Sunday, February 22, 2009

Forget all about the poor and homeless we've got to set the market free

The title of this post is a line from a song I wrote during the Reagan years the title of which is also the name of this blog: "Talk About America."

I really hope Chris Hedges is wrong but there's a 50-50 chance he isn't.

The next time we feel like scapegoating poor Mexican or Central American laborers or one of our fellow citizens who bought too much house with a loan their bank told them they "qualified for" just dust off this little treatise. Some choice passages include:

Hints of our brave new world seeped out Thursday when Washington's new director of national intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He warned that the deepening economic crisis posed perhaps our gravest threat to stability and national security. It could trigger, he said, a return to the "violent extremism" of the 1920s and 1930s. It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists. We will see accelerated plant and retail closures, inflation, an epidemic of bankruptcies, new rounds of foreclosures, bread lines, unemployment surpassing the levels of the Great Depression and, as Blair fears, social upheaval.

The economic collapse has exposed the stupidity of our collective faith in a free market and the absurdity of an economy based on the goals of endless growth, consumption, borrowing and expansion. The ideology of unlimited growth failed to take into account the massive depletion of the world's resources, from fossil fuels to clean water to fish stocks to erosion, as well as overpopulation, global warming and climate change. The huge international flows of unregulated capital have wrecked the global financial system. An overvalued dollar (which will soon deflate), wild tech, stock and housing financial bubbles, unchecked greed, the decimation of our manufacturing sector, the empowerment of an oligarchic class, the corruption of our political elite, the impoverishment of workers, a bloated military and defense budget and unrestrained credit binges have conspired to bring us down. The financial crisis will soon become a currency crisis. This second shock will threaten our financial viability. We let the market rule. Now we are paying for it.

The corporate thieves, those who insisted they be paid tens of millions of dollars because they were the best and the brightest, have been exposed as con artists. Our elected officials, along with the press, have been exposed as corrupt and spineless corporate lackeys. Our business schools and intellectual elite have been exposed as frauds. The age of the West has ended. Look to China. Laissez-faire capitalism has destroyed itself. It is time to dust off your copies of Marx,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

does this mean prices will go down at Fry's?

Another capitalist crook bites the dust, now if we only had the guts to go after the bankers.

"One company, Phoebe Micro Inc., sold Fry's $80 million worth of goods between 2003 and 2008. The firm gave Fry's a $4 million discount, the IRS said, but paid Siddiqui's company $24 million."

If the $76m worth of merchandise can be further discounted $24m then by my reckoning Fry's can discount the product (this one anyway - others maybe more maybe less) another 30% and maintain margin. Should be a class action suit to force Fry's to rebate their customers who suffered economic loss due to this fraud? Apparently it failed to provide sufficient oversight to their management employee - among other things this is what Sarbanes-Oxley was created to do.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Israel's Lies: By Henry Siegman

Henry Siegman writes in the London Review of Books:

Israel’s government would like the world to believe that Hamas launched its Qassam rockets because that is what terrorists do and Hamas is a generic terrorist group. In fact, Hamas is no more a ‘terror organisation’ (Israel’s preferred term) than the Zionist movement was during its struggle for a Jewish homeland. In the late 1930s and 1940s, parties within the Zionist movement resorted to terrorist activities for strategic reasons. According to Benny Morris, it was the Irgun that first targeted civilians. He writes in Righteous Victims that an upsurge of Arab terrorism in 1937 ‘triggered a wave of Irgun bombings against Arab crowds and buses, introducing a new dimension to the conflict’. He also documents atrocities committed during the 1948-49 war by the IDF, admitting in a 2004 interview, published in Ha’aretz, that material released by Israel’s Ministry of Defence showed that ‘there were far more Israeli acts of massacre than I had previously thought . . . In the months of April-May 1948, units of the Haganah were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers, expel them, and destroy the villages themselves.’ In a number of Palestinian villages and towns the IDF carried out organised executions of civilians. Asked by Ha’aretz whether he condemned the ethnic cleansing, Morris replied that he did not:

A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads. It was necessary to cleanse the villages from which our convoys and our settlements were fired on.

In other words, when Jews target and kill innocent civilians to advance their national struggle, they are patriots. When their adversaries do so, they are terrorists.