Jun 8, 2014

Is the U.S. Headed toward Another Recession? - TRNN Webathon Panel

(Source: satanic-capitalist)

Jun 8, 2014

Just Whose National Security?

The doctrine at once suggests a few questions: security for whom, and defense against which enemies? The answers are highlighted dramatically by the Snowden revelations.

Policy must assure the security of state authority and concentrations of domestic power, defending them from a frightening enemy: the domestic population, which can become a great danger if not controlled.

It has long been understood that information about the enemy makes a critical contribution to controlling it. In that regard, Obama has a series of distinguished predecessors, though his contributions have reached unprecedented levels, as we have learned from the work of Snowden, Greenwald and a few others.

To defend state power and private economic power from the domestic enemy, those two entities must be concealed - while in sharp contrast, the enemy must be fully exposed to state authority.

The principle was lucidly explained by the policy intellectual Samuel P. Huntington, who instructed us that “Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.”

Jun 7, 2014
We live, however, in a different political moment. The state is no longer the center of politics. Neoliberalism has made a bonfire of the sovereign principles embodied in the social contract. Nor can we simply diagnose 21st century forms of oppression and exploitation by relying on well-rehearsed orthodoxies of our recent past. With power and its modalities of violence having entered into the global space of flows - detached from the controlling political interests of the nation-state, utilizing technologies far beyond those imagined in the most exaggerating of 20th century fictions, the dystopian theorists of yesteryears prove to be of limited use. Hope appears increasingly to have fallen prey to predatory formations of global capitalism and its engulfing webs of precarity that have reduced human life to the task of merely being able to survive. Individual and collective agencies are not only under siege unlike any other time in history, but have become depoliticized, overcome by a culture of anxiety, insecurity, commodification and privatization.
Disposable Futures (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Jun 4, 2014
Jun 4, 2014

Why Don’t the Unemployed Get Off Their Couches? | naked capitalism

Jun 2, 2014
Jun 2, 2014
Jun 2, 2014

There Are No More Honest Conservatives, So Stop Looking For One

Which returns us to the problem I have with my friend’s question to me in the first place: why is it that liberals and moderates and editorial non- and anti-ideologues of (too) good faith insist on making like the Greek philosopher Diogenes, scouring the horizon for the last honest conservative, instead of accepting the fact that there are virtually none to be found? Diogenes at least knew he was a cynic—a satirist. These editors, though, are entirely, pathetically, in earnest. It’s almost a psychological need—a neurotic refusal within in the reality-based community to accept the reality that conservative intellectualism is a tradition that quite nearly died. (But not entirely died: here, I want to single out the contributions of ISI Books, which among other things has published some genuinely scholarly biographies of important conservatives from a more serious conservative age like Brent Bozell Jr., Robert Nisbet and James Burnham.)

Some smart speechwriter for George W. Bush once came up with a rather brilliant phrase to describe what conservatives see as the moral failing of affirmative action: that it imposes a “soft bigotry of low expectations.” By patting under-qualified minority candidates patronizingly on the head and giving them jobs and educations for which they are not prepared, the argument goes, liberals supposedly do the objects of their tender concern more harm than good—and the greater public good a grievous harm as well. Time to stop the soft bigotry of low expectations toward the right. No more affirmative action for conservatives. It does no good for a right-wing literati that would be better served by a swift kick in the ass.

(Source: azspot)

Jun 1, 2014

Wolf Richter: The Big Hoax Of The Wall Street Hype Machine - naked capitalism

May 29, 2014

The Result of Austerity and Neo-Liberalism is the Rise of the Neo-Fascist Right

You can not, under the neo-liberal model of globalization, tax the rich effectively: they can go somewhere else. You cannot hold wages up, because jurisdictions can always be played against each other. You cannot fix the environment and stop the mass wiping out of species and the probable death of a billion humans, because jurisdictions can be played against each other. That countries no longer produce the majority goods they need themselves, nor in many cases even the food, means jurisdictions cannot unilterally do the right thing, even if they wanted to (which they don’t.)

Because the oligarchs also control the means of ideological dissemination, you also can’t effectively communicate either the problems or good solutions. Because the oligarchs control the means of political production (ie. the process of producing and nominating political candidates), you can’t get into power the people who would actually want to change the neo-liberal political order (and if by some miracle you could, expect them to be treated as Argentina or Venezuela have been treated or destroyed as Howard Dean was.)

Neo-liberalism is an effective ideology and set of policy prescriptions: not because it produces good outcomes for the majority of people (that’s not its purpose), but because it creates a constituency (oligarchs and their supporters/retainers) who are able to maintain it in power.

(Source: azspot)

May 25, 2014

Amazon's Tactics Confirm Its Critics' Worst Suspicions

Now Amazon is walking right into its detractors’ predictions. There are a couple obvious reasons this is a bad strategy. It’s bad public relations — if it doesn’t already, Amazon may soon control a monopolistic stake of the e-book market and its tactics are sure to invite not only scorn from the book industry but also increased regulatory oversight.

But the more basic problem here is that Amazon is violating its own code. To win a corporate battle, Amazon is ruining its customer experience. Mr. Bezos has long pointed to customer satisfaction as his North Star; making sure customers are treated well is the guiding principle for how he runs Amazon.

Now Amazon is raising prices, removing ordering buttons, lengthening shipping times and monkeying with recommendation algorithms. Do these sound like the moves of a man who cares about customers above all else?

(Source: azspot)

May 19, 2014
May 11, 2014

‘Community’ canceled

azspot:

So much for six seasons and a movie. At least not at NBC.

The self-aware meta-comedy “Community” has finally been canceled by the network after spending 5 seasons never quite getting off the bubble, despite amassing a dedicated cult following.

sixseasonsandamovie #thedarkesttimeline #ripcommunity

Well, at least we know all human civilization will be destroyed by an asteroid. And that’s canon.

May 6, 2014
It is capitalism, not government, that is the problem. The fusion of corporate and state power means that government is broken. It is little more than a protection racket for Wall Street. And it is our job to wrest government back. This will come only through the building of mass movements.
The Post-Constitutional Era (via azspot)

(via azspot)

May 5, 2014
america-wakiewakie:

Five Things They Don’t Tell You About Economics | Ha‑Joon Chang 
95% of economics is common sense. You don’t need a degree to understand it. 
We’ve got this profession wrong; a lot of professional economists think what they do is too difficult for ordinary people. You’d be surprised how often these people are stupid enough to say things, at least in private, like ‘you wouldn’t understand what I do even if I explained it to you’. If you cannot explain it to other people, you have the problem.
People express strong opinions on all sorts of things despite not having the appropriate expertise: climate change, gay marriage, the Iraq War, nuclear power stations. But when it comes to economic issues, many people are not even interested, not to speak of not having a strong opinion about them. When was the last time you had a debate on the future of the Euro, inequality in China or the American manufacturing industry, despite the fact that these issues can have a huge impact on your life, wherever you live?
Economics is not a science.
Despite what the experts want you to believe, there is more than one way of ‘doing’ economics
People have been led to believe that, like physics or chemistry, economics is a ‘science’, in which there is only one correct answer to everything; thus non-experts should simply accept the ‘professional consensus’ and stop thinking about it.
Contrary to what most economists would have you believe, there isn’t just one kind of economics – Neoclassical economics. In fact there are no less than nine different kinds, or schools, as they are often known. And none of these schools can claim superiority over others and still less monopoly over truth.
I accept that being suddenly asked to taste nine different flavours of ice cream when you had thought that there was only one plain vanilla can be quite overwhelming. In order to help, I attach here a simple table that will help you overcome your initial fear [see above photo].
Economics is politics.
Economic arguments are often justification for what politicians want to do anyway. Economics is a political argument. It is not – and can never be – a science.
Behind every economic policy and corporate action that affect our lives – the minimum wage, outsourcing, social security, food safety, pensions and whatnot – lies some economic theory that either has inspired those actions or, more frequently, is providing justification of what those in power want to do anyway.
Only when we know that there are different economic theories will we be able to tell those in power that they are wrong to tell us that ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA), as Margaret Thatcher once infamously put it in defence of her controversial policies.
Never trust an economist.
It is one thing not to foresee the financial crisis; it’s another not to have changed anything since.
Most economists were caught completely by surprise by the 2008 global financial crisis. Not only that, they have not been able to come up with decent solutions to the ongoing aftermaths of that crisis.
Given all this, economics seems to suffer from a serious case of megalomania.
The financial crisis has been a brutal reminder that we cannot leave our economy to professional economists and other ‘technocrats’. We should all get involved in its management – as active economic citizens.
We have to reclaim economics for the people It’s too important to be left to the experts alone.
You should be willing to challenge professional economists (and, yes, that includes me). They do not have a monopoly over the truth, even when it comes to economic matters.
Like many other things in life – learning to ride a bicycle, learning a new language, or learning to use your new tablet computer – being an active economic citizen gets easier over time, once you overcome the initial difficulties and keep practicing it.
Unless you are willing and able to challenge the professionals, challenge the experts, what’s the point of having a democracy?
There is no excuse for complacency. If you organize and demand reforms then a lot of amazing things happen, but it won’t come easy – we have to fight for it.

america-wakiewakie:

Five Things They Don’t Tell You About Economics | Ha‑Joon Chang 

95% of economics is common sense. You don’t need a degree to understand it. 

We’ve got this profession wrong; a lot of professional economists think what they do is too difficult for ordinary people. You’d be surprised how often these people are stupid enough to say things, at least in private, like ‘you wouldn’t understand what I do even if I explained it to you’. If you cannot explain it to other people, you have the problem.

People express strong opinions on all sorts of things despite not having the appropriate expertise: climate change, gay marriage, the Iraq War, nuclear power stations. But when it comes to economic issues, many people are not even interested, not to speak of not having a strong opinion about them. When was the last time you had a debate on the future of the Euro, inequality in China or the American manufacturing industry, despite the fact that these issues can have a huge impact on your life, wherever you live?

Economics is not a science.

Despite what the experts want you to believe, there is more than one way of ‘doing’ economics

People have been led to believe that, like physics or chemistry, economics is a ‘science’, in which there is only one correct answer to everything; thus non-experts should simply accept the ‘professional consensus’ and stop thinking about it.

Contrary to what most economists would have you believe, there isn’t just one kind of economics – Neoclassical economics. In fact there are no less than nine different kinds, or schools, as they are often known. And none of these schools can claim superiority over others and still less monopoly over truth.

I accept that being suddenly asked to taste nine different flavours of ice cream when you had thought that there was only one plain vanilla can be quite overwhelming. In order to help, I attach here a simple table that will help you overcome your initial fear [see above photo].

Economics is politics.

Economic arguments are often justification for what politicians want to do anyway. Economics is a political argument. It is not – and can never be – a science.

Behind every economic policy and corporate action that affect our lives – the minimum wage, outsourcing, social security, food safety, pensions and whatnot – lies some economic theory that either has inspired those actions or, more frequently, is providing justification of what those in power want to do anyway.

Only when we know that there are different economic theories will we be able to tell those in power that they are wrong to tell us that ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA), as Margaret Thatcher once infamously put it in defence of her controversial policies.

Never trust an economist.

It is one thing not to foresee the financial crisis; it’s another not to have changed anything since.

Most economists were caught completely by surprise by the 2008 global financial crisis. Not only that, they have not been able to come up with decent solutions to the ongoing aftermaths of that crisis.

Given all this, economics seems to suffer from a serious case of megalomania.

The financial crisis has been a brutal reminder that we cannot leave our economy to professional economists and other ‘technocrats’. We should all get involved in its management – as active economic citizens.

We have to reclaim economics for the people It’s too important to be left to the experts alone.

You should be willing to challenge professional economists (and, yes, that includes me). They do not have a monopoly over the truth, even when it comes to economic matters.

Like many other things in life – learning to ride a bicycle, learning a new language, or learning to use your new tablet computer – being an active economic citizen gets easier over time, once you overcome the initial difficulties and keep practicing it.

Unless you are willing and able to challenge the professionals, challenge the experts, what’s the point of having a democracy?

There is no excuse for complacency. If you organize and demand reforms then a lot of amazing things happen, but it won’t come easy – we have to fight for it.

(via satanic-capitalist)

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