April 15, 2013
Hey folks I’m closing down this blog in a day or two…

… and moving things over to alxschn.tumblr.com - follow me there?

April 12, 2013
edgeperspectives:

I believe this is called collateral damage. Nothing to worry about. Think about all the money we are saving on trials. 

10 Children killed in U.S. led airstrike yesterday. Is this really necessary? Why do we let this happen? Do Americans have no compassion?

edgeperspectives:

I believe this is called collateral damage. Nothing to worry about. Think about all the money we are saving on trials. 

10 Children killed in U.S. led airstrike yesterday. Is this really necessary? Why do we let this happen? Do Americans have no compassion?

April 11, 2013
theeconomist:

Tomorrow’s cover today: now especially, the world needs to hold fast to Margaret Thatcher’s principles.

Do yourself a favor and stop reading garbage like this magazine.

theeconomist:

Tomorrow’s cover today: now especially, the world needs to hold fast to Margaret Thatcher’s principles.

Do yourself a favor and stop reading garbage like this magazine.

2:41pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Ze50rxiS2lvy
  
Filed under: the economist 
April 9, 2013
satanic-capitalist:


Thatcher’s Mean Legacy: The Queen Mother of Global Austerity and Financialization
Monday, 08 April 2013 14:16By Jeffrey Sommers and Michael Hudson, Counterpunch | Op-Ed


We typically honor the convention to refrain from speaking ill of the recently departed. But Margaret Thatcher probably would not object to an epitaph focusing on how her political legacy was to achieve her professed aim of “irreversibly” dismantling Britain’s public sector. Attacking central planning by government, she shifted it into much more centralized financial hands – the City of London, unopposed by any economic back bench of financial regulation and “free” of meaningful anti-monopoly price regulation.
Mrs. Thatcher transformed the character of British politics by heading a democratically elected Parliamentary government that permitted financial planners to carve up the public domain with popular consent. Like her actor contemporary Ronald Reagan, she narrated an appealing cover story that promised to help the economy recover. The reality, of course, was to raise Britain’s cost of living and doing business. But this zero-sum game turned the economy’s loss into a vast windfall for the Conservative Party’s constituency in Britain’s banking sector.
By underpricing her privatization of British Telephone and subsequent vast monopolies, she made it appear that customers would be the big gainers, rather than large financial institutions. And by giving underwriters a windfall 3% commission (formerly based on floating the stock of much smaller start-up companies), Mrs. Thatcher oversaw the start of Britain’s Great Polarization between the creditor 1% and the increasingly indebted 99%.
Attacking rent-seeking in government, she opened the floodgates to economic rent-seeking in its classical sense: land rent in real estate (with debt-inflated “capital” gains) to make British property so high-priced that employees who work in London must now live outside it, taking highly expensive privatized railroads to work. Privatization also created vast new opportunities for monopoly rent for privatized public utilities, along with predatory financial takings by increasingly predatory banking.
Finance has been the mother of monopolies ever since Dutch and other foreign creditors helped England incorporate the East India Company in 1600, the Bank of England in 1694, and other commercial monopolies culminating in the South Sea Company in the 1710s.
By time Mrs. Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, Britain had made over a century of enormous investment in public infrastructure. Financial managers eyed this commanding height as a set of potential monopolies to be turned into cash cows to enrich high finance. Mrs. Thatcher became the cheerleader for what became the greatest giveaway of the century as the City of London’s gain became the industrial economy’s loss. Britain’s lords of finance became the equivalent of America’s great railroad land barons of the 19th century, the ruling elite to preside over today’s descent into neoliberal austerity.
Her tenure as Prime Minister seemed to reprise Peter Seller’s role in Being There. She made good television precisely because her philosophy was stitched together in a sequence of sound bites that flattened complex social and economic relationships into a banal personal psychodrama. Mrs. Thatcher’s ability to sweep the broad financial and economic polarization and financial “free lunch” behind a curtain enabled her to distract attention from the consequences of what Harold Macmillan characterized as “selling off the family silver.” It was as if the economy was a middle-class grocer’s family trying to balance its checkbook along the lines of what its banker insisted were necessary in the face of wages being squeezed by rising prices for basic needs.
The ground for Mrs. Thatcher’s rule was prepared by the fact that England’s economy was as much a mess as the rest of the world by the time she took office. The 1979 Winter of Discontent saw a perfect storm unfold. Unable to restrain Arthur Scargill and other and other labor grandstanders, the British Labour Party felt little need to wait for Britain’s share of North Sea oil to come on stream. That windfall would subsidize a decade of dismantling what was left of British industry. Oil states do not need to be efficient. They do not need industry, or even employment.
Labour Prime Minister James Callahan made a token attempt to address these issues by requesting an IMF loan in 1976 to finance tangible industrial re-investment as bridge financing until the UK’s North Sea oil could begin generating foreign exchange. But US Treasury Secretary Bill Simon read him the riot act. IMF and U.S. policy was to provide credit only to pay bondholders, not to build up the real economy. Britain would be advanced loans only if it reoriented its economy to let high finance do the planning.
The UK became the IMF’s best neoliberal poster child, establishing a comparative advantage in offshore finance in what ultimately would flower as Gordon Brown’s notorious Light Touch that brought about the banking collapses of 2008. In this sense her role was to serve as Britain’s version of Boris Yeltsin, sponsoring the carve-up of centuries of public investment.
Mrs. Thatcher stepped into the post of Prime Minister in 1979 just as the neoliberal ploy was getting underway. The “grocer’s daughter” depicted Britain’s problems as a result of uppity labor. Her view stuck a chord as labor leaders called a series of politically self-defeating strikes that disrupted daily life and made it even more of a struggle than usual for most voters. Britain’s economy had never been riper for a divide and conquer strategy.
The new twist was that the class war aimed at labor in its role of consumer and debtor, not as employee. England’s domestic industry took one beating after another as factories closed their doors throughout the country (with the most successful becoming gentrified real estate developments).
The Iron Lady was convinced she was rebuilding England’s economy, while in reality it was only getting richer from London’s outlaw banks. Throughout the world, the damage wrought by this financialized economy has been immense. By “liberating” national money from the constraints of taxing authorities, the Middle East stopped much of its projects for industrial development. After 1990 the Soviet bloc was deindustrialized to become an oil, gas and mining economy. And for Britain, trillions of dollars in global tax revenues that could have been used for industrial and social development were routed though London, where the UK has lived off the fees from this free-for-all. So despite Mrs. Thatcher’s admiration for Milton Friedman, famous for claiming that There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, she made Britain’s economy all about obtaining a free lunch – eaten by the world’s financial managers who flocked to its shores.
How much did Lady Thatcher come to understand about a financial sector of which she never deliberately favored? She never expressed regret about how her policies paved the way for New Labour to take the next giant step in empowering the City of London’s financial complex that has un-policed the banks to catalyze one financial crash after the next, hollowing out Britain’s economy in the process.
When Mrs. Thatcher took power, 1 in 7 of the England’s children lived in poverty. By the end of her reforms that number had risen to 1 in 3. She polarized the country in a ‘divide & conquer’ strategy that foreshadowed that of Ronald Reagan and more recent American politicians such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The effect of her policy was to foreclose on the economic mobility into the middle class that ironically she believed her policies were promoting.
Pundits the world over are chirping about her role in “saving” Britain, not as indebting it – destroyed an economy in order to save it. Her rule was historic mainly by posing the conundrum that has shaped neoliberal politics since 1980: How can governments nurture and endow financial kleptocrats in the context of rule by popular consent?
This can be achieved only by violating the Prime Assumption of classical liberal political philosophy: voters must be sufficiently informed to understand the consequences of their actions. This means that governments must take a long-term perspective.
But finance always has lived in the short run, and nowhere in the world is banking more short-term than in Britain. Nobody better exemplified this narrow-minded perspective than Lady Thatcher. Her simplistic rhetoric helped inspire an inordinate share of simpletons conflating supposed common sense with wisdom.
Not altogether simple, perhaps, but simply opportunistic. As the uncredited patron saint of New Labour, Mrs. Thatcher became the intellectual force inspiring her successor and emulator Tony Blair to complete the transformation of British electoral politics to mobilize popular consent to permit the financial sector to privatize and carve up Britain’s public infrastructure into a set of monopolies. In so doing, the United Kingdom’s was transformed from a real economy of production to one that scavenged the world for rents through its offshore banks. In the end, not only was great damage inflicted on England, but on the entire world as capital fled developing countries for safe harbors in London’s banks. Meanwhile, governments throughout the world today are declaring “We’re broke,” as their oligarchs grow ever more rich.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

satanic-capitalist:

Thatcher’s Mean Legacy: The Queen Mother of Global Austerity and Financialization

Monday, 08 April 2013 14:16By Jeffrey Sommers and Michael HudsonCounterpunch | Op-Ed

We typically honor the convention to refrain from speaking ill of the recently departed. But Margaret Thatcher probably would not object to an epitaph focusing on how her political legacy was to achieve her professed aim of “irreversibly” dismantling Britain’s public sector. Attacking central planning by government, she shifted it into much more centralized financial hands – the City of London, unopposed by any economic back bench of financial regulation and “free” of meaningful anti-monopoly price regulation.

Mrs. Thatcher transformed the character of British politics by heading a democratically elected Parliamentary government that permitted financial planners to carve up the public domain with popular consent. Like her actor contemporary Ronald Reagan, she narrated an appealing cover story that promised to help the economy recover. The reality, of course, was to raise Britain’s cost of living and doing business. But this zero-sum game turned the economy’s loss into a vast windfall for the Conservative Party’s constituency in Britain’s banking sector.

By underpricing her privatization of British Telephone and subsequent vast monopolies, she made it appear that customers would be the big gainers, rather than large financial institutions. And by giving underwriters a windfall 3% commission (formerly based on floating the stock of much smaller start-up companies), Mrs. Thatcher oversaw the start of Britain’s Great Polarization between the creditor 1% and the increasingly indebted 99%.

Attacking rent-seeking in government, she opened the floodgates to economic rent-seeking in its classical sense: land rent in real estate (with debt-inflated “capital” gains) to make British property so high-priced that employees who work in London must now live outside it, taking highly expensive privatized railroads to work. Privatization also created vast new opportunities for monopoly rent for privatized public utilities, along with predatory financial takings by increasingly predatory banking.

Finance has been the mother of monopolies ever since Dutch and other foreign creditors helped England incorporate the East India Company in 1600, the Bank of England in 1694, and other commercial monopolies culminating in the South Sea Company in the 1710s.

By time Mrs. Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, Britain had made over a century of enormous investment in public infrastructure. Financial managers eyed this commanding height as a set of potential monopolies to be turned into cash cows to enrich high finance. Mrs. Thatcher became the cheerleader for what became the greatest giveaway of the century as the City of London’s gain became the industrial economy’s loss. Britain’s lords of finance became the equivalent of America’s great railroad land barons of the 19th century, the ruling elite to preside over today’s descent into neoliberal austerity.

Her tenure as Prime Minister seemed to reprise Peter Seller’s role in Being There. She made good television precisely because her philosophy was stitched together in a sequence of sound bites that flattened complex social and economic relationships into a banal personal psychodrama. Mrs. Thatcher’s ability to sweep the broad financial and economic polarization and financial “free lunch” behind a curtain enabled her to distract attention from the consequences of what Harold Macmillan characterized as “selling off the family silver.” It was as if the economy was a middle-class grocer’s family trying to balance its checkbook along the lines of what its banker insisted were necessary in the face of wages being squeezed by rising prices for basic needs.

The ground for Mrs. Thatcher’s rule was prepared by the fact that England’s economy was as much a mess as the rest of the world by the time she took office. The 1979 Winter of Discontent saw a perfect storm unfold. Unable to restrain Arthur Scargill and other and other labor grandstanders, the British Labour Party felt little need to wait for Britain’s share of North Sea oil to come on stream. That windfall would subsidize a decade of dismantling what was left of British industry. Oil states do not need to be efficient. They do not need industry, or even employment.

Labour Prime Minister James Callahan made a token attempt to address these issues by requesting an IMF loan in 1976 to finance tangible industrial re-investment as bridge financing until the UK’s North Sea oil could begin generating foreign exchange. But US Treasury Secretary Bill Simon read him the riot act. IMF and U.S. policy was to provide credit only to pay bondholders, not to build up the real economy. Britain would be advanced loans only if it reoriented its economy to let high finance do the planning.

The UK became the IMF’s best neoliberal poster child, establishing a comparative advantage in offshore finance in what ultimately would flower as Gordon Brown’s notorious Light Touch that brought about the banking collapses of 2008. In this sense her role was to serve as Britain’s version of Boris Yeltsin, sponsoring the carve-up of centuries of public investment.

Mrs. Thatcher stepped into the post of Prime Minister in 1979 just as the neoliberal ploy was getting underway. The “grocer’s daughter” depicted Britain’s problems as a result of uppity labor. Her view stuck a chord as labor leaders called a series of politically self-defeating strikes that disrupted daily life and made it even more of a struggle than usual for most voters. Britain’s economy had never been riper for a divide and conquer strategy.

The new twist was that the class war aimed at labor in its role of consumer and debtor, not as employee. England’s domestic industry took one beating after another as factories closed their doors throughout the country (with the most successful becoming gentrified real estate developments).

The Iron Lady was convinced she was rebuilding England’s economy, while in reality it was only getting richer from London’s outlaw banks. Throughout the world, the damage wrought by this financialized economy has been immense. By “liberating” national money from the constraints of taxing authorities, the Middle East stopped much of its projects for industrial development. After 1990 the Soviet bloc was deindustrialized to become an oil, gas and mining economy. And for Britain, trillions of dollars in global tax revenues that could have been used for industrial and social development were routed though London, where the UK has lived off the fees from this free-for-all. So despite Mrs. Thatcher’s admiration for Milton Friedman, famous for claiming that There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, she made Britain’s economy all about obtaining a free lunch – eaten by the world’s financial managers who flocked to its shores.

How much did Lady Thatcher come to understand about a financial sector of which she never deliberately favored? She never expressed regret about how her policies paved the way for New Labour to take the next giant step in empowering the City of London’s financial complex that has un-policed the banks to catalyze one financial crash after the next, hollowing out Britain’s economy in the process.

When Mrs. Thatcher took power, 1 in 7 of the England’s children lived in poverty. By the end of her reforms that number had risen to 1 in 3. She polarized the country in a ‘divide & conquer’ strategy that foreshadowed that of Ronald Reagan and more recent American politicians such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The effect of her policy was to foreclose on the economic mobility into the middle class that ironically she believed her policies were promoting.

Pundits the world over are chirping about her role in “saving” Britain, not as indebting it – destroyed an economy in order to save it. Her rule was historic mainly by posing the conundrum that has shaped neoliberal politics since 1980: How can governments nurture and endow financial kleptocrats in the context of rule by popular consent?

This can be achieved only by violating the Prime Assumption of classical liberal political philosophy: voters must be sufficiently informed to understand the consequences of their actions. This means that governments must take a long-term perspective.

But finance always has lived in the short run, and nowhere in the world is banking more short-term than in Britain. Nobody better exemplified this narrow-minded perspective than Lady Thatcher. Her simplistic rhetoric helped inspire an inordinate share of simpletons conflating supposed common sense with wisdom.

Not altogether simple, perhaps, but simply opportunistic. As the uncredited patron saint of New Labour, Mrs. Thatcher became the intellectual force inspiring her successor and emulator Tony Blair to complete the transformation of British electoral politics to mobilize popular consent to permit the financial sector to privatize and carve up Britain’s public infrastructure into a set of monopolies. In so doing, the United Kingdom’s was transformed from a real economy of production to one that scavenged the world for rents through its offshore banks. In the end, not only was great damage inflicted on England, but on the entire world as capital fled developing countries for safe harbors in London’s banks. Meanwhile, governments throughout the world today are declaring “We’re broke,” as their oligarchs grow ever more rich.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

April 7, 2013

estebanwaseaten:

fuckskinnyletsgetfit:

Advertising’s image of women. Watch this and get your mind blown.

Five minutes guaranteed to trigger this face:

:/ 

(Source: hustleforchange)

April 4, 2013
theatlantic:

A Heartbreaking Drug Sentence of Staggering Idiocy

A first-time offender, father to three, sold pain pills to a friend. His punishment: 25 years in prison. It’s just the latest evidence that U.S. drug policy is madness.
Read more. [Image: Flickr]

theatlantic:

A Heartbreaking Drug Sentence of Staggering Idiocy

A first-time offender, father to three, sold pain pills to a friend. His punishment: 25 years in prison. It’s just the latest evidence that U.S. drug policy is madness.

Read more. [Image: Flickr]

(via satanic-capitalist)

April 4, 2013

overstate:

Kowloon Walled City | A population density nightmare

Kowloon Walled City was a largely ungoverned Chinese settlement in Kowloon, Hong Kong, comprising of 350 interconnected high-rise buildings where 33,000 residents lived within a plot measuring just 210 meter by 120 meter. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II and reached a peak of 33,000 residents in 1987. When it was demolished in 1993-94, it was thought to be the most densely populated place on earth.

Fascinating

(via satanic-capitalist)

April 3, 2013
My guess is this whole North Korea crisis is just a means to strengthen military/missile defenses in the region.

The real targets for this action being the usual suspects: China and Russia.

4:31pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Ze50rxhq9Six
  
Filed under: north korea 
April 3, 2013
5 of 10 Top Economies in the World Have Stopped Using the U.S. Dollar in Trade With China

(Source: thefreelioness, via 2087)

April 2, 2013
The Satanic Capitalist: 15 Benefits of the War on Drugs

satanic-capitalist:

by KEVIN CARSON

With American drug use levels essentially the same as — and levels of drug-related violence either the same as or lower than — those in countries like the Netherlands with liberal drug laws, public support for the War on Drugs appears to be faltering. This was most recently…

All true: just apply a little critical thinking and it’s pretty obvious to see why the War on Drugs exists.

(Source: counterpunch.org)

7:23pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Ze50rxhltUGU
  
Filed under: the war on drugs 
Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »