"...if way to the Better there
it exacts a full look at the Worst."
claim truly about their country where “few have too much and fewer still too
little.” There are many capitalisms,
My blog: The War Department and Peace Heroes
See Class, Corporations, Economics, Greed, Inequality, Information Control, Lobbying, Marx, Military Industrial Complex, Monopoly, Occupy, Regulation, Socialism, Working Class, and related newsletters.
Nos. 7 & 8 at end
Contents #9 Nov. 12, 2012
Hedrick Smith, Who Stole the American Dream?
To Schneiderman: Prosecute or Resign
Why Government Doesn’t
Barofsky, Bailout on TARP
Nader: Where Were the Whistleblowers?
Reich, Book on US Capitalism
Reich, Interviewed About US Capitalism
Survey: Confidence in Capitalism Declines
Wolf: Global Financial Fraud
Looking Back at Capitalist Greed, PBS: Remember the Triangle Fire
Ha-Joon Chang, About Capitalism
Hacker and Pierson: Winner-Take-All Politics
Bybee, War on Wages
Foster and McChesney, Monopoly-Finance Capital
Pollin, Full Employment
Wenz, Progressive Taxation
Mondiot, Unregulated Capitalism and Climate Change
Taibbi, Lies about Bailout
Ad Busters on US Capitalism
Ad Busters on Canadian Capitalism
Moyers Co. Programs
Richard Wolff’s Books
Jim Wallis, Serving the Common Good
Animated Film on Nature of Capitalism
Moyers Interviews Sheila Bair and Richard Wolff March 22
Tunnel People and Economic Collapse
Dauvergne and Lister, Corporate Takeover of Sustainability
Smil, What We Have Taken from Nature
Blinder, Cause and Cure of Economic Crisis
Leopold, Dissects World of Top Hedge-Fund Managers
Garson, How the 99% Lives in the Recession
Here is the link to all OMNI topical newsletters:
http://www.omnicenter.org/newsletter-archive/ Many of these newsletters expose the
capitalism (unregulated corporations, large gap between rich and poor,
deceptive advertising, endemic boom and bust, and so on). US
The global unemployment rate totals 197 million worldwide, and this number does not include the 39 million who have dropped out of the labor market.
people went to jail, even the former
"Capitalism Never Solves Its Crisis Problems; It Moves Them Around Geographically"
of the best — and visually interesting — animations about modern capitalism and the political/economic system we’ve been living in for the last 50 years I’ve ever seen. If you’ve been following my wanderings for the past week or so — for example, ““ — you’ll know why I recommend it.
From the creators, RSA Animate:
In this RSA Animate, celebrated academic David Harvey looks beyond capitalism towards a new social order. Can we find a more responsible, just, and humane economic system?
This RSA Animate was taken from a lecture given as part of the RSA’s free public lecture programme. The RSA is a 258 year-old charity devoted to driving social progress and spreading world-changing ideas. For more information, visit
Note: I’m not presenting it to recommend any given solution (and the speaker offers none). I’m putting it up for its wonderful explication of the process and structure of this modern world. The headline quote:
“Capitalism never solves its crisis problems; it moves them around geographically”
(paraphrasing) that some systems have to expand constantly or they collapse. There’s no stasis point for them. Empires based on the nexus of coinage (which means mines) + conquest (using soldiers paid by the coinage) + slaves (captured by the soldiers to work the mines) are a perfect example.
, according to Graeber, is another instance of a system that will collapse as soon as it stops expanding. (I’ll leave you to figure out why, but consider the quarterly profit report of any major company. What happens to companies with consistent zero growth?)
I ended up watching this video several times, each one increasing my understanding. I hope you enjoyed this as well.
FDL Book Salon Welcomes Jeff Connaughton, The Payoff:
Why Wall Street
William K. Black
Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:10 pm Pacific time
“Mad, Blind, or a Coward”: Jeff Connaughton channels Camus’ The Plague
Jeff Connaughton has authored a powerful, and chilling insider’s perspective on the financial crisis and the pathetic governmental response to it. The second part of his title sums up the result and the first half explains why Wall Street always wins. Many, perhaps most Americans are likely to agree with both parts of Connaughton’s title so this book will not transform the public’s view of the issues. The public largely has this set of issues correct. Connaughton gives the readers unique access to the facts because he had a front row seat to many of the key discussions and he has the analytical abilities and expertise to explain the significance of those facts.
Reading Connaughton’s account evoked in me the comments of Dr. Rieux in Albert Camus’ The Plague.
All I say is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims — and as far as possible one must refuse to be on the side of the pestilence.
[W]hen you see the suffering and pain that it brings, you have to be mad, blind or a coward to resign yourself to the plague.
Connaughton shows us that the leaders of both parties were – and are – mad, blind, and cowards. They have sided with those that caused the pestilence and resigned our nation to a series of financial and moral plagues.
Readers who pick up The Payoff should buckle up first – it will be a bumpy ride regardless of your political affiliations. There are a few heroes, but the title warns that Wall Street Always Wins even when the folks with courage and a commitment to the public interest stand up to the banksters. Hannah Arendt famously described the “banality of evil” during the Holocaust. Connaughton describes the banditry of the banal. Connaughton shows that the system is so rotten, so rigged in favor of Wall Street, that evil individuals are unnecessary to produce catastrophe. No one has to be (formally) bribed. Theoclassical economic dogma has led to regulatory and prosecutorial leaders committed to not regulating and not prosecuting the banksters.
Dogma is so dangerous because it is the death of true reasoning. It excludes alternatives so fully that the alternatives are no longer even understood to exist. The most critical assumptions are implicit. Explicit assumptions should inherently prompt the question of whether they are justified. We are not even aware that we are making assumptions when we make them implicitly. Neither the author nor the reader can feel any need to question whether an unrecognized implicit assumption is justified.
Connaughton is a superb guide because he has such varied career. He’s got an MBA and a JD from two of the top schools in the world and did so well that he achieved one of the juiciest judicial clerkships. He’s worked as an investment banker with two top firms. He ran a lobbying firm. He was an important aide to (then) Senator Biden, President Clinton, and Senator Ted Kaufman. He is also candid. Republican and Democrats alike will cringe as they read his account of why Wall Street always wins.
For the sake of brevity I will only discuss two examples from
the book. The clearest examples of an insanely dangerous and destructive policy
that any rational system would eliminate are the systemically dangerous
institutions (SDIs). The SDIs are treated as “too big to fail.” Eliminating
SDIs would provide a win-win-win-win. They pose a systemic risk of global
collapse. They make “free” markets impossible for the implicit federal
guarantee of their general creditors means that they can borrow at a
significantly lower interest rate than their smaller competitors. I had the
privilege of hosting the book salon for the three (very conservative)
“Senator Diane Feinstein … asked [Senator] Durbin … ‘What’s this
[Brown-Kaufman amendment to end the SDIs]’? [Durbin replied]: ‘To break up the
banks.’ Giving the thumbs-down sign, Feinstein said bemusedly: ‘This is still
Serious, experienced Democratic Senators like Feinstein and
Durbin consider any effort to protect Americans from global systemic crises and
our democracy from crony capitalism to be un-American. In the name of “free”
markets we must allow the inherent elimination of any possibility of “free”
markets. To propose the one reform that would be any real financial regulator’s
top priority is to be treated with contempt by the Senate Democratic
leadership. Yes, political contributions from the finance industry are
important and Connaughton repeatedly shows us why this is so. But anyone who
has met with prominent American politicians knows that the degree of acceptance
of the mantra “what’s good for Wall Street is good for
As a former financial regulator and Justice Department attorney (my spouse, June Carbone, was also a DoJ attorney) the pages that were most painful for me to read were Connaughton’s explanation of how the professionals who run DoJ and the SEC were repeatedly complicit in providing de facto immunity to the Wall Street elites who drove the crisis. Connaughton confirms the insider views of Neil Barofsky and Sheila Bair in their recent books about the important and pernicious role that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner played in securing that immunity as a deliberate policy.
Connaughton’s tale is vastly more damning because he, as a legal professional working for years as a leading staffer for the Senate Judiciary Committee understood the institutions and the key people. He emphasizes a point I have often made – our nation is blessed with something that is rare globally. We have scores of prosecutors and investigators who are willing and able to take on the most elite white-collar frauds and corrupt officials. They routinely take on the best criminal defense lawyers in the world with unlimited budgets – and generally win. Biden, Kaufman, and Connaughton know these people on a first name basis, which makes Connaughton’s book an essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the financial crisis and why our response to the Great Recession has been a national disgrace.
Our nation is also blessed with hundreds of experienced financial regulators who are nearly unique globally because of their willingness and skill in taking on elite frauds and their lawyers and allied professionals. Connaughton makes it clear that the Bush and Obama administrations have overwhelmingly refused to take advantage of this talent in order to hold accountable the elite Wall Street frauds who grew wealthy by driving the financial crisis and the Great Recession. Connaughton takes us inside the SEC to see why that agency’s leadership has adopted policies that guarantee failure. We owe him a great debt for his service to the nation and for making his account of what went wrong public in this book.
his long-running conversation with the American public, Bill Moyers returned to
television in January 2012 with Moyers
& Company, a weekly series of smart talk and new ideas aimed at helping
viewers make sense of our tumultuous times through the insight of
Enjoy full versions of Moyers & Company shows below, but also check out Bill Moyers' ever-expanding library of media work in Archives, his weekly essay series On Democracy, and What Matters Today -- the BillMoyers.com blog.
EXPLORE MOYERS & COMPANY
March 22, 2013 | Moyers & Company
Bill takes a close look at avarice, banks, and capitalism — the ABCs of economic inequality — with insight from Sheila Bair and Richard Wolff.
March 20, 2013 | Moyers & Company
Bill takes a close look at avarice, banks, and capitalism — the ABCs of economic inequality — with insight from Sheila Bair and Richard Wolff.
Sunday March 31st, 2013, 10:51 am (EDT)
We place these articles at no charge on our website to serve all
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» NOTES FROM THE EDITORS
decades we have been arguing in that
stagnation is the normal state of the mature monopoly-capitalist economies.
Today the reality of stagnation is increasingly gaining the attention of the
corporate media itself. Thus the carried
an article on February 9, 2012, entitled, “In Europe, Stagnation as a Way of
Life,” describing European economic conditions as a “grinding reality” with
seemingly no way out. Of course much the same could be said today of the
For those accustomed to thinking of the capitalist economy as either growing rapidly or occasionally falling into a severe crisis (from which it quickly bounces back), long-run stagnation is a difficult to understand phenomenon. As Gar Alperovitz (author of ) notes in an interview on “Economic Alternatives to Capitalism” with Richard Wolff on February 21, 2012 (http://truthout.com), the present period of economic “stagnation and decay” signifies “an ongoing, long, painful process, rather than the classic crisis.” In other words, the economy neither collapses into a full (or “classic”) crisis, which would allow it to clear out (or devalue) its overaccumulated capital, nor is it able to achieve a full recovery. Instead, it remains caught in a stagnation trap, limping along at a low rate of growth, with high unemployment and excess capacity. Under the circumstances—and without the help of some external stimulus like a major war, a financial bubble, or an epoch-making innovation—the capital accumulation process is unable to move off dead center.
Chronic stagnation under mature capitalism usually leads to the systematic redistribution of income and wealth toward the rich, engineered by the state. For the capitalist class, the amassing of private riches is always the over-riding imperative. If this cannot be accomplished by appropriating the growth in wealth in the society as a whole, it will be accomplished by redistribution within society. Hence, the costs of slow growth are paid for primarily by those at the bottom of society—a process that has been institutionalized today under the form of a permanently entrenched policy of neoliberalism and financial dominance.
People everywhere are becoming conscious of the need for
international solidarity in resisting these dire conditions of stagnation,
financialization, and neoliberalism associated with the present age of
monopoly-finance capital. Thus when the Greek parliament voted on February 12
for a barbaric European Union-directed austerity package for
such dramatic instances of international solidarity necessarily draw our
attention, myriad grassroots struggles are erupting at the national and local
levels. In the
FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE
Notes from the Editors, Monthly Review (April 2013).
Not yet online march 31, try again later
CAPITALISM AND CLIMATE CHANGE
As part of the development of what will eventually be called we recently invited Ian Angus, founder and editor of the important blog to join forces with us and to locate on the MR website, with himself as editor. We are happy to announce that he agreed and the blog can be found on both the MR website and. In announcing the change on February 14, Angus wrote:
is five years old this month. I’m excited to mark this anniversary by launching an alliance with , the world’s foremost independent socialist journal. The agreement will enable the two publications to share resources and expand the audience for our Marxist perspective on environmental issues. Since 1949, has made invaluable contributions to the fight against capitalism, imperialism, and the commodification of life. In the past decade, it has come to be widely recognized as an authoritative voice of ecological Marxism.
So I was deeply honored when MR editor John Bellamy Foster proposed that we join forces to make ’s unique coverage of the global fight against capitalist ecocide available through ’s popular and growing website.
NEW MARXIST JOURNAL
would like to draw the attention of readers
to the ( ) a new quarterly, peer-reviewed academic journal
devoted to Marxist political economy. Founded in 2010 by the World Association
of Political Economy, an international nongovernmental academic organization
based at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, is published in English by Pluto
Actions You Should Take Immediately When Markets Get Spooked
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The Tunnel People That Live
Under The Streets Of
By Michael, on April 9th, 2013
Did you know that there are
thousands upon thousands of homeless people that are living underground
beneath the streets of major
When I heard that there were homeless people living in a network
of underground tunnels beneath the streets of
But according to the Daily Mail, police recently discovered a network of tunnels under the city that people had been living in...
Below the streets of
These so-called homeless camps have now been uncovered by the Kansas City Police, who then evicted the residents because of the unsafe environment.
Authorities said these people were living in squalor, with piles of garbage and dirty diapers left around wooded areas.
The saddest part is the fact that authorities found dirty diapers in the areas near these tunnels. That must mean that babies were being raised in that kind of an environment.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing is happening all over the
nation. In recent years, the tunnel people of
Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.
But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly.
Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care - their 400sq ft 'bungalow' boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf.
Could you imagine living like that? Sadly, for an increasing number of Americans a "normal lifestyle" is no longer an option. Either they have to go to the homeless shelters or they have to try to eke out an existence on their own any way that they can.
The homeless people who live down here are called Mole People. They do not, as many believe, exist in a separate, organized underground society. It's more of a solitary existence and loose-knit community of secretive, hard-luck individuals.
The New York Post followed one homeless man known as "John Travolta" on a tour through the underground world. What they discovered was a world that is very much different from what most New Yorkers experience...
In the tunnels, their world is one of malt liquor, tight spaces, schizophrenic neighbors, hunger and spells of heat and cold. Travolta and the others eat fairly well, living on a regimented schedule of restaurant leftovers, dumped each night at different times around the neighborhood above his foreboding home.
Even as the Dow hits record high after record high, poverty in
In many of our major cities, the homeless shelters are already at maximum capacity and are absolutely packed night after night. Large numbers of homeless people are often left to fend for themselves.
That is one reason why we have seen the rise of so many tent cities.
Yes, the tent cities are still there, they just aren't getting as much attention these days because they do not fit in with the "economic recovery" narrative that the mainstream media is currently pushing.
In fact, many of the tent cities are larger than ever. For example, you can check out a Reuters video about a growing tent city in New Jersey that was posted on YouTube at the end of March right here. A lot of these tent cities have now become permanent fixtures, and unfortunately they will probably become much larger when the next major economic crisis strikes.
But perhaps the saddest part of all of this is the massive number of children that are suffering night after night.
So if things are really "getting better", then why in the world do we have more than a million public school children without homes?
These days a lot of families that have lost their homes have ended up living in their vehicles. The following is an excerpt from a 60 Minutes interview with one family that is living in their truck...
This is the home of the Metzger family. Arielle,15. Her
brother Austin, 13. Their mother died when they were very young. Their dad,
Tom, is a carpenter. And, he's been looking for work ever since
Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?
Arielle Metzger: About five months.
Pelley: What's that like?
Arielle Metzger: It's an adventure.
Austin Metzger: That's how we see it.
Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell 'em?
Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won't tell anybody.
Arielle Metzger: Yeah it's not really that much an embarrassment. I mean, it's only life. You do what you need to do, right?
But after watching a news report or reading something on the Internet about these people we rapidly forget about them because they are not a part of "our world".
Another place where a lot of poor people end up is in
prison. In aprevious article,
I detailed how the prison population in the
And these days it is not just violent criminals that get thrown into prison. If you lose your job and get behind on your bills, you could be thrown into prison as well. The following is from a recent CBS News article...
Roughly a third of
Some states apply "poverty penalties," such as late
fees, payment plan fees and interest, when people are unable to pay all their
debts at once.
The high rates of unemployment and government fiscal shortfalls that followed the housing crash have increased the use of debtors' prisons, as states look for ways to replenish their coffers. Said Chettiar, "It's like drawing blood from a stone. States are trying to increase their revenue on the backs of the poor."
If you are poor, the
The middle class continues to shrink and poverty continues to grow with each passing year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty. And if you throw in those that are considered to be "near poverty", that number becomes much larger. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either "poor" or "low income".
For many more facts about the rapid increase of poverty in this country, please see my previous article entitled "21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know".
But even as poverty grows, it seems like the hearts of those that still do have money are getting colder. Just check out what happened recently at a grocery store that was in the process of closing down in Augusta, Georgia...
Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.
The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”
Can you imagine watching that happen?
But of course handouts and charity are only temporary solutions. What the poor in this country really need are jobs, and unfortunately there has not been a jobs recovery in the United States since the recession ended.
In fact, the employment crisis looks like it is starting to take another turn for the worse. The number of layoffs in the month of March was 30 percent higher than the same time a year ago.
Meanwhile, small businesses are indicating that hiring is about
to slow down significantly. According to a recent survey by the
National Federation of Independent Businesses, small businesses in the
Components of the survey were consistent with the decline in headline optimism, as the net percent of respondents planning to hire fell to 0% (from +4%), those expecting higher sales fell to -4% (from +1%), and those reporting that it is a good time to expand ticked down to +4% (from +5%). The net percent of respondents expecting the economy to improve was unchanged at -28%, a very depressed level. However, on the positive side, +25% of respondents plan increased capital spending [ZH: With Alcoa CapEx spending at a 2 year low]. Small business owners continue to place poor sales, taxes, and red tape at the top of their list of business problems, as they have for the past several years.
So why aren't our politicians doing anything to fix this?
For example, why in the world don't they stop millions of our jobs from being sent out of the country?
Well, the truth is that they don't think we have a
problem. In fact, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson recently
He apparently does not seem alarmed that more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have been shut down in the
And since the last election, the White House has seemed to have gone into permanent party mode.
On Tuesday, another extravagant party will be held at the White House. It is being called "In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul", and it is going to include some of the biggest names in the music industry...
As the White House has previously announced, Justin Timberlake (who will be making his White House debut), Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, and others will be performing at the exclusive event.
And so who will be paying for all of this?
You and I will be. Even as the Obamas cry about all of the other "spending cuts" that are happening, they continue to blow millions of taxpayer dollars on wildly extravagant parties and vacations.
I wonder what the tunnel people that live under the streets of
April 9th, 2013 | Tags: America, Economy Crumbles, Homeless,Homeless People, Homelessness, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Living Underground, New York City, Poverty, Recession, Tent Cities, The Economy, The Next Economic Crisis | Category: Economic Despair
PETER Dauvergne and Jane Lister. Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability. MIT, 2013. The Consequences for the planet when corporations use sustainability as a business too.
Vaclav Smil. Harvesting the Biosphere: What We Have Taken from Nature. MIT, 2013. Human claims on the biosphere’s stores of living matter, from prehistoric hunting to modern energy production.
Blinder. “After the Music Stopped”: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the
Work Ahead. Penguin, 2013. Rev. Public Citizen News (March/April
Les Leopold. “How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour.” Wiley, 2013. Public Citizen News (March/April 2013). Analyzes the dirty world of top hedge fund managers and helps us understand the economic inequality of our time. --Dick
Down the Up Escalator
Select a Format:
How the 99 Percent Live in the Great Recession
Written by Barbara Garson
Published by: Doubleday
Pages: 288 | ISBN: 978-0-385-53274-7
List Price: $12.99
Pages: 288 | ISBN: 978-0-385-53275-4
Published by : Doubleday
Buy this eBook from:
One of our most
incisive and committed journalists—author of the classic All the Livelong Day—shows
us the real human cost of our economic follies.
The Great Recession has thrown huge economic challenges at almost all Americans save the super-affluent few, and we are only now beginning to reckon up the human toll it is taking. Down the Up Escalator is an urgent dispatch from the front lines of our vast collective struggle to keep our heads above water and maybe even—someday—get ahead. Garson has interviewed an economically and geographically wide variety of Americans to show the painful waste in all this loss and insecurity, and describe how individuals are coping. Her broader historical focus, though, is on the causes and consequences of the long stagnation of wages and how it has resulted in an increasingly desperate reliance on credit and a series of ever-larger bubbles—stocks, technology, real estate. This is no way to run an economy, or a democracy.
From the members of the Pink Slip Club in New York, to a California home health-care aide on the eve of eviction, to a subprime mortgage broker who still thinks it could have worked, Down the Up Escalatorpresents a sobering picture of what happens to a society when it becomes economically organized to benefit only the very rich and the quick-buck speculators. But it also demonstrates the wit and resilience of ordinary Americans—and why they deserve so much better than the hand they. . . .
Contents of #7
Hedges, the Cash Nexus
NYT Review of Boomerang
Buchheit, Shameful Facts
Magdoff, Harmony Impossible
Book on Marx’s Capital
Contents #8 July 14, 2012
Robert Scheer, Crime of the Century: Libor
Alterman, Money Flows Secretly Against Health Reform
Stiglitz, Market System Failing
Frank, Billionaire (2 reviews)
Lehman, Moral Limits of Markets
Sandel, Why Some Things Should Not Be for
Hedges and Sacco, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt
Frontline Video: Wall Street Crisis
Barlett and Steele, Middle-Class Decline