Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's An Insider's Game All the Way & (Please) Investigate Haiti's Continuing Disaster(s)

(EXTRA! EXTRA!) So, Diebold counts the votes (some pre-marked), the Rethuglican/Newt Gingrich-infected, totally unreliable, Politico announces that the Democratic candidate to vie for Ted Kennedy's seat is behind 5 to 10 points in a god-knows-from-where poll versus an unknown "naked" Cosmo layout, truck-proud, married-to-TV-Morning-Noise-announcer nobody, and the voters in the most progressive state in the Union give up and have another beer at Cheers. Makes sense to me (in a world where disappointed Democrats wrest the gun from the psychotic Rethugs and turn it on themselves). (Right. Obama carried MA by 26 points.) Time to fold our tents, go home and figure out if there is any way the country can be reclaimed for democratic, Constitutional government? Because (to put a very fine point on it) . . . if we've come this far . . . to this tiny bit of intellectual weight being adjudged in our choice for the highest office in the most . . . - I can't help being reminded of the pretty-boy, nonentities who won all those new Rethuglican seats for Newtie in 1994. (Remember that fun election right after Clinton swept out the corruption-laden Bushites the first time?) And his smug, shit-eating grins on the Sunday morning gabfests. Get ready for teh onslaught. Jon Stewart has the last word (as usual). The absolute best news show ever. (Watch it all, please. It's worth your time.)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Danny Schechter informs us of the horrendous truth about Haiti before, during and after the latest disaster. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Haiti remains a death trap, with an aid program that has sat by and watched thousands die without relief. The International Red Cross describes the situation there as a catastrophe, while the American Red Cross reports raising more than $100 million dollars thanks to texting technologies and backing from the White House.

Raising money is their specialty; delivering aid is not.

The New York Times noted:

“The contributions come despite well-publicized controversies over the Red Cross’ performance and financial accountability after other major disasters.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for example, representatives from the British, German, Colombian, Dutch and other international Red Cross organizations criticized their American counterpart for inadequate planning, poor management of supplies and faulty record-keeping and logistics. And after the Sept. 11 attacks the organization struggled to deploy some $1 billion in donations.”

These are the people we are trusting with our money!

Meanwhile, Haitians are trying to get out of the apocalypse in Port au Prince while the US Navy warns that anyone trying to flee this hellhole will be caught and returned. Thanks a lot!

This is reminiscent of the early 90’s when anti-communist Cuban boat people were welcomed in Florida while Haitians fleeing a brutal dictatorship we backed were captured and sent to detention camps in Guantanamo, I believe.

I recall covering a rally at the Statue of Liberty led by filmmaker Jonathan Demme demanding that the beleaguered Haitians be given refuges status. They weren’t.

Read on here.

The Existentialist Cowboy explains why "Tea Baggers" and Rethuglicans make such "good l'il Nazis." (Shush, it's a secret!)

Research repeatedly confirms that Republicans are naturally inclined to exhibit authoritarian personality traits. The research leading to this conclusion is extensive. It was Carl Jung, in his 'The Undiscovered Self' who said that about thirty percent of every population was certifiably psychopathic.

FSK at Truth to Power blows the top off the Fed's (and everybody else involved at the top levels of the US Government) financial chicanery by calling a spade a spade (once again) and as an aside lets us know how really undeserved the "bonuses" are. Don't look if you want to sleep tonight and I'm running a lot of it because we all need to see these facts over and over and over and . . . . (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Trillions of dollars were spent in Federal bailout money. There was TARP bailout money explicitly allocated by the Federal government. There was secret bailout money provided by the Federal Reserve. The Fed Funds Rate is currently 0%-0.25% while true inflation is 20%-30% or more, which is a further subsidy for the banksters. Negative real interest rates are a continual subsidy for the banksters, even if no bailout money is explicitly allocated.

A year ago, oil prices were really cheap while interest rates were really low. Some hedge funds borrowed money, bought oil, paid to store it, waited for inflation, and then sold. This was very profitable. They made a huge profit, without doing any real work.

When real interest rates are negative, this is a very lucrative profit equation:

1. Borrow money cheaply and buy tangible assets.

2. Wait for inflation.

3. Sell and profit!

It's better than being an underpants gnome!

These profits aren't free. They're paid by the rest of society as inflation.

There's a lot of hype about "Banks are repaying TARP money. Hooray! They aren't scum!" The problem is that these profits are fueled by a Fed Funds Rate of 0%-0.25%. A more accurate statement is "Banks received cleverly hidden State bailout money and used that to repay direct explicit bailout money!"

State parasites "stimulated the economy" by giving trillions of dollars to politically connected insiders. They could have given $10k directly to each American, and that would have had the same net stimulative effect. This was never seriously discussed as a possibility. There were token stimulus payments of a couple hundred dollars, but this was negligible compared to what the banksters stole.

The point of the monetary system is debt enslavement of every American. Even if you personally have no debt, your savings are stolen by inflation. If you have no savings, then you're stuck during the next recession/depression. If you have as much debt as you can, then you'll be bankrupted during the next recession/depression. Even if you have no debt, large corporations have lots of debt, and most people work for large corporations directly or indirectly.

Negative real interest rates concentrate economic power in the hands of people who print and spend new money. The banksters can borrow at 0%-0.25%. They use this money to speculate on the stock market, buy other tangible assets, or lend at higher rates.

A corporate CEO can borrow at 6% or more. A pro-State troll says "The CEO is creditworthy but a small business owner is not." The reality is that the CEO was appointed via a corrupt nepotism capitalism process. Most CEOs don't have skills that would be useful in a true free market. They merely excel at exploiting a corrupt system and navigating through a parasite-dominated State bureaucracy.

A CEO borrows at 6% while true inflation is 20%-30% or more. That means that the CEO can normally profit and repay the loan, even if he invests the money unwisely. For example, an investment that yields 15% is profitable enough to repay the loan, yet returns less than true inflation. This leads to misallocation of capital and asset bubbles.

A small business owner must pay higher interest rates or can't borrow at all. A pro-State troll says "The small business owner is uncreditworthy." The reality is that the State has a monopoly for financing businesses. The small business owner can't borrow money from friends and relatives, because he has to pay an extortionate rate or the lender gets ripped off by inflation. If the small business owner sells equity, then either the minority equity owner risks getting cheated, or the owner becomes an employee in his own business. The pro-State troll statement "The small business owner is uncreditworthy!" really means "The small business owner can't profitably lobby the State for favors like the CEO of a large corporation!"

The State monetary monopoly gives political insiders access to capital, while denying individuals access to capital. "It's the free market!" is an evil fnord, because there is no free market monetary system. A central bank credit monopoly is the opposite of a free market. You can't say "The free market has favored the CEO over the small business owner." The correct answer is "State violence favors the CEO over the small business owner."

This is an important evil fnord. "The banksters are doing the work of God, 'stimulating' the economy." The reality is that they are parasites, lining their pockets at the expense of everyone else. The banksters create the illusion that they are heroic leaders and brilliant businessmen.

And finally, as to the tax-free organization World Vision taking billions of dollars in government funds and demanding that only Christians(?) be hired:

World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization, does not hide its employment policy. To work for the billion-dollar charity, except on a temporary basis, one must be a Christian.

This religious-based hiring preference has drawn complaints in light of the fact that World Vision received three-quarters of a billion dollars over three years from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the federal government’s foreign aid arm. In 2006, World Vision was given $261 million in taxpayer dollars; the following year, $220 million; and in 2008, $281 million. The organization has not yet released it financial review for 2009 or 2010. The organization’s work has been praised by charity watchdogs and recipients of World Vision’s efforts in Africa, both Christian and Muslim. But the group says it is impossible to separate their mission from belief in a Christian god. “We do want to be witnesses to Jesus Christ by life, word, deed and sign,” said Torrey Olsen, World Vision’s Senior Director for Christian Engagement. This has called into question the relatively recent practice of awarding federal funds to organizations that discriminate based on religion.

Non-Christians Need Not Apply

Christian Commitment (World Vision)

These are Christians?

These people hold the fate of our world in their hands. Suzan ___________________


Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Breathy, erudite and illuminating! I enjoyed the read; still digesting__ I was invited by Beach to take a look... best advice all week. :-)

Suzan said...

Thank you, Gwendolyn.

And welcome aboard, sailor!

If we get a few more sailors on board, we can cast off for the party and tie up.

Ah, those were the days on the Chesapeake.

Where do you sail?

Thanks for commenting.


Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

I grew up on boats down here in the Caribbean! (south FL) Miss them right now, close to the water but no boat at the moment. ah well... enjoyed the post and will come back to read more! :-)

Suzan said...

Thanks for responding.

Did you know I lived in both Annapolis and Key West?

I was a member of the Crabtown Ski Club for years.


Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

I was more of a surfer... Was in Key West a couple of months ago, I really think I could live in the Keys and not miss 'civilization'. Bimini would be my first pick, but no UPS there. I ship too much not to have it... if I could get it there as cheaply, I would do it in a minute. We used to surf the wakes on IO's when there were no waves. I heard it's against the law, now. A good thing. :-)

Suzan said...

You would adore Key West, I'd bet.

I moved there in '95 because it had the US Post Office, UPS, FedEx, etc., all on a daily basis.

They flew the mail in everyday from Miami (my neighbor was a postman).

And the weather (and company) can't be beat. We'll have to talk. I'll tell you all the KW dope.