Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Political Changes

Imperial Subjects,

Charles sent this analysis of modern global financial capitalism as another form of imperialism, destined to drain all of the people and resources of the planet for the short term gain and "accumulation" of the elites. The New Imperialist Structure
 The capitalist format raises short term gain to the apogee of the value system, and the whole structure can only serve that master. 
It closes with explanation of the need for environmentalists to reject the capitalist model, as must any group of people, seeking to be free of peonage. Goof old Marxist Analysis (I dozed off 3 times...)
...By placing the debate on the terrain cleared by Marx—the analysis of capitalism—we are able to advance in analyzing the challenges. Yes, there will still be scientific discoveries in the future on the basis of which technologies for controlling the riches of nature might be derived. But what can be asserted without fear of contradiction is that as long as the logic of capitalism forces society to exercise its choices on the basis of short-term profitability (which is implied by the valorization of capital), the technologies that will be implemented to exploit new scientific advances will be chosen only if they are profitable in the short term. Consequently, this implies that such technologies will carry an increasingly higher risk of being environmentally destructive. It is only when humanity has designed a way of managing society based on prioritizing use values instead of the exchange values associated with the valorization of capital that the conditions for a better management of the relations between humanity and nature will come together...
 Environmentalists’ choice to debate these questions in a flawed theoretical context traps them, not only in theoretical, but above all in political impasses. This choice allows the dominant forces of capital to manipulate all the political proposals that result from it. It is well known that alarmism allows the societies of the imperialist triad to preserve their privilege of exclusive access to the planet’s resources and prevent the peoples of the peripheries from being able to deal with the requirements of their development—whether for good or bad. It is ineffective to respond to “antialarmist” views by pointing to the (incontestable) fact that they are themselves mere fabrications of the lobbies (for example, the automobile lobby). The world of capital always operates in this way: the lobbies that defend particular interests of segments of capital endlessly confront one another and will continue to do so. Lobbies for energy-intensive choices now  oppose lobbies for “green” capitalism.  

​Ellen Brown revisits Michael Hudson's work on debt jubilee in the ancient world, which I posted Christmas 2017. 
​ We are again reaching the point in the business cycle known as “peak debt,” when debts have compounded to the point that their cumulative total cannot be paid. Student debt, credit card debt, auto loans, business debt and sovereign debt are all higher than they have ever been. As economist Michael Hudson writes in his provocative 2018 book, “…and forgive them their debts,” debts that can’t be paid won’t be paid. The question, he says, is how they won’t be paid.
 Mainstream economic models leave this problem to “the invisible hand of the market,” assuming trends will self-correct over time. But while the market may indeed correct, it does so at the expense of the debtors, who become progressively poorer as the rich become richer. Borrowers go bankrupt and banks foreclose on the collateral, dispossessing the debtors of their homes and their livelihoods. The houses are bought by the rich at distress prices and are rented back at inflated prices to the debtors, who are then forced into wage peonage to survive. When the banks themselves go bankrupt, the government bails them out. Thus the market corrects, but not without government intervention. That intervention just comes at the end of the cycle to rescue the creditors, whose ability to buy politicians gives them the upper hand.

That's not a bug, it's a feature...
MarketWatch recently published a piece about the soaring U.S. CEO-to-worker pay ratio, which hit 278-to-1 in 2018 (up from just 58-to-1 in 1989 and 20-to-1 in 1965) -​ ​Nice work if you can get it. research has found​ ​that it is a byproduct of central banking and fiat (i.e., "paper") currency rather than capitalism. To make a long story short, the Federal Reserve has excessively inflated the financial markets in its attempt to create an economic recovery from the Great Recession. This excessive asset price inflation has pushed U.S. household wealth far out of line with its historic relationship to the GDP, as the chart below shows.

​Charles Hugh Smith (aka "Charles") and I are not in the favored capitalist class...​ So what's "Plan-B"?
Labor Day Reflections on Retirement and Working for 49 Years
What happens when these monstrous speculative bubbles pop?
​ ​Let's start by stipulating that if I'd taken a gummit job right out of college, I could have retired 19 years ago. Instead, I've been self-employed for most of the 49 years I've been working, and I'm still grinding it out at 65.
​ ​By the standards of the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early), I've blown it. The basic idea of FIRE is to live frugally and save up a hefty nestegg to fund an early comfortable retirement. As near as I can make out, the nestegg should be around $2.6 million--or if inflation kicks in, maybe it'll be $26 million. Let's just say it's a lot.

​I am re-posting a couple of Bernie Sanders stories that I sent out February 2016, when he was becoming a major threat to President Hillary. 
He's still the Democratic candidate with the best chance of beating Trump. Everybody knows that, even the billionaires.​ 
I'm including more on the proposed political framework of Murray Bookchin , "Libertarian Municipalism".
How to look geeky when getting arrested in Chicago in 1963, for protesting segregation. Yeah, Bernard Sanders demonstrates. (Hey, is that Bill Buckley with the cigarette and detached look of superiority?)
Aug. 13, 1963: Bernie Sanders arrested

Murray Bookchin was an Eco-Anarchist, really the prototypical Eco-anarchist, by the time he moved to Burlington, Vermont in 1971 to work with his commune on the nuts and bolts of how humans can live and work and eat together with responsibility to nature, so as to live sustainably and in harmony, without dominating each other or nature.1971 was probably the peak of that sort of post-scarcity (also his term) type of adaptation. You know how things were by Reagan's second term, a lot damned different. 
Murray Bookchin (65 y/o @ the time) wrote this critique of a younger Mayor Bernard Sanders of Burlington in 1986, recalling the 1981 Sanders campaign which got him elected, and contrasting it with performance in office, which involved a lot of caving to wealthy people and their interests, and being accessible, still autocratic, though also fairly kind. 
He was not a Socialist. He had run on "Burlington Is Not For Sale", and was mainly reduced to getting a better price for it. 
Sanders is older now, and Bookchin died 10 years ago at 85. We are all at a different phase of our lives than ever before. We're moving into a world which is at least partly of our own making, and we have learned from experience.

Here is Murray Bookchin's Libertarian Municipalism in a nutshell, from Murray.
 Perhaps the greatest single failing of movements for social reconstruction — I refer particularly to the Left, to radical ecology groups, and to organizations that profess to speak for the oppressed — is their lack of a politics that will carry people beyond the limits established by the status quo.  

I Feel Sorry For President Trump​ , ​Paul Craig Roberts
​ ​Yes, I know.  I am lining up on the wrong side.  You are supposed to hate him. The presstitutes hate Trump.  So does the Democratic Party, part of the Republican Party, the military/security complex, the entirety of the liberal/progressive/left, the universities, feminists, and Washington’s vassal states.  No one likes him but the “racist, white supremacist Trump deplorables.”
​ ​Nevertheless, I feel sorry for him.  I started feeling sorry for him when he announced he would run for President of the United States.  You see, I had inside information. I had held a presidential appointment from a President of the United States.  I ended up fighting battles for him against entrenched interests who opposed his policies to end stagflation and the cold war.  I helped to win the battles for him, as his accolades to me testify, but my success ended any career for me in government.

​Al Jazeera on the Battle of Brexit drama. Sorry, I can't find anything very good. Nobody knows. Boris Johnson looked quite calm in video I saw.
​ "The only explanation is that Johnson's chief aide Dominic Cummings is pursuing the 'tear it all down' strategy," speculated Lucas. "That is, 'I'm going to tear down this entire party and rebuild it, shifting it into this very hardline territory, so even if no-deal is blocked, we now have this new hard-right party.'"
 As the result became more likely, Steve Baker, the leader of the hardline "no-deal," Europe Research Group faction of the Conservative party, called for an electoral alliance with Nigel Farage's Brexit Party in order to boost the Tories' chances of electoral success.
 "This is a vision of the future where you could see Farage in the cabinet," said Lucas.  

​One of the stories below is real and one is humor. Which is which?​

The Pentagon has declared war on memes as DARPA launches a new program to fight “polarizing viral content” before it spreads.
​ ​The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking to create software with the capability to “automatically detect, attribute, and characterize falsified multi-modal media to defend against large-scale, automated disinformation attacks.”
​ ​The software will scan news stories, photos and videos to identify “polarizing viral content” and stop its spread to eliminate “malicious intent” entirely.
​ ​Titled Semantic Forensics, the program will run content through a myriad of algorithms to identify inconsistencies and identify a story or a meme as inauthentic or fake. The system will also pinpoint the origin of the meme, the intent behind it and predict the impact of its spread.
​ (​Given that the program doesn’t take into account the fact that so-called “trusted sources” in the mainstream media have been responsible for some of the biggest fake news stories in modern history, such as Trump-Russia election collusion, the software will only succeed in eliminating dissident narratives.​)​  

HONOLULU, Hawaii — Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) was surprised with deployment orders to Antarctica earlier today, her presidential campaign confirmed.
​ ​The Democratic presidential candidate has been a unique critical voice against American military imperialism, drawing national attention to the issue during the first two rounds of Democratic primary debates, much to the chagrin of foreign policy hawks on both sides of the political aisle...
​ ​Gabbard will be deploying to Antarctica within the week, and is expected to return next summer, shortly after the Democratic National Convention has concluded.  

​Frozen Out​