Sunday, September 28, 2008

Short Lehman Brothers Film

I thought maybe everyone would enjoy this artistic interpretation of the current financial crisis that I found on YouTube:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Treasury’s 840-word legislative bailout proposal comes to more than $830 million per word...when they come up with a title, that will drive the average dollar per word down."

-Stephen Ellis, the vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Laws of Economic Conservation

The law of ENERGY conservation states that matter can neither be created nor destroyed.

Unfortunately for those of us living in America today, the same cannot be said for money. They print that shit every single day.

Ironically enough, if the current economic trends are any indication, all that the American dollar will be good for pretty soon is wiping our sorry national ass in polite preparation for China's economic cock. But if we're making more money every day, you ask, where does it all go? It wasn't so very long ago that American wealth was a worldwide benchmark of prosperity. What, exactly, has happened in the interim?

A few decades back, as some of you will remember, our good buddy Dick Nixon gave the slip to direct economic representation through the gold standard. This turned the dollar, indeed money-at-large, into a much more fluid entity, open to freer and faster speculation. Since that fateful day, the American dollar has been dancing ever closer to the precipice of unsustainable growth. The recent collapse of some of our nation's most stalwart financial institutions (Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) is merely a symptom of this viral expansion of wealth.

Now, I know you're wondering to yourself: EXPANSION of wealth?! Why haven't I seen a piece of that sweet apple pie yet? I like pie just as much (if not more) than the next CEO. Where do I find my slice?

Well, the sad fact of the matter is this: unless you've been sinking the entirety of your minimum wage paychecks into the market and living on soybeans harvested from your basement, you won't be getting a taste any time soon. We have vague corporate entities to thank for this.

The corporation was born in post-colonial America on the basic premise that a company's only responsibility is to the checkbook of its shareholders from which said company is (at least on paper) comprised. For more on this, please see "The Corporation" a well thought-out documentary that addresses this notion more fully than the space of this blog will allow.

This idea of responsibility forms the very foundation of "free" market capitalism in America. The idea being, that the market is a self-regulating entity inherently incapable of another collapse like that of The Great Depression. To put it simply: In Market Forces (not God) We Now Trust.

The problem with this structured system of faith (or one of the many at least) is that for several decades, if not more, the higher-ups of corporate America have been paying themselves increasingly exorbitant salaries to oversee the meager investments of most Americans. Now, I'm all for lining the pockets of vested interest with the motley cloth of American manpower...I mean, who isn't? But the fact of the matter is, in order to justify their increasingly bloated salaries and lobbyist kickbacks, these very same corporate executives have been pressuring their respective accounting departments to err on the side of expansion. Let me explain:

There are a number of "acceptable" accounting processes and methods of calculation available to any savvy CPA, each portraying the "true" financial picture of a given company's given assets and growth patterns differently. These processes may be broken down into three basic categories: a)conservative b) moderate and c) extremist. Each of these categorical practices, when applied, will yield a much different picture of the given company's economic health.

Now, a "responsible" accountant will mix these methods periodically in order to present a healthy, balanced picture of sustainable company growth. Unfortunately for the American people, the current corporate accounting practices, in order to show continuous increases to their shareholders, have been stuck on option C for far too long. This means that all of these generous little over-estimates have accumulated, avalanche style, creating an actuality vacuum on the books of investment banks and other speculative enterprises like the recently fallen mortgage giants.

So who should bear this multi-billion dollar cross whose total cost conveniently equals that of the Iraq war and its aftermath? Well, George Bush Jr. thinks it should be you.

Mr. Bush presented a whopping 3 page piece of legislation to Congress today that effectively states this burden should fall, once again, squarely on the shoulders of the American the tune of $2,000 for each and every one of us!

This little gem, of course, coming as it does on the heels of Mr. Bush's "economic revitalization package," which put a tidy sum of $600 in each of our leaky pockets (actually, as a freelancer, my government "gift" only came to $300) should revitalize the worldwide economy. Right. One has to wonder if that $600 apiece would have been better spent staving off the current crisis rather than shoring up republican support for the coming election.

And what of the fact that the government now owns your mortgage debt? Can you say conflict of interest? I knew you could! What will this do to the idea of eminent domain in America?

Furthermore, whose to say that this unprecedented injection of government cash into the "free" market economy will even stop the problem upon us? It seems to me that giving a blood transfusion to a body riddled with bullet holes doesn't do much good unless the entry and exit wounds are first sewn up and packed with gauze. But it's worth a try, right? I mean, it's better than the alternative: wait and see which way the 21st Century technological dust bowl will blow!

Yes, we must, of course, and ad the very least TRY to save our drowning economy. Just not with MY money, if I had any. Instead, I have what I believe to be a better solution:

I say we send every corporate executive and well-heeled politician, past and present, straight to Iraq to help build roads and dig irrigation canals. Their money (minus airfare, of course) would have to stay home and help US rebuild things here on OUR soil. For safety's sake, we'll let their families stay behind and live, like so many honest Americans, on the public welfare system that corporate economic policies and outright political collusion have stripped bare.

It seems fair to me. But that's just one taxpayer's opinion.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Release Party a Success!

Many thanks to everyone who made it out to The O Mission Repo release party last night. Your support is greatly appreciated.

It was a privilege to hear the voices of our friends and peers reading the words we spent so long putting into print.


JenMarie & Travis

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The O Mission Repo Official Release

Today, as the world mourns the victims of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, we here at Fact-Simile Editions invite you to participate in this commemoration with your very own copy of The O Mission Repo.

Composed of the partially erased pages of The 9/11 Commission Report, this innovative text takes readers on a parallel journey through the earth-shaking events whose aftermath has largely determined the course of modern history and culture to date.

The O Mission Repo is currently available on our website ( as well as a handful of small booksellers in the Denver area with more venues to be added shortly.

If you live in the Denver area, you are hereby cordially invited to our official release party, this Saturday, September 13th at the address below:

1258 Pennsylvania Street, #1
Denver, CO 80203

The book will be available for $2 off the cover price for the duration of this event! Doors open at 4pm...We hope to see you there. Please feel free to email with any questions.


Travis Macdonald
Fact-Simile Editions
(303) 993-3932

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Writers and Money

J.K. Rowling (creator of the Harry Potter series and the richest writer alive today) along with her publisher (Warner Brothers) has successfully sued one Mr. Steven Jan Van Vander Ark of Brighton England (one of her biggest fans) for copyright infringement. Now, I'm all for copyright protection, to a serves the noble purpose of securing a writer's livelihood and guaranteeing him or her full rights to the creative output in question. And believe me, as a starving writer myself, I hold dear the idea that my words could one day pay for food and clothing, not to mention the jet-setting lifestyle to which I so ardently aspire. Indeed Ms. Rowling has been quoted as saying:

"I took no pleasure at all in bringing legal action and am delighted that this issue has been resolved favorably...I went to court to uphold the right of authors everywhere to protect their own original work. The proposed book took an enormous amount of my work and added virtually no original commentary of its own."

Bravo Ms. Rowling, Bravo. Your intentions are, indeed, admirable! Of course, had this been the whole truth, one would assume you would have settled for preventing the publication of Mr. Vander Ark's "Harry Potter Lexicon." Much to the contrary, Ms. Rowling, you and your lawyers saw fit to sue Mr. Vander Ark for $6,750 in damages!

I wonder, have you forgotten what it's like to live on a waitress salary? Surely that neat little sum is but a drop in the bucket for your budget, but for Mr. Vander Ark, a former librarian and teacher, this represents a substantial percentage of his annual income. Do you really want to treat struggling up and coming writers (a group to which you yourself once belonged) in such a disgustingly discouraging manner? Do you really think that Mr. Vander Ark's modest proposal would have infringed upon your market share in any appreciable way?

No, I think not. If anything, this small press-run of 10,000 books that "The Lexicon" was attempting to put into print, could be expected to BOOST the sales of the Harry Potter series. Certainly more so than the resulting public backlash that will ultimately result from this conflict.

But the true spit on the cupcake is this: the damages secured were designated to compensate Ms. Rowling for the time and energy lost to mental anguish when she should have been working on her latest book!

Really Ms. Rowling...Really? You were distracted from your latest project for a couple of days while your lawyers at WB took care of all the details? I can't imagine what you must be going through. Please believe me when I say that I would like nothing more than to understand your dire plight firsthand!

The simple fact of the matter is, Ms. Rowling does not need to write another word EVER in order to maintain the comfortable lifestyle to which she has, no doubt, become accustomed. Shouldn't she be using her position of acquired privileges to support folks like her former self, just hoping to make a living out of literature in the face of the current cultural vacuum?

Or, at the very least, one might imagine that, since there is little possibility of the "Lexicon" supplanting her work wholesale, that Rowling might look fondly on the cross-connections her humble little childrens book has generated among a worldwide fan-base. But the contrary, this once-waitress now mega-celebrity has taken to picking the pockets of the very fans who put her in the position of "literary" affluence she now enjoys.

The simple fact is: writers steal words from writers. This has always been the case. Rowling's book is built upon themes and content that mirrors any number of fantasy/sci-fi novels written in the 20th century and beyond. For more on this point, check out Orson Scott Card's reaction to the current debacle:

For all the desperate maneuvering she has put herself through in order to secure her "intellectual" "property," the author has, in fact, succeeded only in diminishing her loyal one, at least.

[DID YOU KNOW: Mickey Mouse is the father of modern copyright laws? Disney, dismayed that their iconic money-maker was about to fall into the public domain, pulled some strings with their government cousins and had the copyright laws revised to provide protection for 70 years, a drastic jump from the previous period of 14 years!]

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

DNC aftermath and a little economic venting

You will be happy to hear, dear readers, that JenMarie and I survived the 2008 DNC without injury or incarceration. Unless, of course, you consider the effect of all that whiskey on one's liver...

Some folks were not so lucky from what I understand: The Denver Police had a sweet little "daycare" racket running throughout the festivities. Apparently, your one constitutionally guaranteed phone call has to be to a land-line and with the modern cell-phone phenomenon in full effect, a number of party-goers found themselves in impromptu prison for the duration of the event...

And though we were unable to get The O Mission Repo out in time to take our share of the Democratic dollars, it appears as if only a handful of local businesses benefited from this media circus anyway...namely those already affluent establishments clustered around the convention center who (gawd knows) needed the boost. Of course, that little tidbit should come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying any attention in this country over the past 30 years and beyond.

To you observant citizens, it should come as no surprise that the middle class is being stretched to obsolescence by the meteoric rise of the first percentile. As the rich get inevitably richer (it takes money to make money) the poor are left to piece together their subsistence from increasingly meager table scraps.

This notion, in itself, is nothing new. The inertia of vested interests has been directing the course of history for several thousands of years. However, if we turn our modern lens to the present state of gross, world-wide population increase, it should become fairly clear that the only way most of us (or our distant descendants) will ever have a chance of joining those vaulted ranks is to populate every planet from here to Pluto. Of course, the majority would still be pushing brooms and cleaning toilets in this galaxy and the next...but at least we could all take comfort in the notion that a few more folks are living the dream.

Side-Note: I am composing this post from my new position in a six-person cubicle, where I crank out mountains of mindless ad copy for classified listings nationwide. Yes, today is Saturday and I am a sucker who won't have Health Insurance for another 86 days.

Sign me up for the next flight to Uranus, because I think this is shitty.