Apr 252019
 April 25, 2019  Posted by at 9:03 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Giovanni Bellini Pietà 1505


There Will Be No Soft Brexit Now. It’s No Deal, Revoke Or Another Vote (G.)
More British Families Than Ever Depend On Food Banks (Ind.)
Curbing Pensioner Benefits Could Help The Young (G.)
Deutsche Bank Handing Over Trump Loan Documents To NY Officials (AFP)
Former AG Mukasey Shreds CNN For Misleading Russia Conspiracy Theories (RT)
She Wrote The Patriot Act. Her Next Job Is With Facebook (ZH)
Iceland Court Orders Valitor (Formerly VISA) to Pay WikiLeaks $10 Million (GP)
Global Grounding Of 737 Max Will Cost Boeing More Than $1 Billion (G.)
Tesla Reports Another Doozie (WS)
Belt and Road Forum: China’s ‘Project Of The Century’ Hits Tough Times (G.)
Past Role and Current Risks from China – Anne-Stevenson Yang (HF)
Declare Capitalism Dead – Before It Takes Us All Down With It (Monbiot)
‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’: Vast Expanse Of Rainforest Lost In 2018 (G.)



There’s sweet poetic justice in the European elections playing a decisive role in what Brexit means.

There Will Be No Soft Brexit Now. It’s No Deal, Revoke Or Another Vote (G.)

Until recently, my view could have been summarised as follows: Brexit remains a lamentable event I will always oppose; but, in the absence of public permission to overturn it, a softer version would be less bad than a hard one, and could provide the fragile basis for an eventual form of reintegration with Europe down the line. At times in the past five months, ever since the UK and the EU struck the withdrawal agreement, a pragmatic compromise of this kind has seemed tantalisingly viable. Desperately though they tried through the winter, the hard Brexiteers failed to harden the original deal or take down May in the way they wanted. That left a space in the political centre.

So, when May finally made an opening to Labour in early April, there was a possibility that a Brexit compromise was on the cards – even at the eleventh hour and in spite of the immense party political difficulties it might entail for both. But it hasn’t happened. The talks between the government and Labour continue. But they are not going anywhere. This week both May and Jeremy Corbyn accused the other of dragging their feet. That could be a cunning joint deception, preparing their respective parties for a surprise deal. But it isn’t the case – believe me. There is an increasing air of unreality about the whole thing. On both sides of the table, the participants are looking over their shoulders at their own colleagues, not negotiating in earnest.

There are three big issues on the table in these talks. But there is no agreement on any of them. The first is over the terms of a future customs union and on single market alignment. The second, on which the two sides have had the biggest arguments, is on “future-proofing” any agreement against the next Conservative leader. The third is over the role, if any, of a confirmatory second vote. On each of these, May is unwilling to make concessions – or even to put options on the table – that would further divide the Tories, while Corbyn remains deeply reluctant to become co-owner of a joint agreement that might end in the overturning of Brexit.

Read more …

Parliament’s too busy with Brexit.

More British Families Than Ever Depend On Food Banks (Ind.)

Food bank use has soared to record levels, with the number of emergency supplies distributed across the UK having risen by nearly a fifth in one year, new figures show. Campaigners said it was “shameful” that a growing number of Britons were unable to feed themselves after data published by the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest food bank provider, revealed 1,583,668 three-day emergency food supplies were distributed in the year to March 2019 – a 19 per cent rise on the previous year. More than half a million of these (577,618) went to children, fuelling concerns about rising child poverty, after government figures last month revealed that the number of youngsters living in absolute poverty had increased by 200,000 in a year – to a total of 3.7 million.

The figures have also prompted renewed criticism of the government’s flagship welfare reform, universal credit, as the Trussell Trust said issues with moving onto the new system were a “key driver” of increasing need, primarily due people having to wait five weeks for payment under the new system. Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood branded the sharp rise “shocking” and said the “need for emergency food parcels in one of the richest countries of the world” was “shameful”. “Nobody in our society should be forced to turn to food banks to survive. Despite ministers’ attempts to explain away food bank use, the Trussell Trust is very clear that cuts to social security and the five-week wait for universal credit payments are key reasons for the rise,” she added.

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Free TV licenses? What century is this? But seriously, this is why I think a UBI is inevitable. Taking from the old to give to the young is not an answer.

Curbing Pensioner Benefits Could Help The Young (G.)

Free TV licences for over-75s should be scrapped, the age threshold for free bus passes raised and the triple-lock on pensions abolished to close the widening gap between young and old in Britain, according to a Lords report. The House of Lords committee on intergenerational fairness and provision said it was time to rebalance government policy in favour of the young, to remove the risk of the social bonds between generations fraying further. For reasons of fairness and because many pensioner households across the UK have become better off on average than many working-age families, it called on ministers to curb several benefits targeted at older Britons.

The report said the triple-lock – which raises state pension payments in line with the highest of consumer price inflation, average earnings growth, or 2.5% – should be removed. The increase in annual pension payments should instead track average earnings, it said. Free TV licences based on age should be phased out but could be offered based on household income instead. The age when older people can apply for a free bus pass and receive winter fuel payments should also rise to at least five years after a person becomes eligible for the state pension, said the report. It added that this could be phased in to coincide with the state pension age rising to 67 from 2026.

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And there we go again.

NB: Deutsche just announced the death of the merger with Commerzbank.

Deutsche Bank Handing Over Trump Loan Documents To NY Officials (AFP)

Deutsche Bank has begun to provide documents on financing for some of President Donald Trump’s projects to New York State authorities, a source familiar with the matter told AFP on Wednesday. In mid-March, New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed the German bank, demanding records related to loans and lines of credit granted to the Trump Organization. The money was intended to finance projects such as Trump hotels in Washington, DC, Miami and Chicago, another source told AFP last month on the condition of anonymity. It was unclear whether Deutsche Bank had provided all the documents requested.

“We remain committed to cooperating with authorized investigations,” a bank spokesman told AFP, while declining to comment on a CNN report that the company was handing over the documents. James’ office also declined to comment on the status of the documents regarding financing for the Trump Organization, the holding company that has been run by Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr since he entered the White House. New York authorities also wanted records related to the Trump Organization’s failed attempt in 2014 to buy the Buffalo Bills football team, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Read more …

On CNN, no less: “In essence, panels of people sitting around a table inhaling their own exhaust, and getting high on it.”

Former AG Mukasey Shreds CNN For Misleading Russia Conspiracy Theories (RT)

Retired US Attorney General Michael Mukasey slammed CNN on its own network for what he said was flawed coverage of the special counsel investigation into US President Donald Trump. Appearing for a one-on-one interview on Cuomo Prime Time on Tuesday, Mukasey said CNN was “misleading a lot of people” in its coverage of the investigation, which sought to determine whether then-candidate Trump conspired with Moscow to win the 2016 presidential election. “You have a big audience – getting smaller by the minute now,” he said to host Chris Cuomo, who laughed nervously. Mukasey served as attorney general from 2007 to 2009 under the George W. Bush administration.

While the special counsel’s final report did not find evidence of a criminal conspiracy with Russia, the report was for weeks the subject of intense speculation in the media. Mukasey was not impressed with CNN’s performance in the lead-up to the report’s publication, as the network insisted on the collusion narrative. “Your network was devoting days of people sitting around and talking about a report whose contents they didn’t know – that they hadn’t seen,” Mukasey said. “In essence, panels of people sitting around a table inhaling their own exhaust, and getting high on it.” He added that CNN helped to whip the country into “a state of absolute hysteria” over the investigation. “Consider this,” he said, “[Trump is] being investigated for a crime that didn’t happen, and that he certainly didn’t commit.”

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Facebook = CIA.

She Wrote The Patriot Act. Her Next Job Is With Facebook (ZH)

Facebook announced Monday that Jennifer Newstead, a Trump appointee who served in the Department of Justice (DoJ) under President Bush, will join the social media company as General Counsel, supervising its global legal functions. Newstead replaces Colin Stretch, who announced in 3Q18 that he will exit. Stretch will remain with Facebook through the transition phase, expected to be completed in the coming months. “Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer. “We are also truly grateful to Colin for his dedicated leadership and wise counsel over the past nine years. He has played a crucial role in some of our most important projects and has created a strong foundation for Jennifer to build upon.”

Newstead brings a terrifying history of lobbying and legislating for an Orwellian style of mass electronic surveillance of Americans. The Hill explains she was credited with writing the controversial 2001 Patriot Act, a piece of legislation that stripped Americans of their First and Fourth Amendments in the name of fighting the War on Terror. In a 2002 statement, Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh described Newstead’s role in drafting the Patriot Act: “Her enhanced leadership duties and her excellent service on a range of issues — including helping craft the new U.S.A. Patriot Act to protect the United States against terror — have earned her this important distinction. She is first among equals.”

Congress enacted the Patriot Act in the wake of September 11, 2001 attacks, the Act expanded the scope of the government’s surveillance powers to investigate terrorism, organized crime, and drug trafficking. It allowed government investigators to use roving wiretaps and the ability to collect telephone records from US carriers.

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That means Assange defense.

Iceland Court Orders Valitor (Formerly VISA) to Pay WikiLeaks $10 Million (GP)

The Icelandic court has ordered Valitor, formerly VISA Iceland, to pay WikiLeaks $10 million in damages over the 2011 banking blockade. Valitor had been ordered to process card payments for WikiLeaks in 2013 by the same court, and was told they would face daily penalties if they refused to comply. By not reinstating services, the company was fined $204,900 per month or $2,494,604 per year for continuing the blockade. On Wednesday, Icelandic media reported that the company has now been ordered to pay up. Valitor has stated that they are likely to appeal, according to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks had launched a case against Valitor in Reykjavik back in June of 2012 over the unlawful suspension of financial services against Wikileaks.

Ten days after WikiLeaks published Cablegate, they were blockaded by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union. The political effort to defund the organization lead to a wave of hacks and cyber attacks against the companies by transparency activists. “The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency. The US government itself found that there were no lawful grounds to add WikiLeaks to a US financial blockade. But the blockade of WikiLeaks by politicized US finance companies continues regardless,” WikiLeaks said in a statement at the time.

Read more …

Appears to be a real low amount. They lose a billion a month from not building 52 but 42 planes.

Global Grounding Of 737 Max Will Cost Boeing More Than $1 Billion (G.)

The global grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max jets will cost the company more than $1bn, the company said on Wednesday. In its first quarterly earnings report since the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines disasters, Boeing announced it had abandoned its 2019 financial outlook and halted share buy-backs in mid-March as it deals with the crisis. Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “We have great sorrow for the families affected. This weighs heavily on us.” He said the company’s first priority was to get the 737 Max back in the air and that the company was working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other regulators to end the aircraft grounding.

The announcement was a sharp reversal from Boeing’s last earnings report in January, when executives unveiled plans to deliver more than 900 jetliners this year alongside higher sales and profits. The world’s largest plane-maker reported first-quarter revenue and cashflow below sharply lowered Wall Street estimates, largely due to stopping deliveries of the 737 Max jets, which were grounded in March after the two crashes. [..] Boeing cut production of the jets following the crashes to 42 aircraft per month, down from 52, and its operating cash flow in the first quarter was about $350m lower than a year earlier.

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Musk’s business models are all based on subsidies.

Tesla Reports Another Doozie (WS)

It would be a joke for a small niche automaker, specialized in luxury cars, with a global market share of less than 1% to get this kind of global attention. But Tesla is unique because of its extraordinarily ludicrous stock price. Though that price has come down by about 32% from its peak in June 2017, it’s still ludicrously high. More on that in a moment. We’re going to skip over all the glossy stuff and go straight to the financial statement, more specifically to the bottom line of the income statement, where Tesla reported a zinger of a net loss of $702 million, its third-worst quarterly net loss ever. We note here that part of Tesla’s business model is to sell taxpayer-funded pollution credits to other companies, but they’re not fully disclosed until Tesla files its 10-Q at a later date:

These pollution credits are pure profit. For Q1, Tesla disclosed only $15 million of these credits. For the full disclosure we have to wait until Tesla files its 10-Q report for Q1 at a later date, when no one pays attention. For example, in the miraculous third quarter last year, Tesla reported a profit of $311 million on October 24, and all the world was left speculating and digging into how it accomplished this. At the time, it disclosed $52 million in “regulatory credits,” as it calls them. But then on November 2, Tesla filed its 10-Q for that quarter, disclosing that $189.5 million of its $311 million in profits had come from the sale of those “regulatory credits,” a much larger amount than typical.

[..] at the price of $258.66 a share at the close today, Tesla has a market capitalization of $44.7 billion. By comparison, GM – and I’m no fan of GM at this price – which made $48 billion in net income over the past four years and whose revenues of $147 billion in 2018 were seven times the size of Tesla’s, has a market cap of $56.6 billion. And at peak Tesla nuttiness, there were long periods when the market cap of Tesla exceeded that of GM. So to have some fun, I created this chart to show the difference in market cap (GM minus Tesla) in billion dollars.

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“debt trap diplomacy”

Belt and Road Forum: China’s ‘Project Of The Century’ Hits Tough Times (G.)

As China fetes its Belt and Road initiative at a summit this week, Chinese officials will be working hard to defend the flagship project from growing international criticism. The three-day forum starting on Thursday is meant to promote Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s “project of the century”, a foreign policy initiative launched in 2013 to revive ancient trading routes between Asia and Europe, as well as build new links in the Middle East, Africa, and South America. But in contrast to its first summit two years ago, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) takes place in a much less welcoming environment. Critics say the initiative is an effort to cement Chinese influence around the world by financially binding countries to Beijing by way of “debt trap diplomacy”.

“The ‘Belt and Road initiative’ (BRI) is not a geopolitical tool but a platform for cooperation,” Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said last week, ahead of the forum “We welcome all parties to take part in it.” This week’s event is especially important for Beijing, which uses the forum as a way to convince the international community, as well as its own citizens, of the success of the project. Beijing is likely to laud the memoranda of understanding signed at the event, which will conclude with a joint communique. [..] The event is to be attended by 37 leaders, including Russian president Vladimir Putin, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte, UK chancellor Philip Hammond, Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan and the heads of state of the 10 Asean (Association of South-east Asian Nation) states.

Read more …

“In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with China expert Anne Stevenson-Yang about the imminent dangers facing global financial markets in the event of a break in the renminbi-dollar peg.”

“I really have never seen a listed company in China that did not have material and significant fraud.” – Anne Stevenson-Yang”

Past Role and Current Risks from China – Anne-Stevenson Yang (HF)

The problem is that China generated a tremendous amount of money and credit since the GFC, in particular, and therefore risks a major devaluation in the value of the RMB should the country no longer be able to get the foreign exchange reserves it needs through a sustainable current account surplus. They are, at the moment, running a negative current account, a negative fiscal balance (of roughly 9% of GDP), their foreign exchange reserves are declining for the first time ever, while the country’s external debt has doubled in the last five years, increasing by an average of $70 billion per quarter since the beginning of 2017. More than half of this debt is short-term, which means it needs to be constantly rolled over.

Up until the Fed paused it’s tightening cycle, the rising interest rates coupled with new tariffs on Chinese goods were creating a pincer-like effect on China’s economy and on its ability to maintain its peg, forcing it to fund more of its dollar needs through borrowing at ever higher interest rates. China cannot maintain a credible peg between the RMB and the USD when its money supply is growing, by some calculations at more than 10x that of the United States over the last 10 years. This is a fundamental problem of accounting. If China were completely self-sufficient – if it had access to sufficient energy, food, base metals, etc. within its own borders – then its inability to obtain dollars would not be an issue. The problem is that it is desperately short these commodities as inputs for its manufacturing and domestic consumption.

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Not a Monbiot fan, but surely a discussion point. Unlike him, do come with an alternative.

Thunberg: ‘That future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once.’

Declare Capitalism Dead – Before It Takes Us All Down With It (Monbiot)

Capitalism’s failures arise from two of its defining elements. The first is perpetual growth. Economic growth is the aggregate effect of the quest to accumulate capital and extract profit. Capitalism collapses without growth, yet perpetual growth on a finite planet leads inexorably to environmental calamity. Those who defend capitalism argue that, as consumption switches from goods to services, economic growth can be decoupled from the use of material resources. Last week a paper in the journal New Political Economy, by Jason Hickel and Giorgos Kallis, examined this premise. They found that while some relative decoupling took place in the 20th century (material resource consumption grew, but not as quickly as economic growth), in the 21st century there has been a recoupling: rising resource consumption has so far matched or exceeded the rate of economic growth.

The absolute decoupling needed to avert environmental catastrophe (a reduction in material resource use) has never been achieved, and appears impossible while economic growth continues. Green growth is an illusion. A system based on perpetual growth cannot function without peripheries and externalities. There must always be an extraction zone – from which materials are taken without full payment – and a disposal zone, where costs are dumped in the form of waste and pollution. As the scale of economic activity increases until capitalism affects everything, from the atmosphere to the deep ocean floor, the entire planet becomes a sacrifice zone: we all inhabit the periphery of the profit-making machine.

[..] The second defining element is the bizarre assumption that a person is entitled to as great a share of the world’s natural wealth as their money can buy. This seizure of common goods causes three further dislocations. First, the scramble for exclusive control of non-reproducible assets, which implies either violence or legislative truncations of other people’s rights. Second, the immiseration of other people by an economy based on looting across both space and time. Third, the translation of economic power into political power, as control over essential resources leads to control over the social relations that surround them.

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The only thing we’re acutally good at is destruction.

‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’: Vast Expanse Of Rainforest Lost In 2018 (G.)

Millions of hectares of pristine tropical rainforest were destroyed in 2018, according to satellite analysis, with beef, chocolate and palm oil among the main causes. The forests store huge amounts of carbon and are teeming with wildlife, making their protection critical to stopping runaway climate change and halting a sixth mass extinction. But deforestation is still on an upward trend, the researchers said. Although 2018 losses were lower than in 2016 and 2017, when dry conditions led to large fires, last year was the next worst since 2002, when such records began. Clearcutting of primary forest by loggers and cattle ranchers in Brazil dominated the destruction, including invasions into indigenous lands where uncontacted tribes live.

Losses were also high in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Indonesia. Indonesia is the only major country where government protections appear to be significantly reducing the losses. Ghana and Ivory Coast recorded the biggest percentage rises in rainforest destruction, driven by gold mining and cocoa farming. “We are nowhere near winning this battle,” said Frances Seymour from the World Resources Institute, part of the Global Forest Watch (GFW) network, which produced the analysis. “It is really tempting to celebrate a second year of decline since peak tree cover loss in 2016 but, if you look back over the last 18 years, it is clear that the overall trend is still upwards.”

“The world’s forests are now in the emergency room – it is death by a thousand cuts,” she said. “Band-Aid responses are not enough. For every hectare lost, we are one step closer to the scary scenario of runaway climate change.” There are many government and corporate efforts to combat deforestation, but they are not proving to be enough, Seymour said.

Read more …



Home Forums Debt Rattle April 25 2019

This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  V. Arnold 5 months, 4 weeks ago.

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    Giovanni Bellini Pietà 1505   • There Will Be No Soft Brexit Now. It’s No Deal, Revoke Or Another Vote (G.) • More British Families Than Ever Dep
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle April 25 2019]


    V. Arnold

    Kudos to Graeber; as an economic historian he has only one equal; Michael Hudson…


    V. Arnold

    I often refer to being grounded; in a literal sense, being directly in touch with the earth itself with your bare skin; as in barefoot on the dirt/earth.
    Ilargi offers exactly that; fully grounded reportage on the relevant events on planet Earth.
    Keep it coming….


    Dr. D

    “She Wrote The Patriot Act. Her Next Job Is With Facebook (ZH)”

    Always has been CIA. Google “LifeLock”. Or Zuck’s history, his funding, and how he stole the company. This is exactly as predicted since when, 1949?, and exactly as hundreds of people like me said the day the Patriot Act appeared. “Oh no,” they said, “the terrorists are real, you’re just an unhinged conspiracy theorist. When have governments ever done anything wrong or abused their power, say by using the new secret courts to wiretap and rig Congressional and Presidential elections? It will never happen.” Sigh. Now the Death Star is practically fully-built, facial recognition is installed at airports, DNA tracking is widely used and people are still denying it, but Assange is the villain here. Beam me up.

    “I really have never seen a listed company in China America that did not have material and significant fraud.” – Anne Stevenson-Yang”

    Fixed it.

    “Global Grounding of 737 Max Will Cost Boeing More Than $1 Billion (G.)”

    The least they can do. I hope they lose more. Problem is, they’ll just go bankrupt and then I’LL pay the billion in bailouts. …Ya know, with all that money we citizens have laying around, stacked in boxes and hiding under the bed.

    “Tesla Reports Another Doozie (WS)”

    Besides leveling mountains for lithium in Afghanistan and burning all their owners alive, doesn’t Tesla make like 1/10th as many cars as a niche carmaker Porche? They’re the definition of nobody: total failure. Their only success was in making the government steal the money of poor people in Flint, to subsidize ultra-expensive cars and solar arrays for the ultra-rich in Potrero Hill on the Bay. …Somehow they’re amazed that MI seems to be mad at them and voting against the virtue-signaling rich robbing people so poor they have rabbit hutches in their living room for food. But I don’t mind, I’ll just reach under the table for another stack of cash Powell just printed for me. …Oh wait, I forgot that was for BlackRock and Sachs. Somehow my check is lost in the mail.

    Speaking of Tesla: “‘That future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time…”

    Go Green! Remember it’s ‘Capitalism’ when the government takes your money and hands it to a private billionaire corporation and their stockholders and it’s Socialism and Fascism when… Oh wait, that IS Socialism and Fascism, not ‘Capitalism’, my mistake. ‘Capitalism’ is when the government DOESN’T combine and pick winners and losers, so the losers go bankrupt like honest men, not slimy, whinging thieves.

    To Manbiot’s point, was Medieval Europe ‘capitalism’? Were the Navaho? Um, yes: they made things, including capital goods, got to keep the fruits of their labors, and traded with their neighbors. Golly gee Batman, yet they were also a sustainable, non-growth economy and their behavior and ‘capitalism’ did not go feral. …So maybe you’re just making up this stuff about ‘Capitalism’ when really you mean something completely different. It’s not like I’m making this up, everybody knows these examples and hundreds more. Engage thinking. Make it so.

    The problem is not one of ‘capitalism’ or non-capitalism, although non-capitalisms like Socialism have killed 100 million people so far and are gunning to kill some more. It’s about our culture and priorities, so you can use the economic system as a tool to overgrow, extract and destroy the same way you can use a shovel as a hammer. It’s not what it’s made for, it’s not even related, but if that’s your intent…

    He speaks of resource use, but the top users are China and India, who are not really ‘capitalist’. Maybe he should tell the centrally-planned communist party to knock it off? But then he couldn’t call for centrally-planned schmarty-pantz guys like himself to decide everything for the poor and powerless. Note that his meta on “seizing of commons” is by definition a repudiation of the very IDEA of private property. If I kill a deer or catch a fish, it’s not mine under his theory. It’s a “bizarre assumption” that the real owner isn’t HIM, being one of the schmarty-pantz warlords or their ear-whispering advisors.

    Do I overstate myself? If it’s not owned by me, by a person, then it’s owned by whom? That’s right, the government, the “people”, which because he styles HIMSELF as speaking on behalf of the people as a great and benevolent leader, means that property is owned and controlled by HIM, and therefore NOT by me or anyone at my level. It’s owned by the ‘special animals’ who are more equal than others. I pay tax on that fish the King didn’t grow, didn’t catch, and never knew existed but for me. It’s the King’s deer, and I need permission from the Chancellor in triplicate to move a dunghill in Nottingham. Right! Got it! Can you show me anyplace that ever worked or you didn’t kill a million people trying it? Well-meaning Utopians have killed more people than smallpox and plague combined. I will resist them killing me, my family, and my community yet again, until someday they stop their tyranny and learn to leave others alone in their insane gambit for power and control.

    ‘Capitalism’: the worst possible system expect for all the others.

    “Death by a Thousand Cuts’: Vast Expanse of Rainforest Lost in 2018 (G.)”

    Trying to be positive, approach this another way: we are learning the Rainforest isn’t ‘wild’ at all. Humans have planted, groomed, and chosen the species that exist there. Even the soil there is fake: once supporting 20M people in the Mayan-era with cities larger than London, they hand-created the soil, created the floating garden islands up through Mexico City out of soil as impassible as terra-cotta, as barren as Mars. And it doesn’t take that long, only some brains. So saying ‘People” are bad, ‘Capitalism’ is bad, the people were both complete terra-formers and ‘capitalists’ (in a way) over the whole peninsula and yet created a jungle garden from sea to sea. It was their model, their intent that was different. So whose model are we pushing today that is so annihilistic? The ‘people’s’ model? Or the banks’?

    For Graeber, the malaise that is taken us, that is killing 45,000 in suicide and 60,000 in opioids each year, is the loss of meaning in our lives. If the model is annihilistic, if it is killing everyone and everything ‘human’, why WOULD we push on the gears for them? The system has been engineered to be so anti-human that the humans are now revolting and would rather die, would rather be shot in the face by a gendarme, than participate. This is what they are most mad about, and what cannot now be stopped. Despite Manbiot’s and AOC’s attempt to kill us all, we will beat the Authoritarian Fascists yet again.


    Dr. D

    * LifeLOG.



    I recall seeing cows standing in a feedlot after the rain had soften the shit. They were stuck, up to their belly. I’m sure that they did not think that the shit had hit the fan.


    John Day

    I’m in agreement with Graeber, Hudson and being grounded literally by planting and harvesting in real soil, and watching it. I’m looking out at the Austin garden now. We got 2 inches of rain yesterday, had fresh spinach last night, and I pulled a bunch of big carrots just now. this link is oldish news, provided just for pictures of my new and established Texas gardens, weekend before last.



    “I’ve ended up calling my cat Brexit,” the paper quoted France’s Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau as writing. “It wakes me up meowing like crazy every morning because it wants to go out, but as soon as I open the door, it just sits there undecided and then looks angry when I put it outside.”


    John Day

    @Dr D:
    If it’s not owned by a person it is owned by…?
    I think Corporations are forms of oligarchy.
    Whaddayuz think?


    John Day

    Milo Minderbinder’s “Syndicate” corporation, in Catch-22, provides a good, and increasingly complex and conflicted model of global corporate governance.
    Milo Minderbinder is the mess officer at the United States Army Air Corps base who becomes obsessed with expanding mess operations and trading goods for the profits of the syndicate (in which he and everyone else “has a share”). Milo is a satire of the modern businessman, and beyond that is the living representation of capitalism, as he has no allegiance to any country, person or principle unless it pays him.[3]
    Minderbinder, unlike most characters in Catch-22, who are only the subject of one chapter, is the subject of three chapters (Chapter 22: “Milo the Mayor”, Chapter 24: “Milo” and Chapter 35: “Milo the Militant”). He is one of the main characters in the novel. His most interesting attributes are his complete amorality without self-awareness, and his circular logicality in running his Syndicate.
    Minderbinder’s enterprise becomes known as “M&M Enterprises”, with the two M’s standing for his initials and the “&” added to dispel any idea that the enterprise is a one-man operation. Minderbinder travels across the world, especially around the Mediterranean Sea, trying to buy and sell goods at a profit, primarily through black market channels. Everyone has a “share”, a fact which Minderbinder uses to defend his actions, stating that what is good for the company is good for all. For example, he secretly replaces the CO2 cartridges in the emergency life vests with printed notes to the effect that what is good for M&M is good for the country.
    Eventually, Minderbinder begins contracting missions for the Germans, fighting on both sides in the battle at Orvieto, and bombing his own squadron at Pianosa. At one point Minderbinder orders his fleet of aircraft to attack the American base where he lives, killing many American officers and enlisted men. He finally gets court-martialed for treason. However, as M&M Enterprises proves to be incredibly profitable, he hires an expensive lawyer who is able to convince the court that it was capitalism which made America great, and is absolved only by disclosing his enormous profit to the investigating congressional committee.


    John Day

    And now for something really NOT completely different…
    Did Israel Kill both Kennedy Brothers?​ Thanks Eleni.
    This article focuses on the motive of Israel to save it’s nuclear weapons program at Dimona, which JFK opposed most firmly, then the need to keep everything covered up by preventing a President RFK from investigating.
    The article is long, detailed and focused on Israel. Why does it come out in Russia Insider? More Russian interference?
    I personally think the deposed CIA Chief, Alan Dulles, the CIA, the Pentagon, the “military industrial complex” and the Federal Reserve Banking System all had ample interest in the elimination of JFK right away.
    This was the Globalist Deep State blood-inauguration. Note: Sirhan Sirhan is a Palestinian Christian, not Muslim.
    Let’s now conclude our overview of the evidence: beside the fact that John and Robert were brothers, their assassinations have at least two things in common: Lyndon Johnson and Israel.
    First, their deaths are precisely framed by Johnson’s presidency, which was also the context for other political assassinations, such as Martin-Luther King’s. Johnson was in control of the State during the two investigations on John and Robert’s murders.
    Secondly, in both cases, we find the fingerprints of Israel’s deep state. In the case of Robert, it is the choice of the manipulated patsy, which was obviously meant to disguise Robert’s assassination as an act of hatred against Israel. In the case of John, it it is the identity of the man asked to kill the patsy, a Jewish gangster linked to the Irgun.
    Johnson and Israel, the two common elements in the Kennedy assassinations, are themselves closely linked, since Johnson can be considered as a high-level sayan, a man secretly devoted to Israel, or owned by Israel, to the point of committing high treason against the nation he had been elected to lead and protect.
    The causal link between the two assassinations then becomes clear: even if Robert had been pro-Israel, which he was not, Israel and Johnson would still have had a compelling reason to eliminate him before he got to the White House, where he could—and would—reopen the investigation on his brother’s death.
    What should have been obvious from the start now appears brightly clear: in order to solve the mystery of the assassination of John Kennedy, one has simply to look into the two other assassinations which are connected to it: the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man whose trial could have exposed the hoax and possibly put the plotters into the light, and the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the man who would have reopened the case if he had lived. And both these assassinations bear the signature of Israel.
    At his death in 1968, Robert Kennedy left eleven orphans, not counting John’s two children, whom he had somewhat adopted. John’s son, John F. Kennedy Jr., aka John John, who had turned three the day of his father’s funeral, embodied the Kennedy myth in the heart of all Americans. The route seemed traced for him to become president one day. He died on July 16, 1999, with his pregnant wife and his sister-in-law, when his private plane suddenly and mysteriously nose-dived into the ocean a few seconds after he had announced his landing on the Kennedy property in Massachusetts.


    John Day

    Oh, My! I seem to be on a roll this morning.
    Let me defend Monbiot, by way of “agreeing with what he meant”, as Hillary Clinton recently did, while explaining Nancy Pelosi’s reluctance to push for Trump impeachment.
    I do present a process for development of a new market economy, which needs to develop to meet the emerging economic circumstances, which have never exactly existed in the past.
    They will change, too. This adaptation in groups is what we do that sets us apart in the ecosystem on the surface of the blue planet.
    First, a Monbiot quote, with which we can agree, basically about thermodynamic principles. To run any process requires a reduction in total energy/entropy in a system. Something must be “dissipated”.
    “A system based on perpetual growth cannot function without peripheries and externalities. There must always be an extraction zone – from which materials are taken without full payment – and a disposal zone, where costs are dumped in the form of waste and pollution. As the scale of economic activity increases until capitalism affects everything, from the atmosphere to the deep ocean floor, the entire planet becomes a sacrifice zone: we all inhabit the periphery of the profit-making machine.”
    What this thermodynamic analysis leaves in the long term is the work done from sunlight by photosynthesis, but we are not suddenly reduced to that, because we still have so much order and knowledge, and analysis capacity, which has come from burning coal, oil and gas.
    That technical capacity is currently dedicated to burning more coal, oil and gas, as rapidly as possible, but that directive is already foundering.
    The big question right now, the immediate problem, is how 7 billionish people stop running down hill faster and faster, and do something less doomed.
    Individuals with wiggle room can make adaptive changes in the right direction, and they will need to expend available energy and technical resources to make those small changes. Any of those changes will be open to logical attack for being wasteful, but in that analysis, we can only curl up and die.
    Our greatest potential as a species lies in optimizing our strong suit to the cultivation of photosynthetic living ecosystems on the face of the planet. It’s something we do.

    The progressive goal of this for humans is to have a good quality of life by being healthy and helpful and cooperative versions of the animals we were born as, not struggling to become more like machines, fighting distraction, fatigue and the urge to urinate. (We’re about at the end of that alley.)
    This contrasts with the capitalist prime directive of winning by being the most effective at expending energy and resources every day, and thereby dominating and displacing the other contestants in the competition. That is short-termism.
    I recently saw a genetic analysis, done over 150 years or so, that American families in a few towns with very good birth and death records, maximized their longer term growth by having fewer children later and investing in them. In the short term, breeding like rabbits won, of course, but I postulate that it failed badly in “selection events”, when things got difficult and needed sustained work and insightful innovation to adapt successfully.
    Look up there! Selection Event on the horizon! …
    Next agreeable Monbiot paragraph:
    “This drives us towards cataclysm on such a scale that most people have no means of imagining it. The threatened collapse of our life-support systems is bigger by far than war, famine, pestilence or economic crisis, though it is likely to incorporate all four. Societies can recover from these apocalyptic events, but not from the loss of soil, an abundant biosphere and a habitable climate.”
    Now, a Monbiot paragraph with which I disagree, but mainly due to the boundary conditions, which he seems to assume. Rent extraction destroys real political economy in the long term, as per classical economics, but “wealth creation” happens within certain defined boundaries, and if those boundaries are defined as “photosynthesis” and “using stuff that already exists”, and “burning fossil fuel as a transitional investment in the new system”, then it looks pretty do-able. “Growth” needs rethinking.
    “In the New York Times on Sunday, the Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz sought to distinguish between good capitalism, which he called “wealth creation”, and bad capitalism, which he called “wealth grabbing” (extracting rent). I understand his distinction. But from the environmental point of view, wealth creation is wealth grabbing. Economic growth, intrinsically linked to the increasing use of material resources, means seizing natural wealth from both living systems and future generations.”
    Here is another paragraph about reframing goals/objectives/success, with which we can agree:
    “Like coal, capitalism has brought many benefits. But, like coal, it now causes more harm than good. Just as we have found means of generating useful energy that are better and less damaging than coal, so we need to find means of generating human wellbeing that are better and less damaging than capitalism.”
    More agreeableness:
    “There is no going back: the alternative to capitalism is neither feudalism nor state communism.”
    I accept Monbiot’s closing summation, a call to cooperative problem solving:
    “So what does a better system look like? I don’t have a complete answer, and I don’t believe any one person does. But I think I see a rough framework emerging. Part of it is provided by the ecological civilisation proposed by Jeremy Lent, one of the greatest thinkers of our age. Other elements come from Kate Raworth’s doughnut economics and the environmental thinking of Naomi Klein, Amitav Ghosh, Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, Raj Patel and Bill McKibben. Part of the answer lies in the notion of “private sufficiency, public luxury”. Another part arises from the creation of a new conception of justice based on this simple principle: every generation, everywhere, shall have an equal right to the enjoyment of natural wealth.
    I believe our task is to identify the best proposals from many different thinkers and shape them into a coherent alternative. Because no economic system is only an economic system but intrudes into every aspect of our lives, we need many minds from various disciplines – economic, environmental, political, cultural, social and logistical – working collaboratively to create a better way of organising ourselves that meets our needs without destroying our home.
    Our choice comes down to this. Do we stop life to allow capitalism to continue, or stop capitalism to allow life to continue?”


    V. Arnold

    @ John Day
    I’m not sure it’s accurate to say we’re a species that’s gone completely off the rails; or, more likely, it’s just us westerners and our industrialised view of this world and life specifically.
    But we are prosletising our toxic belief system across the planet. Fortunately, not all are attracted by or to this system.
    Russia and China offer a glimmer of hope; but our kamikaze policies may yet kill us all…
    Keep on keeping on…

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