SteveG’s Posts



Interview of L. Randall Wray by Dasha Chernyshova, Moscow reporter for the Sputnik News Agency
To put this in highly technical terms, we’re all pretty much screwed.

Wray has a way with words. But the being screwed is all of our own doing. There is a clear path out, but we won’t take it. Neither will anyone else.

Robert Reich: In the New Economy, Workers Take on All the Risk

Naked Capitalism has the article Robert Reich: In the New Economy, Workers Take on All the Risk.

The article highlights the less obvious ramifications of the changes in the employment environment.

For all these reasons, the upsurge in uncertain work makes the old economic measures – unemployment and income – look far better than Americans actually feel.

It also renders irrelevant many labor protections such as the minimum wage, worker safety, family and medical leave, and overtime – because there’s no clear “employer.”

And for the same reason eliminates employer-financed insurance – Social Security, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, and employer-provided health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

In the article, Reich identifies several government programs that will have to be adjusted in major ways in response to the changes in how people are employed. We need political leaders who are aware of the need for this major shift and what it says about the government programs that they enact and administer. It is not enough to talk about what we did in the past. We need new ideas.

We should judge people running for President in the upcoming election in 2016 by the boldness of their vision. Anything less will just not be enough to address our future needs.

The Iran Nuclear Deal – Answer to Propaganda From Dennis Prager

YouTube has this propaganda piece from Dennis Prager The Iran Nuclear Deal.

I responded to one of the comments on the video.

+Tom DeChaine

What you think you know about Iran and the “terrorist” organizations they “sponsor” is much the product of propaganda campaigns that have been successful in you being so sure of half truths and even false hoods.

The United States of America has made it plain that it will do anything it feels like to any Democracy that doesn’t do our bidding. The only thing that seems to stop us is having a nuclear capability. Look at North Korea and Pakistan as cases in point. So is it any wonder that Iran has wanted to at least keep us guessing about whether or not they have nuclear capability?

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s being so coy about WMD was an attempt to walk the thin line between keeping his neighbors afraid of him, and keeping the U.S.A. out of his country. The lesson most countries probably took away from this is that he would have been safer if he actually had the WMD. Is this the lesson we want to teach?

Some leaders in Iran seem to be willing to take a chance on making their peaceful nuclear ambitions clear, if that is what they are. Why are we so afraid to take a chance on peace that we aren’t even willing to take what seems like a yes answer to our demands?

If we refuse this deal, it will only confirm to the Iranian hard-liners that they were right to assume that having nuclear weapons is the only thing that will protect them from the hostile intentions of the USA and Israel, another supposed nuclear power. The Iranians won’t be the only people in the world that will take note of this proof of the need for their own nuclear weapons.

I can’t see why so many people in this country cannot open their minds to the obvious situation I have just laid out.

Picking Apart One of the Biggest Lies in American Politics: “Free Trade”   Recently updated !

Naked Capitalism has the article Picking Apart One of the Biggest Lies in American Politics: “Free Trade”.

In the 1960s, Korea was an undeveloped nation whose major exports were human hair (for wigs) and fish, and their average annual income was around $400 per working family. Today it’s a major industrial power with an average annual per capita income of over $32,000, and it beats the US in its rate of college attendance, exports, and lifespan.

South Korea did all this in a single generation by closing its economy and promoting its export industries. A decade earlier Japan had done the same thing. Forty years earlier Germany had done it.

In July, 2009, with no evident irony or understanding of how South Korea went about becoming a modern economic powerhouse, President Obama lectured the countries of Africa during his visit to Ghana. As the New York Times reported: “Mr. Obama said that when his father came to the United States, his home country of Kenya had an economy as large as that of South Korea per capita. Today, he noted, Kenya remains impoverished and politically unstable, while South Korea has become an economic powerhouse.”

In the same day’s newspaper, the lead editorial, titled “Tangled Trade Talks,” repeated the essence of the mantra of its confused op-ed writer, Thomas L. Friedman, that so-called “free trade” is the solution to a nation’s economic ills.

The previous post Wolf Richter: It Starts – Broad Retaliation Against China in Currency War makes a nice complement to this post. If free trade closes off all the options to giving privilege to local industry, then one of the few options left to governments is currency devaluation.

As in all things economic, policy decisions are not binary decisions. A example of a binary decision would be the choice between having completely unhindered free trade or having no free trade at all. Another binary decision example would be to forbid the use of currency devaluation as a policy tool, or to engage in indiscriminate currency devaluation in order to get the most benefit for our exports.

In all such matters, there may be value in the use of a little bit of a policy, but it becomes toxic when applied in too large a dose. We need to discard our attitude that if a little bit of something is good, then a lot more of it has to be much better. Such careful thought is not promoted by jingoist media and a population that falls for such hype. Careful thought is also lost when individual legislators get hell bent on promoting a lot of some remedy without any thought to measuring how much is good, and how much is too much. It is about time Congress realized that this type of legislation is highly technical, and we should not use seat-of-the-pants techniques for applying them.

This also applies to tariffs and other protectionist measures. We should only apply them when they can be seen to be beneficial, and we should stop increasing them at the point where they become harmful. The measure of benefit and harm should include measuring the impact on the international situation. When we see that the policy is leading to a world wide race to see which country can be the most extreme, then we have probably passed the point of benefit and gone into the territory of harm.

With our current focus on income inequality, it may be time to realize that balance is what we seek in most things. Not too much of anything, and not too little.

Sandra Bland Was Arrested Because She Failed the “Attitude Test”

attn has the article Sandra Bland Was Arrested Because She Failed the “Attitude Test”.

White people in the suburbs as they go about their business don’t get stopped, or maybe they’d understand this.

But people get tired. That’s one of the reasons we get these failures of the “attitude test”—it happens when people are done. They’re like, “Again? Really? I don’t get to go to the store? I don’t get to walk my kid to school? I don’t get to live in the world that everybody else lives in in a normal way without getting harassed, without getting hassled, without getting searched?” And you can be nice 364 days of the year and have one bad day, and you go to jail. Or you die. Because people just get tired. That’s what I see with clients. They’re just tired. They’re tired of it. And it’s like, how much more can you expect?

Consider how sick and tired you have to be to risk death. Have you ever been that sick and tired of something?

The whole article is something that the white fans of Bernie Sanders need to understand. I have taken the attitude test myself on a few occasions. Usually I start with the attitude that I am going to pass it with flying colors when there is the slightest possibility that I have actually done something wrong. I never fail it. On an occasion or two, under slightly better circumstances, I have played with taking the test. However, I always sense when it is time to stop pushing the boundaries. That’s called white privilege.

Wolf Richter: It Starts – Broad Retaliation Against China in Currency War

Naked Capitalism has the article Wolf Richter: It Starts – Broad Retaliation Against China in Currency War.

But devaluations are not free lunches. They’re desperate measures that demolish domestic consumption and real incomes (see Japan), business investment, and overall credibility. And capital flees. They can also heat up inflation. But many emerging market countries and their banks and corporations borrow in other currencies to get access to lower interest rates. That foreign-currency debt can’t be devalued or inflated away.

Instead, the opposite happens. Their struggling or battered economies have to service foreign-currency debt with their own devalued currencies. Commodity exporters are getting sapped additionally by plunging commodity prices. Then that foreign currency debt, that cheap easy money everyone got to used playing with, becomes an insurmountable pile of expensive debt in a currency they can’t control and whose exchange rate might run away from them.

This is when a debt crisis begins to spiral elegantly through the emerging markets, taking down banks, entire economies, and gobs of investors as it goes – or taxpayers in other countries if there is a bailout. It’s always the same story. But this time, it’s different: after years of global QE, low interest rates, and hot money sloshing through the system, the sums are larger, and the risks are higher.

The issue is that the oligarchs will not allow any country to stimulate their own domestic economy by stimulating domestic demand for goods and services. The only way out, seems to be to export to other countries. This selling of goods abroad will keep employment high. However, you cannot have a world where each country is trying to get ahead by increasing its exports to other countries while lowering consumption in their own country. Ultimately, who is going to be left in the world to buy stuff? This strategy is the ultimate race to the bottom.

What country is big enough and powerful enough to try to reverse this contest to see whose workers can produce more while consuming (eating) less? Only the United States of America has a politician, Bernie Sanders, vying for leadership of the country, and one who understands this ultimate issue.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: From Greece to Puerto Rico, the Financial Rules Are Rigged to Favor the 1%

Democracy Now has the article Sen. Bernie Sanders: From Greece to Puerto Rico, the Financial Rules Are Rigged to Favor the 1%.

And let us not forget a little bit about history. Let us not forget what happened after World War I, when the Allies imposed oppressive austerity on Germany—on Germany—as part of the Versailles Treaty. And I think all of you who know anything about history understand what happened. And that is, the Germany economy collapsed, unemployed skyrocketed, people were pushing their money around in wheelbarrows to buy a loaf of bread. And the result of all of that massive discontent was that —– —— and the —- Party won an election and took power. And you all know the results of that.

I have omitted the words from the quote that no one dare speak. It tends to shut off the conversation before it can even begin. That is a shame, because sometimes those words are appropriate.

Cornel West on Bernie Sanders, Michael Eric Dyson, Trans Rights, and B.B. King | #GRITtv   Recently updated !

The Laura Flanders Show has this great interview Cornel West on Bernie Sanders, Michael Eric Dyson, Trans Rights, and B.B. King | #GRITtv.

In an exclusive new interview on The Laura Flanders Show, author, activist and public intellectual Dr. Cornel West responds to criticism from MSNBC host Michael Eric Dyson and discusses Bernie Sanders, Palestine, Black Lives Matter, B.B. King, and the LGBT movement. Dr. Cornel West has written or edited dozens of books, including classics like Race Matters, and Democracy Matters. His most recent is Black Prophetic Fire, written in conversation with Christa Buschendorf. He has also been an outspoken supporter of the causes others won’t touch. and an equally outspoken critic of President Barack Obama. He was the civil rights elder most warmly embraced by Black Lives Matter activists on the ground in Ferguson and Baltimore.

Space elevator could lift people 12 miles into the air   Recently updated !

CBS News has the article Space elevator could lift people 12 miles into the air.

A Canadian space company was recently awarded a patent for a space elevator that would reach about 12 miles (20 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface.

For the really curious, here is what the articles are leaving out – US Patent 9085897 “Space Elevator”. Here is the patent on the US Patent Office web site.

space elevator

Not first disruptive tactic for activist who shut down Bernie Sanders’ speech

I was just looking for this article that I posted on the Sturbridge For Bernie Sanders page. I had trouble finding it there, and I can’t seem to find it here, so I am going to post it now and never lose it again.

Here is the excerpt I posted from The Seattle Times article Not first disruptive tactic for activist who shut down Bernie Sanders’ speech.

Finally found an article that presents some, perhaps, verifiable information about the lead protester.

“Johnson, listed on a Facebook page as the contact person for the Westlake Park protest, told black radio station TWiB Monday night that she is a devout evangelical Christian who had supported Sarah Palin in high school. She added that her views are now far to the left.”

The contact info she lists on the Facebook page mentioned in the article is the following:

MEDIA CONTACTS: Marissa Johnson (360)840-6234