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What help for the 99ers? (Part four: It’s not personal)

December 19, 2010 2 comments

I did not mean to go on this long on the dire future of the 99ers. I wanted only to show the connection between their demand for assistance and the demand for the abolition of the State — and, of Washington, which is the headquarters of the machinery of State, its coercive machinery of repression and imperialist adventures. Nevertheless, I am drawn to extend this thread by things which occur to me in the course of considering the 99ers, who are our family and friends, neighbors and buddies, and who, without some bold step by us all, will become the fulcrum to impose a devastating austerity on us all.

“The law, in its majestic equality,” says, Anatole France, “forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.” In this elegant sentence, France encapsulates the entirety of the relation between the individual and modern society: the State exists as an immediate totality; ideally, its laws are meant to apply to all equally without regard to the circumstances of any particular individual. Seen in the most favorable light, all we can hope to achieve under the conditions of modern society is the equal application of State laws over a society composed of individuals who are anything but equal in their actual circumstances, wants, needs or desires. To actually function as the representative of a society gripped by such vast inequality as our own, Washington essentially must be indifferent to that inequality, to presume no more than the typical circumstances. Only by being indifferent to the manifold miseries of its citizens can Washington truly represent them.

And, this is also true for unemployment: insofar as Washington is concerned, the unemployed worker is a devastating insult to the Puritan Ethic — it is the tool of Satan’s workshop, a potential source of civil unrest and Bolshevik militancy, an existential threat to the existing order. But, this worker as constituted by capital are not the actual living breathing individual workers as they really exist. but only the collective mass of these immediately social laborers, which mass exists as a totality and only within this totality. This collective worker is, of course, composed of individuals of varying demographic characteristics which are to each, on the one hand, advantages — such as education, skills, and social, familial, ethnic relationships, etc. — and, on the other hand, disadvantages — skin color, national origin, sexual orientation, language, etc. Position within this hierarchy of the collective laborer, thus, appear altogether arbitrary and at once the result of certain fixed prejudices within the society or the result of certain “objective” qualities — education, skills, etc.

The State, for its own purpose, as representative of society, may enforce laws preventing discrimination against certain individual characteristics, or promote the development of certain skill sets or level of education, but, to the extent it pursues these goals, it does not do so because of its desire to improve the lot of the individual worker, but to perfect the collective worker as a collective worker — that is, as a body capable of producing surplus value.

Washington’s indifference to the fate of the 99ers should not be confused with an indifference toward unemployment in general; Washington is keen that the collective worker should work as many hours as can be squeezed into a single social workday and seeks to maximize those hours through its fiscal and monetary policies. Its goal, whether unemployment be high or low, always is to work this collective body to the legal limit of the workday. It is, by contrast, only indifferent to which individuals composing this collective body actually work and which starve. Washington’s indifference to the 99ers, to quote Tom Hagen, “is business not personal.”

The indifference of Washington to the fate of the 99ers is only a reflexive expression of its hostility to reducing the legally mandated limit on hours of labor. Since the aim of the State is always and under all circumstances to maximize its enlargement, it must, of necessity seek to extend the work day not merely beyond the time needed to produce the commodities required by the collective body of workers, but also beyond that required to the collective body of capitalists to expand the scale of production. Since, capital’s hunger for profit knows no bounds, the State knows no limit to its own enlargement. Thus, the State’s ceaseless stimulation of profitable economic activity results in the ceaseless expansion of the State itself. Washington decries unemployment, but only to the extent that employment reaches what it calls “full employment” — a euphemism for that level of employment where additional State action produces no additional surplus value. It is the task of a vast army of economist functionaries, public, private and academic, to determine by any number of measures where precisely this level is — and, it is the subject of much controversy, which, to the uninitiated, can be confused with an actual interest in the conditions of the working class as individuals, but, in fact, it is just business.

Even if we assume, as does the progressive or vulgar Marxist, that the expansion of the State is necessary for the general improvement of the population of workers who are under increasing financial distress, and suffering misery, it cannot be denied that this expansion must come at the expense of the workers themselves. Their polite demands for laws to be passed to improve the lot of working families amounts — although the progressive would be horrified at the suggestion — to a demand for confiscation of the property of “the rich”, and the assumption by the State of the role of social capitalist. Indeed, it is the self-evident implications of their own demands that cause progressives to pull back from this implicit logic and submit themselves to meekly following in the wake of the Party of Washington — being entirely satisfied with whatever meager realization of their demands against the existing order can be achieved in the cloakroom of Congress. They are reduced to a mere lobby, another one of the special interests with their hands in the pockets of the taxpayer fishing through them for spare change.

On the other hand, their craven cowardice when facing the implications of their own demands, leads them to turn on the workers themselves and chastise them for over-consumption, gluttony and spoiling the planet. The worker is now transformed from a vulnerable victim needing the protection of the State into a greedy malevolent hedonist caring only for his own satisfaction and the world be damned. The logic of the demands require the State erect protection of the working class at their own expense, hence, consumption must be curtailed and taxes raised so that the State, having impoverished the worker, can now rescue him from his impoverishment. In this regard we see a slew of new and increased taxes on the substances commonly consumed by the population of workers that can be labeled as “sinful” — taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline, etc. — to fill the ever widening black hole that is government’s need for new sources of revenue.

Progressives completely miss the point here: for government expenditures to have an economic effect, i.e., a stimulative effect on employment, they must be entirely superfluous both to the consumption of the working class, and to the requirements of capital as such; that is, to the productive employment of labor and the expansion of the means to productively employ labor. But, the phrase, “the consumption of the working class”, includes the consumption of both those workers who are productively employed and those workers who are unproductively employed, as well as those who are altogether unemployed and living on government assistance. Simply put: to render “aid” to the 99ers by political means, the State must be indifferent to them and their daily increasing misery; it must do precisely those things which offer no assistance to them, impoverish them still further, and meet no human need, whatsoever.

It’s not personal; it is just the way the mode of production operates.

What help for the 99ers? (Part three)

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Why is Washington so implacably hostile to a reduction of hours of work as the solution to unemployment? And, why has it abandoned the 99ers to their fate?

The answer to these questions is simple: Washington depends on the unpaid hours of labor wrung from the working population as much as capital itself. Washington is not a neutral party when it comes to hours of labor; it is, without exception, the largest single consumer of surplus labor time in society. The entirety of its revenues amount to the unpaid labor of society either directly, in the form of taxes, or indirectly, in the resources it controls through debt or money printing.

This fact is never admitted by progressives, nor even by vulgar proponents of Marx’s theory. The argument made by the Marxists against the current State amounts not to a recognition that the machinery of state shares with capital the total pot of surplus labor time, and, as a result, must be interested in the longest possible duration of unpaid labor, but only that this machinery is under the control of capital and should instead be controlled by the working class. The progressive critique of the State amounts to a demand that this unpaid labor time be devoted to the “improvement of society”; the typical vulgar proponent of Marx differs from this only in that he proposes this be under the direction of a working class party. Neither raises the demand for the abolition of all unnecessary labor, and with it, the state in its entirety.

When the Great Depression erupted Washington suddenly had access to billions of hours of unpaid social labor which it, along with the other great powers, immediately set about throwing into preparation for World War II. Government, already the largest single consumer of unpaid labor time in society, expanded monstrously – consuming perhaps as much as 40 percent of national output. But, in the aftermath of that horrible conflict, we really see its voracious hunger, and insatiable lust for surplus as the Truman administration conceived of and implemented a policy of a permanent war footing: The Cold War.

In his annual message to the Congress, delivered January 12, 1951, Truman opened with these words announcing the birth of the national security state:

We face enormously greater economic problems, as I transmit this fifth annual Economic Report, than at any time since the end of World War II. Although our economic strength is now greater than ever before, very large new burdens of long duration are now being imposed upon it.

The United States is pledged and determined, along with other free peoples, to cheek [sic] aggression and to advance freedom. Arrayed against the free world are large and menacing forces. The great manpower under the control of Soviet communism is being driven with fanatic zeal to build up military and industrial strength. We invite disaster if we underestimate the forces working against us.

The economic strength of the free peoples of the world is, however, superior to that of their enemies. If the free nations mobilize and direct their strength properly, they can support whatever military effort may be necessary to avert a general war or to win such a war if it comes. The resources are on our side. The only question is whether they will be used with speed and determination. The answer will depend upon unity of purpose and of action–unity among the free nations, unity here in the United States.

Unity is imperative on the economic front. On this front, under the American system, everybody is involved–every businessman, worker and farmer; every banker and scientist and housewife; every man and woman. We can win our way through to ultimate triumph if we all pull together. Decisive action, essential to our safety, should not be halted by controversy now.

Truman, in his report, explains the implications of a conflict with the Soviet Union of a very long duration:

These manpower needs will call both for increasing our labor force by reducing unemployment and drawing in women and older workers, and for lengthening hours of work in essential industries. These manpower requirements can be met. There will be manpower shortages, but they can be solved.

For those readers whose critical facilities have been dulled by countless hours of exposure to American Idol, what we have here are the words of a craven hustler — a two-bit con artist trying to sell you something you don’t need. Washington is in the business of selling security and its sales methodology is the practice of sowing fear of chaos, terror, and the unspeakable strange unknown. This sales strategy required the creation of an adversary to the “American system”, as well as its domestic avatar buried deep within the populace, to create a pervasive sense of vulnerability and distress among the population. It doesn’t matter that this adversary is Soviet communism or “Islamofascism”, nor that its domestic avatar appear in the form of a devout Muslim citizen or communist trade union activist; what matters is that the threat be, at the same time, pervasive and discrete, universal and particular, potentially life-threatening and merely strange.

This impeccably crafted direct appeal to the collective lizard brain of society, which paralyzes critical thought as our painfully slow brain tries to calculate the odds that the Sikh gentleman sitting in front of us on the bus might be strapped with explosives — renders critical thinking useless, and, therefore, a mere impediment to the apprehension of our empirical circumstances, reduces each of us to a suggestible sheeple, and set us up for acquiescence to the burden of providing Washington with ever greater hours of unpaid labor.

On the one hand, this “service” provided by Washington is very profitable to capital in its own right, since it requires enormous amounts of otherwise unprofitable output in the form of every imaginable thing from paperclips to the most advanced spy satellites, and launchers to put them in orbit. On the other hand, the demand for these products are the very kinds of superfluous expenditures that become increasingly necessary for the continuation of this social form of production.

Once the identity of interest between capital and the State in the longest possible extension of hours of labor is established, it is possible to understand not only Washington’s hostility to work time reduction as the means to end unemployment, but also its imposition of the regime of global competition on the American economy, its facilitation of companies moving industrial facilities and service jobs off-shore, and its hypocritical promotion of amnesty for undocumented immigrants: the capitalist state is a state that must operate according the laws of capital because it is founded entirely on the consumption of the surplus labor created by capital.

It also helps us explain the abandonment of the 99ers to their fate, the impending evisceration of the social safety net and the brutality of the austerity regime now being prepared by Washington. Far from merely falling under the control of Wall Street, Washington itself wants and needs this brutal assault on the living standards of Americans because all other methods of increasing the extraction of surplus value have failed.

What help for the 99ers? (Part two)

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment

In my rant yesterday, What help for the 99ers?, I made an argument why folks who support the 99ers should nevertheless oppose extension of unemployment compensation beyond 99 weeks. That argument made what might be considered an obscure connection between the unemployed and the large body of “public servants” who compose the state machinery of repression, totalitarian control and imperial expansion.

Let me add a few remarks to clarify how I see this connection.

To do this, we have to look at Karl Marx — not the infamous icon of Marxism, but the real guy, the writer and, to some extent, anthropologist of capitalist society — Often the two get conflated, so that, for instance, the utterances of any knucklehead running around with a copy of the Communist Manifesto sometimes is mistaken for the actual words written down on paper by the original person.

In Marx’s model of capitalist society, the unemployed worker is not an accidental occurrence and should not be treated apart from the labor force itself. The unemployed worker is a reserve force available to capital for those periods where new profitable opportunities or requirements for additional labor suddenly open up. The idled worker makes it possible for these new areas to be exploited by providing the additional labor capacity necessary to take advantage of them. This reserve also serves a function of depressing wages during times of depressions, when capital rationalizes its operation to resume profitable expansion by pressing wages below their cyclical average.

Thus, unlike economists, who treat unemployment as an aberration, a defect, or failure of the market, Marx believed a relative surplus population of workers was essential to the functioning of the capitalist system of production itself. The constant expansion and contraction of the labor reserve is consistent with his comprehensive model of capital in which, for example, the price of a good had to fluctuate according to the laws of supply and demand, and only reflected the value of the good through the moving average of these fluctuations. Capitalism is a social system of production carried on by millions of individuals acting privately — unless the system itself had flexibility to adjust to billions of differing and even contradictory decisions each day it would soon break apart.

In times of unusually vigorous expansion, and even for war, the great mass of this population of unemployed would be “called up” (both metaphorically and actually in the case of the military draft) to fill needed positions in industry or on the battlefield. Thus, the “liquidity” of the reserve source of labor power is not simply a matter of business concern, but also a matter of state. So, for example, it is not a surprise to see a statement by White House in the debate over the DREAM Act explaining why the act would be useful for its ongoing military operations:

Secretary of Defense Gates has written to DREAM Act sponsors citing the rich precedent of non-citizens serving in the U.S. military and stating that “the DREAM Act represents an opportunity to expand [the recruiting] pool, to the advantage of military recruiting and readiness.

The size of the reserve labor force is not determined by the means available to expand the scale of productive activity, but to expand activity that creates profit and for purposes of State. But, this purely cyclical movement in unemployment is not of the least concern to us, because it merely masks a longer term trend identified by Marx: the conversion of this reserve labor force from a relative oversupply of labor into an absolute oversupply of labor.

Over time the improvement in the productive capacity of labor — by augmentation with new types of machinery, new methods of organizing work, application of new scientific knowledge, and technology — is increased to such an extent that the relative proportion of workers who can be employed productively shrinks and a permanently unemployable reserve of labor emerges. (Today, this unemployable reserve consists not only of the 99ers, but also a massive hidden population of young people who have never entered the labor force and who, in addition,  compose the largest part of the swollen prison population.) This permanently unemployable reserve — a growing stratum of the labor force rendered entirely superfluous by the advance of industry — loses its opportunity to engage in productive labor and is reduced to serving only as a market for the output of the productively employed labor force.

Along with the emergence of a permanently displaced population of workers we find the emergence of the fascist state — a peculiar type of state organism combining both a permanent war footing with an extensive social safety network of state provided services. Although this state is typically identified with German Nazism and Italian Fascism it is not limited to them, but emerges in all the industrialized nations during the Great Depression, and is the essential feature of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The social basis of these fascistic entities is the general clamor among all classes in capitalist society for state action to preserve the conditions of existence of the society; namely, the purchase and sale of labor power. It is for this reason the fascist state appears on the scene as the embodiment of the national interest and asserts the populist idea of a national rebirth through a pan-class coalition.

The charge of this state, as imposed by general social demand on it, is to employ the unemployable, and hence, to provide the demand for the output of industry. From this point, political-economy becomes concerned with the problem of consumption of the massive and ever growing output of industry. The fact that the emergence of an absolute oversupply of labor implies the possibility of a drastic reduction in hours of labor for all in society, and, therefore, the awareness of the possibility that society might be entirely freed from labor and the system of domination inherent in the division of labor is, from this point, not only ignored, but actively suppressed. Thus, we see, from the end of World War II, that discussion of the idea improving productivity would lead to the abolition of labor disappears from economic textbooks — to be replaced by the phrase, “the lump of labor fallacy”.

The erasure from economic textbooks of the idea that a reduction and ultimate abolition of labor was the probable outcome of improving productivity foreshadowed last night’s news that the House of Representatives had abandoned the 99ers to their fate. As we showed in the case of the Obama administration, Washington is not merely unaware that unemployment can be wiped out by drastically reducing hours of work, it is hostile to the idea.

Why is Washington ignoring the 99ers, and why is it hostile to the great question of work time reduction? We will answer this in the next post.

What help for the 99ers?

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

I am having a “marxist moment” today. The Obama tax deal, in addition to its other flaws, has completely excluded mention of those who first lost their jobs in 2008 and early 2009, when the worst of the layoffs hit the economy. Millions have already exhausted their benefits, and perhaps 4 million more will join them in the next few months.

So what is to be done for them?

Think about a situation where an unemployment check is fifty, seventy or even ninety percent of the income in your household. And, now, that income is approaching imminent termination. You have probably run through your savings, stopped paying credit card debt and the mortgage; you may even be parking the car away from home to avoid repossession. The crisis was not your fault. You never made sub-prime loans, nor was your own home purchase financed by the deliberate fraud of a liar’s loan. You weren’t the one who bundled those loans and sold them to Iceland and pension funds. You probably never missed a payment on your mortgage, auto or credit card loans until that day the company announced it was shutting down your entire division and began handing out severance checks.

At the risk of personalizing this discussion, I know people like this — one is a neighbor, another is a friend and former co-worker at a debt mill run by a large financial company. The debt manufacturer has a seat on the Federal Reserve Bank, and when its debt creating operation ran into the difficulty, it ran to Uncle Sam to bail it out — just another welfare queen in an Armani suit.

I DVR’d the CEO of Motorola talking on PBS Newshour yesterday, because I couldn’t believe what I had heard — I had to record it, so I could look at it today and confirm that, yes, he is that much a self-absorbed bastard. The CEO had just exited a gathering with President Obama of corporate bosses discussing what it would take for the nation’s largest companies to start hiring again. He opined that the administration was moving in the right direction and that President Obama had made a good deal with the Republicans in congress for across the board extension of President Bush’s 2001 tax cuts, which are heavily weighted toward the income of the top one percent of the population. The CEO praised the agreement for its effect in ending much of the uncertainty surrounding the administration’s tax policy.

Now, he said, we had to get serious about the deficit and deal with entitlements.

This morning I am trying really hard to avoid playing the class war card. Playing the class war card in these circumstances doesn’t require any creativity or thoughtful response. It is the political equivalent of yanking back your hand from a hot stove. Yes, corporate CEOs are ruthless narcissistic bastards, who have stripped the nation of its productive assets, moved them offshore, and left us with a hollowed out economy devoted to imperial adventures. And, the situation of the 99ers is pitiable. In conversation with my friend and with my neighbor, I have survivor’s guilt — and this, when I just might be the next dead hostage.

Yes, President Obama is a shameless whore who sold out his sacred pact with his supporters at the first opportunity!

Yes, the 99ers are at the point of extreme financial duress and tilting dangerously on the edge of physical existence!

Yes, our corporate masters are little more than Caligula’s court!

Yet, for all of this the move by the Congressional Black Caucus to introduce an amendment to President Obama’s and the GOP’s tax cut deal by extending unemployment benefits beyond 99 weeks must be opposed. That, this deal is an ugly filthy thing from the progressive perspective is obvious. But, no amount of sweetner will make horse urine taste like champagne. No more than will allowing gays to serve openly change the fact that they are now allowed to be openly gay while carrying out the military policy of an empire.

But, my opposition goes beyond simply “rejecting the good for the perfect” — a child-like refusal to accept compromise: The CBC’s proposal is itself to be condemned because it extends the dependence of the 99ers on state handouts and does not call on both those who are working and those who are unemployed to put an end to this dependence, and the larger dependence on selling themselves into slavery to survive. I think we should be sickened by the recent AFL-CIO internet commercial which portrays the 99ers as helpless, vulnerable victims of economic forces over which they have no control. A depression is not a natural disaster; we are not helpless victims of some financial force of nature beyond our control.

It is a matter of demonstrable fact that the Obama administration knows that all it takes to eliminate unemployment in this society forever is a large reduction in hours of work. His former economic adviser, Larry Summers, former president of Harvard University, and former Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration, stated this directly:

“I think we got the Recovery Act right,” Larry Summers, the president’s chief economic adviser, said in an interview. “The primary objective of our policy is having more work done, more product produced and more people earning more income. It may be desirable to have a given amount of work shared among more people. But that’s not as desirable as expanding the total amount of work.”

Preferable for whom? For the state, of course, which now has ample excess resources it can put to work expanding the empire. Resources that, having no possible productive employment opportunity, can be employed for whatever unproductive purpose Washington demands. Beyond simply holding down the wages of those who work, the unemployed are the cannon fodder of empire, the TSA gropers, the bureaucrats ceaselessly promulgating new directives that other bureaucrats enforce. They are the drug enforcement agents, the cultivators of every new would-be “muslim terrorist”, the operators of a vast systematic destruction of young minds in the guise of public education. They are the operator of the largest prison population on the planet — a filthy, vile, unspeakable chamber of horrors that excels only in spreading disease and moral breakdown.

The CBC’s proposal not only does not address these concerns, it reinforces them and promises only to extend them indefinitely. A consistent anti-statist position has to call for the end of all unemployment compensation and its replacement by a large reduction in hours of labor.

Are we still in a depression? Gold says, “Yes”.

December 15, 2010 1 comment

Gold prices have averaged $1218.57 for the year 2010, as of yesterday. For the whole of 2009, the average price of gold was $972.35. This was a change of some $246.22 year over year — a rise of 25.3% in the average price of gold.

We can assume, based on these figures, that the, so far, ten years long depression beginning in 2001 is still under way with a vengeance. The price of gold in 2001 averaged $277.99 per ounce. It has now risen to 426% of its 2001 price.

Between 1970 and 1980, during the depression of the 1970s — the so-called Great Stagflation — gold prices (once they were allowed to float by the Nixon administration) rose by more than 1700%, from an average for the year 1970 of $35.94 to the then unimaginable 1980 year average of $613.95.

Why does the price of gold rise during a depression?

It did not always do this. In 1932, the dollar was fixed at about 1/22 of an ounce of gold, which meant it took approximately 22 dollars to buy an ounce of gold. Because the price was fixed by Washington the price of gold did not vary as widely as it does now; during depressions money merely became scarce.

The gold standard was a form of government price fixing. (We know this is a silly way of looking at the problem, since the intention wasn’t to control the price of gold, but to anchor paper dollars to some real good having a definite value, however it serves our purpose for the moment.) During depressions, as the volume of transactions fell, less gold was needed in circulation. Thus significant quantities of gold fell out of circulation and into private hoards.

As gold was withdrawn from circulation during depressions, paper dollars followed, because buyers and sellers found the purchasing power of these dollars were dropping in comparison to the same good priced in gold.

The result would be fewer dollars available — creating a credit crunch, like the one we experienced in 2008 and since.

As you can imagine, gold-hoarding was a big problem for those who had accumulated debts during the expansion that they needed to service even though the economy was depressed. Think of our homeowners in today’s crisis: as fewer people are employed, fewer wages are paid out, and fewer people are able to meet their mortgage debt service burden. What appears as a credit crisis is simply the downstream effects of unemployment.

The response of the Roosevelt administration to this credit crunch was to devalue dollars against gold by 70%, — from 22 dollars an ounce to 35 dollars an ounce — and this devaluation allowed the economy to stabilize. However, this “stabilization”, like today’s bankster bailout — was purchased by a massive reduction in living standards of working families — it amounted to a 70% across the board cut in wages.

Yes. Despite FDR’s reputation as the hero of the working class, he “stabilized” the economy by ruthlessly slashing workers’ wages.

If we fast forward to 1970, when the Nixon administration ran into difficulties by printing dollars to stabilize the economy as it was contracting, the massive flood of worthless dollars tipped his administration into another devaluation — but this time, instead of simply fixing the dollar to a an even smaller quantity of gold, Nixon allowed the dollar to float against it.

The depression continued unabated, but dollars, no longer fixed to gold, simply lost their purchasing power. In turn, those with the means to do so sold their dollars and bought gold. They were still hoarding gold, but this hoarding was expressed not as the shortage of money, but in the depreciating purchasing power of now worthless dollars.

Since Nixon’s Roosevelt-style assault on society, gold hoarding is now expressed in the rise of its price; while the purchasing power of dollars evaporates. Today, the rising price of gold is one of the surest indicators that we are still in a depression.

The vegetative State

December 13, 2010 1 comment

If anyone was wondering if the economy is completely brain-dead and continuing to function solely on Washington’s extraordinary intervention, just have a look at these charts provided by The Global Macro Monitor blog, via Barry Ritholtz. According to the research of Steve Keen and others, employment growth has a .67 correlation with the rate of debt expansion. Private employment growth is unlikely unless we see clear signs of private debt expansion, but the source of debt expansion at present is that of the wholly unproductive national government sector.

The author of the post writes,

If, as the President says, ‘the flow of credit is the lifeblood of our economy”, the country would have died in 2009 had not the policymakers taken the extraordinary measures they did. These charts illustrate how close we were to the abyss and should give a clearer perspective on what Bernanke & Co. were/are up against. They are heroes, in our book, for stabilizing the situation and pulling us back from the abyss. The jury is still out, however, on long-term structural adjustment and preventing a global sovereign debt crisis.

We disagree with the author’s characterization of the 2009 intervention by Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve Bank — and the intervention by Washington generally. Of course, this disagreement stems from our differences over whether stabilization and “long-term structural adjustment” is preferable to the “abyss”. The only card Washington has in its hands right now is the constant, coordinated, relentless repetition from every “credible” source that the collapse of the bloated financial sector must lead to chaos and social breakdown.

Make no mistake, Washington and its supporters and paid hacks want you to believe that the economic security of the nation rests on these action, but the Too Big To Fail are being rescued in order to buy time for them to pass the “structural adjustment” of this crisis on to you. All the actions of Washington thus far has been aimed at this effort and none other.

This effort to spread panic and terror among the population — to cut off discussion and dissent — is no different than that which has you taking off your shoes and submitting to the impersonal gropes of would-be employees of McDonald’s just to board a plane — as well as that designed to make you acquiesce to the murder of thousands of Iraqi civilians and Afghanistan villagers.

Is this a US shopping list for other nations’ resources?

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

An interesting post on Operation Leakspin of a series of cables in the latest Wikileaks dump:

“Wish List for Terrorists” or “Covet thy Neighbor” · 10 December 2010

US State Department cables release by Wikileaks contained information being described as a “Wish List” for terrorist targets.

The cable subject is “REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: CRITICAL FOREIGN DEPENDENCIES (CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND KEY RESOURCES LOCATED ABROAD)” contained in the original cable.

The cable is based on Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD 7), which uses the statues of the USA Patriot Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 5195(e)), and Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101(9)) to define both “Critical Infrastructure” and “Key Resources”.

Many media outlets and blogs had report this cable release as providing a “wish list” for terrorists.

See sourcesor here.

On close examination of the actual cable, referenced above, the US State Department provided a list of critical infrastructure and key resources to US diplomats assigned overseas, under the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) for annual review and reporting of “inventory”.

An excerpt from the cable:

The overarching goal of the NIPP is to build a safer, more secure, and more resilient America by enhancing protection of the nation’s CI/KR to prevent, deter, neutralize or mitigate the effects of deliberate efforts by terrorists to destroy, incapacitate or exploit them; and to strengthen national preparedness, timely response, and rapid recovery in the event of an attack, natural disaster or other emergency.

3. (U//FOUO) In addition to a list of critical domestic CI/KR, the NIPP requires compilation and annual update of a comprehensive inventory of CI/KR that are located outside U.S. borders and whose loss could critically impact the public health, economic security, and/or national and homeland security of the United States.

See full text of the NIPP.

Although both the USA Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act appear to apply only to the USA. However, this cable references CI/KR outside the US borders. This makes strategic sense when considering the nature of global infrastructure including many critical underwater telecommunication cable landings.

From the standpoint of protecting global communications the State Department directive includes names and location of the landing points of these telecommunication cables including Southern Cross undersea cable landing, Brookvale, Australia.

The name of the source is shown and was revealed in the Wikileaks cable release which was created at the State Department on 2 February 2009 and released by Wikileaks on 5 December 2010. A quick search of Wikipedia, the on-line Encyclopedia, shows the Southern Cross undersea cable landing;

Wiki Southern Cross Cable

The article by Wikipedia shows that the page was last edited on 15 November 2010, prior to the Wikileaks release.

Other “key resources” detailed in the cables includes minerals, oil/natural gas, private and publicly held corporations, including Pharmaceutical manufacturing.  Again upon examination and in reference to statues used to form this directive the purpose was to;

“mitigate the effects of deliberate efforts by terrorists to destroy, incapacitate or exploit them; and to strengthen national preparedness, timely response, and rapid recovery in the event of an attack, natural disaster or other emergency.”

A random search on Google for Niobium (Nb), one of the “key resources” reveals that 90% of the production is in Brazil. The cables mention the State of Goias, Brazil.

Wiki Niobium

Wiki Goias

In light of the facts the cables reveal the US Government is interested in the resources of other Nations to protect the United States.

In researching this cable release, the pictures changes from a “Wish List” for terrorist targets and looks more like a “shopping list” for key resources in other countries by the US Government.

So ask yourselves, were contents of the cables a “Wish List” for terrorists or for the United States.

The scope of the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD 7), USA Patriot Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 5195(e)), and Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101(9)) should be examined by the US Congress and the People of the United States of America.

“Class War”, “Deficit Hawks” and the feeding tube recovery

December 7, 2010 2 comments

So, this is the takeaway from the Messiah’s tax deal with the Party of Wall Street: there wasn’t any tax deal. The agreement between the Messiah and the Party of Wall Street is an admission that the economy is officially brain dead and on complete life support. There is no recovery, there is only the false appearance of recovery produce by the expansion of federal debt.

Unemployment shows no signs of improving, job creation is negligible, the bankster mafia cartel’s quantitative easing money printing scheme has already failed and will fail again to generate inflation in the world market.

Of course, there was no recovery during the period 2003 to 2007, when the economy appeared to expand because of the increasing debt slavery of working families. The collapse of your income put an end to that Ponzi scheme, and the only thing keeping the entire global economic system from imploding is the judicious application of Washington debt manufactures to sustain the illusion of economic growth.

As the O’stimulus version 1.0 petered out, so did the recovery. And, it will likely be the same for version 2.0.

While the Party of Washington mobilized its useful idiots among the progressives to engage in a blatant class war against “the rich”, and as the Party of Wall Street deployed fear of US bankruptcy to drive its base to meet them, the Washington-Wall Street Axis negotiated a separate peace: to continue propping up an essentially brain dead economy with a feeding tube of unlimited public debt.

Progressives should have been warned in advanced: the Party of  Washington does not engage in the language of class warfare unless they are trying to cover up their shameless and blatant treason against working families. The more insidious the betrayal, the louder the call to arms against the “rich”. “billionaires”, and “wealthy fat-cats”. Each new enslavement of the working stiff to Wall Street is always accompanied by a party announcement of a new era of freedom from bondage.

As for the Party of Wall Street: who are we kidding here? Look at the history of American public debt. The continuous stream of steady debt service oozing from the orifices of every government body — local, state and federal — is the mother’s milk of Ponzi economics. Public revenue and the power of money creation converted into an endless stream of safe Wall Street “investments” is the entire foundation of the fictitious economic activity and the ever lengthening social work week.

Once again, you have been played. But, you will never learn, will you? Even now you are angry at some imagined betrayal by the Party of Wall Street, or the Party of Washington — depending entirely on your personal ideological delusion.

Unfortunately, the joke is on you — you’re a pawn and the chessmasters move you where they see fit because you have not acquired the capacity to decide where your interest lie, and, hence, what must be your next move.

Today, Europe is deciding their next move: a bank run. Will they be any more successful than you. Perhaps not, but at least they are trying.

You can’t be in the game until you realize there is one.

Banality has another name: AFL-CIO

December 4, 2010 1 comment

So, we don’t know what to make of this, and thought we would let you decide. Below are two videos — the first, from Christian Children’s Fund; the second is from the AFL-CIO. See if you can spot the common theme:

Christian Children’s Fund:

AFL-CIO: Lifeline

The website Firedoglake calls the second video, “a heartbreaking video of unemployed workers from all walks of life, all of whom are about to run out of their unemployment benefits.”

They continue:

These are the people President Barack Obama is using as a human sacrifice in order to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the incredibly wealthy, just to avoid being accused of “raising taxes” in 2012.

Congratulations to the AFL-CIO for a phenomenal video – go write to Congress on their site now.

Our first reaction was anger at a seedy, sophomoric attempt to sensationalize the plight of some two million who have lost their unemployment benefits as Washington democrats and republicans demagogue the federal budget for their own perverse ends and those of their bankster bosses.

Our second reaction was disgust with the AFL-CIO — an organization of working people so corrupted and compromised by its involvement in, and subservience to, Washington politics that it deserves only to be dismantled.

This video is an obscenity, we think. But, we could be over-reacting.

Rand Paul causing waves among the GOP

November 16, 2010 2 comments

Rand Paul has the ability to force the Senate to raise sixty votes for every bill introduced that increases Washington’s spending for the next six years. He has, in other words, the power to create a massive ongoing political crisis for the bloated, wasteful perversity that passes for government in Washington D.C.

We think he will fold — we think he will pull an Obama and sell out the Tea Partiers who brought him to this quite spectacular position.

We would love it if he proved us wrong.

He has already signaled his willingness to cripple the earmark process in the Senate. And, now John “Maverick in Name Only” McCain is drawing a bead on Paul’s stated willingness to force massive cuts in the defense budget.

From the Huffington Post:

John McCain Attacks Rand Paul’s ‘Isolationism’ In Willingness To Cut Defense Spending

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed concern Monday that some new Republican legislators would be defined by their “protectionism and isolationism,” two views that the Vietnam War veteran feared would result in a butting of heads within the party on Afghanistan and defense spending.

“I think there are going to be some tensions within our party,” McCain said during a conference put on by Foreign Policy Initiative, a DC-based think tank. “I worry a lot about the rise of protectionism and isolationism in the Republican Party.”

A prime example, McCain continued, was Rand Paul, Kentucky’s next U.S. Senator.

“I admire his victory, but … already he has talked about withdrawals [and] cuts in defense,” McCain said.

Indeed, Paul appears to have taken after the more libertarian side of foreign policy issues, much like his father, Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R).

Never, in our memory, has someone so apparently clueless, seemed so likely to deliver on the precisely those things that have to be done to kill this economy for good, and bring the empire to its knees.

If he is even vaguely successful in challenging the status quo, we expect McCain will take the entire millionaires’ club hostage, automatic rifle in hand, in a frightening outburst of PTSD-driven, alcohol-charged, delusional rage.

We wish Rand Paul all the luck (and backbone) in the world.

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