Always on the top ten list of radical conservative conspiracy theories is the U.N. and one world government – here are three that have no basis in reality, here, here and here. Knowing that makes this article from left of center against one world government all the more interesting. One of the more interesting reasons is that in some of the ways in which world governments cooperate, especially in financial markets, are ways that the conservative movement enthusiastically supports. Some of the ways in which there is international cooperation is clearly a good thing. Others not so much. An optimist’s view from the edge of the abyss
What is the link between malicious computer hackers, pollution-spewing power stations, bird flu and complex financial products? All pose potential threats to the planet, its climate and inhabitants that no single government could tackle alone. Collectively, they provide doomsters with reasons why the 21st century could be as blighted by war, plague and economic depression as in the first half of the 20th.
Anyone wanting their spine chilled by things that might go wrong in a world of “turbocharged globalisation” could do worse than read Divided Nations, which examines why global governance is failing and possible remedies. A former World Bank policy director and adviser to Nelson Mandela, Ian Goldin takes the benefits of globalisation as given – yet sees a planet as endangered as it is endowed by its rapid economic and technological integration.
Hackers can plant Trojan horses in computers on the other side of the world. Climate change pits poor nations against the rich, big business against environmentalists. In the run-up to the financial crisis, collateralised debt obligations “played the role of the pathogen”. Flu pandemics, spread by globe-trotting humans carrying treatment-resistant viruses, could pose still greater dangers.
[ ]…Widespread reform may begin after the next global disaster. “The financial crisis is only the first of what will be an increasingly severe set of destabilising shocks in the 21st century. New institutions will emerge out of these crises, just as the key elements of our current institutional structure – including the UN and the Bretton Woods institutions – rose phoenix-like from the second world war.”
Yet Goldin professes himself “an optimist” who believes in the “creative power of humanity”. Eurozone leaders have shown politicians can take tough decisions when looking into the abyss, for instance in Greece. Moreover, he presents plenty of examples of nation states co-operating successfully. He might have explored in greater depth why the world was able to agree cross-border rules on air traffic that have created a robust, reliable system; if only banks could be made as safe.
It is strange, or maybe not considering the global reach and power of today’s multinational corporate powers, that we a little safer from actual disease epidemics, but less safe from financial ones. One of the weakest links in the financial chain is Wall Street. It is even too bigger to fail (sorry about the grammar).
From the 2012 Presidential campaign onwards, Republicans have railed against the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “job-killing,” as a threat to freedom, and as a drag on economic growth. The claim has never comported with evidence, but like a zombie it just refuses to die.
The latest effort to kill it comes via a new study from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, which found that the benefits EPA regulations bring to the economy far outweigh the costs.
The way this works is pretty straight-forward. Environmental regulations do impose compliance costs on businesses, and can raise prices, which hurt economic growth. But they also create jobs by requiring pollution clean-up and prevention efforts. And perhaps even more importantly, they save the economy billions by avoiding pollution’s deleterious health effects. Particles from smoke stacks, for example, are implicated in respiratory diseases, heart attacks, infections and a host of other ailments, all of which require billions in health care costs per year to treat. Preventing those particles from going into the air means healthier and more productive citizens, who can go spend that money on something other than making themselves well again. Another example is carbon emissions, which will impose costs on the economy in the form of future disruption to food supplies, destruction from extreme weather, and other upheavals if they’re not curbed. Researchers generally put those costs at around $20 to $25 per ton of carbon, but estimates vary widely. Other regulations are actually aimed at reducing red tape, improving communication between agencies, and facilitating the flow of information.
Yet we have the American Enterprise Institute, The Hoover Institute and the Chamber of Commerce ( these organizations are megaphones for radical Right wealthy corporate interests), that they’re not making enough money. Billionaire radical conservatives and libertarians such as Sheldon Adelson, Harold Simmons, Bob Perry, Foster Friess, William Doré and Peter Thiel constantly whine about regulations being bad for business. How can a billionaire sit there with a straight face and say that regulation that protects the health of American families is keeping them from making money. Are we so far behind in math in the U.S. that people cannot put two and two together and see that the conservative agenda is about blind greed and avarice for power.
It’s a tragedy that Milton Friedman—born 100 years ago on July 31—did not live long enough to combat the big-government ideas that have formed the core of Obamanomics. It’s perhaps more tragic that our current president, who attended the University of Chicago where Friedman taught for decades, never fell under the influence of the world’s greatest champion of the free market. Imagine how much better things would have turned out, for Mr. Obama and the country.
One has to admire the thickness of Mr. Moore’s tin-foil and the durability of his knee pads to write an opening paragraph like that. The Great Recession or Wall Street meltdown was composed of several factions of Friedman style deregulation and the far Right conservative trend toward laissez faire economics. The culmination of these wonderful Friedmanesque policies resulted in 8 million Americans losing their jobs, millions losing their homes, millions underwater on their mortgage. While the USA lost about $14 trillion dollars of its wealth. In turn the unemployment ripped state and federal revenue, and added billions to state and federal deficits. That in turn had another domino effect, state’s laid off workers to cut budgets. The decease in public sector jobs – mostly teachers, but including fire fighters, clerical workers, custodians, librarians, etc, caused another 750,000 jobs to be lost in the private sector because of the loss in demand. While there were some flaws in The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein( a critique of Friedman’s Chicago School supply side economics) she was right about how conservatives used the worse economic crisis since 1929 to push an even more extreme agenda on the American public. Instead of facing the reality of a crisis in federal and state revenue, conservatives with the aid of the media as usual, convinced a good portion of the public that we didn’t need to raise taxes on millionaires and wealthy corporations ( many of which pay little to no taxes) – what we needed to do was cut spending and gut social safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid. They convinced the public that the problem was not a fifty year trend of redistributing money from working Americans to the plutocrats, we needed to cut unemployment benefits and food assistance. All so that the top 10% of the income bracket, who had every material need meet hundreds of times over, could not have to pay a few percent more in taxes. In the minds of the conservative idolaters like Moore, any criticism of Friedman is a criticism of capitalism. Friedman did what conservatives do, took some fetishistic ideal of what they felt capitalism should be and decided that was the only way to implement capitalism. Democrats, every liberal, every progressive I have ever meet or read likes capitalism, we just don’t like the kind that crushed families so that people like Mitt Romney or the Koch brothers can make even more easy money. Money, or rather capital created by working class Americans that Moore and the conservative movement have proved they have nothing but contempt. Friedman lived long enough to see he was wrong about capitalism always producing freedom – see China, the authoritarian capitalist poster child. Democracy has links with capitalism, but one does not guarantee the other, contrary to Friedman orthodoxy. Friedmannomics gave America this:
The Cult of Friedman thinks any attempt to return the U.S. back to the glory days of the New Deal, Glass-Steagall, to regulate derivatives – the age where America created the greatest economic expansion in history based on Keynesian economics, is the exact same thing as Marxism. When it is about a genuine merit based society that provides equal opportunity ( Republicans would lock people out with a kind of Jim Crow-lite society that keeps out minorities, women, traditional blue-collar workers and the working poor). Conservatives do not want any humaneness to enter into their version of capitalism. The rich and upper middle-class have what they have because by balance of their bank accounts they are more virtuous. It’s a vicious cycle in which they reward each other for the happy accidents of birth and the blessings of luck they have had in life. Economic justice, intellectual prowess, a solid work ethic, creativity, strength of character – are not according to conservatives worth much or meaningful, compared to how much black ink one has on the bottom line.
Romney spoke favorably about the fact that health care makes up a much smaller amount of Israel’s gross domestic product compared to the United States:
“Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent,” he said. “You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of G.D.P. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.”
Israel spends less on health care because of a universal health system that requires everyone to have insurance. Every Israeli citizen has the obligation to purchase health care services through one of the country’s four HMOs since government officials approved the National Health Insurance Law in 1995.
John Hindrocket at Powerline has looked at the above and the rest of Romney’s Excellent European Adventures and come to the conclusion that like his former flame George W. Bush, Romney’s brilliance is unappreciated. If Romney plans on implementing an Israel style health care program here – like Obamacare, only a little better – maybe John is right for once.
More let’s prove Mittens foreign policy credentials goodness, Mitt Romney Misuses Judaism to Support Israel and Buttress His Own Campaign. I happen to enjoy history. Though I understand not everyone shares that interests. Mittens, like Sara Palin, has this attitude that history does not really matter, so why get some major details wrong. Even if the history they get wrong is a source of cultural identity.
Brown doesn’t say why he specifically disagrees with Cathy’s statement, because he certainly agrees with Cathy’s anti-equality position. He voted against Massachusetts’ same-sex marriage law when he was in the state legislature, and has a long and problematic history on LGBT issues, even to the point of being the only member of the state’s congressional delegation to not participate in their “It Gets Better” video.
Brown is well out of the mainstream with the rest of Massachusetts on this one. PPP polled the state in June and it’s clear the state is happy with the law.
62% of voters said they support gay marriage being legal to only 30% who think it should be illegal […]
64% say legalizing gay marriage had no impact on their lives to 20% who think it’s been a positive thing and 16% who believe it’s been negative.
Which is undoubtedly why Scott Brown says he disagrees with Cathy’s statement, but won’t say why, and won’t say why he himself is adamantly opposed to marriage equality.
Is it possible those greasy chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A have clogged Brown’s sense of moral decency.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has spoken a lot about cutting government spending, lowering taxes for corporations, and removing social safety nets that millions of people rely on. But while he is busy eliminating more than $3 billion from public classrooms, his administration is simultaneously racking up hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal expenses to defend several of its own unconstitutional laws and fight frivolous battles in federal court over Obamacare.
To date, Rick Scott has authorized more than $888,000 for legal costs.
Scott is one of the followers of the Friedman Shock Doctrine, always use a crisis to screw over the most vulnerable Americans and get more freebies for corporations and the buddies at the yacht club.
Illustrated Family Record (Fraktur) Found in Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File, for Philip Frey, Pennsylvania. Date Created: Around 1780 CE – 1815 CE.
If you have ever had as much dealings with public and other assorted legal records as I have, the illustrative embellishments are especially appreciated. It is an actual legal document. Like all wars the American Revolutionary War had it bureaucratic side. Thus records must be kept. In this case the newly formed Continental Congress had passed laws promising grants of government owned land and pensions ( pensions are those among many things that conservatives consider an evil force, yet are happy to have pension invest in businesses they own) to regular soldiers and officers who had served in the war. As well as their survivors – such as widows. This illustrated family record is in German Fraktur script. It was a hand written and colored, birth and baptismal document submitted as part of the application for a pension by Anna Margaretha Kolb, wife of Revolutionary War veteran Philip Frey. Mr. Frey had served between April 1776 and January 1778. It is known that he fought at the battles at Long Island, White Plains, and Germantown. After the war he was officially discharged at Valley Forge. Beginning in March 1839, His wife Anna received $8 a month in veterans pension payments based upon her husband’s service. The certificate is in German because German was still the daily language spoken by most residents of 18th- and 19th-century Pennsylvania. Thus began America’s decline in the evil welfare state that we all know today.
This is hilarious in a way, Fox’s Karl Rove Accuses Obama Campaign Of Attempting To Buy The Election. Rove uses two conservative rules straight out of the Republican playbook. He accuses the other side of what he and his crony pals are most guilty. Then deflects a political point on which Republicans are weakest – the public perception that conservatives are fundamentally corrupt puppets of special interests. Let’s say that President Obama and his supporters could buy the election the way Scott Walker (R-WI) bough the recent recall election in Wisconsin. Who and or what would make that possible. The decision by the conservative Republicans on the SCOTUS called Citizens United. By making the surreal claim that political contributions and the propaganda they created via shadowy groups, for were the same thing as free speech, conservatives made buying elections perfectly legal. As the Citizens case was being weighed by the Court, many conservatives went into outrage mode over the fact that Free Money Speech could be regulated. While the ultimate source of the big bucks going into the 2010 and now, the 2012 election cycle can remain in the shadows, the dollar amounts have a way of becoming public. If anyone is buying this election it is Mitt Romney and Republicans. Wall Street’s vote: Romney by a landslide
For three years, Wall Street’s been telling the world how much it can’t stand President Barack Obama.
Now, thanks to campaign finance filings, it’s possible to put a price tag on just how much: Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting it are outraising Obama among financial-sector donors $37.1 million to $4.8 million.
Near the front of the pack are 19 Obama donors from 2008 who are giving big to Romney.
The 19 have already given $4.8 million to Romney’s presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting it through the end of April, according to a POLITICO analysis of Federal Election Commission filings. Four years ago, they gave Obama $213,700.
None of them has given a penny to the president’s reelection campaign or the super PAC supporting it.
Ken Griffin, founder of the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, has accused Obama of engaging in “class warfare” and gave $2,500 to Romney’s campaign, plus nearly $1.1 million to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. But in 2008, Griffin donated the maximum $4,600 to Obama’s campaign and helped raise another $50,000 to $100,000.
“It is critical that the next president appreciates that America’s prosperity is driven by the innovation and hard work of the American worker, whose valiant efforts have, in recent years, been undermined by the oppressive weight of government intervention,” Griffin told POLITICO in a statement.
Romney is helped by Obama’s support for Dodd-Frank, emphasis on higher taxes for the wealthy and aggressive anti-Wall Street rhetoric. But timing plays a role, too: The rise of super PACs and unlimited outside money means donors spurned by the president can take out their revenge tenfold.
Anthony Scaramucci, a Manhattan hedge fund manager who made the Obama-to-Romney switch, said finance donors are migrating from Obama to Romney because “they feel that our country is in trouble — that our economy is in trouble.”
“There is so much dissatisfaction with the current president and his failed policies that we have found more and more people who are willing and wanting to get involved and who are eager to line up behind Gov. Romney,” Scaramucci said.
President Obama has been mean to Wall Street? That would be because of all the bankers, traders and hedge fund managers that have been prosecuted and sent to jail? No because all those people are making pretty much the same huge unearned millions they were making when they crashed the economy. Who is paying for that? People who do actual work. Who is Anthony Scaramucci – a guy who considers himself a hard worker,
What Robinson nails is the way that this is what Scaramucci does — it’s his job. Scaramucci is a fund-of-funds manager, posting returns even he admits are lackluster: he more or less tracks the S&P 500, while making big, risky bets (a third of his assets are in MBS), investing in leveraged hedge funds, and reserving the right not to redeem his clients’ money upon request. Which means that he only has two ways to make money: either find stupid people to give him their money, or else shower himself with so many conspicuous indicia of success that people just want to buy into his perceived success.
[ ]….But he’s not a stock-picker, or even, really, a hedge-fund manager: he just plays one on TV.
And he’s also dangerous:
SkyBridge, which manages $2.8 billion in assets, is aiming its funds of funds at so-called mass affluent investors. They are households with a net worth of $100,000 to $1 million not counting their primary residence…
“I want to be the Peter Lynch of the hedge-fund industry,” Scaramucci says, referring to the Fidelity Investments money manager and TV spokesman who helped popularize mutual-fund investing in the 1980s and 1990s. “I want to make hedge-fund investing approachable to the average American investor.”…
The fund of funds has a minimum threshold investment of only $25,000, and SkyBridge sells it through Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit and other retail brokerages.
This is a really, really bad idea. Households with less than $1 million in net worth should not be investing in hedge funds; they should certainly not be paying Scaramucci 1.5% a year for the privilege of doing so. (Plus front-end “placement fees” of as much as 3%.)
Gee, maybe Obama should panic, he is losing the support of sleazy self promoting assclowns. Who is Ken Giffins -expert on class warfare? According to Forbes he is worth $3 billion. Every penny of capital he has ever gambled with originated with some working class Joes and Janes that made a product or service while Giffins sit back and sweated over a spread sheet. While I hope he lives a long healthy life, he he dropped dead tomorrow the economy would keep on ticking just as well if not better without him. If there is any proof to the contrary for either Giffins or Scaramucci I’d be happy to read it. That anyone has any respect for either of these arrogant thieves in pin-stripes says something about the twisted idolatry that so many Americans have been taught to bestow on the financial elite. You know why Ken and Anthony are still so wealthy after they crashed the economy? Tax payers bailed them out. They’re both welfare queens who take the big profits but pass the losses to you and me.
I will give Giffin credit for at least a short while, he pushed for making derivative trading part of some kind of transparent market-like stock exchange. That will never happen now, and certainly has no chance in a Romney administration. So Giffin is your basic Wall Street BullSh*ter.
“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” – Thomas Paine
November 6, 2011 Washington Post article by Zach Goldfarb:
During Obama’s tenure, Wall Street has roared back, even as the broader economy has struggled.
The largest banks are larger than they were when Obama took office and are nearing the level of profits they were making before the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, according to government data.
Wall Street firms — independent companies and the securities-trading arms of banks — are doing even better. They earned more in the first 2 1 / 2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, industry data show.
Behind this turnaround, in significant measure, are government policies that helped the financial sector avert collapse and then gave financial firms huge benefits on the path to recovery. For example, the federal government invested hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in banks — low-cost money that the firms used for high-yielding investments on which they made big profits.
This is one of those occurrences or attitudes that is easy to over analyze – Wall Street or at least a sizable chunk of it does not like Obama now for ….fill in the blank with a dozen wonky reasons. One reason will do. There is no amount of money and power which will make them grateful or content. The median income of the American household has slipped to about $52k. Giffin’s worth is the same as 77,000 households. Does he do the work of that many families. Is he as smart as those families. Does the value he adds to the economy add up to the same as 77,000 families. You know who thought like Giffin and Romney? 16th century kings. The little people should be grateful for the kings like Romney and Giffin and just the heck up.
For nearly a decade, Beth Jacobson lived inside the vast machinery of subprime mortgages that shook the nation’s economy.
In sworn court testimony, she described watching loan officers comb through heavily African American areas such as Baltimore and Prince George’s County, forging relationships with churches and community groups to sell their members shoddy mortgages. She says she processed loans for homeowners with sterling credit ratings with higher interest rates than they needed to pay. And she says she pumped out millions of dollars in mortgages to people with no paperwork and low incomes, becoming Wells Fargo’s top-producing loan officer.
Mitt Romney spent this morning in Florida trashing the stimulus, saying the Obama administration “borrowed almost a trillion dollars but used it to protect government.”
But just hours after the speech, Romney boarded a plane to Tennessee to fundraise with a beneficiary of Obama’s stimulus funds.
Romney will spend Tuesday night at a $10,000-a-head fundraiser at the house of Orrin H Ingram II, Chairman of the Ingram Barge Company — which received $130,000 in federal stimulus money. Ingram Barge Company is a private company, not a government entity.
By taking any campaign contributions from anyone who received stimulus money or benefited from Recovery Act funds, Romney is running his campaign on stimulus funds.
1. Issa Has No Case: Issa’s uncovered no evidence showing Holder bears any blame for the botched operations begun under George W. Bush, even though the Justice Department turned over thousands of pages of documents concerning the operations. Instead of accepting this fact, Issa has requested many more documents containing confidential information regarding ongoing law enforcement investigations, and is now threatening to hold Holder in contempt if these documents are not turned over. Holder is entirely correct to withhold these documents, however, because Justice Department documents are not subject to congressional subpoena if they would reveal “strategies and procedures that could be used by individuals seeking to evade [DOJ’s] law enforcement efforts.”
The only scandal here is Issa using his Congressional powers as a lawmaker to carry out a political attack for the benefit of the Republican party.
SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME | Preview | PBS
SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME is a 90 minute documentary that challenges one of America’s most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.