You are browsing the archive for politics.

White Collar, Blue Collar: There is a difference

2:47 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Workers – from flickr

The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people; white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on- George Carlin

Well George this is NOT entirely correct. It does make a difference and a fairly big one. The difference is cultural. The George Carlin clip this is from – George Carlin on the American Dream – which Elliott used as a diary the other day, got me thinking of the difference — view and thinking.

Before WWII there were nowhere near as many so-called white collar workers. Managers, professionals, engineers etc. Few people were college graduates and the need for them was much lower. Most jobs were either in factories or mills or trades or agricultural. The environment was one of more mutual cooperation and mutual respect and mutual interest. Especially those areas that were unionized, with the unions growing tremendously up through the 1930s. The union and union workers looked out for each other’s interest and supported each other. If one union went out on strike, oft times others would follow in support. It was a community both on the job and off.

After WWII this situation changed. The GI bill, financial aid and the creation of inexpensive state and community/junior colleges meant that more people could get college degrees and the increasing white collar/office jobs that the newer technology was calling for. Engineers and managers and designers and what not. The work environment was quite different in the office/professional arena than that the blue collar factory. Instead of cooperation, competition was the byword. Dog-eat-dog. The fella in the office/cubical next to yours was no longer your friend but your competition for the raise, promotion, new position. In college and the university, beating the next guy out for that grant and research money.

This followed over to your personal life as well in suburbia. The best house and yard and biggest party etc. Car, vacation and school for you kids. And the workers as something to exploit so one could look good to the boss. Embracing the capitalist ideals, competition and corruption, feeling threatened by anything that challenges it.

The left which had been the bastion of the blue collar workers also began to shift to the college youth and then white collar world. Eventually the traditional enemies of the factory workers and tradesmen were now grabbing the mantle of the liberal/progressive. And almost schizoid role reversal began to emerge. But unlike the left of the blue collar world where the members were willing to fight for themselves and each other to advance the goals of the whole, this “new left” would compete with each other and avoided anything that might put their situation at work and at home in any jeopardy.

Lest they lose their position, income or job. Being branded as a trouble maker or worse. Having nowhere else to go and being treated by the this “new left” as they had always been treated by “the management,” the blue collar workers abandoned the left and even joined the right wing — their previous enemies.

Which is pretty much where we are today. A white collar/professional left who doesn’t say or do anything that might upset their own personal status quo. A blue collar right who distrusts anything the left says or does since these “new leftists” refuse to take the required actions, lest they lose their cherished positions. And treats them like lowlifes or worse.

Certainly this played into the hands of the elites at the top, whether this was planned or not isn’t the point. It has defined our politics and agenda since the late 1970s at least or at least a good part of it.

But this is beginning to unrave. With fewer and fewer of these white collar jobs available, as witnessed by the large graduate unemployment, and more and more graduates having to take jobs in the trades or crafts or even the service industries, their allegiances are changing.

Others are working together or as private contractors or consultants. Forming group associations to further themselves both inside and out of their occupation. Not unlike the guilds of old. Some formal, others not so much. The very technology that created this college-educated class of liberals, is now working against them and creating a situation where the office environment is becoming more and more of an anachronism.

Having less and less to do with the politics and economics of old. What will come of this I do not know, but I do suspect that the “new left” and “new right” will eventually be left in the dust.

With independent being the largest growing political stance, the old politics will die out.

The Ukraine Blues

8:46 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Ukraine

Here is a good interview with Dr. Stephen F. Cohen by George Kenney of Electric Politics. It’s about 48 minutes long but audio only. Well worth a listen. From the description:

One feels frighteningly disoriented, hearing an American president support deadly mob violence for what is, essentially, counter-revolutionary change (in the form of IMF austerity). The president’s message may be directed at unknown people far away but the effects are certain to be felt here, possibly for generations, as the bindings of what relative peace we have come undone. I was extremely fortunate to be able to talk with Dr. Stephen F. Cohen about the crisis in Ukraine. He’s in a tiny minority willing to discuss what’s really happening. This is an unscheduled podcast on breaking news. Total runtime forty eight minutes.

Dr. Cohen goes into good detail concerning the potential fall out of the crisis in the Ukraine and how Russia may respond to it. Also what this may mean for the Ukraine itself. A very good analysis of the situation. Especially the radicals that have stormed Kiev and the US EU response to the situation.

More from the Nation:

The crisis in Ukraine came to a head this weekend with President Viktor Yanukovych’s hasty flight from Kiev. The western response to his departure now threatens to fracture the Ukrainian government into two regimes: one led by a democratically-elected president and one chosen by the ‘street.’ Appearing on Electric Politics, Nation contributing editor Stephen Cohen situated the present conflict in Ukraine within the context of America’s foreign policy toward post–World War II Eastern Europe. He argues that western policymakers seem unaware of the possible consequences of their support for the Ukrainian dissidents. Pointing to a ‘new Cold War divide in Europe’ as one possible outcome, Cohen warns that ‘our children and grandchildren will pay the price of this winner-take-all policy.’

Here is the link to the podcast and download.

Democracy

7:03 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Town meeting by Norman Rockwell – flickr creative commons

Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. – Winston Churchill

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. – Wikipedia

Churchill is only partially correct since we have not tried very many other forms of government.  Feudalism,  theocracy, various dictatorships – those are the biggies. Even a democracy appears oppressive and despotic if one is a member of a minority group whose voice is not heard and whose needs are not met. Indeed even a dictatorship can work just fine for those who support it and benefit from it. I am sure that there were a large number of Germans who did very well under Hitler as there were a large number of Spaniards who did well under Franco.

Query – can there still be a democracy where everybody is represented equally and still be repressive? Yes – absolutely. If one is a member of a minority group, even if represented in the governing body, that governing body can rule against you. Just because one has a say does not mean one will not be overruled consistently.

Then can you truly have a democracy? Yes..OWS proved that you can indeed. However OWS did not have leaders as such. There were facilitators but they had no real power and decisions were made by consensus which required the participation of the entire group.

How well would this work with something the size of a state or country? Or would it? We have seen the town meetings they have in the New England area. This works well for those involved. Should a country’s central government be involved with or make laws and legislation that only concerns one particular area and/or group, or should that be left to those involved. And conversely, should the problems and concerns of a particular group or area be visited upon the rest of the country?

Even if everyone in a group or area did participate locally and sent representatives to meet with other representatives, would their concerns be considered? These are questions this country has been trying to deal with since the beginning.  Even with the original 13 very sparsely populated states, consensus was oft times hard to establish.

Ideally everyone’s concern would be considered when governing. This becomes increasingly difficult and problematic when you add personalities, idealism and beliefs into the mix. When you add extremism to it and small participation, you get a very dysfunctional arrangement indeed.

We have a lot more to overcome here then than just political stubbornness and corruption.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ….

8:47 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Monsieur Jourdain – Bourgeois marionette / flickr

I have written about the French Revolution in a previous Diary. I though I would consider this subject again but from the standpoint of where the bourgeois fit in.

But first some definitions are in order. By bourgeois I am referring to those monied or rich people – mostly in the cities – that class wise were right underneath the nobility (monarchy and their relatives and feudal lords etc.). Wikipedia defines it thus“A word from the French language, used in the fields of political economy, political philosophy, sociology, and history, which originally denoted the wealthy stratum of the middle class that originated during the latter part of the Middle Ages (AD 500–1500).[1][2] That is of the three social, political and legal classes of the time they were the ones in the middle. Withe the nobility on top and peasants below.

Not middle class as we define it now, which is supposed to be those making a median income.

The urban dictionary defines bourgeois as:

A wealthy, highly privileged class of modern Capitalists. Typically composed of businessmen and others who derive their income from the labor of others. Known to take pride in affluence, spending heavily on luxuries. Usually conservative and/or opposed to government taxation or other policies that are unfavorable to their profit flow.

A wealthy, highly privileged class of modern Capitalists. Typically composed of businessmen and others who derive their income from the labor of others. Known to take pride in affluence, spending heavily on luxuries. Usually conservative and/or opposed to government taxation or other policies that are unfavorable to their profit flow.

There are of course other definitions that are no nearly as elegantly put.

But back to the subject.  From The Socialist Party of Great Britain the following:

Relics of Feudalism

The vast majority of the population – some 22 or 23 million out of a total population of 25 million – were peasants who worked and lived on the land. Very few were serfs actually tied to the land or a master. It has in fact been estimated that between 30 and 40 per cent of the land in pre-1789 France belonged to peasants. But all peasants, whether landowners, tenants or share-croppers, had to pay feudal dues in money and in kind to the lord of the manor as well as tithes, payable in kind, to the church. They were obliged to use the lord’s mill, bread oven and wine press rather than have their own and to allow him to hunt freely on their land. And they were tried and judged in a court presided over by him or his appointee for minor offences and all disputes with him or among themselves concerning land matters.

These were all survivals from feudalism, though it would be inaccurate to describe French society on the eve of the revolution as feudalism. Capitalism had long been developing there and in fact many of the lordships of the manor had been bought by rich non-nobles from the towns as an investment for the income this procured them.

Nor was the nobility any longer really feudal. By this time they had become transformed into an exclusive group which, by virtue of their noble status, enjoyed various tax exemptions and a privileged access to the top posts in the state, a fact that was particularly resented by rich people of non-noble origin – the bourgeoisie – who were to provide the leadership of the French Revolution.

This – the upper echelons of the Third Estate, or non-noble rich people – is the easiest definition that can be given of the bourgeoisie. Some were merchants, others manufacturers, still others professional people, in particular lawyers of various sorts. Below them, in the towns, were the sort of people who in Paris were known as the sansculottes, literally “”those without breeches”, or people who wore trousers rather than the knee-breeches and stockings then worn by the rich and those who aped them. These were the small shopkeepers and providers of various services, the master artisans and their journeymen who one day hoped to become masters themselves. Those who were condemned to a life-time of dependence on selling their labour power for a wage to a manufacturing employer were relatively few and were concentrated in certain industries and towns. One estimate puts their number at as low as 600,000.

Any of this sound familiar ? But back to the subject.

Initially these bourgeoisie/capitalists were pretty OK with this arrangement since they did really well under it.  In fact there were groups who after the revolution, wanted to restore the monarchy.  But the feudal system had too many restraints to expansion and (of course) acquiring additional capital.  Not only that the monarchy of France had gotten itself in to a bit of a pickle finance wise and the country nearly bankrupt.  So the the monarchy was force to call a meeting of a feudal institution that had last met in 1614, the States General .  The subject of course was raising taxes.

Needless to say this did not go over well with the bourgeoisie/capitalists who saw the monarchy as “the nobility being nothing but useless and privileged parasites:”

The nobility …is truly a nation apart, but a bogus one which, lacking organs to keep it alive, clings to a real nation like those vegetable parasites which can live only on the sap of the plants that they impoverish and blight. The Church, the law, the army and the bureaucracy are four classes of public agents necessary everywhere. Why are they accused of aristocratism in France? Because the caste of nobles has usurped all the best posts, and takes them as its hereditary property. Thus it exploits them, not in the spirit of the laws of society, but to its own profit.”

Oh the irony of it all.

July 14 has traditionally been regarded as the date that the French Revolution, as the seizure of power by the bourgeoisie, took place. Another, perhaps better, case can be made out for 6 October of the same year. This was the date when, following a march of women, accompanied by members of the National Guard, from Paris to the royal palace at Versailles to demand bread, the king was forced to recognise the power and legitimacy of the National Assembly by accompanying it back to Paris. The old royal administration then collapsed throughout France and power at regional and local level also passed into the hands of the bourgeoisie.

See where this is leading ? The ideals of the revolution were already being drawn up to the benefit of the bourgeoisie/capitalists.

POLITICAL: To establish equality between all property-owners by abolishing the privileges enjoyed by a section only of them, the nobility. To establish a constitutional government responsible to an assembly of property-owners elected on a restricted, property franchise.

ECONOMIC: To abolish internal customs duties and establish a national market. To abolish guild and government restrictions on entry into particular trades and businesses and establish freedom of enterprise and laissez-faire. To end feudal dues and tithes levied on agricultural property; rent, interest and profit to be the only legitimate forms of non work income.

Property rights would reign supreme thereby transferring the power from the nobility to the rich.

It was never the intention of those who carried out the French Revolution to abolish the private ownership of land or to break up the big estates of the rich and divide them among the peasants. That would have been a flagrant violation of the “rights of property” which the revolution proclaimed and, under a law passed on 18 March 1793, advocating it was in fact made an offence punishable by death. As far as the land question was concerned, the aim was to abolish the burden of feudal dues on agricultural property. This meant that ground rent was considered to be a perfectly legitimate form of income and the Committee on Feudalism tried to pass off many feudal dues as being a form of ground rent. The peasants, however, would have none of this and, through keeping up the pressure, eventually obtained the abolition of feudal dues in a revolutionary way: by their pure and simple abolition without compensation and the public burning of the title deeds which had granted them. The anarchist Kropotkin in his book on The Great French Revolution regarded this as the revolution’s main achievement.

So property IE wealth – replaces heritage..

The overthrow of Robespierre and the Jacobins marked the end of the radicalisation of the French Revolution and a return to its original aim of establishing a constitutional government by and for property owners. The only difference with 1791 was that this was now to be achieved within the framework of a Republic rather than of a constitutional monarchy. The Republican Constitution of 1795 reintroduced the property qualifications for being an “active” citizen, an “elector” and a deputy.

The French Revolution simply replaced aristocratic privilege with plutocratic privilege.   Which is precisely where we stand today.  This point must be clearly understood. It’s the privilege that the bourgeoisie/capitalists expect and get that sets them apart. as the saying goes “The rich are different from us.”

They are treated and expect to be treated differently by – business, the courts, the government, the police, medical care, the military, banks, educational institutions…..you name it. And as been intended all along – They are the government.

And today they are made up of business owners and their lieutenants, bankers, stock broker, doctors, lawyers, generals, university presidents and even some professors, engineers

And how did these bourgeoisie/capitalists remain in power for so long despite how they treated those underneath them ? Well one reason was the same as the royalty before them. The military who they treated very well. Even into the 20th century here. Between the Korean War and the Vietnam War, military duty was not bad. You get the best medical and dental care, your food and housing and clothes were taken care of, you could buy what ever you wanted at the PX or duty free shops for a fraction of the price here, and the government would ship it home for you free of charge. And when you got out your education was payed for and you could get a home loan from very little interest. If you made the military a carrier, your retirement was one of the best – this also was true of civil service positions as well by the way.

This I think is one of the areas where the bourgeoisie/capitalists are making their biggest mistake. They are systematically eliminating those perks  the military use to receive.  Treating them more and more shabbily and like mere servants.  More and more will question why they show remain loyal to these bourgeoisie/capitalists, especially when someone exposes the abuse – like Bradly Manning – is treated like dirt. When sexual and other abuse is covered up. When the medical facilities ad under staffed and under funded.  When even their armor and weapons are of questionable quality.

Where will their loyalties lie then ? When the peasants finally see that the bourgeoisie/capitalists are no better and even marginally worse than the feudal lords they replaced.

Rest assure my friends, these Bourgeois/Capitalists will not give up without a bloody fight. You cannot vote them out or regulate them because they are the government.   And you cannot for ever circumvent them either.

You will eventually have to fight them and bring them down.

On Edit: If anyone thinks the current situation is new or unique, then you are sadly out of touch. It was the very intention from the get go. From the very beginning in this country – and the world. To put the rich, powerful and privileged in charge of  (and to charge for) everything.

“They maybe sons-a-bitches……………

1:41 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

But they’re our sons-a-bitches”

Supposedly attributed to FDR or one of his cabinet members when referring to the South American dictators we were supporting. Primarily Samosa.

I bring this up because it’s very representative of the the kind of thinking that goes on even today.   A kind of primitive tribal/herd/clan mentality.  That one is to support one of their own regardless of their current and/or past transgressions simply because they are one of their own.  Usually but not always based on some ethnic/racial/cultural sameness.  Combined with religious and financial classes as well.

It’s what brought Hitler to power and enabled Germans to rally around him, all the while ignoring his monstrosities.  It’s what what pushed the Russians on to defeat Hitler’s armies.  And what broke apart and empowered those involved with the war in the former Yugoslavia after the fall of Tito.

As well as what is behind all the problems in the Middle east. It’s also why there are those who will support policies and people who would not be in there best interest, since their support is not based on anything logical or even practical  Their support is based on and emotional them vs us.

Why there are those who vilified the policies of Bush and support the same policies and actions by Obama.  Obama is one of US and not one of Them.    And Obama takes care of his own. The upper crust, well healed professional Bourgeois with their expensive houses and expensive cars and 401Ks with a tonne of money invested.

There is no amount of logical, practical, fact based arguments that will convince these people otherwise.   One can rail against them – if that gives you comfort. But it will not change their thinking because it has little to do with thought.  Just remember what it took to change Germany – who still has neo-Nazi followers. Two world wars and 40 years of cold war as two separate countries.  And they still look down on some non-Germans with disgust.

We like to think with all our advanced technology and science that we as humans have risen above such things. The sad reality is we have not.

It ain’t like what you think at all…

10:11 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Black Friday - flickr

“History is a set of lies that people have agreed upon,” Napoleon said. “Even when I am gone, I shall remain in people’s minds the star of their rights, my name will be the war cry of their efforts, the motto of their hopes.”

It has always been thus, that people will glorify and embellish the past to suit their own egos. Especially when it comes to wars and the victors but even the losers as well. With stories and monuments and what not. Hollywood has made a fortune on this. Books by the millions have been written glorifying the past one way or another.

And as Chris Hedges point out, to inflate peoples egos and diminish others.

The split between those in Memphis who hold up authentic heroes—those who fought to protect, defend and preserve life, such as [Ida B.]Wells and Burkleand those who memorialize slave traders and bigots such as Forrest points up a disturbing rise of a neo-Confederate ideology in the South. Honoring figures like [Nathan Bedford] Forrest in Memphis while ignoring Wells would be like erecting a statue to the Nazi death camp commander Amon Goeth in the Czech Republic town of Svitavy, the birthplace of Oskar Schindler, who rescued 1,200 Jews.

The rewriting of history in the South is a retreat by beleaguered whites into a mythical self-glorification. I witnessed a similar retreat during the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. As Yugoslavia’s economy deteriorated, ethnic groups built fantasies of a glorious past that became a substitute for history. They sought to remove, through exclusion and finally violence, competing ethnicities to restore this mythological past. The embrace by nationalist groups of a nonreality-based belief system made communication with other ethnic groups impossible. They no longer spoke the same cultural language. There was no common historical narrative built around verifiable truth. A similar disconnect was illustrated last week in Memphis when the chairman of the city’s parks committee, William Boyd, informed the council that Forrest “promoted progress for black people in this country after the war.” Boyd argued that the KKK was “more of a social club” at its inception and didn’t begin carrying out “bad and horrific things” until it reconstituted itself with the rise of the modern civil rights movement.

This is not limited to political history but to economic history as well. Idolizing the events and leaders of a past that was not nearly as glorious and successful as even those of us who lived it would like to imagine. The post WWII era and FDR’s New Deal. Which either helped tremendously or hindered horribly our economic endeavors. Depending on which revisionist history one adheres to. It generally was not quite that clear cut.

The Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s and (supposed) prosperity following WWII seems to be the current interest of both the right and the left. All conveniently forgetting that this was simply one of many economic downturns and may not even have been the worst. The depression of the late 1800s was by some accounts far worse and even lasted far longer.

But the economic fundamentals were shaky. Wheat exporters from Russia and Central Europe faced a new international competitor who drastically undersold them. The 19th-century version of containers manufactured in China and bound for Wal-Mart consisted of produce from farmers in the American Midwest. They used grain elevators, conveyer belts, and massive steam ships to export trainloads of wheat to abroad. Britain, the biggest importer of wheat, shifted to the cheap stuff quite suddenly around 1871. By 1872 kerosene and manufactured food were rocketing out of America’s heartland, undermining rapeseed, flour, and beef prices. The crash came in Central Europe in May 1873, as it became clear that the region’s assumptions about continual economic growth were too optimistic. Europeans faced what they came to call the American Commercial Invasion. A new industrial superpower had arrived, one whose low costs threatened European trade and a European way of life.

As continental banks tumbled, British banks held back their capital, unsure of which institutions were most involved in the mortgage crisis. The cost to borrow money from another bank — the interbank lending rate — reached impossibly high rates. This banking crisis hit the United States in the fall of 1873. Railroad companies tumbled first. They had crafted complex financial instruments that promised a fixed return, though few understood the underlying object that was guaranteed to investors in case of default. (Answer: nothing). The bonds had sold well at first, but they had tumbled after 1871 as investors began to doubt their value, prices weakened, and many railroads took on short-term bank loans to continue laying track. Then, as short-term lending rates skyrocketed across the Atlantic in 1873, the railroads were in trouble. When the railroad financier Jay Cooke proved unable to pay off his debts, the stock market crashed in September, closing hundreds of banks over the next three years. The panic continued for more than four years in the United States and for nearly six years in Europe.
The long-term effects of the Panic of 1873 were perverse. For the largest manufacturing companies in the United States — those with guaranteed contracts and the ability to make rebate deals with the railroads — the Panic years were golden. Andrew Carnegie, Cyrus McCormick, and John D. Rockefeller had enough capital reserves to finance their own continuing growth. For smaller industrial firms that relied on seasonal demand and outside capital, the situation was dire. As capital reserves dried up, so did their industries. Carnegie and Rockefeller bought out their competitors at fire-sale prices. The Gilded Age in the United States, as far as industrial concentration was concerned, had begun.

As the panic deepened, ordinary Americans suffered terribly. A cigar maker named Samuel Gompers who was young in 1873 later recalled that with the panic, “economic organization crumbled with some primeval upheaval.” Between 1873 and 1877, as many smaller factories and workshops shuttered their doors, tens of thousands of workers — many former Civil War soldiers — became transients. The terms “tramp” and “bum,” both indirect references to former soldiers, became commonplace American terms. Relief rolls exploded in major cities, with 25-percent unemployment (100,000 workers) in New York City alone. Unemployed workers demonstrated in Boston, Chicago, and New York in the winter of 1873-74 demanding public work. In New York’s Tompkins Square in 1874, police entered the crowd with clubs and beat up thousands of men and women. The most violent strikes in American history followed the panic, including by the secret labor group known as the Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania’s coal fields in 1875, when masked workmen exchanged gunfire with the “Coal and Iron Police,” a private force commissioned by the state. A nationwide railroad strike followed in 1877, in which mobs destroyed railway hubs in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Cumberland, Md. The Real Great Depression – Scott Reynolds Nelson

But both sides of the debate really do not like talking about this part of history since upon close examination it revels how shaky the argument for capitalism really is. For this is the era that Marx was writing in and about. This crisis of capitalism that so parallels our own current situation. But that was the late 1800s and the capitalists were still able to grow and invent their way out of this mess. At least temporarily.

Inventions and growth though have built in limitations as well. This is one crisis that will not be grown out of or invented out of or even be solved by imperialistic wars, such as those used by Germany in the 1930s.

And like all eras of history, it has been glossed over by those who would like to think the years prior to WWI were so peaceful and nostalgic. Conveniently forgetting how horrific they actually were so as to vindicate their own agendas.

The Great American Reset

7:55 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Scrooge McDuck

There is a lot of talk of getting Paul Krugman as Treasury Secretary. As Dean Baker points out – ain’t gonna happen.

If Krugman were Treasury Secretary we could envision a policy that was focused on creating jobs rather than reducing a deficit that exists almost entirely because of the downturn in the economy.We could also envision a policy that sought to tame the bloated financial sector with a speculation tax that would make much of the creative finance on Wall Street unprofitable. And, we would not have to worry that cutting Social Security and Medicare is the top priority for the Obama administration.

But, Krugman is not on the short list for Treasury Secretary. This list has the names of people who are much more acceptable to Wall Street who, by the way, have been wrong on almost everything important about the economy in the last decade. As a result, we should be very very afraid.

And there is also talk of minting some damn coin to pay off the debt. That ain’t gonna happen either. Just like they keep hoping some bankers and Wall Street executives will do a perp walk. But liberals and progressives hold onto to such hopes like a late stage cancer patient does laetrile and massive doses of vitamin C.

You see none of this was the intention or agenda of Washington from the beginning. We can see that now with the re-inflating of the housing bubble. This time in the rental sector.

Some readers have been asking how one can reconcile positive signs in the housing market with declining rates of homeownership. Indeed, homeownership is falling at an even faster pace than during the 08-10 period….The explanation is that so far a great deal of net demand growth in housing has been in rental units. …This demand for rentals is in fact one of the factors supporting the housing market – for every renter there is a landlord who buys a home.

And as Matt Taibbi points out in his current column in Rolling Stone, it was all one gigantic scam. A lie of biblical proportions.

It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences. We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.

It was never the intention of Washington to temporarily save the banks. The whole point was to continue on as if noting had happened. A giant reset button as it were. No fixes, no regulations, nothing. But everything back the way it was and continue this fascist, fraud that has been perpetrated on the American people. The whole thing was a scam. They lied about the health of the banks. They lied about the bail outs being temporary. They lied about the bonuses. Everything.

But this should not surprise anyone. As Oliver Stone points out in his series Untold History of the United States – and as anyone who has read anything by Howard Zinn would know – Washington has been lying to us all along. From the beginning of the industrial revolution at least.

All to keep Wall Street and corporate America in the green. The same fine folks who were supporting Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Franko’s Spanish armies with oil, weapons, steel and vehicles prior to and even after our entry into WWII.

There are those who think we have become fascist. Personally I think we always were. It’s just more obvious now and the propaganda more intense.

The Show So Far ………

12:29 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

That I am no fan of capitalism or any of the Abrahamic religions should come as no surprise to anyone who has read any of my essays. To me capitalism is merely a reworking of feudalism where one can become a lord by buying the lordship and the serfs under him/her besides being born into it.

The results are generally the same. A few elites at the top of the heap making hey of the miserable lives of those underneath. “Any difference that makes no difference is no difference.”

That the Abrahamic religions go so well with feudalism and capitalism should come as no surprise either. Truly a codependent relationship. Or that the constitution says separation of church and state but nothing about church and commerce or commerce and state. Which makes the sate and the church second cousins, as it were.

Nor do I like any kind of hierarchical for of government. Leaders – whether you call them presidents, prime ministers, premiers or what have you – will invariably become dictators and/or absolute rulers, however benign they may appear. And will nearly always kowtow to those with the most monetary influence.

There are those who think the answer to this is to just let everything run amuck and it will take care of itself. They also seem to think that they themselves would some how be immune to the consequences of this. Interestingly enough, they are also the same ones who want to stock pile the equivalence of Fort Dicks in weapons. I guess their immunity comes from Smith and Wesson.

Then there are those who think we can regulate this to get a kinder and gentler version of feudalism. With kinder and gentler robber baron scum bags at the top. That these people at the top will “see the light’ and “the error of their ways” and not try to change the rules once again. And that worked so well last time. Problem with regulations is, who regulates the regulators ?

And then there are those who think everything is just fine, lets not rock the boat. These are the ones who were called bourgeoisie, who are all chummy with the elites and are more than willing to lick the elites rear ends clan when required. What these people refuse to accept – along with right – is that they too could and probably would – become victims as well. Tolerated until replace by a computerized but washer.

The third act will be a lot more of a noire troisième acte. Desperate and brutal. There are those who seem to think that the end of this act will culminate is a rising up of the people in revolt somehow and cause a capitulation of the PTB. With visions of France and Russia in the early 19th century, forgetting that the PTB have them horribly out gunned. That any stand could – and most likely would – become suicidal. In those earlier revolutions, the people and the PTB were pretty well matched. That has ceased to be the case for quite some time. For what should be obvious reasons. Like those on the right and the preppers who seem to be living under the delusion that they too could fight off a government assault. Not bloody likely. This is not Syria where rebel forces would have access to the kinds of armament needed to be successful. All supplied by sympathetic outsiders. As those same outsiders are part of the PTB.

Nor is this Egypt where the military was supportive of the protestors, but only up to a point. Remember that the military – any military – is highly structured and hierarchical and ordered. And is little concerned with how this is maintained. The situation will become more oppressive and more desperate as time goes on.

The good news is that the last act can turn out much better but will require more work and more sacrifice and a completely different view of the world and community and interpersonal relationships there in. More of an anarchist view with little or no central government. Either locally or regionally. A consensus approach not unlike OWS. As viewed by such visionaries as Peter Kropotkin and Emma Goldman . Or even Dimity Orlov. Small groups who come together by desire rather than by any decree. But it will not be easy by a long shot.

The tentacles of the system reach far. Consider real estate taxes. Even if you own the land you are living on out right and choose not to even engage in commerce and use the monetary system, you still have to pay them or you lose you land. And this sort of thing will become more and more draconian. Count on it.

The answer may even be to relocate to a smaller and yet more corrupt country. Where the corruption on a local level can be of use in this way. Ironic but maybe necessary. For large countries – like here – have the corruption institutionalized and are a closed system in this respect.

And those who choose to live outside it will be view by the PTB more and more as some kind of threat to them. Which they are, but not necessarily in the way they imagine. For the real threat would be to their status and the dependency there upon. Not wishing to be part of, or supporting of the status quo would be seen as subversive.

Working toward the kind of society we envision is never a lost cause. And passing on this vision – even in the family structure – is what will bring about any real and lasting change. And put a halt to this sick, dark comedy we have been living for the last few thousand years. Where teachers and guides replace leaders, and wisdom and enlightenment and virtue and altruism are cherished and valued.

Someone we should all look up to. Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica

12:39 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

He has been dubbed by the media as the “Poorest President in the World”. He lives a very austere life by comparison to other world leaders. On a farm outside the capital and his greatest possession is an old VW bug. He donates 90% of his salary as president to charity.

Can you imagine Obama or Romney or any of out past presidents choosing to live such a life ? Or the leaders of France or Great Briton or Germany or Russia or Iran or Greece or Spain ? And yet we look up to these folks who lead us.

“I’m called ‘the poorest president’, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more,” he says.

“This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself,” he says.

“I may appear to be an eccentric old man… But this is a free choice.”

The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year: “We’ve been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty.

“But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left?

“Does this planet have enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet.”

Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a “blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world”. – BBC

When this man truly lives a humble life. A life that we should want to emulate. A fellow who is very near Buddha-hood.

To Dream The Impossible Dream……

6:08 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Fabulous Freebirds - flickr

So Obama get four more years. and Elizabeth Warren is elected to the Senate along with Heidi Heitkamp and Allen Grayson, Patrick Murphy and Joe Garcia to the House. Among other notables and all those Democratic stalwarts and liberals and other lefties are so convinced that this is the beginning. That truth, justice and the American way will prevail and working with in the system is the only way.

IN A PIGS EYE !

If this were the case we would have national health, solar and wind energy popping up like bean sprouts, rail systems and public transportation systems in every good sized burgh and the jails would be overflowing with Wall Street bankers. And the last I checked the AMA and big Hospitals and insurance companies still call the shots, oil and gas and coal companies are still raking in the dough and our rail systems are falling apart.
Then there are those who firmly believe that if Jill Stein of the Green Party – the soccer mom candidate – or one of the others had been given a fair shake, they would have had half a chance.

WOT !!?? FORGETABOUIT !

Look at the results people. Nearly half the country thought some glorified sleaze bag used car salesman was a better pick than a technocratic Ivy Leaguer with no imagination. And a large number of them because he was white rather than black.

Listen up people this should give you a hint.

MORE ELIZABETH WARREN SPECULATION: FINANCE COMMITTEE? – From a top Hill watcher: “Finance may be a better fit. The banks all have tax issues that are at least as important as regulations, and that’s a better committee in terms of fundraising … and she’ll be in big demand as a Dem fundraiser the next two years. Plus … putting her on Finance would allow Schumer to tell the banks that he did something for them.Politico Morning Money

This maybe a rumor being spread but I guarantee you that neither Warren or anyone else will be allowed to make waves. Once you’re in DC you play by Wall Streets rules or you are disappeared. Assigned to some do nothing unimportant committee to get you out of the way unless you play ball. Do not look for any changes, even little ones.

But keep looking through that rose colored mist if you insist. Cheering your favorite professional wrestler. At least it will keep you out of trouble.