Monday, October 27, 2008

Mortgage Foreclosure Fall-out

SF Gate article on mortgage foreclosure fall-out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Why? Are citizens disengaged from the political process, as suggested? This is a matter of enormous import. Should we take it, as the professor suggests, that only policy wonks know anything substantive about candidates for high office, and if true, why? How is it that newspapers often have an entire section devoted to sports, containing the most arcane and complex statistics and analyses of athletics, yet we never see a "Politics" section with daily complex statistics and analyses. Why? Academics report the "scientific" details of opinion polls, but don't answer the question about the pink elephant in the room. Could it be that citizens feel more deeply connected to sports, than to politics? I don't know anyone who acts or speaks as if they have ANY political power. Policy wonks know much about candidates because they're theoretical, enjoying the abstract world of ideas. Humans don't seem fit to live 80 years knowing they are powerless. We humans will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid confronting our own powerlessness. The financial world crumbles, and hundred of millions of people are effectively invisible. Don't count. Don't exist. Jingoism and American football are the last refuges of the desperately disenfranchised many.

Like masochists, policy wonks of the Left wade through the masses of political "information" whereas the more psychologically well-adjusted go bowling. Why get beat up and abandoned every four years? It's like he movie Groundhog Day in Washington D.C. instead of Punxsutawney PA.

Maybe pretending, lying to ourselves that the Big Game is more important than the Big Election, is a healthy response to reality. The little lie which we offer ourselves surreptitiously is a constructive adaptive response to the Big Lie of the election that doesn't matter.

When I am in a small group of people deciding where to have dinner, the process takes an almost instinctual process. People make suggestions, offer choices, then articulate their preferences-- "I'm not really up for Chinese, shall we do Italian? There's this great little place over on 23rd Street that makes great lasagna..." Negotiation, maneuvering, cajoling, insisting--sure some stay silent but everyone has a sense of empowerment--more or less. People in such settings don't seek distractions or dive deeply into denial.

Something is very much amiss with the American power system, with politics. It's broken, and everyone knows it--except TV, corporate TV--which is heavily on crack in avoidance of reality. TV, lest we not forget, is owned and operated by very, very rich people .They get very nervous when the people who don't own the TV stations (all 300 million of us) face the abuse of power, see that their own powerlessness as a condition of the abuse of the power elite rather than a reflection on themselves. When people know they are powerless and know the truth of the abuse of power, they often overcome enormous obstacles--and act.

INDECISION 2008!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Democracy Inc.

I have few words for a recent essay of superb analysis written by Chalmers Johnson on a book by Sheldon Wolin. Democracy Incorporated.

The daily news is enough, when we read that, without so much as a hint of irony, Lehman Brothers handed out millions of dollars to executives days before going down in flames, and that insolvent AIG threw a $440,000 party to celebrate the federal bailout.

As the empire is coming to a close, we are offered a hollow denouement in Obama. What a sad and meaningless victory it will be for the first Black American to ascend to the U.S. presidency through the application of slick public relations--the Milli Vanilli of politics. No one can reach the heights of American political power without accommodating to corporate action-figure packaging.

Outrage without overt expression, reality leaks onto the glowing screen too slowly and too timidly to matter as a 90-year-old shoots herself in grief and shame in response to home foreclosure. Democracy has been evicted. The value of elections has been foreclosed. Elvis has left the building.

That political recognition of the Black community is centuries overdue offers the poignancy of a Greek tragedy to current national politics. In the last days of the American empire, we get around to a display of pretend equality to match the pretend democracy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wall Street Investments in Congress Offer High Yields

Does anyone not know that Congress is for sale? Science says so. In an article by the Center for Responsive Politics, those members of Congress who voted for the initial Wall Street bailout on Monday also received the larger share of financial campaign contributions from Wall Street.

Why would an educated, intelligent banker or stock broker give money away? Surely we can attribute some financial savvy to this sector of society. Surely they would not give money without visualizing the return on investment. Moneyed interests now tend to give money to everyone, both Democrats and Republicans. We can think of it as a hedge fund. Regardless which candidate wins an election, the rich have the candidates in their pocket. Those members of Congress who work harder to pass Wall Street-friendly bills get more money from financiers when compared with those members with a lackluster career of pushing the interests of the wealthy. It's a merit system. More "pay" for Congress, for more results.

The mainstream press act like they are either very stupid, or else have been so thoroughly indoctrinated into the propaganda that they are incapable of recognizing the obvious.

To quote Steve McQueen, "Life's a scam." We all know this, but why aren't we talking about it? The concept of patriotism doesn't include denial of reality. Respect is due when respect is earned.

No one deserves respect merely for holding public office (elected representatives) or for possessing the power to wield billions of dollars around (CEOs), or for wearing an expensive suit. Speaking of suits, why does the rest of the world follow "suit" in wearing the Edwardian suit? Because it's a symbol of power and money. What we need is a universal style of dress that imparts an equally convincing attribution of Justice. What would it be? Some dress accoutrement imbued with symbolic integrity and compassion might be adopted, such as that depicted here .

As we witness open class warfare this week, the battle over the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, I am looking for evidence that the Right will be successful in preventing consciousness in the media of what warfare is. The media has never known a bad military war, but in the case of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the media can't even see the war.

Swedish Economic Meatballs

Doing it the Swedish way. Buy-out, not bailout.

More on Sweden.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Strategery Capital Management LLC

Is there anything left to be said? Surely, by now, notwithstanding the vast array of propaganda, we all know that McCain, Obama, Congress, the White House, and Wall Street are corrupt. The fiction of capitalism and our smiling leaders is over. Capitalism does generate wealth and prosperity, but for a tiny minority only. When that fiction runs its course, the people use socialism to bail out the faulty capitalists.

It's as if we never learned anything from a hundred years of domination by the wealthy, for the wealthy. Learned nothing. As Gore Vidal proclaims, United States of Amnesia. We should be kind to the public because they only know what the corporate TVs spew out. The American people are always the last to know because they're the last to be told. I can't even blame those who voted for Bush--twice. What did they know? Nothing, really. It's like the so-called presidential debates this past week. A charade. TV game show. Just another episode of irony posing as reality TV.

If the press doesn't tell the people, who will know? If TV news can't get the facts straight whether or not Iraq has WMD, can we rely upon TV news to get the fact straight about Wall Street and capitalism?

I began this series of posts on politics and democracy with some vacillation. Now, I know I made a mistake--I should have broken free earlier.

Where, in the public space, are the role models of ethical and humanitarian ilk? Now I understand the attraction of the enormously popular video game, Grand Theft Auto. I'm anticipating the sequel, Grand Theft Financiers. If you don't know it's a scam, you're not breathing.

The chickens are coming home to roost. Reality prevails, but not before the thieves frighten us with tales of doom lest we not bail out their vanishing chimera.

The revolution will not be televised. Where I live, the city can't afford to pave the streets. I live in the shadow of a Chevron refinery which represents a transnational corporation rolling in dough. In a most concrete manner, the open poverty of unpaved streets surrounds the fenced and guarded streets of gold.

A testament to the infusion of corporate propaganda in American popular culture is evidenced by the lack of civil disobedience on a par with the recent popular rebellion in Bangkok.

Were we a less-indoctrinated bunch, the American people would do likewise. It's coming. As post-modern psychics, we read the cracked palms of civic poverty writ large upon the boulevards fortelling the future.

Strategery Capital Management LLC

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama Promises To Stop America's Shitty Jobs From Going Overseas

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wealthy of the World Unite! - The Neoliberal Swindle

Bush's Iraq invasion is costing an estimated 1 trillion dollars. The current estimated cost of bailing out Wall Street is now at one-half trillion dollars. The Bush presidency is costing American 2.5 trillion dollars.

When do people wake up to the con game? Democrats, Republicans, transnational corporations, media conglomerates (TV, radio, newspapers), and much of academia, are responsible for pumping massive sums of money out of the pockets of the poor and middle class, into the pockets of the rich and super-rich.

Obama is not the answer. He's a Margaret Thatcher; a right-wing Democrat. We remember Thatcher for her attack on labor unions and imperial ambitions in South America. Being the first fill-in-the-blank isn't enough. First woman, first black, first left-handed lesbian irrelevant to social policy, and is now a calculated, cynical political strategy.

Such is the neoliberal legacy. Profess free markets and free trade, but deliver public funds to fix a fundamentally flawed economic system. Capitalism is an economically and ecologically dysfunctional system. Capitalism concentrates money in the pockets of the rich as it oscillates within a cycle of expansion and collapse. Capitalism collapses by design.

David Harvey speaks-- Neoliberal Economics: Robbing the Middle Class and Plundering Natural Resources.

Rather than characterizing the economic dynamics as class warfare, I prefer to think of the past thirty years as a class con game. There is no war. The poor are powerless and thus irrelevant. The middle class gets a con game crafted by transnational corporations and fed to us by corporate media. The media feed from the money trough slopped in their pens by corporate advertisers. The major news media outlets work for the advertisers,, not for you and me. We are fed massive doses of propaganda about the wonders of the marketplace: free markets, free trade, means freedom and prosperity. Markets are managed by the government--for the rich. Regulations protecting buyers and protecting health are eliminated, while government bails out the greedy. For whom?

Bad education + bad news media = bad public awareness = weak public power + exploitation of the masses.

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