Thursday, March 26, 2015

READING (3-26-15)


Vendor sells 'Official Runnin' N****r Target' at South Dakota Gun Show (TPM).

It's official: Americans R Stoopid (Zero Hedge).

Why we're all over confident (PRI).

Market is rigged, High Frequency Trading is harmful, and nothing will change (Zero Hedge).


SOME GOOD NEWS
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announces 24 year prison sentence for leader of mortgage relief scam (Office of the Attorney General of California).

A Finnish lawyer solves world immigration (Ozy)? 


How reform is done ... Richmond police chief: 'All lives matter. That's really what community policing should be about' (Yahoo).


LIBERTY UNIVERSITY (and Ted Cruz)
Evangelical Liberty University received half a billion dollars in federal aid money (Salon).

Liberty University students faced $10 fine if they skipped Ted Cruz presidential speech (Politifact).

Here's how Liberty students REALLY felt about Ted Cruz speech: 'This is embarrassing' (Addicting Info).


WAGES, UNIONS AND "RIGHT TO WORK"
Wages, benefits and protections are lower in states with 'right to work' laws (Elise Gould / NY Times).

Income Rises when right-to-work laws are passed (Richard Vedder / NY Times).


Call it 'Right-to-Work-for-Less,' not Right-to-Work' (George Gresham / NY Times)



AMERICANS CREATING THEIR OWN REALITY 
'How to make your wife submit to your authority': Christian blog teaches men how to dominate their wives (Addicting Info).

Trillion dollar fraudsters ... the GOP's budget magic (Paul Krugman / NY Times).

Parents' beliefs vs. their children's health: Praying infectious diseases away (NY Times).


THINGS WE SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT
TPP leak reveals extraordinary new powers for thousands of foreign firms to challenge U.S. policies and demand taxpayer compensation (Public Citizen).

The U.S. ranks first in incarceration rate ... and it's not even close (Ranking America). 

'60 Minutes' bungles another hit piece on Social Security (Michael Hiltzik / LA Times).

The conundrum of corporations and the nation-state (Robert Reich).


NATIONAL SECURITY STATE ISSUES
U.S. backed Afghanistan officials sanctioned murder, torture and rape (The Guardian).

CIA to create 10 new centers while expanding digital espionage (Pittsburgh Gazette).


MISCELLANEOUS
The art of King Kobra (Ozy).

The important things standardized tests don't measure (Washington Post).


Don't say "papaya" in Miami, and other lessons for wooing Latino voters (MSN).

The best place to live in the United States? Here are 9 maps to consider (Zero Hedge).

- Mark

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WE AREN'T THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

Our place in the universe, in 209 seconds ...


- Mark

WAR IS A RACKET ... PLUS OTHER THOUGHTS ABOUT AMERICA'S FINANCIAL ELITE, AND PERPETUAL WAR

Major General Smedley Butler (1881-1940) was the most decorated U.S. Marine at the time of his death in 1940. In spite of his battlefield heroics General Butler is perhaps most famous for exposing the fascist plot to seize the White House in the early years of Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term.


Asked to lead a group of military veterans against FDR, General Butler flatly refused and worked to expose the plot concocted by some of America's wealthiest families and other financial elites.

In a strange twist, after Wall Street and America's financial elites had effectively wiped out the economy in 1929, a group of wealthy individuals convinced themselves that FDR was the one leading the country to ruin. They approached General Butler with a plan to overthrow President Roosevelt. The goal was to install a fascist dictatorship along the lines that we saw in Germany and Italy at the time. General Butler was viewed as the only man with the prestige and trust necessary for inspiring military veterans to go along with their plan.

Apart from providing money for operating expenses, one of the conspirators, Robert S. Clark, commented, "I have got $30,000,000 (about $540 million today). I do not want to lose it. I am willing to spend half of the $30,000,000 to save the other half." Clark was not alone.

After the entire affair was exposed General Butler came to the conclusion that America's financial elites weren't so much concerned about America as much as they were about making money, regardless of how it affected other nations, our soldiers, or our reputation abroad. General Butler reflected on how he saw his military service abroad:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.
Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

To reduce the proclivity towards war General Butler wrote in War is a Racket that we needed to take the profit out of the equation. To do this he called for national conscription for both people and industry during times of war. Specifically, he wrote:

You can't end [war] by disarmament conferences ... by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. 
The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nation's manhood can be conscripted ...
Let the officers and directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our air-plane builders ... as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted - to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.
Let the workers in these same plants get the same wages ... yes, and all generals and admirals and all officers and all politicians ... Why shouldn't they? They aren't running any risk of being killed or having their bodies mangled or their minds shattered ...

General Butler concluded by saying that if everyone affiliated with making money off of war were to receive what the common soldier earns that the proclivity towards war would be "smashed."

I'm not sure if the tendency to make war would be "smashed" if we took profits out - humanity is made up of some seriously deranged people - but the story of the American empire would definitely be altered.




One final thought ...


- Mark

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GLOBALLY WE SPENT $11,000,000,000,000 AFTER THE 2008 MARKET CRASH AND ALL WE GOT WAS ...


The amount of money created and spent by the world's central banks after the 2008 market collapse is $11 trillion. What did we get in return? A lethargic "recovery" and an elite class that is richer than they were before the market collapse. 

Zero Hedge has some interesting graphs and commentary on the topic here.

- Mark

Monday, March 23, 2015

INKA GOLD, UNCHAINED MELODY

I like this. From Inka Gold ...


- Mark

AMERICA'S DEMORALIZED PLUTOCRACY


From Salon ... 5 signs that America is turning into a demoralized plutocracy.

1. ELECTIONS FOR THE 1%: Both the Democrats and the Republicans are groveling to the richest and most powerful Americans.

2. PRIVATIZATION OF THE STATE: From the privatization of war (think mercenaries) to private prisons (heck, they want to privatize the libraries here in Bakersfield).

3. THE DE-LEGITIMIZATION OF CONGRESS & THE PRESIDENCY: While vying for power, both the White House and Congress have been throwing enough mud over the past 20 years that the only thing they can agree on is war and the national security state ... oh, and privatization of the state.

4. THE NATIONAL SECURITY STATE AS THE 4TH BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT: From the creation of the Department of Homeland Security to mercenary armies and our militarized border and police forces, we're told to be afraid of our own shadows.

5. THE DEMOBILIZATION OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: With PR driven military campaigns and privatized mercenaries, Americans no longer care if wages are stagnating, poverty is on the rise, or if the rights of labor are respected. As long as we don't have a draft and we have our apps, we don't seem to care.

It's a bit lengthy, but you can read the article here.

And, yeah, I kind of added a bit to the narrative above. It needed a few more connecting points.

- Mark


Thursday, March 19, 2015

ARCTIC SEA ICE PACK JUST SET A NEW RECORD LOW

Via NASA we see how the Arctic sea ice just set a new record winter low ...


For more check out this Wired article.

- Mark 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THE REAL JOB CREATORS IN AMERICA

And the real job creators in America are the Democrats ...

Jobs-Rep-Dem-percent

For more on the job creator myths that are out there click here and here.

- Mark 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

WELCOME TO CLASS WARFARE IN AMERICA (BY THE NUMBERS)

We have already dumped $4.3 trillion into the bailout of Wall Street.

Collectively college students owe about $1.13 trillion on their student loans.

If we paid off every student loan in the country with the money we've handed over to Wall Street we'd still have well over $3.1 trillion left.



With $3.1 trillion we could then pay off every credit card in America.


After paying off every credit card in America we would still have at least $2.2 trillion.

Since this is education related, let's use the $2.2 trillion to pay the tuition for the roughly 14.2 million students attending a public university. With tuition costing roughly $3,030 per student in 2014-2015 we could pay for everyone who attends a four year public university through 2024 ... and still have about $400 billion left. 

Or we could take the $2.2 trillion and use it to pay down total mortgage debt ($8.1 trillion) of every household. This would wipe away a little over 25% of America's total mortgage. So, let's say you owe $200,000 on your mortgage. Afterwards you would owe a little under $150,000, which would put a big dent in your monthly payments.

So, think about the following. What would millions of Americans do without tuition, student loans or credit card debts to pay? How would a 25% reduction in your mortgage debt impact the life off working class homeowners in America?

One thing's clear: the economy would take off.

Unfortunately, Wall Street and the bankers said that they needed the $4.3 trillion to pay off their failed market bets, which was dumped on their laps primarily by the Federal Reserve.

So, why couldn't we have taken the $4.3 trillion to help pay down the debts of ordinary Americans, to help keep them financially stable? Because that would be socialism (cough, cough). Right?

Even if we proposed using the same terms (less than 1% loans) that were granted to our nations largest financial institutions to pay off these consumer debts it would still be labeled socialism.

Welcome to class warfare in America.

- Mark 

OPEN CARRY, EXPLAINED

- Mark