Tuesday, January 21, 2020

If the Martians Teleported the Davos Crowd to a Distant Moon, Who Would Mourn and Who Would Cheer?

The system that has so enriched the self-serving Davos Crowd is unraveling, and technocratic tweaks, carbon trading and philanthro-capitalism can't fix what's broken.
Thought experiment: If the Martians teleported the entire Davos Crowd to a distant moon, who would mourn and who would cheer? Friends and family of the disappeared elites would of course mourn their teleportation to a Martian facility on a distant moon, but who else would mourn, other than the flunkies and apparatchiks in the corporate media?
Who would cheer? Everybody who is tired of the dominance of an elite who skims billions from the rest of us "for our own good." The Davos Crowd is focusing on climate change because they see it as the latest and greatest opportunity to add more billions to their net worth via the skimming operation known as Carbon Trading and controlling the vast capital flows into New Green Deal boondoggles.
Who would cheer? Everybody who is tired of the Davos Crowd viewing themselves as "the solution" rather than "the problem." The unprecedented concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few in Davos isn't a problem, it's an "opportunity" because the Davos Crowd is immensely confident in the goodness and rightness of their power and control.
The Davos Crowd knows what's best for the planet, so please get out of the way and let us take care of climate change, etc. our way, which just so happens to be extraordinarily profitable for us. But that's to be expected because we're so smart and hard-working and we care.
The hubris, sanctimony, false sympathy and hypocrisy of the Davos Crowd is off the charts. Having stripmined the Earth and its workforce for their existing billions, now they want to add to their billions by "fixing" what they broke in the most profitable possible fashion.
The Davos Crowd is incapable of recognizing that the unprecedented concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few in Davos is the core problem. The happy cover story for further exploitation and predation is philanthro-capitalism, "do-good" projects that enshrine the power of elites and engineer a status quo that continues to divert wealth to the Davos elites under the virtue-signaling cover of philanthro-capitalism.
The Davos Crowd and their vast armies of apparatchiks, toadies, apologists and technocrat flunkies don't understand why we would cheer their teleportation to a distant moon. Their right to rule (droit de seigneur) is so obvious and well, just so right that those doubting it must be sadly delusional.
The delusion is in Davos. The system that has so enriched the self-serving Davos Crowd is unraveling, and technocratic tweaks, carbon trading and philanthro-capitalism can't fix what's broken.



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Monday, January 20, 2020

Calling Things by Their Real Names

One does not need money to convey one's thoughts, but what money does allow is the drowning out of speech of those without money by those with a lot of money.
In last week's explanation of why the Federal Reserve is evil, I invoked the principle of calling things by their real names, a concept that drew an insightful commentary from longtime correspondent Chad D.:
Thank you, Charles, for calling out the Fed for their evil ways. We have to properly name things before we can properly address them. I would add that the Fed's endless creation of "money" to hand out to connected bankers (not all bankers) is just one facet of the evil. The evil also manifests itself as extraordinary political-economical power in a system that allows legalized bribery disguised as free speech.
One does not need money to speak/write to convey one's thoughts, but what money does allow is the drowning out of speech of those without money by those with a lot of money. In essence, the ultra-rich (i.e. the top .01%) get a huge megaphone to blare their thoughts, many of which are deliberately used to disorient and confuse the common man through the major media and so-called higher institutions of learning. Hence, we get common folk actively fighting for policies and laws that are against their own personal interests, such as promoting "free trade" agreements that are really managed trade agreements, whereby domestic workers are forced to complete with workers in other countries who make a pittance and are not protected by labor or environmental laws.
These agreements are part of a legal, yet unjust, framework that gives unfair, competitive advantages to large, multinational businesses at the expense of their smaller domestic and international competitors, which includes the abridgment of basic rights to settle disputes in a real court of law, not some kangaroo arbitration process with biased "judges".
And we must not forget the bailouts, lack of prosecution for economic crimes, such as fraud and monopolistic and deceptive trade practices, and tax loopholes, all of which are bought in one way or another from the compromised "representatives" and "public servants" within the system.
The evil manifests itself as an enabler and promoter of an endless warfare state that is used to maintain an empire based upon the dollar that uses force, bribery, and blackmail to keep various peoples within the empire in line, which includes those within the host country(ies) (i.e. the USA (and the UK)) at the center of the empire. It causes the host country to befriend countries (i.e. frenemies) that hold values that are diametrically opposed to the values of the host country. The empire's tactics also breeds resentment towards citizens of the host country, many of whom want nothing to do with the empire, by those who live in the empire outside the host country.
While massive resources are used to support the empire of the dollar, the host country rots from a lack of resources due to taxes, debt, and the misappropriation of resources. Numerous people enlist in the military to supposedly protect the country, but end up really protecting the empire and yet others enlist out of economic desperation, which ironically and perversely, is largely caused by the existence of the very thing they end up serving and protecting.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the evil manifests itself in the severe abuse of our natural resources that leads to (as you've put) a landfill economy and the resultant, potential collapse of the biosphere that currently supports human life.
All these things represent the three heads of Cerberus and the body of Cerberus is usury, one of the most destructive forces known to humanity. Its exponential growth function will always lead to the depletion of natural resources because all the resources that would be of use to humans do not grow in that same manner and many of them are finite in the sense of people being able to obtain them in an economical way (e.g. metal ores and energy). Other natural resources like fisheries and forests can only be harvested at certain levels at certain times or they will collapse to a nonviable state.
Usury also always leads to massive wealth disparities that destabilize societies. Over time, the interest on the outstanding debt, especially if the money is debt-based, will find its way to those with assets, who end up buying more assets that get them more interest that enables them to buy yet more assets, etc.
If the Federal Reserve System was simply a decentralized clearing house for financial transactions and it was not allowed to buy government debt and we had a currency that was not based upon usury, would it be evil? It's fair to say that the Fed has become more and more evil, because it had fundamental flaws (features?) from its inception or it has been changed by evil actors over the years. Either way, we must end its current incarnation, before it leads our country down the road to perdition.
P.S. We were warned of some of this evil by our forefathers; see the Democratic Platform from 1900. Please note how they referred to our country as a republic.
Thank you, Chad, for succinctly summarizing all that we must call by their real names: predatory, parasitic, false, evil.



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Friday, January 17, 2020

If Promoting Wealth Inequality and Social Breakdown Is Evil, The Fed Is Evil

The Fed will destroy the nation by widening the wealth/income inequality that is breaking down the nation's social order.
President Reagan was widely mocked in America when he declared the Soviet Union an evil empire, but this calling things by their real name had a profound impact in the Eastern Bloc. The mockery stemmed from the secularized American view that there was precious little moral difference between the USSR and the US, that the USSR was a legitimate "alternative system," and that ramping up Cold war tensions was not just dangerous but useless, as the USSR was as permanent (or more so) than the US.
None of which turned out to be true. While all nation-states harbor multitudes of sins, the Soviet Empire was unique in its mass suppression of basic human rights, its economic failure to better the lives of its imprisoned populations while its military might soared, and the perverse union of a Kafkaesque bureaucracy and an Orwellian propaganda machine epitomized by the old Soviet-era joke that "we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."
Fast-forward to today's USA where soaring wealth and income inequality is making a social breakdown all but inevitable. Wages for the majority of households have gone nowhere for the past two decades, while the incomes of the top 5% have skyrocketed, with the majority of the gains flowing to the top 0.1%. (See charts below.)
History shows that fast-widening gaps between the super-wealthy / top 5% and the rest of the citizenry inevitably generate social disorder and breakdown. This dynamic is already painfully visible in rising homelessness, suicide rates, opioid addictions, burnout, intolerance, etc.
While there are many dynamics in play that exacerbate wealth / income inequality, the primary driver is the Federal Reserve's near-infinite giveaways to the financial and corporate elites. If we examine why our economy has become a winner take most casino, we find the gaming tables are rigged to favor the few closest to the Fed's money spigots: when JP Morgan gets in trouble by leveraging socially parasitic bets, the Fed steps in and saves their gambles by printing hundreds of billions of dollars in repos.
As a result of the Fed backstop, JP Morgan reported blow-out earnings.
The net result of the Fed's goosing the stock market ever higher is soaring wealth inequality as the average US household gains precious little from record highs, and whatever gains they might have are sequestered in 401Ks and IRAs until they retire.
The Fed justifies its enrich the already rich policies by claiming some of this newly created wealth will trickle down to the masses via walking the wealthy's dogs, polishing their Mercedes, tutoring their over-scheduled kids, busing their tables at $100 per plate bistros and so on.
The stagnant wages of the masses are the trickle down. Average Carlos and Carlita don't get an unlimited line of credit from the Fed; only bankers, financiers and corporations get an unlimited line of credit from the Fed.
If an alien force was purposefully widening America's wealth / income gap to destabilize the nation's social order, would we hesitate to call this force evil? Would we rationalize this force as "no worse than any other force" and an "alternative system" with the same moral standing as free markets and democracy?
Ours is a moral universe, and the first necessary step is to call things by their real name: the Fed is evil. Any force that relentlessly promotes fast-widening wealth / income inequality, knowing full well that the inevitable result is social breakdown, is evil.
If this force were external, its evil nature would not be denied or defended. But because the Fed favors the wealthy and powerful, it masks its evil behind an Orwellian cloak of PR much like the former USSR.
The parallels with the Evil Empire don't stop there. While the Fed pillages the vast majority of Americans and diverts the nation's wealth to the top 0.1%, it claims, absurdly and speciously, to be "helping the commoner." This is as Orwellian as it gets.
The Fed will destroy the nation by widening the wealth/income inequality that is breaking down the nation's social order. Let's call things by their real name: the Fed is evil.



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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

No Matter How Much Money the Fed Prints, We Still Can't Afford Nice Things

When will the American wage-earner finally tire of the skims, scams, fraud and lies that are now the foundations of everyday life?
You'd think that with the Federal Reserve printing trillions of dollars since 2008, we'd all be able to afford nice things. But you'd be wrong: after 11 years of Fed money-printing, nice things are even more out of reach for all but the favored few who've received the Fed's bounty of freshly created currency.
The Fed's trillions were supposed to trickle down into the real economy, but they never did. All those trillions boosted asset prices and the wealth of the $100 million yachts and private jets elite.
Instead costs have soared while wages have stagnated. If this widening gap between wages and costs were accurately presented, there would a political revolt against the Fed and those few who have benefited so immensely from Fed money-printing: the banks, financiers, corporations buying back their own shares, the owners of high-frequency trading computers, etc.
Despite the best efforts of the government's "suppress all evidence of runaway cost inflation" functionaries, a few facts have slipped through. Let's start with income from 1980 to the present, as per the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Note that this is all pre-government-transfer (Social Security, food stamps, etc.) income, both earned (wages) and unearned (investment income).
The top households have done very, very well in the past 20 years of Fed largesse, while the incomes of the bottom 80% have gone nowhere.
Meanwhile, big-ticket costs of living such as rent have skyrocketed: so how do we buy nice things if our wages are stagnant but the cost of essentials is rising? We borrow more money.
Exhibit A for borrowing trillions of dollars to afford nice things is student loan debt. A college degree has long been worshiped as the ultimate Nice Thing everyone who aspires to middle class Nice Things must have, and thanks to cartels and financialization, student debt-serfs now labor under a crushing load of debt:
Healthcare is also a Nice Thing that is no longer affordable. Wages nudge up a few pennies while healthcare costs continue soaring.
A new vehicle is another Nice Thing that's increasingly out of reach unless you borrow a small fortune. My colleague Bill Rice Jr. did the grunt work of comparing apples to apples on the least expensive autos and discovered a massive divergence between "official inflation" and real-world inflation: according to the BLS, inflation in the category of "New Vehicles" has been practically non-existent for decades, while the real-world cost of new autos has risen by over 200%. No, Autos Are Not "Cheaper Now" (June 28, 2019)
Yes, autos are safer, but are they "better"? Just wait until the electronic motherboard of your Nice Thing vehicle goes out and the repair bill totals thousands of dollars. There goes your "rainy day fund" if you have one, and few do.
The real-world costs are masked or buried until The Moment of Truth: the co-pays of your healthcare are arcane and obscure until the soul-crushing bill arrives, and then your next stop is bankruptcy court.
Meanwhile, the financial assets of the Fed's Favored Few have grown to the point that they now dominate the economic and political order. Corporations can borrow billions to buy back their own shares, further enriching the already-rich, while in the real world we watch other shoppers returning items to the supermarket shelves--they're no longer affordable and so the customer has to put the Nice Thing back on the shelf.
While Apple stock soars to new heights, those outside the the Fed's Favored Few are happy to get a 5-year old hand-me-down iPhone since their old iPhone or Windows OS phone died.
While Mr. Softee (Microsoft) stock soars to new heights, tens of millions of their customers with Windows 7 computers received a notice that Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7, and Mr. Softee "recommends" buying a new computer with Windows 10. Windows 7 is a perfectly adequate operating system, but like the rest of America's tottering economy, "growth" comes only as a result of planned obsolescence, not actual improvements.
When will the American wage-earner finally tire of the skims, scams, fraud and lies that are now the foundations of everyday life? Probably never, until the toll is paid in failed health and breakdown. Tax donkeys and debt-serfs can be whipped to continue for only so long, and then they break down and cannot go on any longer. The trickle of tax donkeys and debt-serfs who can no longer go on will swell to a flood, and the Fed's Favored Few will finally face the life-changing consequences of the Fed's lopsided giveaway to the super-wealthy.


My recent books:
Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).


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