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Home country: USA
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Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 07:28 PM
Number of posts: 9,315

About Me

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Archives

Indeed. This is part of the deeper reason behind the systematic union-busting.

Wages have gone down, stagnated, and real purchasing power has gone down along with union membership.

Now, it is a given that you will have to either live with roommates, or you will have to have two incomes just to keep your nostrils above water. In the meantime, you get nickel and dimed. Student loans, planned obsolescence, unaffordable housing and all the rest.

At the same time, companies like Comcast earn huge profits ($11.3 billion in 2018) and their CEOs stratospheric 'salaries,' (For Comcast, the CEO 'earned' $35 million in 2018).

I was watching a movie that had a profound dialog in it. I will paraphrase: "It costs around $95,000 to get someone elected to the US House of Representatives, and the average tenure is 18 years. A Congressman is the BEST investment a company can make."

So, in this system based on lust to amass wealth and lust to amass power, we end up having a massive transfer of wealth to fewer and fewer individuals - billionaire parasites - while the rest of us fight over a smaller and smaller piece of pie. When the top 1% of 'earners' hold 42% of the nation's wealth, when 25,000 people in the world STARVE to death each day, when lies are propagated by big oil and plastics to cast doubt on their environmental impact just so they can keep making massive profits, when big pharma and for-profit healthcare line up billions of dollars in opposition to healthcare for all Americans, then we truly have a problem.

To facilitate this, those who wanted to create this criminal imbalance in the first place realized they needed to dumb down schools, take over the media and make it profit-driven and systematically control information. This is why Arjit Pai took away net neutrality, and why AM radio so proliferated in the 90s. It is why the bought-and-paid-for judges 'decided' in favor of Citizens United, and why the Chicago School of economics invented 'trickle down.'


But we all have to do what we can, and those of us who can more easily 'do' should do more. Nothing excuses us each from fighting the good fight every day. We cannot give up, because this cancer of 'free market' shareholder-driven capitalism is in its last gasp and is unsustainable for us as a species. We will either have to rethink the way we organize ourselves, and the way we 'do' economics, or else we will end up extinct and this planet a smoking cinder circling the earth.

Right now, we are such a cancer on this earth that if we went extinct today, EVERY other form of life would be better off.

And that, my friends, is a truly terrifying reality to confront.

I have it. You have it. Others here have it.

As to growing it in others, it is for us to impart a sense of common decency to our families and friends through the power of example. That is where the Christians tend to get it wrong - they think success is measured by number of converts, when the truth is that success is measured by the extent to which they instill that essential moral and ethical behavior in those around them by virtue of their own example, and the extent to which they work actively to build better, more tolerant, more cohesive and resilient communities, and by the extent to which they are conscious of our collective stewardship over the earth and all life it contains.

How many of us, I wonder, know influential people in their local area? How many of us keep abreast of local issues and regularly contact our mayor, councilperson or county commissioner about these issues? How many of us keep track of what our state legislature is doing and contact our legislators regularly? Our governor? And how many of us regularly contact our US Senators and Representative by telephone, letter or email? This is how to walk the walk.

It is more than just politics, because it is possible to take a conservative position on an issue and still be a decent human being, just as it is possible to take a liberal position likewise. The problem is that we have to keep our eye on the prize, and the prize is NOT amassing wealth or power. The prize is instead the power of community, cooperation and the drive to ensure everyone has enough.

At least that is how I believe. As to whether we will actually mature enough as a species to avoid going extinct through war or degradation of the environment, your guess is as good as mine. But we as individuals are not now, not ever excused from fighting the good fight.

Every day.

A bit of a rant about Comcast in particular and cable companies in general

On Oct. 10, Comcast moved the Turner Classic Movies channel to its sports package.

Think about that for a minute. I have to pay another $9.99 a month for basically one channel, as neither my wife or I are interested in sports at all. We are having a sports 'package' rammed down our throats so my wife can watch her favorite channel.


So I pitched a big bitch. I called Comcast, and also completed a chat with them. I found out when my contract is over and I will be cutting the cord (cable) at that time unless they reverse this gouge.

I'm sick of getting the shaft. Seems like we get nickel and dimed mercilessly - that is capitalism at its best - you pay DEAR for as little as they can get away with giving you.

I looked over Comcast's 10K report for 2018 - wait for it............

Net profits - $11.3 billion
CEO salary - $35 million

OK...rant over.

Lawrence Tribe on AMJOY

Tribe is saying that Trump has betrayed this nation, betraying his oath, abusing his power.

He has eschewed the term 'smoking gun,' and substituted 'smoking Howitzer.'

Great toon.



Yes, I'm writing a series of essays about the corrosive effect the shareholder primacy

doctrine has had on workers, consumers, communities and our environment.

A couple of thoughts:

There is nothing in the law that requires shareholder primacy. That doctrine is nothing but a theory. It is such because most of the players agree it is so. That's it.

As evidence, I call your attention to the corporate lawyer and law professor Lynn Stout, who in 2012 wrote a book called "The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public." This is a sound book, written to refute the shareholder primacy doctrine. In the forward, Stout mentions that this 'ironclad' doctrine is relatively new - prior to about 1980, corporate officers tended to a much wider view of the purpose of a corporation. Then, the Chicago School arises, with Milton Friedman and postulates that shareholder primacy is THE way to go. So we had Enron, the BP Gulf disaster, and so on.

More people are wising up to this issue. Consider Warren's August 2018 legislation called 'The Accountable Capitalism Act.' This legislation, which would not pass in this congress, nor be signed into law by Trump, forces that fiduciary responsibility to expand to other stakeholders, not merely shareholders. I just saw Rep. Katie Porter on Maher, and she spoke about overturning that doctrine.

And, of course, against that backdrop, we have the Federal Reserve Act, which has created a system of scarcity that doesn't have to be. More people are now thinking about, and embracing Modern Monetary Theory in this vein.

The problem is, wasupaloopa, that our current system is simply unsustainable. I mean, morality aside, if we don't do something substantial to reorganize ourselves around human need as opposed to human greed, we will go extinct. That might not be a bad thing, I guess, because if you look at the effect sapiens have had on this planet (check Yuval Noah Harari's book Sapiens), you see that if we went extinct right now, at this very moment, ALL other species - flora and fauna - would actually be better off. That's saying something.

So, yeah, I'm an economist who tends to democratic socialism - in the sense I genuinely believe that people need to have a say in policies that affect them, at the local, state and national level. To me, that is the definition of democracy. Now, in this republic, we do that, in theory, through those we elect. Unfortunately, as Senator Whitehouse says, we need to get all this dark money and corporate corruption out of DC and our state houses, because it is a cancer.

I think Bernie has been misunderstood when he calls for a 'political revolution.' What he is saying is that when we all get fed up enough and stand up, demanding some change, that change will happen. And, you know, it can either be through this system or a bloody worldwide revolution. But that change is now an existential necessity for our species.

We should rename today's party of Trump as the 21st century Know Nothings.

The Republicans are really no longer Republicans - the have mutated into something far worse. They are now the party of Trump.

So, back in the 1850s, when the Whig party dissolved, they were replaced by the Know Nothing movement, which was was very much like today's Trumpians. It was anti-Catholic, xenophobic, and hostile to immigration, and started as a secret society. According to Wiki, adherents to the movement were to reply "I know nothing" when asked about its specifics by outsiders, which is how the group came to be called the Know Nothings.

Now, we have the party of Trump. When we think about what that party now stands for, and about the polarization in this nation, they are just like the Know Nothings were way back when.

And, when we think about the stupid things they say, their flawed reasoning, their cruel policies, it is clear how very, very ignorant most are.

Thus, they know nothing. The Know Nothings.

Hyperbole elevated to a high art by none other than the Mooch. (From Daily Kos)

You all know I love hyperbole when it is well done.

Well, I saw this on Daily Kos https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/8/17/1879721/-The-Mooch-drags-Trump-hard-in-new-interview-Oh-my-god-this-jack-ss, and just cannot resist posting it here!

The Mooch really gets going. See if it amuses you as much as it did me:

He is so narcissistic, he doesn’t see people as people. He sees them as objects in his field of vision. You know, he doesn’t look at people—and by the way, if you and I were in his field of vision and he had a cold and the two of us had to die for him to get a Kleenex, you’re fucking dead. I mean, there’s no chance. You understand that, right?

I think the guy is losing it, mentally. He has declining mental faculties; he’s becoming more petulant; he’s becoming more impetuous. Okay, you see just by the way he’s sweating, his body’s not doing well. It’s obviously not a guy that takes care of himself, right? And he doesn’t listen to anybody. And just think about this, okay? There’s no one—there’s no Jim Mattis; there’s no Gary Cohn; there’s no one to check him anymore. Whatever my differences were with General John Kelly, after he left, this thing has completely unspooled.

Yep, gotta give it to the Mooch - when it comes to hyperbole, the guy is a real artist.

So, allow me to pose a question.

You suggest that polls are the conversation because the press is too lazy to bother learning and reporting on issues and policies.

That the media always wants to report on a 'horse race' is a fair point, and one with which I quite agree.

Your point there is no national primary is also well put.

But, where I differ with you is that by saying, "...mostly due to the laziness of the political press, who don't want to go through the bother of learning and reporting on issues and policies..." you seem to be suggesting that it is a matter of laziness and ignorance, nothing more.

I think it is more. In fact, I'm convinced that the corporations who own our media outlets exercise quite a bit of power over what these talking heads report. So, even if the talking head is well versed in the issues, they are still beholden to their owners to bring in high ratings because shareholder profits rule all else in this society. So, you see, I am convinced the truth has long been made a slave to profit.

This is why Trump, the quintessential reality star keeps harping on 'fake news.' He knows this. He knows ratings, and thus shareholder profits, are king. So he deliberately undermines the fourth estate so people become acclimated to being fed lies and then watching the conflict that ensues.

Donald Trump's most horrible act, among very, very many, is this tearing down of American institutions. He has made political discourse just like 'professional' wrestling - everyone knows it is fake, so they watch it only for entertainment.

Cory Booker - I thought for a long time about where to post this. Yes, it is about Cory

Booker, but it is about something he's been working on for years, well before his presidential run.

I saw a piece earlier today on MSNBC highlighting the effort, and it is something you all need to know about, because it has true bipartisan support, and could dramatically improve the lives of many, many people, particularly people of color.

The Dems support it because it is morally right and saves money. Republicans support it because it saves money - they don't care much about morality.

So, here's the article. You can read it yourself, and I sincerely ask you to make a quick call and/or send an email to your US Senators and Representative in support of this legislation. It is past due, and if we light up the proverbial switchboard, we can really accomplish something nice this year!

So, please, I urge you to act for this excellent purpose. We say we are for leveling the playing field and getting rid of institutional racism, and we are! But here's a real-life chance to make a change that does that!

Cory Booker aims to give aging prisoners 'a second look': The Democratic presidential candidate is unveiling new legislation to take prison reform another step forward.


William Underwood, 65 years years old, is one inmate who wasn't eligible for release under the First Step Act. He has been in federal prison for 30 years, convicted of conspiracy, racketeering and non-violent drug-related crimes. Although it was his first felony conviction, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole under mandatory sentencing guidelines.

Booker, who first met Underwood in 2016, says he's a prime example of the kind prisoner who should be eligible for release. He points to Underwood's age, the time he's already served and his record of good behavior as as reasons why more reforms are needed, noting that even the prison guards have said Underwood doesn’t belong there.

The bill would also give people who have served more than ten years an opportunity to petition the court for release. And for prisoners over the age of 50, they would be offered the presumption of release, which means the the judge would have to show that the inmate should remain behind bars because they are a threat to society.

The measure likely faces an uphill battle in part because it would shift the burden onto the judicial system to make the case that a prisoner should remain locked up.

Now, it has some problems, like how there isn't an exclusion for certain crimes, which is why it faces an uphill battle. But if you don't like that, maybe suggest to the staffer you speak to that your person could add an amendment excluding those crimes you don't think should be considered under the law.

But this is a good thing, good policy. We've known for YEARS that people of color are disproportionately affected by the justice system, and here's a piece of good policy that could release people who should never have been sentenced as harshly as they were. Like this Underwood.

Thanks for listening!

And, by the way, I could easily support Booker if he ends up being our candidate.

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