If you showed this to a Republican would they even know why it’s funny?

The Daily Show‘s Samantha Bee mined comedy gold yesterday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida by asking attendees about “individual liberty” and what it means to them and to Mitt Romney.

H/T Little Green Footballs

Posted by Richard Metzger
04:31 pm
Americans for Inequality to Endorse Mitt Romney for President
12:28 pm


For Immediate Release:
August 20, 2012
Americans for Inequality
Contact: Warren Bancroft, Interim Director
Phone: 603-540-3845

[Manchester, New Hampshire] The Board of Directors of Americans for Inequality, a citizens’ advocacy group which promotes the benefits of inequality, voted to endorse former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) for President. “The Board of Directors voted to emphatically endorse Governor Romney’s candidacy for President” said Warren Bancroft, interim Chair of Americans for Inequality. “Americans for Inequality is prepared to commit considerable resources to help make Mitt Romney the next President of the United States. We will join Governor Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH Monday August 20th at 8:00AM, and a press conference following shortly thereafter.”

In the 2012 Presidential campaign, Americans for Inequality has been the first organization to educate voters about the benefits of vast inequalities.  Americans for Inequality has been a pioneer in changing the narrative away from the costs and perils of inequality—-and toward a new appreciation of how inequality plays an important and beneficial role in our economy.

“For far too long the poor, unemployed, and elderly have been coddled by America’s generous welfare system and exempted from contributing their fair share in taxes, while banks and companies have suffered under an oppressive regime. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s budget plan will mostly rely on ending the era of entitlement and providing tax relief for upper-income households. That’s the beauty of the Romney/Ryan plan: the higher the income, the higher the tax break. Their budget plan will ensure that inequality will remain with us, as it should, for many years,” said Bancroft.

The Americans for Inequality endorsement was not, however, a unanimous one.  One member of the Americans for Inequality Board voted against the Romney endorsement.

Chester Prattfield noted how inequality has accelerated under President Obama, and that it could continue for another four years. “The current recovery has been the weakest and most unequal recovery since WWII, both in terms of income and wealth. The financial industry is back on its feet and corporations are making record profits.  Class mobility and opportunity are declining as inequality becomes entrenched, and that’s what we want to see. But there is room for improvement. Job creators do 100% of the work, but from 2009-2011, they only received 88% of the national income.  And companies such as Exxon Mobil pay as high as 2% in federal taxes—they need relief.”

“While I voted to endorse President Obama, and will continue to personally support his campaign, I understand and respect the decision of the Americans for Inequality Board,” said Prattfield, Americans for Inequality co-founder.  “I appreciate the thoughtfulness the Board of Directors has put into this decision.”


Thank you Mr. Glen E. Friedman of New York City, New York!

Posted by Richard Metzger
12:28 pm
The True Blasphemy: Slavoj Žižek on Pussy Riot

A statement from Marxist intellectual Slavoj Žižek on the Pussy Riot trial

The True Blasphemy

Pussy Riot members accused of blasphemy and hatred of religion? The answer is easy: the true blasphemy is the state accusation itself, formulating as a crime of religious hatred something which was clearly a political act of protest against the ruling clique. Recall Brecht’s old quip from his Beggars’ Opera: “What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a new bank?” In 2008, Wall Street gave us the new version: what is the stealing of a couple of thousand of dollars, for which one goes to prison, compared to financial speculations that deprive tens of millions of their homes and savings, and are then rewarded by state help of sublime grandeur? Now, we got another version from Russia, from the power of the state: What is a modest Pussy Riot obscene provocation in a church compared to the accusation against Pussy Riot, this gigantic obscene provocation of the state apparatus which mocks any notion of decent law and order?

Was the act of Pussy Riot cynical? There are two kinds of cynicism: the bitter cynicism of the oppressed which unmasks the hypocrisy of those in power, and the cynicism of the oppressors themselves who openly violate their own proclaimed principles. The cynicism of Pussy Riot is of the first kind, while the cynicism of those in power — why not call their authoritarian brutality a Prick Riot — is of the much more ominous second kind.

Back in 1905, Leon Trotsky characterized tsarist Russia as “a vicious combination of the Asian knout and the European stock market.” Does this designation not hold more and more also for the Russia of today? Does it not announce the rise of the new phase of capitalism, capitalism with Asian values (which, of course, has nothing to do with Asia and everything to do with the anti-democratic tendencies in today’s global capitalism). If we understand cynicism as ruthless pragmatism of power which secretly laughs at its own principles, then Pussy Riot are anti-cynicism embodied. Their message is: IDEAS MATTER. They are conceptual artists in the noblest sense of the word: artists who embody an Idea. This is why they wear balaclavas: masks of de-individualization, of liberating anonymity. The message of their balaclavas is that it doesn’t matter which of them got arrested — they’re not individuals, they’re an Idea. And this is why they are such a threat: it is easy to imprison individuals, but try to imprison an Idea!

The panic of those in power — displayed by their ridiculously excessive brutal reaction — is thus fully justified. The more brutally they act, the more important symbol Pussy Riot will become. Already now the result of the oppressive measures is that Pussy Riot are a household name literally all around the world.

It is the sacred duty of all of us to prevent that the courageous individuals who compose Pussy Riot will not pay in their flesh the price for their becoming a global symbol.

—Slavoj Žižek

Posted by Richard Metzger
04:42 pm
Free Pussy Riot: A statement by Nadya Tolokonnikova

An extraordinary essay by Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonikovoy has appeared on the Free Pussy Riot website. You can follow a blow by blow description of what is taking place at the Pussy Riot trial on Twitter. Kafkaesque? It’s that in spades, see for yourself. I thought it was important for this to be read by as many people as possible, so I am reproducing it here in full (but not block quoting it, because it would be a mile long)—RM

Art and the Human Manifesto of Nadya Tolokonnikova

The punk band Pussy Riot, which I belong to, is a musical group that conducts unexpected performances in different urban spaces. Pussy Riot’s songs address topical political issues. The interests of the group members are: political activism, ecology, and the elimination of authoritarian tendencies in the Russian state system through the creation of the civil society.

Since its origin in October 2011, the band played concerts in the subway, on the roof of a trolleybus, on the roof of the detention center for administrative detainees, in clothing stores, at fashion shows, and on the Lobnoe Mesto on Red Square. We believe that the art should be accessible to everyone; therefore we perform in diverse public spaces. Pussy Riot never means to show any disrespect to any viewers or witnesses of our punk concerts. This was the case on the roof of the trolleybus and on the Lobnoe Mesto, and this was the case at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

On 21 February 2012 Pussy Riot band performed its punk prayer “Hail Mary, Expel Putin” at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In the early March 2012 three members of the group were imprisoned because of the music and political activism. The themes of our songs and performances are dictated by the present moment. We simply react to what is happening in our country, and our punk performances express the opinion of a sufficiently large number of people. In our song “Hail Mary, Expel Putin” we reflected the reaction of many Russian citizens to the patriarch’s calls for vote for Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin during the presidential election of 4 March 2012.

We, like many of our fellow citizens, wrestle against treachery, deceit, bribery, hypocrisy, greed, and lawlessness, peculiar to the current authorities and rulers. This is why we were upset by this political initiative of the patriarch and could not fail to express that. The performance at Cathedral of Christ the Savior was committed not on the grounds of religious enmity and hatred. Equally, we harbor no hatred towards Orthodox Christians. Orthodox Christianity worships the same as we do: mercy, forgiveness, justification, love, and freedom. We are not enemies of Christianity. We care about the opinion of Orthodox Christians. We want all of them to be on our side - on the side of anti-authoritarian civil society activists. That is why we came to the Cathedral.

We came with what we have and can: with our musical performance. During this performance we intended to express our concern: the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church - the patriarch - supports a politician who forcefully suppresses the civil society, which is dear to us.

I would like to emphasize the fact that, while at the Cathedral, we did not utter any insulting words towards the church, the Christians, and the God. The words we spoke and our entire punk performance aimed to express our disapproval of a specific political event: the patriarch’s support of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who took an authoritarian and antifeminist course. Our performance contained no aggression towards the audience, but only a desperate desire to change the political situation in Russia for the better. Our emotions and expressiveness came from that desire. If our passion appeared offensive to any spectators, we are sorry for that. We had no intentions to offend anyone. We wish that those, who cannot understand us, would forgive us. Most of all, we want people to hold no grudges against us.

Posted by Richard Metzger
11:14 am
Class War for Idiots: Libertarianism = Assholism

The term “Libertarian” has long been synonymous with “Asshole” in my estimation, and I think it’s safe to say that Jacobin magazine editor Connor Kilpatrick probably feels the same way.

Today is the centenary anniversary of the birth of Libertarian icon, economist Milton Friedlman, so what better day for the publication of the most viciously hilarious takedpown of the Libertarian position that I think I’ve ever read?

Excerpted from the much longer “It’s Hip! It’s Cool! It’s Libertarianism!” which was cross-posted today at both Naked Capitalism and The Exiled:

Libertarianism isn’t some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional “left to right” spectrum. It’s a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.

It’s the “third way” for a society in which turning against capitalism or even taking your foot off the pedal is not an option. Thanks to our shitty constitution and the most violent labor history in the West, we never even got a social-democratic party like the rest of the developed world.

So what do we get? The libertarian line: “No, no: the problem isn’t that we’re too capitalist. It’s that we’re not capitalist enough!”


At a time in which our society has never been more interdependent in every possible way, libertarians think they’re John fucking Wayne looking out over his ranch with an Apache scalp in his belt, or John fucking Galt doing…whatever it is he does. (Collect vintage desk toys from the Sharper Image?)

Their whole ideology is like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s all make-believe, except for the chain-mail–they brought that from home. Elves, dwarves and fair maidens for capital. Even with the supposedly “good ones”—anti-war libertarians—we’re still talking about people who think Medicare’s going to lead to Stalinism.

So my advice is to call them out.

Ask them what their beef really is with the welfare state. First, they’ll talk about the deficit and say we just can’t afford entitlement programs. Well, that’s obviously a joke, so move on. Then they’ll say that it gives the government tyrannical power. Okay. Let me know when the Danes open a Guantánamo Bay in Greenland.

Here’s the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bosses—this is the power to say “I’m gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my a chillwave band. And I’ll still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.”

Sounds like freedom to me.

Standing ovation!

Read more of Connor Kilpatrick’s “It’s Hip! It’s Cool! It’s Libertarianism!” at either The Exiled or at Naked Capitalism. Trust me it’s a fantastic, totally worthwhile read.

Predictably, the reddit thread about Kilpatrick’s article is fascinating, too!


Posted by Richard Metzger
05:31 pm
Their America, we just live here: Wal-Mart family has more $$$ than 48.8 million families combined

Wrong Waltons

This is so fucked up, I actually swooned when I read it.

THIS is exactly what Karl Marx warned us would happen…

From Working Economics:

Concretely, between 2007 and 2010, while median family wealth fell by 38.8 percent, the wealth of the Walton family members rose from $73.3 billion to $89.5 billion…In 2007, it was reported that the Walton family wealth was as large as the bottom 35 million families in the wealth distribution combined, or 30.5 percent of all American families.

And in 2010, as the Walton’s wealth has risen and most other Americans’ wealth declined, it is now the case that the Walton family wealth is as large as the bottom 48.8 million families in the wealth distribution (constituting 41.5 percent of all American families) combined.

Let’s deregulate the economy! YEAH! Let’s cut the estate tax EVEN MORE so THESE FUCKING PARASITES can, you know, buy more politicians to protect their wealth for generations of worthless heirs to come!

These are the folks who are going to benefit more than practically ANYONE IN AMERICA if Mitt Romney gets elected.

Romney’s own immediate family and their heirs and their heirs and beyond—not to mention his election-buying buddies the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson—would also be on that same list, natch.

Yes, let’s elect HIM and let the FREE MARKET TAKE OVER!




If this information doesn’t make you sick to your stomach, you’re an idiot.

This IS a fucking IQ test!

The 50th anniversary of the opening of the first Wal-Mart was two weeks ago. If more wealth than the bottom 40% of the country has, combined, equals what these fucks have got, it stands to reason, does it not, that if this ONE FAMILY has more wealth than that of 48.8 MILLION American families combined, that they got it by placing a TAX—hidden in the price—on absolutely every single item sold in a Wal-Mart. It’s one of the largest, most pervasive cons ever perpetrated, all legal of course.

What have the Walton heirs done to deserve this bounty other than being BORN to the right family? Nothing? Talk about winning the lottery, eh?

AND IT TOOK LESS THAN 50 YEARS TO ACHIEVE THIS TRANSFER OF WEALTH.  Don’t call it wealth creation. Being born worth the same as TWO FIFTHS of your fellow Americans COMBINED isn’t wealth creation!

It’s an absurdity. If the Walton heirs collectively possesed more wealth than just 48 American families combined it would still be fucked up!

Think about it: Every item for sale at the largest retailer in the world basically has a TARIFF factored into the price which is paid to the stockholders of Wal-Mart, which is chiefly owned by the members of the Walton family. It’s not like you have to slog through 1000+ pages of Das Kapital to understand how this works. It’s not a complex equation.

If you’re okay with this and you want to continue to give your own hard-earned money to the queen bees of the Walton family, please continue to do so, mentally deficient fool. It’s your dignity!

However, if you think this is totally insane, and if you do not wish to slip a few bucks out of your grocery bill each week to the WEALTHY PARASITES pictured below, then all you have to do in protest is not spend your money in a Wal-Mart ever again.

As in NEVER.

Read more:
Inequality, exhibit A: Walmart and the wealth of American families

Half Of American Households Hold 1 Percent Of Wealth

Via Think Progress

Posted by Richard Metzger
03:38 pm
With Romney holding his nuts in pain will a desperate GOP try to ditch a sure loser at convention?

After the past week of just painfully pathetic public prat-falls capped off by the devastating new Obama TV spot released over the weekend that left Mitt Romney’s patrician glass jaw smashed into tiny bits, you’d have to imagine that the Tea party-led rightwing shock troops, having pinned ALL of their post-2010 electoral hopes and dreams on the deeply flawed shoulders of one Thurston Howell III Willard Mitt Romney, is more than a little worried.

Who wouldn’t be? The man is an excruciating embarrassment as a candidate. Mitt’s a self-parody who jumped the shark before he even became the official nominee! What a “Debbie Downer” on the GOP morale he must be! It’s hard to keep rooting for the home team when the quarterback is such a witless plonker, isn’t it? The GOP is terrific at getting the vote out, but will the faithful line-up to vote for a tax-dodging plutocrat with Cayman Island bank accounts like Mitt Romney? If you know, for sure, that your vote will count for nothing, would you even bother making the effort to vote? If the very act of voting is perceived as a waste of time? What if it’s a little rainy that day? Can even a superior ground game on election day (the GOP always has a better ground game, always—it’s a lot easier when your base voters are easily-herded, authoritarian-loving sheeple) make a difference with Mittens? It will be interesting to see. My gut tells me there will be lower GOP turnout this year than in 2008. Not that much lower, but lower, crucially lower.

Mittens looks like a sad, ineffectual “Richie Rich” who just had his pants pulled down in front of the entire class and then a plate of school lunch spaghetti dumped over his head (Karma’s a bitch, Thurston!). Romney seems undignified, unsure and weak. He’s (quite obviously) the worst candidate one of the two parties has nominated since hapless Democrat Michael Dukakis back in 1988.

THIS bungling sacrificial lamb in khakis is the best candidate all of that sweet, sweet Republican money can buy? Mitt Romney? Seriously?

After last week, it wasn’t just the Democrats and Independent voters who were asking that question, the Republicans are asking it aloud now, too.

Scanning the rightwing blogshere in the aftermath of that weekend YouTube bomb Obama lobbed into Romney’s lap (more a nuclear warhead), it’s incredible to the extent that the rightwing is wringing its collective hands over “the Romney problem”: From FreeRepublic’s redneck red staters to Breitbart editor John Nolte (who called the Obama ad a “kill shot” aimed at Romney), let alone East coast “establishment” Republican stalwarts like William Kristol (the man who extolled the virtues of Sarah Palin to the McCain camp, don’t forget) and the increasingly barmy George Will (Why does anyone care what he thinks? Why the hell did I just mention him if no one forced me to???) Republicans, clearly, are starting to hit the panic button.

Even the dumbest, doofiest Fox News-watching flag-waving, red, white and blue Republican true-believer dipshit can recognize a loser when they see one, smell the blood, and predict the inevitable November outcome as they take a look at Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney. Romney’s GONNA LOSE and the entire country knows it, or at least strongly suspects it. Even Romney must realize his performance is getting panned and why. The guy has NO GAME, zero, none, no charisma, apparently no empathy, just… bales of money. It won’t be nearly enough. I’ve never seen a poorer-looking national candidate in my life. (Michael Dukakis must be watching his fellow former Massachusetts governor with glee as Romney erases his reputation as a nightmare national ticket political punchline with each newly reported misstep and ineffectual response to Obama’s repeated kicks to his balls. (“Is (fill in the blank) the ‘Mitt Romney of 2___?” will be a cliche in the punditry for years to come, mark my words).

So what happens next? Well, this could get interesting.

Memo to the mainstream media: It probably won’t.

Among credible Republicans who is gonna be dumb enough to want the gold-plated booby prize that an open convention—something that was discussed for MONTHS leading up to Romney’s week from Hell—could bestow upon them? Newt Gingrich must be having quite a good “I told you so” chuckle, not that a desperate GOP is (ever) going to be desperate enough to give that slimy amphibian another look.

Cain, Santorum, Perry… you all probably shouldn’t sit by the bat-phone holding your breath, either, fellas.

Who could or would step up for the good of the Grand Old Party, to carry that tarnished brand’s sword in November, even unto certain career-ending defeat, if Romney were to be pushed aside? Besides mentally deficient, unhinged attention seeking halfwits like Sarah Palin, Allen West, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Louie Gohmert, etc., etc. who is that, ahem, white knight going to be? Well, not one of these folks. It’s useless speculation.

Ron Paul? He’d take the sword into battle, but it will never be offered to him. Not worth discussing him, either. They won’t even let him speak at the convention and that seems to be the big reason he ran, to influence the GOP platform. Not gonna happen.

Rep. Paul Ryan? Rep. Eric Cantor? Chris Christie? Bobby Jindal? Jeb Bush? Scott Walker? Think any one of them is jealous of the nationally televised dick-stomping Mitt Romney is getting? Marco Rubio knows he’s not ready, even for the VP slot. Maybe John Boehner will run? Orin Hatch? Who then? Someone you’ve never heard of? Will James Baker III come out of retirement at 82? John Sunnunu? Is a picture starting to paint itself?

WHO among the Republicans save for Mitch Daniels or Tim Pawlenty—would even have a tiny chance of taking enough blue states to flip the race if pulled in at the last minute to replace Shit Romney? Christie is the governor of one, but as a former resident of the Garden State myself, I wouldn’t even bet on Christie getting a second term. His popularity is already dropping. Besides that, any smart Republican would just stay out of it until 2016, it just stands to reason. This go round is a strategic non-starter.

Thaddeus McCotter?

Fred Karger, maybe?


John McCain?

My point, if there is one, is that the Republicans have no plan B. Any speculation that there will be an open convention, I think, is utter poppycock. There is no one on that team that can beat Obama. There is no one on that team with half a brain that really wants to try. They’re stuck with Mitt Romney, what choice do that have now? I hate to say it—I mean I really, really hate to say it—but Newt Gingrich was 100% right about Mittens and the GOP should have taken his advice and looked for a Romney alternative while there was still time. Not that I think they should have picked Newt (he’d have been slaughtered) but it’s so apparent what a loser Romney is, that, in truth, practically ANYONE would better.

If someone offered you—at a great bargain, too—a lotto ticket guaranteed not have the winning number, would you buy it? Look how many Sheldon Adelson bought and now he wants to buy some more. I say let him!

(I used to think that Citizens United decision was the worst thing that could happen to this country. Now I’m looking at it more as a “give ‘em enough rope” kinda scenario. Many Republicans might tend to agree with me by the time the 2012 election cycle is over. A billion dollars spent advertising a faulty (Fawlty?) product such as the candidacy of a buffoon like Mittens is a billion dollars spent reminding the American voters why they don’t want this blue-blooded nincompoop in the fucking White House. “Hey smell this, it smells like shit” amplified with a billion dollar advertising spend might backfire badly with a derp like Romney topping the ticket…)

The Obama campaign has defined Mitt Romney in the eyes of America as a whiny blue-blood with too much money made from sucking the blood of the little guy. Maybe a felon? Sounds about right to me. That classic commercial is so smart, and so vicious that it is positively thrilling. It’s what the Democratic base wanted to see and what John Nolte fears it was: a “kill shot.” Tell me that Obama doesn’t look like Muhammad Ali about to take down well, take down Thurston Howell the fuckng third? What else can really be said about this situation?

And the best part of it will be the batshit crazy reichwing reaction everyone is bracing for after Romney is crushed in a landslide defeat. How long will it take until after the vote is in before a crazed sheriff from Arizona or a freakish fuck like Rick Scott of Florida is shooting his mouth off on Fox News about election fraud and that’s the next new dumb dumbly dum-dum thing we’ll have to listen to until 2016???

A wasp’s nest got stirred up in 2008 that still won’t get put to rest during the second Obama term, and expect full retard from the GOP in 2016, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

Posted by Richard Metzger
05:40 pm
Looking down the throat of The Beast: Why the LIBOR conspiracy might knock the dominoes down

This is a guest editorial from Dangerous Minds reader Em, expanding on some pointed commentary he’s made elsewhere on this blog. Em—who’ll keep his last name to himself, thank you very much—works in the financial industry:

One day you’re going to arise from your habitual feast

To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast they call The Revolution

“They Call It Democracy”—Bruce Cockburn

When Bruce Cockburn sings these lines during a performance, his largely left-leaning audience will often cheer, apparently not comprehending that this is intended to be a cautionary tale. In They Call It Democracy, Bruce is informing the international 1% that time is running out, and that if they don’t use their disproportionately vast resources to reform and truly democratize access to goods and services and capital, then the 99% are going to lose faith in the system itself and eventually overthrow it. And Bruce is fully aware of the fact that The Beast isn’t well represented by romantic notions and Che Guevara T shirts. The Beast is often ugly and brutal and doesn’t always bring in something better. But by the time it comes to that, the 99% will be fully aware of the risks but just won’t give a shit anymore.

That’s why the LIBOR issue is so damned dangerous.

Back in 2009 I was working at a “Too Big To Fail Bank” on Canary Wharf in London, and during my lunch hour walked over to where LIBOR is set and took the above photo. (LIBOR is housed in that building on the left.) Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine, however, that the setting of this key rate upon which the price of mutual funds and derivative securities are indexed, could be easily manipulated by a tiny number of coked-up traders. Although I worked on the retail half of that TBTF Bank, for one summer, I did actually utilize the famous Ho-Lee model to analyze derivative securities for volatility risk. So I knew enough about LIBOR to understand that it is in some ways as important as the prime interest rate, set by the Fed. But I naively assumed that the US and UK governments, along with the Big Banks, would tightly control the LIBOR process because a loss-of-faith in LIBOR could set international markets into chaos.

And that’s the last thing we anyone really wants right now. Right?

But I was wrong. And who knew? Who knew LIBOR could be impacted by such a slipshod and unregulated process? What the hell? Conflicts of interest seem to be practically built into the system, but it only hands out benefits to those in special positions of power. And if I, a banker, can begin to view the system as this deeply corrupt, how will rank-and-file investors feel? Will they put their money into real estate? Hide it in mattresses? That can only accelerate a possible collapse or, worse yet, a revolution.

Revolution? Hah. No one in the US would seriously consider a socialist much less a communist revolution. But those aren’t the only kinds of revolution. The Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 proves to us that even moderate and reasonably urbane and clever people will sometimes simply choose the devil they don’t know when the Devil they do know (in that case the Shah) has proven beyond all doubt that his system won’t work for most people by design. On purpose. Like the American version of capitalism.

And is that what we really want? OK, maybe in the US we won’t have an Islamic revolution. But who knows what our idiotic science-denying masses might come up with? Maybe the Tea Party was just a first try and all that’s needed now is some less idiotic reformulation that appeals to a wider audience. And remember, it doesn’t have to work in reality, it just has to be able to convince enough people that it might or could be better than the corrupt and closed system most people believe operates today. All it has to do is make a few promises while providing a sort of “purity code” that allows the rank-and-file to throw off outside influence. And for all of its bloodshed and hostages, the Iranian revolution at least returned Iran’s destiny back into the hands of the Iranians, rather than the US and UK-backed torturous regime that was impoverishing practically everybody outside a tiny cabal of the well-connected. And if the Iranians can do it (ie, create a populist strain of Politcal Islam that freezes out external meddling influences), there’s no reason to believe the Americans can’t come up with something of their own in order to lock out and dismantle predatory economics and access structures.

Back in the late 1990s and during the Bush II era, The Fed continued to lower interest rates in order to boost the housing sector. They did this precisely because it worked, and because the traditional industries that provided wealth and capital to the working classes had been strip-mined of value by not only upper-level managers but by Private Equity firms (such as Bain Capital) that searched for value and then capitalized it into their own pockets by moving jobs and manufacturing overseas. As the “Mighty Trucks of Midnight” (another lefty Bruce Cockburn ref there) moved whole industries overseas and Labor imploded, there were fewer and fewer investment opportunities for fund managers. So the steroidally pumped-up housing sector took up the slack while the level of personal indebtedness (to the banks, of course) skyrocketed. We were, in effect, borrowing chunks of our future in order to pay the bankers that colluded with an unregulated system to enrich a very few but without the creation of real new wealth.

When the Great Recession hit, we had to pay the piper for all that debt we had amassed but, Lo! We had no money left. A lot of the money we had been spending had come from debt but now we couldn’t borrow anymore, because the banks were failing and couldn’t make any more loans. And yet, no one really wanted to change anything because it looked like the system was essentially fair so we just had to let it recover a bit so we could all continue on our merry way.

But now, perhaps, we know that wasn’t the real story. And that the system was rigged. We are slowly becoming aware of the fact that only a tiny minority benefit from it while the rest of us work our asses off and still suck shit and struggle every day to feed our families and keep a roof over our heads. As awareness of what LIBOR-fixing really means begins to penetrate popular consciousness, more and more people will begin to question whether the system is even reformable at all. What the 1% and their Walking Dead-like minions do not comprehend, however, is that even if there is a way to reform the system and keep this party rolling a little longer, we are rapidly passing the time where anyone will still believe the system can be reformed. In other words, the window of reform and long-term survival of a system that resembles our current one is closing, and closing rapidly. It will have to be the 1% who choose to utilize their resources in order to give themselves (and their privileged families) a shot at longer-term survival.

That is the only chance the 1% has of keeping the 99% from invoking The Beast, in some form or another.

About the author: After living in China in the late 80s, Em worked in the physics and electrical engineering space until 2002, at which time he moved into the financial world. In July of 2010, Em returned to the US after living in London for several years.

“The Great Red Dragon and the Beast from the Sea” by William Blake

Posted by Richard Metzger
01:08 pm
What Glenn Beck’s fans *really* think about ‘progressive POS’ Andy Griffith

Wonkette’s Doctor Zoom posted something absolutely marvelous today that I wanted to call your attention to: The unhinged, hateful, and dumbly crass comments left on Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze, in “honor” of beloved, all-American actor Andy Griffith, a man who, in a sense, once symbolized how America liked to think of itself.

Or he was “a progressive piece of shit,” whichever you prefer…

Take a gander, in the above image, I skipped the first comment, but these were the ones that followed. I could have dipped in anywhere and gotten similar results. Here are some of the ones Doctor Zoom cherry-picked at Wonkette:

Progressive POS. Have fun burning in Hell for eternity. — Red Meat

Good people don’t promote laws that will directly lead to the death of millions, hope someday I get to spit on his grave. — Swampy

So long Andy [smiley emoticon] You are a total sell out to this great nation. You are a communist piece of garbage and you will not be missed. — Truthbeliever2

Sadly, my first thought when I saw the headline was “if he’d passed away at age 82 I would have missed him so much more” … Now, I only feel angry the old shill didn‘t live another year or two so he’d have to face a “death panel” before kicking it. The old bastrd died too soon to reap what he helped sow. I feel cheated that we’ll never get to hear him lament his decision to be a wh0re for the socialist DNC. — Wool-Free Vision

Another dead Democrat…today’s shaping up to be a better day than expected. — teddrunk

America’s sheriff? Maybe he was Maryberry’s, but Arpaio is America’s sheriff!!!! — catholicextremist

The guy that was the spokes person for Obamacare dies 1 week after it is upheld, 1 and counting. — Love The Kids

I had hoped that he would live long enough to be denied the healthcare that he helped shove down America’s throat. — Posterchild

So how did that Maobamacare you were pimping a couple of years ago work out for ya? Gee did the death panels keep you waiting too long? — Sweetrae

Doctor Zoom also found some more goofball reichwing “zingers” aimed at Griffith at Free Republic and Brietbart’s Big Government.

The best quote of all, though, was this gem:

Ever see a lib blog after one of ours dies? Ever seen the unbridled filth and hatred in which they roll around like pigs? I for one am sick and tired of playing nice with commies. We will never win if we continue to allow them to play by different rules.


Below, evil communist pinko—and probably SECRETL KENYAN socialist dogfucker—Andy Griffith “betraying the country” in a 2010 ad promoting healthcare reform:

Posted by Richard Metzger
01:43 pm
Republican Senator ‘thinks’ employers should be able to deny coverage to cancer patients

To the extent that he can be said to ‘think’ at all, very few people would mistake Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson for an intellectual. Johnson is, apparently, even dumber than he looks.

Dumb or evil? BOTH!

Via ThinkProgress:

KEYES: I know Richard Murdock had said even though businesses should give people, for instance, with cancer, health coverage, they shouldn’t be legally required by the federal government.

JOHNSON: They shouldn’t. Listen, our rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And when we start expanding beyond that realm, when you create a right for somebody, you create an obligation for somebody else, and then you’re taking away that person’s right. And that maybe doesn’t seem all that great, but it’s just true. Our nation was based on the foundation of freedom and limited government.

There is no “life” or “pursuit of happiness” present in the equation here, is there, just the freedom to die in the fucking gutter? Unless you’re stinking rich, of course, like Ron Johnson is.

Human dignity: Too much to ask for from today’s GOP.

Hooray for fucking freedom!

Posted by Richard Metzger
01:34 pm
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