Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Normal? Hope Not.

It depresses me to drive down main street in my small town of Lovell, Maine and see vacant businesses. The hardware store has been closed up for more than a year and it’s a twenty-mile round trip now when people here need a nut or a bolt. There used to be three stores with lunch counters in town but only one is open year-round now. Another isn’t able to fill its shelves with merchandise and a third lies vacant. There just aren’t very many people around town anymore - not like there used to be, and it’s high summer.
Kezar Lake after ice-out

There’s not a lot of boat traffic on Kezar Lake either. It’s nice to have the beautiful lake to myself when I’m out there but it’s not good for my town. Boat traffic diminished considerably when Stephen King bought the Kezar Lake Camping Area and closed it down, but that was years ago and we absorbed it. Something else is happening now, and it isn’t good.

Some say it’s the new normal. Seven or eight percent unemployment. Fifteen percent if we count those only working part-time because they can’t find a full-time job, and that doesn’t count tradesmen who can’t find enough work in construction. They’re scrounging around under-bidding each other for small repair jobs. More and more work under the table for cash, making it still more difficult for small businessmen to keep their chins above water while paying for ever-increasing local, state, and federal regulations required to stay “on the books.” As big government grows ever larger, so do efforts to avoid it - and that grows the underground economy.

I don’t know how it is where you live, but that’s what I’m seeing out my window. When I go out of town and bump into former students in North Conway, NH or Portland, Maine, they’re working at whatever jobs they can find because they can’t get work in their chosen field. They have student loans to pay and they’re discouraged.

Driving other local roads I’ve traveled a thousand times in the past thirty-six years, I see homes going into disrepair, lawns overgrown, paint peeling, shingles missing, and “For Sale - Price Reduced” signs. I’ve never seen it so bad, and I wonder how many of their owners’ mortgages are underwater. I wonder how many have already been foreclosed on, but banks are reluctant to evict residents for fear the properties will deteriorate further. For the past year and a half I’ve been driving Route 302 twice a week. It’s the main east/west highway through southern Maine. As soon as I leave Portland and go into the rural hinterland I’m seeing the same thing - more “For Sale” signs and decaying properties, both residential and commercial.
Administration officials and their Mainstream Media lapdogs continue to proclaim that it would be worse if not for the trillions in stimulus that have put America into record debt. Three years ago, the president said, “What is a danger is that we stay stuck in a new normal where unemployment rates stay high.” Looks like we’re there however - in spite of his record deficit spending for "economic stimulus."

Yeah, I hear that housing prices have bottomed out and sales are increasing, but how long will that last? It’s happening only because the Federal Reserve is creating digital dollars out of thin air at the rate of $85 billion per month and using much of that to purchase mortgage-backed securities.
And yeah, I hear that the stock market is breaking records, but that’s all artificial too. When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hints that he may slow down his money-printing, the market drops. How long can this go on? Not long. Then what’ll happen? Collapse, that’s what.
You want to see our future? Look at Detroit - if you dare. It looks like Hiroshima after the bomb. It used to have the highest per capita income in the United States back in 1962. Then progressive Democrats and their union supporters took over total control - and they’ve held that control for fifty years. Detroit is the end result of their policies. All of America is on that road when they’re driving, and they’ve got the wheel in Washington.

Democrats started growing government beginning with FDR. Then it was Johnson, Then Carter. Then Clinton - then Republicans under George W. Bush. He grew it even faster than Clinton did. But Obama makes them all look like pikers and he still claims it’ll all get better if he just spends more.
At the end of his first year in office, Obama went to Allentown, PA and lamented the economic slowdown saying, “I promise you this: I won’t rest until things get better.” Well, he’s played 100 rounds of golf since that speech and 125 since being sworn in. He is the tenth president I remember in my lifetime and I don’t recall any of them taking as many vacations as he has. Last month it cost us all over $100 million to send him and his family to Africa - again - and it looks like they all had a great time.
People in Lovell, Maine aren’t doing so good. How is it where you live?

22 comments:

Robin Gudrian-Dilks said...

Hi Tom,
Your posts always surprise me with the amount of heart and valid information you provide. I am also worried about what will happen when this all hits the fan. One has to wonder how much longer we can go on like this. I look around here at the Jersey Shore and see the same thing. You can tell the forclosures.
What is more shocking is Obama does not seem to care or truly understand what he is doing. I've heard people compare our economy to a ponzi scheme. With useless money printed daily. Eventually this house of schemes will fall down either while he is in office or not. Thanks Great post

Average American said...

Half the towns in New England are in about the same shape Tom. This federal administration won't be happy until what is happening in Detroit is the "New Normal!" I call it "Trickle up poverty." The more people you have living off the government teat, the more demorat votes you have.

Murphy said...

I am living in Boone, NC and it isn't so bad in this right to work state. However, North Carolina has a long history of investing in infrastructure and education that is focused on serving employers. Residential real estate and construction are in a state similar to what you describe in Lovell. Having grown up in Maine, I am still in awe of all the new factories that I encounter nearly everywhere I drive in NC. The only abandoned buildings I see are related to the textile industry.

Winston Smith said...

Uhm, what exatcly did you expect? while this country has been sold out from under us, you all are arguing about fake political factions! And abortion and gay rights and other manufacturd horseshit to distract you from REALITY! Hello!

The only, and I do mean the only, way to end this is stop playing pretend. Throw down thy vanity, to paraphrase ezra pound. Stop participating in the farce that is two party politics! Stop listening to fox and msnbc and CNN! They aren't reporting any news, sorry. It's propaganda and distraction!

Stop whining and take action. Seriously question your belief system and its validity. Ask yourself why you believe freedom is presented to you by choosing one of two groups to join. Stop pretending the president and congress aren't corporate shills, bought and paid for.

My god, what did you expect would happen when an international banking cartel took control of our banking system ( federal reserve act, which is seeing its 100 year anniversary)!?!?

You act as if you care, but what are you gonna do? Vote? Write your blog? ......Come on...until we get of our backs we are all slaves! We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Sam Straite said...

President Obama as the "president who has taken the most vacation time" myth has been debunked by dozens of credible sources. Yet Tom, in his typically slithery style, manages to insinuate the old lie into this cesspool of shallow and thoughtless recrimination. Tom, you don't remember previous presidents' vacation time because the right wing wackos whose accusations you routinely regurgitate as your own original "thoughts" did not bring it to your attention. The photos you choose for your blog post show you to be a petty, shallow and humorless little man.

Tom McLaughlin said...

This one really got to you, huh Sam?

Winston Smith said...

Sam, come on...Vacation time? Who cares? How about war crimes? Drone murders of little kids? Innocent women? Entire families wiped out! Why? A suspected "terrorist" was nearby!! Noble peace prize? Ha!
Fast and furious? Ndaa? Do you realize what just happened to the first judges ruling in regards to the lawsuit vs. Obama by hedges and Chomsky, et al?
Obama is another corporate puppet. Period. He's blatantly lied about everything he campaigned on. Transparency? Do you realize what this administartion does to Whistleblowers? By the way, the LEAST transparent admin ever!

So...vacation time? We should be talking about JAIL time. There is a nice spot for him in Guantanamo right next to W and Cheney. And the Clinton's.

You prove my point that this two party thinking is ruining us all. There is no such thing as two separate parties anymore. It's a sick joke.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful San Diego...NOT! The number of homeless "shopping cart" people sleep w all their worldly belongings on the perimeter of large parking lots in downtown San Diego. this particular location is steps away from the courthouse and over priced highrise condominiums and hotels. The very wealthy enjoy the beautiful weather & dining and seem to be oblivious to the tattered, hungry homeless who beg for money @ every stop light. East coast cities give their homeless a one way bus ticket to SD and a 25.00 stipend. The homeless shelters & churches have lines every evening waiting for a free meal. The liberals turn a blind eye to the illegal immigrants using every loophole for section8 housing, EBT aka foodstamps, free medical and medication. Our hospitals, ER's and fine medical institutions are filled w non English speaking patients receiving the best medical services @ taxpayer's expense. RE is improving because foreign money and flippers are buying up homes, not families.The climate & golfing is great. Do not come here w/o money or if you do not speak Spanish. Ca. is now Northern Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Tom, Your column is the most honest and I have been reading it for a long time. I know it must be difficult for you to report on the devastation you see, that we all see. What can we do? We need to organize a plan to save our nation. The comment above is mine. It is far worse than I wrote. The elderly are being slammed w rent increases on leased land in mobile home communities. These parks were always family owned, but have been bought out by investors who are squeezing the older folks with rent increases, I see elderly loosing their homes because they can no longer afford the monthly land lease their home sits on.

Anonymous said...

Your memory on vacations is wrong
Bush 2 took 1020 vacation days in 8 years.
At the present rate Obama projects to take 671 days.

Of course you were a History teacher so arithmetic is not your forte.

Robin Gudrian-Dilks said...

You bring up an interesting point. Yes the Bush's did take Vacations and if I'm not mis taken some of them where at their ranch in Texas and some at the family home in Kinnabunkport Maine. I dont believe ive heard of the Obama's vacationing at their prior home. Its pretty much been all on us.
Its rather sad that despite all of the evading and back peddling President Obama has done there are still right wing liberals willing to swallow his bunk.
You would have to be blind our rich to not be willing to acknowledge how bad it has really gotten for middle class Americans.
Toms posts are some of the better and more honest I have read. If you disagree so completely don't read it. That still is your right last time I checked.

Laurie from Bartlett said...

Excellent comments.Winston,I am w/ you.Just finished reading "None Dare Call It Conspiracy"..sure spells it all out!This is the FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION we were promised.Bye Bye Miss American Pie...

Winston Smith said...

Tom,
Just out of curiosity..What are you going to do? Do you plan on taking any action? What is the remedy? Name calling on a blog isn't going to change anything. Nor is regurgitating so called conservative talking points. Do you have any original thoughts?

Or, Is this all an exercise in ego stroking?

do you really want change? Or, as I suspect, are you terrified of change, freedom and individual sovereignty?

I am constantly amazed that a so called educator believes the blatant lies and rewritten history of this country..

Again, to paraphrase Pound---- throw down thy vanity.

Oh, and Laurie from Bartlett. Read some Jim Marrs, much better stuff and he's not a John birch member like Gary Allen. these two are great--- rule by secrecy and the trillion dollar conspiracy. Great stuff. Oh, and the creature from Jekyll island is a MUST! By Edward griffin

Winston Smith said...

No doubt you know, and teach, that the United States is a corproation, NOT a country. I'm sure you told your students about the 41st congress selling out America? And that, as a result, we are considered products not citizens. We are no longer free living human beings. Merely slaves.

Our birth certificates are traded on the stick market.
But you taipught your students all this truth, right?

America, was our country, but the United States is a corporation. Just the facts. Albeit very scary and very true.

Hint, the world we live in does not function like a middle school text book.

Tom McLaughlin said...

We have a Constitution with a Bill of Rights. If we don't enforce it, if we let it lie fallow, it will get flaccid and die eventually.

We need to take the 10th Amendment out of mothballs and apply it. We need to shrink government of everything the Constitution does not allow.

I prefer to do all that while operating within constitutional limits myself, Winston. I hope you do as well. If you don't, I cannot support you.

Winston Smith said...

Thank our 41st congress for selling us out!
This IS the ugly TRUTH. make no mistake...so, no Tom, our constitutions and bill,of rights no longer work for us.

.."The Congress realized our country was in dire financial straits, so they cut a deal with the international bankers — (in those days, the Rothschilds of London were dipping their fingers into everyone's pie) thereby incurring a DEBT to said bankers. If we think about banks, we know they do not just lend us money out of the goodness of their hearts. A bank will not do anything for you unless it is entirely in their best interest to do so. There has to be some sort of collateral or some string attached which puts you and me (the borrower) into a subservient position. This was true back in 1871 as well. The conniving international bankers were not about to lend our floundering nation any money without some serious stipulations. So, they devised a brilliant way of getting their foot in the door of the United States (a prize they had coveted for some time, but had been unable to grasp thanks to our Founding Fathers, who despised them and held them in check), and thus, the Act of 1871 was passed.

In essence, this Act formed the corporation known as THE UNITED STATES. Note the capitalization, because it is important. This corporation, owned by foreign interests, moved right in and shoved the original "organic" version of the Constitution into a dusty corner. With the "Act of 1871," our Constitution was defaced in the sense that the title was block-capitalized and the word "for" was changed to the word "of" in the title. The original Constitution drafted by the Founding Fathers, was written in this manner:

"The Constitution for the united states of America".

The altered version reads: "THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA". It is the corporate constitution. It is NOT the same document you might think it is. The corporate constitution operates in an economic capacity and has been used to fool the People into thinking it is the same parchment that governs the Republic. It absolutely is not..."

Winston Smith said...

."Incidentally, this corporate constitution does not benefit the Republic. It serves only to benefit the corporation. It does nothing good for you or me — and it operates outside of the original Constitution. Instead of absolute rights guaranteed under the "organic" Constitution, we now have "relative" rights or privileges. One example of this is the Sovereign's right to travel, which has been transformed under corporate government policy into a "privilege" which we must be licensed to engage in. This operates outside of the original Constitution.

So, Congress committed TREASON against the People, who were considered Sovereign under the Declaration of Independence and the organic Constitution. When we consider the word "Sovereign," we must think about what the word means.

According to Webster's Dictionary, "sovereign" is defined as: 1. chief or highest; supreme. 2. Supreme in power, superior in position to all others. 3. Independent of, and unlimited by, any other, possessing or entitled to, original and independent authority or jurisdiction.

In other words, our government was created by and for "sovereigns" — the free citizens who were deemed the highest authority. Only the People can be sovereign — remember that. Government cannot be sovereign. We can also look to the Declaration of Independence, where we read: "government is subject to the consent of the governed" — that's supposed to be us, the sovereigns. Do you feel like a sovereign nowadays? I don't.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a constitutional historian to figure out that this is not what is happening in our country today. Government in these times is NOT subject to the consent of the governed. Rather, the governed are subject to the whim and greed of the corporation, which has stretched its tentacles beyond the ten-mile-square parcel of land known as the District of Columbia — encroaching into every state of the Republic. Mind you, the corporation has NO jurisdiction outside of the District of Columbia. THEY just want you to think it does.."

Winston Smith said...

It's a wicked twisted world we live in. Full of lies and deceits.
This country and its laws being the biggest of them!
It seems to make perfect sense though. Explains a lot.
So, make sure you play by the rules Tom! Just like a good little slave!

..."I refer you to the UNITED STATES CODE (note the capitalization, indicating the corporation, not the Republic) Title 28 3002 (15) (A) (B) (C). It is stated unequivocally that the UNITED STATES is a corporation. Realize, too, that the corporation is not a separate and distinct entity from the government. It IS the government. YOUR government. This is extremely important. I refer to this as the "corporate empire of the UNITED STATES," which operates under Roman Civil Law outside of the Constitution. How do you like being ruled by a cheesy, sleazy corporation? You'll ask your Congressperson about this, you say? HA!!

Congress is fully aware of this deception. You must be made aware that the members of Congress do NOT work for you and me. Rather, they work for the Corporation known as THE UNITED STATES. Is this really any surprise to you? This is why we can't get them to do anything on our behalf or to answer to us — as in the case with the illegal income tax — among many other things. Contrary to popular belief, they are NOT our civil servants. They do NOT work for us. They are the servants of the corporate government and carry out its bidding. Period."

Listen to jordan maxwell talk about this stuff. Fascinating.
We are ruled by maritime admiralty law too by the way, another amazing fact.

Winston Smith said...

.."In 1871 when the United States became incorporated, they attached our birth certificates to a CUSIP number on the stock exchange which equals slave trade and it’s done every time a baby is born. There is a bond trust account set up and they trade us on the stock market and this is all documented and I know it’s shocking. Some of you are hearing this for the very first time and you’re thinking, “Oh, my God, how could they possibly . . .?” They go so far as to trick us . . . have you ever been to court and the judge says, “Do you understand?” Don’t ever say you do. Say, “No, your Honor, I do not understand.” That simple little word doesn’t mean what you think it does. You have just given him permission if you said “Yes, I do understand,” that you are going to stand under whatever it is he wants to lay on top of you. The courts are admiralty courts.(NOTE-she should have said “equity.” There was a merger. It’s all about money today. That’s why you have a lone judge making decisions vs. the Constitutionally-required Trial by Jury.) The judges, the attorneys, all belong to the BAR Association. It’s still a little vague as to what BAR stands for, but we do know the first word is for British. Some say accredited, some say attorney, and Registry. They do not work for us, We The People. We The People are working for them. We don’t need a gold standard. We are the value to the Federal Reserve Note. We can give value to our United States currency.

The Constitution that they’re teaching today, as wonderful that it is, to learn about a big portion of it, it’s not the correct constitution. It’s actually a second constitution and that’s the one they wrote when they went and incorporated. In 1933 there was the Emergency Banking Act. You’ve got the War Powers Act, Trading with the Enemies Act, and every year the United States corporation, masquerading as our supposed government, which is no more than elected officials like a CEO and a stockholders’ board for AT&T or Microsoft. So you’re not voting for a legislator, you’re not voting for a representative, because each and every one of them are bonded under a United States corporation. There are 37,000 subsidiaries of that corporation. Every agency when you look it up on Dunn and Bradstreet is listed as a corporation. It is a for profit, private company, and we are their inventory.

Read more: http://dinarvets.com/forums/index.php?/topic/50483-the-evil-corporation-masquerading-as-our-government/#ixzz2aLceB2SN

Anonymous said...

The answer to the issues in our economy can't just be laid upon one person....it just can't. That is the way one avoids being a part of the real answer.

If you want to help the economy, start by looking around at your home, your refrigerator....where does you money go? Big corporate business far from home ? Or local wears, food from local farms. We have to stop blaming and doing something about it. There are millions of us, just a few politicians....it's not them...it's us.

Anonymous said...

”The Constitution that they’re teaching today, as wonderful that it is, to learn about a big portion of it, it’s not the correct constitution. It’s actually a second constitution and that’s the one they wrote when they went and incorporated. In 1933 there was the Emergency Banking Act. You’ve got the War Powers Act, Trading with the Enemies Act, and every year the United States corporation, masquerading as our supposed government, which is no more than elected officials like a CEO and a stockholders’ board for AT&T or Microsoft. So you’re not voting for a legislator, you’re not voting for a representative, because each and every one of them are bonded under a United States corporation. There are 37,000 subsidiaries of that corporation. Every agency when you look it up on Dunn and Bradstreet is listed as a corporation. It is a for profit, private company, and we are their inventory."


Yup......

Anonymous said...

I've been living in West Stoneham for the past few years, and I have noticed what you have about Lovell-Stoneham, but even worse: where is the next generation? I recently went to the Hobbs library for a wonderful nature talk by Mary Holland and 95% of the audience was ages 60 - 85, in a talk that was geared for any age. Similar events have had similar results, no matter if they've been scheduled for night or day hours. I shudder to think what will be 20 years from now. This goes for fulltime residents as well as summer people.
That said, it's not all doom and gloom - just step over the border to NH, where housing is still in demand and prices are rising along with the general US real estate trends. Our biggest "mistake" is that we bought in our wonderful neck of the woods, rather than 6 miles over the border in NH, where health care is more affordable, where we could have afforded retirement due to lack of state income tax, and yes, our house's worth would have appreciated rather than taken a nosedive - all because it's in Maine.