Periodic Posts

Posts made periodically by a particular author. The periodicity may be totally random.

A Giant Pile of Money

The Intercept has a three part series beginning with A Giant Pile of Money: How Wall Street Drove Public Pensions Into Crisis and Pocketed Billions in Fees.

Public pensions across the country now squander tens of billions of dollars each year on risky, often poor-performing alternative investments — money public pensions can ill afford to waste.

If you think that privatizing Social Security is a good idea, you’d better have a plan to protect the unsophisticated individual investor from these vulture capitalists who can dupe and corrupt people chosen to oversee public pension funds. Turns out that Franco Modigliani and Arun Muralidhar had such a plan, but it was nothing like what the Republicans propose. Also, just search this blog for either Franco Modigliani or Arun Muralidhar.

How Private Equity Bankrupted Seven Major Grocery Chains for Fun and Profit   Recently updated !

Naked Capitalism has the article How Private Equity Bankrupted Seven Major Grocery Chains for Fun and Profit.

…the seven large grocery chains that filed for bankruptcy since 2015 all were victims of private equity firms overloading them with debt, which in turn kept them from investing in updating stores and their product lines. No similar publicly traded grocery chain suffered a similar fate during this period. And as the authors and others like your humble blogger have pointed out, private equity firms extract so much in fees relative to their meager equity investments in the funds they manage that they profit even when they drive the companies they bought into a ditch.

If you do not understand this, then you are not qualified to discuss capitalism and socialism. The behavior of these private equity firms is why I call them vulture capitalists. Now that people like this are in control of our government, they are doing the same to our country.

The size of the federal deficit is not the problem as much as how the deficit is being created and what we spend our money on. With the willful refusal to collect high taxes from the predatory income of the vultures and the spending so much on armaments instead of investing in the productive capacity of our economy, the end of the USA empire is a foregone conclusion. If it weren’t for the suffering of the innocent victims, the demise of our empire could be considered a blessing for the rest of the world.

Democratic Consulting Firm Teams Up With Hospital Industry to Battle Nurses Union   Recently updated !

The Intercept has the article Democratic Consulting Firm Teams Up With Hospital Industry to Battle Nurses Union.

For Pinkham, the nurse staffing debate has been laced with sexism. “If there were 23,000 men saying, ‘Hey, look, this is unsafe,’ do you think they would make you wait over 20 years to fix it?” she asked. “They treat us like we’re just these nice girls, trying to do a nice thing, but that we don’t know what we’re talking about and can’t handle numbers.”

I found this quote to be quite ironic. Just moments before coming across this article, I had been reading a Facebook thread about the issue of Question #1.

A female nurse posted the comment:

As bedside nurses (as we claim to be) how can we possible understand what it takes to run a hospital.

Once I read a very good explanation of why things work at all given the Peter Principle. I have not been able to find any reference to that article, but The Chicago Tribune article Why Things Go Wrong: The Peter Principle... comes the closest.

“All useful work is done by those who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.”
Peter`s Sexist Principle: Most hierarchies were established by men who monopolized the upper levels, thus depriving women of their rightful share of opportunities to achieve their own levels of incompetence.

In the article I remember reading, the author mentioned female teachers having been forced into teaching jobs by the sexism of their era. Restricting them to being teachers was a way of preventing them rising from their level of incompetence. Non-commissioned officers in the military were another group of people who were prevented from rising to their level of incompetence. I think secretaries were also mentioned as a class of people that were not allowed to rise to their level of incompetence.

It seems like nurses also fall into the class of people who have not been allowed to rise to their level of incompetence. More surprising to me was that a woman could actually think that she would be incapable of rising above her level. (She didn’t actually say that, so maybe I am over interpreting to make it a good story.)

The point of that article that I am remembering is that is that organizations worked because of the secretaries, non-commissioned officers, and teachers that were responsible for running organizations competently. Without the sexism that kept women in their positions of competency, how would the world survive?

But How Will We Pay for It? Making Public Money Work for Us   Recently updated !

YouTube has the video “But How Will We Pay for It? Making Public Money Work for Us” – Oct. 15, 2018.

Our nation’s finances are a blistering topic. Democrats blame Republicans for “blowing up the deficit” with tax cuts, while Republicans insist that programs such as Social Security and Medicare are the real drivers of our fiscal mess. As politicians fight over who’s at fault, an important debate is getting lost in the fog.

Professor Kelton casts a different light on these fiscal feuds and the budget deficit, arguing that both sides are missing the bigger picture when it comes to paying for our future.

The best lecture you could possibly hear this or any other year.

Dr. Stephanie Kelton explains everything that I could possibly want people to understand about the economy. and the roles of the private sector and the government sector in that economy.

In the comments on my Facebook post on this lecture, we can quibble about the details and the meanings of what she said, I am sure there will be lots of disbelief, but I think I can handle all the questions.

The Fascists Are Coming for Your Social Security and Medicare

Common Dreams has the article The Fascists Are Coming for Your Social Security and Medicare.

Here is an excerpt that is just a hint of all the truths revealed in the article.

For thousands of years, economists and economic observers from Aristotle to Adam Smith to Thomas Piketty have told us that a “middle class” is not a normal byproduct of raw, unregulated capitalism—what right-wing ideologues call “the free market.”

Instead, unregulated markets—particularly markets not regulated by significant taxation on predatory incomes—invariably lead to the opposite of a healthy middle class: they produce extremes of inequality, which are as dangerous to democracy as cancer is to a living being.

When people ask why a country like the USA that creates its own money out of thin air has to collect taxes, remember the quote from above.

… markets not regulated by significant taxation on predatory incomes—invariably lead to the opposite of a healthy middle class …

Question 1: Safe Patient Limits

Ed Earle has posted a reply on Facebook to the lying ads against Question 1.

4) ER wait times will increase and ambulances will have to “hold the wall.”

The TRUTH California has 47% shorter wait times than Massachusetts, a big improvement since they placed their staffing law. Massachusetts rates 48th of the 50 states for wait times… As for “holding the wall,” most California nurses don’t even know what this means. It does occasionally happen for short times, moreso in LA. It is important to note that Los Angeles County has 2+ million more residents than the entire state of Massachusetts, so they are servicing a ridiculously larger population and sound so 47% quicker

I chose this excerpt to quote because I had been thinking of researching this topic ever since I saw the ad that brought this up. I had a strong suspicion that this was a phony issue.

For reference purposes here is an article from the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Registered Nurses Unite for Question 1: Safe Patient Limits.

Don’t let hospital management fool you into thinking that having fewer nurses is going to be better for your health. It is going to be better for the managers’ and investors’ wallets, but not for your health. These interests might as well be telling you to put a noose around your neck and pull it tight for a better fit.

What Neo-liberals Miss About Nationalism   Recently updated !

The Dreaded New York Times has the opinion piece What the Left Misses About Nationalism.

In the United States, Mr. Trump’s nationalist policies have not been without merit. Where his predecessors have feared alienating China, he has boldly challenged its transfer of technology, cybertheft and hidden trade subsidies and barriers. He has also spoken up for American manufacturing industries and their workers, and chided footloose companies like Nabisco, Ford and Carrier.

It is not globalism, per se, that has caused the backlash, but globalism in the interests of the oligarchs. Workers of the world unite is the kind of globalism that would make nationalism pale in comparison. Nowhere in the recent globalism has the interest of the workers been even considered. If workers had been considered, then the focus of world trade agreements would not be on protecting the “intellectual property” of the oligarchs to the exclusion of almost everything else.

It is the focus on protecting “intellectual property” that has given the pharmaceutical companies cover to raise their prices by a factor of 5.

It is not surprising that the piece on The Dreaded New York Times would miss the point entirely.

Pelosi’s “Big Idea” Trashed By Bernie’s Economist Stephanie Kelton

YouTube has the segment of the Jimmy Dore Show Pelosi’s “Big Idea” Trashed By Bernie’s Economist Stephanie Kelton.

In this part of the interview Stephanie Kelton says things that I have never heard her say before. They don’t surprise me, and I am glad to hear them, but it is news that she finally opened up about some of these topics.

In the first part of the interview, What Is MMT And How It Works w/Stephanie Kelton, she says what I expected her to say about MMT. It is very worth listening to if you don’t know Modern Money Theory.

The Effectiveness of Large-Scale Asset Purchases   Recently updated !

Naked Capitalism has the article The Effectiveness of Large-Scale Asset Purchases.

I think the case is strong that these Fed announcements contain at least some information that is important as a signal about economic fundamentals rather than a pure signal about monetary policy. To the extent that is true, it suggests that the effect of the LSAP programme itself on interest rates is likely smaller than many previous estimates.

Chris Herbert made the comment:

A more important metric, I would think, is what effect QE might have had on productive investment. The rationale for QE was that it would boost investment and thus employment and real goods. A study conducted in Britain on the effects of QE there concluded that it had minimal positive impact on productive investment. My view is that QE was always intended to restore the value of the savings of the wealthy elite. It had nothing to do with boosting employment or investment in the real economy.

This finally prompted this comment from me.

One begins to wonder if John Maynard Keynes is just a figment of my imagination. What part of “No freakin’ customers” do we not understand when monetary easing does not stimulate productive investment to produce more of what there are no customers for?

I guess it took a Milton Friedman to convince us that sane capitalists would invest in more production if we just gave them more money even though there was nobody to buy what they could produce in their existing factories. Capitalists were closing factories and accumulating massive amounts of cash, but Friedman’s teachings insisted that they would reopen those factories if we just gave them more of what they already had plenty of.

And for this, Milton Friedman won a Nobel Prize in economics. If I were an economist with a Nobel Prize, I’d try to keep that a secret. Seems like a lot of Nobel Prizes have been awarded for junk economics.

Facebook Accused of ‘Full-Frontal Suppression of Dissent’ After Independent Media Swept Up in Mass Purge

Common Dreams has the article Facebook Accused of ‘Full-Frontal Suppression of Dissent’ After Independent Media Swept Up in Mass Purge.

While it is reasonable to assume that some of the more than 800 total pages and accounts shut down by Facebook were engaged in overtly fraudulent behavior—such as the use of fake accounts and bots to generate ad revenue—numerous independent media outlets that cover a wide array of issues say they were swept up in the massive purge despite never using such tactics.

Our major hope for unlatching the grasp of the oligarchs on our government and on our news media was to use the internet and social media as a more democratic way to speak to each other. Getting rid of net neutrality was one way for the oligarchy to shut down the people’s voices. Since Facebook, Twitter, and other social media monopolies are part of the oligarchy, I didn’t think their seeming passivity could last forever. How long did we think the oligarchy would let us speak freely?

These concerns are why I did not discontinue my personal political blog when Facebook became so popular. I pay good (well, it’s not that good) money to have my blog hosted rather than depend on the good graces of Facebook.

Have we lost the means of getting a revolution going in the 21st century? We will have to find a crowd funded and staffed social media mechanism.

YouTube has the video THE PURGE IS HERE: Hundreds of political social media pages deleted without warning.

Carey Wedler
Published on Oct 11, 2018
My page of over two million followers (Anti-Media) was unpublished from Facebook today, and I was also suspended from Twitter for no specific reason (Anti-Media was also suspended from Twitter).

RT (Russia Today) has the article ‘Land of censorship & home of the fake’: Alternative voices on Facebook and Twitter’s crackdown.

Alternative voices online are incensed after Facebook and Twitter closed down hundreds of political media pages ahead of November’s crucial midterm elections. Facebook says they broke its spam rules, they say it’s censorship.