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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Just Different Marketing

Bag Holders,

The western financial regime has entered a period of resetting, which is being negotiated through acts of political speech, such as recent protests and recent insertion of paid instigators, agents provocateur to make the protests against police brutality look bad, and justify martial law. 
This is in the interests of the sitting financial elites, of course. 
The biggest threat to elite control is when police forces take-a-knee in solidarity with peaceful demonstrators
Elites need to keep the enforcers on their side. 
Regimes change when enforcers and middle managers change sides.

Michael Hudson has the clarifying view. 
Financial/power elites intend for all losses to be born by workers and especially retirees. 
Loot the retirement plans to pay the bondholders!
Power elites will double down, and their threat is utter chaos; economic destruction at street level, if they don't get everything that's "theirs". 
All of the trillions of dollars recently created bolster their claims to "what is theirs", diluting and eventually abolishing all other claims to groceries, apartments and electricity. 
They hold a very strong hand in this game. Very strong hand.
Hudson:
...Now, when it’s putting this money into the stock market, it’s buying stocks that are already issued and have long since —the proceeds have been spent on building factories or enterprises or as means of making money. So none of this bailout money, none of this 10 trillion going into the stock market has any effect at all on the real economy of production and consumption. It’s solely to support the assets that are held almost eighty five percent by the wealthiest 10 percent of the economy....  
...Almost all the financial markets these days are manipulated by high finance in cahoots with the Central Bank. And if you don’t have that central bank backing, then there’s not going to be the flow of funds going into the markets....
...Obviously, the stock market isn’t the economy. The real fiction and what the Federal Reserve, Powell was saying, was that somehow a recovery in the stock market means a recovery in the economy. And all it means is that the wealthy investors are bailing out of the market and moving into their gated communities and, essentially, they’re pulling out. The whole stock buyback program of the last 10 years has been disin​v​esting. All of the insiders and the big investors know that the game is over. That’s why there’s so much talk of moving to New Zealand. But the Coronavirus has, all of a sudden, provided a wonderful opportunity for the 10 percent. It’s enabled them to have an excuse for a huge bailout and an excuse to essentially make, enable them to get out of stocks, get out of bonds and avoid the crisis that’s coming, lea​vi​ng the Federal Reserve and the suckers, as they would say, holding the bag when the economy collapses.Obviously, there’s going to be a collapse, and there was going to be a collapse even before the Coronavirus...
...You’re going to have, basically, the financial centers buying up real estate and turning the economy into a landlord ridden economy, rather than an economy that is of home ownership, which is what made America’s middle class wealthy by giving it most of the net worth that it had...
...Wall Street was way ahead of you there. They knew that there would be pressure for just what you’re suggesting. The reasonable thing, if you really want to restore prosperity, is to develop an infrastructure for public spending programs, public transportation, to rebuild the roads and transports that have fallen apart, the parks. ​  Look at how big the deficit is. And this is exactly what Mitch McConnell said to the states. He said the states have a tax shortfall. Well, let them take the money that’s in their pension funds. Let them lose the pension funds. Let them not pay any of the public sector workers that have agreed to get pensions in exchange for decade after decade of slow wage growth, saying, “Yes, we’d rather have a pension than a slow wage growth.
​  ​Now that that you tricked them into taking a long term promise, do what Donald Trump does, break the promise, break the deal and say, „I’m sorry, you’re not going to get anything. We’re broke. And we gave all the money to the 10 percent. And if you don’t like it, vote for the other party.“ When you have the same donor class behind each party. So basically, there’s not going to be any money to spend into the real economy. It’s all been spent on the financial sector.​..
... But the Democrats agreed with the Republicans to basically throw the workers under the bus, throw the retirees under the bus, throw the pensioners under the bus and focus on their donor class, the financial sector, the bondholders and the stockholders.​..​  
... A lot of banks—-it’s very much like when the Greek bonds were collapsing and Greece was going to default five years ago under Syriza. Obama and Tim Geithner went to Europe and told the European banks. „Well, you know, we know that the biggest bondholders are the German and the French banks, but they’re not going to lose a penny because they bought credit default insurance from the American banks. And the American banks and especially Citibank, are going to go under. And if they go under, we are going to retaliate against you in Europe, and we’re going to drive you under.“ So the threats they made them was, they forced Europe to essentially tear Greece apart and impose a chronic depression on it. Well, right now, you have the same thing... 
..The banks, basically the financial model of getting rich, purely financial engineering instead of industrial engineering hasn’t worked. The idea that the economy can grow and give all of the growth in GDP since 2008 only to the top five percent of the population. For 95 percent of the population the economy is already shrinking. Well if it’s already shrinking for 12 years, imagine the plunge that it’s going to take now. There is no way that an economy can grow when you’re doing to the American population what Europe and US diplomacy, did to Greece...
...Well, China can recover for two reasons. Number one, most debts ultimately are owned to the public, to the government. The government runs the banks. They’re not upright, private banks, except to decide what to do. The banks are owned by the governments or the government. When a corporation in China is unable to pay the debt, the government doesn’t say, „OK, we’re going to have to close you down and sell you to the cheapest bidder and let some American buy you out at a distressed price.
​  ​The government will simply say,“ We’re going to write down the debt that we’ve given you so that we want to keep you in business. And we want to keep your employees in business so others not see the debt problem in China because the debts are forgiven when they can’t pay...
...  And there is no way that the United States here can replicate Chinese industry without spending on rebuilding a generation of rebuilding, without higher living standards, without essentially any kind of political acquiescence by the people. So the America’s disinvested physically in its factories and in the industry and also financially by the stock buybacks that have left companies up without the cash.
​  ​ So American industry is all debt ridden and pyramided. And China’s isn’t because the government can always write down the debt and keep its industry going. So you essentially have a conflict between a productive financial system in China, very much like the Germans before World War One and an unproductive, predatory financial system in the United States. That’s added the cost and overhead and enormous wealth for one percent of the population by impoverishing the 99 percent and preventing its living standards from rising. And by forcing labor to survive only by going deeper and deeper into debt, leading ultimately to a grand default.  
​  ​It is disturbing to hear people who should know better describe the George Floyd riots as anarchism. The riots are not anarchistic, they are nihilistic. The people engaged in looting, arson, and widespread assault have zero comprehension of political philosophy.
​  ​There are, of course, a whole lot of people demonstrating who are not involved in crime and violence. However, these are the dupes, the idealists routinely exploited by the state and its propaganda media.
​  ​Rampaging “anarchists”—many undoubtedly agent provocateurs—are not interested in justice, fairness, nonviolence, and peaceful dialogue. They are providing a pretext to usher in a fascist police state.
​  ​The George Floyd riots are problem-reaction-solution exemplified. After Ronald Reagan initiated his “zero tolerance” drug war, the Pentagon began the process of converting local police departments into “thin blue line” paramilitary gangs paid for by know-nothing taxpayers.
​  ​Black-clad militarized American cops—many veterans of the illegal wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—view citizens as the enemy. This is drilled into them at the academy and every day on the job. It is a gang mentality.


Where did policing go wrong?​  ​ Matt Taibbi  
​(He does not mention all that US police-training by Israel, where they practice every day on Palestinian families.)​
Crime has been down for decades, but incarceration is still sky-high and brutality cases keep tearing the country apart. Does policing in America need a fundamental re-think?
​  ​The early American police forces evolved out of slave patrols in the South, and “progressed” to enforce the Black Codes from the Civil War period and beyond, on to Jim Crow through the late sixties if not longer...
 This idea of high-engagement policing was born in the mind of a Midwestern academic/corrections official named George Kelling. Kelling conducted a number of studies for think tanks like the Police Foundation and eventually co-authored a hugely influential 1982 article in the Atlantic called Broken Windows.
​  ​Kelling in his research found that while people may not actually be safer, they feel safer when there is less visible “disorder” in their neighborhoods, e.g. panhandling, litter, graffiti, etc. Also, research suggested such disorder was incentive to further disorder: as Stanford researcher Philip Zimbardo put it, “If a window in a building is broken and left unrepaired, all of the rest of the windows will soon be broken.”
​  ​“Broken Windows” revolutionized policing, changing it from a business of fighting crime to doing what Kelling described as “order maintenance.” If earlier police theorists like Orlando “O.W.” Wilson hoped to defeat crime by putting officers in squad cars and giving them advanced tools to react more quickly to offenses, the new strategy stressed stopping crime before it got started, by building and maintaining something not defined in law books – “order.”

​Pepe Escobar: ​  Our Grim Future: Restored Neoliberalism or Hybrid Neofascism?  (Spiritual awakening, anybody?)
​  ​Western ruling elites will be deploying myriad tactics to perpetuate the passivity of populations barely emerging from de facto house arrest, including a massive disciplinary – in a Foucault sense – drive by states and business/finance circles​..​.. The bottom line: we may be facing a mere cosmetic approach, in which the deep structural crisis of zombie capitalism – barely moving under unpopular “reforms” and infinite debt – still is not addressed.
​  ​Meanwhile, what is going to happen to assorted fascisms? Eric Hobsbawm showed us in Age of Extremes how the key to the fascist right was always mass mobilization: “Fascists were the revolutionaries of the counter-revolution”.​.
..And that brings us to the direct link between the Anthropocene and what has been conceptualized by French economist Benjamin Coriat as the Capitalocene.
​  ​Capitalocene means that our current state of appalling planetary degradation should not be linked to an undefined “humanity” but “to a very defined humanity organized by a predatory economic system.”
​  ​The state of the planet under the Anthropocene must be imperatively linked to the hegemonic economic system of the past two centuries: the way we developed our system of production and legitimized indiscriminate predatory practices.​..
​..Covid-19 laid bare the necessity of the commons and the incapacity of neoliberalism to address​ ​it.
But how to build eco-socialism?​...
​...How to change the WTO’s free market rules, according to which buying palm oil and transgenic soya contributes to the de facto deforestation of large tracts of Africa, Asia and South America? This is a state of affairs that allows wealthy nations to actually buy the destruction of ecosystems.​..
​...And even as a triple catastrophe – sanitary, social and climatic – is now unequivocal, the ruling matrix – starring the Masters of the Universe managing the financial casino – won’t stop resisting any drive towards change.​..​
​...​Financial capitalism is an expert in adapting to  – and profiting from – the serial crises it provokes or unleashes.​..
​...So this is our choice: it’s either Neoliberal Restoration or a revolutionary rupture. And nothing in between. It takes someone of Marx’s caliber to build a full-fledged, 21st century eco-socialist ideology, and capable of long-term, sustained mobilization. Aux armes, citoyens.
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/05/29/our-grim-future-restored-neoliberalism-or-hybrid-neofascism/  


 Poll Finds Clear Majority of Americans Want Military to Help Police Deal With Riots​  (58% on 6/2/20)

​James Kunstler: That Change You Requested…?
​  Change? We’re getting it good and hard, and not at a rate we were prepared for. It’s hugely disorienting. It produces friction, heat, and light, which easily becomes violence. There’s, for sure, plenty we can do to make new arrangements for American life without becoming communists or Nazis, but a lot of activities have to fail before we see how that could work. The overburden of obsolete complexity is crushing us, like Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck. They were both, in their way, common men, caught in the maelstrom of metaphor. That proverbial long, hot summer we’ve heard about for so long…? It’s here.
https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/that-change-you-requested/

Charles Hugh Smith, Truth Is What We Hide, Cover Stories Are What We Sell
The fact that self-serving cover stories are now the norm is making it difficult to love our servitude with the slavish devotion demanded of us.
​  ​The need to suppress the truth and competing narratives arose with the emergence of urban elites whose power and wealth were threatened by any exposure of the self-serving nature of their rule.​..​
​  ​With the decay of the social contract and the emergence of monopolistic search and social media platforms, the suppression of competing narratives has accelerated as ruling elites tighten their grip in response to the unraveling of the social order.


​John Pilger revisits a critical day in Australian history, the day Australia lost the independent voice it had just found.
​ On Nov. 11, 1975 – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australiahe was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister.
  The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.

Italy is on the verge of a political reset, or maybe it is underway, as coronavirus retreats from the sun and warmth.
​  ​Hundreds of Italian demonstrators gathered in Rome's Piazza del Popolo on Tuesday, ditching their masks in a protest against the Italian government's lockdown restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.​..
​ ​ Elsewhere in Rome, opposition leaders, including League Party chief Matteo Salvini, marched on Tuesday to demand that the government resign.
https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/enraged-italians-abandon-masks-denounce-pandemic-scam  


More Pepe Escobar: Beijing Sees Trump’s Hand and Won’t Fold
...Domestically, the absolute focus – 70% of the available new funding – will be on employment, support for small and medium enterprises and measures to encourage consumption rather than investment in infrastructure building​..​..Confirming steady rumors emanating from Frankfurt, Berlin, Brussels and Paris, China and East Asia are taking precedence as the EU’s top trading partner. This is something that will be extensively discussed at the upcoming EU-China summit next autumn in Germany. The EU is going Eurasia. Team Trump won’t be amused.​..
... Xi, Li and the Politburo very well know that Covid-19 hugely affected migrants, farmers and small-scale family entrepreneurs. The risk of social unrest is very high. Unemployment protection is far from Scandinavian levels. So back to business, fast, has to be the top priority...
...Whatever Team Trump thinks, Beijing has no interest whatsoever in disturbing the Hong Kong financial system or collapsing the Hang Seng index. That’s exactly what the black block protesters last year were accomplishing.​..​
​..​The sources of financing for the hardcore black blocks have reputedly been cut. The local 5th columnist “leaders” have been isolated. Beijing was being very patient tackling the whole mess. Then along came Covid-19.
​  ​The economic consensus in Beijing is that this will be an L-shaped recovery – actually very slow on the bottom of the L. So the West will buy much less from and invest much less in China.
​  ​This implies that Hong Kong is not going to be very useful.​..

...​whatever Beijing does, the Sinophobic hysteria in the US – and in this case also the UK – is unabated. So now is the right moment to go for the national security law, which of course is against subversion, against British-era “wigs” (judges) acting as 5th columnists and, most of all, against money laundering.
​  ​A Global Times editorial cut to the chase: the national security law is the “death knell” for US intervention in Hong Kong.​..
...the fact is the Trump administration’s hybrid war on China – or Cold War 2.0 – is now fully established.
​  ​US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is openly threatening Five Eyes allies and vassals, as well as Israel, with consequences if they fail to ditch any projects linked to Belt and Road.​..

...Once again, the gloves are off. And Beijing won’t stop counterpunching in kind.
​  ​It’s as if Beijing had so far serially underestimated the Deep State and Beltway’s larger than life obsession with always remaining the undisputed hegemon, geopolitically and geo-economically. Every “conflict” erupting across the chessboard is and will continue to be directly linked to the twin objectives of containment of Russia and disruption of the Belt and Road.

​Acting Independently Now
(Jenny pictured a few days ago in Yoakum vegetable garden)


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