Even without knowing German, see if you can tell what Der Spiegel thinks of the GOP field.
That staggering number is even more frightening in context.
Mosquitoes have killed half the humans that ever lived ?!
The illusion of infinite growth, like the Emperor’s New Clothes, is maintained by the Emperor. The citizenry see something naked and ridiculous which can’t be sustained.
Much like the housing crisis and the dot-com boom/bust, the Wall Street Empire is revealed as naked, even to the emperor himself. #OWS has already succeeded by one measure, they broke the shared fiction about Wall Street for all of us.
What was once a useful distinction between the left and the right has become artificially crafted polarity of two sides to the same position.
The majority of the left and the right have come so close to the center to serve corporate interests and woo uncertain voters, that they collapsed into each other in a meaningless muddle.
Bill Moyers asks,
What two things don’t mix well?
Plutocracy & democracy.
Watch the ‘must-see’ video in which Bill explains why.
Barry Ritholtz breaks it down for you.
No matter the GOP spin, we cannot blame housing policies from the 1930s or mortgage tax deductibility from even before that.
It is a statistical invalid argument, as the data show.
Examining the big lie: How the facts of the economic crisis stack up.
An examination of public documents involving Mr. Lauder’s companies, investments and charities offers a glimpse of the wide array of legal options for the world’s wealthiest citizens to avoid taxes both at home and abroad.
His vast holdings — which include hundreds of millions in stock, one of the world’s largest private collections of medieval armor, homes in Washington, D.C., and on Park Avenue as well as oceanfront mansions in Palm Beach and the Hamptons — are organized in a labyrinth of trusts, limited liability corporations and holding companies, some of which his lawyers acknowledge are intended for tax purposes.
“Perhaps the worst part of this immensely distressing story is how unexceptional it is.”
There is abundant evidence that rape is a systemic problem in our immigration detention facilities—for women, for men, and, as the Women’s Refugee Commission has documented, for children. In 2010, Human Rights Watch released a report based on over fifty known incidents and allegations of sexual abuse of immigration detainees. The American Civil Liberties Union has discovered 185 government reports of such allegations since 2007, and a senior ACLU staff attorney says this is only “the tip of the iceberg.” Based on studies by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the US government estimates that over 216,600 people are sexually abused in its prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities every year. Such comprehensive data do not exist for DHS facilities, and many fewer people are held in immigration detention than in prisons and jails. However, there is good reason to believe that, proportionally, the rates of abuse may be even higher for immigrants in government custody than for prisoners.
“It would be hard to imagine a greater betrayal of the ideals and origins of a nation of immigrants than systemic abuse of this kind, perpetrated as it usually is by agents of the government.”
via Salon: Australia awarded its highest distinction for ‘Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism‘ to WikiLeaks.
“WikiLeaks easily produced more newsworthy scoops over the last year than every other media outlet combined.”
“WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange took a brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency that has empowered people all over the world.”
‘What has the country so angry,” says Fred Siegel, “is the sense that crony capitalism has produced a population that lives off the rest of us without contributing. They’re right. It’s not paranoid.”
Great slogan but “we are the 99%” aims too low.
Why do Republicans advocate further tax cuts for the very rich even as they warn about deficits and demand drastic cuts in social insurance programs?
Well, aside from shouts of “class warfare!” whenever such questions are raised, the usual answer is that the super-elite are “job creators” — that is, that they make a special contribution to the economy.
It’s really the top 0.1%, not 1%, that have escaped with such a large slice of the pie.
And who are they? Let’s get one thing straight: They are not, on the whole, “job creators”.
..we’re on a trajectory
…we’re collapsing towards ‘neofeudalism’
…what does it look and feel like?
I’d say it has five key characteristics:
- Output fetishism.
- Kleptarchy. …governance as we know it isn’t.
- Patronage. …replaces meritocracy (etc).
- Cronyism. …directing the flow resources.
Which leads us to the sudden surge in the price of oil to $107 a barrel. On the face of it, this is crazy.
Yes, the US has had a bit of a recovery, but Europe is going hard core austerity. But this is the game the hot money is playing: they move out of bonds and into oil, out of oil and into bonds. $107/barrel oil means the US recovery (such as it is, which isn’t much) isn’t going to last much longer.
Being rich is about being liquid when everyone else isn’t, so you can buy up assets on the cheap.
When [IF] the rich are properly under control (ie. when you keep them terrified of government and the people, as they should be) they can’t create such buying opportunities, they have to wait for them….
Right now the rich can and are crashing asset prices by forcing countries into austerity through attacks on their currencies and control of their political elites. They then buy up assets for fire-sale prices.
These attacks …are deranged.
These attacks are about power: the global rich were bailed out after the crash, now they are using their hot money in attack after attack, demanding austerity, which will cause semi-permanent depression in those countries which accept it.
All of this is crazy.
The financial elites are on a plundering spree, gleefully using their power to force entire nations into poverty, blackmailing governments into huge payouts.
Cain speaks for nearly a half an hour [at Florida’s The Holy Land Experience amusement park] and despite a couple fleeting “999” mentions, keeps his speech to topics of faith and his recent battle with cancer.
He begins with a story about how he knew he would survive when he discovered that his physician was named “Dr. Lord,” that the hospital attendant’s name was “Grace” and that the incision made on his chest during the surgery would be in the shape of a “J.”
“Come on, y’all. As in J-E-S-U-S! Yes! A doctor named Lord! A lady named Grace! And a J-cut for Jesus Almighty,” Cain boomed.
He did have a slight worry at one point during the chemotherapy process when he discovered that one of the surgeon’s name was “Dr. Abdallah.”
“I said to his physician assistant, I said, ‘That sounds foreign–not that I had anything against foreign doctors–but it sounded too foreign,” Cain tells the audience. “She said, ‘He’s from Lebanon.’ Oh, Lebanon! My mind immediately started thinking, wait a minute, maybe his religious persuasion is different than mine! She could see the look on my face and she said, ‘Don’t worry, Mr. Cain, he’s a Christian from Lebanon.'”
“Hallelujah!” Cain says. “Thank God!”
Story at Yahoo News.
For the past three years, the media have praised the enthusiasm and energy the tea party has brought to the GOP. Yet it’s telling that that movement has failed time and again to produce even a remotely credible candidate for president. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich: The list of tea-party candidates reads like the early history of the U.S. space program, a series of humiliating fizzles and explosions that never achieved liftoff. A political movement that never took governing seriously was exploited by a succession of political entrepreneurs uninterested in governing—but all too interested in merchandising. Much as viewers tune in to American Idol to laugh at the inept, borderline dysfunctional early auditions, these tea-party champions provide a ghoulish type of news entertainment each time they reveal that they know nothing about public affairs and have never attempted to learn. But Cain’s gaffe on Libya or Perry’s brain freeze on the Department of Energy are not only indicators of bad leadership.
They are indicators of a crisis of followership.
The tea party never demanded knowledge or concern for governance, and so of course it never got them.
I AM the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is
done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the
world’s food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons
come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And
then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand
for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me.
I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted.
I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and
makes me work and give up what I have. And I
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red
drops for history to remember. Then—I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the
People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer
forget who robbed me last year, who played me for
a fool–then there will be no speaker in all the world
say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a
sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob–the crowd–the mass–will arrive then.
MEMO TO A NATION’S HEART
There is such a thing as healthy community. It is clear that the people’s viability requires a network of effectiveness. Informed progress is imperative. It must step from answering need –the key to both survival and prosperity.
The desire to fulfill is a strong human force. Participation in tangible efforts toward success is not a burden. It is, in a healthy culture, a remarkable opportunity of privilege, creating a vibrant common wealth, not merely in market economies, but where it matters the most, in the fabric of society.
The world is dynamic. Its legacy and primary resource: our ingenuity. There are those that pierce inhibition to challenge habit and shape wisdom. Problems can be severe; hopeless when viewed from the peaks of yesterday, and change may seem as chaotic as crisis.
But we will embrace a positive vision of our future and work toward an America that survives her dream. Vision is required. Wit is required. Action is required. The unforeseen is our beacon. Compassion is our only restraint.
We can inform the centuries there are vistas of our welfare yet discovered. We can prove diligence again, demonstrate our skills, and dispel the cathartic for the healing itself.
Some News Leaves People Knowing Less [pdf]
According to the latest results from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll, some news sources make us less likely to know what’s going on in the world.
Sunday morning news shows do the most to help people learn about current events, while some outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who they don’t watch any news at all.
BBC’s Robert Peston: UK’s debt ‘biggest in the world’
The indebtedness of the UK – that’s the sum of household debts, company debts, government debts and bank debts – had risen to 492% of GDP, or almost five times the value of everything we produce in a single year.
…and is still the biggest relative to GDP of any of the big economies.
Japan’s debts were also 492% of GDP. US indebtedness is less, at 282% of GDP.
So what’s going on?
Well partly it’s to do with a phenomenon, that debt has been shuffled from the private sector to the public sector.
When banks stopped lending, and private-sector spending and investing collapsed, governments continued to spend, even though tax revenues were falling. So public-sector borrowing exploded.
To be clear, if governments had not continued to spend, our recession might well have become something much worse, a 1930s-style depression.
But it is fair to say that a consequence of banks, households and businesses trying to repay their debts has been a big increase in government borrowing.
What it means is that we must brace ourselves for many years of relatively low growth, perhaps 1% versus the 3% of the 16 boom years before the crash, because we no longer have the fuel of borrowing more and more every year.
The Divine Right of Capital, by Marjorie Kelly [link to .pdf]
In an era when stock market wealth has seemed to grow on trees—and trillions have vanished as quickly as falling leaves—it’s an apt time to ask ourselves, where does wealth come from?
More precisely, where does the wealth of public corporations come from? Who creates it?
To judge by the current arrangement in corporate America, one might suppose capital creates wealth—which is strange, because a pile of capital sitting there creates nothing.
“Some call this the closing of the conservative mind. Alas, the conservative mind has proved itself only too open, these past years, to all manner of intellectual pollen.
“This is, unfortunately, not merely a concern for Republican voters. The conservative shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology has ominous real-world consequences for American society. “
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.
Dave Winer tweets on Gingrich,
Paul Krugman says ‘Only fools and clowns believe Republican ideology’. Newt Gingrich is just the latest of the “fools and clowns”
“I have a structural hypothesis here. You have a Republican ideology, which Mitt Romney obviously doesn’t believe in. He just oozes insincerity, that’s just so obvious. But all of the others are fools and clowns. And there is a question here, my hypothesis is that maybe this is an ideology that only fools and clowns can believe in. And that’s the Republican problem.”
Justice Louis Brandeis warning to the nation: “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
→ …the story of a memo on how lobbyists to the American Bankers Association go about discrediting the Occupy Wall Street movement. Here’s more, and here is the PDF of the actual memo.
“I tasted a beer and tried a cigarette once, as a wayward teenager, and never did it again.” —Mitt Romney
Whole sectors of the economy are dying.
Christensen retells the story of how Dell progressively lopped off low-value segments of its PC operation to the Taiwan-based firm ASUSTek —the motherboard, the assembly of the computer, the management of the supply chain and finally the design of the computer.
In each case Dell accepted the proposal because in each case its profitability improved: its costs declined and its revenues stayed the same. At the end of the process, however, Dell was little more than a brand, while ASUSTeK can—and does—now offer a cheaper, better computer to Best Buy at lower cost.
…the impact of foreign outsourcing on many other companies, including the steel companies, the automakers, the oil companies, the pharmaceuticals, and now even software development.
…steadily becoming primarily marketing agencies and brands: they are lopping off the expertise that is needed to make anything anymore.
George Monbiot on socialism for the rich:
For corporate welfare queens and their crystal baths, there is no benefit cap.
Limited liability, offshore secrecy regimes and state handouts ensure those at the top bear none of the costs they inflict on us.
…soon it will be impossible to actually arrive anywhere because everywhere will be full of people trying to get somewhere else…
…soon it will be impossible to actually arrive anywhere because everywhere will be full of people trying to get somewhere else…
And it’s not just vegetables. Fruit has also been bastardized as just too much of a nuisance to eat, so enter the frankenfooders to simplify it for us. Fruit Roll-Ups? They have brainwashed us into believing the burden of hauling around an apple or a pear had become so daunting, we needed someone to mix up fruit with some corn syrup and “Roll It Up”.
“The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” —Albert Einstein
“I see a portrait of violence. Violence of many different kinds–physical, economic, emotional–enshrined in a sociopathic compact.” —Umair Haque
“When you protect the things you believe in with your body, it changes you for good. It radicalizes you for good,” he said.
The transcript is “Shame on you!”
You will see why the right wing seeks to control email rumors…