Friday, November 26, 2010

November 26 2010: Stoneleigh talks to Max Keiser Part 2


Timothy H. O'Sullivan Unnamed Soldier August 1864
"Petersburg, Virginia. Federal soldier's quarters"


Ilargi: Recorded last week in Paris.





Stoneleigh talks to Max Keiser Part 2






Gerald Celente: The whole thing’s a racket






Gerald Celente: Put your money in the local banks




118 comments:

john patrick said...

Hombre/Coyote?, (from previous post)
I, too, am surrounded by the same nonsense. It's as if the cultural synergy is incapable of scaling backwards. It goes until it can't go anymore. Then it crashes.

And, as much as I prepare for the worst, I know I will not be immune to the suffering around me. Some lessons in life are hard. And, poverty seems to be the best teacher. Unfortunately.

Thanks for the blog, I&S!

T.M.O. said...

Very impressive interview. Those who want a more in-depth explanation should watch "A Century of Challenges." That's not to say you have to agree with everything AE says, but it does make a helluva lot of sense.

zander said...

Hombre & bluebird from previous on denial.

The world which is about to unfold (is unfolding) all around us, seems so clear, obvious and compelling to me that the oblivious-ness of others makes me feel quite disorientated at times, and I still have moments when I question my sanity, and, if indeed I am bonkers, I'm in good company here ;)

Z

Ruben said...

@TMO from yesterday.

I think there is an important difference between business and capitalism. As you say, people have traded for a very long time, and will continue to do so. That is business. Capitalism, however, is focussed on amassing capital. There is business under socialism and business under tribalism. It is when the goal becomes the money, rather than the mutual trade that things seem to go wrong.

As for your assertion that capitalism is not inherently evil, I think you may be right, but I can't think of a single example of where capitalism was not evil. So practically speaking, capitalism is evil.

Up with business, down with capitalism.

Cassandra said...

Hey Nicole
Thought you came over really well - and looked great. Max wasn't too overbearing either. All power to your elbow - look forward to an increasingly rising profile for you both as all the various chickens come home to roost. Would maybe think about a sassy jacket rather than a jumper though? Think it's one less 'us and them' barrier.

Love from Le Marche, Italia x

zander said...

Hi Stoneleigh.

Great stuff, impeccably delivered.
Forget the sassy jacket, wear a pistols t shirt. :)

Z.

T.M.O. said...

Ruben,

OK, so you're pro business but anit-captitlasm.

So what form of business ownership would you prefer if not capitalism? Communism? Should the state own everything? I think Russia tried that. Did not go over too well.

Do you want a command economy where the state tells you what you can sell and for how much?

So you can build entire empty cities you don't need?

Or before you set prices for goods you dispatch your little mandarins into the markets to see what the market price is first and then pretend that you set the price yourself?

What's more evil? Profit or waste?

Bigelow said...

@Stoneleigh

What did you and Max talk about after the interview? I thought Max leans to the Inflation side. Convince him otherwise?

PRI-De said...

Thanks, Stoneleigh, for pimping some of the things we're doing down here D-Town. Wouldn't Max let you say out name outright? I'll have to bump him down my list of Raging Raconteurs of Economics...

Tell him to call me if he wants to put all this into a perspective of how we get to a regenerative system from here.

:-)

Frank A. said...

Sad news for our good neighbors to the north:

Fox News North Secures Broadcast License To Launch in Canada.

Rupert Murdoch is a goddam plague upon the Earth.

Jim said...

"I am asking that the Irish people unite, as our forefathers did, and take to the streets at 11am Saturday 27th from Wood Quay Dublin, to voice our anger and concern over the actions of our politicians and what is happening to Ireland."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ing8xH3Qj-k&feature=player_embedded

scandia said...

@Frank A...Fox getting a Cdn broadcast license is bad, bad news. Getting it over a secret luncheon enrages me.

T.M.O. said...

Frank,

Actually, it's not Rupert Murdoch. It's a home-grown plague from Quecebcor Media, an (obviously) Canadian company.

I welcome it. This could be better than Comedy Central.

ben said...

from the last thread,

A2102 - it sounds like we're partly talking about two different things; you misclassified racism/classism, me overpopulation.

as for overpopulation, let's go with the criticism you linked-to of Lovelock's argument that CO2 emmissions and overpopulation are inextricably linked. unfair as it may be, 387ppm (was that it?) plus increased dung and wood burning, industrial food dependency etc, however little more it increases CO2 levels (what was it percentage-wise, single digits?) does actually equal even worse overpopulation, n'est pas? even more unfairly, let's not forget the wage arbitrage/ powerlessness represented by the bottom billion that enhances our ability to consume.

in solidarity.

---

dan, from the last thread, regarding the benefits of a world high on meditation,

several hours a day? no thanks. how about 45mins?

my brother, an order of magnitude smarter than me (FWIW), lived in monastaries, zen centers, does retreats, meditates daily, thinking about attending Maitripa College here in portland (for the community), doesn't eat meat or drive, says that chair there is not really a chair, etc.

he also worked in customer service at amazon back in the day, cashed out at the peak, found day-trading challenged him, participated in the oil-spike of 2008 (declaring himself to be equivalent to a gnat on the ass of a rhino somehwere - true i guess), is an apparent expert, for investment purposes, on the small oil companies of the gulf of mexico, objects to criticism of capitalism like TMO, is a financialized man.

meditation isn't a panacea for him -- it's just something he happens to be into, conceptually, and for its health benefits --like me and TAE. i expect that is the case for most people who practice it.

Frank A. said...

@T.M.O.

It may not be Murdoch (directly anyway), but it is still a poisonous trend. The "conservative movement" (a.k.a.- neo-liberalism) is the single most evil development since Hitler or Stalin, imo. I have long thought I am "conservative" in my decision making approach, but I am many galaxies removed from identifying with the so-called "movement conservatives". Indeed, I believe it is the "movement conservatives", starting with the "young republicans" of the mid 70s, that are almost entirely responsible for the perverse situation that exists in today's politics and society in America. If, as you say, it is limited to Quebec province, then I would suggest that you help keep it contained there.

However, I believe that Quebec may have been chosen as the easiest inroad into the Canadian Federation. In any event, you ignore the insidious nature of the conservative movement at your own risk.

@Scandia

I was thinking of you when I first read the article. It is a sickening development.

anon10 said...

Good news for Canadian readers of TAE. I think we have finally solved the problem of the huge unfunded liability in the Canada Pension Plan. It looks to me like the folks who look after it are about to change the way they calculate the unfunded liability of the CPP.

The following sentence is taken from the 25th Actuarial Report on the CPP (which was tabled before Parliament on Nov. 15, 2010.)

"If the Plan’s sustainability is to be measured based on its unfunded liability, it should be done on an open group basis."

Under the old method of calculating the unfunded liability (the closed group method) it was 748 Billion$ on Dec. 31, 2009.

Under the above mentioned (new and improved?) open group method of calculating the unfunded liability of the CPP, it was only 6.9 Billion$ on Dec. 31, 2009.

It is truly amazing how a major unfunded liability problem for the CPP can be solved with just the stroke of a pen.

The following is the link to the 25th Actuarial Report on the CPP. The topic of the unfunded liability and the closed and open group methods of calculating it is discussed on pages 69 - 72 if anyone is interested in reading about this.

http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/app/DocRepository/1/eng/oca/reports/CPP/CPP25_e.pdf

Bill Reiswig said...

Stoneleigh;

Is there some other means to graphically demonstrate that credit serves to "create multiple exclusive claims on real assets"? I understand this conceptually, and understand that our fractional reserve system allows for banks to take reserves and loan that money out again. Nonetheless, I would appreciate it being communicated in a different more concrete way, showing how houses, buildings, land, water, equities, or other "real assets" can gain multiple claims through debt.

For example... I own a mortgage... are there claims other than mine and the bank who holds my mortgage on my house potentially? Who would those be... the holders of derivitives and mortgage securities? Others? Are there some graphical ways of showing this for different real assets?

anon10 said...

Harvard Lobotomies And The Disgrace Of The Economics Profession

Ruben said...

@TMO

I am guessing you are from the US? If so, this can be a very hard concept to grasp.

Again, business is about trade. Capitalism is about amassing money.

Trade is fundamentally about a relationship, and so business people tend to be concerned about maintaining the relationship between staff and customers.

Capitalism is about amassing capital, and so there is little concern about long-term well-being of customers or staff. Slavery is great, as it keeps costs down and profits up.

I know that to Americans any criticism of capitalism is automatically met with cries of Communist! This is quaint and something you should be embarrassed of.

First of all, I made no such suggestions. I merely said I had no problem with business, it is capitalism I dislike. You jumped to the Communist rant.

Second, while not communist, the US is the largest socialist economy in the world. Does the army raise its own money? No. Do the interstates pave themselves? No. Medicare for seniors? Socialist. Bush's TARP? Socialist. The whole financial and legal structure that allows your precious capitalism to exist is a vast socialist edifice.

The entire world understands this and laughs at the flatulent American cold war bluster.

Furthermore, and not that I am a communist, for I am not, the United States is currently proving that capitalism did not beat communism. You managed to last a couple of decades longer by outdebting them. Congratulations. How is that infant mortality rate doing? How about that literacy rate? Medically insured? ouch.

ben said...

cornel west is in the house.

"i'm a blues man in the life of the mind, which means i make despair and catastrophe constant companions; they're with me when i get up in the morning, but i just don't allow despair to have the last word."

how do you stop despair and fear from bringing you under?

"you know, i think a lot of it has to do with ancestor appreciation: i think of mom, i think of dad, i think of my grandparents, i think of friends, and i think of my children and grandson and so forth. so when you have that love coming at your back, and then when you have progeny that you're giving love you say to yourself, 'even with the despair inside of me like a blues man' -- cause you remember what b.b. king said, 'nobody loves me but my momma and she might be jivin' too,' that's the king of the blues, that's the blues!, that's cat-a-strophic!, that's cat-a-strophic!, that's like antigone, sophocles' play -- anything's against you but the blues say, 'what?, i still got a smile on my face'."

eleven action-packed minutesfrom the late late show, if you have the time and the inclination.

Stoneleigh said...

Cassandra,

Thanks :)

I'll remember to pack a jacket next time. I have one back in Canada, but it would have taken up too much space in the trekking backpack I brought with me to Europe. Sweaters can be stuffed in small spaces more easily. I was determined not to bring a big suitcase this time, after dragging one around all summer.

I still miss Italy (and you two). It's an amazingly beautiful place :)

Draft said...

Stoneleigh - I'm curious about the same thing Bill Reiswig asked about above - what would be a few good examples of mutually-exclusive claims to underlying real wealth in today's economy? I understand that in a few cases multiple banks hold the same mortgage, but that seems like the exception rather than the rule. Are there other such examples?

Bigelow said...

TSA Searches: Are Trains and Subways Next?

scandia said...

@Ben, Enjoyed the interview with Cornel West. His line about " riffing" one's life speaks to me.
A strategy I use to work through the blues is to speak out loud the fear,hatred and despair I am feeling. Better out than in...My cat is a very good listener. I have noticed a clouding of her eyes when I start bullshitting myself:)She doesn't know what I am saying but she knows when I speak my truth and when I do not.
I gain perspective this way, notice repeat emotional patterns.
And I do call upon my Finnish ancestors for encouragement, especially the concept of " sisu" which is hard to translate. I internalize sisu as perserverance, not giving up.
Perhaps a Finnish reader might offer a better translation?

Hombre said...

Ruben - Hat tip! But...
Please don't put all we USAcos in a box. There are many who are like you described, and also many who are not like that at all, and who deplore the plethora of US militaristic and capitalistic shenanigans.
By your definitions (and my own life learned perspectives) I don't like capitalism either... never did. In fact I don't like "isms" of any kind.
Isms are boxes for our minds, and if we join them we jump into the box body and soul!
;-)

T.M.O. said...

Ruben,

OK. First, I am a Canadian, living in Canada.

Second…
You have obviously never run a business or you would know that business is about making a profit. Trade is the mechanism by which you realize that profit. At the market level, businesses trade goods and services for money.

No one every goes into business with the goal of breaking even. Your revenues must exceed your expenses; otherwise there is no point to being in business.

The goal of the business person is not relationships. The relationship is a means to an end: profit.

You definitely want to have good relationships with your customer, but it is a business relationship. And both parties understand this. If by chance the relationship turns into a bona fide friendship, that's great, but it is then no longer a business relationship.

In a good business relationship, both parties "profit" by the deal. Each one gets what they want.

If you want friendships, then get out there and make friends. But don't start a business.

Third…

There are two basic forms of business (or means of production) ownership: capitalism and communism. So suggesting you are a communist is not a reactionary ad hominem attack.

There are many forms of capitalism, but all have the goal of making a profit and most (if not all) involve some arrangement of private ownership.

Capitalism involves involves employing capital in a productive enterprise. Capital comes from savings. So fundamentally, capitalism is actually quite virtuous because first someone has to save, then they or others deploy those savings to produce things society needs or wants.

The process can be corrupted and exploitative, and often is, but you can say that about any human endeavour in all spheres of living.

I will agree with you that things have gone very bad. But what we have now is not capitalism. It is a form of kleptocracy with a good dose of fascism. Capitalism is not about stealing anything. But kleptocracy is. (con't…)

T.M.O. said...

Rubin,

Fourth…

Being a capitalist doesn't mean you believe all human endeavour should be self-funding. It merely means that people should be free (within the limits of law) to own the means of production and pursue an enterprise of their choosing to sell goods and services they want to sell to customers they want to sell to in order to make a profit and thus a better life for them and their family.

You can be a capitalist and believe that society should take care of the those who can't take care of themselves. I for one believe health care should never be privatized because human well-being should not be determined by P & L.

One thing: TARP was not socialist. TARP was about as kleptocratic as it gets.

Fifth…

The current crisis is a crisis of debt, not capitalism. When you look at it from various levels (government, consumer, corporate, financial, etc.) it can be quite complicated. Especially after you throw in all the fraud and corruption. But it's all inextricably linked.

Fundamentally, the problem was one of a society pretending to have more wealth than it really had, living beyond its means. And a small very powerful segment of that society realizing they better take (steal) what they can get before the whole thing implodes, leaving the tax payers to hold the bag. It's an age-old cycle that has been repeated countless times throughout history.

The historical precedents don't make the current situation excusable or acceptable. But you should try to realize what's really going on, and not be blinded by ideology rooted in ignorance. That's one of the most dangerous things of all.

T.M.O. said...

Frank A.,

Let me clarify. Quebecor is a media company. I don't know how wide the network distribution will be. It could be national, regional, I don't care.

I caution against judging it before you see it (if you see it at all). I support the right of all comers to express their views, whether I agree with them or not.

That's the foundation of a free society. I really hope our American friends never forget that, especially in the current struggle.

Tyranny can come from both sides of the aisle. But whatever ideology it is rooted in, it's the people who always suffer for it in the end.

Ka said...

@TMO,

You are absolutely correct. An uncorrupted capitalism is better than a corrupt socialism. But which is better, a corrupt socialism or a corrupt capitalism, since that seems to be the only actual choices we have. Well, one could say that it was better to have lived in the US than in the Soviet Union, but I suspect the more pertinent question to ask (for what is possible in the future) is: would it have been better to have lived in Cuba or in Guatemala? I suspect I would opt for Cuba.

scandia said...

Ilargi, thanks for posting the Celente interviews. His comment that THEY are taking our dignity at the airport screenings does raise a guestion.Why is it being permitted, this loss of dignity?
99% of travels permit the breach of personal body boundaries. Do all these compliant ones carry a belief that " I am not my body?"
Is participation in public humiliation considered an act of patriotic sacrifice, a surrender of a part of oneself for the good of the whole?
What is so valued about getting on that plane, more valued than dignity,self respect?
Some of those 99% of travelers have even permitted groping of their children,been willing to surrender the parental promise of protection.
Maybe there's something in the water?
I am thinking of the millions of people who have been living " checkpoint " lives, not free to travel at will,who endure humiliation daily just to get to a job on " the other side", or to a well for water...
Recently the Toronto police announced that the extra cameras installed for the G20 will remain in place. Nice legacy from the world leaders who enjoyed our hospitality? Not!

T.M.O. said...

Ka,

You're opening up a whole can of worms with that question that goes far beyond this discussion. But you never really know a place until you live there.

That said, if you want to judge whether a country is a good place to live for the average citizen, all you have to do is look whether people are immigrating or emigrating (I include the illegal forms of these). And if they are emigrating, where are they going.

People tend to want to live where there are two things: better economic opportunity and more freedom. Capitalism offers both. The problem is, even in the US, capitalism has been undemined by government, the banks, and large corporations.

I am not saying, nor have I ever said capitalism is perfect or the only solution. The fact is, no country is totally capitalist, or socialist or anything-ist. It just can't happen in practise, for a variety of reasons.

The Soviet Union was not purely communist; China is some kind of uber-capitalist/communist/totalitarian hybrid. The US is--well, I'm not sure at this point, but it sure is not the America we learned about in school.

As for corruption, it's always present in any society. that does not mean we have to accept it, whatever system you live under.

Ruben said...

@Hombre
Sorry for the broad brush, and I wish you strength to cope with the discourse in your nation.

@TMO
Not American? Are you a Stephen Harper Tory? Or a Fraser Institute flunky?

Your post is hilarious. Have you ever owned a business?

Actually, in my 20s I started a restaurant from scratch and ran it for three and a half years. I borrowed 25,000 to start up and had over a million go through my shop. Many of my staff still say I was the best boss they ever had, and many customers say it is still the best pizza they ever had. I sold the restaurant and went back to school--since then I have spent most of my time working for myself and with other small businesses.

Small businesses employ the greatest number of people, and generate a large part of our GDP. And very, very few small business owners I know have any dreams of becoming large businesses. Most of them went into business so they don't have to work for asshat capitalists who have no respect for humanity.

So, yes, they run their business to break even. That is a thoroughly respectable thing to do. Business is often making your own job, hopefully that you enjoy, usually harder than working for someone else, but more free to make your own choices. The goal is not to become some megacorp, but simply to pay the mortgage and put food on the table while being able to stand up straight and look yourself in the mirror.

So it is because of this knowledge and experience that I don't use words like business and capitalism lazily.

Ruben said...

@TMO cont....

You seem to be lazy even about words like break even, for you say revenue must exceed expenses. In fact they do not. When revenues equal expenses, it is what, in the business world, we call "breaking even".

I also enjoy that you say capitalist believe they should be free to own the means of production, since freedom to own the means of production is a key point of Marxism.

There are far more than two modes of ownership. Entire geographic regions with millions of people and billions of GDP are based on co-operative models, which--I know, I know, words that start with "co" all sound like communism--have nothing to do with communism. They are self-governing, usually decentralized businesses. They are businesses with many bosses, often run as non-profits and frequently have strong moral frameworks about how they work, buy and sell. They can compete with typical capitalist megacorps because they are trying to make good lives for people, not amass money in the pockets of the few.

And co-operatives, which are so totally unlike the Terrifying Red Menace of central command and control, are just one of the business models in use around the world.

Lastly, this crisis is not of debt. Debt is the symptom,but the disease is a lack of understanding of limits. There are ecological limits, but there are also social limits. Too many people wanted to be free of limits, and believe we could magic sparkly things to play with ad infinitum. Rather than deal with reality, the kleptocrats decided to keep blowing up debt. Tighter lending restrictions would not have cured the disease.

I think it is a shame you think business relationships are all about business. Most of the modern field of sales would disagree with you. I think you need to try going to a new coffee shop. Do you go to Starbucks? Try something more individual. Go there for a while, be polite and interested, show appreciation for the work and love they put into your cup. I can tell you, former customers do not send postcards from their travels because they are hoping to get a discount. It is because there is something more than money there. And that is because most business is not about money.

WgS said...

Scandia, my take on the TSA screenings is that this plan was conceived of by the same folks who can't seem to find a working definition of torture. These are eyes that can view scenes like these (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_torture_and_prisoner_abuse) without feeling outrage at the indignities being perpetrated on other human beings and they seem to be completely incapable of realizing where healthy boundaries of any kind (much less physical ones) begin and end.

Is there outrage when a child or senior citizen gets tasered in the US? No, there isn't much even when we are talking about outright violent abuse of person. We have allowed such occurrences so frequently that police describe these incidents as "nothing out of the ordinary."

At this point, a population that meekly accepts this or any other sort of humiliation in order to exercise the "privilege" of flying may darn well put up with anything provided it's wrapped in an American Flag.

Hombre said...

Ruben - Thank you, the discourse here (U.S.) does very much strain the senses sometimes.
BTW a thoughtful post 3:34!

Board - Some interesting thoughts on the situation in Ireland and the Euro group! Some big dominoes teetering over there.
http://tinyurl.com/y5tpaoy

I. M. Nobody said...

WgS,

I like the way you described the attributes, or lack there of, of the authorizers of that which if you and I did it in a public place would likely get us arrested.

I have a little different take on what it's all about. What comes through to me is that it's a trifecta for what I am going to call the Disaster Industrial Complex (DIC). DIC, which has a lot of overlap with MIC, is the collection of Hyenas that swoop down on any disaster, natural or manmade, and contract to fix it at a high profit margin.

In this case, the disaster never even happened. That's the first leg of the trifecta. Proof that an actual disaster is not a prerequisite for establishing need for their services. The second leg is the undoubtedly very profitable sale of lots of X-ray equipment. The third and perhaps most valuable leg is the opportunity to strip the populace of the last vestiges of their dignity and privacy.

The latter has been a key ingredient in the DIC's modus operandi ever since the beginning of their grand experiment in Chile. They took it on the road and gave places like Argentina and El Salvador a sample. Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Gitmo provided great venues for practicing on a different kind of population. They gave us a preview at the Louisiana Superdome and now any of us can go see it for ourselves at a local airport.

It has been a long journey for the seekers after the unholy grail. But it seems their quest may be nearly over. In the Cathedral of Darkness, the acolytes are snuffing the candles one by one.

Supergravity said...

Stoneleigh's interview was decent, I liked the part where the energy flux densities of biomass sources are duly dismissed as woefully inadequate to power industrial civilization with. Gotta love Max Keiser, such a character and loveable scamp.

On the TSA uproar and the rumored executive reactions to this civil discourse, which may incidentally be tantamount to treason; the suggestion or advocation that all objectors to screening and/or invasive patdowns or anyone causing others to object to such procedures, ought to be considered domestic extremists, should be protected speech in most circumstances, under the condition that such speech does not directly incite political persecution or is not a form of terrorism or hate-speech.

However, issuing directives, decrees, mandates or orders towards this specific end, thus falsely authorising the designation of all such screening objectors as 'domestic extremists' merely for their elementary use of protected speech in civil discourse, itself in reaction to a percieved violation of protected rights, and this qualification of 'domestic extremist' being formally equivalent to political persection, if so done by government officers in the executive branch, would render those officers directly guilty of high crimes of treason and conspiracy to commit treason. Subordinates following such directives would be complicit to conspiracy to commit treason or to other crimes facilitating such directives, moreover so if they did not attempt an orderly citizen's arrest of their openly treasonous superiors when said directive or order was issued to them or in their presence.

No evidence of such a directive has yet emerged in a form that would necessitate immediate accusations, indictments and prosecutions, but its something to keep in mind.

A critical part of this argument is the assertion that being designated a 'domestic extremist' is indeed equivalent to political persecution, some might argue that it is not.
If not, then a violent assault on the constitutional integrity of the United States by deliberately damaging and criminalising the sovereign imperative to political speech and organisation of the citizenry is no longer established, it would then not necessarily be treasonous [for the executive branch] to officially designate such an overwhelming segment of the citizenry as extremist in this way.

Under the constitutional sustainability of the republic, or even under a coherent parliamentary democracy, it is impossible to degenerate into forms of tyranny, fascist oppression or dictatorship without many officers and agents of the government committing acts of treason or being engaged in conspiracy to commit treason at various junctures. It is not logically possible for the constitutional republic of the US to have degenerated into the recently observed quasi-tyranny without several acts of treason having been committed.

If only the citizenry would timely accuse each other and their representatives of treason slightly more often, such as when it evidently occurs, and decisively act upon such evidence by denouncing, interdicting and lawfully prosecuting these crimes according to the fullest extent of civic duty, the cryptofascist descent into oppression wouldn't proceed so easily.

Draft said...

Does anyone know of any good, up-to-date peak oil forecasts from a source with a good track record? I'm curious about whether we're likely to see, for example, fuel lines like the 1970s in, say, 2013 or whether that'll be more likely to happen further down the road (say 2017).

scandia said...

@WgS. I am struggling myself with to fly or not to fly. I have a long flight planned for next month to visit my son. I place high value there. Just like all the reasons for flying that others have. In my case I've checked and I don't think I'll be in an airport that pats down or gropes. I will no doubt have to submit to a dose of radiation.
I intend to tell my son that I won't be flying anywhere until this security theatre stops.
Will I need to avoid train and bus travel as well? I love travelling, looking around, meeting/engaging with other cultures. It is personally a big loss to put aside the journeys not taken.
Potential expats need to consider the loss of dignity on those return flights to visit the folks, straighten out banking issues etc.

El G, I'd appreciate your comments. Will you endure the pat downs or is your plan not to return to the US?

I. M. Nobody said...

To avoid the abuses of the English law (including executions by Henry VIII of those who criticized his repeated marriages), treason was specifically defined in the United States Constitution, the only crime so defined. Article III Section 3 delineates treason as follows:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainded.

The Constitution does not itself create the offense; it only restricts the definition (the first paragraph), permits Congress to create the offense, and restricts any punishment for treason to only the convicted (the second paragraph). The crime is prohibited by legislation passed by Congress. Therefore the United States Code at 18 U.S.C. § 2381 states "whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States."

That's the law of the land and I don't see anything in there that would make the executives in charge or their minions traitors. Evil bastards, yes. Traitors, apparently not. Treason seems to be reserved for acts against the government. On the face of it, acts of treason against citizens seem not to have been contemplated under law.

Hmmm, kinda makes you wonder if they were looking ahead when they wrote that wording into the Constitution. But, of course, the ruling class always does look out for itself.

Hombre said...

Club Orlov has a very interesting guest post up, and the comments are even better--don't miss them!
A lot of truth in the article, maybe a bit overwrought in places, but a potent read all around in any case.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/

WgS said...

IM Nobody,

I don't think it matters what kind of complexes they form, the results seem to be really damn consistent. Their industrialization-capitalization hybridization widget machine only produces frankensteins that take things that are either inherently good (such as fresh air and water) or inherently neutral such as science and turn them into chaotic and toxic destruction.

If they (and the collective we) started to show horror and remorse, I'd feel a lot more optimistic about the clear and present dangers facing the whole planet. Instead, I count the hairs standing on the back of my neck knowing that we are all of us pieces and parts of this monster.

My most vivid nightmares have steered towards some really brutal places lately. I sincerely hope they remain mere nightmares.

---

Scandia, I know I would and have put up with a lot of things just to see my children. Take that out of the equation though and it would take a whole lot more than an in-flight meal to convince me to let random strangers screen my bloomers.

Dan said...

@Ben,

OK, so I can be a tad prone to hyperbole. :)

Meditation is a way to observe oneself and one's thoughts. People who spend time in meditation cultivate awareness, and hence are less likely to respond to all of their impulses and conditioning. My belief is that a world of people committed to self-awareness and self-reflection would be a generous, kind and peaceful place.

Supergravity said...

@I.M Nobody
I was going to look that up, but my own interpretation must be sufficient for these purposes.

In any republic or passable form of democracy, an assault on the constitutional vitality of the citizenry is equal to an assault upon the state. How could this be any other way?

Clearly, we must understand this supposed instance of political persecution of such a large segment of the citizenry to be a violent assault upon the constitutional integrity of the US and the lawful functioning of its government and citizenry, [there]by inducing an imminently destabilising climate of political violence.
This is because the qualification of 'domestic extremist' as now absurdly broadened in application, would officially sanction or mandate the political persecution of perhaps half the population, according to some polls more than half already do object to screenings or pat-downs in some way, and would at some time be reasonably expected to voice their objections to screening or pat-downs and/or cause others to object to this. Although most active objections [to percieved violations of rights] would occur during the screening process and so be disruptive, the act of causing others to object to screening would not be confined to the locality of airports.

http://homelandsecurityus.com/archives/4254
"The terminology contained within the reported memo is indeed troubling. It labels any person who “interferes” with TSA airport security screening procedure protocol and operations by actively objecting to the established screening process, “including but not limited to the anticipated national opt-out day” as a “domestic extremist.” The label is then broadened to include “any person, group or alternative media source” that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel disruptions at U.S. airports in response to the enhanced security procedures."

"a “domestic extremist.”
The label is...any person, group or alternative media source that...causes others to object to...the enhanced security procedures."

Nov 20th
I.M. Nobody:
"One intentional practice that I am certain of is the demonization of the targeted enemy. That TSA is humiliating travelers..."

And there, stating that TSA humiliates travellers is reasonably certain to induce others to object to certain security screenings and procedures.

Although this may only apply to domesticcaly hosted alternative media sources, such a directive could easily be interpreted to the effect that I.M. Nobody and by extension TAE and everyone on it residing in the US are rendered domestic extremists, just by that one comment. That would amount to political persecution in a way that is not just unconstitutional, but logically treasonous, as the specific conditions under which the suspect directive has been issued clearly indicate a direct and premeditated assault upon the political vitality of the citizenry and by natural extension the entire United States.

This kind of policy also happens to be astonishingly close to partial definitions of terrorism currently used; [unlawful] intimidation and coercion of the public as a method of furthering objectives. So this may be adhering to terrorist enemies, by terrorising the citizenry, and so be treason again.

T.M.O. said...

Ruben,

I said a person does not go into business just to break even, meaning they expect revenues to be greater than their expenses. Apparently, you understand this basic concept, because unless your restaurant was incorporated, and the corporation paid you a salary, then any personal income you took came from profits. Oh no! You made a profit! You must feel so dirty!

Marxism is not about the freedom to own the means of production; it's about workers owning the means of production collectively. Freedom is not really the issue. It's about the struggle between classes, but I won't go there.

You rant about small business as if I am critical of it. I never said anything to suggest I am against small business and in favour of big business. In fact, if you paid attention to what I said, I support the very freedoms that allow small businesses to prosper. I am not against big business either. I am for good, socially responsible, productive business (large or small)--sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, co-ops, what ever.

I have worked and still work with many salespeople in large and small organizations. While, as I said, it's nice to form friendships out of business relationships, hard-working sales people don't pound their smartphones and the pavement day-in, day-out to make friends. They do it to make money. The sales manager doesn't ask his sales force, "So how many friends did you make today?" They ask, "Are you going to hit your sales target?"

T.M.O. said...

Ruben (con't…)

If you think most business is not about money, you must live in some parallel universe and this blog is some kind of quantum gateway. Maybe in your alternate reality people don't need money. But in this society we do need money to live. Ask 100 business owners if making money is important to them and see how many say they don't care if they make money. I doubt you'll find very many who say they run a business to make friends. Anyone who says they do obviously doesn't need to actually earn money to live.

Regarding your point about limits, we're really saying the same thing, only in different ways. You say people want to live without limits. I said the problem is a society living beyond it's means. Where I disagree with you is that debt is both a cause AND a symptom of the problem.

By the way, I kind of like the alternate reality you live it, where people don't need money and apparently they don't need to work because they can just make new friends all day. Do they have pizza there?

VK said...

@ Draft

Conventional oil production peaked in 2006 as per IEA WEO 2010 Outlook. By 2035 just to maintain current levels of production we'd need to find 900 Billion barrels of oil, while over the last decade or so the average rate of discovery has been 10 Billion barrels. So we are about 650 Billion barrels short over the next 2 decades and this is not even taking into account finance, net energy, other bio-physical limits.

zander said...

@ Ruben 3.34

I am a self emp landscape gardener and earn enough to get by and treat myself to the occasional non extravagant luxury (oxymoronic?) it also places me somewhere in the sphere of community as I have taken up the slack of slashed council services, and now do a lot of maintenance work, grass cutting etc for stranded pensioners, I could have made a right killing on this, but instead chose to do the opposite and undercut the going rate, good business sense in the long run anyways coz as things decline and people simply can't afford these services I'll be the last domino to fall, but most importantly, these people, to a man/woman are now friends, and I'm loathe to call them customers, I can spend more time sitting chatting with a cuppa than the friggin' job takes to do, it's great and it's all local, it ticks boxes all over the place in the coming reset prep stakes, there will be people I will help out for free/barter when TSHTF, jeez, you want to taste the pots of home made soup some of the older gen. of women make, it is to f...ing die for... whereas their money tastes papery and inky ;) I despise greed, and voracious capitalism is the worst form of it !.
Great post mate. nice one.

Z

Ruben said...

@TMO

Yup.

Ruben said...

@Zander

Cheers.

ben said...

thanks for the insightfulness that was directed towards me earlier, scandia. i'm afraid i'm insufficiently introspective at the moment to respond in kind, but hopefully some future post will suffice.

dan, you said,

"My belief is that a world of people committed to self-awareness and self-reflection would be a generous, kind and peaceful place."

from the beloved 'dharma bums,'

"See the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures."

cheers.

T.M.O. said...

zander and Ruben,

I'm glad we live in a society that is still sufficiently wealthy such that a person like you only needs to work part time or charge below market rates and still make enough money to get by.

However, working for free or below market rates is not business. It's charity. There is nothing wrong with that, and I applaud you for it. Most businesses (even the dreaded capitalist kind) do engage in some form of charitable activity--community service, donations, volunteering, etc. I personally don't have much time for volunteering, so I give generously to charitable causes.

However, not all businesses are one-man shows, and not all workers have such low expectations for their standard of living as you.

Even if some people choose to opt out of it, we still live in a market economy (this did not change even when TSHTF during the Great Depression). Most employees want to be paid market rates, at minimum. If not, they leave.

If a business does not make a profit, there is no money for things like salary increases, capital expenditures, upgrades, maintenance, and, oh yes, charitable donations. Such a business will eventually die and real people will lose their incomes. And not all of them will be able to afford to spend their days chatting it up with friends.

I too despise greed. But as I said in an earlier comment on this blog, greed and the profit motive are two different things.

Greed is the desire to get more than your "fair share", in whatever context this is applied. The profit motive is about working harder and smarter in order to make a surplus income so you can buy the equipment, the fuel and the ingredients you need to make homemade soup.

Maybe if you turned a healthy profit in your business you could employ some of your friends and help them make a better life for them and their families, rather than just working at half of your productive capacity as you patiently wait for the end of days.

Frank A. said...

Regarding the scanners/enhanced body searches, one lawyer in Colorado is fighting back. He has filed for an injunction against Janet Napolitano and the TSA. Below is the link to the story and be sure to read the complaint itself, especially the "Factual Allegations" which start on page 4 of the Scribd file.

Exclusive: Colorado Lawyer Files For Injunction Against Janet Napolitano and TSA.

M said...

Some fantastic on-line music on the below link."Cancion Mexicana" is a ton of fun starting at 10am and "Orgy’s in Rhythm" (2pm) is rapturously fantastic--Mountain Time

Groovy Live Stream Music

zander said...

@ TMO

Yeah, yeah,
I've heard appeasers like you all my life, thing is the profit motive is invariably subsumed by greed, at what point does the profit become obscene, if ever?
Actually, what you are justifying is continual growth on a planet that, I'm afraid, just ain't gonna play ball (pun intended) and indeed will prove that the non negotiable lifestyle you appear to be championing is just that, only on the other side of the bet.
Couldn't you just make do with less like the poor sods that profit motive capitalists have robbed all their life while transitioning from profit motive to all out greed?
Just wondering.......... and FWIW the other half of my unproductive capacity is frittered away going fishing and playing guitar, so at least I'm only wasting half of my life working, after all the morgues are full of people who lay on their deathbeds wishing they'd worked a little harder, go read some Bageant and cheer up, it's not my fault you're unhappy because your precious monetary system is getting a well deserved and long overdue kicking.

Z.

Hombre said...

Frank A. - You leave some really good posts, but could you cover your face! ;-)

TMO - The Shawnee and Miami got along pretty good for at least hundreds of years, not a commie or a capitalist among them far as I know.
I never figured how "employing" a person was doing them a big favor, especially if the employer was making a lot more off the work than the employee.
Still, I spent 30 years playing the game, as an employee, because I was here and so was the job, without any deep thought involved. And even now I am not able to weigh out all the right and wrong of it. I was just working and making "a living."

Zander - "...the other half of my unproductive capacity is frittered away going fishing and playing guitar..."
I spent a lot of time along those lines myself over the years, unproductive externally perhaps but it gave the mind time to catch up with itself. ;-)

Gravity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gravity said...
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Ruben said...

@TMO,

It was recreational to make fun of you for a while, but now it feels like I am mocking a disabled child, which just makes me the jerk, so I was going to stop. But then you out with more patronizing, pompous windbaggery and it is hard to stay quiet.

And of course, as has been discussed on this board in the past, I know that a logical argument has a very very low chance of changing anyone's mind. Humans need strong filters to separate the sound of the wind from a mountain lion, and those filters are not serving us well in the modern era. If the facts don't fit the frame, we ignore the facts.

And, you are proving that out. Two actual, real live people have told you your assumptions were incomplete, to which you responded with a reiteration of your incorrect assumptions. At least beating the dead horse gives you a little exercise.

And of course, you can't seem to use words in their common form.

Business is barter. The only real difference is that modern businesses use money.

Revenues must equal or exceed expenses. If revenue equals expense, that is breaking even. Salaries, even of owners, are an expense. So, an owner can get paid and have a great life from a business that breaks even.

Profit is revenue that exceeds expenses. As I just said, profit is not required in order to have a rich and fulsome life. Most people in the world do not work for profit, but rather to break even. This is also historically true--it is only two generations that have suffered under government policy of endless growth.

Billions of dollars each year, across every industry, are generated by businesses by the non-profit sector. Profit is not required to pay people wages, to make work enjoyable, or to make a contribution to our world. That does not in any way require people to work for charity or below market rates. Wages are expenses.

Business can happily cover expenses, including the wage of the owner, on a break even basis, with no need to make profit. So, go ahead and use your sloppy terms to ask business owners if they care about money. You will certainly find they care about meeting their expenses. Ask them if they are driven by money and you will find far fewer. People that are driven by money are capitalists. Not all business people are capitalists. That is fact which none of your ham-handed assumptions about human nature can change.

Business requires breaking even. Many business people get wealthy, not for a love of money, but rather because what they love to do is valuable. Lucky them. That still does not necessarily mean they are driven to amass money. They are not necessarily capitalists.

Very few people are driven by the literal love of money. Those that are tend to be sociopaths--read the studies for yourself. Most healthy people want to pay their expenses, enjoy their family and friends and not leave the world a worse place than they found it.

So, I don't know how many different ways I can say this, but I am tired of picking on the disabled kid. Money is merely a convenience so we don't have to try to pay the electricity bill with live chickens. People who get confused about that and start chasing money for its own sake are very sad.

Ruben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T.M.O. said...

zander,

We all make our choices and you've made yours, and that's great. For the record, I am very happy with my current state of affairs. Having a bit of money to protect is better than not having any at all.

Navigating through turbulent times is just part of life. Heck, so far we've had a cakewalk compared to some generations. This is partly why I get indignant when I hear people whine about this and that.

Some people do indeed have it hard right now, but event the poorest in America have it better than most people on this planet. The solution is not to run and hide, but to fight back.

If the destitute, miserable souls of France could do it back in the 18th and 19th centuries, so can today's Americans, who are better fed, better clothed and better educated.

You misinterpret my defence of capitalism as a defence of unbridled greed. It is not. All systems can and do become corrupted if we allow it. But at least capitalism is founded on individual freedom. And that's not a bad place to start.

Someone who is a "mere" labourer does not have to remain so. Anyone can be a capitalist. Our history is full of people who started with nothing and amassed great wealth, or at least enough to raise a family and retire in comfort. Practically all of the parents of the people I know would fall into this category.

Realize that it's not my monetary system. It's our system, for better or worse. Not because we want it, because we have to live it. Anyone who thinks they can completely remove themselves from it is kidding themselves.

That said, should we change the system? Absolutely. It will be a gargantuan task, but I believe it can be done. But don't confuse our monetary system with capitalism. They are two distinct things.

T.M.O. said...

Hombre,

I really know nothing about the Shawnee and Miami (maybe I should learn), but I'm guessing they did not have this thing we call "money."

For better or worse (and I suspect it's both) our society runs on money. And I doubt that is going to change anytime soon.

A planet of a few hundred million people whose entire existence is local, is quite different from a planet of six or seven billion who now exist "globally".

There's nothing wrong with just "making a living" if that's what you want. We all need food, clothing, etc etc, so we need a means of acquiring these material things. In our society that takes money.

If the basic necessities is enough for you (not saying that's the case) and you prefer to spend the rest of your time to "catch up with yourself" then maybe you can write a book or something to teach others what you've learned.

T.M.O. said...

Ruben,

What's sad is this need you seem to have to belittle and insult others. I truly feel sorry for you.

scandia said...

IRELAND, man oh man I am shocked by the size and terms of the bailout! Does anyone know what the interest rate on the loan will be? And how many MP's who voted to accept this bailout will still be alive by the end of the week?Hopefully not many! Bastards!
I don't know what I'd do to-morrow if I lived in Ireland but I do know that there is no way I will agree to 15B of pension money going to the bondholders! No effin way! If a loan is needed , in fact forced upon Ireland, in order to save the global financial system and the euro then it should be interest free. Afterall the Irish don't need the loan this week or next month or the month after or the month after that...All this is is criminal activity. This is a terrorist raid on the nation of Ireland. Let's use anti-terrorist legislation and take them down, lock them up,employ the " not torture" techniques developed by these same leaders! 15Billion euros of pension savings!!!Gone! Fcuk me but this is a very bad outcome!

scandia said...

I've had one idea to start the ball of resistance rolling in Ireland. Withdraw all cleaning staff from the offices, estates,homes boats,planes and trains of anyone who designed and approved the bailout.Withdraw hairdressing and barber services.
Withdraw mechanical support for their machines and toys.
Do not speak with them. Give them the silent treatment.
Organize all the prostitutes and dealers in Ireland to withdraw their services as well.
None of the above strategies breaks the law.
Finally hiss " Traitor" whenever you are within hearing distance.
When you see one of them point them out to everybody,name them.
As they are willing and able to destroy society the gentlest thing for society to do is to withdraw. Might as well as they don't like us much anyway.It has been said we are held in contempt. This Irish bailout proves it.

Metanis said...

@ T.M.O

I applaud your efforts. You are making perfect sense to me. It's obvious to me that other people here remain imprisoned in the confines of a small mind.

T.M.O. said...

anon10 (from way up there),

RE: CPP
Thanks for bringing this up.

Basically, the difference in the two figures comes down to (if I understand it correctly) calculating the unfunded liability based on money the Plan currently has vs. money they think it will have going forward. If you understand it differently or better, please explain.

While the authors of the report do recommend using the open group method, they actually use the closed group calculation when reconciling the unfunded liability from the previous report from 2006 (page 73). So, is the open group method just a suggestion? (I skimmed, but did not read the full report.)

One of the weaknesses (or strengths, depending on your point of view) of accounting is the ability to manipulate the numbers to suit your needs. You can pick and choose the assumptions and projections to create the final outcome.

But if you think the CPP has a problem… Thanks to mark-to-myth accounting, or extend-and-pretend, or whatever you want to call it, many large banks in the US and elsewhere are currently able to pretend they are not insolvent, when in fact, they are in a hole big enough to swallow Manhattan.

But then again, is it a real hole, or just figment of our machinations?

Starcade, back on Leviathan said...

A question I've had:

How do the small banks survive if all the big banks go down?

zander said...

@ Scandia

I could be wrong, and someone please point out if I am, but the three main lenders (IMF,Europe,UK) interest rates average out at circa 6% with the IMF asking for the lowest rate at around 4%. It's a crying shame.

@Hombre (ex coy)

then we are brothers.
As I'm sure you gathered, my tounge was firmly in my cheek, and I regard my time spent with both fishing and guitar hooks my most productive, work for me is a very necessary but unwelcome intrusion in my journey through life and I have merely made the best of a bad situation up until lately, where I now find an intrinsic value in what I'm doing to earn a crust, and for the first time in my adult life no longer resent having to work instead of doing 'zander' stuff. I'm a selfish bastard, but never to the detriment of others.
Stay safe pal.

Z.

zander said...

@Scandia again

You'll appreciate todays CHS post:)

Z.

VK said...

@ Scandia

France is also passing some laws to seize pension funds. Coming to the US and Canada very soon. The money you think you've earned isn't really yours at all, just one 'law' can take it all away.

Kesho said...

@VK

I can't imagine you didn't know.

T.M.O. said...

Metanis,

Thank you. If what I say makes perfect sense to you, then you must be a disable child ;)

Seriously, we can all get testy with our comments occasionally. No one's knowledge is perfect. And we all suffer from time to time from the 'three blind men and the elephant' problem.

However, belittling and insulting others because they disagree with you is a form of bullying borne of intolerance and fueled by ignorance. Let's not go there.

The prevailing perception is that intolerance is a right-wing characteristic. But as I said in an earlier comment, history shows tyranny can come from both sides of the sociopolitical aisle.

For far too many of us, freedom of expression means "you are free to express my views." That's one reason blogs like this are good. We can all participate.

T.M.O. said...

That's too funny. I spelled "disabled" wrong.

scandia said...

@VK, Re " just one law can take it all away."
I would change " law " to " deal".

@Zander, yessiree, I do appreciate the CHS article! Thanks.

WgS said...

TMO,

You made two statements:

Some people do indeed have it hard right now, but event the poorest in America have it better than most people on this planet.

and

For better or worse (and I suspect it's both) our society runs on money. And I doubt that is going to change anytime soon.


It's really not possible to compare people's sufferings. For instance, a terminal cancer patient suffers as does a prisoner of war. Whose suffering is greater or worse? Context would provide us more insight. Perhaps the terminal cancer patient has no family or social support, possibly not even a roof over their head, yet a prisoner of war might one day be liberated and later become a government official. Still, that's difficult too because we don't know what their experiences are like. The best we can do is to listen, think and make an educated guess.

Do you have first-hand knowledge of how the poorest of Americans have things in this country?

My experiences, observations and research all seem to be telling me that they are experiencing homelessness, hunger, violence, lack of medical care, harassment and arrest.

These people experience high instances of mental illness, domestic violence, substance abuse/addiction, suicide, HIV infection, chronic unemployment and seemingly perpetual discrimination by the public, private industry and increasingly, the government which is supposed to safeguard their basic human rights.

In an increasingly stratified society that, as you point out "runs on money," I'm having difficulty understanding how the people who have absolutely no money are better off than those who have absolutely no money elsewhere.

Even taking slavery into account, I think an argument can be made that a slave can always blame his opressor for his lot in life; yet in America today, the destitute are made to believe they are "trash" and have no one to blame but themselves.

Thank you and I look forward to your response.

Hombre said...

President Obama freezes all fed workers pay! Warns of more actions pending to reduce deficit. As these things progress is should become more obvious to those in the dark that the world around them is... er... changing!

http://tinyurl.com/2a6ttmh

Hombre said...

This can't help but stir the mid-east pot up! Iranian nuclear scientists attacked, one killed, another wounded.
Guess who is behind this... I'll give you one, no two, guesses.
The message of course... Iranians, don't work on nuclear power.

http://tinyurl.com/23fuuf4

What a world... oh well... as Snuffy always said... back to work.

T.M.O. said...

WgS,

Though provoking comments.

First, let me say my comments were limited to an economic context. When judging quality of life--as opposed to standard of living––you can indeed include many factors that (at least on the surface) fall outside of economics.

(Just as a side note: a person with a lower standard of living can have a better quality of life than someone with a higher standard of living–– as some on this blog have been saying, and which I agree with. I have seen proof of this in numerous European countries where the standard of living of the average European is lower than that of the average American, though I have not seen in Europe the kind of poverty you do see in the US.)

Now, one can make the argument that things like disease do have economic causes, at least in part (e.g diabetes linked to poor diets; cancer linked to toxic waste dumps located where poor people live, etc.) However, if you wish to make specific comparisons, such as someone suffering from cancer vs. a prisoner of war, well, the comparisons can be endless. Not irrelevant, but endless.

I have been around much of the US, north, south, east and west. I've seen the rich, the middle class, the poor, the homeless. I have also seen, first hand, how poor people live in places like Central America and China. I'm taking about people who literally have nothing, defecating on main roads in public. I know a bit about the untouchables of India from documentaries and from Indian friends who have seen it first hand. I have friends from South Africa who lived there before the end of Apartheid. They don't like to speak about the horrors and degradation the blacks there suffered. I also have family in South America, who have talked about the poor in places like Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.

Based on what I've seen or learned, I can say that, in the man--and I stress in the main–– the poor of the US do have it better, so to speak, than probably most of the rest of the world.

Many of the world's poor live a kind of poverty that most people in the West almost can't imagine. That's not to make light of the plight of the poor and dispossessed Americans who are taking the brunt of the current economic situation.

That said, I am not an expert on poverty. I think one can probably only truly be such an expert if one has actually lived it.

snuffy said...

thanks for the reminder,Hombre[big grin]...

I am still lurking but have limited ability to post.

Today,I am laughing myself sick over the wiki-Nightmare the .gov is in.
To those folks in the .gov who say "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear"here is One "Back at you"!!.
[Now,show use YOUR ass-hole,TSA]
Grrrr...
..................
I have to say,you do a swell interview Nicole,but you are even more fun in person.Come back to the northwest soon.I promise to be nice.(smile)

I am home for a bit now resting,and trying to catch up on mail,and life in general.I do not want friends,here, to forget me in my travels....I miss my home and wife,my foods,and bed when working.Life goes on here

[Got caught in Wyoming in that big snowstorm in whiteout conditions driving 70mph with a pickup load of bee gear from the Daidant factory last week(pure screaming terror)...I could spend a whole post on the cross-USA trip from Hell...]

Charles Smith has a blog name"Of two minds".That title sticks in my mind...as does a lot of his thoughts.Even more so Dimitri Orluv.The material I see there has me thinking best get the sailboat skills up this summer for "plan b".

Part of my mind rejects even thinking the dread thought of becoming a refugee,but part realizes its a hard probability.

Ya just don't know how far these sick puppies who have decided we need a police state [to ensure the softy of WHO?]are going to take this game when the system cracks wide open.And my guess is it will be sooner than later.

What sooo interesting to me in my travels is the degree of awareness I see in many citizens.And,they are common citizen type folks.A lady who runs a boarding house.A former wallstreet type,now homeless,who I turned on to this blog[hi, Patrick]The folks KNOW whats going on to a degree I find astonishing sometimes....

The anger in some quarters is growing at exponential rates.What I think I am seeing is the American public waking up from a real bad dream,and they are a little groggy now,and a little stupid,but awake, and paying attention,and woe be to those who think this will not have real, real,serious consequence.I don't know which way this will fly,but a lot of folks are getting real hungry,and are already pissed-off beyond words.Maybe "the teaparty" and such can put a cap on it.I doubt it.If the system cracks they way most here think it might,it will get so weird,so quick,that no one alive knows how it will end.

Lots of work to get back to...

Bee good,or
Bee careful

snuffy

WgS said...

TMO,

You said: First, let me say my comments were limited to an economic context.

My response:

In my understanding, you cannot divorce an economy from “the management, production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.” This means that an economic context has a direct influence on the social context that results from it. A disconnection of wealth from the underlying availability (and in the US that also means affordability) of goods and services is largely what we are experiencing.

A minority of Americans have far greater access to goods and services than the majority do and this gap is growing. The top 20% of wage earners received 50% of all income in 2009; while the bottom 20% received 3.4%. This statistic is for earned income (paychecks for individuals) and excludes data on capital gains for real estate, investments and other assets.

The economic ‘fixes’ that have been adopted have benefited a small group of people at the very top, but in one form or another wrought havoc for most everybody beneath them. This is that “Wall Street/Main Street” division that seems to be so confusing to our policy makers.

Those of us who are hungry and have no place to live could care less about Mr. Buffet’s stock portfolio or Wal-Mart’s black Friday sales receipts. However, when we hear that food pantry shelves are nearly empty this winter and our elected officials want to terminate unemployment benefits from folks who are hanging on only because of that income, we wonder what we will all be eating come February.

A higher standard of living for our middle class has so far only translated to having a population who had some cushion of goods to trade for cash to trade for food and shelter but they would probably have been far better served if they had a home that was paid off so that they could grow food and chickens thus eliminating all of the convoluted steps in between when TSHTF. But of course, we know they had mortgages with unreasonable terms, cars, televisions, vacations and this wonderful “higher living standard.”

On a personal note, I have been homeless in another country with a lower standard of living and I have been homeless here. What I found to be consistent in both settings is that people whose primary focus is on turning a profit and accumulating money are not only less likely to feel empathy for those in extreme poverty, but they are actually far more likely to feel hostility for them.

Another measure of quality of life is life expectancy and it’s one area I'am particularly interested in this parameter. I discovered at the age of 40 that a generous number of my cohorts (those of my age from the slum where I spent a significant part of my childhood) were already deceased or gravely disabled. It was a shocking realization to me even though I recall all the funerals, the stories passed on to me and re-unions with many old friends who are now barely functional and certainly not employable.

I realize that my views here are pretty basic and limited, but I’m putting them out here where I can gain a greater understanding and maybe help others do the same.

WgS said...
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T.M.O. said...

WgS

There’s really not much I disagree with you in your latest comments.

The management, production, distribution and consumption of goods and services, pretty much IS the economy, so I’m not sure what point of mine you are rebutting.

“…an economic context has a direct influence on the social context that results from it.” Absolutely no argument there. That’s a pretty good definition of socioeconomics.

“This is that “Wall Street/Main Street” division that seems to be so confusing to our policy makers.”

I do disagree with you there. I don’t think most policy makers are confused at all. I think they just don’t give a s%i†. Or they know they won’t get campaign funding from the big corporations and banks if they actually try to work for the people in opposition to the big money interests. The government has been captured by the bankers and large corporations. Together, they make up some new form of American aristocracy. I’ve heard that congressional reps are legally allowed to engage in insider trading. If that’s true, that should tell you something.

If you look at mortgage financing historically, there has probably never been a better time to buy a house from the point of view of financing the purchase. Prices are dropping and rates are very low. Of course no mater how low rates go, if there is no money it doesn’t matter. And that’s a problem today in the housing market.

A large part of the problem we see today in housing stems from fraud, and part from people buying more house than they could afford, if at all. Of course, speculation also played a big role in driving up the housing stock, which only made matters worse on the downside.

Many people would not be able to afford their homes even if they were paid off. Home ownership is a very costly proposition. And in my experience, most people fail to properly factor in the full costs of home ownership before they buy that dream home. By some calculations, renting costs less in the long run than owning. You know what, I can believe it, especially now.

“…people whose primary focus is on turning a profit and accumulating money are not only less likely to feel empathy for those in extreme poverty, but they are actually far more likely to feel hostility for them.”

I have also seen this in my experience. I think it partly out of fear, partly out of ignorance, and partly out of the general disdain people often feel towards what Edward Said called “the other”—the ones who are different from you. In short, it’s a form of prejudice.

Your comments on life expectancy are in line with my comment on the link between standard of living and health. No argument there. It’s very sad. I’ve seen it myself, though thankfully never experienced it first hand.

I would just like to say that pursuing wealth, is, in and of itself, not evil. Let’s be honest, most people would rather be rich than poor. The pursuit of wealth is not, by definition, greed. One can pursue wealth without stealing from the other guy. I believe there is more than enough wealth to go around, especially in the US, one of most blessed, richest countries in the world. The problem is a corrupt government that allows the system to work for the elite (not the rich, but the richest of the rich) by stealing wealth from the middle class and the poor.

This is what has to change, not the pursuit of wealth.

T.M.O. said...

WgS



Many people would not be able to afford their homes even if they were paid off. Home ownership is a very costly proposition. And in my experience, most people fail to properly factor in the full costs of home ownership before they buy that dream home. By some calculations, renting costs less in the long run than owning. You know what, I can believe it, especially now.

“…people whose primary focus is on turning a profit and accumulating money are not only less likely to feel empathy for those in extreme poverty, but they are actually far more likely to feel hostility for them.”

I have also seen this in my experience. I think it partly out of fear, partly out of ignorance, and partly out of the general disdain people often feel towards what Edward Said called “the other”—the ones who are different from you. In short, it’s a form of prejudice.

Gravity said...
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Gravity said...
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el gallinazo said...

From Kunstler's recent blog of Oct. 25 titled "Tombstone Blues."

Bottom line is that we've reached the point where nobody in that particular racket can get away with much anymore. That string is played. The banks are toast. Not only won't they be able to recover the collateral on a lot of loans, but the MBS related crap sitting in their own vaults goes to zero, not thirty cents on the dollar or some mark-to-fantasy number that has kept them in the zombie zone for two years, like cancer victims desperately eating apricot pits in hopes of a cure. And if the banks are toast then the Federal Reserve is toast, because the Fed has been acting as a dumpster for so much of the smallpox-blanket-grade securities off-loaded by the banks since TARP, with a balance sheet that must look like a suicide note, and if the Fed is toast then the dollar is toast because they are promissory notes issued by the Fed."

Stoneleigh, how does the last part tie into your deflationary scenario if the Fed goes t*ts up like Kunstler sees? Could be such a total screw-up that it might short circuit deleveraging by by-passing go and going directly to hyperinflation, i.e. a worthless FRN!?

One commenter, Conchscooter, suggests that anyone who gets a house free and clear due to the lack of fraudclosuriness, would have to regard it as a gift (manna from heaven with a side order of botulism) and thus taxable as income after the first $10k. I find it hard to argue with this as current tax laws exist. And the gift would be on the mortgage, not the underwater value, so the tax bill would amount to maybe 65% of the current value. Since 99% of the home-non-owners couldn't pay the income taxes, then Treasury confiscates the houses and gives it back to their buddies, the TBTF Primary Dealers. And garnishes the wages and salaries of these pissants until the 23rd century. Or puts a pitchfork in their asses and forces them to charge up Moo Shoo Pork Chop Hill into the mouth of a million blazing AK-47's. Would make a great circle jerk.

el gallinazo said...

Reading Kunstler article I just referred to, I had to listen to the title song by Dylan. Jeez - 1965. Same shit - 45 years!

Tombstone Blues

The sweet pretty things are in bed now of course
The city fathers they’re trying to endorse
The reincarnation of Paul Revere’s horse
But the town has no need to be nervous

The ghost of Belle Starr she hands down her wits
To Jezebel the nun she violently knits
A bald wig for Jack the Ripper who sits
At the head of the chamber of commerce

Mama’s in the fact’ry
She ain’t got no shoes
Daddy’s in the alley
He’s lookin’ for the fuse
I’m in the streets
With the tombstone blues

The hysterical bride in the penny arcade
Screaming she moans, “I’ve just been made”
Then sends out for the doctor who pulls down the shade
Says, “My advice is to not let the boys in”

Now the medicine man comes and he shuffles inside
He walks with a swagger and he says to the bride
“Stop all this weeping, swallow your pride
You will not die, it’s not poison”

Refrain

Well, John the Baptist after torturing a thief
Looks up at his hero the Commander-in-Chief
Saying, “Tell me great hero, but please make it brief
Is there a hole for me to get sick in?”

The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing a fly
Saying, “Death to all those who would whimper and cry”
And dropping a barbell he points to the sky
Saying, “The sun’s not yellow it’s chicken”

Refrain

The king of the Philistines his soldiers to save
Puts jawbones on their tombstones and flatters their graves
Puts the pied pipers in prison and fattens the slaves
Then sends them out to the jungle

Gypsy Davey with a blowtorch he burns out their camps
With his faithful slave Pedro behind him he tramps
With a fantastic collection of stamps
To win friends and influence his uncle

Refrain

The geometry of innocence flesh on the bone
Causes Galileo’s math book to get thrown
At Delilah who sits worthlessly alone
But the tears on her cheeks are from laughter

Now I wish I could give Brother Bill his great thrill
I would set him in chains at the top of the hill
Then send out for some pillars and Cecil B. DeMille
He could die happily ever after

Refrain

Where Ma Rainey and Beethoven once unwrapped their bedroll
Tuba players now rehearse around the flagpole
And the National Bank at a profit sells road maps for the soul
To the old folks home and the college

Now I wish I could write you a melody so plain
That could hold you dear lady from going insane
That could ease you and cool you and cease the pain
Of your useless and pointless knowledge

el gallinazo said...

Re Gravity's Critique of Pure Treason

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/document/document_20070723.shtml

Or why General Smedley Butler, The Fighting Quaker, may be the greatest hero of the 20th century. Without him, there was a serious possibility that the USA would have allied itself with Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo.

Gravity said...
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el gallinazo said...

Regarding expatriation from usakistan:

Between Orlov and now Zero Hedge this week, I have decided to go for my ex-pat green card to avoid the rush to the exits, or more specifically, to alternative entrances.

http://tinyurl.com/2578jfr

Unbeknownst to many, Usakistan has put an onerous tax burden as a rider a few years ago on normal (read non-elite) ex-pats trying to move over $600k overseas. Fortunately, I am not burdened with this difficulty.

Your milage could vary, it's not for everyone and certainly has its challenges., particularly if you are half senile (and lazy) which creates certain obstacles to basic fluency in a new language. My father was born in Austria in 1913 and came to the USA in 1920. So that gives my genes to date a run of 90 years, and I have a son in NYC who wouldn't leave until things get "really bad."

Gravity said...

"Full power!? Margin buu's at full power!! It's really happening! Margin buu is coming back to life!"
(maniacal laughter)

A Walk in the Woods said...

@elcondor

I heard an alternate ending to the 'attempted' coup in the 30's that Smedley Whiplash thwarted.

A writer friend, familiar with the historic records of the event (it was very under-reported at the time) said to me when I brought it up one night, " What makes you think it was unsuccessful?"

Remember, the Bank Maggots started/funded WWI (they were in charge of the Fed since it started in 1913) and made obscene profits as a result and thus setup the Depression speculating with the war blood money.

They were the money behind the 'coup attempt'.

He said maybe the deal was to pretend it didn't succeed, but that the military/banking/corpo complex did in fact take over and immediately started laying the ground work for the ramp-up in armaments for the U.S. War Dept and ACT II of World War I.

War, what is it good for? Record banking profits, but of course.

Cut the Japanese oil supply off, count to ten, wait for a retaliation, bingo, off to the races. They could have threatened Roosevelt personally (that's what coups do) and told him they would also roll back and destroy his New Deal legacy to boot.

Truman takes over, basically turns the country into a national security state with the National Security Act of 1947. Everything but the Jack Boots clicking in the streets. Cut to 'The Red Menace" etc... and the M.I.C. Warfare/Welfare boondoggle is shot out of the cannon.

The rest until now is just tidying up the loose ends.

Endless war, no victories, just profits.

el gallinazo said...

Scandia,

Regarding returning to the USA, I have to do it at least one more time to "take care of business," though I must admit the TSA crap makes it even more distasteful. However, unless I think there is a high probability that I will be thrown in the gulag, I will do it. I find, at least for myself, that as I get older, I identify less with my body, and I think very few people would get a thrill from seeing it on a scanner (said with a bit of remorse :-) As to the groping, it's probably not a s bad as a prostate exam, which you have never been privileged to entertain.

If this sounds "unoutraged," it's because I reached my limits of outrage when I realized that 9/11 was an inside job. I am just outa there. However, I am re-reading my Kindle version of Bageant's Deer Hunting with Jesus, and I realize that I will always be a cultural Usakistani. Of course Joe the Redneck is living in Mexico.

Re the Ruben / TMO debate:

If you are the proprietor of a business and you pay yourself a living salary, it's not considered a profit. TMO, you are a fish who cannot see the water. First you state that there are two types of economic systems, capitalism and communism, and then you go on to mention fascism. Sort of reminds me of the first few generations in Genesis, where you have all these dudes appearing that did not seem to spring from Eve's loins.

If a doctor cleans a wound after the collapse and gets a chicken in return, has he made a profit? Why does the porridge bird lay its egg in the air? (couldn't resist - FireSign Theater from the Bozo album).

The American Indians lived in harmony with the bison, even after they had horses and rifles which would allow them to exterminate them. But Buffalo Bill and his buddies wiped them out in 15 years. Why? To make a profit of course. As the Band sang, "You take what you need and you leave the rest." I don't think you have a clue despite your ability to turn an elegant phrase. Sort of wonder what you are doing on this site - not that you don't have the right to read it and express yourself (at least until Ilargi gets bored). As to Canada, the saga of Monsanto and the Canadian justice system (Guns & Butter from last month) has convinced me that that country is not a step behind American fascism.


PS: The woman went to the big city today and I am hanging out with a beer and wifi in town. Making up for lost time :-)

WgS said...

TMO,

The only point of yours that I have actually attempted to rebut so far is the statement. I elaborated on the rest because I wanted to. :-)

Some people do indeed have it hard right now, but event the poorest in America have it better than most people on this planet.

I repeat it doesn't make sense to compare the sufferings of people this way. From what I can tell in re-reading is that I made an analogy trying to show you logically why this is not possible, but you then stated you were referring to economics. I explained why I felt what I was saying was directly relevant to economics.

At the risk of a repeat, I will offer you yet another analogy of why those kinds are comparisons are problematic.

A women is hospitalized because her husband beat her up and broke her arm. The social worker at the hospital asked her why she wouldn't leave her husband or press charges. She replied, "Oh, it's really not that bad. My friend's husband beat her until she was in coma. My husband only broke my arm. I have it pretty good in comparison."

Since you expanded upon how your knowledge of the poor people who in the main weren't that bad off, I am left wondering just who you think "the poorest in America" are?

I will read your comments on the pursuit of money a little later, but right now, I am out of time.

Thanks and I hope that makes sense.

I. M. Nobody said...

A cinematic exploration of the Usanistani Ruling Class.

The American Ruling Class

Still got questions about how Usanistan is run and who runs it?

@ A Walk in the Woods

The scenario you describe certainly isn't contradicted by subsequent events. That doesn't stand as proof, but it hardly seems coincidental either.

T.M.O. said...

el gallinazo,

I'll try to keep this civil, even if you can't.

If you actually read what I said, you would know I never said there are only two types of economic systems. I didn't mention every single form of capitalism or socialism either. Does that mean I deny they exist? It's funny how some will try to find the tiniest nit to pick in an attempt to embarrass others.

Regarding profits. If your business is a sole proprietorship, all of the revenues go to you, the proprietor. Technically speaking, none of it is profit no matter how much you make. The "profit", if we can use that term, is your taxable income (income left over after the deduction of business expenses).

If the business is a corporation (even a one person company where you are the director, president, and treasurer) then the corporation would typically pay you a salary. That salary is a an operating expense to the corporation and thus gets deducted from revenues when profit is calculated. You as the employee pay tax on your income, and the corporation pays tax on its profits, if any.

I've not only run my own sole proprietorships and a corporation, I've done my own incorporations, so I know a little of what I'm talking about.

Are we clear now? Is this explanation sufficient or do you need diagrams too?

If you want to debate intelligently, go for it. Otherwise, don't waste my time.

anon10 said...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The founder of whistle-blower website WikiLeaks plans to release tens of thousands of internal documents from a major U.S. bank early next year, Forbes Magazine reported on Monday.

Julian Assange declined in an interview with Forbes to identify the bank, but he said that he expected that the disclosures, which follow his group's release of U.S. military and diplomatic documents, would lead to investigations.

"We have one related to a bank coming up, that's a megaleak. It's not as big a scale as the Iraq material, but it's either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it," Assange said in the interview posted on the Forbes website.

He declined to identify the bank, describing it only as a major U.S. bank that is still in existence.

Asked what he wanted to be the result of the disclosure, he replied: "I'm not sure. It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume."

He compared this release to emails that were unveiled as a result of the collapse of disgraced energy company Enron Corp.

"This will be like that. Yes, there will be some flagrant violations, unethical practices that will be revealed, but it will also be all the supporting decision-making structures and the internal executive ethos ... and that's tremendously valuable," Assange said.

"You could call it the ecosystem of corruption. But it's also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that's not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they're fulfilling their own self-interest," he said.

WikiLeaks plans to release a U.S. bank's documents

T.M.O. said...

WgS,

I agree you can't quantify human suffering, if that's what you mean. Since you bring up things like cancer and abuse, let me say that suffering does not have to have an economic basis. I believe you also made this point.

A wealthy person can have a terrible quality of life due to some illness or disease. I have seen if first hand in my own extended family.

Regarding poverty, a person in one country who does not have access to the basic necessities of life is at the same level as anyone anywhere in the same circumstance. Agreed.

If you limit the discussion to this frame of reference then country-to-country comparisons are meaningless. However, from what I've seen, most poor people in, say, Canada and the US are not destitute. I could be wrong. Do you have any statistics on this?

I will refer to Canada, since this is where I live. What might be considered the threshold for poverty in Canada is not the same as in, say, Haiti. Societal standards do come into play when trying to determine what is poverty.

The average poor person in Canada has a better standard of living than a poor person in Haiti. Don't assume this means I think it's OK to be poor in Canada. Of course I don't. All I'm saying is that outside of the extreme of destitution, you can make relative comparisons.

Having said all that, the important thing is: what do we DO about poverty? How do we eradicate it? There are numerous opinions, I'm sure. Any ideas?

ben said...

imn,

i found it highly gratifying to make a connection independently, a couple months ago, when reading about the co-opting structure in the 1960's (as i recall) book "who rules america?" the wives of the elite -- like, say, the current first lady! -- as a rite of passage (nay - inculcation) find themselves specifically on, among other things, the board of directors of a major hospital. i must confess that until then i had considered her slightly more authentic than potus.

---

for anyone who hasn't read it yet, my girlfriend and i earnestly agree with an anonymous commenter in the comments section below it that the first post on greenpa's little blog in the woods is as beautiful a text as we've ever come across. as i read it to her our hearts burned and our castaneda cocoons did some sort of expansionary thing.

Hombre said...

Snuffy, good to hear from you. About this "...Got caught in Wyoming in that big snowstorm in whiteout conditions..."
I nearly did that one time near Sheridan, Wyoming, crossing a 10k ft. peak in October and it started snowing at about 6k. Made it though, in a 2-wheel drive S-10. You and yours be well!

T.M O. - You're eloquent with words but you have filtered glasses on lined with money. Let your heart out of the box and stick your ego in there. No need to try to make capitalists out of all of us. Won't happen. Also, I would be hesitant to pick at El Buzzard as he is quite sharp in mind and sharper in experiential talons.

Ilargi and StoneLady - The wider I read from website and various international sources about our GREAT PREDICAMENT the wiser your warnings, revelations and posts seem to be, in fact, if not in precise timing. Hang in there!

scandia said...

@board, I am thinking about the proposed protest for Dec.7th to withdraw our money from the banks. I can't decide what to do. Is anyone else thinking of participating. In particular, should Cdns do it? I heard yesterday that the banks in Canada will start increasing dividends again. As a saver this pisses me off. Why not pay depositors more interest? I would appreciate any advice on this matter. Only a week to go...

EBrown said...

In the news right now the "sovereign debt crisis" has moved to Portugal and Spain. My question is, who is profiting from the spike in rates across Europe's so called "peripheral economies"? (Not my term for PIIGS)

I suspect it is the same firms that stand to benefit from bailouts. With how crappy the economic outlook for the future is what could be better for a bank than to make few million/billion messing in the bond market and in the mean time scare policymakers into taking junk from private to public balance sheets. What could possibly be better?

T.M.O. said...

scandia,

Bank protest: interesting idea. But how would it work? If depositors all rushed on one day to withdraw their money, the lineups might simply be too long and the whole effort could bog down. Frustration among large crowds who are already pumped and ready for action could turn to violence.

Even if you CAN get to a teller, banks already have limits on how much one can withdraw. They only have so much cash on hand. And larger withdrawal amounts may already require several days notice (the not-so demand part of demand deposits).

Bank machines also have daily withdrawal limits (not to mention limited cash to dispense). You can go online and transfer your money. But to where? Another bank?

Even if it could somehow be made to work and the banking system is threatened, the government may simply declare some kind of force majeure and institute a bank holiday.

However, as a symbolic gesture of the people's disaffection with the banks, I'm all for it. It could be the start of something positive.

I would say the better solution if people want to harm the banks would be a slow, sustained campaign where deposits are continually withdrawn, slowly draining the banks of this source of money.

As to why banks raise dividends, but not deposit rates: It's because dividends come out of profit. Interest payments are an expense to the bank. Dividends are paid to the bank owners (share holders). Interest payments are paid to the bank's creditors (such as depositors).

Your bank deposit is not really a deposit; it is a loan to the bank. If fewer people loaned their money to banks, interest rates on savings might be higher. It's our own complacency as depositors that's the problem.

T.M.O. said...

EBrown,

The people and institutions who are willing to take the risk and buy the bonds benefit from the higher interest rate as long as they issuer doesn't default. Current bold holders see the value of their bonds decline on higher rates.

The institutions who sell credit default swaps on these sovereign bonds benefit (as long as the bond issuer does not default) because premiums (or "spreads") for this type of insurance against default are going higher.

WgS said...

TMO,

I believe the single most important thing we can do is to examine and change our priorities. If we can't do that, we don't stand a chance.

Here's an English version of one of the best primers I've ever seen on the problem of valuing profit above human beings Ilha das Flores

Part 1


Part 2


I'll post my thoughts, some statistics and a response to your questions a little later. My health is not all that great and it takes me awhile.

I. M. Nobody said...

scandia,

I value your contributions here and therefore I must recommend against going anywhere near a bank on that day. If you watched that film I linked to last night (I don't know whether hulu.com is embargoed to Canada or not) you would have seen that the big banks are an integral part of the ruling class. Just as Damon Vrabel has been saying on his little whiteboard.

They are not going to just let you take down their banks. Oh, the banks are dying, but the rulers will keep them on life support as long as possible. If a large crowd does form, it is highly probable that provocateurs will mingle with the crowd and do something to elicit a violent police response.

Starcade asked earlier if anyone knew whether the small banks could survive a takedown of the big banks. I certainly don't know, but my guess is they probably could not. What I am fairly confident of, is that it would radically reshape the ruling class. There will always be a ruling class. My guess is that the next ruling class will more closely resemble North Korea's than the one we have now. Not something I think we should be anxious to bring into being.

zander said...

Scand , IMN and all

I personally, have been withdrawing my own small contribution to the life support of the parasite sponging filth by incrementally reducing what I hold to within a few quid of break even, only putting deposits in the day after I pay for something online with the card, thus depriving the vermin of even the smallest of overdrawn charges (currently £1 a day) I do so hope it is costing them a fortune in admin. charges to keep my account up and running.:-) other life expenses are cold hard cash only.

Do it over a period of time, covertly, and you too can enjoy many happy days of bank disassembly in blissful, under the radar, anonymity.
NEVER let the enemy know what you are up to.

Z.

Gravity said...
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Gravity said...
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Gravity said...
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Gravity said...

Next week, a Critique of Practical Treason.
[Not if I can avoid it! [laughs]]

I. M. Nobody said...

Tom Englehardt has a few choice words regarding the marshalling of the airport Gropinators and what it means.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, The United States of Fear.

IMO, it seems to mean that our rulers have already chosen the governance recipe of a particular branch of the Kim Family to meet the challenges of this century.

Ilargi said...

New post up.



A little help from a friend



.

Nassim said...

In general, I like the private sector. However, some things should never be privatised - without very strict safeguards.

Gladiator school

Gravity said...

The Critique of pure Treason

The affairs of state cannot permit a situation to exist, whereby any [elected] representatives of the government, and [particularly] houses of congress, would be designated a 'domestic extremist' [explicitly] for the lawful exercise of constitutional rights and duties [inherent] in the functioning of their offices.
Issuance of certain directives attempting to facilitate such a situation may be considered particularly unconstitutional, possibly by encompassing an act of treason committed by those officers responsible for issuance of said directive, within the constitutional confinement and precise stipulation of said high crime, as being a direct assault or induction of a state of war [or warlike state] upon the United States, this administrative entity so embodying the constitutional integrity and vitality of the sovereign citizenry and [especially] their duly elected representatives in government.

If such a directive would become evident, whereby a significant quantity of citizens and [elected] representatives of the United States government- such as congressman Ron Paul and secretary of State Hillary Clinton, so publicly expressing their relative dissatisfaction with or reluctance to acquiesce to, certain TSA security protocols- would be rendered 'domestic extremists' for attempts to [indirectly] interfere with TSA security protocols by engaging in protected political speech, so likely causing others to object to or interfere with said protocols [in reaction to percieved infringement or violation of constitutional rights or other reasons], and naturally providing that the designation of 'domestic extremist' remains logically and lawfully equivalent to active political persecution [by duly designated agencies of government], then a situation exists, whereby the [executive] officers responsible for evident issuance of said directive may be charged with treason and/or conspiracy to commit treason, within the constitutional stipulations of treason.

Gravity said...

continued...

Whereas [the citizen's] principal dissemination of said precriminalised [protected] political speech [of said agents of government], as resulting in designation as 'domestic extremist' [by criminalising said [protected] political speech], would effect the political persecution of [said citizens for [the dissemination of] the [protected] political speech of] said agents, regardless of temporary parameters for immunity [to criminal charges or personal political persecution] currently applicable to said agents of government, the evident issuance of aforementioned directive [by officers in the executive branch] may indeed so constitute an act of treason and/or conspiracy to commit treason.

Whereas, if said directive were not authorised by the President, and said directive were to [falsely] authorise designation of members of congress as 'domestic extremist' under the specified conditions outlined in said directive, such a directive shall thereafter be voided and may cause those officers responsible for issuance to be incriminated for and/or charged with [high] treason and/or conspiracy to commit [high] treason against congress and/or the office of President.
Whereas, were such a directive issued by [direct authority of] the President, that would cause members of congress, by particular circumstance of political speech, to be designated as 'domestic extremist', and whereas [citizen's] dissemination of said precriminalised [protected] speech [[of members] of congress], as resulting in designation as 'domestic extremist' [of said citizens], shall be rendered equivalent to political persecution of said [members of] congress for said speech, regardless of localised parameters for immunity [to criminal charges or personal political persecution] currently applicable to them, such a directive shall thereafter be voided and may cause the President to be incriminated for and charged with treason and/or conspiracy to commit treason, thus necessitating impeachment.

Gravity said...

continued...

Whereas, were congress to pass such a law that would cause, by particular circumstance of political speech, the President to be designated a 'domestic extremist', so fatally incapacitating the functioning of said high office by inducing political persecution thereof, and whereas [citizen's] dissemination of said precriminalised President's [protected] speech, as resulting in designation as 'domestic extremist' [of said citizens], shall be rendered equivalent to political persecution of said President for said speech, regardless of localised parameters for immunity [to criminal charges or personal political persecution] currently applicable to the President, such a law shall thereafter be constitutionally voided and may cause [members of] congress to be incriminated for and charged with [high] treason and/or conspiracy to commit [high] treason against the office of President.

Whereas, were congress to pass such a law that would cause, by particular circumstance of political speech, a member of congress to be designated as 'domestic extremist', and whereas [citizen's] dissemination of said precriminalised [protected] speech [of members of congress], as resulting in designation as 'domestic extremist' [of said citizens], shall be rendered equivalent to political persecution of said [members of] congress for said speech, regardless of any localised parameters for immunity currently applicable to them, such a law shall thereafter be voided and [may] cause [members of] congress to be incriminated for and charged with [recursive] treason and/or conspiracy to commit treason against itself.

It is Resolved, that in accordance with the principles of recursive treason, were such a directive issued by [direct authority of] the President that would cause, by particular circumstance political speech, the President himself to be designated a 'domestic extremist', so fatally incapacitating the functioning of said high office by inducing political persecution thereof, such a directive shall thereafter be voided and [may] necessitate impeachment on grounds of incapacitation and/or recursive high treason against the office of President, whereas, regardless of any localised parameters for immunity currently applicable to the President, [citizen's] principal dissemination of said precriminalised President's [protected] political speech, as resulting in designation as 'domestic extremist' [of said citizens], shall be rendered equivalent to political persecution of said President for said speech.

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