Friday, September 26, 2014

By Any Other Name, It's Still The Same

Charles Hugh Smith pens an excellent blog called Of Two Minds. I copied and pasted his post from today because this guy is really smart and not enough people read his blog. I hope that you click on the link (HERE) and start following. He writes about the state of the economy because he is an Economist and studies that sort of thing. If you aren't interested in the state of the economy... well, I don't know what to say to that.

I think that reading this post (and Smith's blog) will be eye-opening to many of you. Some of you already know this stuff. I think it is important to understand what is really going on and not what the media wants you to believe is going on.  Yeah, they are two very different things.

If you didn't want to believe the Elites rules the economy on a Global basis, please rethink that. If you didn't want to believe that they use big business and the media to further their agenda, please rethink that. If you didn't want to believe that the US is as close to Rome as it ever was before it fell, please rethink that. If you think that our government (Democrat and Republican) exist to speak for the people, please rethink that.

If you truly want to understand how the economy runs... read this article and then let it soak in. The Elites continue to run the world, to the detriment of everyone else, because they go unchallenged. In fact, most people don't understand they exist. Knowledge is power. Let's all take a moment to get a little smarter.
Here is the post from Charles Hugh Smith:

What the Global Status Quo Optimizes: Protecting Elites and the Clerisy Class That Serves Them

The incestuous embrace of privilege and power by entrenched, socially isolated Elites characterizes failed states and brittle, doomed regimes throughout history.

Every system is optimized to serve a specific purpose. As noted in my recent essay What Metric Are We Optimizing For?, what the system optimizes is rarely explicitly stated.

Sometimes this results from not understanding the metric that the system is designed to optimize; but in other cases, explicitly describing what the system optimizes would trigger social instability.

The Status Quo around the world--from France to China to the U.S.--is optimized to protect its Elites and the sprawling Upper-Caste of academics, managers, think-tank toadies, technocrats, apparatchiks, functionaries, factotums, lackeys and apologists who serve the Elites, and are well-paid for enforcing the Status Quo on the disenfranchized castes below.

Demographer Joel Kotkin, author of the new book The New Class Conflict, has coined the word Clerisy to describe what I have been calling the Upper Caste:America's new class system.

Oligarchs are assisted in their control by what Kotkin calls the "clerisy" class — an amalgam of academics, media and government employees who play the role that medieval clergy once played in legitimizing the powerful, and in implementing their policies while quelling resistance from the masses. The clerisy isn't as rich as the oligarchs, but it does pretty well for itself and is compensated in part by status, its positions allowing even its lower-paid members to feel superior to the hoi polloi.

Because it doesn't have to work in competitive industries, the clerisy favors regulations, land-use rules and environmental restrictions that make things worse for businesses — especially the small "yeoman" businesses that traditionally sustained much of the middle class — thus further hollowing out the middle of the income distribution. But the lower classes, sustained by government handouts and by rhetoric from the clerisy, provide enough votes to keep the machine running, at least for a while.

This describes the Savior State perfectly: a centrally planned and controlled government that enforces its absolute control via force, legal regulations and the blandishments of complicity: there's billions of dollars in free money social welfare to buy the loyalty (or at least the passivity) of the disenfranchised and marginalized.

I have often written about the stagnation of social mobility and the rise of a neofeudal arrangement of social-economic strata:

America's Nine Classes: The New Class Hierarchy (April 29, 2014)
The Three-and-a-Half Class Society (October 22, 2012)
The New American Divide (January 25, 2012)
Why Reform Won't Work (February 7, 2013)
When Belief in the System Fades (March 12, 2008)

The political, corporate/financial and National Security State Elites represent a vanishingly thin layer of the American economy and society. America today is the nightmare scenario feared by James Madison and other Federalists: a covertly created monarchical (what I term neofeudal) empire much like the Roman Empire--a republic in name but in reality a highly centralized Empire operated for the benefit of tiny Elites who buy complicity of the masses with free bread and circuses.

The "Monarchical Federalists" Madison and Jefferson feared have indeed established a neofeudal, neocolonialist Empire.

In this context, it is interesting to note that fully 20% of all entitlements (tax credits, Medicare, Social Security, etc.) flows to the top 10%, 58% goes to middle-income households and 32% goes to the bottom 20%. The swag of bread and circuses is remarkably well-distributed, buying off every sector of the populace.

Behind the PR facade of democracy and free-market capitalism, a parasitic Aristocracy extracts income and wealth from a financially indentured class of serfs. This Aristocracy is composed of several Elites which are served by the Upper Caste of technocrats. These Elites and the Upper Caste serve each others interests, a social heirarchy that Hilton Root characterized as a "society divided into closed, self-regarding groups." The slow trickle of the "best and brightest" into the Upper Caste via Ivy League university admission is also a propaganda facade, as Ron Unz ably and exhaustively proves in The Myth of American Meritocracy How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?

The trick is enable just enough meritocracy to support the PR facade. The Ivy League has mastered that balancing act.

These Elites have few if any links to the social layers below. Charles Murray spoke to some aspects of this trend of financial/social Elitist isolation from the debt-serfs and worker-bee class below in Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, but the key dynamic that is outside Murray's sociological purview is the stark reality that the Elite class is devoid of any real feeling for or interest in the common good or public weal.

That is, not only have the key institutions of American governance and power lost the memory and mechanics of good governance, the Elites running the institutions have become an inbred neofeudal Aristocracy characterized by an unexamined (and thus deeply adolescent) sense of entitlement to the reins of power and control of the national income.

It's not just the institutions that have lost any conception of good governance-- the Aristocracy ruling the nation has lost all interest or recognition of the common good. This is of course not unique to America; the same disregard for the common good is at the root of all developed-world and developing-world failed states.

The incestuous embrace of privilege and power by entrenched, socially isolated Elites characterizes failed states and brittle, doomed regimes throughout history.This is what the Status Quo everywhere is optimized for: protecting those who have secured the wealth, perquisites and power by strangling competition, democracy and social mobility.

If you want to pinpoint the one dynamic pushing the global economy into not just a prolonged recession but a parallel period of massive social instability, look no farther than the social and financial stagnation that results from optimizing the system to benefit the Elites and the entrenched incumbents who protect them from competition and the dispossessed debt-serf classes below.

Monday, September 22, 2014

BOTB Results, Something Different, and Secrets of Honor

First: results for Battle of the Bands. I suspected that Boyce Avenue would win this battle, though not by the margin it did. I was surprised by how many of you didn't actually like the song by either party. One of you said that you would give the win to the neighbor's cat (if it were an option). LC voted for Miley just to piss off Stephen T. McCarthy (hahahaha) and some of you abstained. In the end, it looked like this with your votes:

Miley Cyrus - 5 votes
Boyce Avenue - 24 votes

Obviously, not even close. 

For me, this was a tough battle, and not because I don't like either version;) I actually like the way Miley sings the chorus of the song, but am not crazy about her interpretation of the rest of it. I really like Boyce Avenue on everything but the chorus (it's too pretty for me). The exception is the final time through on their version. I like that a lot. Overall, I agree with the majority and vote for Boyce Avenue... but I think there are things to like in the MC version and can understand a vote cast her way.

Second: LC wrote in his DiscConnected blog that he is not feeling inspired to blog of late. I agree with him. I am struggling. Working on my novel takes so much time and I just don't want to sit in front of the computer and try to work up something clever or uber-honest here. So, there might not be a whole lot happening on this blog for a while. Not apologizing (for all of you who will want to tell me not to apologize in the comments:) but explaining. ALSO, I plan to post more often on my other blog stuff like this: click here. If you want a few minutes of something fun, I hope you follow over there. Obviously, not every post will be your cup of joe, but some should tickle you.

Third: Carol Kilgore is releasing her newest novel, Secrets of Honor. I am so happy for her. I volunteered to share the details with you, so here they are...


By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of the first lady’s dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.


Carol sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol and her books here:
Under the Tiki Hut blog:
Website with Monthly Contest:


It's here! SECRETS OF HONOR, the novel. Kat Marengo will finally spill her story.

Once upon a time, there was a jewel thief...for the government. SECRETS OF HONOR, the novel.

24 hours to find a kidnapped girl. Failure is unthinkable. SECRETS OF HONOR, the novel.

SECRETS OF HONOR, a new thriller.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Battle of the Bands ~ Wrecking Ball

Today is the 15th and time for Battle of the Bands! Can you believe that I have been at this for about a year now??? Battle of the Bands. Not blogging. That blows my mind.

Ironically, I don't have you guys and your voting tendencies any more figured out now than when I started. Hahahaha! In other words, you always surprise me!

I hesitated to post this particular battle because I thought it would lean heavily in one direction. And then I considered all of the battles of the past, and my ability to predict an outcome, and I decided to give it a whirl.

Miley Cyrus. There. I said it. That girl has been so outrageous (and let's face it, disgusting, and crude) that even folks who used to like her are holding down gagging noises, except for teenagers. They love that stuff. There are some celebrities (singers, actors, etc.) that annoy me so much that I refuse to buy their music or pay money to watch their movies. That is our right, you know? We don't have to financially support folks we don't like.

BUT, Battle of the Bands isn't about anyone making money. Your vote here doesn't equate to royalty checks. So, this is the time to set aside our feelings about the person and focus strictly on the music. And it may gall us to vote for someone we don't like, but if they did the better job...

Yeah, so you can see why I haven't put up this battle for a long time. It would be tempting to vote against Miley Cyrus on Principle. The thing is that we aren't comparing Principles here. It's just the music.
The song is Wrecking Ball. If this song is new to you, all the better. However, I STRONGLY CAUTION you to NEVER EVER EVER watch Miley's video of this song. I regret it. Sorely regret it. There are images in that video that I cannot erase from my brain. I don't want you to suffer that same fate. So DON'T DO IT. I am posting a Lyric Video. You can all relax. It's just words.

The cover of this song is by Boyce Avenue (featuring Diamond White). I don't know much about Boyce Avenue, except that they are a cover band. Their tendency is to strip them down a bit (bad visual coming after Miley... sorry). Acoustic. That is the word I was seeking.

Enough yakking. Let's just listen, shall we?

Miley Cyrus with Wrecking Ball...

Boyce Avenue (featuring Diamond White)...

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

Now, is the critical moment. It is time to vote for your favorite version of this song. I even encourage you to leave me long comment explaining all the ins and outs of why you voted as you did! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Bullets for Breakfast

I haven't tried a bullet point post in a while. Those are fun. They are bite-sized thoughts. Who doesn't love bite-sized goodies?
  • When I was a kid I used to love to tell (anyone who would listen) what happened on a TV show. Usually, it was M*A*S*H, but not always.
  • Now that I am older, and my mom lives with me, she loves to tell (anyone who will listen) that I would take an hour to rehash a half hour show.
  • Apparently, this drove both my parents *crazy* when I did it... all of those years ago.
  • Do you remember your parents saying things like, "I hope that when you have kids they are just like YOU!"
  • Well, I didn't have any kids, but I have my mom who is *crazy* for this TV show Heartland. She is watching it from the beginning on the Up Network.
  • Last Friday night we went out to dinner and she talked the entire meal detailing what happened on the last episode of Heartland. When the check came, I said, "You and dad wondered where I got that endearing trait of relaying TV shows... well, it was from YOU."
  • I am here to tell you that karma always happens. It comes back to you. Sometimes from your kids. Sometimes your parents, but it comes back. And it is annoying. I can see why I drove my parents *crazy.*
  • Battle of the Bands... I appreciate everyone who listened and voted in this most recent installment of Battle of the Bands. You rock!
  • The song was Up The Ladder To The Roof. The combatants were The Supremes and The Nylons.
  • For a LONG time, this battle was a tie. Back and forth it went. Man, that did my heart good. ::air kisses for you::
  • And then The Supremes pulled ahead and The Nylons did not regain that ground. 
  • The final vote: 15 to 10. The Supremes take it.
  • Make it 15 to 11. I vote for The Nylons. I love that group. I found them in the 80s and wore out the tape on my cassette One Size Fits All. When I went to college, turns out I wasn't the only one who loved it. My freshman year, someone would put that tape in and we would sit around playing euchre (if you're from the north, you know what that is). Such fond memories go with The Nylons.
  • I am so happy with those of you volunteered to read my novel. Seriously, you guys are awesome.
  • Elsie sent me some comments about the first scene (or two) along with a note to cut the word "that" whenever possible. Yesterday, I ran the Find Function on the word "that." Holy cow. I kid you not, but that word "that" is Everywhere. I think it snuck into my writing and bred like rabbits. I deleted the unnecessary ones, but couldn't always delete the space it created. 
  • Solutions sometimes create different problems.
  • Last night I read a blog over at The Kill Zone by James Scott Bell. It was called Revisiting the Mirror in the Middle. Or something close to that. You can click the link to read it for yourself. Essentially, he said that if you go to the middle of any book, movie, etc. that in the middle is that mirror moment for the character.
  • Of course, I immediately logged out of blogger and back into my novel. I needed to know what was in the middle of my book. 
  • It was what I call the Revelation scene. Woah.
  • And then I had a revelation of my own. Let me tell you about it...
  • Back in 2006, I wrote the scene that was the inspiration and eventually Back Story for this novel.
  • At first, I used it as The Prologue.
  • Then I read how so many people didn't like Prologues and absorbed it into Chapter 1.
  • I have moved it all over Chapter 1, still not that happy about where it is.
  • Last night, I moved it to the Middle. It belongs in that Revelation moment. Of course it does.
  • Ironically, James Scott Bell talks about starting in the middle and working forward and back.It turns out by putting this scene there... that is kinda sorta what I did. 
  • I haven't read his book (yet) about writing this way, but I think he means that the inspiration for your story is very likely the moment, the crisis, the event that started the character on this path. That point in the middle is the place where the MC questions all of it. Maybe things are starting to make sense or maybe it is all crazier than ever... but it is that point where the MC pauses and says, "Holy crap. What am I doing? What have I done? Where am I going? Can I continue like this????"
  • Naturally, this is going to force me to rework the middle scene, the revelation scene. 
  • Solutions sometimes create different problems.

Have your kids or parents thrown any of your bad habits back at you? How did that feel? Did you vote in Battle of the Bands? Did the outcome surprise you? Have you noticed in your own writing, reading, watching of movies, that the main character has a mirror moment in the middle (sometimes with an actual mirror and sometimes not)? Have you ever written the middle first and worked forward and back? Have you read any of James Scott Bell's books on writing?

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Ta da. If you thought there would be no HERE'S TO YOU post this week... surprise! I actually have a good deal of material sitting in my Favorites file, just waiting for this auspicious occasion.

If you don't know what this HERE'S TO YOU stuff is about, let me explain.  This used to be a weekly event landing typically on Thursdays.  When I read your blogs or you say something in the comments that sparks my imagination (or I hear something and I think of you), chances are good I will click over to YouTube to find footage for you. In the old days you wouldn't have to reach back in your memory bank farther than one week. Now... all bets are off. It could be several weeks ago.

The best (or worst) part is that I am not going to explain why I chose "whatever" footage for each of you. If, you watch your footage and are scratching your head at the end, well that means I didn't do a very good job. However, all is not lost. You can email me at and ask me what I was thinking when I chose that particular piece of footage off of YouTube and connected it to you. And then I will tell you. Then I will start sending up prayers that I haven't offended the crap out of whoever is on the receiving end of that Because, honestly, I will tell you right now... I admire all of you enormously so I really hope that doesn't happen.

Also, this is not an exclusive venture by any means. I hope that you will take the time to watch ALL of the footage because I don't pick bad footage:-) I also hope that you might check out the blog of the person I dedicated the footage to because they are pretty darn awesome. If you haven't figured this out yet... I pick the footage based on something that you've written or something that I've gleaned from your personality. Think on that for a while... If you are having trouble watching the entire video (meaning it is being cut off on one side), click on it a couple of times and it will take you straight over to youtube. If you click on the four squares at the bottom corner of the video, it will enlarge it to fill your screen. The escape key will bring it back to normal size. The back arrow will bring you back to my page.

Now, let's get this PARTY STARTED!!!!

This one is for everyone:

This one is for farawayeyes at Far Away Series and Stephen T. McCarthy at STMcC Presents 'Battle of the Bands':

This one is for Karen Walker at author karen walker...following the whispers:

This one is for Robyn at Life By Chocolate: Robyn Alana Engel's Blog:

This one is for Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out and Stephen T. McCarthy at STMcC Present 'Battle of the Bands':

This one is for Bryan and Brandon at A Beer For The Shower:

This one is for JJ The Disconnected Writer:
Click here for the most honest 3 minutes of television history (seriously!)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG ~ So Insecure

I went to bed thinking about my as yet unwritten IWSG post and woke up thinking about it.

Have you ever had something you were insecure about, but you were SO INSECURE about it that you really didn't want to think about it or write about it????

What am I talking about??? In this case, I am blathering about Critique Partners. I really need them. I asked for anyone who was interested to send me an email. That netted one email. Thanks Genissa! But, I really need a couple more and I find myself terrified to just step out here and ask... again. Not because you will read my "baby" and find flaws. I know that there are flaws, which is why I need you!

I am insecure because I don't think you will even WANT to read it. In fact, I have already come up with plenty of reasons why you won't want to do it (so I really shouldn't ask). I could list those reasons, but I am trying to keep this short(er).

My novel is written as the first in a series. It is a Paranormal Mystery with a dash of Romance on the side. In this case, "Paranormal" means my MC receives a vision every time she touches something with an emotional fingerprint.

Now, if you only read Science Fiction or Horror or something like that, here is is your Permission Slip. You have just been let off the hook. My book has NONE of that. If you think Paranormal requires vampires, werewolves, witches and all that stuff... another Permission Slip. I have none. If you are still thinking, "This could be me," well OKAY! If you need a CP, send me an email and we can talk about it. I do think the arrangement can, and should, be mutually beneficial. My email is rarichards68 at gmail dot com:)

Much thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh who started this group. If you want to read/support more insecure writers, click HERE for a full list of everyone participating. If you think you'd like to join the group, we'd love to have you!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Battle of the Bands ~ Up The Ladder To The Roof

Happy Labor Day and Battle of the Bands! I know that Battle of the Bands isn't a holiday, but it is what we are doing here today, so....

The song for this installation of Battle of the Bands is Up The Ladder To The Roof. It was the first single off of the first album for The Supremes sans Diana Ross. That was sometime in the early to mid 60s. If you want precise dates, google it. Ha! And then I found the song in the 80s on an album called One Size Fits All by The Nylons. And that is our battle for today: The Supremes vs The Nylons.

First up, The Supremes... since they did it first:

Now for the The Nylons:

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

Now, is the critical moment. It is time to vote for your favorite version of this song. I even encourage you to leave me long comment explaining all the ins and outs of why you voted as you did!