The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 17, 2021

By Tony Wikrent

Strategic Political Economy

“You lost. Stop acting like you won”

[White Hot Harlots (lyman alpha blob), via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]

“The abortion issue has been lost. I cannot fathom any plausible near or medium-term scenario in which the actually existing American left mounts a successful counteroffensive to the Texas bill. Poor women in red states and rural areas effectively do not have access to reproductive healthcare any longer. If they ever regain this right, it will be decades from now. This represents an immense and damning failure of all of America’s liberal institutions. In spite of access to abortion being generally popular–including upwards of 77% of adults wanting Roe to remain more or less in place–the Democratic party, their media apparatuses, and their NGO allies have absolutely shit the bed. They have lost. They have failed. Instead of taking a step back and examining their own tactical and moral failures, instead of owning up to their undeniable cowardice and naivety, instead of realizing that their messaging is at best confusing and at worse supremely alienating, instead of realizing that the other side doesn’t regard this as kayfabe but as a real issue they want to win… the Dems have done nothing. They’ve doubled down on failed strategies. They’ve retreated into their caverns of recrimination and mockery, wallowing in the comfort of blamelessness even as they presently control the executive branch and both houses of congress.”

The actual history of how abortion became a major issue in USA points to the role entrenched wealth manipulated politics by lavishly funding and directing movement conservatism. The “common wisdom” today is that the anti-choice forces were spurred into action when Roe v. Wade was decided. But as a number of scholars have noted, elements of what would later become the religious right actually supported Roe v. Wade at first. Writing in Politico May 27, 2014, Randall Balmer of Dartmouth College notes:

“In 1968, for instance, a symposium sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism, refused to characterize abortion as sinful, citing “individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility” as justifications for ending a pregnancy. In 1971, delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, passed a resolution encouraging “Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” The convention, hardly a redoubt of liberal values, reaffirmed that position in 1974, one year after Roe, and again in 1976…. Baptists, in particular, applauded the decision as an appropriate articulation of the division between church and state, between personal morality and state regulation of individual behavior. “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision,” wrote W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press.”

So, what happened? Balmer explains:

“….it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools….
“Weyrich saw that he had the beginnings of a conservative political movement, which is why, several years into President Jimmy Carter’s term, he and other leaders of the nascent religious right blamed the Democratic president for the IRS actions against segregated schools—even though the policy was mandated by Nixon, and Bob Jones University had lost its tax exemption a year and a day before Carter was inaugurated as president. Falwell, Weyrich and others were undeterred by the niceties of facts. In their determination to elect a conservative, they would do anything to deny a Democrat, even a fellow evangelical like Carter, another term in the White House.

“But Falwell and Weyrich, having tapped into the ire of evangelical leaders, were also savvy enough to recognize that organizing grassroots evangelicals to defend racial discrimination would be a challenge. It had worked to rally the leaders, but they needed a different issue if they wanted to mobilize evangelical voters on a large scale.

Also see, for example, How AT&T fuels right-wing extremists , under The Dark Side below.


There Is Shadow Inflation Taking Place All Around Us

[Upshot, via The Big Picture 10-13-2021]

Some companies haven’t been raising prices. Instead, they’ve been cutting back customer services and conveniences, but how should that be measured?


America’s Economic Divide In Two Stories

[Heisenberg Report, via Naked Capitalism 10-10-2021]

The graphs alone are very instructive. 

GRAPH The top one percent’s share of national wealth eclipsed the entire middle class’s (middle 60 percent) share in 2021. 

And remember Citigroup’s 2005 Plutonomy reports, were some 15 years before RAND calculated that the top one percent have soaked the rest of us for over $50 trillion since 1975.


The Cross of Gold – populism, democratic iterations and the politics of money

Adam Tooze [Chartboook, via Naked Capitalism 10-11-2021]

The address that Nebraska’s William Jennings Bryan delivered at 2 pm on July 9 1896 at the Chicago Convention of the Democratic Party – the “Cross of Gold” speech – is a stunning piece of oratory on the theme of the gold standard and the peril that this rigid monetary system poses to society.

The incident is familiar to anyone with a background in American history. But when I first encountered it, as a European, I was staggered. It struck me as a truly remarkable example of democratic politics engaging with the question of money. It is more than 120 years old, but everyone concerned with monetary politics today should read Bryan’s speech. The full text is here.

Bryan’s oration culminates in these glorious paragraphs:

….”“There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.”


Bryan and the populist struggle with the gold standard seem particularly topical because we are, at this moment, debating the economics and politics of inflation and monetary policy. If Modern Monetary Theory insists that monetary sovereignty is there for the taking, in America, that is a claim with a deep history. Not that Bryan was an advocate of modern monetary policy, but he refused to subordinate America’s currency choices to the blackmail of monied interests.

Then there is the meta question. Set against the backdrop of recent history the fact that we are debating monetary policy at all can seem shocking. In the era of the 1980s and 1990s, insulating monetary policy from democracy was a key priority. The point, Rudiger Dornbusch, the influential MIT macroeconomist, liked to insist, was to put an end to “democratic money”.

But for money to be unpolitical, is not the natural order of things. It is the effect of a particular politics, a metapolitics of depoliticization. As Stefan Eich shows us in his forthcoming book, the Currency of Politics, the argument over the politics of money goes back to the ancients. The question should not be – “political money, or not?”. “Democratic money, or not?” The question should be – What kind of politics of money? What kind of democratic money?

I am dismayed Tooze does not mention the Peoples Party, which also nominated Bryan as its presidential candidate in 1896, or the crucial role of Mark Hanna in mobilizing and directing corporate support for McKinley’s crushing victory over Bryan. In his important history of this period of USA history, The Populist Moment, the late Lawrence Goodwyn explains how Bryan’s support of “Free Silver” left unaddressed the more fundamental question of creating and using a fiat currency, and who exactly controlled the creation of allocation of money and credit. In the 1892 election, the Peoples Party candidate  James B. Weaver won 8.5% of the popular vote and carried four Western states, becoming the first insurgent party since the end of the American Civil War to win electoral votes. Goodwyn explains how the 1896 nomination of Bryan led to the collapse and demise of the Peoples Party and the populist movement. “The third party movement of Populists became, within mainstream politics, the last substantial effort at structural alteration of hierarchical economic forms in modern America,” Goodwyn concluded. (p. 264).


“S2 E12 Populism Saved Us Before. Where is it Now?”

Thomas Frank [YouTube, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]


Central Asia’s Neoliberal Tragedy — Michael Hudson

Michael Hudson [via Mike Norman Economics 10-15-2021]

Resilience cannot be restored without public spending, but the rentier business plan is to minimize taxes by shrinking the government, especially by privatizing its public utilities and other functions to create opportunities for charging monopoly rents, and to oppose taxation of economic rent. Today’s mainstream economic philosophy and academic curriculum throughout the West backs this neoliberal program by denying that there is any such thing as unearned rentier income or wealth.

Yet only a rent tax can recapture what insiders have appropriated. At issue above all is whether credit, the banking and tax system will be managed as a public utility or for private gain. A national treasury or central bank must be empowered to create money so as not to rely on foreign banks. The guideline must be that no economy should borrow in a foreign currency that it does not earn, e.g., by exporting to earn the foreign currency needed to pay debts. There is no need to rely on foreign banks to lend dollars to be converted into domestic currency. In such cases the central bank has to create the domestic currency anyway. Foreign credit is needed only to pay for trade and payments deficits, not for domestic investment or consumption.

These tax and financial reforms failed as classical economics was rejected after World War I. The world today needs to recover its basic approach in order to free itself from the pro-rentier detour that it has taken, not only in the post-Soviet republics most conspicuously but now also plaguing Europe and the U.S. post-industrial economy itself.

To avoid the foreign dependency inherent in the neoliberalism sponsored by U.S. diplomacy, the World Bank and IMF requires an alternative body of economic theory, above all the distinction between earned and unearned income and the concept of economic rent as the excess of market pricing over intrinsic cost value. That was the thrust of classical political economy in the 19th century – to free markets from the rentier class. Value and price theory were the analytic tools to isolate economic rent as unearned income. These concepts provide the basis for managing a mixed public/private economy, public investment and credit creation, and for protecting domestic labour, industry and agriculture. In elaborating a theory to guide policy, the disastrous neoliberal promotion of rentier interests throughout the post-Soviet states provides an object [lesson]…


Austerity in England linked to more than 50,000 extra deaths in five years

[Guardian, via Naked Capitalism 10-16-2021]


The Totalizing Principle Of Profit, and the Death of the Sacred

Ian Welsh, October 13, 2021

In properly functioning societies there are sacred objects: things which money is not allowed to control. Perhaps this is our relationship with God; perhaps it is “don’t cut down all the forests”, perhaps it is access to healthcare for all no matter how little money they have; or perhaps it is access to law, so we provide lawyers to those who can’t afford them (and not overworked lawyers who can’t represent well.)

Perhaps we have public financing of election and limits of private spending to influence elections, since we value democracy and don’t think that rich people should control the government.

When a totalizing systems destroys other values, and degrades sacred goods and values and items, it destroys the circumstances required for its own existence, but in so doing it also brings catastrophe upon the society it is totalizing.


The Judgement of Craig Newell

Ian Welsh, October 15, 2021

Most people, I have come to believe, have a strong need to judge others. To quickly assign  “good” or “bad” labels. And once they’ve done so the thinking, the understanding and the empathy dies. Once someone is evil, or bad, or immoral they aren’t like us. (Because most of us don’t have the honesty to admit our own evil.) At that point, empathy dies. And without empathy there is no understanding—if you cannot walk a mile in someone else’s shoes you cannot understand them. (And, I suppose I should point out that understanding one’s enemies is the best way to defeat them. Which is why the US loses so much, because it refuses to understand those it fights.)


Workers revolt: The Great Resignation

“A record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, led by food and retail industries”

[CNBC, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-13-21]

“Workers left their jobs at a record pace in August, with bar and restaurant employees as well as retail staff quitting in droves, the Labor Department reported Tuesday… Quits have been seen historically as a level of confidence from workers who feel they are secure in finding employment elsewhere, though labor dynamics have changed during Covid-19 crisis. Workers have left their jobs because of health concerns and child care issues unique to the pandemic’s circumstances.”


Why Record Numbers of Workers Are Quitting and Striking

Sonali Kolhatkar [Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute, reposted on Naked Capitalism 10-16-2021]

…Taken together with mass resignations, such worker strikes reveal a deep dissatisfaction with the nature of American work that has been decades in the making. Corporate America has enjoyed a stranglehold over policy, spending its profits on lobbying the government to ensure even greater profits at the expense of workers’ rights. At the same time, the power of unions has fallen—a trend directly linked to increased economic inequality.

But now, as workers are flexing their power, corporate America is worried.

In the wake of these strikes and resignations, lawmakers are actively trying to strengthen existing federal labor laws. Business groups are lobbying Democrats to weaken pro-labor measures included in the Build Back Better Act that is being debated in Congress.

Currently, corporate employers can violate labor laws with little consequence as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) lacks the authority to fine offenders. But Democrats want to give the NLRB the authority to impose fines of $50,000 to $100,000 against companies who violate federal labor laws. Also included in the Build Back Better Act is an increase in fines against employers that violate Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.


Reich: US has an unofficial worker’s strike

[Guardian, via Naked Capitalism 10-15-2021]


Restoring balance to the economy

“Dollar General Workers Stare Down Historic Union Vote, Vowing ‘We’re Gonna Fight’”

[In These Times, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]

“In less than two weeks, a tiny group of a half dozen workers in Barkhamsted, Connecticut will vote on whether to become the only unionized Dollar General store employees in America. These six people in a small town about 20 miles northwest of Hartford now find themselves positioned to gain a historic toehold for organized labor inside a booming, low-wage industry. But it will not be easy. Ironically, the staffers in Barkhamsted who have launched the union drive say they enjoyed the job. ​’The place is like a family. The people there are family. We all take care of each other,’ said a Barkhamsted Dollar General employee who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation at work. According to the employee, the union drive came about in September as a result of poor treatment of employees by a Dollar General district manager. The employee said that the district manager ignored a complaint of sexual harassment in the store, and was heard making racist remarks about the store’s manager. When the district manager unfairly accused the store’s manager of stealing, the employee said, ​’We all got scared. If they could do something like this to someone who didn’t do anything, what could they do to us?’ Asked about the allegations about the district manager’s behavior, Dollar General said in a statement, ​’As a company, we do not comment on allegations of employee wrongdoing, other than to reiterate our zero tolerance policy for unlawful discrimination and harassment.’ The store’s employees reached out to Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), which represents grocery workers, manufacturing workers, and others throughout Connecticut. On September 20 — after only a few days of organizing — the union filed for an election. On October 22, the vote will be held in a tent outside the store. As soon as the union petition was filed, Dollar General reacted with an intense anti-union campaign.” • Against six people!


[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]



Some really good detail in the Twitter thread, which provides insights in how large companies like Deere can keep workers’ pay close to $20 and hour but turn around and claim they pay workers nearly twice as much. 


“The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure”

[Time, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]

”But in addressing the causes and consequences of this pandemic—and its cruelly uneven impact—the elephant in the room is extreme income inequality. How big is this elephant? A staggering $50 trillion. That is how much the upward redistribution of income has cost American workers over the past several decades. This is not some back-of-the-napkin approximation. According to a groundbreaking new working paper by Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards of the RAND Corporation, had the more equitable income distributions of the three decades following World War II (1945 through 1974) merely held steady, the aggregate annual income of Americans earning below the 90th percentile would have been $2.5 trillion higher in the year 2018 alone. That is an amount equal to nearly 12 percent of GDP—enough to more than double median income—enough to pay every single working American in the bottom nine deciles an additional $1,144 a month. Every month. Every single year.”


“Minimum Wage Machine”

[Blake Fall-Conroy, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]

“The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. For as long as they turn the crank, the user is paid in pennies as time passes. For example, if minimum wage is $7.25/hour (the current US Federal rate), then the worker is paid one penny every 4.97 seconds. If they stop turning the crank, they stop receiving money. The machine’s mechanism and electronics are powered by the hand crank, and pennies are stored in a plexiglas box. The MWM is reprogrammed as minimum wage changes, or for wages in different locations.”


When a Factory Relocates to Mexico, What Happens to Its American Workers? 

[New York Times, via Naked Capitalism 10-15-2021]

Resilc comments on Naked Capitalism: “They turn into Trump voters.”

Per the extraordinary New York Times opinion piece below:

What Killed the Blue-Collar Struggle for Social Justice

[New York Times, October 7, 2021]


They’re not capitalists – they’re a criminal predatory class

“Port truckers win $30 million in wage theft settlements”

[Los Angeles Times, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-13-21]

“One of the world’s largest trucking companies, XPO Logistics, agreed Tuesday to pay $30 million to settle class-action lawsuits filed by hundreds of drivers who said they earned less than minimum wage delivering goods for major retailers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach…. The settlements amounted to a major victory for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which applauded the lawsuits as part of a decades-long effort to organize the twin ports’ more than 25,000 drivers…. But as the pandemic has driven supply chain snarls, port drivers have voiced growing frustration at a loss of income as they wait in hours-long lines at the ports — time for which they would be compensated if they were employees. The settlements do not require XPO to reclassify its drivers as employees, but labor leaders nonetheless hailed the agreements, which will compensate 784 drivers, as a turning point in the fight over port drayage. The settlements are preliminary, but individual drivers could receive as much as $100,000, depending on how long they worked for the company.”


Billions hidden beyond reach: Trove of secret files details opaque financial universe where global elite shield riches from taxes, probes and accountability

[Washington Post, via The Big Picture 10-10-2021]


Pandora Papers: Stop the enablers that help billionaires dodge taxes

[The Hill, via The Big Picture 10-12-2021]

While we should hold the billionaire tax dodgers to account, not enough scrutiny is focused on the enablers, what social scientists describe as “the wealth defense industry.” These are the tax attorneys, accountants, wealth managers and family-office staffers that are paid millions to help billionaires sequester trillions.


“Here’s when the IRS can check out my bank account”

[Yahoo Finance, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-13-21]

“The original plan was for the IRS to monitor accounts with balances of more than $600, which is meant to filter out inactive accounts or those held by kids. That threshold is way too low. Democrats drafting legislation are considering raising the cutoff to $10,000, but $100,000 or even $1 million might be a better limit. Any proposal to monitor bank accounts, in this climate, would need ironclad assurances that ordinary people won’t end up as collateral damage, even if they do cheat in small ways by paying household workers in cash.” • If, in 2022, the Democrats are remembers for monitoring bank accounts with over $600 in them, they will lose catastrophically. The reporter, who is clearly in “I’m only trying to help you” mode, concludes: “A $1 million minimum income threshold feels about right, for starters. In fact, how about a demonstration targeting only the richest families in America? The IRS knows who they are, and Congress could give the IRS a down payment on that $80 billion to troll around in the bank accounts of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and Peter Thiel and find their hidden money. After a couple of years, the IRS could report back, in the aggregate, and let everybody know how much extra tax revenue they were able to snag by matching billionaire bank records with other data. Then Congress could give them a little more money to go down the chain from billionaires to multimillionaires, and so on.”


Quietly, the Fed Releases the Names of Banks that Got Billions in Emergency Repo Loans in 2019

Pam Martens and Russ Martens, October 13, 2021 [Wall Street on Parade]

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has quietly posted the names of the banks that grabbed billions of dollars under the Fed’s emergency repo loan operations that commenced on September 17, 2019 – months before there was a COVID-19 crisis anywhere in the world….

The names of the banks and the eyebrow-raising amounts they borrowed from the New York Fed do not square with the official story at the time – that the liquidity crisis occurred because U.S. corporations withdrew large amounts from the banks in order to make quarterly tax payments. The fact that so many huge loans ended up going to foreign banks, as well as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Securities, suggests that this was a derivatives counterparty problem, potentially triggered by Deutsche Bank’s crisis at the time.


Why Airports Hold Promise for Asset Allocators

[CIO, via The Big Picture 10-13-2021]

Investments in airports are increasingly popular among American institutional investors—less on US soil than overseas. “Privatizing airports is common outside the US.” The allure: Absent a global scourge, airports’ annual returns can be in the high single digits, or, using leverage, in the low teens. Despite US constraints and pandemic headwinds, odds are they’ll spring back to their old growth level, analysts say.


The Epidemic

K-12 schools without mask mandates in Michigan saw 62% more coronavirus spread

[Detroit Free Press, via Naked Capitalism 10-16-2021]


The impact of the COVID-19 response on the provision of other public health services in the U.S.: A cross sectional study

[PLOS One, via Naked Capitalism 10-16-2021]

From Conclusion: “The provision of many essential public health functions and tasks have been limited or eliminated while the U.S. public health workforce responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Green New Deal – An opportunity too big to miss

Empirically grounded technology forecasts and the energy transition (PDF) [Institute for New Economic Thinking, via Naked Capitalism 10-10-2021]

In response to our opening question, “Is there a path forward that can get us there cheaply and quickly?”, our answer is an emphatic “Yes!”. Our quantitative analysis supports other recent efforts using up-to-date data and technology assumptions that reach a similar conclusion. The key is to maintain the current high growth rates of rapidly progressing clean energy technologies for the next decade. This is required to build up the industrial capabilities and technical know-how necessary to produce, install and operate these technologies at scale as fast as possible so that we can profit from the resulting cost reductions sooner rather than later.

The belief that the green energy transition will be expensive has been a major driver of the ineffective response to climate change for the last forty years. This pessimism is at odds with past technological cost-improvement trends, and risks locking humanity into an expensive and dangerous energy future. While arguments for a rapid green transition often cite benefits such as the avoidance of climate damages, less air pollution and lower energy price volatility, these benefits are often contrasted against discussions about the associated costs of transitioning. Our analysis suggests that such trade-offs are unlikely to exist: a greener, healthier and safer global energy system is also likely to be cheaper.


Climate and environmental crises

“An Empire of Dying Wells”

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-12-21]

“There are hundreds of thousands of such decrepit oil and gas wells across the U.S., and for a long time few people paid them much mind. That changed over the past decade as scientists discovered the surprisingly large role they play in the climate crisis. Old wells tend to leak, and raw natural gas consists mostly of methane, which has far more planet-warming power than carbon dioxide. That morning in Ohio we pointed our camera at busted pipes, rusted joints, and broken valves, and we saw the otherwise invisible greenhouse gas jetting out. A sour smell lingered in the air. To Rusty Hutson, it smells like money. Hutson is the founder and chief executive officer of one of the strangest companies ever to hit the American oil patch and the reason for our four-day visit to the Appalachian region. While other oilmen focus on drilling the next gusher, Hutson buys used wells that generate just a trickle or nothing at all. Over the past four years his Diversified Energy Co. has amassed about 69,000 wells, eclipsing Exxon Mobil Corp. to become the largest well owner in the country. Investors love him. Since listing shares in 2017, Hutson’s company has outperformed almost every other U.S. oil and gas stock, swelling his personal stake to more than $30 million.”


In 2021, US on Pace for Most Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters Since Records Began

[Common Dreams, via Naked Capitalism 10-13-2021]


Progressive Policies into the Breach

Community fridges are not a pandemic fad. They’ve become entrenched in neighborhoods as a way to fight hunger. 

[The Counter, via Naked Capitalism 10-13-2021]


They Gave Black Mothers in Mississippi $1,000 a Month. It Changed Their Lives.

[The New Republic,

A basic income experiment in the state should teach national Democrats a lesson as they weigh a permanent Child Tax Credit….

The Magnolia Mother’s Trust is the longest-running basic income experiment since the Nixon era, and is among the first to try out the idea on a city level. But unlike recent programs in Stockton, California, or Newark, New Jersey, which select from a wider pool, it’s targeted at only Black mothers, acting in some ways like a child allowance. Most other developed countries have implemented a child allowance, but the United States has been an outlier, at least until pandemic politics offered an opportunity earlier this year. Biden’s Covid economic recovery bill, which Congress passed in March, has for the first time expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) so that money is sent each month to all families up to a certain income level. Over 90 percent of families with children will receive as much as $300 a month for every child under age six and $250 for older ones. It’s an idea that started with Democrats, but some Republicans have warmed to it; Senator Mitt Romney released his own proposal for monthly direct payments for parents earlier this year….

The first cohort of 20 Black mothers started receiving $1,000 a month in December 2018. Today, the program has expanded to 100 mothers and gives them an additional $1,000 in a 529 college savings account for their children.

It has had a huge impact. Among last year’s recipients, the ability to pay bills on time increased from fewer than a third to 83 percent. Less than two-thirds of them had enough money for food before the payments; 81 percent did after. There was a similar increase in the share who were able to regularly buy their children new clothes and shoes. More of them had cars and were able to afford gas. Nearly 90 percent had money saved for emergencies by the end of the program.


The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

The Supply Chain Crisis: How We Got Here

[Naked Capitalism]


‘Ryan Petersen on How Global Supply Chains Have Gotten Even Worse” (podcast) [Odd Lots, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]

“We’ve been covering global supply chain pressures almost since the beginning of the year on Odd Lots. And with each episode the question is “ok, so when will things normalize?” But basically, not only have things not normalized, things have gotten much worse. So why can’t the system stabilize?”


“‘Desperate for tires.’ Components shortage roils U.S. harvest”

[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-13-21]

“Manufacturing meltdowns are hitting the U.S. heartland, as the semiconductor shortages that have plagued equipment makers for months expand into other components. Supply chain woes now pose a threat to the U.S. food supply and farmers’ ability to get crops out of fields. Farmers say they are scrambling to find workarounds when their machinery breaks, tracking down local welders and mechanics. Growers looking to buy tractors and combines online are asking for close-up photos of the machine’s tires, because replacements are expensive and difficult to find, said Greg Peterson, founder of the Machinery Pete website which hosts farm equipment auctions. ‘As harvest ends, we will see farmers at equipment auctions not for the machinery – but for parts,” Peterson said. “We’re already hearing from guys talking about buying a second planter or sprayer, just for parts.’… The supply squeeze has put particular pressure on equipment dealerships, who typically see their service business boom during the traditional September through November harvest season. This year, some have resorted to sifting through decade-old inventory for solutions. One pain point for dealerships is an industry-wide shortage of GPS receivers, which are used to run tractor guidance and data systems.”


Surprise! Postal service is about to get slower — and more expensive

[Los Angeles Times, via The Big Picture 10-10-2021]

Starting Friday, the U.S. Postal Service is giving itself extra time to deliver letters…. Instead of the previous standard, which called for first-class mail to reach its destination in a maximum of three days regardless of the distance, the maximum will be five days…. The USPS is also raising prices on domestic parcels by anywhere from 25 cents to $5, depending on the packages’ distance and weight….

The Postal Service’s complacency in the face of deteriorating performance must be blamed on DeJoy, whose appointment was orchestrated in 2020 by a Trump-controlled USPS board of governors.

He was the first postmaster general in two decades not to have any experience with the service. On the other hand, he had been a major fundraiser for the Trump campaign. Insiders related how Dejoy’s name had been inserted into the short list for postmaster candidates seemingly out of nowhere. Possibly this reflected interference by then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who should have kept his hands off.

Questioned by congressional committees about noticeable declines in service on his watch, DeJoy, a former executive of a private logistics company, truculently defended his intention to make the service operate more like a business than a government agency.

To that end, he oversaw a 10-year strategic plan designed to narrow the service’s deficit the way a struggling private business would — by stretching out mail delivery deadlines, raising postal rates (perhaps steeply), cutting back on post office hours and closing branches.

The changes in standards and rates that DeJoy is implementing in the next few days come right out of that strategic plan. The changes are expected to save about $170 million a year, or about two-tenths of a percent of its operating budget of more than $82 billion. But they will have significant effects on many postal customers.

Disrupting mainstream economics

Is It Time for a New Economics Curriculum? 

[New Yorker, via The Big Picture 10-16-2021]

…an international team of collaborators is now seeking to change how the discipline is taught and to shape the world view of future economists. Led by Samuel Bowles and Wendy Carlin, the group aims to prepare students for a world transformed by the 2008 financial crisis, accelerating wealth inequality, climate change, and global pandemics. They say that their initiative—called core, for Curriculum Open-Access Resources in Economics, and anchored by a free online introductory textbook titled “The Economy”—will “teach economics as if the last thirty years had happened.”

….Bowles’s outlook was shaped by his early exposure to global inequality—he had spent his formative years in India, where his father was the U.S. Ambassador—and by a letter he received from Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968. Bowles had just earned his Ph.D. in economics and was teaching at Harvard; King had written to several economists in advance of his Poor People’s March. King’s letter included questions about why jobs were leaving city centers and how exactly education might promote greater equality. “I didn’t have a clue how to answer them,” Bowles recalled. In attempting to respond to King, he consulted colleagues with a range of specialties at Harvard; afterward, he concluded that he had learned more in that effort than in his entire previous training as an economist. He made a resolution: he would either try to expand the field of economics or leave it.

One college instructor estimates that using this free e-book to teach introductory economics, instead of Mankiw’s $130 neoliberal Principles will save his students over $100,000.


Creating new economic potential – science and technology

“Indigenous knowledge and the myth of ‘wilderness’”

[, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]

“Aboriginal ideas of “wilderness” are in direct contrast to the romantic notion of “wilderness” as “pristine” or “healthy” that remains a powerful narrative in conservation efforts across the world today. Human impacts on the environment are almost always viewed as threats to ecological health. But this framing ignores the fact that Indigenous and local peoples have been actively creating, managing and maintaining most of the Earth’s landscapes for thousands of years. In fact, this ignorance runs so deep that many “high value” landscapes that are mapped in global conservation efforts are incorrectly assumed to be people-free, ‘wild’ places. In a special issue on tropical forests in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), our work shows that many of these high value ‘wilderness’ landscapes are in fact the product of long-term management and maintenance by Indigenous and local peoples…. Domestic plants, anthropogenic soils and significant earthworks all characterize large parts of what is considered “wilderness” in the Amazon. Indigenous and local peoples struggle constantly against wilderness-inspired conservation that seeks to deny them access to their homelands and the livelihoods that it sustains. Similarly, swidden agriculture—rotational agriculture based on small-scale forest clearing, burning and fallowing—has been used in southeast Asia and the Pacific for millennia, in some of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. These are areas that are today mapped as “wilderness” under scientific attempts to define the last remaining ‘Wild Places.’ But rather than being wild places, swidden agriculture has actively promoted landscape-scale biodiversity across the region, while simultaneously supporting the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Indigenous and local peoples.” • Well worth a read.


It’s Official. China’s Solar Power Can Finally Compete With Coal

[Interesting Engineering, via Naked Capitalism 10-16-2021]

…the sharp drop in the price of photovoltaic systems has made solar capable of rivaling coal power in China, according to an analysis from researchers published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

However, as solar power comes to encompass a greater slice of a national economy’s power grid, it becomes harder to achieve a sustainable balance against the fact that solar can only generate power intermittently, potentially exacerbating energy management challenges….

Similar to other countries, China has noticed the dropping price of solar in the last decade, where, between 2011 and 2018, the cost fell 63%. In reaction to his plummeting price, solar installation has risen to unprecedented levels. As of writing, one-third of the entire world’s new solar capacity is being commissioned in China, where installation surpasses the Unites States’ solar capacity in 2013, and then Germany in 2015. Now China has 250 GW active, far more than double what it had previously projected by this point. And since China has ambitions to reach net-zero emissions by 2060, it probably won’t stop here.

However, most of China’s population resides in its southeastern region, on the opposite side of the nation’s best solar resources lie, in the northwestern regions where cloudless sunny days are abundant.


Historic Moment as First Passenger Train Along Laos-China Railway Arrives in Laos

[Laotian Times, via Naked Capitalism 10-16-2021]


Information Age Dystopia

“Facebook Banned the Creator of ‘Unfollow Everything’ and Sent Him a Cease and Desist Letter”

[Gizmodo, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-12-21]

“A developer who created a browser extension designed to help Facebook users reduce their time spent on the platform says that the company responded by banning him and threatening to take legal action. Louis Barclay says he created Unfollow Everything to help people enjoy Facebook more, not less. His extension, which no longer exists, allowed users to automatically unfollow everybody on their FB account, thus eliminating the newsfeed feature, one of the more odious, addictive parts of the company’s product. The feed, which allows for an endless barrage of targeted advertising, is powered by follows, not friends, so even without it, users can still visit the profiles they want to and navigate the site like normal.”


“We need to talk about how Apple is normalising surveillance”

[Wired, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-12-21] Indeed:

Many of Apple’s latest features are about enhancing surveillance – even if Apple would never call them that. The new iPhone operating system, iOS 15, can digitise text in photos, enabling users to copy and paste text from an image, or call a phone number that appears in a picture. Scanning nearby buildings with an iPhone will make Maps recognise them and generate walking directions. Algorithms will identify objects in real-time video, and it will be possible to turn photos into 3D models for augmented reality. And users will now be able to carry their IDs in their phone. All of these features increase the amount of data collected.

Apple is also active in the lucrative business of healthcare. Using their iPhones and Apple Watches, people can track their steps, heart rate, and gait, among other things. A new sharing tab on the Health app even lets users share their health data with family and caregivers. Granted, all that data is supposed to be kept secure – but whenever sensitive information is collected and shared that easily, data disasters are just lurking around the corner.

Indeed, once one starts scratching the surface, Apple’s contribution to the development of invasive technologies and the normalisation of surveillance becomes evident. Apple created the Bluetooth beacons tracking people in shops, gyms, hotels, airports and more by connecting to their phones. Apple’s usage of Face ID as a way to unlock the iPhone has contributed to normalising facial recognition. Its AirTag – a small device that can be stuck to personal items in order to track them – has caused concerns among privacy advocates that they will make it easier to track people. The Apple Watch, as the most advanced wearable on the market, leads us one step closer to under-the-skin surveillance, which can read our bodies and emotions. Most recently, Apple has developed a tool that can scan photos in people’s devices in search of child abuse material. While the objective is noble, the tool could be used for less ethical purposes and, according to security expert Bruce Schneier, it effectively breaks end-to-end encryption – the most powerful way we currently have to protect the privacy of our devices. (Apple later decided to pause its plans to roll out the tool.)

When it comes to privacy, iOS arguably has a better reputation among consumers than Android, as does Siri vs Alexa, and Safari vs Chrome. But that doesn’t give Apple permission to track our lived experience at all times with its microphones, cameras and sensors. Apple’s groundbreaking devices are pushing the limits of what technology companies can track, and that is not good news for privacy.


“Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands, documents show”

[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-13-21]

“Thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents examined by Reuters – including emails, strategy papers and business plans – show the company ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to boost its own product lines in India, one of the company’s largest growth markets. The documents reveal how Amazon’s private-brands team in India secretly exploited internal data from to copy products sold by other companies, and then offered them on its platform. The employees also stoked sales of Amazon private-brand products by rigging Amazon’s search results so that the company’s products would appear, as one 2016 strategy report for India put it, ‘in the first 2 or three … search results’ when customers were shopping on… The internal documents also show that Amazon employees studied proprietary data about other brands on, including detailed information about customer returns. The aim: to identify and target goods – described as ‘reference’ or ‘benchmark’ products – and ‘replicate’ them. As part of that effort, the 2016 internal report laid out Amazon’s strategy for a brand the company originally created for the Indian market called ‘Solimo.’ The Solimo strategy, it said, was simple: ‘use information from to develop products and then leverage the platform to market these products to our customers.’…

The 2016 document further shows that Amazon employees working on the company’s own products, known as private brands or private labels, planned to partner with the manufacturers of the products targeted for copying. That’s because they learned that these manufacturers employ ‘unique processes which impact the end quality of the product.’”


Health Care Crisis

You’re Being Gouged On Medicine You Already Paid For

David Sirota [The Daily Poster, October 12, 2021]

new Public Citizen analysis shows that the top 20-selling medicines generated almost twice as much pharmaceutical industry revenue in the United States as in every other country combined. Sure, as compared to others, Americans may buy a lot of prescription drugs, but this study reflects something much bigger at play: pharma-sculpted public policies that allow drug price levels to go beyond profits and into profiteering.


Xavier Becerra Could Lower Drug Prices — So Why Isn’t He?

[DailyPoster October 14, 2021]

During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to tackle out-of-control pharmaceutical prices. “I’m going to lower prescription drugs by 60%, and that’s the truth,” he declared in November 2020.

An obvious way the Biden administration could now do something about drug prices would be exercising its power to employ march-in rights. Such government rights were established under the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 and give federal agencies the power to license patented products to other manufacturers if they were developed with government funding under special circumstances — including when “action is necessary because the contractor or assignee has not taken, or is not expected to take within a reasonable time, effective steps to achieve practical application of the subject invention in such field of use” and when “action is necessary to alleviate health or safety needs which are not reasonably satisfied by the contractor, assignee, or their licensees.”

However, the federal government has never exercised those rights in the 40 years since the law was signed.

Health Care Lobbyists Admit Their Big Scam

Andrew Perez, October 14, 2021 [The Daily Poster]

Hospital lobbyists just detailed the thievery of the corporate health insurers in new documents reviewed by The Daily Poster….

The insidious details were spelled out by the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) in a letter responding to a federal rule aiming to limit surprise billing. Though FAH’s comments defend the group’s own for-profit interests, the filing from FAH president and CEO Chip Kahn — himself a former insurance lobbyist — offers a detailed look at the ways insurance companies mistreat patients to boost their own bottom line.


The Biden Transition and the Fight for Real Hope and Change This Time

“Biden’s inaction is poised to hand GOP the majority on this key agency”

[Politico, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-13-21]

“Anxiety is rising among Democrats as President Joe Biden marks nearly nine months in office without naming anyone to serve on the Federal Communications Commission — a lapse that could soon put Republicans in the majority at the agency. It also puts Biden’s broadband goals at risk, his party says. Congressional Democrats have been sounding the alarm for months, fearing a squandered year on the president’s progressive priorities, such as reinstating net neutrality rules and demanding greater transparency on internet billing. By comparison, former President Donald Trump named Ajit Pai as his FCC chair just three days after being sworn in, and the commission’s Republicans were rolling back net neutrality by December 2017. Biden’s delay is historic: No previous president has waited this long to name a chair of the five-member body. The closest parallels are Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, who waited until mid-September to name their agency chiefs. But Biden has blown past that deadline, alarming Capitol Hill Democrats who have few legislative days remaining this year for confirming any nominees the president might offer. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment about the delay.”


Most Democrats favor a bigger bill on social safety net and climate”

[CNN, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-13-21]

“the Democratic electorate does not agree over which side of the debate is doing more to help the party: 49% say that progressives trying to enact ambitious liberal policies are doing more for the Democrats, while 51% give more credit to moderates trying to contain government spending. Views within the party are divided along ideological lines, but far from universally so: Self-described liberals side, 64% to 36%, with the goal of ambitious liberal policies, while moderates and conservatives line up 61% to 39% behind those focused on containing government spending. There’s also a generational divide, with those younger than age 45 favoring the progressives and those 45 and older siding with the moderates. The poll also finds that there isn’t even universal alignment between what Democrats and Democratic-leaners say they want for the bill and what they feel is most helpful for the party. Among those who favor a broader bill enacting all of the proposed social safety net and climate change policies, 60% say progressives are doing more to help the party and 40% say moderates are. Those Democrats who favor a slimmed-down bill break 74% saying the moderates are doing more to help and 26% saying the progressives are.”



[DailyPoster 10-13-2021]

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison won overwhelming approval of his 75 at-large member nominees at the party’s virtual fall meeting last weekend, inviting in a new slate of corporate lobbyists representing the fossil fuel, pharmaceutical, and military industries, among others. Harrison selected the nominees without DNC member input, continuing past DNC Chair Tom Perez’s tradition of top-down decision-making. According to Sludge, “Last summer, delegates to the virtual Democratic National Convention’s Rules Committee hastily rejected a reform proposal that would have barred corporate lobbyists from serving as DNC members by a vote of 122-46.”


[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]


“Four Waste Coal Provisions Manchin Put in the Infrastructure Bill”

[Brick House, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21]

“While he’s been demanding large cuts to the Democratic reconciliation package, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) has consistently urged the House to take up and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate passed in August. Many of the business lobbying groups that fund Manchin’s campaigns back the infrastructure bill, but there may be another incentive driving Mancin’s support. A review of the legislative text shows that several provisions in a section drafted by Manchin’s committee would direct benefits to companies involved in waste coal, a niche area of the coal industry that happens to be what the Manchin family coal brokerage specializes in. Enersystems does not release information about its revenue, but the few public documents available show that it has a contract to provide waste coal to the only power plant in West Virginia that burns it for power. It is currently run by Sen. Manchin’s son, but Sen. Manchin earns about $500,000 from it annually through dividends on his shares, which he states in his financial disclosures are worth as much as $5 million.”


“Top Democrats Own Stock in AT&T, Funder of Far-Right OAN Network”

[Brick House, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-13-21]

“The far-right network One America News reaches millions of Americans with its content that includes election conspiracies and pandemic disinformation through the satellite broadcaster DirecTV, owned by the conglomerate AT&T. Recently, an OAN host floated the idea of executions for traitors who they say overthrew Trump’s re-election win. Last week, a bombshell Reuters investigation uncovered that AT&T-owned platforms provide 90% of the revenue for OAN’s parent company Herring Networks, and that without the telco giant’s financial backing, the company’s value would be nil. AT&T reportedly helped design the channel to grow its right-wing audience share from Fox News….. At least two dozen members of Congress or their spouses hold stock in AT&T, including Speaker Pelosi’s spouse, investor Paul Pelosi, and other members of House Democratic leadership, according to a review of House and Senate financial disclosure reports covering 2020. In the Senate, three of the four AT&T stockholders are members of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications Media and Broadband, which has jurisdiction over all sectors of communications, and three are Democrats. Speaker Pelosi’s spouse’s investment in AT&T is worth between $250,000 and $500,000 as of the most recent disclosure, with income last year to their household between $15,000 and $50,000.”


The Dark Side

How AT&T fuels right-wing extremists

[Popular Information, via The Big Picture 10-10-2021]

One America News (OAN), a right-wing propaganda network that promotes unhinged conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, COVID, and other topics, relies almost exclusively on funding from AT&T. Court records first obtained by Reuters reveal that AT&T is responsible for 90% of OAN’s revenue.


Who Is Jeffrey Clark, and How Did He Try to Destroy Democracy?

Daniel Strauss, October 14, 2021 [The New Republic]

The January 6 commission’s latest subpoena target was willing to become Trump’s attorney general and help him invalidate the election. He spent a career preparing for that moment….

The report’s findings and Clark’s professional background show he is the type of elite Republican lawyer whom conservative lawmakers depend on when the American legal system is the focus. A Philadelphia native, Clark is one of those Washington lawyers with elite academic credentials—an undergraduate degree in history and economics from Harvard, a master’s in urban affairs and public policy from the University of Delaware’s public policy school (now named after Biden, ironically), and a law degree from Georgetown University Law School.

He spent years at the hard-charging law firm Kirkland & Ellis—the legal shop that housed Ken Starr, John R. Bolton, Bush administration Solicitor General Paul Clement, Brett Kavanaugh, Jeffrey Rosen, John Eastman, Pat Cipollone, and former Trump Attorney General William Barr, among a who’s who list of attorneys who went to work in conservative administrations (the firm has employed attorneys who became Democratic lawmakers as well). The firm’s clientele list includes BP, General Motors, Jeffrey Epstein, and the Brown & Williamson tobacco company.


Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State 

Matt Taibbi, October 16, 2021

A major untold story of the Trump era has been the political comeback of the CIA, NSA, and FBI, who thanks to an ingenious marketing campaign now enjoy widespread support among young liberals.….

Millions of Boomers and Gen-Exers alike had grown up worshipping at the altar of Miranda and Mapp v. Ohio, believing the ideas of due process and transparency inviolable. After the Church Committee hearings on intelligence abuses in the seventies, blue-staters also tended to believe the CIA had been chastened at least somewhat when it came to the really nasty stuff, like assassination, domestic spying, etc. After 9/11, though, all this was brought back on a grand scale and, worse, given a brilliant legal makeover to keep congress, judges and the press locked out this time.

Targets of the FBI’s “National Security Letters” could not by law be told they’d been searched. You couldn’t find out if you were on a watch or no-fly list. Those scooped up as enemy combatants (so named to eliminate Geneva Convention oversight) and renditioned to God Knows Where had no habeas corpus rights, a fact a lot of Americans were fine with, so long as the prisoners were al-Qaeda suspects and random Afghan cabbies….

Then Trump arrived. Almost immediately, it was obvious his historical destiny was to be the best thing that ever happened to the secret services. In the same way hydroxychloroquine became snake oil the instant Trump said he was taking it, the “Deep State” became a myth the moment Trump and his minions started talking about it. Deep state warriors like Brennan, Clapper, and former CIA chief Michael Hayden, held in near-universal disdain before as some of the world’s most loathsome people, people so morally ugly it showed on their hideous faces, became immediately respectable by rebranding themselves as Trump critics. The early Trump years, in fact, made heroes of every tumescent peeping-Tom creep and spook in the federal register, now cast in the press as democracy’s infantry, saving the world through intercepts, informants, and leaks.

In a flash, programs that terrified American liberals previously, like FISA, became weapons of Holy War, in the ongoing campaign to Oust Trump via a succession of investigations and impeachment bids.



“How did Delta Airlines awaken 570 dormant aircraft?” [FreightWaves] WC 10-12. “Delta Air Lines parked 571 mainline aircraft across the country in 2020 when the COVID-19 wiped out most passenger travel. Airlines still have about 70% of their pre-pandemic international capacity in hibernation, but Delta is returning aircraft to the skies because the U.S. domestic market is recovering faster than in other parts of the world. Parking a plane and bringing it back to life after months of inactivity isn’t as simple as turning the engines off and on. It takes a lot of effort, including maintenance and electrical checks, to keep an aircraft in a ready state for future use. … In some regions of the world, for example, mud dauber wasps clog exterior speed-sensing tubes with mud. Maintenance personnel are instructed to regularly check the probe covers for damage.” • I seem to remember Boeing had a problem with sensors…


#367- BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG (Part the Fifty-third)” (podcast) [The Civil War Podcast]. WC 10-12 • I can’t recommend this podcast enough. It’s inspiring to watch Rich and Tracy work each week to get the history right, while also educating their listeners on sourcing. (Quite a contrast to the 1619 Project, too, I might add, especially given that The Civil War Podcast is steadily and effectively — and for Confederacy supporters, agonizingly — shoving a knife into the heart of Lost Cause mythology.) That aside, Rich is going part-time at his job to devote more time to the podcast (and possibly help their marriage, too). Since Rich works in health care, that would make him part of the post-Covid “Great Resignation”; he’s cutting back on the job to do meaningful work. Good for him, and the best of luck to both of them; they’ve really earned it. #367. Imagine!


“It’s almost impossible to find hunting ammunition right now” [Bangor Daily News, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-13-21] “Nationwide shortages of shotgun shells and rifle cartridges have left shelves bare in gun shops and sporting goods stores, forcing hunters to carefully use their on-hand supply as they search for reinforcements in stores and online during what is typically one of the busiest times of the season….. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year led to shutdowns at munitions factories, resulting in a drastic reduction in the amount of gun ammunition available across the United States. Then in July 2020, Remington Outdoor Company, which owned a sizable share of the ammunition market, went out of business…. While manufacturing is reportedly increasing, the current production isn’t relieving the shortage retailers are experiencing. Byron Dill, owner of Dill’s Outdoors in Bangor, has a hard time accepting the unavailability of ammo. ‘The companies say that they’re manufacturing more ammo and running at full capacity. That’s great, fine and dandy, but shops should have ammo to sell,’ Dill said. ‘I don’t understand where the ammo is going.’”



Open Thread


Remembering Colin Powell


  1. Z
    Mind you that the Fed backstops this system. Whenever our rulers push it to the point that they are about to take a fall for their reckless greed here comes the Fed to insulate them from the rot they’ve done to the foundations of the brick and mortar economy.

    Stanley Fisher’s and Larry Fink’s Fun Factory named BlackRock is a great example. They’re hooked up straight to the Fed’s liquidity pumps and they use it to buy REITs which allows large residential rental owners to isolate themselves from the ability of the public to pay their rents which could collapse their real estate empires that are often built on a houses of paper (credit). So, BlackRock buys REITs to inflate the value of the underlying real estate assets which allows them to keep their whole over-leveraged game afloat.


  2. different clue

    ( I just left a thought at the end of the “The Totalizing Principle Of Profit, and the Death of the Sacred” thread. Here is the link to that thread.)

  3. different clue

    What if we, the still-employed, were to launch a spender revolt to go along with the worker revolt? Each of us has only a tiny bit of spending power per person. But a hundred million of us have a hundred million tiny bits of spending power in overall additive aggregate. And the officers of the Czar’s Army supposedly had a saying, ” quantity has a quality all its own.” Which the Soviet Red Army revealed to be true in its victory over the Nazi Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front in World War Two.

    So what if a hundred million still-employed non-rich American spenders were to inform their spending decisions with that knowledge in mind, and with a goal of supporting the worker revolt? How would they adjust and re-direct what small fraction of their spending which they could adjust and re-direct toward making the worker revolt more effective and toward weakening the anti-workeritic Black Hat Sadocapitalists? ( Sadism + Capitalism = Sadocapitalism).

    Well, we could just stop spending money and collapse the whole economy down to zero and then we of the Hundred Million still-employed could become the Hundred Million Nouveau Unemployed with no way back from under the bridges and behind the dumpsters. But I would not recommend that approach.

    Well . . . what if we tried to figure out a stackable ranking of which employERS are MORE anti-workeritic, and which ones are LESS anti-workeritic, and which ones are the LEAST anti-workeritic? ( Antiworkerism is to workers what antisemitism is to Jews. Antiworkerism, antiworkerite, antiworkeritic . . . get it?) A hundred million politiculturally targeted and targeting micro-spenders could well weaken and attrit the most antiworkeritic employers and employment situations while permitting the least antiworkeritic employers and employment situations to remain standing. We could bias and tilt the whole politiconomic society in a less antiworkeritic direction.

    We could spend less “here” in order to spend more “there”, very carefully choosing our “heres” and “theres” to have some targeted effect against the more bad and not the less bad. And those who see any actual good out there in the land of “places to spend money at” could target their spending towards those places in order to strengthen those places both relatively and absolutely.

    There are print resources and web resources about how to ” live cheap” and “live even cheaper”. Those resources are strictly devoted to the concept of “saving money”. But what if a hundred million micro-spenders saved money “here” and then strategically and tactically spent that saved money “there” with long-running economic combat and conquest goals in mind?

    I am sure that everyone who disagrees with that whole concept will jump up to say so in the very nastiest personal terms. I understand that and I expect it. But if there is anyone who agrees in whole or in part, or if there is anyone who thinks the concept could be improved with certain nuanced or even major adjustments and re-adjustments; comments in that latter vein would offer genuine value among the merely hostile rejoinders which I expect and to which I am already pre-inured.

  4. NR

    Great article. I will once again point out that white working-class voters could change this system at any time, but they choose to keep voting for Mitch McConnell and politicians just like him.

  5. Hugh

    Conservatives can always find the money for the rich: tax cuts, their wars, their bailouts, but when it comes to wooing the non-rich, it’s cheap red button social issues that cost them nothing: Trump, anti-abortion, anti-vaccine.

    One of the hardest things I have tried to convey is the magnitude of wealth the rich have stolen. It’s not like they have stolen some or a lot but an ungodly, unimaginable amount, like whatever people think times a million. Then ask is there anyway that can be right, justifiable, or sustainable.

  6. Trinity

    Ineffective response to COVID

    Ineffective response to economic inequality

    Ineffective response to union busting activities

    Ineffective response to climate change

    Ineffective response to tax evasion

    Ineffective response to wage deflation

    Ineffective response to the transition to renewable energy

    Ineffective response to protecting women’s reproductive health rights

    Ineffective response to health care rip offs

    Ineffective response to offshoring American jobs

    Ineffective response to Big Tech’s increasing surveillance and misbehavior

    Did I miss any?

  7. bruce wilder

    [another great review, no justification for my choice of item to comment on]

    Institute for New Economic Thinking In response to our opening question, “Is there a path forward that can get us there cheaply and quickly?”, our answer is an emphatic “Yes!”.

    It seems like many years ago when John Quiggin, the Australian economist at Crooked Timber, would offer his optimism about responding to climate change as if it were itself an argument. Probably was years ago, now that I think about it.

    The economics profession has proven its incompetence in trying to generate projections and analyses of the economics of climate change and public policy to head it off. Not a little malevolence, too. But, most of the profession are earnest fools, Star Trek fans who never learned anything.

    Dreadfully stupid this is. Economists have done a great deal to keep the world paralyzed. Few are smart enough to even recognize the role they have played in condemning the world to the horrors to come.

    The most basic relationships are completely ignored. Energy & entropy? Never heard of it! Implications of scale? Let’s just assume enough battery capacity to run the planet for however long?

    The IPCC has to project taking carbon out of the air and water on a vast scale to keep their precious optimism, but economists remain unaware. No word on conservation either. Idiots all.

  8. Hugh

    Re a new economics curriculum, this looks like a British new more politically aware, more woke liberal economics redo. The two CORE (Curriculum Open-Access Resources in Economics) authors have impeccable Establishment credentials. Wendy Carlin is a Rhodes Scholar and taught at University College London. Samuel Bowles’ dad was Ambassador to India and he was teaching at Harvard shortly after getting his PhD in Economics. They got funding for their work from foundations associated with Omidyar, Soros, and the Hewletts. So serious money from serious money.

    I guess what got me wondering was the story that what got them started was the question why no one had foreseen the 2008 financial meltdown coming. The problem with this is that there were people who did see this coming. I remember Ian’s posts at FDL and a bunch of us sitting around, eating pop corn, and wondering which financial event was coming next and which would send the financial system over the cliff. Thing was a lot of us had been talking about this stuff for a couple of years by that point. So you would think that Carlin and Bowles would know this, and gotten in touch with some of those who got it right, and this might have rated a mention in the article, Instead, crickets. Nor was there any mention of MMT. I don’t agree with MMT on many things, but I would think that any new economics that doesn’t mention it is probably not that new an economics.

  9. someofparts

    This just came out about the economic meltdown in 2008.

    What the producers of the film are showing is that the whole mess has been, and continues to be, felony-level fraud and crime.

    Digby used to be baffled that these people never listened to reason, or good-faith efforts to find common ground. She took down comments before I could point out that her mistake was to think that people who know they are criminals play by the same rules the rest of us do. Think about it for a few seconds and the answer becomes obvious. Among criminals, to be accepted and supported, you have to be dirty. The rule among criminals is that to be trusted you must prove you are as compromised as they are. The most threatening person in the world to a crook is someone honest, someone clean. An honest person can tell the truth without damage to themselves. And no crook will do business with someone clean enough to be honest.

  10. StewartM

    (Posted originally on wrong thread; my apologies)

    I read the link to the abortion issue failure, and found it opaque. Dems aren’t using the “right messaging” and are to blame for the loss of women’s reproductive rights—what that right messaging was, we were supposed to know.

    I, in an evil moment, note that if 90 %, or even 80 %, and probably even 70 %, voted for abortion rights–even in TEXAS–there would never be such a law. Texas has such a law because a great many women were fine with denying themselves rights (or, at least, it didn’t rise as an important enough issue when they walked into a voting booth). Women, including a lot of poor women, could not be bothered to vote for their own interests just like a lot of working-class whites have been voting for the past 50 years to likewise to shit in their own economic beds because, you know, the danger of those “other people” takin’ over.

  11. StewartM

    “The original plan was for the IRS to monitor accounts with balances of more than $600, which is meant to filter out inactive accounts or those held by kids. That threshold is way too low. Democrats drafting legislation are considering raising the cutoff to $10,000, but $100,000 or even $1 million might be a better limit. Any proposal to monitor bank accounts, in this climate, would need ironclad assurances that ordinary people won’t end up as collateral damage, even if they do cheat in small ways by paying household workers in cash.”

    This is already being done, to an extent. I have had an international online bank account that was used to make small money transfers and payments cancelled for ‘suspicion’ of wrongdoing even though I know I wasn’t doing anything illegal (they did refund the small amount of funds in it). Moreover, due to the Patriot Law, I presume, they said they couldn’t tell me what I was suspected of doing illegal or what the problem was. Many small-time holders run into that problem, have their accounts cancelled out of the blue with no explanation other than “we can’t tell you why” and have to wait months for their money (sometimes in the thousands of dollars) to be returned.

    All at the same time, the big boys (including big criminals) have no problem movign money around or making payments at all.

    I’ll add another part of the solution–the $10,000 cash limit for taking money undeclaried out of the country, and for deposits and transfers which alerts banks to potential criminal activity (and hey, if you frequently deposit $8000 or $9000 and not $10,000 they can nab you for ‘structuring’ charges–this has bitten small business owners to make daily deposits nearly that amount) should be adjusted for inflation. As the Bank Secrecy Act was passed in 1970, that would set the limit at over $70,000 and few people would be liable for it.

    Moreover, for payments or transfers set a de minimus limit–small amounts should rightly fly under the radar and be “of minimal concern”.

  12. StewartM

    No minimum wage hike
    No filibuster reform
    No court expansion
    No medicare for all
    No green new deal
    No student debt help
    No pandemic plan
    No closing child cages
    No end to migrant abuse
    No consequences for Trump thugs

    Most of (but not all) these things were probably pipe dreams from the get-go, as long as Senators (in particular 2) are up for sale. The media plays this as a battle between “centrist Dems” and “progressive” Dems where it’s really “the vast Majority of even the inadequate, compromised Dems in Congress” vs “two bought-and-paid-for holdouts who want even tell anyone what their objections are”.

    The “no justice for Trump thugs” appears squarely on Merrick Garland, though, who pretends that these times are simply “normal”.

  13. Hugh

    File under ‘To the surprise of no one,’ Republicans are saying they will support a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve for Jerome ‘Bail-out-the-rich’ Powell.

    And yes, the 2008 financial meltdown was the result of the biggest and most pervasive bank and real estate frauds in human history. It was fraud everywhere, all the time, every step of the way, all the way down, from the first ‘So you’re interested in buying a house’ to the last CDO squared or cubed at the other end.

  14. Astrid


    Exactly. This is why the Mafia and criminal gangs typically only promote people to full membership after completing a murder. Honest cops are driven out or killed in corrupt police departments. Chinese officials in certain provinces, at least 15 years ago, all had mistresses. The lawless only trusts other lawless. Even if you keep to yourself and never make a sound, you are still suspect if you are clean. Dirtying yourself is the first step to advancement.

    If one think of the modem political and financial class as a criminal organization, then it all makes sense why completing a suite of mindbogglingly dull and false economics courses is one of the first steps to elite status jobs. Anyone who is capable of minimal independent thinking would have rebelled. Econ 200 level courses are very effective at screening for enforcers who will learn whatever authority tells them.

    John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer were probably allowed to run for higher office because of their character flaws, so they could be safely destroyed when they went off script.

  15. Plague Species

    What’s Bernie’s character flaw, or flaws, since he’s been allowed to be a Senator for much of his career?

  16. Plague Species

    Also, a moment of silence for the passing of Colin Powell. He was a great man.

    Colon Bowel

  17. Hugh

    Interesting. Naked Capitalism is carrying more Glenn Greenwald links. Greenwald who never had a word to say against Trump is going full-on anti-Jan, 6 committee. His descent into kookdom, Tucker Carlson wannabe continues. See it’s OK for idiot Trumpers to assault the Capitol but investigate them and the people, like Trump, behind them the horrors! Glenn is not the first, nor unfortunately will he be the last one time crusader turned past it has-been with grudges. Still interesting that Naked Capitalism promotes him.

  18. Hugh

    Plague, Colin Powell is one of the people who got me into the blogosphere. I still thought way back when there were a few adults in the room when it came to US foreign policy. Then Powell gave his speech to the UN laying out the case for Iraq’s WMD, and I thought we are so f—cked. That was one of the things that I loved about the blogosphere back then was there were so many people who did not accept what they were told no matter who said it but wanted to see and assess the evidence for themselves, as close to the primary sources as they could.

  19. different clue


    DLC Free Trade Democrats support the same ripoff. Sanders opposed the same ripoff, at least in theory. And since the DLC Free Trade Democrat Party did not want to take a chance on Sanders meaning it in fact, they engineered his removal from the primary process in mid process.

    So the White working class members are offered nothing of “difference” to vote about between the two parties except “culture politics” differences. And by the way, the South Carolina Black voters also voted for the Dem side of the ripoff. Clyburn led the conspiracy against Sanders from the front with Obama leading from the rear. So you might give some of the Black working class a mention as well.

  20. DMC

    Yeah I’d have preferred to see Colin Powell go out at the end of a rope instead of living to the ripe old age of 84, with a government pension. But in this system the real criminals always walk, while the shoplifters and whistleblowers do federal time. That’s what comes from not taking the Nuremberg laws seriously, in terms of enforcement. That’s how we wind up supporting all the worst countries in the world and going to war against the most innocuous.

  21. different clue

    @Plague Species,

    Bernie’s character flaw is that if there is a trigger that needs pulling ” right at this particular key moment”, he will never ever pull it.

    He could have set Biden up for self-disintegration on TV in that debate by just asking Biden some pointed very-detailed questions requiring a very deep memory and very sharp recall. Biden’s weakness would have been made self-manifest.

    But Sanders could not pull that trigger. He kept giving Biden nerf-ball questions and nerf-ball statements and called Biden his friend.

    Between that and Clyburn-Obama foaming the runway for Biden, any chance for Bernie and us ended right there in that debate.

  22. NR

    different clue:

    Oh, I don’t argue that voters of any race or class don’t make bad decisions. Voters in the US have been making bad decisions for decades now. I’m just saying that white working class voters have the most political power of any group of voters in the US because not only are they the most numerous group, they also have power out of proportion to their numbers because of the Senate and the Electoral College. So if they wanted to really change things, they could.

    But they keep voting for Mitch McConnell and politicians like him.

  23. Mark Pontin

    someofparts: ‘What the producers of the film are showing is that the whole mess has been, and continues to be, felony-level fraud and crime. ‘

    Possibly an understatement. Most people — here included — have no idea of how the US ruling class, which has historically always operated as a kleptocracy, went hyper-criminal en masse in the aftermath of 2008 to save themselves.

    So I’ll check out THE CON. I’ve been waiting for someone to tell the full truth.

    But I’ve just glanced the reviews and the documentary’s makers are still living in the US, and still alive. So, while it seems they nail the fraud with the mortgages, CDOs, and the rest beforehand, it doesn’t look like they get to the aftermath with the US government actively complicit in the mass forgery — by the millions — of mortgage notes and the TBTF banks taking as much global drug cartel money as they could grab to help fix their balance sheets, all with the very active assistance of Eric Holder and company.

    A state as corrupt as the current US is only fit to be flushed down the toilet of history.

  24. Mark Pontin

    Though the CON’s trailer does climax by saying, “This was the largest conspiracy of lies in the history of the world.”

    I resist such statements because they sound over the top. I don’t know, after all, if a comparison to the fall of the Western Roman empire would be anything but an apples and oranges comparison (though I suspect there were fewer lies and less fraud with Rome); and Bolsonaro’s Brazil or some other South American sh1thole state is arguably as corrupt (but far smaller).

    I do know that the Chinese CCP regularly puts bullets through the heads of financial criminals and then sends their families a bill for the bullets for criminality of the level of what was committed by somewhere between 10,000 to 50,000 of the American ruling class in the leadup and the aftermath of the 2008 GFC.

  25. Z


    You are supremely qualified to write for the NYZ Times, the Grey Whore herself, the nation’s paper of propaganda, which does it best to divide the U.S. working class while protecting the parasites who inflict the most damage to the U.S. working class and poor, not to mention the world and the planet.

    Yes, it always the white working class’s fault. Why can’t they all get together and vote as a monolith to stop this? What’s so hard about that? Always ignoring the scumbags like Schumer who protect Let Them Eat Shit Mitch by heavily financially backing someone who had no chance of upending McConnell instead of a black candidate, Charles Booker, who did and didn’t lose by much to McGrath though he was outspent damn near 10 to 1 on TV ads. But Schumer (D-Wall Street) had nothing to do with it, it’s just the white working class. Lay it on them. If only they were less racist …


  26. Z

    Remember when the white working class voted to have the Fed bail out Wall Street in 2008? NR does.

    Remember when the white working class voted to allow the Fed to funnel their free money to BlackRock so that they can protect the financiers and cause the cost of housing to go through the roof? NR does.


  27. Z

    Remember when the white working class voted for a black man to become president so that the criminals on Wall Street wouldn’t pay any consequences for their crimes and instead would further prosper? NR does.


  28. Hugh

    On the other hand, what interests were the white voters of Kentucky voting for when they re-elected Mitch?

  29. Z

    NR’s blather:

    I’m just saying that white working class voters have the most political power of any group of voters in the US because not only are they the most numerous group, they also have power out of proportion to their numbers because of the Senate and the Electoral College. So if they wanted to really change things, they could.

    Every individual white working class voter is fully accountable for how every other white working class voter votes because it’s their personal responsibility to convince every other white working class voter to vote a certain way. Because if 100% of the white working class only voted the same way this could all be changed. And what’s so hard about that? And of course it is also their fault when the non-working class Senate candidates they were given the choice to vote for don’t vote the way the white working class wants once they get into office. Try harder white working class!

    We’re all politicians now …


  30. NR

    Wow, apparently I touched a nerve.

    Which is odd, because all I did was make the factually correct observation that the white working class has more political power than any other group of voters in the United States. And yet they insist on using that power to perpetuate a system that actively makes their lives worse.

    Maybe think about why that is, instead of ranting.

  31. Z


    Maybe stop making ridiculous assertions that if every white working class voter would vote the same way … a virtual impossibility when there are tens of millions of them … that this would all be solved and then stop using that to imply that it is each and every white working class voter’s fault that we are where we are. Because of racism, I suppose …

    Try harder!


  32. different clue


    The White working class used its voting power to elect Obama president in order to de-perpetuate this system. They did not vote for Obama to be yet another Clintonite for Free Trade and FIRE sector mass criminality. That is a doublecross decision Obama made all on his own. Probably decades before, while lying about it to all and sundry.

    We will never know how the “White working class” would have voted about Sanders.
    We were denied the chance to find out due to the Clyburn-Obama conspiracy to nominate Biden.

    How is the White working class supposed to vote for “change” when “change” is pre-assassinated from appearing on the ballot over and over and over?

    So when a “destabilization candidate” like Trump showed up, chunks of the White working class were prepared to vote for that.

    Michael Moore predicted the Trump election victory before it happened, which showed that his theoretical and observational framework was pretty reality-based at the time. Here is a video of a talk he gave to a big group predicting it all and explaining his prediction. For those who are not afraid to watch it and face up to it, here it is.

  33. different clue

    The video link I offered above is only a part of the original video which used to be easy to find but which you tube has now made too difficult to locate in the few minutes I have.
    So here is another part of the larger video. This part came before the part I link to above. It is part of the stage-setting of the explanation.

    The Democrats created Trump and got Trump nominated by their ” Pied Piper Strategy” of vast free-media coverage to elevate Trump’s free-media profile. The Democrats’s big stroke of genius was that Trump was the most defeatable candidate the vile filthy scum Hillarrhoid Clinton , the Free Trade Traitor, could run against.
    And by driving Sanders out of the race in favor of their beloved Goldman Sachs Feminist Hillarrhoid Clinton, the Democrats tilted the field in favor of Trump. In a very real sense , the Clintonite Shitobamacrats got exactly what they engineered, set up and asked for. They gave the ” White working class” a choice between their Social Class Enemy Clinton and a seeming Social Class Sympathiser/Advocate Trump.

    Thank you DLC Free Trade Clinonite Shitobamacrat scum.

  34. Hugh

    What the Democrats didn’t get, couldn’t see through their own prejudices about, was that even though Trump was a terrible deranged POS and had spent his whole life pissing on the working class, to many Americans, he was still better than Hillary.

  35. different clue


    Well . . . Billary spent their whole lives pissing on the working class too, so what difference was the working class supposed to see there anyway? Except that Hillary promised even more pissing on the working class, what with her TPP and all. And her gang of goons’s treatment of Sanders and Sanders supporters.

  36. NR

    How is the White working class supposed to vote for “change” when “change” is pre-assassinated from appearing on the ballot over and over and over?

    They can vote in primaries as easily as they can vote in general elections.

    In the Democratic Senate primary in Kentucky in 2020, Amy McGrath, the dismal establishment candidate, beat the much more pro-working class Charles Booker by a mere ~15,000 votes. Meanwhile Mitch McConnell racked up 342,000 votes in his primary where he had no serious opposition. If only 15,000 or so of those white working class folks would have changed the primary they voted in and supported Booker, they would have had a change candidate to vote for in November.

    But they didn’t. They repeated the same pattern that white working class voters do all over the country–they supported a candidate who has dedicated his entire career to making rich people richer at their expense.

  37. different clue

    They tried that. And they have beheld how the organized Clintonite Democrat Party conspires to delete Sanders from the process twice. So they see that their primary choices are pre-chosen or pre-assassinated for them.

    As long as the Democratic Party runs Clintonite Shitobamacrat Free Trade Traitors, it will never ever attract any interest from “working class” people, ever ever again. Never ever.

  38. different clue

    . . . ” But they didn’t. They repeated the same pattern that white working class voters do all over the country–they supported a candidate who has dedicated his entire career to making rich people richer at their expense.”

    And you know . . . . that’s exactly what the Clintons dedicated their entire careers to doing . . . making rich people richer at their expense. So did you really think they were all going to vote for Clinton?

    Those couple of Michael Moore videos will help some people understand that. But maybe not you.

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.
    There are none so dumm as those who will not think.
    There are none so lost as those who will not read a map.

    Life is a gift, not a reward. Those who are too stupid to live have no right to exist. And do not deserve to survive.

  39. Hugh

    different clue, you got me thinking about what distinguished Bill, Hillary, Trump, and most of our other politicians from each other. They are all conmen. And understanding them is all about how well they sold their cons. I think Bill was the best conman of the lot. He could steal people blind, and they would thank him for it. It is also interesting how he and Trump are almost mirror images of each other. Yet both wildly successful, and if anything, Trump is even better than Bill at selling his con. Bill couldn’t keep his pants on or learn to take them off quietly. For Trump, he wouldn’t hide it, he would boast about it, and get away with it. With Trump there was no art of the deal. It was all theater all the time. Compare that to Hillary. She tried to execute Bill’s con but without his flair. So when she promised to sell people half of what they needed at twice what they could afford. It fell flat and she came across as insufferably arrogant, which is what she was. But then so were Bill and Trump, only they could pull it off, and she couldn’t.

  40. different clue

    I think Bill ” Jeffrey Epstein’s Friend ” Clinton is a better conman than Trump is. I think he will con all the establishment historians into regarding him as a “good” or even a “near-great” president. Trump won’t be able to achieve that.

    And of course the Clintons’ Pink Pussy Hat Cult has just as many members as Trump’s Red MAGA Hat Cult.

    I never had the initiative to follow up on an idea I once had . . . . to buy a MAGA Hat and put a Marx button and a Sanders button on it.

    I think it would just kill Trump if his legal and business troubles leave him with less money than the Clintons have. Then people could yell at him every time he shows his face in public: ” Hey Donnie-boy! It looks like the Clintons were better crooks than you were! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

    Obama, too. Obama will end up having been the more successful crook and conman than Trump.

    Obama? Dawwgg . . . he SMOOOVE . . .

  41. NR

    I am 100% not defending the Clintons in any way. I’m simply saying that mathematically and systemically, working-class whites have a tremendous amount of political power in America. They can vote in candidates in primaries who support their interests, and if that fails for some reason, they can support independent candidates or support a new party.

    But they don’t do this. That is the only observation I’m making here.

  42. Z


    I’m simply saying that mathematically and systemically, working-class whites have a tremendous amount of political power in America.

    Not that I expect anything but more bs from a bad faith hasbarist like yourself, but last time I checked each white working class voter possesses one vote just like every non-white working class voter.


  43. Z

    It’s always the voters fault, not the corrupt politicians who promise to represent the best interests of their constituents and then sell them out, nor the entities inside and out of the government that corrupt our political process.

    Try harder voters!


  44. different clue


    We give you reality and you give us an argument. We show you the moon and all you can see is our finger.

  45. different clue

    Republicans and Conservatives still think that voting matters . . . or can matter . . . which is why they are working so hard to outlaw the “wrong sorts of people” from voting.

    Now, on the habitual Democratic voter side, does voting really matter all that much? At the national level , and in many Senator-Representative elections, the range of choices is carefully pre-engineered, much as the Council of Guardians pre-engineers who is allowed to run in various elections in Iran. We see how the DemParty’s own “Council of Guardians” pre-decided that Sanders and Gabbard would not be permitted to even risk winning the DemNomination, and the “Council of DemParty Guardians” manipulated every lever of their system to delete Sanders and Gabbard.

    At the level of state, regional and local offices, and also various initiatives and referrenda; the choices can still be less pre-engineered. And voting can matter a great deal.

    Still, those who have decided that “voting doesn’t matter” might want to still go through the motions of voting in order to avoid the notice of an increasingly paranoid state. ” Citizen! Vee see that you heff not voted. Vy heff you not voted!? Do you not vant to vote? Do you not belieff in zeh guffernment? Vee heff vays uff MAKING you vant to vote!” So if America gets to that point, it might be safer to be seen voting.

    In the meantime, how might people who believe voting changes nothing try to change something in all the other non-vote-casting arenas of activity? What would a huge plurality membership Culture of Sullen Rejection look like? What could a hundred million still-employed Americans do in their getting and spending behavior to degrade and attrit revenue streams going up the ladder to the upper classes? What could they do in their un-getting and un-spending behaviors if they decided to adopt such behaviors to degrade and attrit revenue streams to the upper classes even more?

    I hope people begin thinking about that, and then begin thinking about how to do something about that.

    Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

    With a head full of plans and a heart full of hate, we can make things happen.

  46. Z

    Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

    But the Fed’s got unlimited ammunition and we know whose side they’re on.


  47. Hugh

    In the US, it is very much not one person one vote. Both California and Wyoming get two Senators although California has 68 times as many people. Add in other anti-democratic devices like gerrymandering, voter suppression, the electoral college, the federal courts, the Supreme Court, and you can see, how conservative white voters can run things even though they are an increasingly shrinking minority.

  48. different clue


    That means we have to spend our bullets very wisely.

    The US/NATO forces had unlimited bullets in Afghanistan, and the Taliban had limited bullets, but the Taliban won. So the battle may not go always unto the side with the unlimited bullets.

  49. Z

    Different Clue,

    Our rulers’ wealth is largely insulated from the real economy, the one that is attached to earnings, their wealth is in owning stocks and property and the Fed has their back on that with their money creation capabilities. For instance corporate earnings have gone down in the COVID era but corporate stock prices have rocketed. and that’s because of the Fed is flooding Wall Street with money.


  50. Hugh

    “the Fed is flooding Wall Street with money”

    The Greenspan put dates back to 1987. It has been followed by the puts of various other Fed chairs as well as repeated rounds of quantitative easing, liquidity supports, and low interest rates.

  51. Z


    Greenspan was the worst because he started this irresponsible and corrupt madness and then I’d rate Bernanke as second worst for the huge amounts of money he used and his “creativity” in devising novel ways to bail out Wall Street. Next worst would be Powell who has taken the corruption of our markets with Fed money to a new stratosphere. Then comes Yellen who was horrendous in her own right, but wasn’t pressed into bailouts as much as Bernanke or Powell were so we’ll never know the depths of her corruption.


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