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Random Thoughts About Antiques

Most of my furniture is antique. This is because it came from my grandmother’s house. It makes my house a hodgepodge of the old and new. I’m using an antique end table to hold my flat screen TV. My computer desk is an antique coffee table. The shelf that holds all my modern science books is antique. It’s kind of weird when you think about it.


Antiques bring up ideas about politics and the economy.
Sewing Machine

When I think about antiques, I think about how things were made better at one point in time. That coffee table, end table, and bookshelf have a few scratches, but they are still perfectly usable and in one piece. Try that same thing with some of the furniture made today and you’re looking to replace them in ten years.


I think it’s done that way on purpose. We are in an economy not based on profit but on profit growth. The problem with this is that it feeds constant inflation and some desperate moves by companies to keep up this growth. This is why ice cream and potato chip bags have shrunk but the price has gone up. Same thing with cereal boxes. It’s not a “supply chain issue”, as they like to say. It’s a profit growth bullshit scheme.


“Supply chain issue” has become one of the vogue excuses since Covid struck. Yes, during Covid it was a problem. Today, however, it is an excuse used to raise prices and breed profit growth, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s kind of like when film studios didn’t want to admit they were making crappy films, so they kept blaming piracy for their failed sales, because piracy was a big thing at the time.


It happens all the time with recent headlines being used as excuses to raise prices. For decades, companies, like PG&E in California, used to deny climate change because they were one of the ones contributing to carbon emissions and they didn’t want to change. Then suddenly they started lighting fires because they wouldn’t maintain their electrical infrastructure. Now the excuse is climate change. Not shotty business practices, not laziness catching up to the company. No, it’s climate change, the thing they denied for years.


It's like news networks today. They do not report the news, they practice yellow journalism in an attempt to raise sales. It’s not just the infamous Fox News, either. CNN and MSNBC are just as biased on the left, and just as guilty of yellow journalism. I remember I made the mistake of watching CNN for reports on the January 6th invasion and they spent much of their time spouting propaganda rather than reporting on what was actually going on.


I remember a recent headline about the thermohaline cycle showing signs of stalling. The likely result of this will be colder temperatures and weather disturbances like what was seen in the Little Ice Age. Not great, but not a huge disaster, either. According to all the network news sources, it was a huge global disaster and was going to end civilization as we know it.


What they are not taking into account is that the Little Ice Age came with a lot of other factors. There were more large volcanic eruptions going off at the time. The sun was at a record breaking solar minimum, which meant there wasn’t as much solar radiation coming in. There were other factors as well, and none of them are in play today.


Then, of course, we have another factor that was not in play back then. That is the tons and tons of carbon emissions that are being pumped into the atmosphere every day. The fact of the matter is, we don’t know exactly what a stalling of the thermohaline cycle will do, given the current circumstances, but it is certainly not going to be Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome, as the news stations would have you believe.


If you want news, go to Reuters or Associated Press. Not Fox News or News Max. Not CNN or MSNBC. These stations are garbage. Most network TV is garbage. Even the BBC is biased now. Anything to make more money.


Profit growth is a terrible economic scheme. There is only so far you can go with it before failure comes. I like to look to lava domes as an example of what can happen in this type of market. The dome grows and grows and grows and grows, but soon it becomes top heavy and unbalanced. It suddenly collapses, unleashing ash clouds and pyroclastic flows that sweep away everything in its path. In the case of the economy, the innocent victims are the people who are stuck living underneath it.


But I’m not expert on the stock market or economics in general. I can only go by personal observations, and my personal observations tell me that this scheme is not viable.


Speaking of the economy, have you ever noticed that when there are reports about the economy growing or rebounding, it’s never the little guy who benefits? The only ones who benefit are those stock brokers and one percenters. Everyone else is still struggling, paying higher grocery and energy prices, and looking for jobs. Republicans don’t give a shit and they are awful people I won’t go into here. (At least not fully, because that would take a whole blog of its own.) Democrats report employment growth, but it’s always in the construction sector. Does it occur to them that there are other people looking for jobs, and not everyone has the experience for that skilled labor? No, it does not. (If you don’t believe me, take a look at the “job growth” reports sometime.)


Speaking of politics and the economy reminds me of my grandmother’s observation. When a Democrat is in office, there is always a war. When a Republican is in office, there is always a recession. Her observations kind of got flipped in the last few presidencies, but it still stands, to a degree.


I used to say that the parties were pretty much the same, and in some ways they are. They are both run by rich people who have to touch with the reality of a regular citizen. Republicans will insult poor and middle class people, even resorting to calling them names, as they work in favor of their big industrial donors. Democrats look down their noses at the poor and middle class, admonishing and guilt tripping them for not being rich and spending thousands of dollars on some cause they can’t afford.


But in recent years there are some huge differences in the parties, alarmingly so. There are Republicans supporting actual Nazis for party business. Republicans are pushing for the literal end of various civil rights and thumping the Bible in a country that is supposed to have freedom of religion. Their top candidates are asinine, sophomoric idiots who spout whatever bullshit they feel like and still get praised by an audience of equal idiots. One of them literally said he would be a dictator if put in office. Rats are fleeing the ship left and right, and I watch as the party slowly circles the drain.


There are only three groups of people left in the Republican Party. First are the ones who have been Republicans all their lives, who don’t like what’s going on with the party but aren’t sure what else to do. Then you’ve got the simple-minded morons whose whole lives are reality TV and making fun of people like high schoolers who think that the vitriol spewing from the mouths of the candidates is somehow clever. And then there is the third group, the nasty Nazi types who truly believe in the causes that the party champions.


I honestly do not know how anyone else can vote Republican in this day and age. I’m an independent, and since January 6th, 2021, I will never consider voting for a Republican candidate, even a moderate one, and I’ve been famously known to vote for both parties in the past. I voted for the Republican candidate for governor of Nevada once upon a time because I thought he was doing a good job.  But even he has left the party since then.


What will become of the Republican Party in the future? I don’t know. The problem with politicians of today is that no one is willing to take risks. Not the political candidates, not Congress, not the Supreme Court. Everyone just maintains the status quo and talks about the chaos they don’t want to start if they did something different.


This docile cud-chewing act is what caused the current Republican Party in the first place! This is why the country doesn’t progress. It’s why it stumbles backward. Don’t you think it’s time we put our feet down and say we’re going to do something radically different?


It’s this act that fuels the Democrats. They don’t seem to want to anything to rock the boat. There is a lot of talk, but not a lot of action. It seems that they talk big for a period of time, but when they are finally faced with the actual act of changing something, it’s too hard and they don’t want to do it. So our party choices are a bunch of fascists or a bunch of cowards.


No, I’m not calling for a revolution or insurrection. I’m just asking some person in the government to stand up and say, “This is wrong, let’s change it for once.” One person who is not willing to just follow some unwritten expectation or be willing to let something unusual happen for the greater good. Not just following the old expectations just because it’s easier. Like, say, trying a president for crimes they commit in office. Or sending a rich, famous politician to prison for a crime they actually committed. Something along those lines.


Right now, politicians can get away with anything. As one of them said (and I will not give that person a name or the attention they want), they could fire a gun into someone’s head in the street in front of thousands of people and they wouldn’t be prosecuted. Unfortunately, this is true. The rich get away with everything and anything.


And don’t give me that, “It’s always been that way” line. It’s always been that way, true. But it’s always been that way because no one ever stands up and stops it.


On a positive note, there have been some changes in recent years. A peanut butter manufacturer who was worth millions of dollars went to prison for twenty-seven years for killing people with his product. It should have been life in prison, or even the death penalty, but we’re making some progress. Prison wouldn’t have even been on the table some years ago. So there is always hope that change is coming.


Why do I not call for a flat out revolution? Because I’ve seen the history of those and they don’t always work. The French Revolution went after those rich bastards, but the people leading the revolution eventually assumed the same positions of greed and power. I call for radical change, but even I have my limits to that.


There is a time and a place for revolution, and I don’t think we’re there yet. Yet, I say, because if we let things go too far, there will be a time when it would be the only option. We can stop it before it gets there, we just have to demand better.


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