Democracy in America

It appears that Simon beat me to commenting on Third World America, Arianna Huffington’s bleak portrait of many of the things that are wrong with America (crumbling infrastructure, failing schools, extreme inequality, low social mobility, political system captured by special interests, etc.), so I’ll confine myself to a couple of thoughts I had while reading it.*

First, there are these great quotations from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (p. 45 of Huffington’s book):

“Amongst the novel objects that attracted my attention during my stay in the United States, nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of condition among the people. . . .

“Democratic laws generally tend to promote the welfare of the greatest possible number; for they emanate from the majority of the citizens, who are subject to error, but who cannot have an interest opposed to their own advantage.”

Now, Tocqueville was no naïve idealist. I read a big chunk of Democracy in America in college (the “cube,” we called it, because it was so thick) and read The Old Regime and the Revolution in graduate school, and Tocqueville is one of the two conservatives I most respect, along with Edmund Burke. He knew the importance of institutions and the dangers of trying to overthrow them all at once, and hence his distaste for the ideological zealots of the French Revolution. America, he thought, was different, because of its strong institutions and public sphere.

But today, Tocqueville’s observations no longer ring true. America is no longer a land of equality, and it’s largely because our democratic system no longer promotes “the welfare of the greatest possible number.” And that’s because many citizens are only too eager to support policies that are “opposed to their own advantage,” like the then-popular (and apparently still-popular) Bush tax cuts, which shifted the relative tax burden from the rich onto the middle class.** What Tocqueville underestimated was the power of money in modern politics and the marketing genius of modern politicians, which have freed democratic politics from the constraints of the actual interests of the majority.

Second . . . I think I’ll hold off on second until another post.

* I got a free copy from the publisher.

** Yes, income taxes on the middle class went down a bit. But if we assume that government spending must eventually be paid for, it’s the relative distribution of the tax burden that matters. If we assume instead that government spending will be reduced, those reductions will affect the middle class (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) much more than the rich.

109 responses to “Democracy in America

  1. Well, obviously Tocqueville just never heard of “trickle-down economics”.

  2. Tax the top at 94% again and I bet they find all kinds of ways to avoid the tax including investing in their endevors and creating jobs… Plus our social programs can then be strengthened.

  3. James, if you don’t mind paying shipping and have too many books on your hands let me know. Always willing to help you any way I can, Haha.

    Great stuff as usual. I think Simon Johnson and you do a terrific job. Sometimes Simon is too pro-IMF for me, and a little too internationalist for my particular taste, but that’s a disagreement over ideology and theory, has nothing to do with his writing or the great arguments he makes. He backs his S.H.I.T. up with facts. I don’t know why the other commenters have been so hard on you guys lately. I think this is still a very high quality site and I love it and am grateful for it.

    Do you know (or any commenters know) if Shteyngart is Hebrew??? He looks Hebrew in his LATimes picture and many of the super sharp guys are Hebrew, so I am curious if anyone knows the answer to that. Keep hitting those law books Jamesy.

  4. I want to add here (I’m drinking dry gin now and in good mood, hehe) another reason I love this site is basically it’s commercial free. You took it to the borderline a couple time with 13 Bankers, but definitely this is one of the reasons I treasure this site is you basically keep the advertisements out and you’re decent about disclosing free books and relationships. That’s all people ask for is honesty. Everybody has some agendas or somewhat selfish motives. It’s part of the human condition. All anybody asks is people be honest about it, and you guys are.

  5. One of the things that has really been annoying me lately is the widespread use of the top marginal income rate when we really should be talking about the effective tax rate. Did we really ever take 94% of anyone’s total income in taxes? I really doubt it.

    I agree with your general point though.

  6. de Toqueville also observed that, “The great American experiment in democracy will work so long until the People find out they can raid the treasury.”

    Again we disagree Mr. Kwan, Alexis de Toqueville fully understood the nexus between money and politics and the flaw in our system.

  7. David Petraitis

    On the 94% top rate it was not on total income but on the marginal income. In the case of the 94% this was imposed on income above 200,000 in 1945 and 1946. (source: http://www.truthandpolitics.org/top-rates.php)

    If you read the whole series it becomes very clear that the rate has declined since 1982 (the year Ronald Reagan was elected and the Reaganomics style of tax philsophy took hold); then was raised during Clinton’s years to merely 39.6% (and don’t forget Clinton gave the US a surplus at the end of his term); and then was lowered by W to 35%. But other policy decisions of Bush’s term harmed the economy more than the tax cut (imho).

    So expect the tax increase under Obama to somewhat quell the deficit problem. But there are structural things that need to be done as well with Social Security and Health Care costs as Simon does not tire to point out.

  8. Ted, why is it so important to know if someone is Hebrew? Sharpness is well distributed amongst all ethnicities.

  9. David Petraitis

    Correction: Reagan was elected in 1980… sorry.

  10. “What Tocqueville underestimated was the power of money in modern politics and the marketing genius of modern politicians, which have freed democratic politics from the constraints of the actual interests of the majority.”

    There we go. Read “marketing genius of modern politicians” as “propaganda genius of modern _______” and we have the crux of the problem. And this “marketing genius” is expressed best through the news and blogs that appear independent. Sock Puppets on Astroturf, coming to a circus near you.

  11. Oregano,
    I should have thanked you very much for asking that question in a civilized tone, as many would not have asked in a civilized tone. Thanks.

  12. There is no question that the economic and tax policies of the fascist in the bushgov overtly favored the predatorclass, 1 or less percentage of the Amerikan population. And there can be NO successful argument that the socalled “Change” president Obama, – perpetuated these untoward and illicit policies unrestrained.

    The predatorclass benefits wantonly, the working class suffers brutally. This is the newnormal, we are all sheepishly expected to the accept.

    There is no demacracy!
    There is no more any system of justice!
    All the old quaint notions of democracy, and liberty, and justice are ruthlessly tossed to the cauldron.

    The predatorclass in an arch enemy and dire threat to the people’s best interests. We either right these horrible wrongs, or we don’t. If we don’t, – the predatorclass will continue to subdue and enslave us, – if we do – then get stocked, cocked, and ready rock America – because we either take back our nation and fight of the principles that define our “unique experiment in demccracy” – or we hand our nation and our children’s future into the hands of fascists, supremists, and predatorclass den of viper and thieve’s, or we STAND UP and right these horrible wrongs. Wake up America! We are being abused! Raped, pillaged, assaulted! How much criminal abuse are we willing to countenance?. How much are we willing to tolerate. Thefew have taken and ruthlessly pillaged and pilfered far toomuch, from fartoomany.

    Get stocked, locked, cocked, and ready to rock Americans, – our future, – our children’s future is dependent our willingness to right these horrible wrongs.

    We are being abused and ruthlessly subjugated!!! We either standup, and defeat our enemies, or we don’t. If we don’t – then woe to us, – for we will suffer and hazard the brutal ends of our treachery. If we do – then – the predatorclass will be put back in the keep and punished for criminality!

    What is America? What kind of nation do we wish to bequeath our children? We are at the crossroads, and decisions we make in the next few weeks, months, years, will determine our future as a nation and a people. What is America? What kind of people are we? If we are good people and a decent law abiding nation – – the time has come to buckleup, and just say no! NO to corruption in our political class. NO! to our sniveling greedmongering corporateclass! NO! to the predatorclass seeking to enslave or eradicate the people, – It is time to standup and say NO!!! NO MORE!!!

  13. james i think u miss that what we have here in the US is no different than ancient rome, egypt, etc. a few powerful elites run everything & exploit everyone else for their own benefit

  14. I recently read “Cornered” by Barry C. Lynn. It explained a lot about how innovation and and competition are being destroyed by monopolies. Consolidation of industries by just a few players has turned the US into a neo-feudal country. 13 Bankers points out the same problem in finance. Similar instability in the economy is prevalent in most markets in the US today.

  15. de Toqueville also observed that, “The great American experiment in democracy will work so long until the People find out they can raid the treasury.”

    But it wasn’t the people who raided the treasury, it was the aristocrats. Bread and circuses may have brought down Rome, but America was laid low by no-bid contractors and tax cuts.

    What Tocqueville missed was that while the majority of the citizens “cannot have an interest opposed to their own advantage”, they can *believe* they do, if they are lied to skillfully enough.

  16. Mr. Kwak wrote:

    “Tocqueville’s observations no longer ring true. America is no longer a land of equality, and it’s largely because our democratic system no longer promotes “the welfare of the greatest possible number.”

    Mr. Dickens wrote:

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period….”

    Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1812 – 1870)

  17. DakotabornKansan

    “But today, Tocqueville’s observations no longer ring true. America is no longer a land of equality, and it’s largely because our democratic system no longer promotes ‘the welfare of the greatest possible number.’ What Tocqueville underestimated was the power of money in modern politics and the marketing genius of modern politicians, which have freed democratic politics from the constraints of the actual interests of the majority.”

    Franklin Roosevelt’s words are worth recalling, “If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.”

    Behaviors are emerging in our nation’s political scene that violates the basic social contract of what this country is about and raising the ugly specter of mob rule. This is very worrisome. Eric Hoffer described these political busybodies, zealots for a cause, The True Believers, who filled the ranks of ideological movements that created the totalitarian tyrannies of the 20th century. The political cowardliness of so many who know better is a sad commentary and equally alarming.

  18. Piet V,

    I just launched a blog, where I seek to address market defects taht abstract from competitive markets, and explain how they are injuring our country.

    http://fairmarketmovement.blogspot.com/

    No one has done a better job than baseline at making it clear how finance embodies the successful oligopoly turned oligarchic power, but I will look into “Cornered” for other examples. Would love to have your thoughts on what I’m trying to do.

  19. IIRC, Bush43 was elected with about 23% of the vote among eligible voters. What de Toqueville missed was apathy.

    I imagine there are some protesters out there who don’t vote. In terms of numbers they are statistically irrelevant.

    Conservatives accused liberals of raiding the treasury since FDR’s New Deal. I guess it just depends on who’s ox is gored.

  20. Typical, TedK refuses the accepted definition and attempts to mock the standard.

    TedK, and more particularly the Obama Administration merely prove my long held belief that the proposed “new boss is the same as the old boss.”

  21. Before this thing grows into a “you are a bigot” or “those comments are veiled bigotry”, etc… let us recognize a few facts that folks of all races and creeds sometimes forget.

    All lineages have traditions of intellectual endeavour that have served them well. Otherwise they would have perished.

    For example, the Tarahumara (sp?) in Mexico and the various tribes in Africa have exploited persistence running in their barefeet (or nearly so) to allow them to survive in their environment and is indicative of an adaptive intelligence needed for their particular environment. In their world, we eggheads would be at a huge disadvantage… so much for that great score on an IQ test.

    Jews for centuries have abided in some form or another of a scholarly tradition of Talmudic study. This has no doubt served them well since it is often a rigorous academic endeavour. And over many centuries this Talmudic tradition has brought to them a culture steeped in intellectual endeavour well suited for the other intellectual pursuits of modern society today. Therefore, it is only logical to see why they excel is such pursuits – centuries of training not unlike the Kenyans or Tarahumara.

    But they are not alone – and I do not recall Ted K stating such exclusive exceptionalism.

    For crying out loud, Einstein thought Isaac Newton was the most intelligent person ever. How knows and why does it really matter?

    I am a white gentile. The majority of college students I have tutored in my life were Jewish. I have been taught by both Jews, gentiles, etc… who are more learned and/or intelligent than me. So what? Knowledge and reasoning for furthering a better mankind are what is important and if there is something someone cannot grasp then they should be praised for their effort for wanting to learn. Those who refuse to teach or learn because of bigotry are the problem – and this is not what is on display here.

    Pointing out that a group of people who excel at such pursuits is hardly bigotry. It is no more a sign of bigotry than recognizing that Kenyans seem to win marathons more than American blacks or whites.

    So please, in the interests of James and Simon’s intentions – please – drop this suggestion of bigotry and move on.

  22. Please check your spam filter. I believe you may have relevant comments in there.

    At least I hope so… mine seems to have not made it and this topic is a focus of mine.

  23. Voting for any of them only gives them legitimacy. Reading and commenting on articles about them gives them legitimacy.

    A good, old-fashioned shunning might bring about exactly the kind of change we need.

  24. You’re welcome.

  25. That was a reply to Ted.

  26. Analysis: Bernanke paves the way for QE2

    8/27/2010 11:22:00 AM – by CalculatedRisk

    http://tinyurl.com/33qv8m9

  27. One of the claims I remember most clearly from Democracy in America, and as regards inequalities of wealth, is that “the surest way of promoting inequalities of wealth is to repeal the inheritance tax.”

    It seemed very clear that de Tocqueville was referring to tax policy in France and his words have continued to ring in my ears ever since the Bush tax cuts of 2002.

  28. Bacevich recently wrote about the “other”, “Half the citizens were hired to spy on the other half of citizens…”

    They are called “gatekeepers” these days and they are tasked with making sure the unemployed stay unemployed long enough to lose everything that they worked for their whole lives – mercenaries get paid and that’s the way they are getting paid this time around – after all it was a CHEAP war for the “corporations”, not for the STUPID people.

    …the baseball bats ala “Gangs of NY” will come out – there is no other choice with mercenaries…that’s my “prophecy” for the day

  29. okay, if anyone “invests” in this cockamani cartoon book 10 year old fantasy,

    puhleeze let me in on creating a “derivative” formula for that investment money :-) – oh the bubbles one can blow with that…

  30. Wow, finally got censored for mentioning what the ENTIRE rest of the world “feels” about self-proclaimed superiority in “finance”.

    C’mon, Logic, how did the “perception is reality” work out for the pipelines of big pharma?

  31. Bill Gilwood

    The very word “welfare” has been perjoritized, thanks to “the marketing genius of modern politicians” (or rather their paymasters), even though it appears in the Constitution at least two times (Preamble and Art 1, Clause 1). The word welfare now immediately conjures up images of you-know-what, in the minds of almost all Americans. So much for the government being obligated to “promote the general welfare”; now it’s only about “provid[ing] for the common defense”.

  32. James Gornick

    Far-fetched, the leading economics of Austerity Retirement are bringing more worries than just being able to retire…

    It takes understanding the moving metrics of Austerity to understand the moves ones may need to make. These moves are to ensure their 401ks and other retirement vehicles are safe for when one retires, if that were possible for the generations preceding the Baby-boomer.

    Howard Davies out of Project Syndicate wrote it on the state of, “After the Golden Age of Finance”. He stated the following, as I quote, “Is this a short-term phenomenon? Will the financial sector return to pre-crisis growth rates when the economic situation has been fully stabilized? Will financial “deepening” continue? Will bank stocks once again outperform the market?

    A recent study by Andy Haldane and others at the Bank of England casts doubt on the prospect of a return to the status quo ante. They note that the Golden Age was in fact an unusual period, if you look at the last two centuries of economic history” (Davies).

    In further reading, I came upon great further reflections of the times. The article written by Jonathan Ford conveys “Public intellectuals and the financial crisis”. He also states a parallel reinforcement as Howard Davies. Comments as written appear as follows;

    “The financial crisis has destroyed both wealth and received wisdom. The idea that prices are always right and markets self-correct is fatally challenged. Even Alan Greenspan admits that the “whole intellectual edifice” of the efficient market hypothesis collapsed in the summer of 2008.

    The financial establishment is in a state of deep confusion. As the FT’s Gillian Tett put it in September’s Prospect: it is like “a priest who has lost faith in the Bible, but still has to go to church.” But this is not a bad thing, for it has opened up new ways of thinking about markets, institutions and the all-important cause of financial reform.

    Unfamiliar voices have come to prominence, aided by a new wave of financial bloggers eager to push fresh ideas. But who has made the most impact? Prospect assembled a panel of experts to draw up a list of leading “public intellectuals” of the financial crisis in 2009 and then decide on the most important.

    Our criteria were simple. Anyone who had made an impact on policy with their ideas, or who had changed the “public conversation” was a candidate” (Ford).

    Another good read comes out of Morningstar’s Christine Benz as she wrote this article on August 26, 2010 “How Safe Is Your Pension?” It gives great links and puts the right thought of what protective actions you need to be aware of in a true austerity environment we all live in now.

    How does IRAs and all the other retirement investment vessels matter to paying attention to market exit and entry points? A closer look at the S&P and the other markers as used to chart the gages of trust meters. Using the old tried and true Point & Figure charting is certainly one effective way.

    The mainstream CFAs seem they are set on many of the regular indicators show current market conditions are looking relatively “oversold” as RSI-5 sinks down to 18 or so within that area and RSI-14 to 34.

    The Oscillators are also yielding -58, -59 that are an area associated with market bottoms developing.
    The day count has been off as marked by the Aug 9 high that is approximately 13 days, which is a key Fibonacci number for those who use Fibonacci.

    A measured move objective has also been met as the first leg down off the 1129 high to the 1069 low on Aug 16 is materialized to the Aug 17 high of 1100 which gives a target of 1040 (1129-1069=60; 1100-60=1040).

    The 62% retracement off the July low/Aug high at 1056/1057 was surpassed, but the 3/4 mark at 1040 had more alignment with these moves should be marked.

    The overall action in August has been steep which could be carving out a Falling Wedge pattern as well, so traders need to be alert for a potential “squeeze” to develop if the current downtrend line is broken.

    There was a gap down on Tuesday between 1063/1067, which I think has a good chance of closing before month-end. The 20-day ema recently slipped back under the 50-day simple ma this week, which carries intermediate-term bearish implications, however, a “snap-back” is often in the works allowing for a better entry on Shorts.

    Bottom line, it is no longer Far-fetched in anticipating a month-end bounce to develop into next week’s as the August “summer doldrums” wind down. How much upside to say is difficult, as the SPX now sits back below its 200, 50, and 20-day moving averages?
    Key Fibonacci resistance levels on this current Aug – starting Sept range lie at 1074, 1084, 1095 (38%, 50%, 62%), so be sure to watch them as resistance, especially if a trend line or moving average lines up around them.

    If the markets take another dive lower into month-end or the first few weeks of Sept, it begs one to keep track of that downtrend line off the April high.

    Sellers may be in control the last 3-weeks, but buyers are definitely taking advantage of deep “oversold” conditions along key levels for a bounce. Note the July closing low was 1022.

    This is self evident by the Intel announcement and the shares of tech heavy weights are on the move for the ones showing deep discounts. Still good looks come at a few issues I still follow, such as Integrated Silicon Solutions, Inc., (ISSI). Dragon Wave, Inc. (DRWI) along with Sandisk (SNDK). How does this relate to ones 401k or retirement?

    It is because you want to diversify risk to rewards and hope your financial advisors and your money is actively protected along with actively working in an austerity driven market that is here to stay for a very long time.

    Remember in trying to keep the Creator in the economic equation of the economics of true sustainability. To live within the Teleios of creation; is the ability to put on the Creators glasses that see many of these life changing events as what would seemed extremely blurred. Blurred when we put on those same glasses viewing what means perfection.

    Just today, CNBC stated the worry of the demographic Economics of birth rate is drastically dropping. Review what this means to the pre-baby-boomers wellbeing. The 2040s to 2060s are not far off. The time to end abortions is reaching epidemic proportions.

    For now, it is time to move to protective measures to get money managers working actively on your retirement nest eggs. Those eggs are going to afford at least the healthy meals and other essential needs well into the future if well planned.

    God Bless, and until the next entry, keep the faith alive that America can and will be the leader too keep God in the equation when it is all said in the history books to be written in the end.

    Peace, I am out of here for now…
    James G.

  33. Re: @ Annie___On a lighter note…the baseball bats will be coming out tonight at “Tampa Bay” – go Rays!!! PS. I’ll be thinking of you Annie eating my popcorn, and peanuts washed down by a couple of cool ones (the poor man’s sport) ;-))

  34. Of course, Tocqueville was missing one group — the slaves. Hardly a minor oversight. Neither was he particularly concerned with the denial to women of the vote or the right to own property.

    It would be interesting to gauge at what time in American history wealth was most unequally (and at what time most equally) distributed.

    If you just confine yourselves to people who were allowed to own property and allowed to vote (that is, people treated substantially equally in law), then at what time were people most unequal.

    The disparities in distribution today, if not the greatest ever, must be pretty close — and getting closer.

  35. I don’t know when people began speaking of it this way, but in the 1980s you would hear people speak of the United Kingdom as the world’s wealthiest Third World country. Perhaps we are seeing the beginning of this for the US.

  36. Paul Krugman suggested the US is going this way on the Bill Maher HBO show in Septembe2, 2009: http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/episodes/0/169-episode/index.html

  37. His perspective was a relative one… to aristocratic France in which wealth, power and education were in the hands of a few, passed on by inheritance rather than merit, and where the aristocrats thought it beneath them to get their hands dirty.

    The closest group to the French was the southern aristocrats, the plantation owners. But he spent much time in the North where he found the greatest differences.

    His vision was quite open and avant garde considering his own background.

  38. I agree that we are just beginning to realize this, but the process has been ongoing for decades.

    I suggest that it started by the 1980s as the Greatest Generation began to retire and passed control to their over-indulged progeny. They were the last “pay as you go” and “save for a rainy day” generation. Since then we’ve been borrowing, both as individuals and as governments, against our national properties, real and intellectual, and the income of our progeny.

    The Bush tax cuts were/are popular because they taxed no one and they increased the transfer of wealth by inheritance relative to that transferred by competence. They replaced taxation essential to pay as we went with borrowing to be paid by future generations and from selling our national assets. These weren’t the first irresponsible tax cuts, those were in the 1980s, but they were the most agregious.

    We will try to keep this up until we’ve hocked or sold all our assets and we have no other alternatives. Then we will cry and point fingers. (Creative, but selfish folks are well underway on this one.) None of these actions is a sign of cultural adulthood.

    In October 2004 I wrote an essay “Why I won’t vote for George Bush” which details this process and predicts (“probably within 5 years”) the economic disaster we are now undergoing. Since nearly all my friends were conservative Republicans, this essay strained long time friendships.

    http://www.elew.com/Wont%20vote%20for%20Bush.pdf

    I have several essays related to this subject on my blog.

  39. Wow – anyone else have the deer trapped in the headlights look on their face right now? Or maybe the dog head tip to one side accompanied by that dog “huh?!” sound?

    Not for one second did the dude entertain the idea that he is PLAYING god with people’s lives and using the wrong math when doing it.

  40. I’d add that there were unintended consequences from lowering the incremental tax rates, one being the explosion of executive incomes relative to everyone elses’. The rational reaction to cutting taxes which effectively gave executives big pay raises, would be to hold or lower their salaries. However, they control their boards, and since net-take home pay is the only guarantee of security for the marginally competent executive, they manipulated compensation increases from subservient boards… the rate of increases went up after the Bush tax cuts.

  41. Who are the Koch brothers? Charles and David Koch are the owners of the privately held Koch Industries. Koch industries has annual revenues of $100 billion. Together the personal fortune of Charles and David Koch is $35 billion. They are prominent philanthropists. They are also one of the biggest supporters of Tea Party activists via the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. The also fund many nominally non-partisan non-profit “think” tanks which produce right-wing, libertarian publications. They are disciples of F.A. Hayek and are a libertarian’s libertarians. They are the most unabashed deniers of global warming, which is not surprising since oil production is their primary business.

    Here is an excellent expose’ on how these two brothers have manipulated the thinking of millions of Americans over many decades through their enormous wealth.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer

    So, if you think the Tea Party “events” are a result of grassroots activities, think again. The Koch brothers are in fact the puppet masters of the Tea Party puppets. They are the financiers who keep the Tea Party activities going.

    I leave you with a thought which is one that is in opposition to the teachings of F. A. Hayek.

    Individualism describes a society where each and every thought and action of each member of society promotes the greatest achievement and fulfillment for every individual within that society. Individualism is loving one another. Individualism is loving all manifestations of God’s creation. Individualism is creating Heaven on Earth. The 21st century will be known as the Age of Individualism. This age will be characterized by the engagement of each individual in the promotion of fair, ethical, and rational policies directed at the betterment of each and every individual.

  42. LOL! Thanks for that.

  43. Ted: I have never thought of the promotion of 13 Bankers on this site as being a commercial activity (i.e. to increase revenue via book sales). Rather I have always understood Simon’s promoting 13 Bankers as his more complete statement of the causes of and solutions to the financial and economic disaster of the last 30 years or so. Communicating that more complete understanding, as Simon understands it, can not, by definition, be accomplished via a blog.

  44. Hey Logic are you fact challenged or are you just accustomed to lying in defense of racists and racism?

    After 7 paragraphs of blah blah blah you summarize that, “Pointing out that a group of people who excel at such pursuits is hardly bigotry.”

    TedK didn’t point out anything. In fact TedK did the reverse. He inquired as to man’s religious/cultural origin to determine if it fits his own prescribed bigotry.

    What’s the next defense, that TedK was under the influence of gin? LMAO.

  45. The teaparty brood, know not what they seek. Wingnut propaganda and disinformation covens, financed by the likes of predatorclass snakes like the Kock brothers brute talkingpoints that tap into and exploit redneck Amerika’s rank ignorance.

    Demonizing biggovernment, while expecting biggovernment to finance Amerika’s fascist military misadventures and the wanton slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians to enrich the bushcrimefamily cabals.

    Biggovernment is bad when it serves the peoples best interests, but when bailing out the den of vipers and thieves on Wall Street, pimping debt as value, then biggovernment is necessary.

    Twisting the redneck Amerikan penchant for racism and bigotry as sanctioned by thebabyjesus, and blaming Mexican’s, blacks, and other unfortunates for all the nations ills, ignoring all the while that it is the predatorclass singularly and exclusively that has piloted America to ruin for the imponderable profits of thefew.

    “Some day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the earth.” Let it fall. We are heading toward a real horrorshow clash between thehaves and thehavenots. This inevitable clash will not be pretty or bloodless, and when the dust is settled, and the blood washed from the streets, – a new America will be born. It is up to us to determine if we establish an Amerika owned and controlled by the sociopathic fiends in the predatorclass, or if we return to our “once more perfect union, that thing we call the Constitution, and the rule of law.

    Buckle up Amerika! Either way, we are on the cusp of real change!

  46. Bruce E. Woych

    It is fascinating that for a constitutional concept and American apparatus so relatively (historically) NEW, we keep looking back to the past rather than keeping our eyes wide open to the future. Afterall, aren’t we the guardians of a process freed from oppression and centuries of blood stained sacrifice?

  47. “Why are people who know better sugar-coating economic reality? The answer, I’m sorry to say, is that it’s all about evading responsibility.

    In the case of the Fed, admitting that the economy isn’t recovering would put the institution under pressure to do more. And so far, at least, the Fed seems more afraid of the possible loss of face if it tries to help the economy and fails than it is of the costs to the American people if it does nothing, and settles for a recovery that isn’t. ”

    Excerpt: “THIS IS NOT A RECOVERY” PaulKrugman

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/27/opinion/27krugman.html

  48. Yes indeed, Anonymous. Full moon tonite.

    ” John Williams of ShadowStats

    Economic Data Will Get Much Worse.

    The kindest thing I can say about a stock market that rallies on the “stronger than expected” news that annualized growth in second-quarter GDP was revised from 2.4% to just 1.6%, instead of to the expected 1.4% (keep in mind those numbers are quarterly growth rates raised to the fourth power), or that gyrates over meaningless swings in seasonally-distorted weekly new unemployment claims, is that it is irrational, unstable and terribly dangerous.

    As the renewed tumbling in the U.S. economy throws off statistics suggestive of a continuing collapse in business activity, as a looming contraction in third-quarter GDP becomes increasingly evident to all except Wall Street and Administration hypesters, who professionally never admit to such news, it would be quite surprising if the financial markets did not react violently, with a massive sell-off in the U.S. dollar contributing to and coincident with massive sell-declines in both the U.S. equity and credit markets.

    Recognition is growing rapidly of the re-intensifying economic downturn. Yet, little analysis so far has been put forth to public as to some of the unfortunate systemic implications of this circumstance. The problems range from extreme growth in the federal government’s operating deficit, tied to reduced tax revenues and to bailout expenditures for the unemployed, bankrupt states and continuing banking industry solvency issues, to U.S. Treasury funding needs to pay for same. The latter issue promises eventual heavy Federal Reserve monetization of Treasury debt, with resulting inflation problems and eventual hyperinflation (see the Hyperinflation Special Report).”

    Excerpt: http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/

  49. Another great post, Tony. Many will be tempted to delude themselves with the government and MSM’s ridiculous spin, but the street-wise are preparing for the worst.

    http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-23-2010-how-low-can-we-fall-this.html

  50. Don’t get me started on how much some man can get paid for hitting a ball with a bat – and I am a fan of baseball..

    Let’s hope the big batsters and ballsters in sports recycle the money that was stolen from the hourly wages of nurses via middle men temp employment agencies so that the hate-labor agencies could buy a sports team in AZ and keep the $$$ sucking up one way to them.

    You need the hard data about how they gave 1 to you and 10 to me with the nurses getting the 1…?

    And so quiet from the all-powerful hedge hog community – although one slipped today on Ratigan’s show – pretty much CONFIRMING that the unemployment rate is going higher because of the surprising amount of wealth in the hands of the middle class that 25% unemployment until 2015 could suck up for them to cover at least half their bets (derivatives) after the mercenaries get paid…

    Yes, Earle, they are going for the last egg-laying chicken even if it takes until 2015. The sacred number 7 – 7 years – “like cosmic, man…NUMBERS are cosmic”.

    Place your bets.

    What’s the cost of booze these days to reach the comatose-to-recognizing-a-moral-hazard “high”?

    Only one way TonyForesta’s “violent” revolution won’t come to pass, and that is if the MILITARY contains the mercenaries who parasited off of them for a decade…

    The money is worth crap when only the War Lords and Drug Lords have TRILLIONS of it for their insane ideology to get “fulfilled” as “prophecy”…

    batter-up :-) pass me a dog…

  51. I gotta finish up making the lightning-control thing-y – Thor will be impressed :-)

    referring to the Holloweed Viking diners club link on the website your link led us to…

  52. Bayard Waterbury

    Noriel Roubini obviously has judging from his recent appearance on CNBC. If the regulars there were still holding their “recovery pompoms” when he came, they had burned them by the time he was finished. And, I actually believe that his 40% possibility of a double-dip was incredibly optimistic, unless he believes that the first dip ain’t over yet (which it isn’t, only political and the FED’s smokin’ mirrors make it seem so to the ignorant and wishful thinkers).

  53. Bayard Waterbury

    Just follow the bouncing ball, folks and we’ll all sing along: Democracy is alive and well in America for the rich. But, as the Godfatha might say: fuggedaboudit!! Yes, the Plutocrats are up for election again, disguised in their favorite ruse party outfits, spouting their dogmatic, and running commercials designed to dis those who would challenge their authority to get richer with their oh so supportive oligarch brethren. Sad, but I can’t believe that Alexis would have been so ignorant. After all, to the intellectually ept, politics is a highly, predictably, amoral, messy business, regardless of system of government. Overlord come in all shapes and sizes. But, there is a problem, even for overlords: sometimes methinks they press the envelope too far. This may be that time. After the dollar finally collapses under their dominant and bogus schema, what will their billions be worth? Remember what happened to the aristocrats in Russia while the Czar was being murdered. Oops, I shouldn’t have said that, but in the age of neo-feudalism, I think it may be an appropriate reminder to Tim, Larry, Loyd, Jamie, and the others.

  54. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/7966529/Stock-markets-face-a-bloodbath-warns-SocGen-strategist-Albert-Edwards.html

    “Stock markets face a ‘bloodbath’, warns SocGen strategist Albert Edwards”

    “Investors should brace themselves for an equities “bloodbath” and a further fall in bond yields when the current excessive optimism propping up the market seeps away, Albert Edwards, a strategist at Société Générale, has warned.”

  55. Darb Dickle V

    “What Tocqueville underestimated was the power of money in modern politics and the marketing genius of modern politicians, which have freed democratic politics from the constraints of the actual interests of the majority.”

    Edit update:
    “What Tocqueville underestimated was the power of corruption in modern politics and the propaganda dynamic of modern politicians, which, combined with THE STATE SECRECY PRIVILEGE, have freed democratic politics from the constraints of the actual interests of the majority, and, the checks & balance feature inherent in genuine democracy.”

  56. Well said Ted – agree with you 100% (except for the Hebrew observation possibly) – and well done Simon and James – great work.

    I am simply amazed that the right can still keep fooling so many people after it seems so patently obvious that their policies do not work for the general good. I am sad to say that it’s just not in the US this happens – although it’s more extreme there than most places – witness the recent UK elections. Although Brits really were tired of “new labour”. I live in Norway and a left of center govt is doing a great job imo – 3.5% unemployed – and Oil and gas is not as dominant as people think – it’s 18% of GDP. But I fear the right might win in 3 yrs because people are so easily sold on the low tax arguments.

  57. The only difference between a Wall Street and a Racetrack tout is the tailor and the dental plan.

    The game doesn’t change. You sell all sides, laugh with the winners, commiserate with the losers and sell some more.

  58. welll…. de Tocqueville was wrong; following the end of Jacksonian democracy, economic inequality increased until the Civil War reversed the trend temporarily. Economic equality increased briefly during the end of the 19th century because of labor shortages and declining birth rates among unskilled workers. In summary… nothing helps reduce economic inequality better than labor shortages.

  59. Annie and Thrasher and whoever:

    Defend racism? I am afraid you do not know me well enough to recognize the silliness of that question.

    This is one of the problems with a forum such as this. Each brings his or her own set of facts and experiences/biases to the the table without knowing the background of others.

    This is precisely why discussions about politics and religion often grow contentious – the knowledge bases and exchanges are usually incomplete and/or insufficient and, when accusations are leveled – self-righteous indignation bolstered by one’s own set of facts seems to prevail.

    FWIW, when I was young we had the KKK drive by our house and shoot guns above it while shouting “Nigger Lover” (my father was principal of a school in the South and he supported integration).

    A few years later, my father was attacked by some black panthers because he was enforcing a “no wearing of hats in the school building” rule. My sister and I were subject to a failed kidnapping attempt by this same group. My sister, not me, out smarted them and engineered our escape.

    In college, my brother and I intervened at an apartment pool when 2 white men began to make a young black kid cry with racial taunts. Luckily for us (they were much bigger than us), they left without incident and the young boy was O.K.

    I have lived in homes and been roommates with blacks and Asians, been in many Jewish wedding parties, had a Jewish best man at my wedding and taught poor predominantly black youth in an inner city school sex education.

    My wife could testify at my disgust over the facts learned in Howard Zinn’s “Peoples History” and Douglas Blackmon’s “Slavery By Another Name”. Even the fiction of Harper Lee and Carol Manley resonates with me.

    Please do not confuse my prior submission or this one with self-righteous indignation. If you do you are missing the point. I am not better than anyone nor am I leveling any allegations at anyone nor indicting anyone. I just find it somewhat ridiculous that a stranger would suggest that I am defending a racist when my history suggests otherwise.

    I do not know Ted K so how could I defend him. He may be a racist – he may not be – I do not know. I just did not think his “Hebrew” statement rose to the threshold of such vitriol and indictment. I have had Jewish friends remark that someone “looked Jewish” – are they self-hating Jews?

    My comments were just merely an attempt to stop this unproductive finger pointing and bring the discussion back to economics. Nothing more and nothing less.

    If you want to see some racism, live where I live presently and try to maintain sanity when talking with some of my neighbors who think Obama is a secret Muslim (as if Islam was bad) and Michelle and her kids are “ghetto’ing up” the white house. The echo of “Obama is spending us into oblivion” is everywhere down here in the deep South – yet they are quite ignorant of Bush’s spending record and when made aware, it is not important to them. “Bush was not a socialist trying to destroy America.” This is the ignorant banter I encounter almost daily and it is reflective of what was discussed in Dan Carter’s award-winning “The Politics of Rage” many years back.

    FYI – Racial politics did not go away after the 1960s. It just waited until the 1980s when the “Southern strategy” allowed it to ride the backs of “socially” conservative Republicanism and the new anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-communist evangelical movement which allowed racist “Christian” whites to cloak their bigotry in religious garb and the flag. Witness Glenn Beck today if you want to see its modern incarnation.

    In stark intellectual comparison, your missives are much more informed and usually welcomed. In fact, I usually learn from you guys (uni-sexual term).

    So, again – please – enough already. Let us move on.

    P.S. – I will accept the charge of paternalism in this instance (LOL).

  60. I’m putting the two discs back in the red envelope and mailing them back to Netflix today…the “Special Features” were good – lots of background history provided to “The Gangs of New York” story…

    It’s been a 30 year struggle – basically the whole adult LIFETIME of the “boomers” to get a “future” going that was the LOGICAL step forward from Moon Walking…and then all the megalomaniacs started to Jim Jones the “process”…get them all in one place, let them build their nirvana, then kill them via injections – “bloodless” but lethal…

    Where we are TODAY is not only not LOGICAL, it’s DELUSIONAL.

    USA does “DELUSIONAL” worse than all other tribes on Spaceship Earth because at least half of us KNOW it’s DELUSIONAL….

  61. Amen, Brother :-)

    As Mr. Big lamented to Aiden on Sex and the City, “She can call me, but I can’t call her.” Aiden agreed that was wrong :-)

    After the Patriot Act – they got access to it ALL on you – and stuff that it is NOT their “business” to know – look at what happened when they got the info – they KILLED your business…that’s why those boundaries of privacy were in place in the first place – someone knows your business, they TAKE it.

    So even the mobsters are guilty of breaking the social contract – mind your own business was a two way street. Now, well, what’s the phrase, “take to the mattresses…” or something like that?

    Forgive my ignorance with most of the cultural touchstones of USA, as I pretty much up to this point led a straight arrow life – focusing on PERFECTION in my “labor”, not in my bs ability…

    Even WORSE, when you realize it’s all printed out of thin air, is the “social engineering” of this HIGH level of poverty in a nanosecond timeline…I keep asking

    WHAT WAS THE POINT?

    The religious, philosophical, ethical, moral, POINT?

    So insane…

  62. Re: @ Bruce E. Woych___”the more we traverse the timekeeper of the past – the more tools of evolution come into existence, jusifying the adherent manifestation of tribal society – destruction and the yarns of death have gotten us where we are at present, through the offspring of technology – the very innovation that sets the doomsday clock – unfortunately for mankind the repetitive lessons of innate virtues have taught us naught – rather than intercede with human nuture and annex the whole we thrive on our stubborn inhabitions of survival at any cost – our failure to address the conscious mechanics of our frailties have brought us to the precice of ruin – learning not about human nature but history has hastened our demise” PS. What has the past done but satify the future we so easily could have righted?

  63. Re: @ Viktor___C’mon…the S&P hit a 52 wk high (1,219 /4/10) and since the bottom “666” it has approx. doubled. No big deal – the “Hampton’s” are coming off vacation and fresh with enthusiasm, period! So the market tanks 10-20%, its a great entry point @ 8.5K-9k, and not to be wasted by these gurus. The tell-tale sign as always are the “Blood-N-The-Street” imposters that shake the dollars out of the poor man’s pockets, while netting the profits of doom. PS. Market Timing is a fool’s game,…but democracy in America is not. Thanks James, and Simon:-)

  64. That explains the killing fields.

  65. Logic,

    The only post of mine that was censored this week on this site was the one where I mentioned a documentary about Jimmy Carter and wanton destruction of olive trees…go figure.

    There is a hatred between other new post-WWII “ethnics” immigrants – very much like the sickeningly ugly KKK stuff – going on that is still off the radar of your average USA people

    that is the same kind of one-way hatred of LABOR SOLIDARITY – in spirit and intention.

    I am more than happy not to go there in further discussion – trust me.

    Being a first generation USA citizen, I can assure you I may be better at interpreting current history in USA better than what the shoot-down at the stupid people media is feeding the HYSTERICAL propaganda machine.

    This is a MANUFACTURED economic war because FIAT money makes it possible to create massive poverty at will against some “other” tribe, so to speak.

    The really dangerous current USA history to contend with is the new-age mercenary army and the abuse of USA military might to achieve DELUSIONAL goals in a region of the world that has never been anything other than a circular firing squad of “religious” fervor.

    Dragging up slave history NOW is the ugliest, smelliest most diabolic red herring possible under such circumstances and I refuse to be USED to feed the fire by being CENSORED. Because now I am really p-ssed at my self-proclaimed ethnic enemy for their irrational censorship and I will go off now to meditate on “don’t give in to your hate, Luke” and find yet another way around the MERE OBSERVATION that Ted made about the FACTS of the ethnicity of the “money men” who told people like Brooksley Born that she has no right to question what they were doing with the “economy”.

    We’re just finding other ways, Logic. Making them viciously block every POSITIVE move to a better future in PUBLIC is a phase to get through…

  66. i doubt we’ll ever a labor shortage in this country again

  67. Logic, what I do know is that you misrepresented facts for the sole purpose of defending a racist and his racism.

    I didn’t read beyond the first sentence of your last post. I don’t care to know or try to understand what your personal reasons might be for misrepresenting facts in the defense of racism.

    Indeed, I have tried to move on as you first suggested. It seems you are totally unable to practice what you preach. Why am I not surprised at that?

  68. There already is an EDUCATED LABOR shortage.

    Most censored posts on popular “news” blogs that don’t get posted end up being retro-fitted for use by some official propagandist who puts a LYING spin on the original thought by the original CITIZEN.

    Declaration of Independence 2010 ending up being championed, nationally, by a narcissistic nut job is the PERFECT example of how there IS a real grassroots movement that ends up being chemically altered into grassROTS propaganda.

    Yup, The Butcher (fictional?) character from The Gangs of New York movie did surround himself with the lowest of the low (will do anything for the money) carefully culled from the gene pool of the “nativists”…and who has any doubts that The Butcher would be invited today as a guest philosopher on Sunday Political yapper shows to comment on “health care”? We had WORSE than The Butcher for 10 years manning the anti-insurgency campaign against “stupid sheeple”. And all those yappers on TV are STILL on TV – the fourth estate commits treason the most!

    They’ve stooped to Jim Jones-ing D.C. into their Jonestown – PROVE me wrong.

  69. Thank you to the site owners for providing an internet forum where I can share this thought free from wanton selfish censorship:

    You do not need to come up with a “reason” to declare an end to war.

    It is REASON, itself, to do so.

  70. I have been frustrated to understand why citizens continue to vote against themselves. Speaking specifically of southern voters, the only thing that makes sense as to why they vote for policies that adversely affect them is that old subject that no one wants to talk about, and no one wants to admit. I fear that citizens might focus so severely on their personal biases that they will vote this country right into destruction.

  71. Taxes are too low…taxes are too high. Isn’t the real argument about what we get for our taxes? The “value” we derive from how our tax dollars are spent? Politicians make the argument that taxes are too high because, as others have pointed out, that’s a winning argument to make. But I think what we really care about is that the government spends our tax dollars on the things we “value”. And that works for both those who want money spent on social programs as well as those who want money spent on national security. Americans write big checks for things they “value”, such as homes, autos, and education. And they certainly like to think in every case they’ve made “value” purchases. I’d like to see a politician, of any party, break ranks and begin talking about the value we Americans get for our taxes…the argument needs to shift from how high (or low) are taxes are to what value we get from how the collected taxes are spent.

  72. Quoting James from above ” And that’s because many citizens are only too eager to support policies that are “opposed to their own advantage,like the then-popular (and apparently still-popular) Bush tax cuts”,…

    James is correct that all voters don’t vote solely their economic interests. As an example, I assume James and Simon are were advantaged by the Bush tax cuts, yet they oppose them. Working class voters do the same thing and are criticized for it. But in a way less well-off voters, unlike James and Simon, are making economic sacrifices when they vote for conservatives.

  73. Right wingers like to tout a quote they attribute to de Toqueville, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Alexis_de_Tocqueville

    It doesn’t seem to occur to these right wingers that what’s happening now is that they are helping to form the majority that always votes for candidates who give the treasury away to the oligarchy.

    In fact, there’s never been a true democracy where the country was ruined by the people robbing the treasury, but there have been many instances, democracies and otherwise, where the country was ruined by the rich and powerful robbing the treasury.

    Carolyn Kay
    MakeThemAccountable.com

  74. Tocqueville knew about the perils of what we’ve come to know as central currency in democracies from the old Romans. In November 2009, I wrote:

    I would argue, if we want globalization to continue its course, especially among democracies, one has to return to Keynes and his recommendation at Bretton Woods for a global currency (Bancor); China seems to favor such thing, and this may be our opportunity to keep the game straight after the demise of the dollar from its position as reserve currency. Indeed, if a democracy controls the reserve currency, what guarantee can it be that the respective currency will be protected from the whims of the people in that democracy?
    http://imotion.blogspot.com/2009/11/can-reserve-currency-be-protected-from.html

    Trickle-down can be seen as a solution to the above problem; control the money supply below the elites, or money is something too dangerous to entrust the populace with it. Obviously, I’m a bit cynical here, but we’ve had it coming. Recently I’ve written:

    Being treated like adults is a right we gave up long time ago, just see how the other guys keep pushing non-issues such as the Ground Zero Mosque(-rade). Krugman, as if to appease a bunch of kids, is thinking short term and the reason for people like him to ask for stimulus, without a plan to spend it that would actually rebuild our economy, is his complete pessimism and/or his distance from the real economy. The real economy is yet to find a way to move one car 1 mile with Twitter, yet that would be one of the more valuable pieces of American innovation in the last decade.
    http://imotion.blogspot.com/2010/08/thoughts-on-stimulus.html

  75. We need true courageous leadership to restore the soveriegnty of our country against the globalists. FDR knew his domestic enemies had no boundries, so did JFK. They knew taking on the powerful was deadly business. The true revolution will come from the left as it did in the 60’s.

  76. virginia holder

    As a SC voter for 30 years, I taught in public schools. As a daughter of an Army dentist and Emory professor I was educated in many excellent foeign and domestic DoD schools. My life was saved by an Army surgeon.So the tripe of socialized healthcare and public schools was due to ignorance and fear . I often talked to peers about the excellent examples in my own experience. A veil of dismissive deniability would fall over them. Like I had quacked loudly like a duck. The issues always come back to family (mine;to hell with thine) faith ( baptist only) and traditions(code: race and confederates) It is depressing to live and work here. I have slowly learned these things over years of dropped guards and findneighbors, business leaders and co workers are still apologists for the GOOD KKK, gut voting rights and have a vested interest “in keeping all of us down”. Many whites have a sense of entitlement and even the kids have a put down for the biracial kid who exhibits happy confidence…”S/He thinks s/he white.”Whereas segregation policieswere taken down segregation is starkly apparent at any Christian church service today. The irony of it all! VAT

  77. The party line is ‘the struggling recovery.’ But privately, the same people are expecting cataclysmic collapse.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/08/fears-of-regime-change-in-new-york.html

  78. There are no “globalists” that are anything other than organized crime syndicates of War Lords and Drug Lords and their bastard children of Slave Traders and Pirates.

    The Patriot Act opened the door for a criminal syndicate to be established on homeland soil through profiteering mercenaries sucking on the military industrial complex’s teat. At least BELIEVE that they do not deserve to don themselves in RELIGIOUS garb as MORAL “leaders”! Replace theocracy with meritocracy! Replace PSYCHOS with balanced normal minds!

    It’s a sinister “process” and “business model” that needs to be dismantled carefully. Issuing a separate currency to throw a spoke in the wheel of their manufactured poverty, driven by an irrational hatred of intelligent LABOR, would drain power from their death and destruction grid.

    The THIRD political party in the USA is the “Independent Party”. The left is every bit as delusional as the right and every bit as dirty from corruption. History may repeat itself, but never exactly in the same way. The choice remains non-violent.

    The propagandists of PRIVATE airwave owners can dance naked in front of the Liberty Bell speaking in tongues to prove their religious RIGHT to own the Declaration of Independence 2010 – but it ain’t gonna happen…that’s my prophecy :-)

    Since we know they are going to throw the first punch, certainly one can make a real case that they already have done MORE than throw one punch,

    we’re ready to deliver the last punch.

  79. I applaud your faith Annie in the idea that -“The choice remains non-violent.” However you end your commentary with fists pumping, and that involves violence. Would that it were so, that we could resolve these disputes peacefully and that the predatorclass would hear our mournful pleas and recognize our suffering, – but alas – the people are abandoned and alone. No one is working in the peoples favor, or advancing or protecting the best interests of the people. Rather, the socalled government, including the Obama government are lapdogs and spaniels bowing to the will of the predatorclass, – and the people, and the peoples best interests are of absolutely ZERO concern to the predatoclass and so the socalled government.

    We are on our own. No one, and no thing will help us. Our future is in our hands – and we either go like sheep to the slaughter, or moths to the flame, – or we stand up and FORCE an end to this lawlessness and ruthless pillaging and criminal abuse of the people, and our childrens future, by the predatorclass, or we don’t. If we don’t then we and our children are doomed to a future of more catastrophic bubblebustbailout economies, and more swift and brutal erosion of our standard of livings. If we do, – then the people must stand up, en masse and force the predatorclass back to the keep, and punish criminals for crimes, and dismantle toxic, ruthless, criminal oligarchs.

    Buckle up America – there’s only one way out of this nightmare, – and it won’t be pretty, peaceful, or bloodless.

  80. Below are two recent interesting works on the consequences of inequality.

    ‘The Spirit Level’, by Wilkinson and Pickett
    ‘Worlds Apart’ by Milanovic

    Though its likely that some may see both works as agenda driven, both works are well referenced. That is, arguments are supported by data. Both works avoid the ‘deductive trap’ -i.e. start with some assumed axiom, or assumption about the world and then reason from there forward. They have both taken the inductive route as in “here’s the data and here’s an argument that is supported by the data”.

    They are both remarkable books.

    kc

  81. I agree with you. Having experienced the violence of the 60’s firsthand, trust me, there will be blood.

  82. What would happen if campaign contributions were disallowed and the govt provided equal funds for candidates once they won their parties nomination? Lobbying by and governing for special interests if a root cause of our problems. Getting rid of special interst money would have a cleansing effect on future legislation.

  83. “What Tocqueville underestimated was the power of money in modern politics and the marketing genius of modern politicians, which have freed democratic politics from the constraints of the actual interests of the majority.”

    You seriously want to say that a work published 175 years ago “underestimated the power of money in modern politics”? Exactly whose “modern” do you have in mind. His or your? Can you show where he made a prediction about condition nearly 2 centuries after his own day? Seriously?

    Malthus was dead right about how demographics interacted with economics through all of history up to a few days prior to publication, but wrong for much of the world since. That makes him a keen observer, no matter what anybody may say. de Toc’s views held up a heckuva lot longer than that. You wanna dis Alexis because he couldn’t foresee a series of Supreme Court decisions beginning over a century after his own deth that turned democracy over to money?

  84. Behind the Wheel

    Excerpt:

    One aspect of the model, that you have just described, is to attract and launder a lot of “liquid cash flow” through the American financial system that is generated by drug trafficking. The UN-chief on drugs, Antonio Maria Costa, stated something interesting in that respect last year. He said:

    “In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor … Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities … There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.”[3]

    http://www.chaostheorien.de/artikel/-/asset_publisher/haR1/content/behind-the-wheel?redirect=%2F

  85. After all the mind-blowing violence of WWII with its concentration camps and eugenics, the war to end all wars did not solve the problems of fair distribution of wealth to an educated labor class, did it? In many ways, things were made worse.

    Today it is MOSTLY a head game being run by COWARDS and sniveling parasites with NO LIFE SKILLS using computer “technology” to empty the wealth of everyone thanks to the Patriot Act – they don’t need permission to troll your personal data!

    So how stupid is it to want to shed blood instead of organizing massive strikes by the INVISIBLE-to-them people still turning the wheels that provides the COWARDS their computer juice, health care, food, etc.!

    Freak them out by taking away their fetishistic “power” of software! Don’t tell me we can’t even get THAT kind of SIMPLE puerile head game organized???!!!

    PICTURE who they are in your head – pencil necked pervert brains – the one I know is visibly neurotic, he picks his nose and eats what he pulls out – I know – gross, but he is clueless to his own disgustingness.

    The QUALITY of the people brown-nosing the elite from the lowest dregs of the corporate cube is akin to the followers of Jim Jones – THINK about it….they really are in a Jonestown state and will be eliminated when its time…

  86. P.2

    “So it gets back to “the central banking-warfare investment model”: the Fed, our central bank, which is a private bank, can print money and then private corporations with guns can force nations, institutions and people around the world to take that money. We have complete centralized profits for an unaccountable syndicate of entities, who are running and governing the world. I call it a financial coup d’etat, and I think that’s what we got. If you look at the big bailouts that occurred here in this country, those bailouts meant that this syndicate just got 12 trillion dollars on a completely unaccountable basis. It seems at this point as if they got more than enough money to run the world.”

  87. I Am A Psychotic Ferret

    And I’m proud!

    August 29, 2010 – NY Times – Paul Krugman

    “I’ll outsource this one to Brad DeLong. Actually, I think we’re making progress here. This debate has gone as follows:

    1. A Fed president says the sky is green.

    2. Some of us point out that the sky is, in fact, blue.

    3. Sufferers from KDS (yes, I think this is largely my fault) angrily rise in support of said Fed president: the sky is too green.

    4. No, we explain, it’s blue.

    5. The KDS brigade declares that nobody ever said the sky was green.

    As I said, progress.”

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/i-am-a-psychotic-ferret/

    http://tinyurl.com/26fv8db

  88. “If we assume instead that government spending will be reduced, those reductions will affect the middle class (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) much more than the rich.”

    Dude, losing something you never really had is not losing anything at all. It appears to me that your argument is that pyramid schemes that fail are justification to increase taxes on a small group. This looks like another example of intellectual justification in the absence of common sense.

  89. No, the argument is whether markets or government are generally better at allocating limited resources.

  90. P.4

    “We’re living in abject poverty compared to what could be, whether it is financial poverty, poverty of the soul, poverty of the environment or poverty of community. If you look at what’s possible, there’s no economic problems on Planet Earth, the only problem we have is a political problem, and that’s why to solve anything we think is an economic problem, what we need to do is to ask: Who’s in charge?, and: Why are they behaving this way? Because the wealth that we are sacrificing to that group of people, it’s extraordinary.”

  91. Why Cheaper Money Won’t Mean More Jobs

    August 29, 2010 – Robert Reich – Huff Post

    “The sad reality is that cheaper money won’t work. Individuals aren’t borrowing because they’re still under a huge debt load. And as their homes drop in value and their jobs and wages continue to disappear, they’re not in a position to borrow. Small businesses aren’t borrowing because they have no reason to expand. Retail business is down, construction is down, even manufacturing suppliers are losing ground.

    That leaves large corporations. They’ll be happy to borrow more at even lower rates than now — even though they’re already sitting on mountains of money.

    But this big-business borrowing won’t create new jobs. To the contrary, large corporations have been investing their cash to pare back their payrolls. They’ve been buying new factories and facilities abroad (China, Brazil, India), and new labor-replacing software at home.

    If Bernanke and company make it even cheaper to borrow, they’ll be unleashing a third corporate strategy for creating more profits but fewer jobs — mergers and acquisitions.”

    http://tinyurl.com/2463whm

    * Mergers & acquisitions is a profitable activity for Wall Street.

  92. P. 5

    “What’s hard for many people to understand, Lars, is: If you’re trying to stop the drug dealing in your community, you’re dealing with the centralized power that’s running it in every community globally, or just about the exception perhaps being those few countries still outside the central banking system like North Korea, Iran and such places. They can’t afford for your community to be an exception. Literally, a Soccer Mom, who tries to get drugs out of her neighbourhood, she will find herself dealing with Black Helicopters and James Bond, because that’s who enforces.”

    P.6

    “Anyway, so about four trillion dollars went missing during Enron’s hay day. The reason I first looked into Enron was that I was trying to figure out how the money moving out of HUD and the Pentagon was being laundered and where it was going. The other thing that I should mention is that folks say: How can the bailouts appear, that require twelve trillion dollars? That amount of money is more than would have been needed to retire all the outstanding mortgages in the country. Well, if you’re issuing four trillion dollars of fraudulent paper to steal four trillion, then you can see why you would need a bailout to come in and refinance out that fraudulent paper.”

    P.7

    “We have to have an intention that says: Just working harder in the current model or just hiding and running away, isn’t going to work. We need a new model, and then the conversation begins, which is why you’re doing this interview. We need to connect up globally, because this will be a global model. We need to connect up and we need a conversation, that says: It’s time to give up the central banking-warfare model, and ask ourselves: What’s the model? We will invent it together.”

    Apologies for being so loud.

  93. We have to force the banks to incur the losses of reducing principal on under water mortgages and then we have to force the corporations sitting on outrageous profits to give their middle class workers an immediate 25% pay hike to make up for 30 years of stagnant wages. Too simple though.

  94. Lawler: HUD Secretary May Have Just Made Near-Term Home Sales Worse

    Aug 30 – Calculated Risk

    “Many folks appear to have interpreted Donovan’s remarks as meaning that the administration has not “ruled out” reviving the home buyer tax credit if home sale continue to be weaker than expected, thus confirming some potential home buyers’ views that it’s better to wait to buy a home until the government “does it again.”

    “If in fact there is “no news here” – and good God I hope administration officials realize that giving potential home buyers the notion that a home buyer tax credit MIGHT be revived will absolutely and unequivocally depress home sales over the next several months – the administration should have Donovan or another HUD spokesperson explicitly state that there is no plan to revive the home buyer tax credit in the foreseeable future – and they should do this SOON!!!!” – excerpts

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/

  95. Wow, that’s possibly the most poorly-written comment I have ever read.

  96. Iran Contra – pooh poohed away…

    How did Jim Jones get all those syringes and drugs into Jonestown?

    Yup, the megachurches, ex-navy patriot chemist (military) and his scientific discovery of the short cut to god – extasy – all uniquely-Americana industries post WWII…

    When those who LOVE money marry those who will do anything for the money what will they spawn in the way of a new world order?

    How about no new world order without “representation”?

  97. Here are my brief thoughts as an Englishman who has made Arizona my new home, subject to that magic fiancée visa being issued by the US Embassy in London soon!

    The accusations about America’s loss of equality and more do not strike me as any different to that which has afflicted the UK, and probably most other western ‘democratic’ nations.

    The big difference I see is that Americans (i.e. the people as opposed to the State) have both the power and the passion (anger?) to change their future.

    Sometimes I fear that this passion may result in social disorder, as predicted by a few of the ‘pundits’ but rather that than the widespread loss of hope that I see in Europe.

    America is still a great country and still has the ability to be, what it has been for decades, a force for good throughout the world.

    Lose this and we are all lost.

  98. Good and tragic point Paul Handover. “We are all lost.”

    The only constituency the Amerikan government cares about is the predatorclass, .05% of population. The rest of us are nothing more than digits, integers in the predatorclass unholy calculus.

    I submit, that America is NO LONGER a “great country”, that we have in fact shapeshifted into a fascist nations wherein thefew ruthlessly dictate and determine the consequences of themany.

    America’s only hope for some kind of restoration to our “once more perfect union”, is a real horrorshow revolution, and a forceful dismantling of the oligarchies and tyrannical regimes that now control and commandeer America.

    Absent this, we – Amerika is doomed to a future of continued abuse, deprivation, systemic criminality, and ultimately catastrophic demise!!!

  99. Good and tragic point Paul Handover.

    “America is still a great country and still has the ability to be, what it has been for decades, a force for good throughout the world.

    Lose this and we are all lost.”

    But if America morphs or shapeshifts into a force for bad or evil throughout the world, – as I fear we have, and all indications and metrics would validate that terrible truth, – then we are indeed all lost.

    Amerika today is a nation and a government that only benefits and advances the best interests of the predatorclass. The peoples best interests are of absolutely ZERO concern to the sociopaths in the predatorclass ruling Amerika, and so – we are a doomed nation, because our leadership, spaniels to the predatorclass has abandoned, and reneged on it’s promises and sworn obligations to the people, and cowardly bends to the will of the predatorclass alone and exclusively. The superrich, the predatorclass, .05% of population is the singular and exclusive concern of the socalled government. The other 99.5% of population are nothing more than digits, integers, meaningless numbers in the predatorclass/government calculus.

    All is indeed, tragically – LOST!!!

  100. Phoenix, AZ made the list of the 10 global cities with very bad environmental conditions (air particulates) for good health – so hopefully you are marrying a Mormon land owner in the White Mountains? :-) As a Brit, are you gonna strap on a gun and go all wild west – one must fit in to the crowd, especially in a cult society.

    What people do today is how tomorrow gets shaped.

    People still with jobs doing the work of 20 for a couple more months until the soldiers coming home can take over the grunt work of maintaining infrastructure for the predator class (and be grateful for the privilege?)

    might actually be in the mood for a labor strike…nice try, though, Handover, and thanks for recognizing that only D.C is another Jim Jones’s Jonestown schtick being re-invented.

    Next up, competence-testing for people who want a job playing god with other people’s lives…except it’s a SECRET which website is accepting applications today.

    Drug dealors must ALL be on Twitter, huh?

    And the in-crowd tea cup terriers looking for a lap to snuggle in…

    No one is lost, but many would like USA to get lost.

    And everyone is capable of waiting out a LONG time to see how many finally die from lack of the basics…media went on for DAYS and DAYS tracking the people stranded in New Orleans, until all the old people in hospitals died and violence broke out – heck, it was a “natural” feed the christians to the lion’s show. Social engineers (carefully culled for sadistic tendencies in the managers and masochistic tendencies in the worker bees) were thrilled to have that natural-in-the-wild data about “human nature” to work with when developing new psyche ops strategies.

    I think it’s okay to just slap anyone still trying to play head games :-)

    And yes they informed me that they slap back.

    “Just War” is making a comeback.

  101. the question is whether the psycho or the sociopath is better at controlling their personal greed and selfishness

    and a narcissist gets to decide the winner of ALL resources…

  102. It was noted that even though there is no central government in Iraq – it’s gone tribal like Afghanistan – “some people are making a lot of money in Iraq”.

    So there you have it – proof of what the anti-government wingnuts have been saying all along – SOME PEOPLE make a lot of money without a central government.

    So now it’s time to look at ourselves – our central government is actually scratching and clawing for the same “other people’s money” that the “private” sector wants – that’s “politics” in a nutshell these midterm elections…

    Instead of bringing democracy to Iraq, we brought the PERFECT “some people are making a lot of money” scheme to USA.

    So isn’t that the “good” thing about “globalism”? No country has sovereignty because “…we don’t need no stinkin’ central government…”.

    Scheesh, time to pop in the 1990s “Hercules – The Legendary Series” CDs where all the moral problems were classically solved in 44 minutes….

    Believe it or not, it all goes back to HOW the owner takes care of “land”…even the USA Native Americans, firm believers in no private land ownership before Vikings showed up :-),

    went to war with each other over hunting territory.

    “last punch” for me is the one that ends any psyche op tactic du jour…and that army is DEFINITELY running out of bullets to feed the “perception is reality” machine…

  103. Re: @ Annie___Once there is cohesion in (going on eight months since elections?) Iraq ,and a solid government by the “Three Parties” {Sunni’s(Sadam’s old Fascist/Religion?),Shiite’s(Iranian Democracy/Relgion in solid control) ,and Kurds(the bedouin outcast – all the Oil’s in northern Iraq…caveat Turkey?)} It is the best interest of the oligarch to create distrust amongst parties an remain in charge as ambivilent occupiers. Summation: Once a solid government is formed the Iraq’s will throw the occuppiers out and bring fortune back to their country by using their own “Dirt” for themselves, and profits distributed amicably. PS. Please tell me why any sane Iraqi would not want this for their brethren, and beloved country?

  104. EDUCATED WOMEN (philosophy/science) provide one-half of what it takes to have a bona-fide “solid government”. Iraq is too massively macho to succeed in the task without the input of their women.

    But can we get back to USA?

    This is LABOR DAY weekend holiday. I am throwing down the gauntlet and demanding the same kind of respectful dialog and focus that was granted the “what is torture” public discussion on the PRIVATE airwaves

    to be accorded the LABOR discussion on Labor Day Weekend. With all due respect, I find the Third World America focus to be another psyche ops attempt at “perception is reality” and I am feeling more insulted by it with each passing day – not to mention the SMELL red herrings take on over time. Find another way to market the book or at least take a break over LABOR DAY WEEKEND. Ms. Huffington’s snarky critique of someone else’s choice in interior decorating was hardly a CONSISTENT FOLLOW UP to the conversation started by her book.

    Been there, done that. Didn’t understand at the time how profound of an experience it was. Krakow, Poland October 1978. It is POSSIBLE to generate a quality of SILENCE that closes down propaganda. It is also possible to COLLECTIVELY generate such an irrefutable QUALITY to PEACE, that there will never be a question again as to what it “feels” like and whether it is “possible. It was NOT “perception is reality” it WAS REALITY.

    We can do it this weekend here in the USA. All visiting dignitaries from foreign lands can LEARN that there IS a culture and a civilization here IN OUR HEARTS and MINDS.

    Don’t think giving somebody the “silent treatment” long enough to get their attention and their surrender to CHANGING the conversation to what really is the topic – “..it’s never about the cigar, is it…? – is a BAD thing :-)

    We The People do know what PEACE really is. Let’s unite in that light.

    It’s LABOR’s weekend (do we tell Switzerland how to celebrate their Bank Holidays?)….and under the circumstances of the severity of the LABOR problem, let’s extend it to September 11th. We will decide how to “remember” it this year, not TIME Magazine editors who have totally gone off the reservation, imho.

    Heck, it’s a couch potato’s “dream” protest – SILENCE and PEACE. No hard physical LABOR involved :-)

    Do we have a deal about some R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

    Keep the TV, radio, and other media outlets SHUT OFF except for the weather channel, of course

    …SILENCE your space.

    Trust me – PEACE is real.

  105. “there once was a country not far in the past that had fifty united thus all were but one – they always prospered never to look back…whilst always giving back never too question the unity of none – then there came the ponzian’s and queried…why is that – let us take care of your back…your future secured for bad times do come well pickup the slack just trust us at that – there never was no slack…just a snap of a crack on the broken backs of the fifty that should have looked back”

  106. Passing along info from an email received from a military family,

    “Governors of 35 states have already filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.

    This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on.

    An idea whose time has come!

    For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest was to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform … in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have elite that are above the law.

    I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.

    A Constitutional Convention – this is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come. And, with the advent of modern communication, the process can be moved along with incredible speed. There is talk out there that the “government” doesn’t care what the people think. That is irrelevant. It is incumbent on the population to address elected officials to the wrongs afflicted against the populace…you and me. Think about this…
    The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.
    Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

    I’m asking each addressee to forward this Email to a minimum of twenty people on their Address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.

    Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

    “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.””