Archive for October, 2010

Another great post by Charles Hugh Smith.

Concentrated Wealth and the Purchase of Political Power: Democracy’s Death Spiral http://bit.ly/aMAjtH

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The Stealth Coup D’Etat: U.S.A. 2008-2010 (oftwominds.com) http://bit.ly/dmDkO1

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While the blurb below is the conclusion to the article I highly recommend the whole thing!

Runaway Feedback Loops, Wealth Concentration and Gaming-The-System – by Charles Hugh Smith

Runaway feedback loops do not end well. As they gather momentum, then the unpredictability of the system also rises quickly. Those claiming that it will all pan out just fine cannot know that; their confidence/faith is itself a higher-order deception/delusion.

We have a living example of what happens when these runaway feedback loops finally smack into reality: Greece.

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Why on Earth?

When the banks say they are too big to fail, they are essentially blackmailing the world. Those who pretend to represent the law MUST call their bluff… But this could get messy very quickly.. If the banks live up to their bluff and simply pull the plug on the global banking system governments worldwide will have no choice but to impose Martial Law to keep essential goods flowing. Speaking of short memories, people do remember the confiscation of Gold in the 30s but how often to we hear about the conscription of WW2 and the resource rationing of staples such as bread, (not “food” but bread) and fuel? Rationing and outright command and control is the name of the game during periods of systemic breakdown which is exactly what World War 2 was. This is the “miracle” that ended the Depression. But during these tough times in the 40s people where a hell of a lot more self-reliant and so were capable of getting through somewhat on their own despite shortages. And then all the “stimulus” of WW2 which also led to massive debt-fueled spending on ramped-up technological development, everything from t.v., radio and velcro to aeronautics, computers, synthetics and so on, culminating with the Manhattan Project and Hiroshima/Nagasaki, was unleashed on the post-world order. Things were good for like 20 years and already by the 70s the cracks were showing as people started to feel the pressure to keep up with the Jones’. It seems that for all the progress in extending rights to those formerly unrecognized as people (you know, women, blacks, gays, etc.), the sexual revolution, Prozac, easily accessible porn for all…all these “freedoms” have been distracting the masses from the fact that they aren’t very free at all. Only money, a LOT of money, can buy that.

We owe our wizzbang technologcial futuristic existence to the 60 million + who gave up the ghost in the 2nd Great War. And finance and deficit spending is what drives the process. No matter the monetary system in place, historically financial innovation has been driven by the needs of warfare. But good, honest people just REFUSE to believe this because IT IS quite frightening. How can all that is good in the world be backed by Evil? Impossible.

But in many ways all of this is beyond our control for humans are but bit players in the great show which is Nature. For all we know this is all part of an evolutionary process that Earth, one of many billion planets in the Universe that harbors life, is going through in an attempt to seed the Universe… Humans getting into space is about as crazy as single cell organisms getting on land from the sea. There are so many intractable biological and psychological problems with humans leaving the sanctity of gravity and society that the only way to succeed in colonizing space would be to evolve into a machine-based organism that can adapt to different gravities and atmospheres and is not subject to the cruelty of our – on a Galactic level – ephemeral life span.

So perhaps the incredible rise of Google and the Internet and the ever greater concentration of financial and political power in the World’s Corporations is all part of Nature unfolding as she pleases. Of course Earthlings might decide they don’t want to colonize space and just farm and fuck and be happy until swallowed by the Sun in 4 billion years but I doubt that the A-type thrill seekers out there would be too happy with that. The richest people in the world are practically their own species when it comes to their perception of what is right and good in the World. And I strongly doubt that anyone on this site would be any different if through accidents of birth and circumstance they were part of this Elite group. I for one, am willing to admit it. In any case, it is their unenlightened self-interest that drives them, and thus the World. The rest of us are merely worker bees, the Earth’s red-shirts.

This does not prevent me from pondering the bigger questions.. Where is all this going? What is the point of Earth? The Universe is so much bigger than what we can possibly understand and yet we are of it and we do try do understand it. So whatever narrative is being played out between different iterations of civilizations made up of crazed naked apes will continue and I do believe we have the ability to shape it…but so far it seems that whatever entity gets to monopolize the human narrative long enough wins out for generations.. I mean, what the hell is the Catholic Church still doing with so much power and influence over people and how could Islam have such appeal to so many people, when Google is there to not only answer all our questions, but tell us what it is we should be doing?

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Corporate greed trapped the miners. The public sector rescued them.

By William Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a white-collar criminologist and was a senior financial regulator. He is the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

Capitalism Would have Killed the Chilean Miners: a Reply to Mr. Henninger

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If you think this is strictly an American problem think again. The U.S.A. is so intractibly up to its eyeballs in fraud that it is a miracle a Constitional Crisis has yet to occur. But it’s coming. How could it not? Would any other Western nation tolerate such willful criminal activity in its banking sector? The corruption that is eating at the soul of America is only matched by what we are used to seeing in places like Russia and China. And even THEY might take offense. At least their corruption is principled.

The Republicans tried to impeach Clinton for lying about a blow job. And yet when ALL the major mortgage lenders endemically LIE to the courts with falsified affidavits it is labelled a “technicality”?

The extent to which the White House is bending over backwards to protect the financial industry at all cost, both ethical and financial and at the expense of the rule of law should make it clear to anyone just how sick the U.S. economy has become at the structural level. The Obama Administration is essentially telegraphing that is has no faith America’s ability to face the music and start the long road to recovery which would require a monumental cleansing of the political and economic system. America has a weakened immune system and the White House and Congress have become its Bubble Suit for fraud has become so widespread in the American system that to restore Justice and the rule of law might seriously risk killing the patient.

This will become a very, very serious crisis on a scale not experienced since the American Civil War. Recent reports indicate that the U.S. is edging towards negociating with the Taliban. The U.S. has no choice but to withdraw from the Afpak war and retrench for the existential crisis that is brewing in the Homeland.

After 9 years in Afganistan the USSR began withdrawing troops in May 1988. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The USSR was no more by 1991. America withdrawing from Afganistan -the Slayer of Empires – without having reached it’s objectives will be the beginning of the end of America’s short tenure as sole Global Super Power. How the ruling Elite deal with the bursting of Washington’s protective bubble – along with the reality that America will soon be home to a majority non-caucasian population – remains to be seen. But my guess is that they will not go gently into the night.


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Where are the trillions that corporations are sitting on? Try off-shore to avoid paying taxes.


In fact Microsoft recently issued bonds to raise operating capital instead of repatriating some of the billions it has socked away outside the taxman’s reach.

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From “Hegel on Wall Street” in the October 3rd edition of the New York Times. A very good read for anyone who’s concerned that this whole “free market” thing has gotten somewhat out of whack.

Hegel, of course, never directly wrote about Wall Street, but he was philosophically invested in the logic of market relations. Near the middle of the “Phenomenology of Spirit” (1807), he presents an argument that says, in effect: if Wall Street brokers and bankers understood themselves and their institutional world aright, they would not only accede to firm regulatory controls to govern their actions, but would enthusiastically welcome regulation. Hegel’s emphatic but paradoxical way of stating this is to say that if the free market individualist acts “in [his] own self-interest, [he] simply does not know what [he] is doing, and if [he] affirms that all men act in their own self-interest, [he] merely asserts that all men are not really aware of what acting really amounts to.” For Hegel, the idea of unconditioned rational self-interest — of, say, acting solely on the motive of making a maximal profit — simply mistakes what human action is or could be, and is thus rationally unintelligible. Self-interested action, in the sense it used by contemporary brokers and bankers, is impossible. If Hegel is right, there may be deeper and more basic reasons for strong market regulation than we have imagined.

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Optimist Joke

Two optimists walk into a bar. One optimist says “what a nice bar.” “Yes,” the other optimist says, “I think we will have a very nice time here.” Proving that optimists are actually not all that funny.

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Dying of Money

A MUST READ. The degree to which the general population is ignorant, yes, ignorant about what money is and how it relates to inflation, deflation and hyper-inflation is staggering. Do you ever really wonder why it is that money loses value over time? The time value of money is a human construct, nothing more. And the humans who created this system and passed it on to their heirs, who defend it come hell or high water, do not have the common good in mind. If they did, the Bible would not have been written to keep them in check.

The idea of living through a hyper-inflation scares the bejezzus out of me but is at the same time exhilarating. There are many opportunities to be had when an economic order collapses as the Strong are cut down to size and the Meek allowed to flourish.

Dying of Money: Lessons of the Great German and American Inflations



Prologue: The German Inflation of 1914-1923

1: The Ascent
2: The Descent
3: The Gains and Losses
4: The Roots
5: The Great Prosperity of 1920-1921
6: Politics
7: The Lessons
Act One: The Rise of the Great American Inflation
8: The War
9: Grappling with Stability
10: The Great Prosperity of 1962-1968
11: The Inflationary Syndrome
12: Culprits and Scapegoats
13: The Open Questions
Interlude: The General Theory of Inflation
14: Welcome to Economic Theory
15: Prices
16: Inflation
17: Velocity
18: Aggregate Values
19: Real Values
20: Government Debt
21: The Record Interpreted
22: Money
23: The Creation of Money
24: Depression
25: The Economics of Keynes
26: Inflationary Economics
27: Interest and the Money Wealth
28: The Economics of Disaster
29: The Crux
30: Taxes
31: American Taxes
32: Government Expenditure: The National Dividend
33: Employment
34: Investment and Growth
35: Dogma
The Last Acts: The American Prognosis
36: Act Two, Scene One: President Nixon Begins
37: Act Two, Scene Two: Price Controls and Other Follies

38: The Way Out
39: The Way Ahead
40: Democratics
41: Political Reorganization
42: Self Defense
43: Self Defense Continued: The Stock Market
44: A World of Nations
45: Interscript

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