Posts Tagged ‘Economy’
Put Those Police Cameras on Bankers
These demonstrations, largely by young and remarkably multi-racial crowds, are not the first. They were preceded by Occupy Wall Street, indicting the 1 percent and spreading to hundreds of cities. They were foreshadowed by the dreamers, children demanding the right to come out of the shadows of the undocumented.
They were accompanied by record numbers of workers in low wage jobs at fast food restaurants and the Dollar Stores walking off their jobs in some 190 cities.
They were complemented by women demanding gender equality, particularly at the workplace where discrimination and sexism are still rife.
The streams of alienation and disparities are converging into a river. Injustices in this new age are not only inflammable, they are increasingly inflamed.
The official reaction to police immunity for the killing of unarmed black boys and men Ferguson and Staten Island and Cleveland and Brooklyn has focused, not surprisingly, on the police. The president has created a Task Force on 21st Century Policy, with instructions to report in 90 days. He’s committed millions to put cameras on police.
But he might be better advised to put cameras on bankers. Reckless, unaccountable and murderous police behavior must end, but the police are simply the gatekeepers assigned to keep order.
Behind the gate is the American policy of isolating poor people of color in ghettos, ghettos deprived of jobs, of capital, of decent health care, of affordable housing, of good schools.
Police are assigned to patrol these zones of despair, part of the only thriving industry in these neighborhoods — the jail-industrial complex of more police, police stations, courthouses, bondsmen, jailors, judges, lawyers and prosecutors, court recorders and guards and much more. In this pressure cooker, all of us are vulnerable — none of us are safe until all of us are safe.
In the Civil Rights Movement, the Bull Connors were the violent enforcers. But they were not the issue: The issue was legal segregation that deprived African Americans of their rights and locked them into second-class citizenship.
Today, the police killing of unarmed Blacks is unacceptable and reaching crisis proportions. But the issue is a national policy that abandons poor people of color in their ghettos. If we put cameras on the police, we may get better policing and less injustice (although Eric Garner’s killing was on camera). But what we need is an urban development policy that attacks segregation by race, rebuilds poor neighborhoods, invests in the health and education of poor infants and children, erects affordable housing, offers training for and transport to jobs that exist.
The demonstrations are about justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner and others that can be and will be added to the list. But they aren’t just about those killings. They are about a national ghetto policy, a national worker impoverishment policy, a national inequality policy.
The slogan “No justice, no peace,” reverberates throughout the country. And the demonstrations are growing and spreading. Different streams of protest are coming together. Occupy Wall Street exposed the 1 percent. The strikes of low wage workers expose the global corporations. The “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” demonstrations expose the harsh injustices of the jail-industrial complex.
Dr. Martin Luther King taught us: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politics, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” Today, across America, more and more Americans are standing up for what is right.
Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.
“An estimated $3 million worth of marijuana was seized in a raid on U.S. Forest Service land outside Willow Creek on Thursday. … ”
What does CAMP do with THREE MILLION DOLLARS of pot? They burn it, that’s what!
Let’s see, $3,000,000 divided by 10,000 plants comes to $300 a plant. The question we should all be asking is, how much taxpayer money did each one of those plants actually cost to erradicate and burn?
When there is NO money to pay for school busses for our children and grandchildren, or money for the elderly, the two parts of our society that needs help them most, the State of CA has millions to spend on something as frivolous as harvesting POT. For some reason the Sheriff’s Department deemed it important to make the distinction that the pot wasn’t grown by local small-time farmers. They say, “written material and personal belongings found at the site indicated that an organized drug trafficking organization was behind the grow.” That’s really BAD! Drug traffickers in Humboldt County justifies the cost . . .
If all CAMP and all their allies are doing is going after the “organized drug traffickers,” who benefits? Must be the local boys and girls. Good way to drive up the value. Hey, we got THREE MILLION DOLLARS worth of worthless pot. Who benefits from this make-work program?
What I really like is how John Driscoll for the Times-Standard just rolls out the various spokesperson’s dribble as if it was the god’s-gospel truth. Then when these same “people” are asked to explain, the conveniently hide behind some “BS” excuse like “inquiries from the media” need “to be cleared through the agency’s Washington, D.C. office.” Then follow-up by saying their enquiries were not returned by deadline.”
Thus the newspaper rubberstamps what the government agencies want people to know and ends further reporting.
When more money is needed for schools and other essential programs why would the City of Arcata interfere in a developing tax base? The other front page article on Saturday’s Times-Standard, “Danco considers bypassing Arcata council for Creekside Homes annexation” offers up this choice bit of nonsense. This says it all: “I (Councilman Shane Brinton) certainly understand their perspective and I know it can be frustrating to jump though the hoopsthat government sets up, but those hoops are there for a reason.” Jump through the hoops? Government? Mayor Mark Wheetley and Councilman Shane Brinton take a lot upon themselves when they say it is “the government” that’s putting up the hoops. Who are the people that won’t address the request? Why my goodness:
Mayor Mark Wheetley and Councilman Shane Brinton said they didn’t see the need to meet on the issue again.
”I thought our message was pretty clear,” Wheetley said. “We said that there were just too many other issues in the mix.”
He added that the council wanted to utilize staff time and resources for other projects that were at hand.
These are just some of the reasons the Joe Blow Report tries to stay out of these kinds of political mix, mash messes. It’s rather hard to do when your children and grandchildren are expected to travers Eureka on foot this year just go to school when they had bus transportation last year. When it comes to the people and what benefits them the most, “government” takes care of their own first. Remember, the police work for, protect and serve the “government,” not the people.
When you read this from Ron Paul ask yourself why would local businessmen and women in Humboldt County NOT want the marijuana laws repealed. Here’s a link to Ernie Branscomb’s blog for a good example. He also posted this tongue-in-cheek back Saturday, August 9, 2008: And you thought Marijuana was harmless…
We have recently heard many shocking stories of brutal killings and ruthless violence related to drug cartels warring with Mexican and US officials. It is approaching the fever pitch of a full blown crisis. Unfortunately, the administration is not likely to waste this opportunity to further expand government. Hopefully, we can take a deep breath and look at history for the optimal way to deal with this dangerous situation, which is not unprecedented.
Alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s brought similar violence, gangs, lawlessness, corruption and brutality. The reason for the violence was not that making and selling alcohol was inherently dangerous. The violence came about because of the creation of a brutal black market which also drove profits through the roof. These profits enabled criminals like Al Capone to become incredibly wealthy, and militantly defensive of that wealth. Al Capone saw the repeal of Prohibition as a great threat, and indeed smuggling operations and gangland violence fell apart after repeal. Today, picking up a bottle of wine for dinner is a relatively benign transaction, and beer trucks travel openly and peacefully along their distribution routes.
Similarly today, the best way to fight violent drug cartels would be to pull the rug out from under their profits by bringing these transactions out into the sunlight. People who, unwisely, buy drugs would hardly opt for the back alley criminal dealer as a source, if a coffeehouse-style dispensary was an option. Moreover, a law-abiding dispensary is likely to check ID’s and refuse sale to minors, as bars and ABC stores tend to do very diligently. Think of all the time and resources law enforcement could save if they could instead focus on violent crimes, instead of this impossible nanny-state mandate of saving people from themselves!
If these reasons don’t convince the drug warriors, I would urge them to go back to the Constitution and consider where there is any authority to prohibit private personal choices like this. All of our freedoms – the freedom of religion and assembly, the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unnecessary government searches and seizures – stem from the precept that you own yourself and are responsible for your own choices. Prohibition laws negate self-ownership and are an absolute affront to the principles of freedom. I disagree vehemently with the recreational use of drugs, but at the same time, if people are only free to make good decisions, they are not truly free. In any case, states should decide for themselves how to handle these issues and the federal government should respect their choices.
My great concern is that instead of dealing deliberatively with the actual problems, Congress will be pressed again to act quickly without much thought or debate. I can’t think of a single problem we haven’t made worse that way. The panic generated by the looming crisis in Mexico should not be redirected into curtailing more rights, especially our second amendment rights, as seems to be in the works. Certainly, more gun laws in response to this violence will only serve to disarm lawful citizens. This is something to watch out for and stand up against. We have escalated the drug war enough to see it only escalates the violence and profits associated with drugs. It is time to try freedom instead.
So what’s wrong with trying Ron Paul’s version of freedom?
Joe had to smile to himself when he read this:
Think of all the time and resources law enforcement could save if they could instead focus on violent crimes, instead of this impossible nanny-state mandate of saving people from themselves!
Sounds like something Joe stood for the last 50 years. Maybe it’s time to throw off the “mandate.” Be responsible and demand accountability while you still can.
But then, no one would make any money off your slavery, would they?
The virtues of public anger and the need for more
Joe says, “These gutless, effeminate politicians can’t withstand honest anger when it comes from realizing you’ve been betrayed by the very one’s entrusted with defending and protecting you, your family and your country from the plundering elite. It’s about time!”
With lightning speed and lockstep unanimity, opinion-making elites jointly embraced and are now delivering the same message about the public rage triggered this week by the AIG bonus scandal: This scandal is insignificant. It’s just a distraction. And, most important of all, public anger is unhelpful and must be containedor, failing that, ignored.
This anti-anger consensus among our political elites is exactly wrong. The public rage we’re finally seeing is long, long overdue, and appears to be the only force with both the ability and will to impose meaningful checks on continued kleptocratic pillaging and deep-seated corruption in virtually every branch of our establishment institutions. The worst possible thing that could happen now is for this collective rage to subside and for the public to return to its long-standing state of blissful ignorance over what the establishment is actually doing.
It makes perfect sense that those who are satisfied with the prevailing order — because it rewards them in numerous ways — are desperate to pacify public fury. Thus we find unanimous decrees that public calm (i.e., quiet) be restored. It’s a universal dynamic that elites want to keep the masses in a state of silent, disengaged submission, all the better if the masses stay convinced that the elites have their best interests at heart and their welfare is therefore advanced by allowing elites — the Experts — to work in peace on our pressing problems, undisrupted and “undistracted” by the need to placate primitive public sentiments.
While that framework is arguably reasonable where the establishment class is competent, honest, and restrained, what we have had — and have — is exactly the opposite: a political class and financial elite that is rotted to the core and running amok. We’ve had far too little public rage given the magnitude of this rot, not an excess of rage. What has been missing more than anything else is this: fear on the part of the political and financial class of the public which they have been systematically defrauding and destroying. Read the rest of this entry »
I just found out that my home, conservatively speaking, depreciated 16.4 percent and the Republican’s are responsible. That’s a lot of money flat gone in one year!
Not only that but the dirty b******’s are fighting the stimulus package that’s preconditioned on more political smoke-blowing double-talk rather than enforce the law. Talk about a pack of mongrel dogs!
Report: $9.7 Trillion Government Tab in Financial Crisis
Bloomberg News estimates the economic stimulus package would raise the government tab in addressing the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion. In addition to the Wall Street bailout and the current stimulus plan, the US government is believed to have lent or spent more than $8 trillion through the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The $9.7 trillion figure would nearly be enough to pay off every mortgage in the nation.
This is what we can look forward to according to this economist and professor of public affairs at the University of Texas:
JAMES GALBRAITH: The stimulus package is a very good bill, and it should pass. It will not, by itself, deal with the economic crisis that we’re in. I think we should be very clear about that. Expectations for an early turnaround should not be—you know, should not be very high. A clear—a major problem that we face is that the stimulus package is sized so that it will work only if the revival of credit, which is part of the plan that the Treasury is announcing today, also works. And the problem is that that plan is still, I think, not well designed and is not likely to succeed. I think it actually, in many ways, misconceives the nature of the credit problem that we have, and therefore is very unlikely to succeed at bringing about an early revival of credit markets, of housing markets, of consumer credit markets, automobile loans, and the rest. Now, we could talk about that, but I think it’s very important to understand that this spending package is really geared to the success of this other piece, and this other piece is much more problematic than the spending package is.
What should happen today, BUT probably won’t:
JAMES GALBRAITH: Well, the crucial question is, on what terms does the Treasury plan to guarantee or to repurchase or to otherwise deal with the bad assets that the banks have? These assets are mortgage-backed securities. They are securities derived from subprime loans that were made in an atmosphere of regulatory laxness and complicity and fraud, basically, during the Bush administration, which came to take over the system of housing finance and to infect it with assets which nobody trusts, which nobody can value. And nobody really knows what’s in the files, what’s on the loan tapes of those—that underlie those securities. So the question that I think we need to ask is, before we issue a public guarantee, does the Treasury of the United States plan to conduct a meticulous audit of the assets that underlie the securities that they’re expecting to take off the banks’ books, so that we, the taxpayer, can have an idea of what, if anything, these securities are worth?
And the problem is that when you—the little bit of checking that has been done appears to reveal that a very large fraction of these securities contain, on the face of it, misrepresentation or fraud in the files. And so, we are looking at an asset which nobody, no outside investor doing due diligence on behalf of a client for whom they have some responsibility, would touch. And that is the issue. That’s the problem.
If that is indeed the case, then I think it’s fair to conclude that the large banks, which the Treasury is trying very hard to protect, cannot in fact be protected, that they are in fact insolvent, and that the proper approach for dealing with them is for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to move in and take the steps that the FDIC normally takes when dealing with insolvent banks.
And the sooner that you get to that and the sooner that you take these steps, which every administration, including the Bush administration, actually took in certain cases—replacing the management, making the risk capital take the first loss, reorganizing the institution, guaranteeing the deposits so that there isn’t a run, reopening the bank under new management so that it can begin to function again as it should have all along as a normal bank—the sooner you get to that, the more quickly you’ll work through the crisis.
The more you delay and the more you try to essentially prop up an institution whose books have already been poisoned, in effect, by this—the practices of the past few years, the longer it will take before the credit markets begin to function again. And as I said before, the functioning of the credit markets is absolutely essential to the success of the larger package, of the stimulus package and everything else, in beginning to revive the economy.
Maybe I can’t do anything about President Obama’s gutless inability to hold George Bush, his people, and the banks accountable for their crimes, but I certainly can those that I know were responsible for installing and supporting that rogue regime for the past decade. I can show them how the Second Commandment works.
New Class of Ruling Elite To Hate
Not much hope in this “no-plan”:
MICHAEL HUDSON: (Obama recover plan is no good.) Because it’s not leading to recovery at all. It’s now up to $12 trillion. It’s a giveaway to the banks, to the creditors, without a single penny for actual debt reduction. And I had thought that at least half a percentage point, $50 billion, was going to be to write down troubled mortgage debtors, but it turns out that not a penny of mortgage debt is going to be written down. When the banks have lent more money than a mortgage owes, with 38 percent, the government is going to create its own debt to come in and make up the difference, so the debt is going to continue to grow exponentially, and it’s way beyond the ability of the economy to pay. If people have to pay the amount of debt that they have now, there won’t be any money to buy goods and services, companies will not sell as much, they’ll invest less, they’ll hire less, and they’ll continue to downsize.
And what’s happened is that this is the greatest transfer of wealth really in American history. It’s doubled the American debt. The closest parallel I can think of is William the Conqueror’s conquest of England. He came with a military band, conquered the land and imposed taxes over the whole land, basing it all on the Domesday Book, what—the rent could be squeezed out. In this case, the rip-off has been non-military. The bankers have done insider dealing to get the government to give them or guarantee them $12 trillion of bad loans they’ve made, many of them fraudulent.
And then they’re trying to blame the poor for all this, as if the poor are somehow exploiting the rich by taking out more loans than they can pay. Yesterday, Senator McCain said—he warned that all of this debt was going to be paid by the future generation, and we’re exploiting them. But that’s not how to think of it at all. When you have a debt that goes to a future generation, you have taxpayers paying to bondholders, just like in the nineteenth century you had the western states paying to the eastern states. So what you’ve done is given $12 trillion to the richest one percent—or ten percent of the population, and you’ve indebted the economy and the government to them for the next hundred years. You’ve created a new class of ruling families. –Updated February 13, 2009
Back when I first entered the business world, nearly 45 years ago Joe Blow was full of “white” hope and a storehouse of expectations. My father, a “Gypo” logger in those days, bought property, built a modern home, raised his family, had a good reputation within the community, and was moderately properous. When he offered me the opportunity to become his equal partner I jumped at the chance. Some of my goals for the business were to make family and social (community and enviornment) interests as a priority objective. Financially, the goal was to operate from a sound base, never needing to operate or make payments or living from one paycheck to the next. It was obvious to me that the old ways were failing and a fundamentally new approach was required if we were to survive long term. My Father, however, had bought into this idea of “phantom money” as sound wealth. The rest of the story, of course, is history. 50 or more years of dark age thinking based upon the deceptive lies of medieval beliefs has taken America and the World to the point of no return.
Mr. Korton, however, still seems to think that there is a chance for America. Even though he plainly says its very “clear that we have a failed economic system”. Hand in hand with that reality also proven during the past 50 years is that we also have a failed political system. Both systems are an illusion. Hope in hope. Faith in faith. Belief in hope. Belief in faith. Belief in opinion. All are as illusory as smoke. They are the object of themselves, without substance or any basis. Nothing more than superstitious beliefs in the Hoper. It’s obvious Mr. Obama, even at this early stage, do not have the pedigree necessary to fix the failed systems even if he wanted to do so.
Real hope is defined by men like Mr. David Korten. Read what he has to say and why then compare that to Mr. Barack Obama, what he said and what he is currently doing and you just might come to understand the difference.
We encourage you to consider what David Korten offers as a better way, a way we could start or improve on right here in Humboldt County.
David Korten, co-founder of Positive Futures Network and publisher of the magazine YES!. He is also a former professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business and the author of several books, including When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. His newest book is just out, called Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth. In it, David Korten argues the nation faces a monumental economic challenge that goes far beyond anything being discussed in Congress. He writes that now is an opportune moment to move forward an agenda to replace the failed money-serving institutions of our present economy with the institutions of a new economy dedicated to serving life.
DAVID KORTEN: Well, it really starts with being clear that we have a failed economic system. And we’ve seen very dramatically the consequences of the financial failure. But what we’re not talking about is the connection to the environmental failure, the destruction of earth’s living systems, and the social failure of an economic system that by its very design, particularly as manifest on Wall Street, is designed to increase inequality. You know, having worked in international development for many years, I’m very familiar with the argument that the way to deal with poverty is, through economic growth, to bring up the bottom. But, of course, what we see—and we’ve seen this for decades—is that, in fact, economic growth tends to raise the top and depress the bottom.
Now, part of it’s coming to terms with the fact that we live on a finite planet. We’ve got finite resources. And the question is, what are our economic priorities? How do we allocate those resources? And it requires a fundamentally different approach to the economy: evaluating economic performance by the things that we really want, in terms of human and natural well-being, rather than a system that is purely designed to increase financial returns to the already very wealthy.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Your book’s subtitle, From a Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth—what is phantom wealth?
DAVID KORTEN: Yeah. This is part of understanding the current Wall Street system, which is built around an illusion, the illusion that money is wealth, which then translates into the idea that people who are creating—or who are making money are in fact creating wealth. And what Wall Street has become extremely expert at is creating money out of nothing through financial bubbles, through pyramiding lending to create fictitious assets that become collateral for more bank lending, and then combining that with the predatory aspects of usurious lending and deceptive lending and the use of credit cards as a substitute for a living wage—all the games that Wall Street is playing. And it’s actually based on a philosophy that says we don’t need to produce anything as a country, if we can—you know, if we can do all this financial innovation that allows us to create financial assets without producing anything of real value. I mean, it’s absolutely insane. And yet, it is the—it’s been the foundation of our economic policy in this country for decades now.
AMY GOODMAN: You have spent your life focusing on issues of sustainability. You talk about excess consumption. What is the model that you could see right now? What is the model that we have right now? And what is the one you want to see built?
DAVID KORTEN: Yeah, well, the amazing thing is that our system is built on driving increased consumption, but particularly it is driving the most destructive and wasteful forms of consumption, of course, starting with war, moving on to automobile dependence, and which is not just about the energy issue, but it’s about the fragmentation of society, as we move out into the suburbs. It’s about the breakdown of the family, as we put more and more stress on the family. So you have to have two or more people in the household working more than one job each just to keep the household together, which means the children are without caretakers and so forth.
You begin to put this all together, you say, well, if we began to really organize our economic activities around the things that really matter, we’d be looking at things—well, how do we organize our economy so that it actually builds human relationships, so it supports families, so it creates an environment in which our children can grow up both physically and psychologically healthy? And we begin to say, well, first of all, it would be a good idea to end war. And, of course, most of our wars are about competition for resources to maintain our wasteful lifestyle. So let’s really get serious about world peace. Then we’ve got to start reducing our dependence on automobiles and recognize that rather than reemploying autoworkers in making automobiles, we should be employing them in building bicycles, building public transportation and so forth, all the things we need. Instead of investing massively in advertising, you know, redirect those creative communications resources to education. You begin to see, in almost every aspect of our economy, the opportunity to redirect resources in ways that actually increase our well-being—they’re not about sacrifice, ultimately—and bringing ourselves into balance with one another and with earth.
My original idea was to write about the Republican Colonial Occupiers and their Democrat Collaborators continued looting of the American treasury BEFORE the American people, those “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders” could get their country back. Then I happened to hear this man speak, Noam Chomsky, where he discussed the meaning of President-Elect Barack Obama’s victory and the possibilities ahead for real democratic change at a speech last week in Boston. Since he’s a World-renowned public intellectual, and I am not, I decided to let him speak for me. Read it an weep all you trusting believers. Looks like you’ve been sold a bill of goods, Barack Obama Style.
Well, let’s begin with the elections. The world that the rolls off of everyone’s tongue is historic. Historic election. And I agree with it. It was a historic election. To have a black family in the white house is a momentous achievement. In fact, it’s historic in a broader sense. The two Democratic candidates were an African-American and a woman. Both remarkable achievements. We go back say 40 years, it would have been unthinkable. So something’s happened to the country in 40 years. And what’s happened to the country- which is we’re not supposed to mention- is that there was extensive and very constructive activism in the 1960s, which had an aftermath. So the feminist movement, mostly developed in the 70s-–the solidarity movements of the 80’s and on till today. And the activism did civilize the country. The country’s a lot more civilized than it was 40 years ago and the historic achievements illustrate it. That’s also a lesson for what’s next.
What’s next will depend on whether the same thing happens. Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below. And the answer to what’s next depends on people like you. Nobody else can answer it. It’s not predictable. In some ways, the election—the election was surprising in some respects.
Going back to my bad prediction, If the financial crisis hadn’t taken place at the moment that it did, if it had been delayed a couple of months, I suspect that prediction would have been correct. But not speculating, one thing surprising about the election was that it wasn’t a landslide.
bq. By the usual criteria, you would expect the opposition party to win in a landslide under conditions like the ones that exist today. The incumbent president for eight years was so unpopular that his own party couldn’t mention his name and had to pretend to be opposing his policies. He presided over the worst record for ordinary people in post-war history, in terms of job growth, real wealth and so on. Just about everything the administration was touched just turned into a disaster. [The] country has reached the lowest level of standing in the world that it’s ever had. The economy was tanking. Several recessions are going on. Not just the ones on the front pages, the financial recession. There’s also a recession in the real economy. The productive economy, under circumstances and people know it. So 80% of the population say that the country’s going in the wrong direction. About 80% say the government doesn’t work to the benefit of the people, it works for the few and the special interests. A startling 94% complain that the government doesn’t pay any attention to the public will, and on like that. Under conditions like that, you would expect a landslide to a opposition almost whoever they are. And there wasn’t one. Read the rest of this entry »