Hugh

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  • Hugh commented on the blog post The Weekend Roundup for October 18-19, 2014

    2014-10-20 13:13:04View | Delete

    Most books on economics are atrociously written. I think it is very difficult to come up with accurate measures of the real wealth of the mega-rich because they are allowed to define what the value of that wealth is. Since a lot of it may be in financial instruments that change in value on a daily basis and much of it is hidden in tax havens their publically acknowledged wealth comes down to whatever they say it is.

    I also have problems with historical comparisons. For me, anything that goes further back than the Great Depression and the events which led up to it have no real relevance because the kind of economy we have and the kind of economy in other periods are just so different.

    All that said, especially with regard to the US, wealth is not being recycled back into the general pot but is being sequestrated in the hands of a few and their heirs. This is a class phenomenon, and it is one which economists have a peculiar aversion to dealing with in any way, shape, or form. Piketty opened the door officially to academic discussion of wealth inequality (although some of us have been writing in this vein for some time). His may not have been a particularly good job but instead of serving as a spur for further and more accurate investigation, economists of all stripes have been primarily interested in burying the subject and moving on. Any serious treatment of wealth inequality remains taboo. One can refer to it. One can lament it (in general terms), but economists continue to shy away from it.

  • Hugh commented on the blog post The Weekend Roundup for October 18-19, 2014

    2014-10-19 20:43:39View | Delete

    Modern economists including supposedly progressive ones like Baker have this visceral reaction when it comes to Piketty’s work on inequality and hence on the subject of inherited wealth in general.

    First, inherited wealth needs to be viewed in class terms, not anecdotal ones. As a class the rich are rapidly getting richer and they are transmitting that wealth successfully to their heirs. The heirs singly may not make the Fortune 400 but taken together (the Waltons, the Rockefellers, etc., for example) they would be high on the list. But take the C-level execs, the hedge fund management teams, and add them and their heirs to the mix, and you begin to see, as Baker does not, what Piketty is talking about.

    Second, Baker seems not to understand that an important way that the mega-rich shield their wealth from taxes is the creation of family charitable trusts. The families keep control. The “charities” pursue the ideological agendas of their creators (think of Gates’ views on education) or “sanitize” their public image (like the Kochs funding science series on PBS even as they fund propaganda against global warming).

    I mean look at it from Bill Gates’ perspective, that of a predatory monopoly capitalist. If his money goes to the government, it will just be stolen by B list looters. If he creates a trust, he calls the tune on how the money is spent. His outsized ego gets stroked pursuing vanity projects and remaking society according to his whims. He gets lauded as some kind of a humantarian. He pays no taxes on the loot, and he can pass control of his fortune through his trust to his spouse and heirs.

    On a related topic Fed chair Yellen hosted a Fed conference on “inequality”. This was taken to be quite radical on her part, but as usual it was just more smoke and mirrors. The phrase you need to look for in neoliberal crocodile tears on inequality is “inequality of opportunity”. Obama, Yellen, and other neoliberals talk about opportunity to avoid the mega-gorilla in the room, the stupendous inequality in results. You see the pitch is that if opportunities are “equal”, then results no matter how distorted, disproportionate, and divorced from effort and societal good can be justified.

    Great wealth and privilege can never be justified in societal terms for any fair, decent, or equitable society. So the rich and their minions go to great lengths to smother any discussion of the effects of great wealth on society and who actually performs the labor which underlies their great wealth. Opportunity is one of their favorite buzzwords. Ask yourself this: Will you under any circumstances have the same “equal” opportunity as a Walton heir? Was it equal opportunity that got George Bush, accused by no one of being an intellectual powerhouse, into Yale and Harvard? Do such questions even make sense? Opportunity is a con. It is an attempt to use the sense of fair play of us rubes to accept what are foreordained and completely rigged results. If you aren’t rich, that’s your fault. If you are rich, then you deserve to be. No discussion of how rich is rich enough or how much inequality of wealth our society can stand before it ceases to be any kind of society we want to live in.

    As progressives, we need to come to understand that the very terms of discourse our elites present us with are bogus. They are meant to mire us in sterile debates so that we completely miss the point, so that we never ask the questions we should be asking.

  • Hugh commented on the blog post The Roundup for October 16th, 2014

    2014-10-16 15:00:20View | Delete

    Devolution is the degradation of goods and services as a natural consequence of kleptocracy. The rich and elite classes focused on the retention and extension of their wealth and privileges, principally through looting us and the commons, cease to function even minimally for the public good in the roles and positions they hold.

    We have all seen it, not just in the crap consumer goods we buy or in the crapification of jobs, but in the failure of government to accomplish even the most basic and elementary of tasks. The great wake up moment for me came with the Iraq War where I saw all my beliefs and expectations that government officials and politicians actually knew what they were doing and performed some minimal due diligence before acting totally subverted and destroyed. This new awareness did not happen over night. It was an ongoing process over years. But certainly by the time the rich and elites blew up the financial system in the largest interconnected frauds in human history, I mean the housing bubble burst and the meltdown, and then proceeded to bail themselves out to the tune of trillions, while leaving the rest of us hanging, I was no longer surprised. Obamacare, the non-recovery recovery, the CDC’s current bumbling response to the Ebola epidemic are just a few in a long series of examples of elites who not only don’t do their jobs but are no longer capable of doing their jobs. Any random reasonably intelligent American, any person reading this comment, could have mounted a better response to the Ebola outbreak both in West Africa and here than Obama or the current head of the CDC. The difference between you and them is that you probably give a shit about public health and safety whereas they don’t.

  • Ask yourself the following questions: What progressive positions does Warren hold? What has she done about them? Has she reached out to progressives? Does she spend time with them? Has she used her position to help them organize? Has she sought a progressive leadership role?

    And these: Whom does she hang out with? Whom does she praise? Has she broken with the neoliberal/neocon Democratic party?

    Progressives need to stop reading into figures like Warren intentions and positions that simply are not there. Shutterbuggery calls her this cycle’s tethered goat. I call it playing revolving heroes. Make a few remarks that can be construed as “progressive”, watch as hero hungry progressives fall all over themselves for the zillionth time, and then go back to business as usual.

  • The housing bubble burst in August of 2007. The meltdown started in September of 2008. Here we are in October of 2014, six or seven years on, and Warren is only now realizing what we realized at the time. No real awareness even now that these were the largest frauds in human history. No sense of the criminality behind them. And no real plan to redress the damages they caused, or punish those responsible. Indeed statute of limitations will run out on much of this stuff next year, that is what remains after all the phoney “pennies on the dollar” deals the government has already made with the banks.

    Warren is just another Establishment type. They will occasionally rail against this or that aspect of the system which is looting the rest of us, but they will never declare war against that system itself, because it is from that very system that their careers and all their wealth and privileges derive, and it is to that system, to their membership in that Establishment, to which they ultimately owe their allegiance. If you are a member of the club, you can criticize the coffee but not the club itself.

  • Hugh commented on the blog post The Roundup for October 10th, 2014

    2014-10-10 18:38:26View | Delete

    Natasha Lennard is inviting us to whistle past the graveyard. Apocalypse is just in the movies. Ebola and ISIS are small and nasty but manageable. Lennard is essentially making a category error. Ebola and ISIS are not going to end civilization as we know it, but the forces which lead to Ebola as an epidemic and ISIS as a political and military player: overpopulation and climate change in an atmosphere of kleptocratic elites and the relentless class war they wage against us, and yes, Virginia, you have the makings of the “A” word.

  • I can’t help being struck by the similarities between the new war against ISIS and the post-9/11 War on Terror. In the War on Terror, our two biggest allies have been the Saudis and Pakistanis. They were also the two biggest supporters of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. And now here we are with ISIS. All of our “allies” are actually more sympathetic to ISIS than they are to us and our goals.

    There has been a blood feud between the House of Hussein in Jordan and the House of Assad in Syria that goes back 40 years and a generation. Bashir’s father (Hafez) once tried to have Syrian jets shoot down Abdullah’s father’s (King Hussein) plane.

    Erdogan in Turkey is a conservative Islamist and a traditional nationalist. As a result, short of being forced, he won’t do anything to help Syrian or Iraqi Kurds, and while ISIS is too extreme even for him. He prefers to see Kurds and largely Arab ISIS fighters killing each other off. The danger he runs isn’t simply the Kurdish unrest this stance engenders, but he also risks alienating the US, Turkey’s most solid backer. Alliances are changing, in flux as politicians and diplomats like to say. The US-Turkey relationship could be one of several casualties in this fight. Finally, Erdogan has also turned a blind eye to poor disaffected Turkish youth in a Turkey where economic inequality is as great as it is here to join the fight with ISIS. This risks the “Afghani” effect where mujaheddin from much of the Islamic world went to Afghanistan to fight the Russian occupation, returned home, and became the seeds of jihadist movements in their native countries.

    Then there are the ever duplicitous Saudis. Other than the problematic politics, from the House of Saud’s point of view, of al Baghdadi’s assertion of supreme leadership of the Muslim world the ISIS’ extreme form of Islam is completely in accord with Saudi Wahabism. The Saudis also favor the Sunni ISIS militants over their Shia opponents both in Syria and Iraq. With some minor variations, what can be said of the Saudis can be said of the Gulf states as well.

    America’s natural allies in the fight against ISIS are the Shia and the Kurds. Again naturally our official allies are all Sunni and anti-Kurd.

    The outbreaks of ISIS and Ebola are related and need to be seen as manifestations of societal breakdown and failure and semi-failure of nation states in face of the broader crises of overpopulation, climate change, and the systemic corruption of the rich and elites. Rather than being exceptional and unique they are just initial points on a trendline to our future.

  • I should add that the head of the AIG FP unit Joseph Cassano that came up with the bright idea to sell the “no risk, pure profit” CDS that went so spectacularly bad was paid a million dollars — a month– to “help” unwind the deals he had created. I guess that showed him and any other would-be Wall Street conmen that crime doesn’t pay, right?

  • The Fed did not have the authority to bail out AIG but did it anyway. Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman, was the only only “banker” at the table during the weekend of the 13th and 14th September 2008 when the AIG deal was being hammered out. Across from him was Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner, and oh yes, Treasury Secretary and former chairman and CEO of Goldman Hank Paulson. No conflicts of interest there, no sirree!

    Of the 5 investment banks, Bear Stearns had gone bust in March and most of its assets had gone to JPMorgan at bargain basement prices. Also on the weekend of the 13-14th, Merrill Lynch was basically ordered to sell itself to Bank of America. The AIG deal was to shore up Goldman and Morgan Stanley. And Lehman which Paulson had always a special dislike for, and I would suspect Blankfein felt the same way, was left to implode.

    Bernanke, Geithner, and Paulson talked a lot after the fact about “bailout fatigue”, that they were so focused on “saving” AIG and the other investment banks that they just didn’t have the time or energy to save Lehman. Geithner’s line about “avoiding a panic” is especially gratuitous when you consider that the AIG deal wasn’t announced until Tuesday the 16th the day after Lehman went kerblooey on the 15th, setting off the meltdown.

    If the Fed and Treasury could sell, resolve, and bail out 4 of the 5 investment banks, why could it not use one of these mechanisms to deal with the 5th? If Paulson, Geithner, and Bernanke felt they needed to pursue extraordinary measures to save the very companies which had put the financil system in jeopardy, why did they not save Lehman which also posed a significant threat to it? On the other hand, why save any of them? The Fed and Treasury, instead of bailing out the perpetators of the largest frauds in human history, could have bailed out their victims. This, of course, did not happen because we live in a kleptocracy where looters rule. They will do each other in if they can (like Lehman) from time to time but as a rule we are and always have been their targets.

    Financial execs are always portrayed as the smartest guys in the room. But how smart do they really have to be when they can keep the winnings from their bets that work and “socialize” their losses,for the ones that don’t, on to the rest of us?

  • Hugh commented on the blog post Study: Earth Lost 50% Of Wildlife In Last 40 Years

    2014-09-30 12:09:32View | Delete

    Another way of looking at this is that the earth’s carrying capacity for humans, given current technology and usage levels, is between 2 to 3 billion. Current world population is estimated by the Census to be 7.195 billion. Here are the top 10 countries

    1. China 1,355,692,576
    2. India 1,236,344,631
    3. United States 318,892,103
    4. Indonesia 253,609,643
    5. Brazil 202,656,788
    6. Pakistan 196,174,380
    7. Nigeria 177,155,754
    8. Bangladesh 166,280,712
    9. Russia 142,470,272
    10. Japan 127,103,388

    Here are the Census projections for the top 10 most populous countries in 2050with a world population of around 9.6 billion:

    1 India 1,656,553,632
    2 China 1,303,723,332
    3 United States 399,803,369
    4 Nigeria 391,296,754
    5 Indonesia 300,183,166
    6 Pakistan 290,847,790
    7 Bangladesh 250,155,274
    8 Brazil 232,304,177
    9 Ethiopia 228,066,276
    10 Philippines 171,964,187

    At the same time that countries like Germany and the UK are expected to have populations of 71 million (Germany down 8 million, UK up 8 million)and France 69 million (up 3 million), Uganda is predicted to skyrocket to a population of 93 million (from 36 million now), and Afghanistan to 63 million (from 31 million now).

    We are already seeing the strains: exotic diseases, climate disruption,wars, failed and failing states, resource depletion (principally water, soil, and energy), and ecological and species destruction. Personally, I think things will fall apart before 2050 levels are reached because they are already starting to fall apart now. I estimate we have until about 2030 to get our house in order as a species. After that, these processes will be on automatic pilot with a die-off in our species in the 80-90% range with a world population in the 750 million to 2 billion range by 2100.

  • The Fed is a private banking cartel. That is what it was set up to be and that is why it acted so aggressively, to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars, to bail out the banking sector, rather than their victims, after the 2008 meltdown, no strings attached, of course. Its “public”/governmental ties in are actually tangential to its operations. In our credit based system, it ultimately and not the government is the principal creator and issuer of money.

    As for Goldman links to government, Goldman has largely owned the Treasury for a number of years. Back at the time of the 2008 meltdown, Hank Paulson, former CEO and chairman of Goldman was Treasury Secretary. And although Robert Rubin, Clinton’s first Treasury Secretary, has often been associated with Citigroup for his remarkably lucrative time there, he spent most of his career at Goldman.

    At the time of the 2008 meltdown, Goldman got bailed out and saved from oblivion not once but twice in one week, on September 14th as part of the AIG bailout, and after the Lehman collapse, on the 21th, by being given bank status and with that, access to Fed funds.

    Reinhold Niebuhr pointed out in the early 1930s in Moral Man and Immoral Society that elites, the powerful and connected, identify their good with the general good. So in their minds, when they are helping themselves, they are helping us. Indeed they “must” help themselves to help us.

    We have to understand that the Fed and Treasury are not good institutions run amuck. They have not been “corrupted”. They were born corrupt and are designed to loot us in order to keep the rich rich and make them even richer. They are operating exactly as they were meant to.

  • The rules of the road of which Obama is speaking are the hegemon’s rules of the road. Both Russia and China have their own imperial ambitions and these conflict with the hegemon’s. Hence the tensions and warnings.

    While it would be easy to ascribe the bloody chaos in the Middle East to decades of bad US policies, we need to keep in mind that hegemon or no the US has been only an exacerbating factor. The Middle East simply has a higher profile because of oil and Israel, but the social and political disintegration we are seeing there is just the nascent manifestations of the much larger problems of overpopulation, climate disruption, environmental degradation, and resource depletion. Against these, global hegemons and local kleptocracies have little sway. They make the problems worse and block any solutions to them, but those problems would be there and with them the pressure for disintegration, failing and failed states, in any case.

  • This is another example of progessives’ endless ability to delude themselves. Both Warren and Clinton are thoroughly Establishment political figures. Neither is progressive. Neither spends any real time with progressives or expends any of their political capital espousing their causes. Neither has shown any inclination to assume a leadership role among progressives or build their movement. If progressives want candidates who reflect their views, then they need to look to themselves. They need to come up with a clear, solid platform which expresses their vision for our society (not a wish list but a program they can sell to the country) and select candidates from within their own ranks who commit to fighting tooth and nail and going down in flames if need be for that platform.

    Lesson One for progressives should be: Stop looking to Democrats for leadership. Democrats are no more your friends and allies than the Republicans. If you accept that your choices are limited to the Democrats Warren and Clinton, then you might as well pick up your progressive ideas and go home. You have already lost.

  • This is a standard list of A-List Establishment talking heads weighted to the neocon end of the spectrum. Thom Friedman and David Brooks??? I mean how more tired and “never met a war we didn’t like” can you get? As for supposedly the gravitas of Steve Coll and the Columbia School of Journalism, what humbug!

    First, the CSJ is hardly in the trenches fighting against our current status quo corporatist media complex. Nor has it done anything to train a new generation of sceptical, evidence based reporters. All we get from them is the occasional tepid criticism of this or that story with no systemic critique of the media.

    Second, Steve Coll is a heavily credentialed product of the current media. He isn’t just dean of the Columbia Grad School in Journalism. He is founder and CEO of the New America Foundation. The head of the NAF’s board is Eric Schmidt of Google. Funders include the Pritzkers and Bill and Melinda Gates. And what initiative was the NAF pushing this year? It was trying to pressure universities to accomodate their standards and teaching practices to accord with the Common Core. Ooh, is that radical or what?

    What Obama did was invite part of the Washington-New York echo chamber to the White House, with all the predictable results. He heard what he wanted to hear. Go figure.

  • Over the last 60 years, Congress has successively ceded and the Executive has effectively usurped all war making powers. Nowadays resolutions are window dressing. They are not meant as authorizations as such but rather instruments to blur (and erase) responsibility in a bipartisan haze. Even in their absence, the simple act of funding under the screen of “supporting the troops” serves the same purpose.

    For those interested, the 2001 AUMF is very short and its operative paragraphs read as follows:

    (a) That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    (b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

    (1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

    (2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers

    While this language would support those who say that this does not grant Obama the power to wage an undeclared war against ISIS, it is important to point out that in the act’s non-operative preamble it concedes

    Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States

    The execution of the two American journalists, the ISIS threats against the US, and even the hokey fantasy of ISIS blowing up the Mosul dam to flood the American embassy in Baghdad fall within the scope of this Congressional concession.

  • Hugh commented on the blog post The Uncivil Termination of Professor Steven Salaita

    2014-09-10 20:20:40View | Delete

    There is a great misconception that academia is about intellectual inquiry. This could not be further from the truth. Look at their top heavy corporatized administrations of which both Wise and UIUC’s Board of Trustees are a part, their research and funding ties to corporations, and the increasingly class-driven nature of who can afford them. Universities are, in fact, great engines of the status quo and some of the most anti-intellectual places on the face of the earth. They are not about challenging the system but perpetuating it. Our current system is one of class and kleptocracy. What Salaita had to say about Gaza was unexceptional outside of anything other than a propagandized echo chamber, –which, unfortunately, is exactly what UIUC and American universities in general are.

  • Hugh commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 15:08:37View | Delete

    Presidents long ago usurped Congress’ Constitutionally mandated power to declare war. It began at least with Teddy Roosevelt’s “gunboat diplomacy” but the modern form really dates to Truman’s entrance into the Korean War under UN auspices. The Cold War blurred the distinction between diplomacy and war. What after all, besides the semantics and the logistics, is the difference between invading a country and overthrowing its government? By of Pigs or assassinating Castro? which to choose, which to choose?

    Nevertheless, it was Vietnam which created the modern model of the Presidential war exactly 50 years and one month ago to the day. Congress passed he Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 10, 1964. It hardly seems possible that so much time has passed or that we learned so little since. The Vietnam “War” had all the hallmarks. Congress did not declare it but passed a vague open-ended resolution (based on a fictitious wobbly pretext that had nothing to do with the real reasons for the war: paranoia, the Cold War, and their crystallization in the Domino Theory). And on that basis, it became first Johnson’s War and then Nixon’s with its inevitable expansions into the not so secret bombing in Laos and culminating with the invasion of Cambodia. Vietnam also had other notable fixtures of the modern Orwellian “non-war” war: the use of the sobriquet “military advisers” for combat troops and the use of the one to introduce the other and the dependence on weak, corrupt, vacillating allies with vastly different agendas from our President and War Party’s.

    The 1973 War Powers Act was enacted to create a pragmatic balance between the Congress and Executive’s war making roles, but it proved less a check on Presidential war-making power than a tacit acceptance of it. It took 3 days after the 9/11 attacks for Congress to cede its warmaking responsibilities, without any Constitutionally required declaration, in the AUMF which launched both our 12 year and counting military adventure in Afghanistan and the even more open-ended (and vague) Global War on Terror.

    It is interesting that Bush and company went through the quaint charade of seeking another AUMF for their imperial project of invading Iraq in order to control its oil and establish permanent military bases in the face of an increasingly unreliable and unstable Saudi Arabia. But as with Vietnam, these real reasons were buried in an avalanche of lies and propaganda about phantom WMDs and ties to 9/11. This last was a coup worthy of a Goebbels since it directed attention away from the very real and close connections of the Saudis to 9/11 (15 of the 19 hijackers for a start) and lay it on a country, a party, and a dictator deeply opposed to the goals and existence of al Qaeda.

    Iraq was supposed to be the apotheosis of the neoliberal and neocon world views. But it proved to be a dreadful, costly shambles, precisely because of them. In the US, voters were allowed to vent their frustration by voting out the Republican Corporate War Party and voting in the Democratic Corporate War Party. In this sense, Democrats and Republicans should never be viewed as greater and lesser evils but as complementary ones. Obama did not reverse Bush’s policies. He followed and expanded upon them. Bush began the use of bombing, drone and special forces strikes, but it was Obama who institutionalized them into government policy, and used them to effectively void the already flimsy War Powers Act. We saw this first in 2011 in Libya. The rationale was no boots on the ground, no War Powers Act. At the same time, the original 9/11 AUMF could be extended to special forces strikes anywhere. And because of the way the War Powers Act was worded, it can be argued that special forces strikes fall through the cracks in it, that is such a strike is likely to be over before the reporting and approval seeking requirements of the Act kick in. Finally, the War Powers Act contains an explicit exception for “trainers”. Call combat troops “trainers” and again the provisions of the War Powers Act can be and, under Obama, are ignored.

    Say what you will the ramp up to this newest non-war war has been masterful. ISIS despite all the hoopla about its media savvy has directed this savvy to its jihadi audience. To the audience of the American public, it has played directly into the War Party’s hands: massacres, grisly executions. Obama and company could not ask for better. They have tuned their escalations to allow the American public to be suitably shocked, disgusted, and get on board. At the same time, the deeper goals of the return to Iraq and the connections of the Saudis and Gulf states to the ISIS jihadis have been beautifully obscured. As a propaganda exercise, it gets an “A”. But as policy and strategy, not so much. Iraq remains divided, semi-partitioned without any real political settlement between its three main groups. Obama may be committing the US to the ISIS War for the long haul, but how long will the Europeans stay in? The Saudis are notorious for not spilling their own blood and only being willing to fight to the last dead American. The Gulf states are no different. Indeed the Saudis are more comfortable with shipping their own jihadi elements off to join ISIS and hopefully get killed in Iraq and Syria(thereby lessening a jihadist challenge to their regime) than actually fighting ISIS or anyone else. Meanwhile in Iraq while Maliki is no longer Prime Minister, he is hardly gone from the political scene, and his cronies in the army and police remain in place. The Kurdish peshmerga was surprisingly ineffective against ISIS. So who exactly are our allies in this adventure? What precisely can they contribute and for how long? The ghosts of Vietnam are calling. This looks like another war that various actors are willing to see us wage, that will last only about as long as we are willing to fight it, and that we are destined to lose because it is, and should be, someone else’s fight.

  • Hugh commented on the diary post How To Read A Jobs Report by Hugh.

    2014-09-09 12:49:58View | Delete

    Joelmael, thanks and corrected. A silly typo on my part. Sharonsj, it is not enough to stop believing the government’s numbers. It is important to use what tools we have to get an idea of what the real situation is. Beyond this, I think we need to create a progressive economics. All current economic theories [...]

  • Hugh wrote a new diary post: How To Read A Jobs Report

    2014-09-08 13:31:07View | Delete

    The monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has been out for a few days. Having analyzed these reports for several years, I thought it would be good to talk about what they do and don’t do and how they are put together. First, the BLS jobs reports are, with a few [...]

  • Hugh commented on the blog post Eric Cantor Goes To Wall Street

    2014-09-03 11:35:09View | Delete

    This is how institutional bribery works in our corrupted political system. Campaign contributions while in office and lucrative contracts after. Both parts of this system are about milking Cantor’s contacts and influence. But the second part, the post-office part, is really mostly a carrot held before the eyes of current officeholders. The message is “You play ball with us now, and we will see you are taken care of later.”

    This is “legal” bribery, but always important to note, what is legal can still be criminal.

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