Category : money

Things look grim. I’m sure we’re not out of the woods yet — there’s a long way to go before we hit rock bottom.

You can probably guess my reaction to the bailout: SCAM!!

So, our plan is to give the people who fucked the economy billions of dollars with no real plan to get it back? Brilliant! How could that not work?

The assholes basically just got us to pay them for ripping us off. Quite the smooth move on their part. 

But you know, it’s basically rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic at this point. I don’t think $700 billion (actually, with all the pork it’s closer to $850 billion) will make a lick of difference. The problem is much deeper than that; it has to do with the way we create and regulate money, at the fundamental level. Basically, we need to return to the gold standard, eliminate fractional reserve lending and dissolve the Federal Reserve.

This will make for some bumpy transitions, as a nation used to 5% growth every year realizes that maybe 0.2% is more appropriate. Of course, the 5% growth stat is illusionary. You have to grow by 5% every year just to stay ahead of inflation. If you want to actually make money you need an even higher rate — which leads to risky investments. Wall Street wants ever-better numbers and the strain of achieving them has led many an executive to make risky, negligent or downright stupid investments. We need fiscal sanity! It may be boring, and less people will be able to make a living moving electronic numbers around, but it will bring stable beneficence to the majority of the world.

Problem: How to get there from here. 

Step one: Reach rock bottom.

We’re well on our way there. I’m afraid nothing will change without suffering because there’s no motivation otherwise. It’s a sad truth. The problem is that we’re speeding too fast towards rock bottom. We may hit it with the impact of a dinosaur falling off a thousand-foot cliff. That would basically end our civilization as we know it.


We need a soft landing. But how to get it? The fat-ass rich people stole the golden parachutes, but in a world where money is worthless paper what help will those parachutes be?

There’s no way out of this one, folks. We’re all gonna die unless somebody has been planning ahead with an altruistic and audacious plan to save us from our high-velocity trajectory straight into the ground.

We can’t look to the people in charge to save us — they’re the ones who got us into this mess. So I guess we don’t have many options. Who has a plan? Who has the resources to make it work? Who among us is bold enough to listen?

We are fast approaching the Rubicon.

Holy cow — lookout! There’s banks falling like boulders all around us!

Luckily for them, when big, important institutions such as investment banks fail, they fall right into the loving arms of the Bush administration.

AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch this week alone. Am I forgetting one? Probably. Now regulators are calling other banks looking for buyers in case Washington Mutual fails too.

Wall Street couldn’t be in worse shape if it was literally on fire.

But, the GOP is there to bail these irresponsible banks out of trouble with — you guessed it — taxpayer money.

Soviet Palin

That’s what the Establishment truly believes in: Socializing losses and privatizing profits.

God bless America, Comrade.

Er… wait, was it “modest” or “obviously brilliant”?

Regardless, I have an idea, everyone! Stand back, place safety goggles over your eyes, make sure the lead-lined X-ray bib is securely fastened to your chest and that your boots tied up tight.

Some Background
Now, I may be an old-fashioned (young) guy, but I believe that fair is fair. And our tax code, ladies and gentlemen, is not fair.

For instance, did you know that:

Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress.The study by the Government Accountability Office, expected to be released Tuesday, said about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period.

Collectively, the companies reported trillions of dollars in sales, according to GAO’s estimate.

What a sweet deal for them! They get to operate without having a huge tax burden weighing down on them, freeing them to make more investments and take more risks.

Of course, they have a shitload of capital, credit and resources to begin with. But this is America, goddammit! We don’t make corporations pay taxes no matter how much they fuck up the environment or make insane profits on the backs of their low-income workers.

But — and I’m getting to my ridiculously cool proposal — I can’t help but think that it’s not especially fair that multi-billion dollar companies don’t have to pay any taxes (ZERO fucking taxes) whereas, I, as a Regular Joe, have to pay about 30% of my income in taxes every year.

Perhaps I am just a whiner, not fit to lick the boots of a mighty multinational like Wal*mart. I know, I know. This is America. Corporations have more rights and resources than regular citizens. Yeah, “The Constitution guarantees…” blah blah blah… Obviously the Constitution don’t mean shit. Money talks and the Constitution was written on hemp paper by a bunch of proto-hippy revolutionaries who wore funny clothes and probably squealed like girls when tickled.

This is America, goddammit! We drive hummers and invade countries full of smelly brown people who are all determined to kill us (our Media assures us this; it must be true!) or even just because they looked at us funny. We don’t have time for “rules” or “equality” or what’s it called.. uh…. libraries? .. no… uh, — “Liberty!” Yeah, that’s it.

But what I want is not to return our country to the whole Constitution thing. I’m not that naive. However, I do think it would be freakin’ neat if we lived in a country where lawful citizens were counted as 3/5ths of a corporation. Currently, we’re about a zillionth of a corporation, so 3/5ths would be a vast improvement.

My Blindingly-Awesome Proposal
U.S. citizens, when paying their taxes, should be able to write off “overhead“. Only our “profits” should be taxed.

That means, no taxes should be administered until after the essentials of running a healthy body/mind have been accounted for.

What are the essentials? Food, water, shelter and clothing are a good start (no, a big screen TV is not an “essential”). That means I should be able to deduct all of the money I spend on food, rent/mortgage and clothes (within reason) before any other deductions. A healthy mind is important, too, so education costs, books and maybe even an internet connection should also be deductable.

Also, I have to have certain things in order to do my job — or even get to it — like a functioning car, gas, a bunch of hygienic equipment to look/smell nice, a cell phone and a computer. That’s all overhead; my paycheck is not “profit.” It’s revenue. I have to spend a big chunk of it just to stay alive and another chunk to fit into the corporate world. These are expenses and they are subtracted from revenue before you end up with profits — if you have any.

As you probably know, only corporate profits are taxable. Most overhead costs (the costs of running a business) are exempt. Wikipedia lists examples of overhead expenses as follows:

Overhead expenses include accounting fees, advertising, depreciation, indirect labor, insurance, interest, legal fees, rent, repairs, supplies, taxes, telephone bills, travel and utilities costs.

So I should be able to deduct my high-paid accountants as well. Then I can make sure, like most corporations, that I pay no income tax. Alternately, we could just leave gaping loopholes in the tax code so normal people don’t have to hire expensive accountants (and then deduct the costs of their services). Something like, “if you don’t feel like paying any income tax this year, check this box.”

So you see, my super-cool proposal just brings Joe Sixpack into the same league as the corporations, who already have incredible advantages in the economy because of their size and reach.

Corporate Welfare is Only for Wealthy Corporations
Small businesses generally take it up the rear as well since they can’t afford all those slippery accountants. Or maybe those small businesses just need to take a page from the criminals on Wall Street and learn how to privatize profits while socializing losses.

It doesn’t seem fair to me that the average guy/gal has to assume the vast majority of the tax burden when most of are making jack diddly squat compared to a major multinational. Fair is fair. Progressive income taxation is based on the idea that the rich should pay a greater portion of their income because they can afford it and because they owe it to society; especially since the rich people/corporations take advantage of the situation and pay their workers a pitance while making them work long hours in often-dangerous conditions. Meanwhile, the CEO gets his taxes paid for by the corporation via what is known as a “gross-up”.

Think it’s unfair of me to use the corporate tax code instead of the individual one? Well, like I said, fair is fair. Corporations are increasingly using the individual tax code:

An outside tax expert, Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, said increasing numbers of limited liability corporations and so-called “S” corporations pay taxes under individua
l tax codes.

“Half of all business income in the United States now ends up going through the individual tax code,” Edwards said.

Turnabout is fair play.

Even though my brilliant tax proposal seems like a total giveaway I could make it a reality. If I had high-powered corporate lobbyists at my disposal I could enact all sorts of people-friendly laws. I’d use my army of ninja-lobbyists to get a 28-hour work week and every Friday off, along with guaranteed overtime for salaried workers and an Economic Bill of Rights for all.

Instead, the already-rich corporations have the lobbyists and they use them to get ever-greater amounts corporate welfare. Then they rewrite the laws so that the managers pay a lesser percentage of tax than their secretaries do, as Warren Buffett pointed out:

Speaking at a $4,600-a-seat fundraiser in New York for Senator Hillary Clinton, Mr Buffett, who is worth an estimated $52 billion (£26 billion), said: “The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”

Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent.

Notice how he implies he could’ve made his effective tax rate much lower if he had bothered. But he didn’t. Badass. But most CEOs are not as cool as Warren… of course, he could probably stand to pay his secretary more than 60K a year if he’s making 46 million, don’t you think?

Anyway, the point is: The system is unfair. Let’s try to level the playing field a little bit.

My proposal is not to make humans equal to corporations. That’s crazy. I just want to make a person worth 3/5ths of a corporation. Is that too much to ask?

Eat The Rich

Europe is not immune from stupidity, greed, fascism and ignorance. It’s good to remember that sometimes.

Italy is experiencing a fascist resurgence not seen since the times of Mussolini. It’s a wonder that there’s so little memory of those hard times, but I guess the war has been over for 60 years and to remember it well you’d have to be 70 or older, but it’s still distressing that the authoritarian streak has not run its course. Instead the Italians are rounding up and fingerprinting Gypsies and soon-to-be-Chancellor Berlusconi signed a new law outlawing gatherings of 3 or more people. I don’t know how you can go out for a walk with more than one friend without running afoul of this law, but that, we should remember, is the point of fascist laws.

However opposition councillors [sic] said it was “reminiscent of Benito Mussolini’s edict of the 1920′s which banned groups of five or more people”.

The ban will not affect courting couples who flock to parks and gardens in the northern Italian city of Novara, where Mr Giordano holds power, but if anyone is caught in a group of three or more they face a fine of 500 euro (£350).

That’s a fuckload of money, to me at least. Then again, the point of such laws is to make it impossible for poor ruffians to gather. There will be no such problems if the rich decide to gather. Assuming they even get fined (unlikely) they will be able to pay the fine without a second thought. Wealth, or lack thereof, is the new apartheid.

Speaking of the rich, they have a different outlook on things. Whereas I look as this law and see cheerful fascism, they look at it and see a good, strong, hard-line against lazy trouble-making youths and other undesirables. Put those Gypsies on a train to Dachau for all they care. Having clean streets and no thieving Gypsies around is all that matters.

Fascism is the codification of the rights of the rich and comfortable. These rich-rights are a little more encompassing than normal rights since the rich already have those rights; they want to be secure from beggars (read: “undesirables”), assured of good pay (for themselves), protected from economic turbulence (privatizing profits but socializing losses) and ensconed in communities of like-minded peers (gated communities and absurdly posh condos).

Why? Because they deserve it. Or at least they sure think they do:

One banker said: “It’s a fact of modern life that there is disparity and ‘Is it fair or unfair?’ is not a valid question. It’s just the way it is, and you have to get on with it. People say it’s unfair when they don’t do anything to change their circumstances.” In other words, they see themselves as makers of their own fortune. Or, as another banker said, “Quite a lot of people have done well who want to achieve, and quite a lot of people haven’t done well because they don’t want to achieve.”

So you see, the real problem is that the rest of us are lazy, no-talent, whiners who didn’t work hard enough or aim high enough.

That might be true of some people, but most of us would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to me $250,000 a year. Shit, if all we had to do was work harder why didn’t somebody tell us that?

Oh wait, it doesn’t matter how hard you work as a teacher, nurse, construction worker or shopkeeper: You will never make $250,000.

They had chosen a life that would make them rich while others, making different and morally equivalent choices, had abdicated their right to complain. “Some of these are vocational, things like nurses . . . It’s accepted – they go into it knowing that that’s part of the deal.” Another said: “Many people, like teachers, don’t do things for the pay. But you won’t find a teacher that works as hard as we do.” This was categorical, evidence unnecessary. They spoke of heroic all-nighters drawing up contracts for clients in time zones on the other side of the globe, a Herculean effort that justified fat pay. But did they work 10 times as hard as a teacher on £30,000 a year or, in the case of some lawyers and bankers, 100 times as hard? Such disproportionality did not enter their scheme of things.

So I guess the real solution is for all of us to be become bankers and lawyers. Can you imagine a world in which everybody was a banker? It’d be great except that nothing would get done!

For all their talk about making the world work most bankers never lift anything heavier than their laptop computer. They are useless parasites on the neck of humanity. But fire them all and a new crop of greedy junior bankers will arise. The problem is systemic. Why do the bankers get paid so much? Because they can.

All of this talk about the free market and other such justifications is a tired excuse. The free market is not a benevolent hand making everything okay. It’s a ruthless mosh-pit of greedy, back-stabbing, amoral snakes all out to achieve dominance at any cost. The bankers are simply superior at being sleazy.

Look at what the rest of the population makes in comparison to those $250,000 (minimum) salaries:

The rich think that they are the uppercrust of humanity because their skills, talents and brains were allowed to rise to the top of the heap. I think it’s very much the opposite: Those on the top already have an easy time bringing their offspring to the same level while simultaneously rigging the system to keep the rest of us down.

Money, after all, is a zero-sum game and when you have a lot of it you can use it to create advantages for your kind (swanky private schools with huge tuitions) and disadvantages for those you want to keep down (regressive taxation, pointless wars, decrepit public education systems, etc.). It’s almost too easy. They don’t even have to think up plausible explanations for why they’re so rich and we’re not.

“Providing for children” was flourished as a trump card, as if spending on offspring were automatically moral and good, regardless of how other people’s children fare.

“I work hard, I’ve got two boys and I want to provide for them.” Providing for children meant buying them access to high-earning jobs, taking trusted routes through school and university.

The worst part about all of this is that most of the rest of us may feel a twinge of jealousy over their wealth but if given the chance to become rich like them or change the system most of us would choose wealth.

There’s nothing quite like money for proving to the world that you’re better than everyone else, and the only people who believe that more fervently than the rich are the poor.

The mainstream media is covering the global elite: The Superclass.

What is the world coming to? Are we actually going to have an honest discussion on the nature of the Super-rich and their incredibly disproportionate influence upon the world?

I doubt it, but it’s still nice to see Newsweek talking about it… of course, the author positively lusts after the power in front of him:

Recalling an earlier crisis in global securities markets that he helped to manage, Geithner said the Fed brought together the leaders of the world’s 14 major financial firms, from five countries, representing 95 percent of all the activity in global markets. The Swiss were there, the Germans were there, the British were there. Interestingly, no Asians were there, not even the Japanese. Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein “jokingly called them ‘the 14 families,’ like in ‘The Godfather’,” says Geithner. “And we said to them, “You guys have got to fix this problem. Tell us how you are going to fix it and we will work out some basic regime to make sure there are no free riders to give you comfort; you know that if you move individually everybody else will move with you.”

There was nothing in writing, no rules, no formal process, and while no one asked the Fed to act, the Fed let everyone in the markets know it was acting. The beauty of the process was its absolute efficiency, seeing what a tight circle of large firms with “some global reach” could get done, fast—with an executive committee of only four running the weekly conference call until the crisis was past.

There was nothing in writing because it’s not a democratic process. It’s an oligarchical one. These super-rich folks have a common interest — maintaining their power — and they’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.

The people on the recent calls like those described by Geithner, plus a few thousand more like them, not only in business and finance, but also politics, the arts, the nonprofit world and other realms, are part of a new global elite that has emerged over the past several decades. I call it the “superclass.” They have vastly more power than any other group on the planet. Each of the members is set apart by his ability to regularly influence the lives of millions of people in multiple countries worldwide. Each actively exercises this power, and often amplifies it through the development of relationships with other superclass members.

It’s just like high school. The super-rich have formed their own clique and none of the rest of us are invited “in”. Nope, we’re outsiders…. which seems odd because there’s approximately 6,000 of them and 6,000,000,000 of us.

So how does one become a member? As ever, being rich certainly helps. Many superclass members are wealthy, wealthier in relative terms than any elite ever has been. The top 10 percent of all people, for example, now control 85 percent of all wealth on the planet.

It’s very stable. It’s orderly, and it works.

But it’s not democracy.

In fact, when I said “it works” I meant that the system works. I didn’t mention anything about whether or not it works for everybody. Clearly, with most of the world’s population in either mild or abject poverty, the system does not work fairly or equitably.

So here’s a question: Why do we need these guys?

What benefit do they bring me? Or you? Right now they only bring the status quo, but with the economy faltering (and these guys being in a position to see it coming) it seems to me that they’re bringing us a world of pain. The superclass will have time to jump ship. They’ve probably already moved much of their wealth to Euros or gold. The rest of us? We’re just trying to get by.

If they fuck us over, I say it’s on. You ruin my standard of living, I might just ruin yours.

The iconic symbol of superclass unity is the Gulfstream private jet. In fact, one way to measure the clout of an event is to count the private jets at the nearest airport. According to Gulfstream, Davos traditionally attracts more of its planes than any other gathering, drawing up to 10 percent of the 1,500 planes in service to Zurich airport. But this year’s Olympics in Beijing will give it a run for its money, as typically do events as diverse as the Monaco Grand Prix, China’s Boao Forum, the Geneva Auto Show or Allen & Co.’s annual getaway for media magnates in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Globalization looks different when you can tell the pilot when to leave and where to go, and when there are no security lines to wait in when you are heading off for distant destinations. Those who are free to move about the planet this way come to have more in common with themselves than with their own countrymen. “What happened to us, that we walk through the Davos party and know more people than when we were walking across the village green in the town we live in?” wonders Mark Malloch-Brown, former Deputy Secretary General at the United Nations and now a senior official in the British Foreign Ministry.

The Gulfstream jet is a perfect metaphor for these people. They are in the fast lane while the rest of us take the bus. There’s only one word for it: Class.

I thought America was supposed to be a classless (or at least upwardly mobile) society, but it seems like we’ve copied the British class system almost to the letter. Throw some more racism and capitalism in the mix and you’ve got Britain 2.0. Is that what our founding fathers wanted?

People tell me that I shouldn’t wage class warfare, to which I say: “What the fuck are you talking about? The war is over. The rich won a long time ago.”

… their companies pick up the bill. Isn’t that nice?

You may think I’m just making stuff up, but this info is from a new study (via USA Today):

A new study from The Corporate Library finds that the most common form of perk being granted to CEOs these days is something called a tax “gross-up.” In plain English, it means that a company pays the taxes owed by the CEO on benefits granted by the company.

The Corporate Library, a shareholder watchdog group, found that 20% of major American companies, or 657 of nearly 3,300 examined, picked up the tab on at least one tax owed by the CEO.

“We are sure that many U.S. workers would be grateful if their employers also paid their income tax obligations,” writes Paul Hodgson of The Corporate Library in the report.

You’re damn right, Paul. How fucking sweet would that be?

Those poor, hard-working billionaire CEOs! We can’t just hand them a billion dollars and expect them to pay their own taxes can we? Heck, no, we need a welfare program for CEOs.

What utter fascism.

What’s that you say? This has nothing to do with fascism? I disagree; here’s why:

The guiding fascist principle is “might makes right”. Fascism is all about making things orderly, especially for those who rule. Far from being the goal, social equality is looked at as something undesirable, perhaps even unnatural. Fascists love the pyramid structure. They want a firm, unyielding power structure that’s easy to understand; they need a strong leader who is completely above everyone else, like a Pharoah or a Emperor. That’s why Bush is so popular with so many people who are actually adversely affected by his policies. They love being ruled with an iron fist. The opposite makes them feel afraid, whereas the pyramid structue makes them feel safe. Democracy is chaos. Fascism is order.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that our business leaders organize things in a pyramidal, hierarchical fashion as well. It’s not necessary to pay CEOs and other execs huge sums of money; they don’t really need it, but they do want it. It’s a status symbol. Their obscene paycheck makes them a god, a pharoah. It places them way beyond the reach of the rest of us. They represent the ultimate promise of capitalism: to become godlike without being born into it. And of course, if you want to emphasize your godliness, you must also emphasize the weakness of the puny, pathetic mortals who work under you. That’s why perfectly rational companies gladly pay obscenely wasteful amounts of money to CEOs while simultaneously pinching pennies when it comes to regular workers.

It’s no fun being a god if there’s no one to worship you. But it gets funny. Search around and you’ll find plenty of people defending CEO salaries and this gross-up technique. They’ve slurped the Kool-Aid and they think they can become CEOs one day too. It’s the American Dream after all…. but what percentage of us actually becomes a CEO?

The article above focuses on 3000 major companies. There are 300 million Americans. You have a 0.001% chance of being one of their CEOs. Good luck.

So apparently I have a blog or something. Wouldn’t it be nice if I updated it every now and then?

Sorry for the nearly-a-month gap between updates. I’ve been busy, depressed, sick, busy and exhausted. And busy.

A lot has changed, but much more hasn’t. I get sick of the same old shit. It’s just depressing to have to contend with the fact that we’ve got a crew of fascists in the White House and no one seems to care, especially not Congress.

Similar to Hitler and Nazis we may have to wait for them to cause their own undoing. That seems like the way things are going: The Fed and Bush admin have completely fucked our economy to the point where I’m wondering whether I should move somewhere the hell else.

They said an emergency cut by the US Federal Reserve to its discount rate and a weekend deal for JPMorgan Chase to buy Bear Stearns at a fire-sale price had added to a sense of crisis sweeping through global financial markets.

The volatility spilled over into commodities Monday as oil prices soared to fresh highs and gold prices jumped as investors looked to safe-havens.

The fact that the government is bailing out mega-rich corporations at the expense of regular-joe taxpayers almost doesn’t even register in my mind. We’ve got bigger fish to fry: The stability of the economy as a whole is threatened.

It’s important to realize that the US dollar is a fiat currency, backed by nothing but promises. There’s no gold backing, no silver; nothing. It’s paper. It’s backed only by the promise of the government that its citizens will continue being productive and paying their taxes. But if the economy goes even lower into the pit of doom it’s falling in, then the American taxpayer will have trouble paying for much of anything. Houses are foreclosing and jobs are dwindling. There’s no end in sight so we don’t know whether this will be just a minor correction (read: recession) or a major depression.

It’s looking more and more like a depression.

There’s a lot of baggage here. The dollar has been inflated in value for years and now the cows are coming home to roost ontop of the chickens who wanted to be elsewhere but couldn’t afford transport because of high gas prices.

But’s the subprime mortgage mess that’s really triggering this downfall. Those same loans kept the economy afloat a few years ago, but now they’re acting more like a millstone. So, in order to save us from economic ruin, the Bush admin is robbing us of our own money. This money will be sent to the enormous banks who fucked us in the first place:

This week, Bernanke’s Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.

Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.

The Spitzer scandal proves once again that the most horrible thing any politician can ever do is have sex.

You can start illegal wars, violate every American’s 4th amendment rights simultaneously, give away billions to rich cronies, display utter incompetence and total hypocrisy, but God help you if you have sex with somebody who’s not your wife! (the solution is obvious)

Oh well. Spitzer was a hypocrite, too. He should’ve moved for legalized prostitution when he had the chance. But what really burns me is how we hold (or don’t hold) politicians accountable. Spitzer’s indiscretions are mostly a matter of concern for his wife; it’s none of our fucking business (ha!). Bush’s crimes are at a war-crime level or higher. Yet he is protected by the Democratic Congress as if he were one of their own.

Well, I guess he is.

The truth is that the ruling class looks after their own. Spitzer was standing in the way of economic progress so he had to go. Of course “economic progress” is just a euphemism for wealth redistribution; from the poor to the rich.

In the end, we’re on our own. The rich will look after themselves/each other, but they will only think about us insofar as we are necessary to their survival. It’s foolish naivety to believe otherwise, I’m afraid. They’ll save their servents before us, simply because they want someone to serve them hot toddies in the underground bunkers.

So my advice is: watch the markets. If there’s a run on the banks you’ll want to be first in line to get your cash. Remember, only the first 10% will get their money out. Everybody else is completely fucked if the FDIC doesn’t have a couple trillion laying around.

Of course what do I know? I’m just a simple peasant giving advice to other peasants on how to deal with an economic system invented by the nobles for the benefit of the nobles. There’s really not much we can do.

But you might be wise to avoid listening to the mouthpieces of the nobles. Their advice is usually self-serving at best. Perhaps even scarier is the idea that the high priests of the economy have no fucking idea what’s happening or how to stop it.

Sounds like a good time for a deus ex machina. Somebody must’ve seen this debacle coming, right? We need a white knight but all I see are charlatans, jokers and sycophants. Hoping for a miracle doesn’t seem like a very good strategy, but what other choice do we have?

The pyramid scheme that is our economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. The subprime loan disaster is looking more and more like the detanator that will nuke the dollar, the banking industry and our economy as a whole.

When US homeowners default on their mortgages en-mass, they destroy money faster than the Fed can replace it through normal channels. The result is a liquidity crisis which deflates asset prices and reduces monetized wealth, says economist Henry Liu.

The debt-securitization process is in a state of collapse. The market for structured investments, MBSs, CDOs, and Commercial Paper—has evaporated leaving the banks with astronomical losses. They are incapable of rolling over their their short-term debt or finding new revenue streams to buoy them through the hard times ahead. As the foreclosure-avalanche intensifies; bank collateral continues to be down-graded which is likely to trigger a wave of bank failures.

Henry Liu sums it up like this: Proposed government plans to bail out distressed home owners can slow down the destruction of money, but it would shift the destruction of money as expressed by falling home prices to the destruction of wealth through inflation masking falling home value. (The Road to Hyperinflation, Henry Liu, Asia Times) It’s a vicious cycle. The Fed is caught between the dual millstones of hyperinflation and mass defaults. There’s no way out.

We are so fucked.

Unless somebody has a new economic system waiting in the wings I’ll have to start learning how to survive on rats, rabbits, squirrels … and probably human flesh at this rate. And that is not my idea of a good time.

The worst part is the feeling of helplessness. I can only watch these “financial experts” make one stupid decision after another. They’re only really experts at making themselves massive short-term profits. They don’t care about the damage they’ve done to the economy, which affects all of us.

The whole affair is depressing and maddening, but if you want to learn more, visit the Market Oracle.

As for me, I’ll be learning to hunt small suburban mammals.

Jeb Bush on "Truth"

Jeb Bush, the president’s li’l brother, has a little warning for all of you who would doggedly pursue the truth, no matter what it may be:

The truth is useless. You have to understand this right now. You can’t deposit the truth in a bank. You can’t buy groceries with the truth. You can’t pay rent with the truth. The truth is a useless commodity that will hang around your neck like an albatross all the way to the homeless shelter. And if you think that the million or so people in this country that are really interested in the truth about their government can support people who would tell them the truth, you got another thing coming. Because the million or so people in this country that are truly interested in the truth don’t have any money.
– Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida

It might sound like he’s talking out of his ass, but I suspect he’s not. He’s part of an elite clique that holds power in this and many other countries, and you can bet they’ve studied their opposition very closely. Their opposition is a small contingent of kooks and nutcases who actually believe that the truth is important. I bet the elite looked in the NSA’s gigantic spying database, crunched some numbers and figured out that they only have to worry about a million or so people, out of the 300 million US citizens in this country.

That’s only 1 out of 300, but it’s still a lot of people. Of course, he’s right: We don’t have any money. But we do have a need for truth, and despite what the Jeb Bushes of the world may tell you, that’s the most important thing.

I wear the albatross of truth with pride, but I can understand why people would be reluctant to do so. The truth is dangerous, especially when powerful men like Jeb Bush are so adamantly opposed to the real truth. People learn to keep their mouths shut. Go along to get along. Join the herd.

But then I guess you can’t really complain when politicians lie to you if you’re not going stand up for truth. Churchill said democracy is the worst form of government, except for all of the others that have been tried. Perhaps we’ve gotten the government we deserve. Perhaps it was our laissez faire attitude towards truth that got us into this mess in the first place and allowed it to fester and burst in such a gooey explosion of lies and bullshit.

Maybe the million or so of us should move somewhere else. Maybe Americans would rather live in deception than stand up for the truth. I don’t know. But I believe that the truth matters somehow, more than Jeb could ever know. And if Americans don’t like the truth, I’m pretty sure they don’t like the feeling that they’ve been lied to either.

Let that be a warning for Jeb and his pals. Americans don’t like being played for fools… and the truth is that that is exactly what Jeb and the elite are doing.

No wonder they’re no friends of the truth.

I like to learn a thing or two every day, and today I learned a very interesting thing indeed.

Many people know that alcohol can be used as fuel for cars and farm equipment. It’s popular today in the guise of ethanol, but ethanol is largely a red herring. Ethanol is a ghost of what could have been had the Prohibition movement not killed alcohol fuel in its infancy.

Most people are not aware that Henry Ford’s Model T came in a variation that allowed the driver to switch the carburetor to run the engine on farm-made ethyl acohol [sic]. This allowed the operator to stop at local farms (equipped with stills) to refuel his/her car during long trips through the backcountry. After all- the gas station wasn’t exactly as ubiquitous in those days, as it is now. The Standard Oil Company and its industrialist-founder John D. Rockefeller wasn’t too happy with this arrangement. After all, Rockefeller’s company had a virtual monoploly on gasoline at this time in our nation’s development.

It kind of makes me wonder why we’re fighting an illegal war over oil in the desert, thousands of miles away, when we could probably retrofit our cars to run on domestically produced alcohol fuels (which does not have to be corn-based like ethanol).

Like William Randolph Hearst’s campaign against cannabis (marijuana), Rockefeller’s campaign against alcohol was ultimately successful… for him. Hearst and Rockefeller’s respective campaigns were horrible crimes perpetrated against America, the environment and truth, but both men were personally enriched through their scheming.

Since the late 1800′s there had been a growing Alcohol Temperance Movement developing among reformers. Rockefeller saw an opportunity in this. It is well-documented that local efforts to curb alcohol consumption were expanded to the national level when high-profile figures like Rockefeller joined in the anti-alcohol efforts. Was he so concerned with the social problems that abuse of alcohol was said to cause?

No… John D. Rockefeller was not concerned with family dynamics in the working classes. But he was influential in changing the goals of the movement from temperance to prohibition. As we know, his contribution to the outlawing of the production and sale of alcohol was successful. Of course, Rockefeller and the oil companies reaped tremendous profits as a result. Remember that the period covered by the 18th Amendment (1919-1933) coincided with the huge rise in the sale and operation of automobiles. America was on the move, and all of these cars were now operated solely on gasoline. By the time that the 21st Amendment was passed, ending the prohibition of alcohol, the standard was already set and worked completely in the favor of the Rockefeller family.

While this is an excellent example of a conspiracy against the American people that is both provable and successful, there is one problem with calling it a conspiracy: Conspiracies require illegal acts, and lying to the American people is not necessarily illegal. Unethical, yes, but unless you were personally slandered there’s no chance of legal recourse against such conspiratorial campaigns.

In the end, this is an example of how rich men can ride roughshod over the Constitution and the democratic process and there’s not a damn thing anybody can do about it.

I would like to sincerely thank David Rockefeller, chairman of every internationalist organization you can think of, for coming out and admiting that there is a global conspiracy to unite the world under a one world government.

It gets annoying, you know, constantly explaining this to people, only to receive blank stares or mockery in response. I’ve long wished the Establishment (or “Illuminati” if you prefer) would just come out and admit it. It’s not like we’re in a position to do anything about it anyway. Well David Rockefeller (or D-Rock, as his friends in the international finanace ‘hood call him) has finally cleared the air:

“For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” – From Rockefeller’s “Memoirs”, (p.405).

Uh, yes, that is the charge, Rockie, and what’s more we charge you with using any and every means at your disposal to accomplish this, including bribery, murder, lying, fraud, coups, mind-control, and, ironically, belligerent nationalism.

He continues with an even more revealing passage:

“The anti-Rockefeller focus of these otherwise incompatible political positions owes much to Populism. ‘Populists’ believe in conspiracies, and one of the most enduring is that a secret group of international bankers and capitalists, and their minions, control the world’s economy. Because of my name and prominence as the head of the Chase for many years, I have earned the distinction of ‘conspirator in chief’ from some of these people.

“Populists and isolationists ignore the tangible benefits that have resulted from our active international role during the past half-century. Not only was the very real threat posed by Soviet Communism overcome, but there have been fundamental improvements in societies around the world, particularly in the United States, as a result of global trade, improved communications, and the heightened interaction of people from different cultures. Populists rarely mention these positive consequences, nor can they cogently explain how they would have sustained American economic growth and the expansion of our political power without them.”

You will notice that he does not deny it. If anything he has confirmed that their is a “secret group of international bankers and capitalists, and their minions, [who] control the world’s economy”. What more is there to say?

Just this: Certainly we all appreciate the many benefits of modern capitalism and the technological goodies we’ve gotten our hands on. But at what cost? Politically, economically and ecologically it’s a loser for those of us who aren’t moguls. Who is going to control the one-world government he so fervently desires? If past performance is any indication of future performance, we can expect these internationalists to keep all the power to themselves. Democracy is simply “incompatible” with his smooth, orderly, one-world utopia.

The scary thing here is the idea, now realized before our eyes, that not all people who want to conquer the world are madmen. Some of them, clearly, know exactly what they’re doing; they plan decades ahead, carefully lay the groundwork and, with considerable patience, skill and cunning, achieve their goals through whatever methods required.

The whole affair is amazingly complex, but then again, so is collecting stamps, memorizing Tolkein or learning to program in C++. I suppose when you’re the billionaire son of a billionaire you need to have a hobby to keep occupied.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re a slave to money, this video will explain quite simply how that is in fact true. It’s the best video on money creation I’ve ever seen.

Be sure to check out all five sections. Here’s part 2.