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

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 15, 2019

by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

Strategic Political Economy

The Oligarch Threat
Tamsin Shaw, August 27, 2019 [New York Review of Books]

The bigger picture… was the way in which the Cambridge Analytica story opened a window onto a new constellation of international billionaires, corrupt politicians, and war profiteers who were apparently amassing enormous power. That story isn’t only about technology, data, and psychographic profiling; it’s also, at root, a story about the consequences of entrenched economic inequality, the privatization of essential public assets and government functions, including even national security, and the challenge to conventional foreign policy posed by the bargains being struck between international kleptocrats….

In both Britain and America, there exists a class of billionaires who seek to become oligarchs and a corresponding class of government officials who want to become billionaires. Since 2008, when the financial markets’ development of complex and ill-regulated derivatives led to a credit crisis and crash that erased huge sums from the fortunes of the global ultra-rich—with Western tycoons like Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson, and Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska among the biggest losers—the world’s billionaires have been moving away from a commitment to free markets. Learning from the banking bailouts and the socialization of moral hazard, they have instead embraced an ambition to build lasting monopolies that enjoy both official and unofficial forms of state support.
The United States has its own versions of the oligarchs, albeit ones who made their money legally rather than through the criminal enterprises for which many Russians have been indicted by American prosecutors or sanctioned by the federal government. As I’ve previously written, the oligarchs of Silicon Valley managed to establish their extraordinary monopolies—viewed by the state as a form of soft power as well as an essential national security asset in a world of cyber-conflict—only because that entire sector received huge injections of venture-capital funding from the military and intelligence agencies. In this case, too, the astronomical profits are largely untaxed and held off-shore….

This international billionaire class is also establishing and using private intelligence and influence agencies like Cambridge Analytica to help them manipulate national and international politics. It’s well known that the Koch brothers have their own such agency (called i360), but other billionaires have firms whose names we don’t even know. That’s not to say there’s a grand conspiracy of global elites or coordinated centralization of power for mutual advantage. But what these messy conflicting interests do have in common is that they are all working against liberal-democratic institutions. The free-market dream of being liberated from government authority, once an article of faith for the billionaire class, has turned into the oligarchs’ dream of coopting, or even usurping, government authority in pursuit of profit.

….one of the most ambitious of America’s would-be oligarchs, Erik Prince. He is a private military contractor, formerly of Blackwater; his present company, the Frontier Services Group, has backing from the Chinese government and a Hong Kong billionaire named Johnson Ko, the company’s executive director. Prince’s meetings on behalf of the Trump team were arranged by a former Blackwater colleague who is now an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, George Nader. Nader, who is currently in federal custody in Virginia as an accused child sex trafficker, claims that Prince was sent as an emissary for Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to the notorious Seychelles meeting with Dmitriev and Bin Zayed.

  …. Mueller’s main finding, a “sweeping and systematic” campaign of interference by Russia in the 2016 election, has simply reinforced the idea that the United States and Russia are combatants in a fairly traditional form of political warfare. Mueller’s report and testimony had no impact in exposing the multilateral business deals—here involving American, Russian, Saudi, Israeli, Qatari, and Emirati actors—that bypass national interests, official foreign policy, international regulations, electoral laws, and even ordinary market pressures.

[Daily Maverick, via Naked Capitalism 9-12-19]

The UK security services targeted The Guardian after the newspaper started publishing the contents of secret US government documents leaked by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June 2013.

Snowden’s bombshell revelations continued for months and were the largest-ever leak of classified material covering the NSA and its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters. They revealed programmes of mass surveillance operated by both agencies.

According to minutes of meetings of the UK’s Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the revelations caused alarm in the British security services and Ministry of Defence.

Spontaneous Resistance

“We tested a messaging app used by Hong Kong protesters that works without an internet connection”

[Abacus, via Naked Capitalism 9-11-19]

“Telegram has proven the most popular communication app in the “be like water” toolkit of the leaderless protest movement, helping with spontaneous road blockades and adapting to quickly-changing conditions on the ground. But Hongkongers are also looking into other options, and one of them is messaging app Bridgefy. The app received a sudden surge of downloads over the past two months in Hong Kong, according to Apptopia. The most attractive feature of Bridgefy is that it works without the internet, instead relying on Bluetooth to create a mesh network. Bridgefy’s co-founder and CEO, Jorge Rios, told Forbes last week that the app is usually downloaded for mass events when there’s a chance that the internet will be spotty. This could mean a large sports game or a big concert… or a mass pro-democracy movement.”

The Failure of Establishment Neoliberal Economics

Study Shows Income Gap Between Rich and Poor Keeps Growing, With Deadly Effects
[New York Times via Naked Capitalism 9-12-19]

Economics Can’t Explain Why Inequality Decreases

Peter Turchin [Evonomics, via Naked Capitalism 9-12-19]The Future of Capitalism

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 9-12-19]
Chris Hedges [Truthdig, via Naked Capitalism 9-10-19]
Great to see Hedges’ take on last month’s statement by the Business Roundtable supposedly calling for something to replace the neoliberal and conservative economic doctrine of “shareholder value.”

It is not accidental that the United States now has the worst income inequality since the 1920s. This was engineered by the capitalist class. But what Business Roundtable’s Aug. 19 statement reveals is that the capitalists are frightened they have been found out. Capitalism free of external restraints and with no internal restraints will pillage and exploit a captive population until it rises up in fury. It is such an eruption that today’s capitalists worry is on the horizon.

Capitalism, because it is such a socially destructive force, saturates the media landscape with advertising to misinform and manipulate the public. It uses its vast wealth to buy up the press, domesticate universities, nonprofits and think tanks and demonize and muzzle its critics. It funds pseudo-intellectuals and pseudo-economists who tirelessly propagate the ideology of neoliberalism, the belief that transferring wealth upward into the hands of the ruling oligarchs is beneficial to society. It forms global monopolies that prey on the public. It wages endless wars in its quest for profit. It equates anti-capitalist agitation with terrorism, meaning, for example, that anyone in the U.S. who attempts to photograph or film the savagery and cruelty of industrial agriculture—one of the primary causes of carbon emissions—can be charged under terrorism acts. And when its pyramid schemes, frauds and financial bubbles collapse, it loots the national treasury and leaves taxpayers with the bill. (In the U.S. economic crisis of 2008, corporations gobbled up $4.6 trillion in public money.)

Bernie Sanders Says in Last Night’s Debate that Richest 3 Americans Own More Wealth than Bottom 160 Million Americans. It’s Actually Worse than That.
Pam Martens and Russ Martens:, September 13, 2019  [Wall Street on Parade]

But according to the real time Forbes’ billionaire listing as of this morning, Bill Gates’ wealth has climbed from $89 billion to $105.4 billion, an increase of 18.4 percent. Jeff Bezos’ wealth has climbed from $81.5 billion to $114.6 billion – an increase of $33.1 billion or 28.8 percent. Buffett has not done as well as his fellow billionaires, growing his wealth from $78 billion to $83.4 billion, an increase of 6.9 percent.

The new tally for the three billionaires is $303.4 billion or a whopping $58.4 billion more than the bottom 160 million Americans, which includes one in every four children who live below the Federal poverty level.

But it only takes adding two more billionaires to make the picture even more oligarchic. Those additional two rank number 4 and 5 on Forbes’ billionaire list this morning: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook with $69.6 billion; and Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, with a net worth of $65.8 billion. The top five billionaires currently have a net worth of $438.8 billion or $193.80 billion more than the bottom 160 million Americans.

Disrupting Mainstream Economics: Public Banking

California’s Public Banking Act approved by State Assembly after passing the State Senate on Wednesday! Next up: Gov. Newsom’s desk
[Public Banking Institute 9-13-19]

California’s groundbreaking Public Banking Act, AB 857, was approved by the State Assembly today for the concurrence vote, 41 Aye’s, 22 No’s. The bill required 41 Aye’s. The Senate approved the bill on Wednesday, Sept 11, 25 Aye’s, 11 No’s.The bill now has 17 co-authors in addition to the two lead authors, Assemblymembers David Chiu and Miguel Santiago.

Next stop: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. The California Public Banking Alliance is highly optimistic that Gov. Newsom will sign it, following a very encouraging meeting last month between the Alliance and his office. He has until Oct 13 to approve the bill and make it California law.

Ellen Brown: How to pull off a modern debt jubilee and create a sustainable economy
[Public Banking Institute 9-13-19]

In a recent Truthdig article, PBI Chair Ellen Brown examines the functional, sophisticated, egalitarian credit system of ancient Mesopotamia that endured for two millennia and recommends we apply it today. The key to its success: regularly write off debts.

“Sumerian kings solved the problem of ‘peak debt’ by periodically declaring ‘clean slates,’ in which agrarian debts were forgiven and debtors were released from servitude to work as tenants on their own plots of land. The land belonged to the gods under the stewardship of the temple and the palace and could not be sold, but farmers and their families maintained leaseholds to it in perpetuity by providing a share of their crops, service in the military and labor in building communal infrastructure. In this way, their homes and livelihoods were preserved, an arrangement that was mutually beneficial, since the kings needed their service.”

Predatory Finance

The Wall Street Campaign to Stop Elizabeth Warren Officially Began on September 10, 2019
Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 11, 2019 [Wall Street on Parade]

But the most outrageous and egregious attack on Warren came yesterday from the Wall Street Journal….

titled “Warren’s Assault on Retiree Wealth,” and was written by Phil Gramm and Mike Solon. Gramm is the former Republican Senator whose name appears on the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the legislation that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act. It was that repeal that allowed Wall Street’s casino investment banks to merge with commercial banks holding Federally-insured deposits. And it was this dangerous combo that led to the epic crash on Wall Street in 2008 and the ensuing economic collapse in the U.S. – the greatest collapse since the Great Depression.

Gramm was not only a registered lobbyist for the global investment bank, UBS, but he formed his own lobbying firm, Gramm Partners….

Michael Solon, the co-author of the piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, worked for Gramm in the U.S. Senate for 14 years. According to Solon’s current LinkedIn profile, he was a principal in the lobbying firm, Capitol Legistics (yes, that’s the correct spelling) whose corporate clients include the powerful Wall Street firm, Blackstone, and the powerful Wall Street law firm, Akin-Gump. Solon’s LinkedIn profile also shows him presently working for another lobbying firm, US Policy Strategies, whose largest client for the past five years has been Goldman Sachs, which has ponied up $1.685 million bucks to the lobbying firm.

Gramm’s wife is Wendy Lee Gramm, the former Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 1988 to January 1993, who gave Wall Street exactly what it wanted in leaving its dangerous derivative contracts free from Federal regulation until the crash.


Restoring balance to the economy

City officials offered $2.5 billion to buy Pacific Gas & Electric’s energy system, but the utility company doesn’t want the deal.

Economics in the real world

Poverty is, in my view, a death sentence. The poorest older Americans die at twice the rate as the richest.We must end our country’s obscene inequality and ensure basic economic security for all—or we will condemn an entire generation to early death. 


Poor and middle-class Americans are much less likely to survive into their 70s than the wealthy, federal report says

Over three-quarters of the richest 50-somethings in 1991 were still alive in 2014, the report found. But among the poorest 20 percent of that cohort, the survival rate was less than 50 percent, according to the analysis by the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan congressional research agency.

The report finds that while average life expectancy increased over that period, it “has not increased uniformly across all income groups, and people who have lower incomes tend to have shorter lives than those with higher incomes.”

“Over time, the top fifth of the income distribution is really becoming a lot wealthier — and so much of the health and wealth gains in America are going toward the top,” said Harold Pollack, a health-care expert at the University of Chicago who was not involved in the creation of the report. “In these fundamental areas — life expectancy, health — there are these growing disparities that are really a failure of social policy.”

Trump Trade War Cripples Capital Spending

[Wall Street Journal, via Naked Capitalism 9-9-19]

“U.S. manufacturers are investing less in their factories and workforces as they cope with uncertainty from the trade dispute with China…. [S]ome companies are putting business plans on hold and others are cutting capital spending, decisions that will ripple across supply chains as suppliers adjust to a leaner purchasing market”…. Truck maker Navistar International Corp. expects to spend 25% less on capital projects this year compared to last year, and Caterpillar Inc.’s capital spending dropped 16% in the June quarter from the year before. U.S. imports of capital goods also fell in July to the lowest level since 2017. Company executives says the shifting contours of the tariffs between the U.S. and China have made it more difficult to forecast sales and costs, and making a choice to invest more of a gamble.”

Climate and environmental crises

“Alaska’s Sea Ice Completely Melted for First Time in Recorded History” 

[Truthout, via Naked Capitalism 9-9-19]

“Also for the first time in recorded history, Alaska’s sea ice has melted completely away. That means there was no sea ice whatsoever within 150 miles of its shores, according to the National Weather Service, as the northernmost state cooked under record-breaking heat through the summer.”

Climate Change Will Create 1.5 Billion Migrants by 2050 and We Have No Idea Where They’ll Go

[Motherboard, via Naked Capitalism 9-14-19]
[Interesting Engineering, via Naked Capitalism 9-10-19]
What could go wrong? Might give new meaning to “blue screen of death.”

Straw Wars: The fall of plastic, the rise of paper, and the gold rush at the center of 2019’s unlikeliest cultural battle.
[Slate, via The Big Picture 9-14-19]

GND – An opportunity too big to miss

“Bernie Sanders’ green deal – $216 billion for electric trucks” 
[Freight Waves, via Naked Capitalism 9-12-19]

Report: Renewables now cheaper than new natural gas plants

[Fast Company online , via American Wind Energy Association 9-12-19]

New power plants fueled by natural gas are now more costly to build in the US than a combination of wind, solar and batteries for the same purpose, according to a report by the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute. “In 2019, given what is needed on the grid today, we show that these technologies have crossed the line and become the cheapest way to add electricity to the grid,” RMI’s Chaz Teplin said.

The Green New Deal Is Cheaper Than Climate Change: The economic cost of allowing temperatures to rise even a couple of degrees above that target is simply staggering.

[The Nation, via The Big Picture 9-8-19]

Disrupting mainstream economics

Thomas Piketty’s New Book Brings Political Economy Back to Its Sources
[Pro-Markets, via Naked Capitalism 9-12-19]“People Are Homeless Because of the Failure of Our Capitalist Economy”

[Jacobin, via Naked Capitalism 9-8-19]

[Caitlin Johnstone, via Naked Capitalism 9-8-19]

“What Bernie Sees in the New Deal” (interview) 

Seth Ackerman [Jacobin, via Naked Capitalism 9-10-19]

“[Sanders] also says his campaign is about extending the principle of democracy to the economy with ideas like worker ownership funds. Decommodification and democracy at work are big parts of what socialism has meant from the very beginning. The earliest models of socialism that people fought for would sound remarkably modest today. In the early nineteenth century, the first socialist mass movement in France was pretty vague about socialism’s definition, but what it often meant in practice was a government program to give unemployed workers loans to start cooperatives. That was the de facto program of a literal revolutionary movement, with bloodshed, barricades, and all the rest of it.

Politics changes over time and so do definitions of socialism. When we look at Bernie’s concept of socialism, we should remember that Marx and Engels always said it was more important to have a real movement of workers who understand their real interests than it is to have a perfect, doctrinally correct program. When Engels talked about American politics in the late nineteenth century, he said he much preferred the populistic Knights of Labor or “agrarian reformers” to the hyper-orthodox Marxists of the Socialist Labor Party, who sounded like Marxoid robots when they talked. He much preferred the messy, ideologically incoherent Knights of Labor because they actually represented a real movement of workers fighting for some kind of egalitarian vision in opposition to the established order.”

Real Economics has been one of the few blogs on the internet to consistently push for greater understanding of the agrarian populist movement of the 1870s-1890s. Note especially the subject of the June 2010 post — some six years before Brexit, Sanders, and Trump forced the word “populism” back into common, though usually incorrect, use. 

Health Care Crisis

Inside the drug industry’s plan to disarm the DEA

[Washington Post, via The Big Picture 9-14-19Three Ways to Fix the Drug Industry’s Rampant Dysfunction

[Wired, via Naked Capitalism 9-11-19]Medicare for All Would Cut Poverty by Over 20 Percent

[Jacobin, via Naked Capitalism 9-14-19]
[ProPublica, via Naked Capitalism 9-14-19]
[The Hill, via Naked Capitalism 9-14-19]
[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 9-13-19]
Lambert Strether notes: “So much for Obamacare bending the cost curve.”

Information Age Dystopia

“Uber Undone”

[The Baffler, via Naked Capitalism 9-11-19]

“Kalanick, who Waymo considers to be something of an unindicted co-conspirator, is the name at the center of the cork board, to whom all the strings of Uber’s sprawling improprieties and disasters can be traced. He urged Uber to ignore local taxi commission rules, presided over the creation of a software designed to fool city regulators, rejected any meaningful financial oversight, and built a corporate culture that became globally renowned for its callous treatment of its workers. Silicon Valley began this decade as the bleeding edge of the American economy, where new technologies were said to be building a better future for the whole planet. By its end, the American tech industry will be largely viewed as the labor-destroying, profit-hungry behemoth that it truly is. While Facebook’s inadvertent election-rigging and Google’s near-monopoly on digital advertising might draw more attention as the culprits behind that pendulum swing, it is Uber’s Randian capitalism that most transparently lays bare Silicon Valley villainy. And even from outside the C-suite, from which he was ejected in 2017, Kalanick remains its smug, unapologetic face.” • “Unindicted co-conspirator.” Great idea for a T-shirt. A very expensive one.

Alabama Tracking Students’ Locations To Penalize Them For Leaving Games Early

[New York Times, via Naked Capitalism 9-8-19]

No, this is not satire or a parody. ‘Bama’s football coach wants to see the stands filled with students to the very end of the game, and this inanity is the result.

[Asia Times, via Naked Capitalism 9-13-19]

…Huawei has called the American intelligence community’s bluff. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei offered to license his company’s technology to the West and allow Western companies to take it apart, re-write the source code, and otherwise purge it of any possible trace of Chinese hacking, in an interview with The Economist:

It is this 5G technology – central to Huawei’s future revenue growth – that Mr Ren said he was ready to share, in a two-hour interview with The Economist on September 10th. For a one-time fee, a transaction would give the buyer perpetual access to Huawei’s existing 5G patents, licences, code, technical blueprints and production know-how. The acquirer could modify the source code, meaning that neither Huawei nor the Chinese government would have even hypothetical control of any telecoms infrastructure built using equipment produced by the new company. Huawei would likewise be free to develop its technology in whatever direction it pleases.

Oligarchy’s Elites Dysfunction

[Splinter News, via Naked Capitalism 9-10-19]

“If there’s any lesson to be gleaned from this, it’s that liberal think tanks like the Center for American Progress are not a friend to media workers, or workers in general. These places, and the people who run them, spend an inordinate amount of time trying to ‘unify’ all of the various wings of the progressive and liberal movements (with a desire for less input from some wings than others, I imagine) under the banner of being on the same ‘team’ against the Republican Party. But it ultimately didn’t matter that these bosses were liberal and nice, rather than being some obvious shitbag like Joe Ricketts. The workers at this site still got jerked around for quite a long time before being unceremoniously dumped under the reasoning that the media industry just isn’t profitable enough. (This coming from an organization that gave the totally cash-poor Georgetown University law school over half a million dollars in 2017.) The fact is that these people, as they have proven time and again, will never really be on the same ‘team’ as workers. If CAP is the best that liberals can do when it comes to creating moral and principled institutions to further the progressive movement, it’s worth asking: With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

In his 2016 book Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, Thomas Frank identifies the real struggle very precisely: it’s the professional class versus the working class. 

“Is Meritocracy to Blame for Our Yawning Class Divide?” (review)
[Thomas Frank, New York Times, via Naked Capitalism 9-11-19]

Reviewing Daniel Markovits’ The Meritocracy Trap: “in other ways Markovits doesn’t go nearly far enough. When he squares off against the meritocratic elite, he keeps pulling his punches, assuring us that its members’ educational credentials really are excellent, that their skills are real and that they work extremely hard. At times he even seems to lament the psychic toll that all that work takes on our white-collar professionals, as though one might simply persuade them to give up their system of privileges. A more resolute critique would zero in on the fraud and folly and hubris that always seem to accompany the deeds of the best and the brightest. A fuller account of the last real-estate bubble and the global financial crisis would have been helpful here; or the story of the Wall Street bailouts, when one set of high-achieving professionals simply forgave the sins of another; or a comprehensive discussion of the 2016 presidential election, when the Democratic team of geniuses managed to lose to the most unpopular presidential candidate of all time…. we have this book, which forcefully interrupts the comfortable bath of self-flattery in which our well-graduated professionals pass their hours.”

War on Workers

Wow. Just got an email from Chase Bank about how they are removing human tellers from the location I frequent. Notice how they craft the messaging so it is all about value for me.


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Focus on North Carolina

Jim Crow Steals N Carolina 9th CD

Greg Palast [via Naked Capitalism L 9-13-19]

I’m not sure how to categorize the following, but it is important as a very graphic reminder of the simple human suffering caused by conservative / neoliberal economic policies. And it is that suffering which is fueling the populist revolts which support Brexit, Sanders, Trump and other disputers of the  status quo. 

“Democrats see silver lining in suburbs, but rural challenges remain after close loss” 

[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism 9-13-19]

“McCready won the densely populated Charlotte suburbs in Mecklenburg County by 12 percentage points, continuing the national trend of traditionally Republican suburban areas shifting toward Democrats as highly educated voters tire of Trump. Those gains were not enough to overcome a poor performance in rural counties like Robeson and Bladen.”

The graphic part was added by Lamber Strether, and it deals directly with North Carolina:

As it turns out, Chris Arnade visited Robeson County for his book, but that chapter didn’t make the cut. Since Arnade sets his tweets to auto-delete, so here are some screen shots:

So, Robeson County is diverse. And (see above) flipped from Obama to Trump. One wonders why:
(Lumberton is in Robeson County.) Democrats winning Republican suburbs while losing Robeson County says nothing good about the party’s direction. I was commenting as early as 2015 (herehere) that voting for Trump was a gigantic upraised middle finger, and here we have one such in real life!

Enemy Actions

The Secret Files of the Master of Modern Gerrymandering 

[New Yorker, via The Big Picture 9-8-19]


Open Thread


How Important Is the Drone Attack on the Saudi Oil Field?


  1. Tom

    Tally so far for Aramco:

    • %5 of global oil supply is gone
    • Trump says US locked and loaded to respond
    • Trump authorises release of US oil if needed
    • IRGC: Ready for full war

    Despite Bolton being booted, there are still elements pushing Trump to war.

    This attack was most likely carried out from Saudi Soil withing 5 klicks of the sites hit. This is more consistent with witness reports.

  2. bruce wilder

    “Economics Can’t Explain Why Inequality Decreases”

    by Peter Turchin [Evonomics (originally Cliodynamics 2015), via Naked Capitalism 9-12-19]

    Peter Turchin is an idiot. That is what I thought as I read his essay. He has been made an idiot by the conventions of social science and econometrics. His intellectual vacuity is appalling enough, but then he compounds his major weakness with piety: “And I certainly hope that we can figure out how to reduce inequality without violence.” Good grief.

    It is this kind of pseudo-thoughtfulness that gives economics a deservedly bad name. “. . . economists don’t really know why inequality increases and decreases.” Way to frame out human agency there, Peter — would not want anyone to think the economy is something people do!

  3. Hugh

    “In both Britain and America, there exists a class of billionaires who seek to become oligarchs”
    “The United States has its own versions of the oligarchs, albeit ones who made their money legally”

    Both statements are laughable. If you are a billionaire you are an oligarch. The idea that somehow you can amass a billion or billions without acquiring and using political power is either loopy or disingenuous. As for the second statement, when crooks write the laws, they can make crime (and their wealth) legal, but they can not make them not crime. If you have amassed a billion in the US, it is because you have stolen it from the rest of us via our work and our resources.

    Another howler is “Universities are sacred institutions.” They are corporations, engines of the status quo, machines for creating debt, contraptions defending class. They are some of the least intellectual places I ever came across. You have to have drunk some pretty mean kool-aid to think there is anything “sacred” about them.

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