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Cold War – Hot Profits

5:43 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

"I've found the job where I fit best!" - Artist: George Roppe

Anyone who was here state side during WWII can tell you of the rationing that went on. Everything was rationed. From bread to tires. They can also tell you that no matter what industry you were in, you were doing defense work. WWII took this country from nearly 30% unemployment to 0 unemployment over night. New businesses formed overnight to meet the demands. Struggling businesses like Willys Motors became major contractors.

There were factories and corporations making each other’s products to meet the demand of the military. RCA, Stromberg Carlson, and Bendix all making the same radios. Willys and Ford made the Jeeps. Whole towns grew up from nothing to support new ship and arms factories. One could say that nearly every corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary of USA Inc. The technology of the time expanded at a breakneck pace and the war paid for nearly all of it.

When WWII came to an end in 1945 the so called Cold War against what was called Communism began as well as a new war to fight it. Korea and the cold war kept many of these plants humming right along. And new defense systems needed new advances which meant lots of dollars for research and development and nearly all of it paid for by Uncle Sam. Working for a defense contractor – and at that time nearly all the major corporations were defense contractors – meant you could get whatever new and necessary equipment you needed to advance your project. And a lot of this R&D made its way to the products that were sold to the general public as well.

Pretty sweet deal wouldn’t you say? Putting a good part of your research staff’s overhead on the government’s bill. And if the US military stopped being interested, you could also sell it to France or Egypt or Iran or Iraq or Israel or some South American country. And nearly every technical advance we saw had its origin or was advanced in some way through military material need – and I include NASA here . From television – improved for WWII, to computers – ENIAC for WWII became IBM.

Very few people complained about the merger of government and industry except President Eisenhower who used the euphemistic term Military Industrial Complex. Actually a form of codependency, where the US needed this arrangement just as much as industry did.

Reagan attempted to break it up after the fall of the Soviet Union but it was by then far to ingrained and in fact still flourishes as can be seen by this list of the top 20 contractors. Here is a PDF that goes into even greater detail.

And by what we have learned from Matt Taibbi and Yves Smith and others, this compact has been expanded to include the finance arena as well. With the Federal Reserve and Treasury’s union with Wall Street.

To look on this as separate entities to me seems just a but naive. We complain about the revolving door in Washington but to me it simply looks like intra-office advancement. Is it any wonder that there is little interest in Washington to change any of this ? That both parties like the idea of a corporate/government arrangement.

10 Sure signs America is Circling the Drain.

10:47 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

America Circling the Drain - flickr

David Macaray gave his view on 10 Sure Signs America is in Decline in Counter Punch. I though I would expand a bit on them here.

1. Estonia has stronger labor laws than the U.S. Actually most European countries (and a few Asian ones) have stronger labor laws than the US.  And stronger laws protecting women and minorities and children….

2. Sarah Palin almost became Vice-President.  The only reason this is disgusting is because McCain almost became president.  A position Palin was marginally better suited for.

3. The movie Titanic beat out LA Confidential for the “Best Picture” Oscar in 1997.   Only because Pierce Brosnan makes a horrible James Bond  and there was no TeleTubbies movie.

4. The U.S. now has almost twice as many suicides as homicides.  Thanks to the pharmaceuticals industry and all those self help books and courses, doing away with ones self is a more ethically acceptable behavior. However I believe this trend will reverse now that “packing heat” and using it whenever one is a bit miffed has become law in a number of states.

5. In 1983, the U.S. military invaded Grenada, an island nation (132 sq. miles) roughly one-fourth the size of Phoenix, Arizona.  Follow by Iraq and Afghanistan both of which are populated mainly  by tribal cultures that are technologically backward.  Which is rather like picking fights with paraplegics and losing.

6. In 2003, California, the most populous and, arguably, most diverse state in the union, recalled Gray Davis and replacied him with Conan the Barbarian.

7. The Kardashians get better ratings than the PBS Evening News. The Kardashians get better ratings than CNN. And really…a test pattern gets better ratings and most things on PBS.

8. In 2002, President George W. Bush lost consciousness after choking on a pretzel. I’m still trying to understand how they determined that Bush was conscious in the first place. It is well know that even the those in a vegetative state can still make facial expressions and utter complete nonsense.

9. The United States is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Of course this is referring to ones abdomen and other parts of the physic.  Since having a fat head has been the norm for quite some time.

10. According to unofficial polls, 92-percent of Americans believe they have a Guardian Angel watching over them.  They also believe in Sana Claus and the Easter Bunny and business ethics.  All of which are pure fantasy which explains our electoral system.

And I will add one more.

11. The current administration pass two major laws. One that made Wall Street crime perfectly legal and protects if from any financial risks what so ever and the other – just reaffirmed by the Supreme Court – makes graft, extortion and fraud a federal requirement for insurance companies and the health care industry. Both of which the republicans hate and the democrats love.

None of this should be terrible surprising since nearly every state in the union has a lottery which is actually a legalized version of the numbers racket.

A Piece of The Action. The Rise of Gangster Capitalism in the Face of Systemic Collapse.

5:43 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Gangsters - flickr

We have heard a lot over the last four years on how those responsible for the economic/financial crisis of 2008-2009 have gotten away scot-free.  That the policies of Bush have been not only replicated by Obama, but enhanced and refined.

How the same people in charge of the economy under Bush were kept on and that nothing has been done to prevent a repeat of these events.  The right claiming too much regulation and calling the administration fascist or socialist or what not and the left accusing it of similar political evil.  All of whom are in my opinion missing the boat.

The events of the last couple of decades suggest another explanation to what is going on.   Some say since the Reagan administration and some say even Nixon.

Like a person with an incurable decease, when an empire begins to fall apart, it becomes desperate and is willing to try anything to forestall the inevitable.     Rules and morals and ethics that were once sacrosanct,  begin to be discarded and like Matt Taibbi and Ives Smith say, it begins to look and behave like an organized crime family.

BILL MOYERS: You’re describing a corrupt financial and political system. And both of you in recent writings, your current article in “Rolling Stone,” which is devastating on the scam that the “Wall Street learned from the Mafia,” and a recent column you wrote about the mafia state, you’re both using that metaphor to apply to our financial and political system. When I read your pieces, you’re not playing with words there. You mean it.

YVES SMITH: Yeah.

BILL MOYERS: Why do you mean it?

YVES SMITH: Well, the mafia, when it gets to be big enough, first thing it has services that people feel they need if they’re in a difficult situation. So, for example, loan sharking. If you really need money, they do have the money. And people enter into these loan shark deals even though they know it’s going to be very difficult to pay 20 percent or more interest and they’ll have their legs broken if they don’t pay back.

And the banks actually behave very much in that manner when they find people who really need money. So you see this with credit cards, you know, that, or, and with mortgages. That if you hit– it’s not this if you hit any tripwire, that, you know, become in arrears, the banks basically act in this very extortionate manner and don’t cut any breaks.

NOTE: Diary edited to comply with fair use guidelines. -MyFDL Editor

Those with the most to lose begin stop playing by the old rules and begin to make up new ones to fit their current situation as Dmitry Orlov suggests in his Reinventing Collapse.  What he did not expect, I think is that the government itself would fail to follow it’s own rules and would – along with the corporate and financial sector – evolve into what is in a sense a criminal organization. Using national security as the primary pretext to ignoring or completely eliminating any law that proved to be in the way. Or the way this country “removes” bosses of other countries that prove to be “bad for business”.

It wasn’t long after the bank and corporate bail outs that article upon article began to appear in The Washington Post, The New York Times and even That Wall Street Journal stating or questioning whether capitalism was dead. Some very harshly indeed.

Now nearly all of those voices are resolutely silent on the subject and those that still speak out tip toe around it. Even as more and more evidence surfaces of the complicity of government in the criminal behavior of the financial and business sector.

After the fall of The Soviet Union, Russia and a number of its former states plunged into almost total lawlessness where anyone who could,  got as much as they could and then left the people to fend for themselves. (A situation Putin has at least tried to correct, to his credit) We can see that happening here.

With less and less being done on the federal, state and local level to help those who are not part of the upper echelons of power.  And with the treatment of those who challenge these powers – such as OWS – feeling the wrath of the “Dons” for daring to question them.  The police behaving more like gangsters and protectors of the mob than anything else.

And you wind up with a multi faced economy. One official. One unofficial. Such as the underground economy here, which incidentally is valued in excess of 2 trillion dollars.  I knew a fellow who up until recently lived in Moscow and he would tell my friends and I about this – unofficial economy.

The real tragedy and danger is that the government sees nothing wrong, the right still thinks that everyone will play by the rules – even though they plainly are not, and the left still thinks it can be saved or resurrected somehow.  All of whom refuse to accept that the country is far beyond this.

How this will all play out in the end is anybodies guess. It surely cannot continue as it is though.  But expect it to get much worse before it gets better.

 

Lite Beer and the Segmentation of America

11:21 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Lite Beer - Flickr Creative Commons

I am not a beer drinker. An neither were any of my parents. My father only really liked one brand in fact and rarely drink that much. I think this is a plus since Finnish people are more likely to go overboard on alcohol than most.

I did find this analysis by Kevin Horrigan in the Stl Today site on how we had a become segmented society all thanks to – not Wall Street – but Madison Av. That’s right the marketing people.

Before there was Lite Beer, there was just beer. There were a lot of different brands, but it was mostly the same: 12-ounce cans of lager or pilsner containing roughly 150 calories. You had to go far out of your way to find something different, like a Heineken or a Guinness.

One nation, one beer. Everyone watched the same TV shows and got their news from (you should pardon the expression) mainstream sources. There were rich people, sure, but they hadn’t yet begun to suck the marrow out of the middle class. The Vietnam War had been fought by enlisted men and draftees alike.

Then came Lite Beer from Miller, test marketed in Springfield, San Diego and Knoxville, Tenn. It was successful enough that Miller hired the advertising firm McCann-Erickson Worldwide to help roll it out nationwide. Pretty soon the “Tastes Great, Less Filling” campaign was everywhere. America’s common culture was doomed.

First came more light beers. And dark beers. And ice beers. And beer with fruit in it. The natural reaction to all of this terrible beer was craft beers and microbrews.

People no longer listened to rock music. They listened to soft rock, classic rock, metal, funk, punk, alternative rock, Christian rock. They listened to classic country and new country and alt country. They listened to R&B and urban and soul and hip-hop and rap.

Along with talk radio and specialty cable channels and focused news and on and on. We have become a nation of focus groups. It’s no longer “How does it play in Peoria”  but “How does it play in a particular suburb of Peoria, Atlanta, Indianapolis……”.  With data mining of all you do on the internet it has become more so and as Sam Smith points out this has permeated our politics as well. Quoting Sally Quinn of the Washington Post.

 

On the way home … I suddenly realized that this grotesque event signaled the end of power as we have known it. That dinner — which seemed to have more celebrities, clients and advertisers than journalists and politicians — was the tipping point.
Power in Washington used to be centered on the White House, the Congress, the Cabinet, the diplomatic corps and the journalists. Today, all of those groups depend on money for their very existence. The real power lies with the lobbyists, the money-raisers, the super PACs, the bundlers, the corporations and rich people.

 

That politicians have become nothing more than something to market. Like Lite Beer and Donuts and iPods. That the era of the states man and wise old men of Washington such as Clark Cliffard have been replaced by sound bites and celebrities.

These same bundlers that Sally refers to are the ones who sliced and diced corporate America and sold if off as pieces parts to the highest bidder on the Wall Street equivalent of ebay.

There was a time when most people were on more or less the same page. Now we are simply adds in some niche magazine to be exploited.   With our politicos merely hollow manikins marketed to us depending on the group involved.

Appearing as one icon to one group and a different icon to another.

Out causes and concerns also neatly managed and marketed as well. Be they environmental,  religious, social, economic or political.   Each with their own focus group.   More consumer than a culture. A Walmart nation with cheesy products and cheesy politicians. Willy Lomans in expensive suits.

Consumption! It’s the new national pastime. Fuck baseball, it’s consumption. The only true lasting American value that’s left – buying things! People spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need – MONEY THEY DON’T HAVE ON THINGS THEY DON’T NEED – so they can max out their credit cards and spend the rest of their lives paying 18% interest on something that cost 12.50! And they didn’t like it when they got it home anyway! – George Carlin

And we have bought it hook, line and sinker and have been sold up the river in the process.

Remembering Nixon

9:44 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Richard Nixon - Flickr

Bernstein and Woodward have a very good retrospective of Nixon and Watergate in the Washington Post. For most here – those much younger than I – the whole era is but a small chapter in history.  However I believe it is good to reflect on how close the country came to not only a constitutional crisis but a total break down in our democratic form of government.

The piece outlines quite well the atrocities committed by and proposed by Nixon himself in order to remain in power.  We have not had anyone with the pure insanity and megalomania in the Whitehouse before and thank heaven since. Not even Reagan or Bush could compare and certainly no republican – despite the hubris spewed by some – can come close.

Totally bent on destroying all and any who apposed him and his actions by what ever means available, legal or not.

From kidnapping of protestors to break ins and burglary to even targeted killings. Some so insane that they were rejected not only by his own justice department but by his own supreme court appointed justices as well.

Wishing to destroy the Democratic party and even the media. Enraged by the pentagon papers and Daniel Ellsberg.  Furious when Dick Cavett had John Kerry on debating Vietnam with John O’Neill. And Kerry completely ripping the war to pieces. Conspiring with Ohio Governor Rhodes to put down the Kent State protests which eventually ended with the shooting deaths four of students and the wounding of nine others.

Finally rejected by a large part of his own party in the Senate and The House.

So when we focus on the abuses of power by Bush and Obama and Romney lets us bar in mind that they are not the aberration of the system but rather the very epitome of it. They are what our social/economic/political system produce.

Economy on a precipice

1:21 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Train Wreck - Flickr Creative Commons

Train Wreck - Flickr Creative Commons

Editor’s Note: Please avoid using overly long excerpts in MyFDL posts, just a few paragraphs maximum from any source. The excerpts here are excessive. -MyFDL Editor

 

We’ve all seem them. The iconic scenes of the train wreck or car wreck with the cars hanging off a cliff. Nobody dares move else they cause the whole thing to plummet into the abyss below. This is where the economy stands today according to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts in his current analysis.

And why nobody dare change the equation lest the whole thing comes apart at the seams. Why the FED has kept interest rates at zero or near zero for so long and dares not change this any time soon.

US banks also have a strong interest in preserving the status quo. They are holders of US Treasuries and potentially even larger holders. They can borrow from the Federal Reserve at zero interest rates and purchase 10-year Treasuries at 2%, thus earning a nominal profit of 2% to offset derivative losses. The banks can borrow dollars from the Fed for free and leverage them in derivative transactions.

As Nomi Prins puts it, the US banks don’t want to trade against themselves and their free source of funding by selling their bond holdings. Moreover, in the event of foreign flight from dollars, the Fed could boost the foreign demand for dollars by requiring foreign banks that want to operate in the US to increase their reserve amounts, which are dollar based. . . . . .

The very process of slowly getting out can bring the American house down. The BRICS–Brazil, the largest economy in South America, Russia, the nuclear armed and energy independent economy on which Western Europe ( Washington’s NATO puppets) are dependent for energy, India, nuclear armed and one of Asia’s two rising giants, China, nuclear armed, Washington’s largest creditor (except for the Fed), supplier of America’s manufactured and advanced technology products, and the new bogyman for the military-security complex’s next profitable cold war, and South Africa, the largest economy in Africa–are in the process of forming a new bank.

The new bank will permit the five large economies to conduct their trade without use of the US dollar.

In addition, Japan, an American puppet state since WW II, is on the verge of entering into an agreement with China in which the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan will be directly exchanged. The trade between the two Asian countries would be conducted in their own currencies without the use of the US dollar. This reduces the cost of foreign trade between the two countries, because it eliminates payments for foreign exchange commissions to convert from yen and yuan into dollars and back into yen and yuan.
Moreover, this official explanation for the new direct relationship avoiding the US dollar is simply diplomacy speaking. The Japanese are hoping, like the Chinese, to get out of the practice of accumulating ever more dollars by having to park their trade surpluses in US Treasuries. The Japanese US puppet government hopes that the Washington hegemon does not require the Japanese government to nix the deal with China.

Now we have arrived at the nitty and gritty.

The small percentage of Americans who are aware and informed are puzzled why the banksters have escaped with their financial crimes without prosecution. The answer might be that the banks “too big to fail” are adjuncts of Washington and the Federal Reserve in maintaining the stability of the dollar and Treasury bond markets in the face of an untenable Fed policy.

In other words they are all in it together. Yes I know this in not news to most here but this relationship has a lot to do with why there has been little if any movement to get to the heart of the matter.
Let us first look at how the big banks can keep the interest rates on Treasuries low, below the rate of inflation, despite the constant increase in US debt as a percent of GDP–thus preserving the Treasury’s ability to service the debt. The imperiled banks too big to fail have a huge stake in low interest rates and the success of the Fed’s policy.

The big banks are positioned to make the Fed’s policy a success. JPMorganChase and other giant-sized banks can drive down Treasury interest rates and, thereby, drive up the prices of bonds, producing a rally, by selling Interest Rate Swaps (IRSwaps). A financial company that sells IRSwaps is selling an agreement to pay floating interest rates for fixed interest rates. The buyer is purchasing an agreement that requires him to pay a fixed rate of interest in exchange for receiving a floating rate.

The reason for a seller to take the short side of the IRSwap, that is, to pay a floating rate for a fixed rate, is his belief that rates are going to fall. Short-selling can make the rates fall, and thus drive up the prices of Treasuries. When this happens, as the charts at
http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article34819.html illustrate, there is a rally in the Treasury bond market that the presstitute financial media attributes to “flight to the safe haven of the US dollar and Treasury bonds.” In fact, the circumstantial evidence (see the charts in the link above) is that the swaps are sold by Wall Street whenever the Federal Reserve needs to prevent a rise in interest rates in order to protect its otherwise untenable policy.

The swap sales create the impression of a flight to the dollar, but no actual flight occurs. As the IRSwaps require no exchange of any principal or real asset, and are only a bet on interest rate movements, there is no limit to the volume of IRSwaps.

So it is in the interest of the banks to keep the interest rates low. And Paul also shows how this also benefits the government by making servicing the debt a whole lot easier and can in fact hide – to an extent – how big it really is.
He also goes into how the banks do naked short sales on gold and silver to keep themselves afloat in all of this. There by manipulating that market as well. Good work if you can get it.
But like all good scams it can easily unravel.
How long can the manipulations continue? When will the proverbial hit the fan?

If we knew precisely the date, we would be the next mega-billionaires.

Here are some of the catalysts waiting to ignite the conflagration that burns up the Treasury bond market and the US dollar:

A war, demanded by the Israeli government, with Iran, beginning with Syria, that disrupts the oil flow and thereby the stability of the Western economies or brings the US and its weak NATO puppets into armed conflict with Russia and China.

The oil spikes would degrade further the US and EU economies, but Wall Street would make money on the trades.

An unfavorable economic statistic that wakes up investors as to the true state of the US economy, a statistic that the presstitute media cannot deflect.

An affront to China, whose government decides that knocking the US down a few pegs into third world status is worth a trillion dollars.

More derivate mistakes, such as JPMorganChase’s recent one, that send the US financial system again reeling and reminds us that nothing has changed.
The list is long. There is a limit to how many stupid mistakes and corrupt financial policies the rest of the world is willing to accept from the US. When that limit is reached, it is all over for “the world’s sole superpower” and for holders of dollar-denominated instruments.
. . . . .

Fed chairman Bernanke has spoken of an “exit strategy” and said that when inflation threatens, he can prevent the inflation by taking the money back out of the banking system. However, he can do that only by selling Treasury bonds, which means interest rates would rise. A rise in interest rates would threaten the derivative structure, cause bond losses, and raise the cost of both private and public debt service. In other words, to prevent inflation from debt monetization would bring on more immediate problems than inflation. Rather than collapse the system, wouldn’t the Fed be more likely to inflate away the massive debts?Eventually, inflation would erode the dollar’s purchasing power and use as the reserve currency, and the US government’s credit worthiness would waste away. However, the Fed, the politicians, and the financial gangsters would prefer a crisis later rather than sooner. Passing the sinking ship on to the next watch is preferable to going down with the ship oneself. As long as interest rate swaps can be used to boost Treasury bond prices, and as long as naked shorts of bullion can be used to keep silver and gold from rising in price, the false image of the US as a safe haven for investors can be perpetuated. 

However, the $230,000,000,000,000 in derivative bets by US banks might bring its own surprises. JPMorganChase has had to admit that its recently announced derivative loss of $2 billion is more than that. How much more remains to be seen. According to the Comptroller of the Currency the five largest banks hold 95.7% of all derivatives. The five banks holding $226 trillion in derivative bets are highly leveraged gamblers. For example, JPMorganChase has total assets of $1.8 trillion but holds $70 trillion in derivative bets, a ratio of $39 in derivative bets for every dollar of assets. Such a bank doesn’t have to lose very many bets before it is busted.

 

Assets, of course, are not risk-based capital. According to the Comptroller of the Currency report, as of December 31, 2011, JPMorganChase held $70.2 trillion in derivatives and only $136 billion in risk-based capital. In other words, the bank’s derivative bets are 516 times larger than the capital that covers the bets.

So if anyone moves, over the rocks she goes.Now for the sixty four dollar question ? How much does anyone know of this in Washington ? I’ll bet the next (secret) bail out that just about everyone knows. Even – and maybe especially – the tea party republicans. But no one is talking. Because if anyone lets the cat out of the bag, it tips over the train.

All this talk of austerity is simply a feeble attempt to keep the train from going over the side. And to make damn sure the dollar remains the reserve currency. So now we are at the point where we switch seats in the train every four years and try to make sure nobody goes forward or backward in the train.

 

Political Cartoon of the day.

5:46 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

This pretty much says it all.
Ted Rall

From Ted Rall.

Where in OWS are they ? The missing.

11:39 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ­ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.” - George Carlin

As one lady put it on an episode of Bill Mahr “You cannot separate class from race in America.  The preponderance of black people in this country are disproportionately poor.”  Not only that those in power – those with the money – do not care about those who are poor. And in fact they hate the very idea of those much less well of than them getting anything from the government IE taxes that they pay. Especially those who are minorities.  And it really does not matter one bit what they call themselves politically either.

But it’s not just those who we refer to as the 1% who are responsible. They have lap dogs to do their bidding as well.  The so called professionals. The doctors and lawyers and executives and college professors and engineers and software house computer programmers etc. All very OK with the systems the way it is. All perfectly willing to support and kiss the rear ends of these 1%.

How many of them do we see at OWS ? What Ward Churchill called “Little Eichmanns” .  These people are just as responsible as their masters for the injustice and inequality since they are willing to support it for their own personal agendas.   To many call themselves liberal but are in name only.  All too willing to through those who they feel are beneath them under the bus so long as their 401Ks do not take a hit and their corporate masters keep them on until retirement.  People are calling what we have an Oligarchy.  I prefer to call it tyranny of the rich.

When I see these people out there with the unemployed and homeless and poor, then I will see something really positive. Until such time, these corporate lap dogs are as much the enemy as their CEO bosses.

 

 

The Mind of A Conservative

6:09 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

We tend to throw around a lot of diatribe concerning conservatives these days. But lets us examine who or what we are actually dealing with. David Roberts in Grist does a pretty good break down in his current piece.

Yesterday I sketched the sort of personality type most likely to identify as conservative: those who prefer stability to change, order to complexity, familiarity to novelty, and conformity to creativity. This sort of personality type is drawn to clear lines separating in-groups from out-groups, highly aware of social hierarchies, suspicious of change, and strongly inclined toward system justification, i.e., seeing the prevailing socioeconomic regime as worthy and desirable

I often think that the actions and rhetoric of today’s conservative politicians are easier to make sense of at this level, the level of temperament and worldview, than at the level of stated principles and policy proposals. Seeing through this lens can help make sense of a lot of stuff that otherwise looks hypocritical or absurd. In particular, it can help make sense of the political fight over climate change and clean energy.

Now what sort of personality does the author attribute to today’s conservative ? Read the rest of this entry →

Why are people so pissed off at the system ?

4:05 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen


Homeless man in Lakewood NJ. who now lives in a tent city.

And why are so many people willing to occupy the cities here and around the world in the heat and cold and rain and (probably) snow ? And get arrested and jailed and beat on and pepper sprayed by the cops ? And why has even somebodies father in law even been suggesting that physical removal might be the only solution ? IE revolution.

Well these charts from Business Insider gives a pretty clear reason why. Here are a few – with the captions.

In fact, income inequality has gotten so extreme here that the US now ranks 93rd in the world in “income equality.” China’s ahead of us. So is India. So is Iran.

And, by the way, few people would have a problem with inequality if the American Dream were still fully intact—if it were easy to work your way into that top 1%. But, unfortunately, social mobility in this country is also near an all-time low.

So what does all this mean in terms of net worth? Well, for starters, it means that the top 1% of Americans own 42% of the financial wealth in this country. The top 5%, meanwhile, own nearly 70%.

That’s about 60% of the net worth of the country held by the top 5% (left chart).

 

Here is the link to the whole story. Yes I think there might be a REALLY GOOD REASON for people to be pissed off.