Saturday, December 4, 2010

Treasure Map Makes Detour Through The Poorhouse

What's wrong with this picture? 
Frankly, I don’t know what’s scarier….trying to follow the trail of one borrower’s mortgage loan through the system pre-2009, or the fact that I know how to read the map.

No wonder the system imploded all over itself and expeditiously took down half of the world’s economies. I'd say it tossed that old “too big to fail” notion right out the window as well….and with it obviously went the middle class livelihoods of millions.

Is it realistic to think our financial system will position itself from here on out to learn from the mistakes of the past, as it continuously strives to outdo the bottom line performances of the past without thought of long term consequences? Don’t count on it.

Should history prove a worthy gauge, I figure the next wave of aggressive newbies who grow up and hit the “Street” in about 20 years will go in short on memory about the economic collapse of 2008 (except perhaps what they learned in their history books), and go long on the invincible belief that they’re the exception to every rule governing market lifecycles.

So when that next wave eventually does hit, I too would like to think that I’ll be smart enough to voluntarily jump off of the bull’s back before I'm violently bucked off, then mauled by a bear. 

© by DK King

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Holy Humanity!

My guess is that only a true contrarian would polemically deny that the last couple of years have delivered unto planet Earth a concentrated dose of disasters, natural or otherwise.

Being a fellow resident fully dependent upon this orb to sustain me just as my neighbor does, I find it difficult to helplessly stand by and watch as families and livelihoods are ripped asunder with little or no warning by destructive forces that are usually beyond the control of those most affected.

And I know I’m not alone in my compassion for the beings who have suffered tremendous losses at the whim of a volatile planet…..a compassion that admittedly springs from a line of internal questioning that typically begins with "what if that had happened to me or mine?", and ends with "how can I help?

Well, a media fed by catastrophe has yet to fail in answering my last question with anything other than a cry for $$Cash$$, since apparently the best way to help those who have suffered is to drop as much cash as possible into the humanitarian collection plate every time it’s passed around.

This bothers me.

Not because I don’t recognize that there are huge costs associated with providing the humanitarian aid and rescue efforts needed for those in distress, and that the costs need to be covered.

My aversion to these predictable and repetitive pleas for cash and more cash lies deep within the layers of bureaucratic corruption that invariably pads the rescue efforts with a greed quotient so top heavy that nothing is left over to help those for whom the aid was originally intended.

After this month’s monsoon season submerged one-fifth of Pakistan under water, I began to wonder if maybe we’ve got it backwards. That maybe the bigger picture in all of this is more about encouraging the Earth’s tenants to go on the offensive by investing more money into working harmoniously with our landlord vs. defensively reacting to an endless river of devastation that might have been preventable had we better listened to the Earth’s rhythms.

For all of our scientific and technological advancements, as a people, I think we’re still behind the curve on this one. The world may have been as flat as the lack of progress seen throughout the dark ages, yet the wisdom of that dark age placed great value on the voice of Nature. Perhaps the ignorance of the dark ages was really light years ahead of today's more enlightened age.

Mankind's overall attitude today may be that money makes the world go ‘round, but our landlord, Mother Earth, really does hold all of the power. She obviously can't be bought. And she will win. 

Looks like we’re in this one together.

Holy Humanity!

© by DK King

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Artful Tax Dodgers

Being accountable is tough business, and apparently not very cost effective.

As an ordinary citizen, I find it hard to not be a little envious of corporate America when I stop long enough to consider some of the advantageous loopholes it has persuasively lobbied into the tax code ‘just for corporations’ over the last decade or so. These loopholes have been decidedly designed to reward only those belonging to the Corp Club, and should they ever be applied to the itemized personal tax return of an average American taxpayer, that individual’s insolence would be rewarded with the threat of a prison sentence akin to Al Capone.

A twisty loophole that has made recent headline news can be found under the tax code catch phrase “transfer pricing”. Also known on Wall Street as “income shifting”, “the Double Irish”, and for some insiders “the Double Dutch”. To the locals feeling pick-pocketed on Main Street, however, it’s known as another case of “Greed Takes a Holiday”.

Any true capitalist would logically expect every large American corporation that is fully committed to increasing its bottom line profits and dispensing hearty executive bonuses to make full use of this highly remunerative 'income shifting' loophole without compunction. Nevertheless, I'll bet the accounting office over at Forest Laboratories, Inc. has become quite depressed since it's had the misfortune of being singled out as the new face of ‘income shifting’ in Bloomberg’s latest exposé.

Forest Laboratories, Inc. is the maker of Lexapro - the third most popular anti-depressant sold almost solely in the United States. Just because Lexapro generates billions of dollars in U.S. sales every year, doesn’t mean that the U.S. Treasury has seen any reduction in its deficit from all of the tax dollars you’d expect it to be collecting on Lexapro’s U.S. revenues. And “Why not?”, you might ask, when the real question is “What tax dollars?” 

Thanks to 'transfer pricing', Forest Laboratories, Inc. effectively - and legally - evades paying U.S. income taxes on much of its Lexapro U.S. profits by transferring said profits overseas to a subsidiary in Ireland. From there (and Ireland ironically gets shorted along the way as well), the profits take a brief holiday in Amsterdam before making an electronic landing on the no-tax island paradise of Bermuda.

Back when the world was busy feeling flush, all this talk about the Double Irish would’ve likely been swept aside with relative indifference. Attitudes have dramatically changed now that the bottom has fallen out. It seems to me that the implemented systems of taxation around the globe have become so incredibly convoluted that when the boom went bust, the masses went looking for accountability from the very administrators and regulators who’d been busy looking the other way as their civic treasuries subtly mushroomed into a big Ponzi scheme. Now there’s nothing new coming in from the top to feed the bottom.

I do believe that most of us genuinely appreciate the infrastructure and communal support services that are made possible through taxes paid into the system even though few really admit to wanting to pay those taxes.

Unfortunately it’s the same old story every time a cash flow crisis hits, and those responsible for managing (or mis-managing) the money start crying out for more, more, more. And historically it’s the tax paying population least able to afford the cash call that finds itself burdened with the bulk of the tax bill. So when the levied tax increases become untenable for the citizens who don’t have access to the same tax evading loopholes as the Corp Club, these citizens tend to create their own underground loopholes.

In America it's called doing business ‘under the table’. Around the Mediterranean it’s called doing business 'the Italian way. Just ask the Greeks...or the Spanish…or the Portuguese…and of course the Italian experts.

Are you depressed yet? Perhaps it's time to stir the pot with our own version of the Double Irish. It might go something like this: you ask the man in charge for a second bowl of gruel, and I’ll quickly stir in the Lexapro.

Please sir, I want some more…
© by DK King

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Muse With Benefits" defined

MUSE WITH BENEFITS ("MWB") n. Archetype.
Not to be mistaken for a musty “MOWB”, the Muse With Benefits customarily proffers distraction with action, arousal without a spousal, hanky panky with a little spanky, stimulations with few limitations, thrills with skills, flings with no strings, tantalization without penalization, tease then a please between the sheets, and lastly, creative snippets after a few whip its.

As would be expected, the MWB tends to attract the greedy (and not necessarily the needy) and we all know who they are ... those who just have to have more, even after snatching up everything else.

Perhaps secretly it’s all about following in the fancy foot steps of Apollo. He led us to believe for thousands of years that he could have it all and the Muses to boot.
© by DK King

Saturday, May 15, 2010

SEC: Pimps of Wall Street

Now that the cathouse is out of the bag and everyone’s figured out Why Bernie Made Off With 2008, it looks as if the ‘Mac Daddy’ of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has finally decided to pry himself away from the full time oversight of downloading the best porn the internet has to offer, to focus his attentions on saving face and re-exerting his authority over the Street.

Apparently the biggest whores working Wall Street needed a friendly reminder of who really keeps them in business with a little legal bitch slapping.

Just ask the recently slapped Goldman Sachs. This high profile Street walker (who just happened to be one of the Wizards Behind the TARP) got lucky when the Omaha Oracle -aka Daddy Warbucks- defended Goldman by admitting he'd laid his own money on the table and the return on his investment made him want to come back for more.

Working the Street is a dirty job, but I guess someone's gotta do it.
© by DK King

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Troll On The Bridge" defined

TROLL ON THE BRIDGE. n. Archetype.
I'd like to see you try getting past this Troll without paying up...

These are the corporate-minded gatekeepers who block your every effort to maneuver around them and get across the bridge. This is occasionally done with malice and without conscience, but more often than not, the blockade is enforced without the Troll even comprehending on a conscience level that it is ‘the hold up’, the obstruction blocking all passage to the other side.

Since Trolls often believe themselves infallible and eagerly seek to have that belief validated, they usually insist on some sort of ego caressing homage as payment before they’ll finally step aside and let you pass them by.

And as they smugly wallow in their self-induced position of power by being ‘the hold up', Trolls are sadly ignorant to the unmistakable, yet ironic, fact that they’re usually standing in their own way and blocking their own progress as well.

Looking to see beyond the blockade? A little boat ride underneath the bridge might be a sneaky opportunity to go "Trolling For Transparency".

© by DK King

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Moldy Old White Bread" defined

Yum! Yum! 
A tasty depiction of a human anachronism who routinely derives sustenance from stale, inedible, and moldy ways of thinking, while advocating modi operandi that is firmly entrenched in standards set by the “Old Guard”.

MOWBs are not conservatively categorized or necessarily stereotyped by gender, age, race, culture, or even political party affiliation; but usually reveal their unmistakable MOWB-ness with a mindset deeply rooted in entitlement, arrogance, superiority and double standards.

A Male MOWB is more specifically referred to as a “Moby Dick”.

A Female MOWB is more specifically referred to as a “B-Rex”.

© by DK King

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cost of Free

The old saying "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" lulls us into complacently believing that somehow we're getting away with something when we acquire a benefit or reward without personal cost, or any other form of equitable exchange.   
This simple idiom, however, thoroughly discounts the investments required on a daily basis to feed and care (and dare I say "nurture"?) the cow that has been boastfully milked dry. Someone clearly had to pay for the cow to be in a position to offer up its milk, yet who really wants to talk about the support system’s underbelly when we're so busy getting the goods for nothing? 

And to add free insult to cheap injury, our true nature never fails to inherently add an element of discontent once we’ve obtained our freebie, especially since the majority of us are not immune to the subliminal side effects of ‘free’ – namely, the ultimate reduction in value we psychologically place upon something we never had to earn or pay for.  

'Free' oftentimes equates to valueless and disposable. Just ask a corporate America intent upon increasing bottom line profits on the thralling backs of unpaid interns who have been offered nothing but "Pomp and Promises".

© by DK King

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Render Unto The Bailout

Someone famous, yet nameless, once asked the question, “Have you ever noticed that when you put the words “The” and “IRS” together, it spells “THEIRS?”

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wedded Biz

Once upon a time
There was the perfect mate.
Society counsels marry,
That means incorporate.
Articles and by-laws
Once duly created,
Form a household compliant,
And lawfully regulated.
Board meets for nuptials recited
As both in agreement converge.
Separate assets become united
In a co-mingled blend ‘n merge.

So before you speak the words “I do”,
You might want to negotiate
The best deal for you.

Commitment phobes,
More risk adverse,
Commit to share space
Without sharing their purse.
Companionship is rendered
By indie entrepreneurs.
No autonomy’s surrendered,
Shared bennies both procures.
Secerning self preservement
Proves a win-win strategy,
For freelancing contractors
Circumventing legality.

So before you speak the words “I do”,
You might want to explore
The options available to you.
Partners opt in one hundred percent,
Position their investments to grow.
C.F.O. recommendation is buy vs. rent
Before delivering an I.P.O.
Celebration returns every fiscal year end
While hopes and dreams are propagated.
Black bottom line with plenty to spend,
Empty bedrooms soon are populated.
Team players busy multitasking,
Fully booked from morning to night,
Fosters synergistic fast tracking
For unions working the system right.

So before you speak the words “I do”,
You might want to hold in reserve
Something solely for you.

Corporations plan for perpetuity,
Redefining “til death do us part”.
Strategic goal is long term security,
As shown on the pension plan pie chart.
Life cycles forth with its ebb and flow,
Branches form a brand name niche.
Years of laying all those ducks in a row,
Not discounting that seven year itch.
Dissolution optional if shareholders split,
“Happily ever after” seems a fairy tale.
The end of the day finds it difficult to quit
When your business is just too big to fail.

So before you speak the words “I do”,
You might want to ask
Is marriage the right business for you?

© by DK King

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"White Minivan" defined

This is a theory which basically asserts that nothing good ever comes from a White Minivan.

When you notice that the flow of traffic is inexplicably interrupted, just look ahead, and discover for yourself that invariably the source of the hold up is a White Minivan.
Examples demonstrate it best:
Stopped in the carpool lane while the cars in every other lane whoosh by with the speed of light? Try to look beyond the gigantic SUV in front of you and see who’s at the head of the line – bet it’s a White Minivan.

Have you ever found yourself humming with the flow of freeway traffic when out of nowhere comes that White Minivan from the fast lane who’s just realized it’s about to miss the off-ramp it needs in an 1/8th of a mile, as you speechlessly witness it cut off all 4 lanes of traffic (including your own and the semi’s) just in time to make that exit, and with 1/16th of a mile to spare?

Stopped at a signal, sandwiched in with mouth agape, when the White Minivan in front of you backs up straight into your front bumper with its projecting trailer hitch (leaving a very un-aerodynamic hole in its wake) because it didn’t think anyone was behind it and it wanted to turn around without driving around the block? (And yes, I’ve actually had this happen).

All observational research thus far supports the belief that this theory applies to large White Vans and most White SUVs as well.

Theory Footnote: White Minivans typically run in packs with other minivans, and they tend to herd or congregate around school parking lots and the shopping centers of suburbia. These suburban parking lot gatherings take on a surreal life of their own (not far from Stepford) in an asphalt dimension I call the “Land of the Minivan”.

© by DK King

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sparkling Emeralds

Sparkling emeralds
are all I can see as I circle over Shannon.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"LAB Rat" defined

As mentioned in "Alley Cats" posting below:
LAB RAT. n. Archetype
These are the fringe skulkers who hover just below the radar – like they’re there but not really part of anything. They appear to be pleasant and normal and give the illusion of making some sort of contribution, yet underneath they’re really cold fish with no true need for emotional substance or interpersonal depth.

LAB Rats navigate within a highly compartmentalized world that revolves solely around them which manifests itself in the form of brain-body incongruencies. It’s almost as if some unseen master has strategically placed remote-controlled electronic stimulus patches all over their body and knows just when to trigger the switch. This brain-body disconnect gives them little instinct for even the most rudimentary consideration for the needs of another, resulting in a narcissistic drive to achieve their goals at any cost, without conscience or accountability.

Busy scurrying and always on the go (and clearly no time for quiet introspection sans distraction) LAB Rats can frequently be found flying the redeye from LA to Boston and back again with Blackberry in hand and a GPS perpetually connected to the unseen master.

Evasive and duplicitous by nature, they might even tell you they live in France.

© by DK King

Friday, March 5, 2010

Alley Cats

Amorous moonlight arouses
The old symphony of catcalls,
And summons the faithless,
Aligned along furtive back walls.
Without allegiance,
Instinctively spraying charmed house.
Marking vain territory
In a stale game of cat and mouse.
Fence sitting wanderers
Performing their slinky sashay,
Yowling to stray,
Forever cheap,
And woefully cliché.

Hungry anticipation,
Rough tongue on lips smack,
Never, ever expecting
To give anything back.
Self centered and serving,
Entitled to a fault,
Forget about foreplay,
The senses assault.
Emotionally lazy,
E’er beguiling tender prey,
Purring “It’s all about me”,
“Get your needs out of my way”.

Leonine traveler
Dreams to be king,
Regally demands
In one pompous ring,
“Hurry, stop dawdling,
Aye, drop everything”.
Sheared mane uncovers
Patent patch and sugar drug,
Lays bare the bald wolf crowned
In a crooked sheep’s rug.
Always spying on time,
Busy scurrying like a rat,
Papa is a rolling stone,
And a LAB Rat Alley Cat.

Not a priority,
But convenient after thought.
Beckons at midnight
For an honored one sided talk.
Privileged and blessed,
Nay, holier than thou,
“MAU Me Me MAU”,
Drawls the elitist meow.
Inhaling obsidian air
As cigar fumes float on the waft,
Far too important
To call a common cat back.
Ambiguous, yet
So biased bent,
Overflowing with bitterness,
Even divine discontent.
No one dares ask
Zeitgeist Alley Cat,
Wherever on earth
Might it be at.
Free ranging crude conduct,
Lacking genuine pedigree.
No rewards for bad behavior,
Considering nothing good is free.
Careless roamers still preen on,
Playing every side of the fence.
Duplicitous feline, Mysterious con,
Assuming no consequence.
Gavel drops with heart’s decree,
Suspicious egos birl and balk.
Alley Cats judged clearly unworthy,
Now it’s time to take a walk.

© by DK King

A New Beginning

And a new path ....