Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Panama Redux

The latest U.S. arrogance: Charging Venezuelan Maduro with Narco-Terrorism. The U.S. answers to no international court, but believes it has the privilege levying charges against anyone or any state it wishes to over-throw. Of course the charges are all about oil. What else is new? Meanwhile, the U.S. sanctions whomever it pleases.

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney runs free as a bird, as does warmonger Hillary, and Obama and his almost senile sidekick Biden. Of course, who could possibly ignore the narcissistic monster now the POTUS of a broken and corrupt U.S?

Like it or not: The U.S. and its allies are no longer the shining light on the hill.
Greed and profit know no limits.

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How is the Consumer Society Doing?

The rich, the wealthy, the privileged have to provide for themselves? What, no dog walkers, no maids, no waiters and all the other little people that make life a joy? Gardners, bus drivers, private nurses, second houses in the Hamptons, a third house in Hawaii–all cared for by the loving poor?

Cutting interest rates no longer primes the pump? Neo-liberalism on its last legs? What is going to happen when climate and ecological disruption really hit?

And Bezos now wants his enslaved workers to donate time to help others? King of the mountain, he is. The wonder of neo-liberalism in love with worker efficiency and low wages, he is.

And how is the health care going? Pharmaceuticals off-shored? The Sacklers and Pelosi–no longer arm in arm? Lobbyists losing their sting?

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Is a Zero Growth Economy Viable?

The present pandemic demonstrates that the global economy is closely tied to consumer spending. Suppose the pandemic is merely a foretaste of the effects of climate change and ecological destruction. Can we fashion a world base on Zero Growth, a Steady State Economy?

Zero growth might well entail the following:

1. A fixed and renewal body of resources.
2. A demographic balance, i.e., a fixed population size.

Can such an economy enable all of humanity to prosper and grow? If so, what must be do to enable us to grow and prosper?

Can we have an economy where consumption is stable, i.e., does not grow?

Or, to put it another way, where the amount of capital spent on consumption is constant, fixed.

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The Rules and Format They Keep A’Changing

Now Tired Joe gets to sit, relax a bit….not worry about record players and 150 million gun deaths….

Of course the DNC has now changed the rules again! Tulsi will not be allowed to debate….oh….but “she has no real support,” you say! So what?
Rules can be altered for billionaires….what a party for the rich and privileged. DNC is Trump-light.

As Hillary said, “Rules are rules”….except when they are changed!

Good luck, you guys who think all is wonderful in DNC land.

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Conor Lynch’s Article: Joe Biden Would be Donald Trump’s Dream Opponent

I suggest that all of you read Conor Lynch’s piece on TruthDig:

Joe Biden Would Be Donald Trump’s Dream Opponent

Here are some apt quotations:

Biden is a lot like Clinton, but worse in almost every measurable way. On issue after issue, Biden has consistently been to the right of Clinton throughout his fifty-year political career. He has a record of advocating cuts to Social Security and Medicare; he helped write the 1994 Crime Bill that led to an explosion in mass incarceration; he played a critical role in passing the 2005 bankruptcy bill that stripped bankruptcy protection from some of the most vulnerable people. Biden also supported and championed the Iraq War.

This list goes on and on. Beyond his extremely problematic record, which will make it hard for Democrats to go after Trump about, say, cutting Social Security (which Biden himself supported not too long ago), Biden has his own personal scandals that will make it very difficult for him to cast Trump as corrupt.

In the lead-up to the general election, Biden, who has recently struggled to string coherent sentences together, would provide the slick demagogue Donald Trump with all the ammunition he needs.

The behavior of Biden’s family will haunt him in the general election. As Ryan Grim wrote in The Intercept last October, Biden’s son and brother have been “trading on their family name for decades, cashing in on the implication — and sometimes the explicit argument — that giving money to a member of Joe Biden’s family wins the favor of Joe Biden.” Predictably, a majority of voters believe it was inappropriate for Biden’s son to take a job with the Ukrainian firm, and Trump will exploit this and use it to defend his own family’s nepotism and corruption.

Read the piece. And address its assertions.

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The Deep Cynicism of the DNC

The DNC is about to nominate a man who has real difficulty completing an intelligent sentence. We are not talking fluffs or an occasional mistake.

We are talking about a man who is mentally incompetent.

The media will hide the fact. The DNC will protect him as much as possible.

For this reason alone, Biden is the weakest possible candidate to face Trump.

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The West “Weeps” for What It Has Sowed

At the Munich Security Conference the U.S. and its allies had no idea of how to handle China, a problem of their greed and stupidity. The West is divided, confused. What to do about Huawei? Really, what to do with China?

So when Mike Pompeo…proclaimed…”we are winning,” the largely European audience was silent and worried in what sense “we” existed longer.
In the meantime, Europe, including the U.K, finds itself in a mincer between the U.S. and China

Unfortunately for us. China has followed the U.S. playbook and has outplayed the West, especially the U.S.

Walter Rostow of the Johnson administration, an avid anti-communist, wrote the playbook: How can an undeveloped nation take its place among the leaders of the world.

The answer: Industrialize as rapidly as possible. Do whatever it takes.  China did just that.

In its five year plans, China acknowledged its debt to Rostow and started to industrialize. While I have described this process many years ago, I again outline it briefly here.

First: China entered the W.T.O. Bill Clinton and Congress were accommodating and instrumental:

Last fall, as all of you know, the United States signed an agreement to bring China into the W.T.O, on terms that will open its markets to American products and investments.
Bill Clinton speaking before Congress, March 9, 1998

Second: China offered dirt cheap labor, labor that had no effective right to bargain
Third: China did not require a company to obey any environmental regulations.
Fourth: China often offered a ten-year grace period without any taxation. If there were taxes they were less than those on its own indigenous firms.
Fifth: China manipulated its currency, making products cheaper to make but getting higher profits in the West.

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The Gods of Davos Have Spoken

Despite protestations to the contrary, the Gods are not interested in any of its proclaimed stakeholders, be it labor, the environment, or climate change.

As they did in 2007, they still sing the same old tired tunes, blindly pursuing profits at the expense of the health of the globe and of its citizens.

In the World Economic Forum of 2007, Professor Klaus Schwab, proudly announced:

“In today’s increasingly interconnected and complex world….Climate change…all require a coordinated approach, one in which different stakeholders collaborate across geographical boundaries, geographical, industrial…boundaries

“…the need of business not only to serve its shareholders but also its stakeholders–all whose future depends directly or indirectly on business decisions….I have defined this new dimension for responsible business–or “creative capitalism” as our member Bill Gates called it in Davos this year–as Corporate Global Citizenship.”
[italics mine] WEF Annual Report 2007-2008

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Economic Racism: The New Feudalism

Stormy–October 11, 2016

Open borders in the U.S or outsourcing to China, Vietnam: Is there really a difference. Cheap labor remains cheap.

Free Traders are quick to cite the dangers of protectionism and the advantage of cheap goods. Those whose jobs are lost in the process are the ignorant rabble, bigoted and uneducated, the irredeemable, the basket of deplorables. Even Noam Chomsky makes this argument against Trump and his defenders. Generalized rage…support from people who are angry at everything. “There has been no economic growth for them; there is for other people.” How about blacks, how about Mexicans, Chomsky? How easily Chomsky, likes to slide into comparisons with past immigration influxes: Germans, Irish. They are just complaining about the new workers, just as their predecessors complained about the Germans or the Irish See his talk on Truthout.

What is happening here is a different game. In this game, only the rich get richer. Good paying jobs are not available. Education has become a shut door.

I am not a champion of Trump. Far from it. I find his views on global warming dangerous in the extreme. But he is giving voice to those whose jobs are at risk–because of outsourcing and open border policies. Remember when the U.S. wanted to give trucking licenses to Mexicans? Did you not understand what was happening? Did you not understand who might scream bloody murder?

Or you who live in Westchester, NY. The street corners in places like Port Chester are crowded with brown folk looking for jobs…and they will work for almost nothing. If you lived there in the 1960’s as I did, such sights never happened. There was a middle class in Westchester.

Back to those who celebrate open borders and free trade.

Are the open border crowd or the free trade crowd anxious to strengthen collective bargaining here or abroad? I see no inspired economist–free trader–or major newspaper carrying that banner. Who complains about worker rights in China or Vietnam? Who complains about the environment being tossed aside in these trade agreements?

What is the result…the unruly mass of peons, white, brown, or black–are mere servants to the upper classes. Now, this is a form of racism…it just happens to span and include all those who are poor, uneducated, ungifted-

In short, all those who because of their government or because of their lack of talent, or because of their boxed-in poverty–all of these are slaves to the upper classes.

Meanwhile, the upper classes celebrate the low cost of such produced goods. But, anyone with an ounce of sense has to know that if you kill the middle class or do not make it grow, then the economy will ground to a halt…world wide. And it has done exactly that.

I have published on this site the U.S. trade fiasco numerous times. Frankly, I am tired to doing it. U.S. trade deficit has remained negative for around forty years. China’s entry into the WTO and NAFTA all helped cause the Great Recession. Banks and sharks were ready to “help” the consumer, to keep the purchasing game going–but the middle class was becoming tapped out.

Instructive is to read the problems the English are having with Jeremy Corbyn and the backlash of the elite towards his policies–much like Sanders. And, if truth be told, not much different that Trump’s view of trade agreements.

You have to step back and look at things. Why is every major newspaper for Clinton? Why does the Republican hierarchy–Bushes, etc–for Clinton. What do all of them have in common politically? Who are the paymasters of all of them…corporate America.

I suggest that the Russia card is a ruse, a real red herring. I suggest that Trump’s foolish ringmaster approach to politics and the crudity of his tongue…is somewhat of a red herring. By mercilessly pounding away at his misogyny, we are not seeing what is really happening. The rich are getting richer; they control the apparatus in both parties. They control the media. They use wedge issues. As in feudal days, the barons are arguing over who gets the most spoils. Just keep the peasants fighting and patriotic. They will even risk nuclear war to make sure we do not look carefully. See! The dirty Russians are subverting our democracy. What a joke.

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