Aug 212013
 

Is Islam fundamentally incompatible with democracy? Time and again events compel us to ask this question. And yet it is a question that obscures more than it illuminates.

Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia are very different countries, but one thing that they share are Islamist governments (at least until recently in Egypt’s case). To varying degrees, these governments have undermined their democratic credentials by failing to protect civil and human rights and employing heavy-handed tactics against their opponents. Despite repeated assurances, Islamist leaders have shown little interest in democracy beyond winning at the ballot box.

So those who believe that the removal of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s government was justified have a point. As the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule became increasingly authoritarian, it trampled on the ideals and aspirations of the Tahrir Square revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

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Jul 262013
 

And are ultimately destroying it

In every era, there are certain people and institutions that are held in the highest public regard as they embody the prevailing values of society. Not that long ago, Albert Einstein was a major public figure and was widely revered. Can you name a scientist that commands a similar presence today?

Today, some of the most celebrated individuals and institutions are ensconced within the financial industry; in banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms. Which is odd because none of these firms or individuals actually make anything, which society might point to as additive to our living standards. Instead, these financial magicians harvest value from the rest of society that has to work hard to produce real things of real value.

While the work they do is quite sophisticated and takes a lot of skill, very few of these firms direct capital to new efforts, new products, and new innovations. Instead they either trade in the secondary markets for equities, bonds, derivatives, and the like, which perform the 'service' of moving paper from one location to another while generating 'profits.' Or, in the case of banks, they create money out of thin air and lend it out at interest of course.

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Mar 202013
 

Over a decade during which the US economy was decimated by jobs offshoring, economists and other PR shills for offshoring corporations said that the US did not need the millions of lost manufacturing jobs and should be glad that the “dirty fingernail” jobs were gone.

America, we were told, was moving upscale. Our new role in the world economy was to innovate and develop the new products that the dirty fingernail economies would produce. The money was in the innovation, they said, not in the simple task of production.

As I consistently warned, the “high-wage service economy based on imagination and ingenuity” that Harvard professor and offshoring advocate Michael Porter promised us as our reward for giving up dirty fingernail jobs was a figment of Porter’s imagination.

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Mar 082013
 

Structural changes in U.S. industry over the past 30 years caused primarily by the financial sector’s insatiable quest for profits have left “gaping holes” in the American system of scaling up new technologies to large-scale production, according to preliminary findings from a study conducted by 20 professors and their students at MIT.

“The fact is that resources that used to be there as public goods — things that companies could draw upon if they did not create those resources themselves — have dried up and shrunk and moved away,” says Suzanne Berger, MIT professor of political science and co-director of MIT’s Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) project. “No company, not even the largest U.S. multinational, can create in-house all of the resources it needs to scale products up, and this is all the more true of startups and main-street manufacturers.”

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Oct 232012
 

What if electrical power in the home was only for rich people? What about heat? What about running water? What if that divide between the rich and the poor could be delineated by who had the ability to turn on light at the flick of a switch and who did not?

Many people worry about an event like a solar flare that would wipe out electrical power, casting us back about 200 years. We’d have no refrigeration, no transportation, no climate control and no lights. But in that situation, we’d all be in the same boat. No matter how wealthy you are, any unprotected electrical items would still be useless.

What if the real threat was simply that no one could afford to pay the electric bill? What if prices escalated to the point that it was a choice between food and electricity? What if, home by home, the lights went out across America?

Across the world, the prices of electricity are rising dramatically. Customers have been warned that they will face increases. Smart meters have been installed nearly everywhere. Many places are instituting time-of-day pricing, making it only affordable to do your laundry in the middle of the night. The UK has announced that people can expect rolling blackouts beginning sometime next year and their power costs have risen 31% since 2010.

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May 142012
 

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer.
- D.H. Lawrence

The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations … where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket … where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practicing.
- Raymond Chandler
 
American pop culture is certainly not unique in having a love affair with killers. Since the first cave man cracked his neighbor’s head open to control a water hole, eliminating others has been top on the list of problem-solving techniques.

Life today has evolved to the point the club has been improved and a young man can sit in an air-conditioned room sipping a Diet Pepsi as he whacks somebody 12,000 miles away. Or else an elite team of tricked-up killers with sophisticated air support can be dropped in at night to do the job.

That’s the state of the art of homicide 2012, America’s dirty little secret.

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Feb 272012
 

As a proponent of legitimate free markets, I am always up for a little creative entrepreneurship. However, there is a considerable difference between building productive markets, and engaging in monopolistic piracy. Global conglomerates and the elites that operate them have long been familiar with the pirate’s life, and not the fun filled adventure-time rope swinging swashbuckling brand. In fact, it was elitists like Sir Francis Drake, commissioned by the English monarchy, who embodied this disturbing covert bedlam. We’re talking murder, mayhem, and blood-money, folks! So, it should be of no surprise to anyone that the thieving mercantile swine of our era are returning to the high seas to plunder once again, only in a much more subversive and devious manner.

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Feb 082012
 

‘Too Big to Fail’ Clearinghouse Hunt .. Regulators have notified some payment and clearing firms that they face a review to determine whether their failure could pose a risk to the economy. The Financial Stability Oversight Council, comprising top financial regulators and created by the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law, last month sent letters to so-called financial-market utilities—the minutes didn’t specify which or how many—saying they are being considered for designation as systemically important. The council disclosed it had sent the letters in minutes from its last meeting, released Wednesday. – Wall Street Journal

Dominant Social Theme: Important businesses cannot be allowed to fail. If, in fact, government must prop them up and take them over, then so be it. Look how well GM is doing!

Free-Market Analysis: Is this how fascism comes to America? It would seem a steady drip, drip, drip of frenetic government activism is concretizing the fascist state the way lime solidifies cement.

Even in the 1980s under the Reagan administration, the media mythos of the US emphasized its marketplace affiliations. The idea was that US civilization was succeeding because it was market based. But this rhetoric seems to have been abandoned in the 2000s.

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Feb 082012
 

The Department Of Homeland Security is the very epitome of unnecessary bureaucracy. Its formation was predicated on the existence of terrorist threats, many of which the U.S. government and orbiting alphabet agencies either created through acts of war, or fabricated out of thin air. Its policies of centralization were sold to the public as necessary to prevent systemic “miscommunications” that never actually took place. Throughout our history, it has been a rare occasion indeed when an attack falls upon American infrastructure or interests that was not influenced, directly or indirectly, by the actions of agencies which were supposedly employed to prevent such events from ever occurring. Whether through ‘blowback’, or through ‘false flag’, frankly, most of the harm that comes to our nation is perpetrated by the guiding hand of our inexorably corrupt government.

Knowing that the DHS was established on false pretenses forces us to question the agency’s true intentions, especially when a professional fear-monger like Secretary Janet Napolitano announces that the globalization of the world economy falls within her jurisdiction:

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/01/27/the-urgent-need-to-protect-the-global-supply-chain/

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Nov 152011
 

Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have both been forced from office and replaced by representatives of big finance. Mario Monti, who will replace Berlusconi, was formerly the European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission and a member of the Bilderberg Group. He is also listed on Goldman Sachs board of international advisers.

Lucas Papademos, who will replace Papandreou, was formerly the Vice President of the European Central Bank (ECB), and served as Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 1980. He’s also been a member of the Trilateral Commission since 1998.

It’s also worth noting that the ECB’s new president, Mario Draghi, is a trustee at the Brookings Institution, a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a former member of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements, and a former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs.

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