Friday, October 28, 2011

What caused the 2008 Economic Collapse?

And without Keynesian intervention,
how can we rationally hope to avoid a second,
much worse collapse?

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
~ John Kenneth Galbraith

“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”
~ John Maynard Keynes

In this video clip Alan Greenspan pretty much admits that the cause of the financial system collapse in 2008 was his ignoring that Keynes truism. Quite a blind spot considering that the most wickedest of men were also his best friends!

"Political economy came into being as a natural result of the expansion of trade, and with its appearance elementary, unscientific huckstering was replaced by a developed system of licensed fraud, an entire science of enrichment."
~ Engels, Outlines of Political Economy (1844)

"A developed system of fraud" -- aka banksterism.

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Monday, September 05, 2011

Solidarity Forever

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.
Capital is only the fruit of labor,
and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.
Labor is the superior of capital,
and deserves much the higher consideration."

~Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

RIP Jack Layton

Canadian political satire show This Hour Has 22 Minutes had Jack Layton on last spring, doing a faux cooking show. Host Geri Hall suggests an improvement to the recipe. "A little NDP magic?" No problem. The Right Honorable Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition goes into an impromptu rendition of "Legalize It."

"I don't think the Conservatives would ever put that in there."

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Rapture Day

Man, won't it be good when all the fundies are gone? I'd be particularly happy if one of them was my landlord, so I could go without paying rent.

A little entertainment, not sure exactly of the connection but I love the way this choir imitates a storm with their hands and feet.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Remember: On this day in 1970

Those who cannot learn from history
are doomed to repeat it.

-- George Santayana --

How many more? My heart goes out to the families of the victims, and I hope that someday the truth will be revealed and America will wake up to the horrors imposed upon them by the Powers That Be and the Military Industrial Complex. Only by confronting the ugliest truths will we ever make a better society.

Please visit the Kent State Truth Tribunal, kept alive by Allison Krause's sister Laurel and others, and show your support.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Orwellian, Kafka-esque, You Name It

This one is so nuts it jolted my long-numb outrage nerve back to life.

From the New York Times: Guantanamo Detainees' Lawyers Can't Use Wikileaks Files

So here's what the government's been arguing:
-People locked up in Guantanamo, some for almost a decade now, are there because they are "the worst of the worst" Al-Qaeda terrorists.
-We could prove it, but it would risk giving away state secrets that would aid and abet the terrorist cause.
-That's why we can't have such niceties as civil trials and, you know, silly things like evidence and so on.
-But they are really, REALLY bad men. Trust us.

However, the files that have been leaked reveal that the government long ago determined that:
-The majority of detainees were sent to Guantanamo for no reason at all.
-Many were innocents rounded up in Afghanistan because the US offered large rewards.
-Some were mere children, others senile old men.

Now they're saying that the detainees' lawyers can't even look at the leaked documents because they remain classified.
They're public knowledge now, but they're still, you know, top secret. Hush hush. Loose lips and all that.

So even if a document is out there that shows that US military "intelligence" (*snort*) found out 8 years ago that your client is completely innocent of whatever he's been accused of, (if they've even bothered accusing him of anything) you can't use that document to have him released.

If you think this kind of government over-reach will never be applied to you because you're an American citizen or not brown, could I just drop a couple of names? Jose Padilla. Bradley Manning.

I could comment at length on how batshit crazy this really is, and how much of a threat to democracy and human rights, but I think in this case the facts speak for themselves. I will however award this story the coveted Les Enragés Maximum Bullshit Award.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Slow Reactor Reactions

Sometimes a headline says it all, like this one from the BBC.

OK, it's been nearly 3 weeks since the Fuckyoushima power plant was damaged by the earthquake and tidal wave. Every day has brought worse news of loss of cooling, explosions, reactor vessel breaches, workers fleeing the site, workers being brought back to a control room that doesn't seem to be in control of anything, workers being sent to hospital, environmental contamination.. .. ...

So NOW they announce that they're going to decommission 4 of the 6 reactors at the Fuckyoushima site?!? What this says is that up until now the effort has been to save the plant, not the people or the environment around it. Sure, it's worth $BILLIONS, but hasn't it been evident almost from the start that things were not recoverable? And that's using information that the company TEPCO that runs it has deemed to release - all of it as seen through rose-coloured glasses.

Some day in the future it's going to come to light that the environmental impact of this disaster was made many times worse by TEPCO's lying and managing things as if their efforts could miraculously save their investment. I guess they have to say that to appease the stockholders. But when that information does become available, the lawsuits are going to sink the power corporation. Anybody want to hazard a guess as to how much a twenty mile exclusion zone is worth? Over 600 sq. mi. of real estate in Japan? Holy shit!! I imagine it's way more than even a nuclear power plant is worth. (though with most of the buildings already flattened it's worth a lot less than it was before the tsunami. still..)

I imagine there are executives at TEPCO right now ruing the Japanese tradition of Seppuku - ritual self-disembowelment. If anyone in the history of that nation ever deserved such a punishment, it would be them. You can almost hear the snick snick of little knives being sharpened.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Practical Suggestions

..For Reducing Federal Spending

Rachel Maddow opened tonight's show with a piece on Republicans' eagerness to reduce the number of federal employees.

Fair enough, tough times require tough measures.

Let's start with this: Maybe 20 or 30 Republican Senators could relinquish their high-paying jobs, along with 40 or 50 in the House of Representatives. Not only would a heap of money be saved, but things would start getting done. They're all for efficiency, right? This move would free up more money than laying of hundreds of mid-level workers.

Better yet, it has been proposed that PrezBO increase the number of Supreme Court Justices to eleven to help balance the court. What he should do instead is ask for the resignations of some of them. I nominate Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Roberts to return to the private sector they love so much. I'm pretty sure that 5 justices could do just as good a job or better than the current 9.

Then fire all the grads from the Regent so-called "university" who were hired illegally anyway by Monica Goodling a few years ago. I haven't noticed any increase in the amount of justice that's been produced in that department since they were put on the payroll, so they can't be adding much value.

Finally, if there are still Secret Service personnel on the payroll protecting Bush, Cheney, Rummy or any of those criminal conspirators, for gawdsake lay them off!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Obama Demands Egypt Respect Human Rights

...That the USA Totally Disrespects

Hypocrite much?

U.S. demands immediate end to Egypt's emergency law
"The United States on Tuesday set out four steps Cairo must take to end Egypt's crisis, telling its ally to stop harassing protesters and immediately repeal an emergency law allowing detention without charge."

This news story comes on a day that a vote was held to extend the USA PATRIOT Act. Among other things the Act has allowed detention without charge. Some inmates at Guantanamo are still being detained even though it is acknowledged that they are never going to be charged and that there is no credible evidence upon which to base a charge. AND the US government has said that they will continue to hold some detainees even if they are cleared of all charges in a court of law. So how could it get any worse than that?

THIS JUST IN: The vote, which required a 2/3 majority under a special house rule, FAILED, with a 277-148 result. You can bet it will pass when voted on again using the usual process.

Sic semper tyranni.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Here's a New Meme

Here's a meme that progressives should make use of. It just occurred to me, and I'd like to pass it on.

Being born rich has no intrinsic value; it is in no way productive, useful or desirable. Most rich people contribute far less to society than do ordinary factory workers, bus drivers and janitors. Therefore, living off of ancestral wealth made by Daddy, Grand-dad, or Great-great-great to the nth degree going back to pre-Civil War plantation days is no more ethical than living off of welfare. In many cases it's far less ethical. So here's the meme:

Let's start calling that condition Ancestral Welfare, and bring up the term every time people who were actually brought up by nannies complain about "The Nanny State." The term goes hand-in-hand with the already familiar terms Class Warfare and Corporate Welfare, and is intimately connected to both.

Class warfare couldn't exist if it weren't for the scions of the last generation living off of the avails of their parents. And most of those inheritances are in trust funds tied into holdings of corporate stock.

Nobody with an ounce of sense believes that prominent heirs like Rush Limbaugh or Charles Krauthammer's points of view are anything but self-serving. The idol bloated bloviaters have not only stolen America's wealth, they've also dominated any conversation concerning wealth. So whether you're talking about social benefits, education, health care, or the structure of the tax system, you'll always get only the opinions of those who can well afford those things without any help from government.

What is the solution? Start taxing capital gains at a rate at least as high as that levied against money that is actually earned. And set the estate tax to something that promotes the American ideal of all men being created equal instead of eroding it.

The estate tax should be 0% for the 1st $1 million, and 99% for anything above that. If you are survived by a wife and six kids you'd be allowed to leave a legacy worth $7,000,000. That's not too shabby when you think about it.

Anybody who can't turn a million dollar inheritance into a pretty comfortable life has demonstrated an inability to compete in any kind of economy, especially a capitalist one. With $1 million you could buy a nice house or a platinum education or you could open a small business. In fact you could probably do any two of those things with $1 million and have considerable change left over. So anyone who says their children can't make it unless they get a billion dumped in their lap is really implying that their children are drooling idiots, fit only for wasting away in a hammock.


On a more general note, it is lamentable that the so-called 'left' in America can't come up with counters to the memes put out by The Powers That Be, even when they're staring them in the face. If you're going to change the way things are going, or even halt the slide into modern feudalism the first step is going to be to change the tenor of the conversation. If you fight the battle on the other side's terms you don't have a chance.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011