Big Dumb Government, continuing to roll on...
Friday, January 28, 2011
It’s still January but state governments are on a roll proposing silly legislation | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment
No kidding. Way to get there ten years too late, NYT.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Catholic TV Anchor Michael Voris has sparked quite the controversy by advocating for the institution of a Christian dictatorship. His sentiments are thus: democracy gives the uninformed and ignorant a right to vote. Well, I suppose that depends on what one classifies as ignorant and uninformed, as I firmly believe that the idea that bread and wine are transmogrified into flesh and blood at the tinkling of a bell to be utter poppycock. Furthermore, the idea that a Catholic has some insight into the virtues of theocracy is absolutely breathtaking, given the fact that the Vatican attempted to substitute ecclesiastical law for the requirements of secular law in encouraging its bishops in Ireland to obstruct that country's secular authorities in their investigation of pedophilia within the Catholic Church. Theocracy works so well, and we all know that churches are bastions of righteousness these days, given the multitude of sex scandals among high profile pastors like Ted Haggard. Let us not even begin to get into the reality that pastors like Creflo Dollar drive around in Rolls-Royces.
In many ways, I suppose that substituting theocracy for secular democracy wouldn't be much of a change at all: you'd still have the pandemic corruption, the sex scandals, and the wanton abuses of authority. Whenever and wherever transparency threatened the illusion of holiness, secrecy would be advocated for various utilitarian reasons as well. Let us not begin to reflect on the revelations that members of C Street covered for John Ensign in his malfeasance with an aide's wife. For that matter, let us not consider also that Mark Stanford was also an associate of C Street and the aptly named Family. Indeed, nearly all enterprises involving the rank corruption of individuals take on the aspects of family in the end: see the Mob, C Street, and various other religious and criminal syndicates.
The problem with instituting theocracy is that it isn't biblical. Jesus didn't say bring about my Kingdom upon the earth today through force and theocracy, He said He'd bring it about in His own time. You have no commandment in the Bible to appropriate the bureaucracies of government in order to coerce others to join up in Christianity or be reduced to a second-class status: salvation is by faith through grace, not at the end of a barrel or at the behest of a government. We are commanded to be respectful of government, even to tolerate its abuses in the extreme, including upside-down crucifixions and the like. Paul didn't call upon his followers to rise up and overthrow the Roman government by force to institute a theocratic regime, and he was a man who faced prison, torture, and eventual death for his beliefs.
Appeals like those of Voris are inherently dangerous because they appeal to our innate sense of righteousness as believers, and tempt us to consider courses of action which are simply inconsistent with any realistic reading of Scripture. We are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and reducing them to a second-tier status as ignorant because they don't believe what we believe is simply absurd. Moreover, it's unscriptural. Suppression of such statements, if it should come from any quarter, should come from the outraged chorus of Christians who refuse to see their beliefs misrepresented by fanatics and stooges. Michael Voris meant to condemn the ignorant and uninformed; instead, he exemplified what it is to be ignorant, uninformed, and bellicose in your stupidity. The Kingdom was not enlarged by his statements; it was divided and maligned as a result.
Well, you watch him:
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Kelley Williams-Bolar, a mother of two girls in Akron, Ohio, recently received 10 days in jail for sending her children to school in an upscale district after her own home in public housing was burglarized. According to the judge and the school authorities of the Copley-Fairlawn district, Williams-Bolar defrauded the district of $30,000 by sending her two children to a better school district. Let's pause for a moment to reflect on the inanity of this reasoning, shall we? We spend $28,000 a year incarcerating individuals for various crimes; so many individuals, in fact, that we lead the world in incarceration. Many of those individuals came from homes with mothers and fathers, and, let's be honest, mothers who had to make do without the fathers, who didn't give a damn about their child's education. They left their children to their own devices, and look what happened.
Kelley Williams-Bolar, on the other hand, was attending the University of Akron to get a degree in education. She's a model citizen, aside from her nefarious scheme to claim residency at her father's home in the Copley-Fairlawn district in order to get her children a better education. Oh, would it were that more young black women and men were so inclined as to commit these devious acts, by exploiting the residency of their relatives in better school districts so that their children could have a better start in life. Instead, we have young black men and women who have children and rap sheets for crimes like possession and assault, and their attitude towards education, be it there own or that of their children, leaves much to be desired.
Oh, and I suppose the fact that Williams-Bolar is an American citizen doesn't count for much. I only bring that up because here in Texas, where I'm attending law school, a lot of children who don't have legitimate residency in the district, or the country for that matter, walk across the border at El Paso to attend school in the states. We know who they are, because there are newspaper stories about them. Do the American authorities go after their parents? Is there any diplomatic brouhaha brewing over the issue whereby the State Department and the authorities in Texas are seeking the extradition of Mexican parents who send their children to school across the border without paying for the education those children receive? Not at all!
Let's consider the story of Laiyin Yee, whose parents live in Cuidad Jaurez across the border:
"Walking over from Mexico on a recent morning, Laiyin Yee, 14, flashed her Austin High School badge to the border officer at the school lane.
A U.S. citizen, she said she lives in Ciudad Juarez with her parents.
But an aunt has a place in El Paso. She goes there each morning, catching a public bus to class where she is part of a special program for aspiring law enforcement officers.
"It's better here than in Juarez," she said, removing her iPod headphones to talk. "The public schools there, there is too much violence.""
Oh, my! Laiyin Yee's aunt has defrauded the El Paso Independent School District! And that district recently had to put forth a bond initiative to secure voter permission to borrow $230 million for expansion! The outrage! In Laredo, Texas, the bond issue was $400 million. In Columbus, New Mexico, the schools actually send the bus to the border checkpoints to pick up students.
But in Ohio, an American citizen who evaded residency requirements was indicted for doing so, convicted of a felony, and sent to jail for 10 days. That's the illogic that dominates American politics and American discourse these days. The nerve of the Copley-Fairlane district in insisting that they were defrauded of $30,000 for the two years that they educated her children is even more apparent when you consider that Copley-Fairlane, like all other public school districts, receives federal funds that come from out of district pockets. And yet Copley-Fairlane has the unmitigated gall to charge $800 a month in tuition to any parent from outside of the district who wishes to send their child to the district's schools. What's more, the fact of the matter is that Williams-Bolar's father, who does live in the district, pays property taxes which go toward the support of Copley-Fairlane, and he was faced with a charge of grand theft for his role in the affair. Apparently, because the girls are his grandchildren rather than his children, he shouldn't get any bang for his buck whatsoever. No, he should have to pay something for nothing with his property taxes.
And in the meantime, we have people arguing that illegal aliens should be allowed to do essentially the same thing without any objection whatsoever. It's absurd. Laiyin Yee's aunt is so confident that she won't face any criminal charges that her niece can give an interview to the paper! However, in Ohio and Illinois, the school districts retain the services of private investigators to tail students home in order to verify that they live in district. $6,000 of what Copley-Fairlawn claimed as damages in their charges against Williams-Bolar was comprised of fees paid to a private investigator.
And because of Copley-Fairlawn's asinine actions, and the criminal justice system's failure to uphold the notion that the law does not exist to give rise to an absurd result, a young mother of two who is twelve credit hours away from graduating with a degree in education will be ineligible for employment as a teacher because she is now a convicted felon. John Kasich, as governor of Ohio, ought to use his power to rectify this situation without delay. Kelley Williams-Bolar ought to be pardoned, and the State of Ohio ought to have the decency to issue a public and formal apology for the outrages committed against Ms. Williams-Bolar. For that matter, her employment in the Ohio education system ought to be expedited: I think Copley-Fairlawn would be a prime assignment.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The general problem we have in this country where patriotism as a concept is concerned is that patriotism has become conflated with unthinking fealty. There is something distinctly unpatriotic about failing to dissent, failing to challenge, and failing to criticize a government. The government is the State, not the Nation, and you can criticize the State without being disloyal to the Nation. In fact, loyalty to the Nation entails challenging State declarations and measuring those declarations against the evidence.
The bureaucrats of the State don't go to war. They don't bleed in combat. They send the sons of others to die in their wars. And let me be clear: a good many of the wars that are fought by our country are their wars. They don't have a damn thing to do with any interest related to the Nation.
There are those who will say that anyone who criticizes the President is disrespecting the office, but that's a semantic distinctions that fails to acknowledge the reality that most Presidents disrespect the office routinely with the way they administer their responsibilities. There are those who will say that soldiers have some especial insight into war in order quell civilian dissent and deter ordinary individuals who haven't served from voicing their objections. The net effect of this nonsense is that an individual's decision not to volunteer for the military disqualifies that individual from voicing any kind of dissenting opinion about the exercise and application of military power. There's only one problem with that logic: we have civilian control over our military.
Who am I to criticize the military? I'm a citizen. I'm the boss, and I'm the one whose treasure is being sacrificed to pay for military jaunts around the world. I have every right to speak in any manner I choose, and I have every qualification to say that I don't see the link between a proposed military operation and the interests of my Nation. I won't say that I have the qualification to say how many troops it would take to secure the ground in Iraq, because on logistical matters, I defer to the expertise of the officers who have experience in such matters. I do not defer to the military across the board, and no one else should, either. The price of stifling dissent in that way is an unchecked military power that can foment justification for virtually any adventure regardless of the connection to actual national security.
It's unpatriotic for a member of the military to utilize their service as a basis for discrediting any dissenting viewpoint offered up by others who haven't served. In America, we have a volunteer military, and the fact that you chose to serve does not serve as a grounds to render your opinion of greater merit than that of others who chose not to serve. Service is an individual choice, but it isn't necessarily a better choice than the alternative. In America, individuals are led by their own convictions and conscience.
The individual who abstains from military service on the grounds of conscientious objection is just as qualified to speak as the individual who enlists in the military upon high school graduation. Because our military is set up to serve at the pleasure and consent of civilian authority, the conscientious objector actually occupies a higher position in the hierarchy. He's a civilian, and his consent is necessary for military action to have any legitimacy whatsoever.
I'll be quite frank: I think our current president and the two who went on before him are absolute assholes. I don't give a damn if you find my way of phrasing my opinion to be impolitic or less than reverential. Let's review, shall we? I've got one president who deployed federal power under false pretenses against a religious sect in Waco, Texas that resulted in the incineration of women and children. He did so because they owned guns legally. And that wasn't his administration's only action against lawful gun ownership: the ATF also made it out to Ruby Ridge, where they killed civilians in an ill-advised and arguable illegal raid given legal legitimacy only by the willful deceit employed by the ATF and the Justice Department in misrepresenting facts to get a warrant. Randy Weaver was given a March 20 trial date, and when he failed to show for the trial on the actual date it was scheduled in February, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
And why? Because he sold two sawed-off shotguns to an informant who was monitoring his political activity on behalf of the federal government. What the hell is the federal government doing infiltrating political gatherings, even if those gatherings are at the World Aryan Congress? It's not an appropriate role for the federal government to take. Weaver broke the law in selling two sawed-off shotguns, but the bottom line is that the informant should have never been in a position to solicit him to do so in the first place. There was and is no legitimate reason for any federal law enforcement agency to monitor political gatherings or send in undercover agents to infiltrate political movements. The reality of the matter is that Weaver didn't sell just anyone an illegal firearm: he sold a federal informant an illegal firearm after that informant solicited him to do so repeatedly. Outside of that context, there's no evidence that Weaver was engaged in any real illegal weapons sales. The federal government manufactured the problem by sending in an informant to political gatherings that federal bureaucrats didn't like with the express purpose of making hay.
That same President lied under oath about receiving fellatio from an intern. He was accused of sexual assault by two women, one of whom alleged that he sexually assaulted her while he was in office. He lied to the entire country about his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. Do I think that he should have been dealing with the Paula Jones case while he was in office? No. Presidents have traditionally been afforded the opportunity to avoid dealing with civil cases until they leave office. The reasons for this are many, but at the core is the sense that a President's political enemies could consume his valuable time with depositions and endless legal shenanigans in order to erode his effectiveness while in office. I don't want the President distracted from carrying out his duties by a civil suit concerning alleged behavior that occurred before he was in office. I didn't like Bill Clinton, but I thought it was reasonable to afford him that minor accommodation.
While Clinton could and did utilize the power of the federal government to regulate and trash political and religious fringe beliefs he and his cronies didn't like, he couldn't use the federal government to keep Elian Gonzalez in South Florida after Elian's mother died fleeing oppression in Cuba. No, no, no...the rights of a father living in totalitarian state trumped the interests of a child who had a shot at living in the freest and wealthiest country in the world, where his life would have been spent in relative plentitude rather than eating beans constantly owing to the central planning of the Castro regime. Oh, and he would have possessed individual rights that far exceeded those he had or would ever have in Cuba.
When it came to constricting the rights of people he and his underlings didn't like or understand, Clinton was fine with the deployment of federal power. When it came to enlarging the potential opportunities of a young boy who lost his mother after she drowned attempting to free him from an oppressive regime, Clinton couldn't bring himself to deploy that same power with any real moral or ethical clarity. State power exists to enlarge individual freedom and opportunity, but Bill Clinton didn't get that.
Neither did George W. Bush, who asked us to give up our freedom from unreasonable search and seizure by passing a Patriot Act that enabled warrantless wiretaps and indefinite detentions without trial or hearing. Actually, he didn't ask...he just got his cronies in Congress to go along with passing a law that is unconstitutional because he knew that the courts really don't give a shit about what the Constitution says or means in regards to the actual language or context in which the Constitution came about. After all, the Supreme Court denied and disenfranchised individual voters in South Florida in the name of equal protection before the law that rendered the votes of Gore supporters decidedly less equal than those of Bus supporters. I hate Al Gore, and voted for Harry Browner, so I was going to lose regardless. The Constitution is whatever they say it is, but they really don't make it up as they go along, so their fiat declarations on such matters shouldn't serve to discredit their ends or their means, because although what they say about the Constitution may fly in the face of historical context and documentation, at the end of the day, their word trumps factual context and historical documentation every single time.
Our current president decided that it would be a good idea to use TARP funds to bailout the automotive industry even though the underlying law which created TARP didn't say one damn word about the automotive industry. The law is whatever he says it is, because he has to have wide latitude and discretion to do what he needs to do, and what he needs to do consists of whatever he wants to do. He's an asshole who isn't above disregarding the law or interpreting it in a manner that fundamentally contradicts the letter therein.
Don't get angry at someone who points that out. Get mad at the President who disrespects the office by flouting the letter of the law in regards to that office and its power. He's the one disrespecting the office by his actions. The problem in our society is that we are partisan to the point where we can't draw reasonable distinctions and place blame where it belongs. Thus far, I've called two Democrats and one Republican assholes for the way in which they abused and overstepped the boundaries of their authority as defined by the Constitution and the law. Most of the people who read this will agree on the one hand and disagree on the other based on their voter registration and the manner in which it aligns them with either the two Democrats or the one Republican.
I don't like Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush either, but I can give them the benefit of the doubt because they did things that weren't politically popular but were necessary to the stability and advancement of the country. Reagan raised taxes six out the eight years he was in office when he realized that his early tax cut would explode the deficit to unsustainable level. Bush did the same, and I can respect it when you do what has to be done even if it costs you political capital among your ideological base. You aren't doing it because it's in your interest as a politician seeking re-election, you're doing it because it's in the best interest of the nation you're in charge of running even though it flies in the face of the ideological message you've been pushing. Were Reagan and Bush's efforts perfect? No. Ideally, their tax hikes would have been accompanied by vast spending cuts, but they compromised in order to hold the line for the country in the face of assholes in Congress. I can't castigate them for coming away with the result they came away with to the same extent I'd castigate Clinton, W., and Obama. At least Reagan and Bush had some cognizance of limitations on their office, even though they flagrantly violated those limits in Iran-Contra. Actually, come to think of it...when Congress passed two Boland Amendments to prevent our intervention in Nicaragua and the Executive Branch decided to go ahead anyway and execute as it saw fit anyway despite legislative prohibitions, Reagan and Bush did cross the line. That makes three Republicans and two Democrats, and I'm calling it like I see it: assholes.
And it's completely patriotic for me to say so, because they broke the law and flouted the Constitution.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Beaking news: David House, supporter and personal friend of Bradley Manning, traveled to Quantico with journalist Jane Hamsher to visit Manning earlier today. Though House is an approved visitor, he was prevented from seeing Manning. They were detained for over 40 minutes. House and Hamsher communicated their detainment via Twitter status updates.In addition to visiting Manning, House was planning to deliver a petition with 42,000 signatures calling for the humane treatment of Bradley Manning. Military officials demanded Hamsher’s Social Security number and prevented her from leaving the base. Their car was then searched and impounded. House was unable to visit Manning.
Manning’s prolonged solitary confinement and confined to his cell for 23 hours per day for 7 months, conditions which many have likened to torture and have resulted in enormous public outcry. Manning’s lawyer has formally protested the conditions. For two days earlier this week, Manning was placed on “suicide watch” against the advice of two psychiatrists, only days after 150+ protesters gathered at Quantico. During that time, he was stripped of all clothing except his boxer shorts, his prescription glasses were confiscated and he was held in his cell for 24 hours per day. The UN special rapporteur on torture is investigating allegations of mistreatment and Amnesty International has a written a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates protesting Manning’s pre-trial confinement conditions.
Jeff Paterson, steering committee member for the Bradley Manning Support Network, responded:
“Having experienced solitary confinement in a military prison personally, I can tell you that denying Manning his one opportunity for a personal visitor is nothing short of cruel. I am concerned that Quantico’s actions today are retaliatory in nature as a result of the criticisms and recent public protests against Manning’s confinement conditions. Quantico is sending a message to supporters: if you speak out against these conditions, we will make things harder on Manning. “
Kevin Zeese, who also serves on the steering committee of the Support Network, added: “These tactics by the military will only result in a wider outcry and more action on the part of Bradley Manning’s supporters.”
Note: this is a developing story. Check back for updates.
UPDATE: 1:08 PM Pacific: Raw Story is providing coverage: Click here to read more.
UPDATE: 1:29 PM Pacific: House confirms: they were held for about 2 hours total and released at 2:50 PM – 10 minutes before the end of visiting hours. House was unable to deliver a petition. Formal statements to post soon.
UPDATE: 1:32 PM Pacific: Firedoglake posts statement of events. Timeline as provided by House and Hamsher, via Firedoglake.
Between 1:00 – 1:30 MPs took their IDs and made them sign a form that they could not deviate to the brig or else they would be considered trespassing. At this time, one of the MPs asked for Hamsher’s auto insurance card. MP Gunnery Sgt. Foster informed Hamsher that her car would be towed after declining to accept a digital copy of Hamsher’s insurance card. House and Hamsher offered to drive off the base but were denied, despite being detained only ten feet inside the base’s perimeter. The MPs then took the Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses of House and Hamsher.
Around 1:40 the tow truck arrived and MPs instructed House and Hamsher to leave their vehicle, informing them that their vehicle would be searched. At 2:00 pm House observed military officers arriving and entering the MP outpost which oversaw their detainment. House expressed concern that he would miss Manning’s visiting hours but was told that he could neither exit nor move forward to the base. No explanation for House and Hamsher’s detainment was provided until 2:50 when they were informed they could leave the base. They were detained for two hours up until Manning’s visitation time period expired at 3:00 pm.
In past visits, Hamsher and House have had no problem driving onto the base to visit Manning. This is the first time House has been denied access to Manning. House and Hamsher’s detainment comes on the heels of Amnesty International calling for an investigation into the conditions of Manning’s confinement. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has also announced that the UN will be starting an investigation and Manning’s attorney has filed an article 138 complaint citing inhumane and overly harsh conditions on part of the Brig. Now House, Manning’s primary visitor outside of his attorney, who has provided public testimony about Manning’s deteriorating conditions as a result to his solitary confinement, has effectively been denied access to Manning.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The enclosed consists of an internal document demonstrating that British Petroleum and a multitude of other companies practiced a deepwater spill in 2000, as part of an exercise to see what would happen. The conclusions therein speak for themselves: BP and others knew that underwater plumes were not only possible but likely:
In such cases (deepwater blowouts), even small stable density gradients in the ambient water may be expected to cause trapping of the plume. However, the oil may finally arrive at the sea surface due to the buoyancy of individual oil droplets. The resulting surface spreading of the oil will then depend on the size distribution of the oil droplets and the strength and variability of the ambient current.
In the plutonomy countries, the rich are such a massive part of the economy, that their relative insensitivity to rising oil prices makes US$60 oil something of an irrelevance. For the poorest in society, high gas and petrol prices are a problem. But while they are many in number, they are few in spending power, and their economic influence is just not important enough to offset the economic confidence, well-being and spending of the rich.
- Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer, Kapur, MacLeod, and Singh.
Energy prices are rising alongside food prices as a result of inflationary based monetary policy deployed by central banks the world over to cushion the landing of the wealthy. The bailouts, currency machinations, and the like are not about saving the world economy; rather, the efforts of central banks are about preserving and extending a failed model at all costs. That model is the plutonomy, whereby the wealthiest members of the global economy siphon off government expenditures in the form of subsidies, government contracts to perform government services, and direct expenditures by the government in the purchase of finished goods. The reason governments have grown over the past 40 years has little to do with any socialist ideology that concerns wealth redistribution from the top down: governments have grown tremendously over the past 40 years, and wealth has been consolidated in the top 10% as a result.
Note: Spending in the chart above encompasses federal, state, and local spending along with federal transfers.
Fiscal Years 1995 to 2015
a - actual reported
e - out-year estimate in US fy11 budget
g - 'guesstimated' projection by usgovernmentspending.com
b - budgeted estimate in US fy11 budget
The numbers don't lie: among the top ten percent, from 1995 to 2004, net worth nearly doubled with an increase of 189%. Government spending across the board grew at a rate of 157%. The truth of government spending is that it exists to provide a demand for services and goods produced by the shareholder class largely lying within the top ten percent. Government spending does not decrease simply due to the resentment of the rich towards higher rates of taxation or any real concern the rich have for the fiscal health of the nation itself. The wealthy possess transient, or mobile wealth. Their wealth is easily converted from stocks to bonds to liquidity based on currency exchange rates and favorable treatments thereof. The elasticity of the wealth possessed by those in upper income brackets effectively insulates them from the same concerns as ordinary people, whether their concerns are based in taxation rates or in the overall economic health of the nation.
I paid 17.7% in taxes, and the average tax rate of my employees in my office was 32.9%, and I have no tax planning...
Much of what we see in our currently accepted statistics of economic health reflect the disproportionate consolidation of wealth in the upper echelons of income brackets, be it the savings rate or the current account imbalances. Take a look at the chart below:
As you can see, the chart indicates that in a plutonomy, where wealth is highly concentrated in the top 10% of a society, the reduced savings rate of that society greatly effects the overall statistics that make up the savings rate. Moreover, as the next chart indicates, savings rates and current account imbalances are closely linked:
The great issue of our economy in the United States, and those economies abroad, is that they are not built to address the demands of any numerical majority, but are instead built to address the concerns and demands of a capital majority. One dollar, one vote, if you will. Now, this in and of itself may not be such an issue, as you would expect a government to do what is necessary to attract business and investment. The problem, however, is that governments aren't being asked to attract investment: they're being asked to backstop investment losses with public funds, and to borrow even more funds in order to backstop future losses. If that strategy isn't sufficient, then governments are being asked to go along with a currency inflation strategy which will devalue the liabilities of wealthy shareholders and financial institutions while simultaneously driving up prices for energy and food paid by average people in the bottom 40%. Take the following quote, from a Citigroup memo:
As we wrote about in September (The Global Investigator, Is Oil Relevant for Equities, September 2 2005), in the plutonomy countries, the rich are such a massive part of the economy, that their relative insensitivity to rising oil prices makes US$60 oil something of an irrelevance. For the poorest in society, high gas and petrol prices are a problem. But while they are many in number, they are few in spending power, and their economic influence is just not important enough to offset the economic confidence, well-being and spending of the rich.
-Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer, Kapur, MacLeod, and Singh.
It might hurt you to belong to the bottom 40% and experience the real unemployment rate of some 17%. Many of you who read this will also be experiencing underemployment in that you aren't making enough to meet your obligations. Capital is the foundation of individual power, and those who have it can bring their governments to heel quite quickly. Those who do not have capital have no means of directing a State in the direction they wish it to go. This is why States around the world have been so generous and expedient in directing bailouts to the financial sector and the shareholders who control that sector, while demonstrating an miserly sensibility about restructuring mortgages and consumer debt.
They are large, and you are not. Your suffering, while disproportionate in numbers, is not disproportionate in capital. You don't make enough of a dent in your distress from a capital standpoint to matter.
The brutal truth is this: not only do those who receive government aid matter more than you, there is very little merit to what they do beyond networking. In this world, it isn't what you know, it's who you know.
"I think basically if you knew Hank Paulson, you got the money."
-Anonymous member of Congress to Matt Taibbi
Government exists to redistribute wealth, although not in the way which average folks have been led to believe. Governments exist largely to ensure that wealth is redistributed upwards in perpetuity, until greater and greater consolidation leads to a capital distortion that manifests itself in a largely unresponsive government that offers cosmetic solutions to real problems. The governments of the world are not concerned with the harsh effects of inflation on the lower rungs of the population precisely because those lower rungs have only a vote to offer. A vote can be rigged, whether through the propaganda machine that passes as a free media these days, or through outright fraud in the form of hacked electronic voting machines that leave no trace of what has occurred. The State is unconcerned with the vote, because the vote is guided and administered by those who own the media, make and distribute the voting machines, and ultimately fund the candidates and their campaigns.
This isn't capitalism. The last thing any wealthy investor in the financial sector wants is a free market, because a free market would have dissolved banks and hedge funds in an acid bath. What banks and investors and businesses want is the antithesis of a free market: they want a market directed by the currency manipulation of central banks. If stock prices collapse, the wealthy go into gold and other precious metals and reap vast profits by doing so. When stocks bottom out, a fire sale occurs and the wealthy emerge owning even more than they owned before. Any losses they do suffer will be made whole in the form of a bailout to those who are politically connected.
And while you and I might feel the pain of soaring gasoline prices and higher grocery bills, those who make up the economic elite are insulated regardless by virtue of their staggering wealth and the tax benefits which make them even wealthier. I've talked to small business owners who made more in tax credits and refunds in a down year than they made in an up year. Government growth is not the ally of poor men or working- and middle-class men. Government growth and expansion is driven almost exclusively by the wealthy financiers and industrialists who make their fortunes plying the government for contracts and deals. To the extent that the media fosters an appearance of government aid to the poor as the net legacy of government expansion, people buy into such notions. However, the net result of any and all government spending is further enrichment for the wealthy, because the money pours into the coffers of the companies they own in the end.
There is profit in destabilization, and political gain can be had rather easily from division along fault lines of resentment. That's the net result of our plutonomy. It's the net result for the world that struggles through the ramifications of government corruption and corporatism. People want to work so badly that they riot when there is no work to be had as a result of government interference and mismanagement. These are not revolutionaries. They're just trying to eat and subsist. Someone always pays the price for corruption in economics, and it's usually people halfway around the world who see their entire lives turned upside down by a government that can no longer deliver on unsustainable economic and social policies. Those people lose the ability to buy food, to earn a living, and to survive through their own efforts.
Central banks have engaged in widespread currency inflation and mismanagement in order to create a better result for banks and shareholders, even at the expense of food and energy prices which will greatly disrupt the lives of those who aren't insulated from such matters by their consolidated wealth. It's lawless behavior, and it robs the money in your pocket of value in order to benefit someone you don't even know...someone who never has to pay for their failures because they belong to a class of people who own the government, the media, and the entire State you'd like to think of as your own. If you spend more than you can afford to spend, or if you borrow more than you can pay back, you face insolvency and ruin. No one prints money for your benefit. No one rigs market conditions to enable you to make a quick buck on your investment.
The State no longer works for you, and it's doubtful that it ever really did work for you to the same extent that it worked for members of the elite. It's time to turn away from the myths and towards the truth, and to begin working for a world where one of two outcomes emerges: either the State is reclaimed for the numerical majority, or the State is abolished as a mode of organization due to its threat to individual autonomy and its constant attacks on law and order through programs that undermine equality before the law. Equality before the law does not guarantee equality in outcomes, but it does ensure that when basic economic rules are broken, those who break them suffer the consequences and therefore possess an incentive to avoid similar behavior in the future. So long as States interfere with this basic mechanism of accountability and consequence, we will continue to see these abuses.
Lawlessness begets further lawlessness. It is time to put a stop to statism once and for all.
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