Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Kudos to Trump must be said. Perhaps he finally recognized that our Gov't, whether for good reasons or sometimes bad reasons, has been threatening, sanctioning, and intimidating North Korea for many decades. No wonder they pursued nuclear ICBMs. Then, too, he probably also recognized the value of the Summit to the Repubs in the upcoming Mid-Term elections. Lastly, I imagine he considered the value of it to his mythical reputation as a deal-maker. While praising him, though, let's not disregard the crucial contribution of the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in. He constructed the basis for the whole thing.
Except for Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, Elizabeth Warren, & a very few others (all of whom have been marginalized by the DNC), the Corporatist Dems at the top of the heap---who falsely claim to be "Progressives" or "Moderates"---should all be praising Trump for the outcome of the Summit. As a Congressional guest (Rep. Ro Khanna) on Democracy Now said today: if the Summit had happened under Obama, the Democrats would be cheering. [I'll bet little of that takes place. Here's why.]---
The Corporatists in charge of the upper echelon of the Democratic Party must do everything they can to promote the illusion of a battle between the two major Parties. That's been the game ever since Neoliberals and NeoConservatives have taken over both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Those Parties now (& for some time) merely are branches of the only major Party in the USA, the Corporatist Party. I'm not coining a term here; call it the Oligarch Party, or the Plutocrats, or the Shadow Gov't, or whatever. The name doesn't matter, because after all, it doesn't officially exist. It's highly likely that especially the young people of today think that the major Parties are the norm, that they've always been the way they are now. That's simply not true.
The NeoCons and the NeoLibs both began their ascent in the 1970's... mostly on a theoretical level; in other words, they developed their philosophical underpinnings. The differences between them are almost nil, and center around a few social Hot-Button issues (such as gun control). They gained speed in the 1980's and really exploded onto the scene in the 1990's. They are essentially the same on the crucial issues of the economy, finance, war, corporatism, and corporatist globalization. They now control the Fed Gov't, and have for at least 25 years.
Trump hasn't changed that at all. He's a faux "rebel", and nothing more than their puppet. Perhaps he's unwitting in all this, but I doubt it. Surely at least he knows that he owes the Mega Bankers big-time. They bailed him out in the 1980's when his arrogance, incompetence, and ignorance relative to Big Business brought his "empire" to the brink of total collapse. His recent banking deregulation gift to them is partial payback.
Bottom line: good for Trump relative to Korea; nevertheless, he's still a Corporatist, not a Populist. He still serves the Plutocrats.
Not only my opinion. Be Well
Sunday, June 10, 2018
All you need to watch is the 1st 11 minutes & 40 seconds to see how the Mega Banking "Cartel" (rather than people with sub-prime mortgages) was the cause of the last Financial/Economic Crisis, and how/why the failure of the Obama Admin to prosecute Mega BankERS (not Banks) has set up the next overdue, soon-to-be-here Crash. [Trump & Crew most likely will not do the same thing that Obama & Holder did not do.]
Bill Moyers is well known...Bill Black not as much. He's a brilliant academic in Law & Economics, as well as a former bank regulator. After the Savings & Loan scandal of the 1980's, Black's team investigated & made about 1,000 criminal referrals to the Justice Dept. All resulted in successful prosecutions of Bankers, rather than Banks (which are fictitious "persons" & only can be fined, not jailed). Even fines in the billions of $$$ are considered merely a cost of doing Biz by the "Cartel".
It's all coming our way again. This time, not only home mortgages, but also car loans & home rental receipts have been bundled up & then chopped up to create "securities" sold by Wall Street. Plus, bizarre financial derivatives (bets on those securities, and bets on those bets, and bets on those bets, etc.) are back in the game with virtually no regulation.
Don't believe DC's propaganda that "everything is going great". Everything is going pretty much where it went from 2007 through 2009. Get ready...all it will take is one glitch, one Black Swan event, or one who-knows-what and the whole system again will be in chaos. At least, the probability of that is extremely high. Trump & Crew's deregulation blitz is making it all the more likely. [I believe that in many areas of society, there are too many regulations; but in the case of the Financial Sector, there are too few.]
Not only my opinion. Be Prepared
Monday, June 4, 2018
It was instituted by Law in 1917. In the 20th century, our Government's Debt Ceiling was raised 90 times. From 2001 through 2016, it has been raised 14 times; and it was supposed to be raised again last Fall. Through some sort of machinations, Congress conjured up "emergency spending funds" and postponed the problem until mid-March of this year.
March 2018 has come and gone, so what happened? Congress SUSPENDED the Debt Ceiling until March 2019. In other words, there is no Debt Ceiling presently. It was suspended once during Obama's Administration as well. Considering the history of it, arguably there never has been a Debt Ceiling. The whole thing appears to be Orwellian Doublethink and Doublespeak.
The Nixon Shock---
Why is any of this important? Why should we care at all? It started with the "Nixon Shock" in 1971. That's when the Executive Branch issued a "temporary suspension" of the convertibility of the U.S. Dollar into gold. We went completely off the "Gold Standard". Essentially, our Gov't defaulted on its Debt. Shortly thereafter, the Dollar lost 25% of its value. Our long, "temporary" excursion into fiat currency began. Instead of being backed by gold, our "money" became backed by "the full faith and credit of the United States". That means virtually nothing at all if our Gov't borrows, and borrows, and borrows into oblivion... and the rest of the world knows that.
The Largest Debtor Nation---
This great Land has gone from being a creditor nation to being the world's largest debtor nation. To whom is the "money" owed? Primarily, it's owed to foreign Central Banks, other Mega Banks (including domestic ones), and other Mega Corporations. The kicker is this: that Debt is now mathematically impossible to repay in full. So why do those outfits keep loaning us funds? For the same reason a Bank doesn't want you to ever repay the full amount on your credit card: the perpetual interest payments; they will never end. And from where does the Gov't get the funds to make those multi-billion dollar interest payments to Banks & Corporations...from personal income taxes, of course.
In the spirit of Orwellian Doublespeak, the Fed Reserve calls borrowing the "selling of Debt, or Bonds". When other entities cut back on "buying Debt" (loaning us funds), the Fed Reserve (which is made up of privately owned banks) "buys" U.S. Bonds. That essentially means a supposed part of our Gov't loans funds to our Gov't. All this borrowing serves to devalue the fiat Dollar.
The Bottom Line---
Why should we care? If for no other reason, because we are saddling our children and grandchildren not only with a continually devalued Dollar, but also with a Debt that will have interest payments in perpetuity. Then there's the extremely high probability that our economy will collapse because of the Financial shocks brought on by the Fed's insane amount of borrowing.
When it comes to borrowing, the Trump Administration is following right in the footsteps of the Administrations of Obama, Dubya Bush, and others: increasing the National Debt by multiple times. And why all this borrowing? For the most part, it's to maintain U.S. Hegemony throughout the world. And why is that? Because the availability of several key natural resources is peaking or shrinking, and without control of those resources, the USA cannot dominate the world and further enrich itself. Naturally, the Establishment denies any such thing...hardly a big surprise. The Plutocrats claim the whole shebang is to protect the world, spread democracy, and preserve freedom. Right. Edward Bernays would be proud of such claims.
Price Inflation is not the result of the cost of production going up; rather, it's the result of the value of the Dollar going down. When the value of the dollar decreases, it takes more dollars to buy the same amount of goods or services as before the decrease.
Not only my opinion. Be Well
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
In the 1st Quarter of this year, the Fed borrowed $488 billion...the largest amount for any Quarter in our history. The Treasury Secretary claims that the Bond Market is "robust", and can handle the borrowing. In fact, that Market has peaked and is trending down. It's starting to collapse. Our Debt is a Bubble sitting on a pin.
That amount of borrowing plus the Repub Tax Cuts plus other factors = a big rise in price inflation, probably within a year or so. Mnuchin (Treas. Sec.) says it's good to have a little inflation..."We want wages to increase." Better hope inflation doesn't exceed the increase in wages; and sorry, but most likely it will. It's almost there already...only .5% away from the last wage increase numbers.
So much for fiscal responsibility. Those in the Congress and the White House who claim to be "Conservatives"...aren't. NeoConservatives are a horse of an entirely different color.
Try as they may, the Establishment (including Trump & Crew) cannot avoid the metrics of the overdue Economic/Financial Crash on the horizon. According to a study by Deutsche Bank, countries that don't properly manage their Debt experience a huge increase in Financial shocks, shocks that can severely damage the economy. That has been our path every 7-12 years since the 1973-1975 Recession. You can thank the Fed, the Mega Bank Casino Capitalists, and most of our DC politicians. It should be obvious that the bombastic Trump & Crew are not significantly changing anything for the better. They aren't draining the swamp; they're draining the country of a decent future. Take a look at USDebtClock.org ...not just the upper left corner, but the entire table/chart.
Not only my opinion. Be Well
p.s. Another reminder: I'm not a Democrat or a Republican.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
In 1969, a song came out by the duo Zager & Evans under the title "In the Year 2525". All these years later, I see humanity going pretty much right where the song predicted. We humans just can't seem to live and let live; plus, we're being sucked into the abyss of technology at a breath-taking pace. It's de-humanizing all of us.
Now it's almost nothing for a President to talk about nuking 25 million people...as if they're ants. I find it not only sad & tragic, but also puzzling...and in a devastating way, comical. As a species, our ignorance truly is beyond the pale. Unfortunately, and despite popular opinion here to the contrary, I believe Americans are the worst of the bunch. Our hubris on the world stage is absolutely astounding...no matter which political Party is in power. We are so "holier-than-thou" that it boggles the mind. It's no wonder to me that 80% of the world's people think that the greatest threat to Peace is our Fed Gov't. That poll was taken a few years ago; now the number is probably up to 90% or more. My main solace in all that's going on today is that in 10,000 years none of it will matter one whit.
Nevertheless, Life really is fascinating in these weird times.
Long ago, a Zen Master said, "Once you understand the true nature of Reality, the only thing left to do is to have a good belly-laugh.". I suspect that he was right.
p.s. "I feel much better now that I've given up hope." ~Woody Allen [That's funny!]
Bottom line: enjoy Life; it's short. We all know that, but on a daily basis I think we tend to forget it.
Not only my opinion. Be Well
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
About a month or two ago, Trump & Crew, Big Biz, & the Corporate Media claimed that one of the main reasons our economy is "recovering" was this: wages have increased 2.9% (I forget over what time span). Here's what they left out--- price inflation is now at about 2.4%...and rising.
In addition, the Bond Market is collapsing, the Stock Market is still (despite corrections) overvalued partly or mostly because Corps. are buying back their own stock (thus falsely inflating its value), Debt is increasing (our Public Debt is now well over $21 trillion & rising rapidly, while total public & private USA Debt is a bit over $70 trillion), there are 27 million part-time workers in the USA, half of all the workers here make less than $32K per year, the IMF has launched a 10-year program to replace the Dollar as the world's reserve currency, housing rentals are sky-high, the home-owner Housing Market is in a giant Bubble, and Mega Banks continue to gamble with bizarre financial derivatives...thus continuing the Casino Capitalism that resulted in the 2008 Crash. Meanwhile, Trump & Crew are busily reducing regulations...especially those on the Financial Sector.
The next Crash---meaning, the next transfer of wealth to the top echelon of the Upper Crust---is both overdue and unavoidable. Ever since the 1973-1975 Recession, we've had an economic/financial Crash every 7-12 years. The next one looks to be larger than any since (& including) '73-'75. There's no reason at all to believe that the Boom-Bust Cycle is suddenly going to stop. There are many reasons to believe that the next Crash will be the worst in at least the last 45 years.
Not only my opinion. Be Well
Monday, May 14, 2018
To my knowledge, no such Handbook exists; if it did, however, this would be a good outline or condensed version. NOTE--- Certainly not all of it, but much of the information below comes from Noam Chomsky's superb book and documentary titled, Requiem for the American Dream. The editors of the documentary came up with this subtitle: "The Ten Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power". I would call it "The Ten Steps for Instituting Corporatism in a Society". These concepts are evident not only in the USA today, but also in all industrialized countries of the world...some more than others.
1. Reduce democracy---
Reduce or eliminate the input and influence of commoners in the formation of public policy. The "little people" should be treated as "spectators" when it comes to government because they are incapable of comprehending complex matters. They should be distracted with consumer consumption and kept apathetic.
2. Shape ideology---
This begins with indoctrination in education. Critical thinking and any challenging of Authority should be suppressed. Except for basic skills such as reading and math, the minds of students should be molded to always accept Authority, wage slavery, war, the hierarchy of society, and a belief in the wisdom of opulence and luxury.
3. Redesign the economy---
Complete the move (started in the 1970's) to Neoliberalism, Financialization, and Globalization. In part, that means privatization of gov't infrastructure & services and the promotion of worker insecurity. Separate worker productivity from wage increases. Keep wages stagnant. One way to do that is to promote the moving of manufacturing to emerging economies with low wages and sweatshop conditions. Reduce or eliminate regulations applying to the Financial Sector so that income can be made without producing any goods or services...as with the use of bizarre financial derivatives and other financial instruments.
4. Shift the burden carried by Oligarchs---
Make the Rich and Powerful less responsible for funding gov't, and for their own mistakes. Reduce their taxes, and promote "Too Big to Fail", "Too Big to Jail", "Bail-Outs", and "Bail-Ins". Increase gov't subsidies to mega corporations. Let the "little people" foot the bill.
5. Attack solidarity---
Reduce (through Edward Bernays style "molding of the public mind" Propaganda) the caring by individuals for the fate of others. Destroy unions. Clamp down on freedom of assembly, nonviolent protest, and any group that challenges the status quo.
6. Run the regulators---
Promote and encourage a revolving door between BIG Business and high-level Gov't service...especially in the Financial Sector. Poo-poo the concept of "conflict of interest". Promise and provide high-paying, cushy, corporate jobs to regulators when they "retire" from gov't service. Strive for "Government-Sachs".
7. Engineer elections---
Continue the practice of having high-level political candidates selected, groomed, and financed by the Rich and Powerful. Continue to encourage gerrymandering and voter suppression/manipulation. In Primaries, continue to encourage the Corporate Media to slight or ignore any candidate not approved by the Oligarchy. Promote and encourage the discussion of personalities rather than issues. Continue to have debates run by a private corporation, thus making certain that no Populist candidates are allowed to participate. Make sure that corporations continue to be "persons", and thus are able to contribute to our political candidates (via "free speech" money) in a virtually unlimited fashion.
8. Keep the rabble in line---
Inundate the public with Edward Bernays style Propaganda Kool Aid all year, every year. Attack Organized Labor. Attack any Populist group. Promote nationalism rather than patriotism. Talk jobs, not profits. Never reveal that while the wages of the "little people" have remained relatively flat (after adjustment for price inflation) for 30+ years, our incomes have increased 700%.
9. Manufacture consent---
Mold the public mind to our benefit. Keep the Propaganda flowing--- Trickle-Down Economics really works, there's no conflict of interest in having a Mega Bank CEO run a Gov't financial department, Big Biz should have a Stay-Out-of-Jail card, the Boogie-Man is coming so we have to go to war, the type of Globalization we're promoting really is good for the public, the commoners can have either privacy or safety (but not both), etc. They've bought it all so far, and they will continue to buy it.
10. Marginalize the population---
Make society an amorphous mass. Attack and destroy groups critical of Power and Oligarchy. Discourage the linking of individuals into effective political action organizations. Denigrate them whenever possible. Encourage the belief that commoners cannot understand the complexity of the issues facing the world today. This all creates an unfocused anger which makes people more susceptible to our control. Gain control of the internet, which is the greatest democratizing force in existence today. Oppose net neutrality whenever possible.
And so it goes.
Not only my opinion. Be Well