SteveG’s Posts


Why Poor Whites Chant Trump, Trump, Trump

The Stir Journal by Jonna Ivin has her article  I Know Why Poor Whites Chant Trump, Trump, Trump.

This is one of the most insightful articles I have read in a long time.  Abiding by the  Fair Use Doctrine, I will only quote a small part of the article, but let me  assure you that there is so much more to it that is worth reading.  You should read the article to see what motivates this excerpt.

Did slave owners care about white indentured servants when they pitted them against African slaves, or did they want to ensure a steady supply of cheap labor? Did Ronald Reagan care about poor white people when he trotted out the fictional welfare queen, or did he need a budget item to cut? Do wealthy elites and politicians care about poor and middle class people when they send them off to war, or are they anticipating massive profits?

Trump is railing against establishment politics not because he cares about the white underclass, but because he needs us — for now. He isn’t reaching out a hand to lift us up. He wants to stand on our shoulders so we can lift him up.

For more than four hundred years, wealthy elites have depended on the white underclass to “help keep America great.” But who are we keeping it great for? When will we realize we have more in common with all poor people than with rich capitalists and corrupt politicians who manipulate the system to increase their own wealth, power, and control? Instead of wondering which billionaire will finally reach out a hand to raise us up, we should stop waiting and start acting.

The article isn’t nearly as long as it might appear judging from the slider in its scroll bar.  The comments on the article probably take up more column inches than the article itself.


Promises and Price Tags: A Fiscal Guide to the 2016 Election   Recently updated !

Got any hogs?  The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has the article Promises and Price Tags: A Fiscal Guide to the 2016 Election.  I think a better name for this committee would be The Committee for The Most Irresponsible Federal Budget One Could Imagine.

Time Wise posted this report on his Facebook page.

This report is so much hogwash. One of the few things Donald Trump gets right is his statement that the United States Government never has to default on its debt because that government is the one entity that legally creates US money.

This growing debt is largely the result of rising entitlement spending and growing interest costs. Social Security, federal health spending, and interest costs are projected to be responsible for over four-fifths of spending growth over the next decade, with interest being the fastest growing area of the budget.

How can Tim support a right-wing report that says our country’s debt is mainly caused by entitlements? In his rush to condemn someone he rightfully dislikes, he shouldn’t end up supporting policies that are worse.

The growing debt is largely the result of giving back tax collections to the wealthy rather than spending it on what this country needs. Further, giving money to bailout the rich who sock it away in US Treasury securities rather than spend it into the economy is preventing economic growth. This last bit is how we create money and then end up paying interest on the money we created and gave away.

In the recent financial crisis the Fed created $26 Trillion in liquidity which went mostly to the wealthy. Where else does the money come from to buy U.S. Treasury securities? If we were really worried about this country’s debt, don’t you think the money the Fed created could have gone into paying down that debt?

The crime is not that we created $26 Trillion in liquidity.  The crime is that we got almost nothing in return for that $26 Trillion.

I guess even Tim is not immune from being sold a bunch of Kool-Aid.  I hope he comes to his senses before he drinks much more of it.  Don’t you go out and drink this stuff.


Brexit Wiped $2 Trillion Off Markets: Standard & Poors

NBC News has the article Brexit Wiped $2 Trillion Off Markets: Standard & Poors.

NEW YORK — The $2.08 trillion wiped off global equity markets on Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union was the biggest daily loss ever, according to Standard & Poor’s Dow Jones Indices.

I won’t even wait for the first person to ask who’s got that $2 Trillion.  Nobody started up an incinerator and burned $2 Trillion.  The money, never existed in the first place.  That amount of money was just notional.  In other words, the accountants of the world who calculate the “mark to market” value of all the stock holdings in the world calculated what all the stocks in the world could be sold for if they were all sold for the amount of money that was paid for the last stock trade in each stock.  Anybody who knows anything about markets of any kind knows that this could never happen, yet people seem to act as if their own stock holdings have this fictitious value.

Well, “mark to market” is not irrational if you understand its place.  Valuing an individual’s stock holdings this way gives you a reasonable approximation of what you could get if you sold your holdings at the instant that the calculation was made.  This assumes that your stock holding is small enough that your sale of it would not impact the market.  It also assumes that the price is not fluctuating significantly at the time you would consider selling it.  It is that last assumption that is what really makes “mark to market” only a crude approximation at times of high market volatility.

Owners of large market positions (mutual funds, hedge funds, pension funds, and the very wealthy, e.g.) are fully aware that they cannot make large sales at one time and get the full, current price the market is paying for small lots of stock.


The America Anti-Corruption Act

Represent.Us is pushing The America Anti-Corruption Act.

End Corruption in America: Stop Political Bribery, End Secret Money, & Give Voters a Stronger Voice

Here are the sections of the act.

Stop political bribery

  • Make it illegal for politicians to take money from lobbyists.
  • Ban lobbyist bundling.
  • Close the revolving door.

End Secret Money

  • Mandate full transparency of all political money.

Give Voters a Stronger Voice

  • Change how elections are funded.
  • Prevent politicians from fundraising during working hours.
  • Empower small donors over traditional PACs.

Enforce the Rules

  • Crack down on super PACs.
  • Eliminate lobbyist loopholes.
  • Strengthen anti-corruption enforcement.

Brexit and the New Global Rebellion

Common Dreams has the article Brexit and the New Global Rebellion.

Things are changing. A major crack has appeared in the edifice of globalization, and the neoliberal order that has dominated the world’s economy since the end of World War II is now in danger.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, by any means. But poisonous weeds are just as likely as green shoots to grow up through those cracks. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy: Those who make constructive evolution impossible may be making destructive devolution inevitable.

One of my complaints about the way that our country has handled globalization through trade deals like NAFTA and TPP is that the way they are being written gives a good idea a bad reputation.  This article gives a great explanation of what harm can come from giving a good idea a bad reputation.  Giving a good idea a bad reputation may be as big a crime against humanity as what the trade deals themselves do to our people.


So, you want to fix corruption?

Represent.US has the article and sign-up page So, you want to fix corruption? Here’s how you can help.

This plan sounds so plausible, that I am sure it would gain even more support than it has all ready received if more people knew about it.  It is action that we can take on a local level that will ripple up to the national government.

First we start out with an explanation that Corruption is Legal in America.

According to the above video, the next step is How to Fix America’s Corrupt Political System.


Petition Bernie to Run Independently, Build New Party   Recently updated !

Movement For Bernie has the Petition Bernie to Run Independently, Build New Party. They have several answers to objections that might be raised.  I wanted to record this one on this blog.

A New Party for the 99%

There is another danger if Bernie drops out to back Hillary. It would leave Trump, Cruz, or other right-wing Republicans a free hand to monopolize the growing anti-establishment anger, while most of the left is trapped behind Clinton, the crowning symbol of establishment, dynastic, Wall Street politics. Could the far-right even dream up a better scenario to build their forces? While Trump might not win the election, support for hard-right populist politics will grow if there no fighting left alternative offered.

Meanwhile, the confidence and energy our youthful, working-class political revolution will turn into demoralization and disorganization if the movement is corralled into Clinton’s Wall Street funded campaign – the exact opposite of a political revolution!

The stakes are too high to let this moment slip through our fingers. Capitalism is plunging humanity into a social and ecological catastrophe. Bernie’s campaign shows a viable fightback is possible. What’s missing is a strategy to sustain and grow our movement. Now is the time for bold action to build a fighting, working class political alternative – a party for the millions, not the millionaires.

Can you imagine what would happen if the Republican Party became the face of the revolution?


Racial Injustice and Economic Inequality

I am reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s book. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (King Legacy).

While there must be a continued emphasis on the need for blacks to pool their economic resources and withdraw consumer support from discriminating firms, we must not be oblivious to the fact that the larger economic problems confronting the Negro community will only be solved by federal programs involving billions of dollars. One unfortunate thing about Black Power is that it gives priority to race precisely at a time when the impact of automation and other forces have made the economic question fundamental for blacks and whites alike. In this context a slogan “Power for Poor People” would be much more appropriate than the slogan “Black Power.”

I think that what MLK Jr. is  saying here is that Bernie Sanders’ emphasis on class warfare and income inequality deserves the emphasis Sanders’ give it.  This in no way diminishes the need to fight racial injustice.  In fact, it is one, and I emphasize “one”, way to fight racial injustice.

In reading this section of the book, there was a powerful description of the psychological warfare prescription for slave owners to use to subjugate their slaves. While it was startling how someone could actually write this in a book for slave owners, and startling to read just what was perpetrated against the slaves, it is also startling to realize that these very techniques are now being deployed in class warfare being waged against non-wealthy people of all colors.


Enjoy a video of Boston Dynamics’ new robot doing chores and slipping on banana peels

Tech Crunch has the article Enjoy a video of Boston Dynamics’ new robot doing chores and slipping on banana peels.

Boston Dynamics, the company behind some of the most impressively terrifying and terrifyingly impressive robots of the past decade, is demonstrating its softer side with a video showcasing the Alphabet-owned [Google – ed.] firm’s latest creation.

 

How is this political, you ask? Glad you did.

Do you think traditional economic policy will be able to keep us all employed and earning enough to live on? If you pick a Presidential candidate who only thinks of the practical and today’s possible, then we are sunk.

How about listening to Bernie Sanders who asks us all to think big? Certainly the people designing these robots are not stuck thinking “inside the box”.

When “leaders” want to take us to war and cannot even think of the consequences that will turn around and bite us 6 months from now, how good do you think they are at looking into our future with robots?

Will the voters be any better at looking down the road and seeing the consequences of our decisions made today? How smart are the super-delegates? Can they see past their noses, or their outstretched, bribery seeking hands?


Curbing Monopolies Promotes Growth, Lowers Inequality

Naked Capitalism has the article Curbing Monopolies Promotes Growth, Lowers Inequality.

Classical economists depicted various forms of rent-seeking, such as monopolies, cartels, and other forms of collusion, as destructive and thus needed to be constrained. This study provides more support for that long-standing view by looking at economic effects more broadly than other studies have. It also finds that intervention reduces inequality.

For a long time I have been decrying the lack of enforcement of our anti-trust laws. I am glad to see some evidence that this lack of enforcement has even wider implications than I had assumed.

For a healthy economy, the government has to start doing its job again.  Contrary to what Bill Clinton said, the era of big government needs to return. If you elect Hillary Clinton and she puts Bill in charge of economic recovery, we will have a disaster.   I am trying to warn people about an impending train wreck, but few are listening, and fewer are doing anything about it.