governments do not rule the world

Goldman Sachs Rule The World Not Governments
Alessio Rastani, BBC, Sept 26 2011
…the Eurozone crash will wipe out the savings of millions.

 

 

 

When the rich steal from everyone,
it’s Free Markets;

When the rich steal from the rich for the poor,
it’s Noblesse Oblige;

When the middle steal from the middle,
it’s Good Business;

When the rich and the middle steal from the poor,
it’s Fiscal Responsibility;

When the poor steal from the rich and the middle,
it’s Criminal;

When the poor steal from the poor,
it’s Tough Luck.

  
Trader Rastani says “governments don’t rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world.”

…the big money doesn’t “buy this rescue plan.

“They know the market is toast. They know the stock market is finished.

“…it’s going to crash, and it’s going to fall pretty hard because markets are ruled right now by fear.”

fooling ourselves

Bloom recalls one famous experiment with wine drinkers done by scientists at Stanford and Cal Tech …

“Half the people are told they’re drinking cheap plunk, the other half are told they’re drinking something out of $100-$150 bottle”, Bloom said.

“It tastes better to them if they THINK they’re drinking from an expensive bottle. And it turns out that if they think they’re drinking expensive wine, parts of the brain that are associated with pleasure and reward light up like a Christmas tree.”

So if I have people over for dinner, I should add a little ‘1’ in front of the price tag, and put it on the table?“, Spencer asked.

“That is the ultimate trick to making wine taste better”, Bloom said.

And it’s the sort of trick that works only on human beings!

Here’s another.

cyber-spying

Let’s see if this is an organization you’d like to support.

GM’s OnStar now collects your GPS location information and speed “for any purpose, at any time”.

They also have apparently granted themselves the ability to sell this personal information, and other information to third parties, including law enforcement.

To add insult to a slap in the face, the company insists they will continue collecting and selling this personal information even after you cancel your service, unless you specifically shut down the data connection to the vehicle after canceling. This could mean that if you buy a used car with OnStar, or even a new one that already has been activated by the dealer, your location and other information may get tracked by OnStar without your knowledge, even if you’ve never done business with OnStar.

Let’s see if this is an organization you’d like to support.

All perfectly legal, of course.


And, let’s see if this is an organization you’d like to support.

The Digital Due Process group, a coalition of privacy organizations like the EFF and companies that are lobbying to reform surveillance laws in the US.

The group hopes to modernize the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) which was enacted in 1986, long before the Internet.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched Who Has Your Back calling on major Internet companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and about thirteen others to stand with their users when it comes to government demands for users’ data.

And while we’re at it, let’s see if we can keep our country.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…”

Dave Winer says “I, as a mere user of Facebook, am seriously scared of them.”

Cory Doctorow: “Tech Companies Exploit the Way We Undervalue Privacy.”

satellite farming

“A device with eyes and ears of its own, with a sense of place, and motion, and proximity, with memory of what it’s seen and where it’s been.” — Tim O’Reilly.

John Deere engineers are convinced the day of the driverless tractor will come for jobs such as orchard spraying and tillage.

campaigns use myth

Well?

Despite a widespread belief that contracting out services to the private sector saves the federal government money, a new study suggests just the opposite — that the government actually pays more when it farms out work.

The study found that in 33 of 35 occupations, the government actually paid billions of dollars more to hire contractors than it would have cost government employees to perform comparable services.

On average, the study found that contractors charged the federal government more than twice the amount it pays federal workers.

let’s get a grip

Reality exists independent of human minds, but our understanding of it depends on the beliefs we hold at any given time.

Michael Shermer at Scientific American:

  1. We form our beliefs for a variety of subjective, emotional and psychological reasons in the context of environments created by family, friends, colleagues, culture and society at large.
  2. After forming our beliefs, we then defend, justify and rationalize them with a host of intellectual reasons, cogent arguments and rational explanations.
  3. Beliefs come first; explanations for beliefs follow.

According to Shermer, we reinforce bias.

the destruction candidates

Elizabeth Drew: What Were They Thinking?

The antitax dogma of the Republican Party is strongly rooted in mythology.

The theory that tax cuts create jobs has been discredited by the results of George Bush’s tax policies.

The Republicans cling to the myth that “small business” owners are the “job creators,” and so they oppose proposals to eliminate the Bush rate cuts for even those earning over $250,000. But relatively few small business owners earn $250,000—in fact, fewer than 3 percent of the 20 million people who file business income on their personal tax forms (the 1040s) earn that much.

Finally, the antitax position of many conservatives would seem to be illogical, since they also hate deficits: but their real aim is to reduce or eliminate federal programs.

They call efforts to redistribute wealth “socialism,” but have no problem redistributing from the poor and middle class to the wealthy through taxes, as set forth in Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which the House approved on April 15. Under the Ryan plan, the taxes of the richest one percent of Americans would be cut in half, while taxes would be raised on most of the middle class. People earning over $1 million would be taxed at a lower effective rate than the middle class.

Consistent with the philosophy of Ryan’s idol Ayn Rand, this scheme would by 2050 eliminate virtually all federal programs other than defense and Social Security, much of which would be privatized, while his voucher program would replace Medicare.

demote the farmer

grok this !

the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race

Archaeologists studying the rise of farming have reconstructed a crucial stage at which we made the worst mistake in human history.

Forced to choose between limiting population or trying to increase food production, we chose the latter and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny.

Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history.

In contrast, we’re still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it’s unclear whether we can solve it.

people thinking well

“Most people just dealt with dribble and the common, you know, celebrity-tabloid-type stuff that doesn’t really matter in the world.

Wozniak:

“So I was the designer, who could kind of design anything you could conceptualize and then Steve liked to always find ways to turn it into a business.

“And he talked about the importance of having companies to make products, and that there were very few people who drove the world—and he wanted to be one of those people that was driving the world, and not just one of the millions and millions of people who kinda don’t matter.

Also Wozniak:

“I think I’d try to be more open to things like letting you have your iTunes library and easily share it with other music programs..that’s the monopoly approach. And you know, I just don’t like it.

“Some countries have this view that this new digital age world and internet should come to every citizen, but we’ll never have that in the United States. We’re just too far from it. I don’t ever expect it.”

social tensions

Superb & challenging summary of jobs ahead:

Mr Obama can reasonably point out that he was elected in the wake of a financial meltdown that had threatened to bring about another Great Depression, with an unemployment rate that would make the current one look like a lucky escape.

The co-ordinated global stimulus by members of the G20 in 2009, though far from perfect, helped save the world from something much worse—though that probably provides little comfort to the 205m people round the globe who are now unemployed. Nor is there much scope for further stimulus.

But today’s jobs pain is about more than the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Globalization and technological innovation are bringing about long-term changes in the world economy that are altering the structure of the labour market. As a result, unemployment is likely to remain high in the rich economies even as it falls in the poorer ones.

global jobs

agree on this

But missing from the debate – and, in fact, much current discussion of America’s politics – is the single biggest issue facing the country: the destruction of the American middle class.

In fact, so staggeringly unbalanced has America become that the richest 400 American families have the same net worth as the bottom 50% of the nation. 

It all comes back to the age-old problem of distribution of resources.

If there is too much debt out there, then there also must be too many loans held by investors.

Or, to put it another way, the investor class has too much money !

We’ve gotten into this ‘too much debt’ problem to a large degree because of pressure from investors looking for a lucrative place to park their ‘too many assets’. The private debt market dwarfs government borrowing.

simple & simpler

Let’s see now. What is strategy?

Bush cites book after book that influenced his thinking in the White House.

The Bible, for one, and he quotes Lincoln, who called it “the best gift God has given to man.”

After 9/11, he thought of Lincoln’s declaration that the battle between freedom and tyranny was “an issue which can only be tried by war, and decided by victory”—words, he says, that framed his policy toward the war on terror.

era of grab

Chart the growth in U.S. household income since 1917.

See the money between the Top 10% and the Bottom 90% of Americans.

» Between 1948 and 1979 the richest 10% accounted for a third of average income growth.

» Between 1979 and 2007 the richest 10% accounted for a full 91% of average income growth.

When income grows, who gains?

domestic disuse

G. W. Bush at 9/11 football game in Dallas… A football fan who angered another man by not standing during the national anthem is attacked with a Taser.

Record 46.2 million Americans live in poverty, Census Bureau says.

That’s 1 in 6.

The poverty threshold last year was an income of $11,139 for one person and $22,314 for a family of four.

Warren Buffet, the third richest man in world:

“Our leaders have asked for ‘shared sacrifice.’ But when they did the asking, they spared me. … While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks … [from] a billionaire-friendly Congress.”

War after 9/11 reaches $3.3 trillion. While not all of the costs have been borne by the government — and some are still to come — this total equals one-fifth of the current national debt.

  • Congressional Research Service (war funding);
  • Congressional Budget Office (war funding,health care to date);
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes, “The Three Trillion Dollar War,” and updates by the authors (veterans’ care, disability payments to date, estimates of value of life for war casualties);
  • John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart, “Terror, Security and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security”(homeland security);
  • Garrick Blalock, Cornell University (drivingdeaths);
  • “Terrorism, Economic Development, and Political Openness” (lost time at airports in 2004);
  • Adam Rose, Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events at the University of Southern California (economic impact);
  • Insurance Information Institute (event cancellation);
  • Office of the New York City Comptroller (2002 estimates of physical damage);
  • ‘Costs of War’ project, Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University (cost of war,including indirect defense costs);
  • Todd Harrison, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (possible future war spending);
  • Department of Defense (Pentagon repair,defense spending deflators);
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis (G.D.P. deflators);
  • All value of life calculations are based on E.P.A. guidelines used to evaluate new regulations.Current guidelines suggest the value of life is around $8 million, but estimates vary widely.

Gerald Caplan at Toronto’s Globe & Mail:

Ten years after the trauma of 9/11, the richest 1 per cent of American households earn as much as the bottom 60 per cent and have as much wealth as the bottom 90 per cent. But you ain’t seen nothing yet. Combine low taxes with tax credits, tax havens and tax loopholes, and you’ll come upon a capitalist nirvana where many of the largest corporations pay no taxes at all and where, according to estimates by the Tax Justice Network, trillions of corporate dollars are hidden away, costing perhaps a quarter of a trillion dollars in foregone taxes. No prizes for guessing where it goes instead of to the public good.

There are more filthy rich folks now than at any other moment in history and they’re leveraging their astounding wealth to make sure they get filthier at the expense of the rest of us, still of course the vast majority. What is true of America is equally true of Britain and increasingly true of Canada. While the middle class shrinks, the working class slips backwards and social mobility erodes, the rich buy themselves politicians, lobbyists, legal beagles, slick accountants, “trained economists,” television networks, “think” tanks and whatever other apparatus is needed to make them even richer. Their success surpasses even the most piggish of expectations.

Osama bin Laden inflicted a terrible crime on the American people. America’s elites and their allies have done the rest.

why politics is nutty

Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult:

Both parties are rotten – how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election?

Both parties are captives to corporate loot.

But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks.

Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics.

It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe.

This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.

pondering upcoming

here we go, history on the wall all over again !

ONE day during the 2008 campaign, as Barack Obama read the foreboding news of the mounting economic and military catastrophes that W. was bequeathing his successor, he dryly remarked to aides: “Maybe I should throw the game.”

On the razor’s edge of another recession; blocked at every turn by Republicans determined to slice him up at any cost; starting an unexpectedly daunting re-election bid; and puzzling over how to make a prime-time speech about infrastructure and payroll taxes soar, maybe President Obama is wishing that he had thrown the game.

The leader who was once a luminescent, inspirational force is now just a guy in a really bad spot.

 

[er, wow, gee, Zo, that’s a bunch of pepper]

we are so often foolish

Christiane and Stanley Kubrick and their great principle in life:

“Always be suspicious of people who have, or crave, power.”

All Stanley Kubrick’s life he said,

‘Never, ever go near power. Don’t become friends with anyone who has real power. It’s dangerous.’

Charm is attractive to many. And potent.

When you need propaganda, where do you turn?

“Where my uncle was an enormous fool, as many talented people are, was that he mistook his gift for intelligence,” says Christiane.

“He was a great big famous film person. He looked better and talked better and had enormous charm. So he thought he was also far more intelligent than Mr Goebbels. Goebbels was 10,000 times smarter than my uncle.”

“Film people, actors, are puppets. We are silly. We are silly folk.”

 

Christiane Kubrick. A few moments with an enlightened conscience.

Widow of film director Stanley Kubrick, her 41-year-old marriage, the director’s lost project about the Holocaust and his secret love of the waltz…

every lie is criminal

It seems to tell a lie may become unconstitutional.

Wake your brain on that !

1) Judge Jay S. Bybee wrote that “false statements of fact . . . generally fall outside First Amendment protection.”

2) False statements of all kinds, he reasoned, are a complete exception to the First Amendment, just like child pornography, fighting words, or soliciting a hitman to kill your spouse.

Do not think I will tell you what I think nor tell you my opinion nor say a word, because…

3) It should be noted that, as head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Bybee also gave the green light for government to use waterboarding and other tortures, undoubtedly only to elicit truthful speech.