not prepared for such luxury?  Was there no technology to attach more than 3 razors at one time?  Did it need to be 3 and then 4 and then 5?  Could we not just have gone from 2 to 5?  Or from 3 to 5?

No, of course not.  Think of all the money we spent on those stupid razors.  And each model gets more expensive, and the cartridges now are more than double of what they cost just a few years back.  Question is though, does it shave twice as good as the old one?  No of course not.  It shaves maybe a bit better, but definitely nowhere near the cost.  We gained marginal improvement at over twice the cost.  Yep.  We are slaves to our products.  And when they will make a 6 blade razor we will gladly discard that very expensive 5 blade one and buy the newest model as if our lives depended on it.

We shop to make ourselves feel good.  Then we realize we just wasted a perfectly good day on buying shit.  We will find out at home that some of the stuff we bought does not suit us, or that we don’t really like it or need it.  And we will find that we have spent a shitload of money on that crap.  So we will go back to work, miserable and poor.  Until we see the next thing we definitely must have and we just know it will make us feel better.  And so on.  The new circle of life, brought to you by your local mall.  We had the Greatest Generation.  We had the Baby Boomers.  We now have the Mall Generation.