In a highly indebted world, austerity is a permanent state of affairs

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By Mark Blyth

Source: Aeon

By 2010, everyone had heard the ‘austerity’ rallying cry. Immediately following the 2008 financial crisis, especially in Europe, it resounded: ‘Stimulate no more, now is the time for all to tighten!’ And tighten governments did, cutting public expenditure across continental Europe, and in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The logic behind ‘austerity’ holds that ‘the market’ – which the public had just bailed out – did not like the debt incurred when states everywhere rescued and recapitalised their banking systems. Unsurprisingly, tax revenues fell as the economy slowed and state expenditures rose. And what were once private debts on the balance sheets of banks became public debt on the balance sheet of states. Given this sorry state of affairs, states (policymakers and business leaders argued) had to take action to restore ‘business confidence’ – which is apparently always and everywhere created by cutting government spending. So governments cut.

Public debt, however, grew, because economies got smaller and grew slower the more they cut. The ‘confidence fairy’ as Paul Krugman named the expected effect, simply failed to show up. Why?

The reason is simple – and it is surprising anyone thought that anything else would happen. Imagine an economy as a sum, with a numerator and a denominator. Make total debt 100 and stick that on the top (the numerator). Make Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 100 and stick that on the bottom (the denominator) to give us a 100 per cent debt-to-GDP ratio. If you cut total spending by 20 per cent to restore ‘confidence’, the economy is ‘balanced’ at 100/80. That means the debt-to-GDP ratio of the country just went up to 120 per cent, all without the government issuing a single cent of new debt.

In short, cuts to spending in a recession make the underlying economy contract. After all, government workers have lost jobs or income, and government workers not shopping has the same effect as private sector workers not shopping. So the debt goes up as the economy shrinks further. States respond by cutting spending further. The pattern continues.

Having a common currency among different countries actually aggravates the problem because cuts in one state reverberate through many states, depressing them all. In 2008, euro area government debt as a share of the economy, including the already profligate Greeks, averaged around 65 per cent of GDP. Following budget cuts and monetary tightening (the European Central Bank twice pushed up interest rates in 2011) Euro Area government debt, by 2014, had risen to 92 per cent of GDP.

Greece is the poster child for this ‘denominator effect’. Under the auspices of ‘bailouts’ from the IMF and the EU, Greece cut more than 20 per cent of GDP in spending. It lost nearly 30 per cent in final consumption. Yet its debt increased from 103 per cent in 2006 to more than 180 per cent by 2014. That’s a 57 per cent increase in debt while spending is being cut.

Let’s look at the originating question again: how is destroying a third of the economy supposed to inspire consumer and business confidence? It won’t – unless you are a creditor – and that’s where the politics comes in.

If you are a holder of government debt (a creditor), three things hurt the value of your asset: if the inflation rate goes above the interest rate on your bond; if the exchange rate moves against you so that what the bond is worth vis-à-vis other currencies falls; and, of course, default – if the government takes the money and runs.

In the post-crisis world, despite major central banks putting trillions of dollars into the global money supply, there is almost no inflation anywhere in the developed world. Exchange rates (Brexit effects apart) are comparatively stable and ultimately move against each other relatively, so that’s not a huge worry. If the country whose debt you hold can have elections, and the public dares to vote against more budget cuts, the European Central Bank will shut down their banking system to make them revisit their choices. That’s what they did to Greece in the summer of 2015.

In this world, our present world, creditors will get paid and debtors will get squeezed. Budgets will be cut to make sure that bondholders get their money. And, in a highly indebted world, austerity – introduced as an ‘emergency’ measure to save the economy, to right the fiscal ship – becomes a permanent state of affairs.

As Britain’s former prime minister David Cameron said (standing beside a throne in a white bow-tie and tails) in 2013: ‘We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.’ But here’s the question hidden in that blithe statement – are you and me part of the ‘we’ here?

Let’s go back to the huge jump in public debt that occurred when governments, ie the people, bailed out the banks. That debt was not, and is not, a liability. As difficult as it can be to make this reality part of the political conversation, public debt is an asset. Even at today’s low rates, it earns interest and retains value. No one is forced to invest in public debt, but every time bonds are issued investors show up and buy them by the truckload. By market criteria, public debt is a great investment.

But who pays for it? That would be the taxpayer. More generally, those who contribute to the payment of debts by not consuming government-produced services that have been cut. Basically, in most countries, this means that the bottom 70 per cent of the income distribution bears the cost of paying for public debt.

Over the past 25 years, to make up for chronically low wage growth, that same 70 per cent of the population has increased its personal indebtedness. Massively. Which means that in an economy deformed by austerity, they are the ones paying out – twice. With stagnant or declining wages, they have to service both the massive private debt they have accumulated to live and the public debt issued in their name.

Meanwhile, those whose assets the public bailed out – those with investible wealth, those who hold ‘all that debt’ and make money from it – do not suffer from the decline in public spending. Since they are net lenders, the hike in personal indebtedness does not trouble them either.

The result, and the situation in which we find ourselves, is a classic bad equilibrium. Those who can’t pay, and don’t earn enough, are being asked to pay the most to service debt, from which they do not and will not benefit. Those who can pay, and earn almost all the income, both contribute the least and benefit the most from ‘all that debt’.

Strip away all the electoral politics at the moment in the US, the UK, Italy, Spain and elsewhere, and that’s the underlying political economy. It’s a creditor/debtor stand-off where the creditors have the whip hand.

And yet, the more they crack the whip, the more the backlash against austerity, in all its forms, gains strength. Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Marine Le Pen, Pablo Iglesias: Left or Right, they are all riding debtor anger against creditor strength. It might be expressed as anger against, variously, ‘trade’ or ‘the elite’ or the ‘EU’. But what’s underneath all that is the politics of debt.

This is the ‘new normal’. It’s not about flat interest rates or anaemic growth rates. They are the consequences of austerity, not its causes. The new normal is the new politics of debtors versus creditors. It’s here to stay. As we already can see, it’s going to be anything but normal.

Posted in Corporate Crime, Corruption, culture, Dystopia, Economics, Financial Crisis, History, Labor, Neoliberalism, Recession, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, State Crime, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Matinee: Technocalypse

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“Technocalyps” (2006) is a documentary by Frank Theys examining the transhumanist movement and development of the sciences of interest to them including genetics, robotics, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. Features interviews with philosophers, writers and researchers including Raymond Kurzweil, Kirkpatrick Sale, Natasha Vita More, Robert Anton Wilson and Terence McKenna among others.

Posted in Art, culture, Film, Philosophy, Saturday Matinee, Science, society, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Pure is Your Hate?

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By Paul Street

Source: CounterPunch

Fellow workers and citizens, how pure is your hatred? It’s easy to hate on openly authoritarian, loathsome, right-wing political personalities and institutions like Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, the Koch brothers, Paul Ryan, the Republican Party, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, Breitbart News, and FOX News. There’s no serious mystery over what those malicious people and entities are about: the ever upward distribution of wealth and power.

The bigger tests are supposedly liberal and progressive personalities and institutions like Barack Obama, the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party, George Soros, the Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress, the “Public” Broadcasting System (“P”BS), the Washington Post, MSNBC, and the New York Times.

These people and organizations are no less committed than the nation’s more transparently right-wing counterparts to the nation’s unelected deep state dictatorships of money, empire, and white-supremacy, but their allegiance and service to the nation’s reigning oppression structures and ideologies is cloaked by outwardly multicultural, liberal, and even progressive concern for the poor and nonwhite.

“What’s the Something Much Better?”

I was reminded of this distinction for the five thousandth time last Thursday while watching Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) member and PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff interview the longtime Senior Obama Advisor and intimate Obama family mentor and confidant Valerie Jarrett.

Read the following passage from the interview last week and then tell me, please, to quote  Alexander Cockburn, “is your hate pure?”

Judy Woodruff, CFR and “P”BS:  Just last night, the United States Senate took another step toward repeal of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. There was a budget vote, which is going to lead to other steps, which will lead to repeal. Just yesterday, the president-elect called Obamacare a complete and total disaster.

Valerie Jarrett, White House: I think it’s very easy to say repeal and replace, but we have been encouraging the Republicans, since the president first started embarking on this effort, to put in place a plan for affordable care to come up with their best ideas. And they have had, what, 50, 60 votes to repeal, and not a single replacement plan. So…

Woodruff: Well, they say that’s what they’re going to do. They’re going to get rid of what’s there now and replace it with something much better.

Jarrett: Well, what’s the something much better? That’s my question. That’s the question the president has been asking for eight years right now. So, if there is a something better, let’s hear it. What’s the secret?

Obama, 2003: “What I’d Like to See”

After this exchange, Woodruff moved off the health care topic, with no follow up. That was a statement in itself.  Surely any reasonably informed “public” media journalist would be aware that national Canadian-style single-payer health insurance – Improved Medicare for All – has long been backed by most Americans.  Such a journalist would know that single-payer would provide comprehensive coverage to all the nation’s many millions of uninsured and under-insured while retaining free choice in doctor selection and being the most cost-effective way to go thanks to the elimination of private for-profit insurance corporations’ parasitic control over the system.

A knowledgeable “public” journalist might even know that then state senator Barack Obama endorsed single payer on these very grounds as late as the summer of 2003, when he said the following to the Illinois AFL-CIO:

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see.”

Obama would quickly drop those sentiments in the interest of getting campaign backing from the nation’s giant insurance and drug companies and their Wall Street investors on his path to the U.S. Senate and the presidency.

Right after he entered the White House Obama set up a health care reform task force chock full of big insurance company representatives.  Not one of the more than 80 U.S. House of Representative members who had endorsed single payer – not even the veteran Black Congressman John Conyers, author of a House single payer bill – was invited to participate.

A Sicko Game

The outcome was the so-called Affordable Care Act (later dubbed “Obamacare”), a complicated and corporatist bill based on a Republican plan drawn up by the right-wing Heritage Foundation.  Since it left the price- and premium-gouging and profit-taking power of the big insurance and drug syndicates intact, the ACA condemned a vast swath of the nation to continuing inadequate and unaffordable coverage – this while the right-wing noise machine has absurdly railed against “socialized health care.”

Along the way, the new neoliberal president played a sicko (yes, Michael Moore) game to sell his Heritage Foundation bill, promising citizens that his plan would include a public option while having already traded that policy away to get for-profit hospitals to back the ACA. As Miles Moguiescu reported on Huffington Post and as the New York Times confirmed,  “Obama made a backroom deal…with the for-profit hospital lobby that he would make sure there would be no national public option in the final health reform legislation…Even while President Obama was saying that he thought a public option was a good idea and encouraging supporters to believe his healthcare plan would include one,” Moguiescu noted, “he had promised for-profit hospital lobbyists that there would be no public option in the final bill.”

We can be certain that the veteran agent of neoliberal mendacity Valerie Jarrett advised Obama to take this deeply duplicitous path.

The Memory Hole

It’s quite remarkable how completely the dominant “mainstream” media-politics culture manages to throw majority-supported social-democratic policy proposals down George Orwell’s memory hole.

Listening to the Woodruff-Jarrett conversation, you’d think Bernie Sanders had never spoken to giant and enthusiastic crowds on behalf of single payer last year.

You’d think Conyers had never drafted single-payer legislation backed by a considerable number of U.S. Congressman.

You’d think that Canada and most of the industrialized world had never successfully implemented a widely popular nation-wide systems of universal governmental health insurance.

You’d think single-payer didn’t have millions of citizen backers – including many thousands of doctors and National Nurses United – from coast to coast.

You wouldn’t imagine that even Donald Trump has mused that single-payer might be the best way to fund health insurance for all.

So, if there is a something better, let’s hear it. What’s the secret?”

Unreal.

It reminds me of Hillary Clinton’s response as head of newly elected U.S. President Bill Clinton’s health care task force when Dr. David Himmelstien, the head of Physicians for a National Health Program, told her about the incredible possibilities of a comprehensive, single payer “Canadian style” health plan, supported by more than two-thirds of the U.S. public and certified by the Congressional Budget Office as “the most cost-effective plan on offer.”

“David,” Hillary (Michael Moore’s heart throb) commented with fading patience before sending him away in 1993, “tell me something interesting.”

That’s right: tell me something interesting.

Along with the big insurance companies the Clintons deceptively railed against, the co-presidents Bill and Hill decided from the start to exclude the popular health care alternative – single payer – from the national health care “discussion.”  What she advanced instead of the system that bored her was a hopelessly complex and secretly developed program called “managed competition.” Interesting. Obama would have more success with his Heritage Foundation-developed update in 2009 and 2010.

And they wonder why Trump won.

Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

Posted in Corporate Crime, corporate news, Corruption, culture, Deep State, divide and conquer, Dystopia, Economics, Financial Crisis, Health, History, media, news, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phantom Democracy in the Age of the Internet

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By Nozomi Hayase

Source: Dissident Voice

After the Electoral College vote, the Trump presidency is now official. As denial and blame games continue, it becomes clear this was not a foreign government coup d’état. The truth is that democracy in America has been rotten to the core for decades. It is meddled with by corporate lobbyists, Big Pharma, Big Oil and Wall Street –those who are addicted to money and power.

American democracy is hollowed out, veiled with a loud media echo chamber, bringing feigned solidity to its emptiness. Out of this vacuum emerges a madness for power. U.S. politics is a contest of those who are driven by insatiable hunger – the most callous, cunning and manipulative people in society.

In this system, only people who lack empathy and advance self-serving agendas without concerns for others can rise to the top. The results of this year’s presidential election may mean that this person who many saw as ‘unfit to be president’ was better suited to play this dirty game than his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Ascent of Trump

Donald Trump, a perceived outsider, seemed to appear out of nowhere. The former producer of the American game show The Apprentice sniffed the vulnerability of disfranchised Americans who are continually betrayed by the establishment. He then quickly moved in for the kill, turning the electoral arena into a new Reality TV show.

With social media as a hunting ground, this new Republican contender made direct connection with his audience, pouring out charm and grooming them with fake promises. By deploying words as weapons of control, he managed to garner favorable reactions from his followers. His language cast a magic spell where contradictory remarks and lies bypassed critical examination. Emotions triumphed over reason and under the grip of irrational logic, facts no longer seemed to matter. With a chameleon-like ability to shape-shift and say whatever voters wanted to hear, he was able to create a mirage and ensnare the populace into a grandiose fantasy.

What was the press, as a supposed watchdog of power doing during this Trump’s uncanny rise in popularity? Mainstream media did nothing to prevent it and instead facilitated this process. His bombastic comments hit jackpot high ratings in the corporate media and rhetoric not bound by facts was not only tolerated, but actively promoted with their shortsighted mentality of profit at any cost.

WikiLeaks and the Democratizing Power of the Internet

This same corporate media also buried a few important facts regarding the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This year’s election was an unprecedented phenomenon. This is not only because the lesser evil game was fought between two of the historically most disliked candidates, but also because of the role played by a new actor from outside of the U.S. electoral arena. Days before the election, a Forbes article acknowledged the significance of WikiLeaksDNC emails, calling them a “Holy Grail of understanding of U.S. electoral politics.” It noted how “few understand the importance of WikiLeaks in the eventual writing of the history of presidential politics.”

WikiLeaks has shown how elections in the existence of a truly free press will never be the same as before. U.S. politics sponsored by corporate masters creates a milieu of deception, lies and fraud that is fraught with corruption. These power driven politicians can only thrive in secrecy. When their actions are exposed, like Hillary’s highly paid Goldman Sachs speeches, crafted public images that suck the masses into their illusions of grandeur tend to shatter. Contrary to hysterical rants of ‘Russia hacked the election!’, the defeat of the Clinton dynasty was a testimony to the power of transparency.

WikiLeaks, the world’s first global 4th estate, which operates outside of any government was birthed on the Internet. It showed a potential for emancipation unleashed by this Net. Much of the force of democratization on the Internet is being subverted to create mass surveillance and censorship. Yet at the same time, its effect of empowering ordinary people cannot be denied.

In fact, Bernie Sander’s campaign was built on social media’s grassroots organizing. With independent campaign funding, this virtually unknown senator from Vermont successfully sparked the idea of socialism and raised issues of Wall Street corruption, economic injustice and poverty at a national level. Sander’s largest support came from millennials. It was these natives of the Internet that galvanized his political revolution.

Fake News and Fake Authority

Democrats appear to be disconnected with this new reality of the Internet’s bottom up spontaneous crowd gathering or even worse were adversaries to it. This was shown in their reaction to the corruption revealed in the DNC email database and Trump’s winning of the election.

On the second day of the Democratic National Convention, hundreds of Sanders delegates who learned about DNC’s rigging of the primary walked out in protest. Chanting “This is what Democracy looks like!”, they vowed not to go with Hillary. This crisis of the American political system opened up an opportunity for real democracy. But then, Bernie turned away, urging his supporters to nominate Hillary and sided with the corrupted Democratic Party. His failure to seize this historical moment helped throw the election to Trump, who the Clinton campaign had portrayed as a ‘pied piper candidate’.

After all this came the Fake News explosion. Some established liberal media, freaked out by the country quickly turning red in this Republican takeover, created a new red scare. On November 24, an article in The Washington Postmade wild accusations that Russia was engaging in propaganda during the election to spread ‘fake news’ in favor of Trump. The anonymous site that claimed to have identified these fake news sites that the author cited in the article, was shown to be nothing but a black list that labels anyone who challenges the official narrative as untrustworthy or even insinuating them to be Russian agents, spies or traitors.

Despite U.S. Intelligence Chief James Clapper’s claim that intelligence agencies lacked strong evidence for WikiLeaks’ connection with an alleged Russian cyberattack, it was way easier for progressives to ignore facts and spread paranoia, blaming the loss of Clinton on anyone but themselves.

In the age of the Internet, fake news can easily be manufactured and spread. Yet, at the same time it can also be shut down with countering views that surround them. Also, in this new environment, traditional media is losing its monopolizing power to disseminate information. They no longer can claim to be the sole purveyor of truth. In the case of the Washington Post‘s fake news scandal, The Intercept and Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone quickly denounced and challenged its claim, halting this report on ‘fake news’. Social media networks also countered the gatekeepers who tried to dictate what is real through filtering views that challenge the official narrative. In the end, this fake news article was debunked, with Wapo issuing a correction on that story shortly after its publication. What this has shown is the publisher’s false authority and the establishment’s desperate attempt to reassert their shrinking legitimacy to keep people under their sphere of influence.

From Regime Change to Game Changer

The election is over and liberals’ hope to stop the rise of demagoguery is fading. The president elect began recruiting his rich buddies into his cabinet. Recently, he convened a group of Silicon Valley tech leaders to invite them into his new ‘construction project to rebuild America’. As this void of American democracy is being filled with more blatant patronage networks, new insurgencies of civic power are also arising. The potent and creative power of the Internet is already here. Those who have experienced it will not easily succumb to the reality being handed down to them from the teetering Trump Tower.

Just as the power of the Internet can be used by the oligarchic class to corral the masses, it can also be used to empower the people, through its open network. When the liberating force of a free net is claimed by citizens to create movements across borders, linking diverse struggles, it can give all a chance to not only change a regime, but to change the game altogether.

One game changer is WikiLeaks. With the creative use of technology, this Internet of the media built a robust network that is resistant to censorship, making it possible for the organization to be free from state and corporate influence, allowing it to truly serve the interests of the people. It has gained its own credibility through a perfect record of authentication of documents and rigorous scientific journalism that publishes full and verifiable archives. Despite corporate media’s smearing of the organization, public opinion polls indicate that Americans strongly approve WikiLeaks’ Podesta leaks.

Another democratic tool that is available to people everywhere is cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. With this new invention, ordinary people now have power to create their own money and peer-to-peer networks that are not intermediated by any governments, banks or corporations. Just as WikiLeaks distributes free speech beyond borders and lets truth be discovered through each individual’s participation, with Bitcoin, free speech becomes an app that can be downloaded from anywhere by anyone and values are created through people transacting freely, verified by a consensus of equal peers.

In Their Nothingness, We Find Our Power

On January, 20 2017, Trump will be sworn in with the Oath of Office. The White House will become his new executive boardroom. With this United States Incorporated, the Constitution may be slowly shredded off from his business contract. With the president elect’s proposal on Twitter to give penalties, including jail time or loss of citizenship for burning the American flag, coupled with his recent call for the expansion of nuclear weapons, many are rightfully fearful of the future.

Yet, wars and destruction of civil society are already happening around the world. Crackdowns on cash and schemes of demonetization are taking place in countries like Venezuela and India. When faced with the reality of their national currencies quickly disappearing or losing value, people are waking up to the fact that these claimed values are fake and that they are not backed by real economic activity or anything of true value. More and more people are seeing bubbles pumped up by toxic assets and fraud of financial engineering that rent-seeks earnings of hard working people and creates money out of thin air.

In his speech “Currency Wars and Bitcoin’s Neutrality”, technologist and author Andreas Antonopoulos spoke of how “cash is being eradicated around the world as a scourge.” He then pointed out how governments are waging currency wars against other countries and their own people in order to benefit from a crisis they artificially created. He emphasized how governments and central banks can’t win this game, because “cash is something that we can create, electronic cash, self sovereign cash, digital cash – Bitcoin.” He then noted how this math-based ‘Internet of money’ offers an exit from this old world of currency wars. He alerted the Bitcoin community that as the battle intensifies, those who create a new infrastructure as an exit from nation-state gated economies, and those who point to this exit will be called traitors, criminals, thug and terrorists.

This war on cash and censorship with Fake News memes are attacks on our fundamental freedoms. It is a battle for truth, involving the question of who will define our human reality. This war is now full on, yet mostly brewing beneath the radar. Just before Christmas, President Obama quietly signed into law the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. This included the ‘Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act’, which was presented to help counter foreign enemy propaganda, yet is actually a McCarthy era-style censorship law.

We live in a time when traditional authority and leaders have failed us and there is vacuousness in this space where a center used to hold. In the story of Faust, Goethe wrote about a universal man following his thirst for knowledge. In this journey, Dr. Faust meets Mephisto (the devil) who tried to trick and tempt him to come under his control. In the scene A Dark Gallery, Faust told Mephisto, “In your Nothingness I hope to find my All”. He then took the key and entered into this mysterious unknown.

Our quest for real democracy invokes this thirst for knowledge. It invites us all to enter into the realm of Nothingness. We no longer want to believe; we want to know. We no longer blindly accept a world conceived by a few elites. Now, in this chaos and abyss we are descending into, we may be able to find the real source of our own legitimacy. With knowledge that springs from deep within, we are able to penetrate the deception of those who seek to control us and recognize their actual emptiness. In their nothingness, we can find the creative power that has always been there, power that can bring life back to this phantom of democracy.

 

Nozomi Hayase, Ph.D., is a writer who has been covering issues of freedom of speech, transparency, and decentralized movements. Her work is featured in many publications. Find her on twitter @nozomimagine. Read other articles by Nozomi.

Posted in Activism, Authoritarianism, censorship, consciousness, Conspiracy, corporate news, Corruption, culture, Dirty Politics, divide and conquer, Dystopia, Economics, Election Fraud, Empire, Hackers, History, media, news, Philosophy, police state, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stop Pretending the Rich Care About You

meryl-streep-poses-with-the-iron-lady-billboard-pic-getty-567547143

By Dr. Bones

Source: The Conjure House

One of the terrible things about being a lone bastion of bomb-throwing, fire-starting, up-against-the-wall-fascist-killing type of Anarchism is you have to mingle and jive with the enemy. Like a Seminole off the reservation and walking into the Hard Rock Casino for the first time your nerves and mind are almost assaulted by the sheer idiocy of what we call modern living. I speak of course of the fake empathy held by rich “left” liberals and their kin.

Take for instance the Meryl Streep acceptance speech, widely being lauded as…well, nobody really seems to say what it is besides some rich lady getting up on stage and talking about somebody she doesn’t like. Everywhere I look online the words “heroic” are being used, how the speech was “everything.”

Why?

Because some Hollywood actress who supported a widely acknowledged War Criminal feels salty that her personal team of bourgeoisie didn’t win an election? Because she “bravely” stood up at a catered event in a dress that cost more than you or I make in a month to tell other rich people how “persecuted” they were?

I heard the speech, actually sat down and watched it. No where is she saying that the United States is some fascist superpower, that we’ve fucked up the world and Donald Trump is set to make it even worse; she’s merely upset it’s not bombing the ever-living shit out of Syria with silk gloves on.

These people are not your goddamn comrades, they are not far away intellectuals that only need to read “the bread book” to figure out where they’ve gone wrong. These are the same people who RALLIED around a woman that called Black children “super-predators” for godsake!

These creatures, these slimy denizens of far off nooks and crannies filled with champagne and $100,000 fundraisers are absolutely wedded to the same system that produced Donald Trump in the first place. They are not looking to rock the boat, they are not feeling sorry for foreign-born people and outsiders when they declare anything not on TV as “fake news” from spooky ole’ Russia and casually muse how many megatons it might take to wipe Moscow off the fucking map.

How about that speech to a bunch of bankers where Hillary makes clear her support for a no-fly zone over Syria would end up turning its people into hamburger meat?

“They’re getting more sophisticated thanks to Russian imports. To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas.  So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk—you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”

Where was the concern for foreign lives then?

Hollywood “care” for the most “at risk” is merely an act, a feigned empathy that is designed to make you forget that when push comes to shove they will make sure their money in tax-free offshore accounts stays safe rather than fund homeless shelters or soup kitchens.

They are as deceitful and treacherous as their cousins on the Right are stupid and violent. They are the Athenian merchants hailing their own empire while criticizing the growth of Sparta.

“Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence,” says Meryl, clutching her pearls amid other American aristocrats whose lives depend on the ongoing exploitation of millions. I looked twice to see if the fucking Romanovs or Marie Antoinette had possessed the woman but alas, she was spirit free. She is so out of touch she seems bewildered that anybody might disagree or even dislike the esteemed patricians she’s speaking to.

From where exactly does Meryl think the rage of the Red States comes from, their desire for change at any cost? Could it be the strip-mining of American manufacturing?

“The story changed dramatically in 2000. Since then, the U.S. has shed 5 million manufacturing jobs, a fact opponents of free trade mention often…

Since the 1960s, manufacturing has always paid substantially more than the minimum wage. Even today, the manufacturing jobs that remain average $20.17 an hour. That’s nearly three times the federal minimum wage.”

The fall in American standards of living?

“Today the average worker makes $8.50/hour — more than 57% less than in 1970. And since the average wage directly determines the standard of living of our society, we can see that the average standard of living in the U.S. has plummeted by over 57% over a span of 40 years.”

The obscene growth in CEO profits while Millennials earn less than their parents did?

“U.S. CEOs of major companies earned 20 times more than a typical worker in 1965; this ratio grew to 29.9-to-1 in 1978 and 58.7-to-1 by 1989, and then it surged in the 1990s to hit 376.1-to-1 by the end of the 1990s recovery in 2000. The fall in the stock market after 2000 reduced CEO stock-related pay (e.g., options) and caused CEO compensation to tumble until 2002 and 2003. CEO compensation recovered to a level of 345.3 times worker pay by 2007, almost back to its 2000 level. The financial crisis in 2008 and accompanying stock market decline reduced CEO compensation after 2007–2008, as discussed above, and the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio fell in tandem. By 2014, the stock market had recouped all of the value it lost following the financial crisis. Similarly, CEO compensation had grown from its 2009 low, and the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio in 2014 had recovered to 303.4-to-1, a rise of 107.6 since 2009.

“Single young people are getting poorer compared to the average population even those with dependent children, with stagnating disposable income and onerous living costs pressing down on prosperity.

New data accessed by the Guardian reveals that singletons aged 25 to 29 in eight rich countries – the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy, France and Germany – have become poorer over the last 20 years compared with the average population, and unattached young adults are finding it harder than ever to set up on their own.”

All facts conveniently left out of Meryl’s hard-hitting critique. The Left abandoned the working class for 50 years in favor of upper-middle class kids in college who spent more time dying their hair than reading Marx or even Stirner. NAFTA, a hellish neo-liberal agreement that looted Mexico to fatten the profits of American corporations, was drawn up not by some scary Republican tyrant but the “cool” Democrat and blowjob-aficionado Bill Clinton.

“During NAFTA, Mexico has had the slowest rate of economic growth than [with] any other previous economic strategy since the 1930s. From 1994 to 2013, Mexico’s gross domestic product per capita has grown at a paltry rate of 0.89 percent per year.” Additionally, “During NAFTA, Mexico’s economy grew much slower than almost every Latin American country. So to say that NAFTA has benefited the Mexican economy is also a myth. It has boosted trade and investment, but this has not translated into meaningful growth that generates jobs. One of the problems that NAFTA has generated is basically an exporting economy for transnational corporations, not for the Mexican industry per se.”

It turns out that not only did NAFTA, “flood Mexico with imported corn and cheap grains from the United States,” but “it also destroyed Mexico’s own industries,” according to Perez-Rocha.”

Where THE FUCK was Hollywood for that? For Libya? For Fast and Furious? For literally any of the ongoing despicable behavior this godforsaken Imperium has exported to millions of innocent human beings across the globe for the last eight fucking years?

Meryl Streep, and the millions of well-to-do liberals like her, want to live in a world where every McDonald’s is turned into a Panera, where every Wal-Mart blossoms into a Target. Sure you still work there, and you have no organizing rights and your pay is shitty, BUT at least your owners give money to gay charities and recycle!

Hooray ethical consumption! Never mind the suicide nets around those factories, did you know for every shirt you buy we’ll give $5 to help feed silverback gorillas? I mean, we don’t know how it works, and we can’t really say HOW we feed them but…but you can feel good about the shirt!

These people are only allies in the sense that they discredit our other enemies. Anybody that wants to shit on Donald Trump has my blessing but to pretend that they actually desire anything close to an increase in economic quality is a farce.

They are merely rich people that don’t want to feel guilty about being rich.

Don’t worry Meryl, as the US economy continues to take a shit and standards of living race to the bottom, more and more of us will be more than happy to help you overcome your feelings of guilt.

By seizing and redistributing the excesses that vex you so.

 


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Two for Tuesday

Common and John Legend

Prophets of Rage

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Indict Clinton For the Russian DNC and RNC Hack

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The Trump Dossier: Created by Spies”R”Us?

chris-steele-1

By Phil Butler

Source: New Eastern Outlook

Chris Steele is a former MI6 and FBI asset who compiled a dossier of unsubstantiated allegations about President-elect Donald Trump. The current Director at the private security and investigation firm Orbis Business Intelligence, is a curious player in the sensational efforts of Trump adversaries. Here is what I discovered about the former British intelligence officer.

For Donald Trump’s part, his press conference this week revealed his righteous indignation at just how far his opponents will go to smear his coming administration. Shunning Buzzfeed and ostracizing CNN for their irresponsible broadcasting of the “dossier”, Mr. Trump was crystal clear in pointing the finger at crooked media and the people behind. The incoming president was also clear in identifying his adversaries, a fact that has been corroborated.

The Steele dossier was contracted by both Republican and Democratic adversaries of Mr. Trump. Senator John McCain, the notoriously hawkish Arizona arms industry puppet, admitted he turned over the dossier to the FBI. While McCain’s involvement is shocking enough, I believe other familiar faces funded the extended smear campaign. The Guardian has done some of the homework in tracking down how this dossier came into being, but this “Steele” character is still a bit of an enigma.

Chris Steele has only this week come into the limelight, but Mother Jones had actually reported on some of his activities back in October of 2016. By using The Guardian story, and what can be gleaned from the Mother Jones report, profiling Mr. Trump’s new nemesis is actually not so difficult. Steel’s LinkedIn profile and connections are telling. Steele has received some interesting endorsements on LinkedIn.

First, Jonathan Winer, who’s a Special Envoy at US Department of State, acknowledged the former MI6 agent on his international relations skills, it is key to note that Winer is not only the special envoy for Libya, but he was previously a senior director at Margery Kraus’ APCO Worldwide, a former Assistant Secretary of State, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s legislative assistant. Are your eyebrows raised?

Paul Andrews, who’s director of Ultrax Consulting Limited also recommended Steele. Of further interest is the fact Andrews was a member of Her Majesty’s Foreign Commonwealth Office for 15 years. Maybe a direct quote from Andrews’ security agency will shed more light:

“ULTRAX has, both directly and indirectly, been a leading provider of training services to Her Majesty’s Government and is one of a small number of private companies to have been entrusted with providing consultancy services and training to Ministry of Defence and Government Agencies with a National Security agenda.”

Clovis Meath Baker CMG OBE is a senior adviser to the UK Government’s so-called Stabilisation Unit. He recommended Steele for his “counterterrorism” capacity. As an interesting note here, Baker is an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is the world’s oldest independent think tank on international defense and security.

Chris Burrows, Steele’s fellow director at Orbis, he’s in the same circles as the Trump dossier author, but with a wider reach within the LinkedIn community. Burrows was the First Secretary of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for 9 years, and is perhaps tied in part to the Moscow element of this story. His recommendations include one from Fedor Zhavoronkov, who is the most intriguing figure in this loop of spooks I found so far. Zhavoronkov was a key security account manager for the famous Grant Vympel agency in Russia formed from the famous special operations Group “Vympel, which took part in storming the Russian “White House” in support of then President Boris Yeltsin. I mention this only because the 2nd October Revolution only narrowly failed with the reluctant help of elements of the Russian military. Of dissenters in Russia, there are still many.

Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge takes the same track I did in framing the connections of Christopher Steele, but he goes further in assessing the credibility of the so-called “Trump dossier”. Durden quotes one Andrew Wordsworth, co-founder of London-based investigations firm Raedas, who often works on Russian issues, who called the dossier “unconvincing” at best. What is most “convincing” for me is the fact Chris Steele was involved with Alexander Litvinenko, the man whose death the British leadership tried to pin on Vladmir Putin. According to today’s reports, Steele has now fled his multimillion pound sterling home fearing his own life. You read this correctly, the web of “Putin probably did it” macabre is growing huge.

The murdered Russian double agent Alexander Litvinenko, Ukraine revolution cheerleader and warmonger Senator John McCain, MI6 spooks out the ying yang, Fake News going rampant, the US intelligence community melting down, and Donald Trump accused of more infidelity than Putin himself – what else can we expect in the next few days? McCain visits the scene of his war crimes, then flies home to turn over make-believe dossiers on a new president? Oh well, just read this Daily Mail piece and find a copy of Alice in Wonderland, then come back and tell me which crazy world we live in.

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