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Guest Post: Just A Holiday Reminder - Black Friday Is Utterly Meaningless

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Guest Post: Just A Holiday Reminder: Black Friday Is Utterly Meaningless

You'd never know it from the media coverage, but Black Friday sales are essentially meaningless noise in the U.S. economy.

You know the economy and stock market are in deep trouble when the Mainstream Media elevates one essentially meaningless metric to "The One Meaningful Statistic" and then trumpets it slavishly. One such meaningless metric is Black Friday.

The Media has glommed onto Black Friday for a number of flawed reasons, number one being the MSM's ceaseless drive to reduce all complex problems down to something that can be expressed in a sound-bite voiceover and a video clip of a crowded mall.

The MSM loves binaries: two parties, two final contestants, and if Black Friday is "good," i.e. sales exceed last year's consumerist bacchanal, then the economy is "healthy." Any weakening of the consumer's lemming-like drive to buy, buy, buy means the economy is "weak."

This is of course absolutely backward: consumers buying shiploads of poor-quality crap made overseas means the economy is still on the slippery slope to implosion, as debt is being used to fund consumption while capital formation (savings) remains pathetic.

Since most of the crap (and it is crap--most Americans have either forgotten what actual quality is or they have never experienced it) is made overseas, the "boost" to the economy generated by rampant charge-card consumption flows to only one slice of the the U.S. economy: corporate profits.

U.S.-based global corporations skim most of the profits made when crap is made overseas; how much profit do you think the Chinese and Taiwanese suppliers of the iPad and iPhone components make? If you guessed 1%-2% of their part of the cost, you're right. So if a $300 device costs $100 to actually manufacture in China, the Chinese suppliers make a dollar or two. Apple skims about $100 and the distribution/retail channels skim the other $100.

I have covered this dynamic in depth over the years: for example:

Trade with China: Making Out Like a Bandit (March 30, 2006)
Much of China's manufacturing is owned and managed by foreign corporations. In effect, the companies aren't Chinese at all; only the workers are Chinese.

Trade and "Trade War" with China: Who Benefits? (October 5, 2010)

The key dynamic to understanding trade with China is U.S. corporate profits.

Although nobody dares state the facts lest the cargo cult fetish lose its power to conjure up another mind trick, holiday retail sales are a trivial slice of the U.S. economy, and the fluctuations in those sales year to year are essentially noise.

As I noted in Please, Santa, Let This Be the Last Christmas in America (that's supposed to "save" the U.S. economy) (November 23, 2010):

Holiday retail sales are a mere 3.4% of the U.S. GDP.

Despite the Financial and Mainstream Media's pathological obsession with holiday retail sales numbers as proxies for the "health" of the entire U.S. economy, holiday sales don't really change much:

2007: (pre-recession) Holiday sales: $516 billion
Holiday sales as percentage of annual retail sales: 19.5%

2008: Holiday sales: $495.5 billion
Holiday sales as percentage of annual retail sales: 18.6%

2009: Holiday sales: $504.8 billion
Holiday sales as percentage of annual retail sales: 19.4%

So the start of the 2008-09 recession saw a drop of $21 billion in holiday sales: statistical noise in a $14.7 trillion economy and a modest 4% decline from pre-recession levels. 2009 saw sales rise by about $10 billon (about 2%), so a rise of 2% from 2009 would return holiday sales to pre-recession levels.

Now the propaganda machine is cranking up to announce that a 2% increase in holiday retail sales means the U.S. economy is off and running. Santa, please, please, please order your reindeer to stomp the life out of the idiotic fantasy that Americans buying a few billion dollars more needless junk from China is any sort of evidence that the U.S. economy is "growing at a healthy clip."

The entire retail sector is 7.9% of the GDP compared to a 21.4% share for the FIRE tranch (finance, insurance and real estate) of the economy.

Does anyone seriously believe that 3.4% of the economy can possibly leverage up the entire GDP with a razor-thin increase of $10 billion in holiday sales?

Santa, you have my deep gratitude if you could jam the propaganda machine so that this is the last Christmas in America where trivial retail sales are hyped as the bellwether for the $14.7 trillion U.S. economy.

The cargo-cult fetish of focusing on Black Friday sales is worse than meaningless--it is profoundly misleading. What the economy needs is not more mindless debt-based consumption (the "aggregate demand" that the cargo cult sees as a "folk cure" for everything that's wrong with the economy) but the exact opposite: paying down debt, reducing the share of the national income skimmed by a parastic banking sector, a boycott of low-quality crap (i.e. 90% of what's bought on Black Friday) and an evolution beyond a model of "growth" that's dependent on ever-rising debt and consumption of low-quality, often needless junk made overseas to benefit Corporate America's bulging bottom line.

In summary: these are the retail sales you're looking for; the economy is "healthy," move along. Nice mind trick, and all you need is ceaseless propaganda, a credulous audience and a stock market seeking some excuse for a short-covering rally as the global economy implodes.

Of related interest:

The Last Christmas in America (December 23, 2010)


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Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:01 | 1913368 HD
HD's picture

"Black Friday Is Utterly Meaningless"

My wife doesn't think so...  I'm gonna need Germany to bail me out too.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:05 | 1913381 end da fed
end da fed's picture

Small Business Saturday ... buy local

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:09 | 1913399 spiral_eyes
Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:10 | 1913405 end da fed
end da fed's picture

or buy nothing


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:18 | 1913429 fonestar
fonestar's picture

or buy something made out of steel made before the plastic crappola of the 1980's and give it as a gift.  I find that if you place an object like this in the hands of sheeple it reawakens a long since dormant recess of the sheep's mind.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:22 | 1913450 end da fed
end da fed's picture

or buy the yellow shiny stuff today... i hear it's on sale

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:39 | 1913485 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

Just don't buy the junk out of China.

There is a reason why Chinese made goods are cheaper:  They're 100% JUNK.

In my line of work we spend a ton of time sourcing half decent shit to avoid downtime from breakage by using the crap coming from China.  Doesn't matter if it's commercial items, toys, games..... it's all junk made for landfills.


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:58 | 1913702 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Top one percent movie


filmmaker Jamie Johnson, a 27-year-old heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune explors the political, moral and emotional rationale that enables a tiny percentage of Americans - the one percent - to control nearly half the wealth of the entire United States. The film Includes interviews with Nicole Buffett, Bill Gates Sr., Adnan Khashoggi, Milton Friedman, Robert Reich, Ralph Nader and other luminaries.


Born Rich


Another documentary about being born into wealth with interviews with wealthy heirs. Made by Johnson & Johnson heir Jamie Johnson.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:33 | 1913943 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

Nicole Buffett, Bill Gates Sr., Adnan Khashoggi, Milton Friedman, Robert Reich, Ralph Nader and other luminaries.


LuminariesLittle too much tryptophan there, AH?

The most perplexing thing about the statist mindset is that the oppressed (victims) worship the so-called elites who perpetrate the ideology that oppresses them (TPTB).  Like the great luminary Michael Moore masquerading with the OWS crowd.

It's no wonder it's pointless debating this element.  It's completely circular and self-defeating in its rationale.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 18:04 | 1914007 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

sorry copy and paste. forget lumineries ....just interviews.

No one can lead a revolution, but people must wake up. Too bad, walmart selling some Chinese junk in small town that was used to be made in that same small town USA can attract people to wake up at 5am and stand in line just to save few bucks than the rednecks truely understanding why they are so desparate and asking more responsibility from those in power.


Just because michael moore shits everyday doesn't mean you have to hold shit in. It is ok to shit....on elites....for now.




Fri, 11/25/2011 - 19:54 | 1914113 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

"most Americans have either forgotten what actual quality is or they have never experienced it"

these amnesiacs (or youthful sinophiles) even pop up here on ZH...

along with our current culture and politics, amerika's trade deficit with china remains a testament to the craptastic adaptability of human beings to settle for bullshit.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 03:41 | 1914800 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

Thanks! That was an awesome film. I liked watching all those great shots of squirmy rich people caught on film trying to justify their insatiable greed. Friedman definitely stole the show though. I really can't believe anyone ever listened to that guy.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 12:21 | 1915177 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

I went to Corky Carroll's Surf School in Costa Rica in 2004 and met one of the Johnson & Johnson heirs. I forget his name but he was probably 10 or 11 at that time. He was actually a nice kid but was clearly kind of lonely. We sat by the pool one afternoon and talked about movies.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:33 | 1913804 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

While Americans are mindlessly buying Chinese junk with government debt money, Chinese are creating partnerships in Africa opening up new markets for their manufactured goods. Western colonialist must do better than just exploit Africa for raw materials. US must do better than install dictactors to steal oil.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:45 | 1913918 LouisDega
LouisDega's picture

I just bought a Slinky. Still made in the good ol USA invented by Richard T. James, a naval engineer at an investment of $500. Over 250 million slinkys sold as of today. Only in the USA

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 18:09 | 1914012 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

good for you.


however, multinational retail outlets like Walmart only carry chinese made PLASTIC shit they got for 5 cents wholesale selling it for $5.


Toys are one of China's largest exports.


It is institutional level problem. G20 says we are going to fuck blue collar workers up the ass and that's what they got for last 30 years. They kids grew up and went to college trying to avoid this and then got fucked too in the ass with worthless college degrees and white collar jobs outsourced and H1B'ed.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 19:59 | 1914116 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

around our house, China is known as the land of broken toys and American boys' hearts.

Even my 6 year old has figured out that China=crap.

They make things that "look" like actual products but disintegrate upon use.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 21:05 | 1914217 Savvy
Savvy's picture

But those blue collar workers were unionized, can't have people with a right to a living wage. That's ...socialism!

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 22:13 | 1916521 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

There's a reason that brain surgeons make a crapton of FRNs -- check your premises.

Also, perhaps your Big Brother is partly to blame:


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:18 | 1913431 johnu78
johnu78's picture

In the following video I share my thoughts on the Stupidity of Black Friday:



Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:58 | 1913994 prains
prains's picture

bring on the wafer thin mint

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:12 | 1913408 Hugh_Jorgan
Hugh_Jorgan's picture

Assuming it truly IS local. Not to mention, buying the same cheap overseas merch from a local outlet is better than from a big chain, but it doesn't change the fundamental problem in the American psyche. The fruit of 4 more years with BHO might though...

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:05 | 1913385 trav7777
trav7777's picture

fuck XMas.

fuck standing in lines with herds of lemmings to buy consumer merchandise

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:36 | 1913492 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

I agree 100%.  The day of the Lord has been turned into a shopping spree all clamoring for Chinese JUNK.  Utterly shallow.


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:45 | 1913513 TheAkashicRecord
TheAkashicRecord's picture

I have always pondered how some religions treat the role of man in the context of nature and how that can underlie political and economic institutions and philosophies.

For example, is man a part of nature or is he above nature?  Is the the external world there for stewardship for our domination? 

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:56 | 1913871 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Nobody got rich by spending money on consumer goods.


You may feel rich, but consumer goods have no ROI and depreciate the moment you walk out of the store.... That's why rich people always buy rare things that keep up with inflation. only people you fool with "stuff" are just dumbasses and gold diggers.


But government who gets revenue from sales taxes and multinational businesses want you to spend your $10 on junk that goes for $1 in China.



Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:43 | 1913963 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



The hypocrisy of the environmentalist is that he puts himself (man) at the center (and vehemently denies it).  That is, the "environment," the "external world," and "nature" are all defined as one's surroundings, thus placing oneself as the point of reference. It's man's natural instinct to do that.

Christianity recognizes that we are not at the center, and asks that we relinquish that view and submit to a higher authority.  The Creator is greater than the Creation.

Revisit your theological premise by testing out where man and nature originate.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 22:22 | 1914405 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

I don't think you have even the slightest understanding of how most environmentalists view the world. To many environmentalists I know, nature herself is the higher authority, not some fictional father figure, and certainly not humanity. There are a wide range of views, obviously, just like there is within religions, but I subscribe to the view of ecocentric holism, or deep ecology. In such a view, nature itself is at the center, not people. That is to say, god is immanent in nature, not some transcendental apparition in a secret undisclosed region of space referred to as heaven.

If you're going to make a strawman argument, it's really helpful not to make ridiculous claims about people you've obviously made little attempt to understand. How a person views themselves vis-a-vis the environment is not instinctual. This is so obvious to anyone who doesn't hold status quo views, but very difficult to see for folks who rationalize their particular opinions by invoking claims that it's "man's natural instinct. But it's not. It's learned, and it can be unlearned.

If one is looking for hypocrisy, it is inconceivable to come even remotely close to the staggering levels of hypocrisy practiced by Christians over the last 2000 years. I'm too lazy to make a detailed list of offenses, but I'll just point out that the dominion of the Earth granted to humanity in Genesis is the root source of our ejection from Eden. It wasn't that we ate the fruit of knowledge, it was that we started playing god. Manifest Destiny is alive and well in the world these days, and we are about to find the limits to our epistemological fallacies that are part and parcel of mainstream views about nature.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 08:11 | 1914895 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture




...(and vehemently denies it).

Tue, 11/29/2011 - 01:06 | 1924150 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

Can you elaborate? I am genuinely interested in your perspective, but I'm not sure what you're trying to say.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:40 | 1913661 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture



Two dollar waffle makers  ..... Perfect example of the idiot Walmart Americans .... about sums it up. Yeah, fuck Xmas

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:43 | 1913964 Animal Cracker
Animal Cracker's picture

Cheap waffle makers being fought over by people who probably eat every meal at a fast food joint.




To anyone who's "fighting for our freedom"...this is what we're doing with it.  

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 12:28 | 1915188 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

Exactly. Making waffles takes effort. I guarentee you the fat-asses in that video eat frozen waffles that they just pop into the toasters. I can't think of a more horrifying-annoying-fascinating job than working at a Walmart on Black Friday. Just make sure you stand clear of the doors.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:46 | 1913970 Animal Cracker
Animal Cracker's picture

A gave you a +1 even though you're just jealous of my $2 waffle maker.  Get in the Holiday spirit, bub...pepper spray someone go git sum!

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 21:10 | 1914223 Savvy
Savvy's picture

Fuck xmas indeed. I make my xmas gifts, last year it was emergency kits for vehicles. Okay, I still had to buy the contents (mylar blanket, hand crank flashlight, first aid kit, energy bars, matches, lighter, etc) but was cheap overall and done in July.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 01:20 | 1914667 smiler03
smiler03's picture

+1  I bet the kids are delighted. ARSON KIT!!

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:57 | 1913875 Andy_Jackson_Jihad
Andy_Jackson_Jihad's picture

"Black Friday Is Utterly Meaningless"

My wife doesn't think so...  I'm gonna need Germany to bail me out too."


And the first post is the thread winner!

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 19:38 | 1914105 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Quote of the day:  ‎"It's a good move to try to get shoppers to spend sooner, before they run out of money," says Burt Flickinger, III, president of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group.

I'd swear this is Yogi Berra talking...

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 21:23 | 1914250 Black Friday
Black Friday's picture

I'd like to think I'm not utterly useless, partially perhaps...:p

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:04 | 1913384 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

I loaded up on pepper spray too, gun shows are great for that. I can buy 5 of those big Alaska bear spray cans for about $30.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:00 | 1913564 Carlyle Groupie
Carlyle Groupie's picture

Plus this must have little guy.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:42 | 1913664 Bansters-in-my-...
Bansters-in-my- feces's picture


Pepper Spray  has an EXPIRY date on them.

I would pay CLOSE  attention to it ,if depending on it.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:08 | 1913398 The Axe
The Axe's picture

i didn't know that you could pepper-spray people....tasring would be good this sounds like fun..wish I went !!!!

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:10 | 1913404 Manthong
Manthong's picture

the market sucks..

No matter how good your calls are or how well you play it close, they still find a way to screw you.

After the reset, they can have it back.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:02 | 1913371 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

Anybody seeing what just hapened? A massive dump just occured A/H

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:05 | 1913387 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

To be expected we've been making lower lows... not 'massive' though... 1160 holds .... ... for now.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:05 | 1913388 HD
HD's picture

I believe that's normal after thanksgiving...

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:02 | 1913373 Snakeeyes
Snakeeyes's picture

Agreed. Europe is melting down. Big push for Germany and France (and US) to bailout EVERYONE!!!!!! Then we are dead.

Europe's "Sick Sevens" - Sovereign 10 Year Debt Yields Above 7% (And Spain. Belgium Teetering on the Brink)

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:02 | 1913375 jcaz
jcaz's picture

But...... Joe Biden said go out and buy stuff.......

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 20:06 | 1914128 Cpl Hicks
Cpl Hicks's picture

Joe Biden couldn't find his dick with three hands and a flashlight.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:03 | 1913378 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Somebody always dies on this day because of frantic consumerism...

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:06 | 1913393 junkyardjack
junkyardjack's picture

Anyone that is out there in those stores will not be missed from society

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:03 | 1913379 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Exactly, people hoarding cheap Chinese garbage on credit means we're still sliding deeper into the same crap that got us here.

Still, airhead female reporter 'financial experts' are breathless about Black Friday and its 'super serious economic indicator' status....yet as I drove by Walmart and Best Buy today I saw no big deal...looked about the same as any other day.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:07 | 1913579 Carlyle Groupie
Carlyle Groupie's picture

This morning coming back from the gym ~0600 hours the mall was packed. Surprising to see the power of a $2 dollar off sale.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:04 | 1913383 Cursive
Cursive's picture

The Media has glommed onto Black Friday for a number of flawed reasons, number one being the MSM's ceaseless drive to reduce all complex problems down to something that can be expressed in a sound-bite voiceover and a video clip of a crowded mall.


If Black Friday specials were actually "deals" they wouldn't be advertised so heavily.  It's just another device to keep American consumption levels up.  Americans really are dumb and pathetic.  Or maybe just soulless?

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:06 | 1913394 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

No problem getting flat screen tv's (if you were stupid enough to buy one) as nearly all of them had very bad reviews on the internet from screwed consumers. They always "Dump the Junk" on Black Friday and consumers are starting to figure it out.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:12 | 1913589 kill switch
kill switch's picture

I just purchased a pair of jeans and the left leg was longer than the right....Must have been a fucking shift change..two Chinese broads on the same trousers...ha

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 21:46 | 1914316 Buttertooth
Buttertooth's picture

I'd pay to watch two chinese girls on the same trousers. 

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:08 | 1913397 nah
nah's picture

its an organic extraviganza of a circus


very hip

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:08 | 1913400 blindman
blindman's picture
WPT 30-Minute Music Hour - Loudon Wainwright III
christmas and thanksgiving holiday songs !

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:11 | 1913409 monopoly
monopoly's picture

We just totally ignore this inane day. Cannot believe Americans buy the crap they sell. This country is so screwed. 


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:15 | 1913420 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

Well, maybe it means something.

Black Friday violence: 2 shot in armed robberies, 15 others pepper-sprayed

Let’s call it Close Encounters of the New Economy Kind.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:03 | 1913893 Andy_Jackson_Jihad
Andy_Jackson_Jihad's picture

I just call it Black Friday but in reference to the people, not the ink color.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:16 | 1913421 oogs66
oogs66's picture

everything being reduced to binary is insane, great article

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:17 | 1913422 The trend is yo...
The trend is your friend's picture

I entertained myself last night by going to a Mall.  I haven't gone to a Black Friday event in many years, however last night with not much to do and still up, i decided to check out this desparate move by retailers to open the stores at midnight (some even as early as 10pm i heard).  It was a sad state of affairs.  The crowd is so easy to manipulate.  Long lines to get in some stores and long lines to pay for "junk" at 60% off.  One glance at the crap and i can see the retailers are off loading merchandise they couln't get rid of all year.  I was stunned to see people buying this and walking around with SUITCASES, so they can lug around their newly purchased crap more effeciently.  I didn't know if i was at a mall or an airport in some areas.  After about an hour and a half i had seen enough so i got a massage and pretzel and called it i night.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:18 | 1913683 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture

A pretzel? ... gross.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:41 | 1913426 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

You have to be of a certain vintage to realize how craftily the Washington/Wall Street Axis through their wholly owned subsidiary media and educational institutions, have molded a debt indentured "consumer" from a once independant minded citizen.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:51 | 1913862 Seer
Seer's picture

Edward Bernays.  For those who don't know this name, look up Century of the Self (available for "free" viewing from the Internet).

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 18:18 | 1914021 TheAkashicRecord
TheAkashicRecord's picture

Those Adam Curtis documentaries are great, so are the Metanoia ones.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 18:37 | 1914034 Seer
Seer's picture

Will check out, thanks!

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:24 | 1913428 TheAkashicRecord
TheAkashicRecord's picture

Great interview on PBS

Yves from nakedcapitalism is one of the 4 people on the panel regarding the question


In Aftermath of Financial Crisis, Who's Being Held Responsible? In other news
"Tea Party Activists Challenge 'Occupy Black Friday' With 'BUYcott Black Friday'"



Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:20 | 1913443 pepperspray
pepperspray's picture

Everyone gets a ZH t-shirt under the tree this year

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:23 | 1913452 Elwood P Suggins
Elwood P Suggins's picture



Black Friday is finally here

The "bargains" are not really clear

But you'll hear people raving

"Look how much I'm saving"

And the bills are not due 'til next year


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:25 | 1913464 JR
JR's picture

and on the home front…the government giveth and taketh away. As the D.C. politicians open their arms to Red China and their low-wage workers, in the Land of the Free it raises a closed fist to the US worker…after confiscating the land, putting environmental restrictions on the remainder and offshoring our jobs…


Weekend The World (11.19.11)—Curry County may go broke in February 2013, and Coos and a dozen other counties may follow close behind, state officials were told this week.

Many Oregon counties are predicted to become “financially dysfunctional” over the next five years when the federal government cuts off millions in annual timber payments….

According to a report released this week by Oregon State University, for 100 years, the payments have compensated 23 out of 36 Oregon counties for forestland owned by the federal government. In 2008, the government paid out $230.2 million. In 2013 it is expected to pay out only $14.8 million – a 94 percent drop. (END)

Case in point: a recent letter in the Editor’s Mailbag of Eugene, Oregon’s, The Register-Guard.

Shipping Logs to China Is Wrong

I am a forestry graduate from Oregon State University, Class of 1951.  In my life I have worked in different phases of the lumber industry and now live in North Bend (Oregon).  Driving into town, I have to pass by the big log deck at Menasha – large-diameter, long and straight logs.  Every one of those logs takes at least 50 years to grow.

I see now that the Menasha yard was not big enough and there are more logs decked west of the McCullough Bridge.  I see ships being loads, one after another, bound for China with maybe 10 million board feet of logs per shipload.

In the past, to be able to ship government timber overseas you had to cut the logs into cants. Now, all you have to do is debark the logs. I believe that, as a rule, 50 jobs are being lost per shipload.

I made a trip to Eugene recently and admired all the second-growth timber along the highway, in various stages of growth. The Pacific Northwest grows commercial timber faster than any place in the world. It makes my heart bleed to think we are growing those beautiful trees for shipment to China.

We have closed 10 paper mills in the Northwest, and the parts and equipment were shipped overseas. Being a forester and having worked in the lumber industry, I have to wonder what went wrong.

Bob Jensen, North Bend, Oregon

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:40 | 1913503 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

This Depression will not be like the others; for in the past, once things rebounded, the factories and businesses that were idle were there to be reopened.

This time, there is nothing to reopen for we gave it all away, or the wires and plumbing were stripped out by thieves.

Perhaps this is what the Indians felt like when the Buffalo herds were killed off, and they were left with little choice other than go to a reservation.

Replace the Buffalo herds with jobs, and reservations with ghettos, welfare, and perhaps FEMA camps, and the story is the same.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:08 | 1913582 JR
JR's picture

But at least D.C. compensated the Indians well for the disappearance of the buffalo herds due in large part to the fur trade and trappers. All the dispossessed American worker is getting is a knuckle sandwich and "unemployment compensation" - for 99 weeks.

“By the late seventeen hundreds, the Plains Indians were exchanging beaver pelts and horses to the Hudson’s Bay and North West fur traders for European goods. These trade fairs were held at the villages of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara on the Missouri River. The major items exchanged at these trade fairs were garden products (beans, squash, corn, etc.) raised at the Missouri River villages, horses, furs, and hides from the Plains Indians, and whiskey, guns, iron goods, trade beads, and a few beaver traps from the Northeast traders. By the mid-eighteen hundreds buffalo hides dominated the Indian fur trade. The demise of the large buffalo herds is often blamed on the white man, but Indians contributed a great deal to it as well.” All this according to O. Ned Eddins in Mountain Man Fur Trade Exploration History.

Today, there are twelve Indian reservations that are larger than the state of Rhode Island (776,960 acres; 3,144 km²) and nine reservations larger than Delaware (1,316,480 acres; 5,327 km²). Reservations are unevenly distributed throughout the country with some states having none.

In addition, the Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court at the behest of the gambling industry have allowed all Indians who choose to live under their own governments within their reservation lands (even for tribes down to 3 or 4 members), to build gambling casinos and resort hotels on those lands and to reap the benefits of having exclusive access to populated areas that “non-native American” businesses are not allowed to have.  

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:43 | 1913839 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

In regards to the Indians helping wipe out the Buffalo, were it not for trade with Caucasians, would they have assisted in the slaughter of the Buffalo to the brink of extinction?

In the near future, one could write that the working class American led to their own downfall by demanding low prices, and large(?) profits for their 401(k).

As the jobs were depleted due to excessive regulation, illegal immigration, unfair trade practices /outsourcing, and automation, it became more difficult for the working class American to make a living as they faced downward pressure on their wages, and low returns on investments, causing up-to 15% of the population to become dependent on Government Food Stamps.


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:46 | 1913972 JR
JR's picture

You are aptly named Uber Vandal.

One minute you sound like a Marxist, another minute you appear to endorse the corporate bank line that the reason we have pornography and all these problems in the land is that the people demand it and we just give it to them. Are you a MSM journalist, one of Information Czar Sunstein’s trolls, or a love cultist who is always the pal of the disadvantaged “unfortunates who know not what they do,” no matter how much they cost or destroy or are dependent upon their host? Talk about misplaced victimhood. Where is your love for the dispossessed white middleclass male whom you and yours have victimized in his own land?

I don’t know what to say except that the love-cultists who have spread their “luv” throughout every aspect of American life in “an insipid and creeping huge aspic, blurring the edges of heroism and responsibility, and setting awash weak millions in a sea of drifting sweetness,” i.e., Dolthood, are choking America to death and with her the standards and principles and virtues of the responsible who built this place.  Why congregate on these unhallowed shores if it is hated so?  For apparently for the many it is not to access the opportunities America offers, but to take.

So go ahead and blame the inhumanity of the White Man for the self-imposed ills of all the malingerers who believe America owes them a living while they vote in racist mobs to empower Congress to redistribute the American working man's property and livelihood their way.

While there is still a modicum of liberty left in this land, I will refuse to love your ideals.


Sat, 11/26/2011 - 03:04 | 1914778 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

@ JR:

It appears that we have had a communication issue. In regards to Caucasians, I was simply referring to the bold faced part of your first reply.

Myself, I have seen both sides of the stick:

Watched my job of 11 years go off to a low cost country due to we were being paid $16/hr which included our benefits package, and the company, which was non-union thank you, felt that they were losing money against foreign competition.Oddly enough, the Chinese made products still cost the same as our American made products did. They just have a higher profit margin now.

At same job, I watched employment shrink from over 400 at its peak around 2000 to about 50 due to automation. When I started, we would have a crew of 5 produce 6,000 units in 12 hours. At the end with automation, we produced up to 15,000 units in 8 hours with 2 people. Other lines used to require 5 or more operators, and were reduced to 2 or 1, or completely eliminated with only an inspector verifying the product met floor guidelines.

Several of my relatives own their own businesses, and are constantly working with "new and improved" taxes, licenses, fees, documentation, regulations, and rising input costs.

In 2007, I personally knew NO ONE on food stamps. Today, I know at least 3, and watched some of my neighbors, relatives, and my wife's friend lose their home. Other people I know are doing all they can to keep their home, but when your job gets outsourced, and the ONLY jobs in your geographic area start at $8/hr with a maximum of 32 hours per week, require a 40 mile round trip, things can get to the breaking point.

Of course, some brilliant observer will state "why not move to where the jobs are?" Great idea, and who is going to buy the house, and what assurance is there that the land of Milk and Honey is little more than curdled milk and thistles once you get there?

When times were good, I worked up to 105 hours per week, with 2 jobs, seven days per week for months on end, for I recalled what the early 1980's recession was like and wanted to be certain I would not repeat mistakes I felt my parents and other relatives made.

So, I played by the rules, sacrificed my then present for the now future, and at times think I may have been better off whoring around and drinking like some of my co-workers did.

A good part of my strategy was looking back at the past, I expected that in a worst case scenario, I would receive 1% on investments for 2 years, such as the 2002-2003 time frame. I never imagined that we would see ZERO for five years. That totally threw my calculations into the ditch.

When I get those nice letters from Social Security which show how much I have earned from actually being productive, and see how much my employers paid in to boot, it makes me angry to think of how many dead beats I, and you, and whoever may be reading this, have carried. And what is worse, is knowing that we most likely will not see a dime returned for each dollar we put into it, but there are multitudes of able bodied people who are soaking up our tax payer money like an insatiable sponge.

Again, my introduction of Indians into my narrative was to be a metaphor, not condoning how Whites have been "guilted" into supporting those we have "wronged" over the past 500 years.

If that is the case, where is OUR compensation from when our ancestors worked as peasants in Feudal Europe, or in dangerous factories and coal mines, or how Thag hit Atuk over the head 10,000 years ago?


Sat, 11/26/2011 - 13:49 | 1915408 JR
JR's picture

Thanks for your story, Man.

I am so glad that you responded and spent the time to give the details of your experiences. You are certainly right that we had a communications problem. It is obvious that we see the same injustices and recognize not only the same victims but the same perpetrators. Overriding it all as I’m sure you would agree are the financial tyrants who would use us all as resources for their ambition, power and wealth transfer.

 I’ve known many of the country’s finest and best who’ve been in similar circumstances from “globalization” and trickle-down globalization.

I sat in a coffee shop early one cold morning recently when a big, decent man with calluses on his hands came in and asked the owner for any work at just $200 for projects where he could use his construction skills. She had none; she herself was struggling.

After he left, I asked about him. She said he had a small construction business but there was no work; that there were many like him in this small town…many facing no homes, no livelihoods, and extremely bleak futures.

Fortunately, the robbers are going bankrupt. Americans are waking up to shake off the shackles of dependency the barbarians have used to make us weak; they who themselves live grandly like kings on the exploitation of those who labor.

We will not bend our knee to Ben Bernanke’s masters who say, “Bow down, you. I am your superior. Bow low you workers, you savers who must sacrifice for the 'good of the economy.'”

We are the producers; we are the savers; we are the investors. We are the tax PAYERS.

Our main weapon, therefore, is to withdraw our support for the system.

Again, thanks Uber Vandal for your courteous and frank reply; we are on the same team, my friend.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:58 | 1913881 Seer
Seer's picture

We might WISH it we only going to be the same... somehow I'm thinking that it's going to be worse: I don't believe that the Indians took it out on each other (individual torment yes, but not lashing out at each other).  Trav will like the coming ethnic cleansing...

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:34 | 1913646 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

Thanks for sharing that. I live in the Coastal range, and they are taking whole hillsides, some with slopes up to 80 degrees. It's insane. I see trucks every day with some large logs, but I see an awful lot of trucks carrying logs so small they couldn't even get a 2x4 out of it.

I grew up on the East Coast and was amazed at all the trees when I came to the PNW in '98. But I quickly learned that almost everything had been logged at least once, much of it twice, and some of it three times. At that point I started joking that it took East Coasters 500 years to destroy our forests, but you guys did it in a hundred. Now that this is home for me, it's very difficult to look at whole mountains denuded of everything but a few snags. It is also very difficult to shake the feeling that it won't stop until every single last tree is chopped down, like witnessing the Scouring of the Shire in slow motion. Oh, maybe they'll keep the tree museums (National Parks) running, but it's just as easy to imagine them being sold to the highest bidder, like Greece's natural assets have been put on the privitization table.

The one piece of information I came across recently was that apparently China doesn't have trees that are good fiber materials for making cardboard boxes. A number of manufacturers have had issues with Chinese produced boxes failing stated load capacity because the wood fibers are too short and weak. It makes me wonder how many trees are going to get cut down and shipped to China, so they can send back plastic crap in cardboard boxes? What a waste.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:03 | 1913894 Seer
Seer's picture

The "small" stuff is likely being used to produce hog fuel and or chips for OSB (and similar) lumber.

Nearly any activity can be fine, it's really an issue of scale (which then boils down to sustainability).

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 23:52 | 1914551 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

Could be for OSB, or for biomass. 

I actually don't have a problem with logging, but the takes are way too high (essentially clear-cuts), and they are using increasingly bad practices like cutting right up to streams and taking everything off steep slopes. Then they douse the cuts with an herbicide cocktail, spraying near schools and residences in many cases. It's just outlandish. People are really getting sick, yet the timber companies are mum - just like any other absentee slumlord, they don't want to be held accountable for the damage they directly cause, and the government just lets them get away with poisoning the rural folks who live near the numerous tree farms. See for example, this story, where 21 residents were tested for a range of pesticides and two, 2-4D and atrazine, showed up in every person tested.

Every year there is at least one major landslide that blocks the only road to town, and of course the state cleans up the mess every year at taxpayer expense. (Not for us peons, mind you, just to make sure the logging trucks can keep running) The salmon-bearning streams (there is one on this property) are innundated with fine silt that runs off these cuts when the rains start in October, and it completely wreaks the environment the salmon need to spawn.

I agree that scale is key, but we can't even manage non-renewable resources under capitalism without the associated tragedy of the commons. Current pactices look like eating seed corn to me.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 20:20 | 1914151 Cpl Hicks
Cpl Hicks's picture

Fucking Beavers, make them stay in Corvallis!

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 18:34 | 1914040 IQ 101
IQ 101's picture

Our local lumber is piled 40-50 feet high, (stripped logs) and has been for a year or more, all headed for Asia, I shudder to think what the hills must look like, deep in,this is not new growth timber either, a lot of 100 year or better trees going out. ( N.W.  WA.).

Sure as hell isn't for US construction!

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:38 | 1913499 blindman
blindman's picture
Economist Steve Keen; bankrupt banks, nationalise financial system

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:06 | 1913556 TheAkashicRecord
TheAkashicRecord's picture

Great interview

Jubliee, bitchez 


I'm glad he mentioned Scumpeter, creative destruction seems to have been outlawed.  

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:54 | 1913695 blindman
blindman's picture

@" creative destruction .."
de selected in favor of stealing the value of the
legal tender and investments from the retired and retiring
boomers, the central financial crime of the century. any form of
creative destruction or coherent financial regulation would have
precluded this criminal outcome. bankers run amuk !
KR214 – Corruptify
Posted on November 25, 2011 by stacyherbert| 121 Comments
We discuss taxpayers in the West being pepper-sprayed with toxic debts while in China fraudsters receive five fingers of death. In the second half of the show, Max talks to Gregor Macdonald about Warren Buffett’s investment in Japan and the cost benefit analysis of the energy policy of invading resource rich nations in order to liberate their oil.
“Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without Hell.”
..and with no means of removing the fraud either.
"we're all palestinians now!" anon.
Fed Is Making Same Mistakes As Japan...Rickards Says!
guns and butter
Friday November 25 9:00am
59 min
lecture re . Joan Mellen, author of "A Farewell to Justice"
..presidents, deffense contractors, "money", mafia, intelligence,
media, power and all that.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:48 | 1913526 luna_man
luna_man's picture





To tell you the truth, I'm looking for meaning anywhere or in anything.


When you discover it, pass it on.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:46 | 1913969 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Stop looking so hard.  It will find you in a quiet place.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 02:32 | 1914754 blindman
blindman's picture

meaning is everywhere and in everything.
the conceptual program designed and perpetrated
by authority has found a way to mask it.
your call.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 22:32 | 1916574 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Alleviate some suffering:


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 14:58 | 1913561 yourlifeisamyth
yourlifeisamyth's picture

It wouldn't surprise me if some of these stores have hired "early shoppers" to boost the image of frenzied consumer desire.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:00 | 1913565 catch edge ghost
catch edge ghost's picture

shun the unbeliever. shun.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:08 | 1913581 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Eric Hoffer, the longshoreman philosopher from the 1960's, said that, "Money is freedom".  To take that one step further, "Real money is real freedom."  Unfortunately, this very basic concept is not being taught to our youth.


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:12 | 1913588 Eireann go Brach
Eireann go Brach's picture

Hey...350 pound stampeding black women knocking children and grannies over exchanging food stampes for ipads, need their day in the sunshine too!

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:11 | 1913906 Seer
Seer's picture

Hm... the Walmart vid showed a big WHITE crack at the center of the battle...  Either the MSM will photoshop this black, or they won't show it at all.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 12:36 | 1915207 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

That white butt crack was horrifying. That truly was a multi-colored herd of hippos fighting over $2 waffle makers.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 21:25 | 1914257 dolph9
dolph9's picture

The white sheeple are just as brainwashed.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:13 | 1913592 rufusbird
rufusbird's picture

The loud sucking sound in the background is the payment of goods manufactured and imported from China...

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:17 | 1913601 TheAkashicRecord
TheAkashicRecord's picture

Mayhem ensues over $2 waffle makers

(pay attention to the ass crack, the slovenly swine of a woman is wearing a shirt that says "funky")

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:26 | 1913614 end da fed
end da fed's picture

omg i think she had a tramp stamp too


hurricane katrina convention center meets black friday walmart

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:24 | 1913615 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture


Fri, 11/25/2011 - 15:36 | 1913652 Bansters-in-my-...
Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

Baa Ba Black SHEEP ,have you any wool,

Yes Sir,Yes Sir,three bags full.

None for the Master,None for the dame,

And THREE for the Banker ,

Who lives down the lane.









Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:08 | 1913730 mkkby
mkkby's picture

Load up on xmas crap.  Better yet, load up on PMs.  Then don't pay the credit card bill.  Screw the banks that screw you.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:35 | 1913812 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

I agree Black Friday is utterly meaningless, mainly because it presupposes that the past is a good predictor of the future and that assumption seems less solid every day. Just one data point doesn't say much, but it does baffle the imagination how a country up to its' eyeballs in personal debt can get into more debt for frivolous holiday shopping? Sales? Hahaha. You have to stand in awe of the talents of the PR and marketing industries to regularly stimulate the acquisitive habit of indoctrinated consumers.

But I think this turn of phrase really applies more generally to the idea that material things are a pathway to meaning. The whole commercialization and association of holidays and purchasing gifts is so ingrained in this culture, especially through television commercials. It's really noticeable once you stop participating in the retail economy for gifts and ditch the TV. For many years now I've made gifts instead of buying them, and not only is it way cheaper, but it's much more personalized, gives me a chance to be creative and try some new art or craft, and based on the responses I've received, they are appreciated more than any store-bought gift I ever gave. One would think that with all the economic hardship out there, people would be more creative if they insisted on giving gifts.

In honor of Buy Nothing Day (aka Black Friday), I'm not buying anything.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:20 | 1913922 Seer
Seer's picture

I think that we need to be careful about broad-brushing, about tossing out the baby with the bathwater.

I believe that the real issue isn't the existence of a buying mentality so much as it's one of "buying crap."

If you buy stuff that gets put to good use then that's good.  However, there really isn't that much around other than the basic kinds of things that's got much value in productive use.  Some would blast me for buying a tractor (used- have never bought any vehicle, other than a bicycle once, new), but to me that purchase has been used to perform work in support of farming activities. NOTE: no, I didn't buy it on Black Friday, as if that would matter.

Combating senselessness without any real sense won't get us to where we need to be/go.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 00:04 | 1914568 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

OK, you have a point. I wouldn't give anyone a hard time about a tractor, or tools, or books, or anything that helps with some productive activity. But that kind of stuff they don't really need to advertise. People find it on their own. It's the stuff we don't need and that really isn't productive that gets pushed the most. What I was really getting at was this idea of consumption for the sake of consumption, the emotions we have been taught we should feel about material objects. All this Black Friday mob senselessness epitomizes that point fairly well, I think.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:39 | 1913827 ManicMechanic
ManicMechanic's picture

Groundhog Day is not given much credence as a scientific indicator either but folks still like to get worked up about it. Incidentally rumor has it that Bill Murray will soon be reprising his role in the movie sequel Groundhog Day Apocalypse Now centered with Eurodrama for the backdrop setting.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:46 | 1913849 blindman
blindman's picture
Norman Dodd On Tax Exempt Foundations
Norman Dodd was interviewed in 1982 by G. Edward Griffin regarding the time he spent as the head researcher for the Reece Committee.

This is a truly eye opening look into what the tax exempt foundations are doing in the United States - their attempt to merge the Soviet System of Government with the USA.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:51 | 1913863 foxenburg
foxenburg's picture

"most Americans have either forgotten what actual quality is or they have never experienced it"


Whenever I'm stateside I try and pick up some cordovan shells  - the USA at its best.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:51 | 1913864 foxenburg
foxenburg's picture

"most Americans have either forgotten what actual quality is or they have never experienced it"


Whenever I'm stateside I try and pick up some cordovan shells  - the USA at its best.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 18:20 | 1914024 acidradio
acidradio's picture

In much of "Middle America" there really isn't anything to do but go shopping for Black Friday. I recently moved to South Dakota. The mall and the big box stores were an absolute zoo before midnight. When there isn't much for culture people find something like this to do. Sadly, this is the new family event - sit outside in the freezing cold for hours to wait for a deal on a doorbuster flatpanel TV. I'm all for families spending time together... but like this?

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 18:53 | 1914062 JMT
JMT's picture

What else is there to do in middle America other than the infatuation with shopping, SUV's, NASCAR & Reality TV??  I am from NYC and live outside of Boston. It is easy to tell who the tourists are from the square republican fly over states or from Upstate NY (which really should be part of the midwest).  Once you go south of Washington DC or West of the Delaware River -- everything looks the same -- tract housing, the same big  box stores & junk food restaurants & 'lifestyle centers (malls)

And this 'midwestern & southern hospitality' is the biggest myth going.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 12:40 | 1915223 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

The only cities on the West coast that have any uniqueness are San Francisco, Seattle, and maybe Portland. Everywhere else, left-leaning and right-leaning alike, are exactly the same. Same stores, same restaurants, same strip malls.

Fri, 11/25/2011 - 19:30 | 1914096 AndrewCostello
Fri, 11/25/2011 - 21:24 | 1914254 Black Friday
Black Friday's picture

I object to this thread :p

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 05:09 | 1914833 non_anon
non_anon's picture

Boom Boom (Out Goes the Lights)

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 11:06 | 1915042 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

What my company does is take brand names, buy them, and shift the manufacturing jobs from here to vendors in China. 

Profits go up as it is cheaper to make stuff. but the quality just isnt there.  You'll go on product review websites where some guy will have a product from 320 years ago under a brand name we bought that still works, in good shape, and say he buys a newer product under the same name, only to see it crap out after 6 mths-1.5 years.  But hey, this is good!  Only means the consumer has to go out and buy more crap (or maybe not).

The top of the company is making profit...but I'm noit getting a raise this year. Nice system.

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 12:53 | 1915281 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

god bless charles!!!!!!!! what a fabulous article - if you could read my mind, then this essay would be it...

and i'll add that all of the hoopla about manufacturing numbers which represent 20% of the economy are another source of flatulent horse crap...

Sun, 11/27/2011 - 11:43 | 1917395 happydude
happydude's picture

Happy Holidays to all!

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is! It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?  Gym membership? Massage gift certificate? Both are appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates. Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mower for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course. There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open. How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running. OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands. Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition. Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?

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