Friday, October 03, 2008

House Bows to Blackmail, Passes Unconstitutional Bailout

The bailout bill is unconstitutional but passed the House under the Bush administration's threat of martial law!
The House rejected the original bill on Monday, sending stocks tumbling around the world.

But lawmakers approved the rescue package, backed by U.S. President George W. Bush and Treasury chiefs, Friday after the U.S. Senate passed it by a large majority on Wednesday.

Congress voted 263 to 171 in favor of the bailout bill, which will now go to President Bush to be signed.

Wall St, after climbing nearly 300 points before the bill was passed, slipped after the successful vote as the market tried to take in the news.

President Bush later said he would sign the bill into law Friday.

--U.S. lawmakers pass $700 billion bailout bill
Section 7. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.

--US Constitution
At the time the Constitution was written, it was believed that Senators would be more wealthy than Reps and might, therefore, be willing to spend public money unnecessarily. The larger house was also believed to be a 'better gauge' of the people's wishes. Ummmmm!!!

This bailout bill originated in the Senate.

According to US wealth distribution data compiled by 'The State of Working America', 'Wealth distribution in the U.S. is extremely concentrated at the top --even more so than income.'
These statistics, on the other hand, only hint at the L-Curve phenomenon because the top 1% isn't scrutinized in sufficient detail. Still, compare the net worth of the top half of the top 1% with the bottom half of the top 1%! If you add them together and proportion them out, 3/4 of the wealth in the top 1% is actually in the top 0.5%.

--US Wealth Distribution Data

Only a tiny group of Americans --Bush's 'base' --will benefit from the bailout directly.
The top and bottom halves of the top 0.5% would undoubtedly show even greater disparity if the data were presented with enough resolution. Note that nothing on this page even mentions billionaires. The largest fortunes are in the $100-billion range. The statistics on billionaires are diluted by lumping them in with mere millionaires. --op cit,

This absurd bill bails out the Wall Street house of cards upon the backs of working Americans, those who still have jobs. This is not merely absurd, it's criminal. It's a hold-up, theft under threat of 'martial law'.

The richest man in the world is probably worth more than some $60 billion dollars. If the 'bailout' were pro-rated, he should be expected to pay proportionally or between 10 and 15 percent of the total bailout. Will that happen? Not a chance. In America, the rich are supported by the middle and lower classes.

America was wounded with Bush v Gore. It was finished off with a bailout, in fact, the 'payoff' to the ruling elite that had thrown their support to Bush. He called them his 'base'. This was graft and corruption in broad daylight with an arrogant mass murderer, traitor daring the American people to do anything about it.
People must see clearly the futility of maintaining the fight for social goals within the framework of civil debate. When the forces of oppression come to maintain themselves in power against established law; peace is considered already broken.

--Che Guevara, Principles of Guerilla Warfare
The bailout was unconstitutional but you can bet Scalia's rubber stamp office will give it a big OK!

The current government in Washington is NOT legitimate.

This is, perhaps, a good time to recall an America that no longer exists. Thanks to Bush it may never exist again.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Twilight of the GOP on the Eve of Great Depression II

I have blogged for years, much of it spent blasting the endemically crooked GOP to the best of my ability. Now --when even the GOP ponders its own imminent demise --I suspect that the sharpest critiques of gop-ism are coming from the GOP.
This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation, and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed. Instead, by rejecting the rescue package on Monday, they have made the psychological climate much worse.

George W. Bush is completely out of juice, having squandered his influence with Republicans as well as Democrats. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is a smart moneyman, but an inept legislator. He was told time and time again that House Republicans would not support his bill, and his response was to get down on bended knee before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Now they [the GOP] have once again confused talk radio with reality. If this economy slides, they will go down in history as the Smoot-Hawleys of the 21st century. With this vote, they’ve taken responsibility for this economy, and they will be held accountable. The short-term blows will fall on John McCain, the long-term stress on the existence of the G.O.P. as we know it.

--David Brooks, Revolt of the Nihilists, New York Times
These are the words of a party on the eve of eclipse and the Great Depression II that they will have helped bring about. Brooks misses the point, however, when it comes to 'free market principles'. The 'bailout' ought to have been rejected. It's probably the only thing the GOP has done right in years.

As for 'market principles', Brooks errs again. He still believes in them as many still believed in them on the eve of the Great Depression. He was willing to 'interfere' with the 'free market', however, when it was thought the bailout would save the fat cats' ass on Wall Street.

I wonder if Brooks' recent chagrin may be due to the fact that Brooks cannot resolve his hypocrisy, that he knows but will not admit that he has been betrayed by the 'free market' ideology. Pssst, David. There is NO 'invisible hand' but the the thinly disguised jerk off we got from the GOP leadership for as long as I've been able to read a newspaper. There were, I am sure, many like David Brooks on the eve of Great Depression I.

Brooks may be right in the sense that the GOP, as a monolith, an institution, as the primary opposition to Democrats, may go the way of T-Rex. The nation might benefit, however, if the GOP were to break up into its natural factions, one of which is correctly described as being to the right of Genghis Khan. The term 'moderate Republican' has been an oxymoron at least since the party tried to pin on Bill Clinton an act that was not even a crime. There are rumors that there were--at one time in the dimming mists of history --'liberal Republicans'! Your chances of finding one are probably less than your chances of finding a beached mermaid or a tamed Chupacabra. There was, of course, a 'libertarian' streak and under the 'leadership' of Ron Paul, it already shows signs of bolting a party that has shown little interest in them.

The upside is this: as Bush runs out of juice, as the GOP limps off to licks its wounds, some sanity might be restored to our relations with the rest of the world. An Obama Presidency must be influenced to roll back Bush's assaults upon the Constitution. In the longer term, it would be hoped that Scalia will retire. GOP dominance since 1980 has resulted in an extremist court typified by Antonin Scalia who hardly bothers to conceal his contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution. He claims to be 'too smart' for the court. That being the case, he should be 'urged' to quit and find a another job more in keeping with his talents, perhaps, 'mafioso'.

In broader terms, there may very well be a window of opportunity in which we may
  • restore the separation of powers
  • restore the supremacy of the Constitution as the source of US law
  • restore Due Process of Law, indeed, the Bill of Rights
  • restore habeas corpus
  • restore US treaty commitments --Kyoto, Geneva, the Nuremberg Principles
  • restore the principle that the 'President' is answerable directly to the people of the United States.

Obama may find himself, like FDR, in the position of having to save America from itself. As was true in Roosevelt's first term, a 'counter-revolution' may be on the agenda.
Government, under Franklin Roosevelt, got serious about regulating financial markets after the first cycle of financial bubble and economic ruin in the 1920s. Then, as now, the abuses were complex in their detail but very simple in their essence. They included the sale of complex securities packaged in deceptive and misleading ways; far too much borrowing to finance speculative investments; and gross conflicts of interest on the part of insiders who stood to profit from flim-flams. When the speculative bubble burst in 1929, sellers overwhelmed buyers, many investors were wiped out, and the system of credit contracted, choking the rest of the economy.

In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration acted to prevent a repetition of the ruinous 1920s. Commercial banks were separated from investment banks, so that bankers could not prosper by underwriting bogus securities and foisting them on retail customers. Leverage was limited in order to rein in speculation with borrowed money. Investment banks, stock exchanges, and companies that publicly traded stocks were required to disclose more information to investors. Pyramid schemes and conflicts of interest were limited. The system worked very nicely until the 1970s -- when financial innovators devised end-runs around the regulated system, and regulators stopped keeping up with them.

--Only a Roosevelt-Scale Counterrevolution Can Prevent Great Depression II
If FDR had not restored confidence in the White House, there might very well have been a revolution in the US in the 30s. The threat of FEMA camps notwithstanding, millions of people robbed of homes, hope and jobs will find a way to speak. Enriched and compromised power would do well to learn the lessons of history.
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it.

--Georges Santayana, American Philosopher
And there is likewise a warning.
People must see clearly the futility of maintaining the fight for social goals within the framework of civil debate. When the forces of oppression come to maintain themselves in power against established law; peace is considered already broken.

--Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Guerilla Warfare

Homer Tries to Vote for Obama

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Alley Oop Candidate

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

What Palin actually said was "Yes, I have seen images of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them!", a statement consistent with her attempts to put 'creationists' on school boards. By definition, a 'creationist' believes God created the universe in just seven days some 6,000 years ago, a figure that is, we are told, derived by adding up the "begats" in the Old Testament. "Creationism" is consistently said to be the belief that human beings lived contemporary with dinosaurs.
The first piece of evidence that Sarah Palin thinks man and dinosaur walked the earth together has finally emerged.

I don't know "valley activist" Philip Munger," but I do know Salon's David Talbot, so I'm inclined to belief at the very least that the reporting is accurate when Talbot quotes Mr. Munger as follows:
Another valley activist, Philip Munger, says that Palin also helped push the evangelical drive to take over the Mat-Su Borough school board. "She wanted to get people who believed in creationism on the board," said Munger, a music composer and teacher. "I bumped into her once after my band played at a graduation ceremony at the Assembly of God. I said, 'Sarah, how can you believe in creationism --your father's a science teacher." And she said, "We don't have to agree on everything."
"I pushed her on the earth's creation, whether it was really less than 7,000 years old and whether dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. And she said yes, she'd seen images somewhere of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them." Sometimes you just wish God, assuming He does exist, would come down and say: "You people are crazy. The idea that a nation of humans is considering electing you to high office frightens and insults Me."
          Micahel Tomaskys's Blog, Guardian UK

Palin has long espoused creationism, a belief that Genesis is a literal history. Creationists believe that human beings lived contemporary with dinosaurs because creation took place over a period of seven days just 6,000 years ago.  The creationist believes that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. And not just in Jurassic park or Alley Oop comic strips.
Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth that had been created just 6,000 years ago --about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct.
After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.
Palin told him that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks," recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.
--Pam's House Blend
The footprints that were said to be human were not. That determination was made in 1989. Claims that human tracks had been fossilized in pre-Tertiary rocks from other localities are not considered credible by ... "mainstream scientists" nor by "major creationist groups". [See: The Paluxy Dinosaur/'Man Track' Controversy, Glen J, Kuban]

Getting at the Truth by Way of Science and Astronomy

Astronomers have recently discovered the most distant object in the universe --the galaxy MACS0647-JD; it is some 13.7 billion light-years distant from us. The light that is now seen from MACS0647-JD most certainly departed that "object" some 13.7 billion years ago. What is significant is that light from this galaxy has been traveling toward Earth for "almost the whole history of space/time".

Now --let's clear up what Matt Damon said about Palin.
I need to know if she really thinks that dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she's gonna have the nuclear codes.
--Matt Damon, Huffington Post

Matt Damon Slams Palin

It is fairly easy to dismiss the notion that the earth is but 6,000 years old. With nothing more elaborate than a sextant and the geometry known to Eratosthenes, it is possible to calculate the distance to stars much further than 6,000 light years from earth. [See: Goddard Spaceflight Center: Finding Distances to Stars]

Our solar system is located on one of the spiral arms of a galaxy known to us as the Milky Way. In 1923 Edwin Hubble, for whom the space telescope is named, proved that the spectacular Andromeda galaxy was, in fact, the nearest galaxy to Earth at some 2.51 ± 0.13 million light years distant. The Magellanic Clouds, irregular "dwarf galaxies", are closer to Earth --165,000 light years and 195,000 light years respectively.

While Andromeda is our nearest galactic neighbor it is also the most distant object that can still be seen without binoculars or an astronomical telescope. Because it is our nearest galactic neighbor, Andromeda had gotten a lot of attention over the last 100 years. That Andromeda can be seen disproves the creationist belief that the universe (the "firmament", as it is sometimes call) and the Earth within it were all created within a period of seven days about 6,000 years ago.

Light reaching us from Andromeda has been proven to have begun its journey Earthward over 2 million years ago (2.5 million light-years; 2.4×1019 km). Six thousand years is astronomically insignificant. Even 2 million years is a short journey for a universe whose age and size are linked inextricably in an Einsteinian way --the space-time continuum! When we look up into the night sky and see Andromeda, we see it as it was over two million years ago.

Andromeda Galaxy, named for the mythological princess Andromeda, is the nearest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way. It is the largest galaxy in what is called the "local group" which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 30 other smaller galaxies. We see the Magellanic Clouds as they were some 195 thousand years ago. If the Earth were but six thousand years old, the number of stars visible to Earth could be counted on our fingers. It comes down to this: if we can look up at the sky at night and see Andromeda, "creationists" are wrong! We can SEE Andromeda.The Andromeda Galaxy is, as I recall, the most distant "object" that can be seen with the naked eye; merely seeing it disproves Palin, indeed, the entire "creationist" movement!

A reflecting telescope of the type favored by amateur astronomers will reveal even more objects at greater distances. A large earth based observatory reveals many more objects more distant yet. Images from our orbiting cameras are stunning --a vast star field in which almost every object is a galaxy and all of them are much, much more distant than Andromeda. Any one of them disproves Palin and her anti-science, pro-ignorant, pro-stupid sponsors.

Recently MACS0647-JD was discovered. It may be the farthest known galaxy from Earth at some 13.7 billion light-years distant! Scientists believe that this is the very inception of our universe. That we can see it proves that the light seen has --at last --arrived at the end of its voyage begun some 13.7 billion years ago. Ergo: the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. That is considerably older than a mere 6,000 years. There is no "room" in Palin's young (and tiny) universe for time/distance so vast, so ancient, so awe-inspiring.

Monday, September 29, 2008

'Greed is Good': The Death of an Economic Religion

by Len Hart, "The Existentialist Cowboy"

The worship of the 'free market' model had become a religion that celebrated greed, self-absorption and, at its worst, religious intolerance! If the 'party is over', then good riddance! The religion of the 'free market' became a vehicle by which the Republican party would bestow legitimacy to bigotry, intolerance and authoritarianism. In defense of its free market religion, the Republican party embraced every lie, every crime, every atrocity, every aggressive war.

Throughout history, nations have gone to war with 'God on their side'. America's free market right wing would take the nation to war with 'unseen forces, an 'invisible hand' on 'our' side. At home, enemies of the free market religion often found themselves charged by an 'inquisition' --the House Un-American Activities Committee.

It was not necessary to espouse Karl Marx to get branded. The mere mention of John Maynard Keynes or Kenneth Galbraith would lose you a public office had you been interested in politics. John F. Kennedy paid with his life for having challenged the 'free market' model with regard to Cuba, the Texas Oil Industry, and the FED. It was the religion of the market that demanded not just loyalty but obeisance. In the name of 'free markets', freedom itself fell victim to 'assassination', the authoritarians remedy of choice.

The US economy became an going 'scam' and required a slick, Hollywood 'star' cum grandfather figure to sell it, to put a smiley face on it, while making self-absorbed, greedy materialists 'feel good about themselves'. The Reagan era was summed up in a phrase from the movie 'Wall Street': GREED IS GOOD!

The model never worked as advertised, though the very astute knew what was happening and supported it. The real effects were papered over. Critics repeatedly warned that only the very, very rich benefited from GOP policies. But as long as the GOP could buy votes with policies that enrich its base, everyone else was effectively disenfranchised and out of luck. Now, it would appear, the GOP is a victim of its own success. If their case that bailout is needed is true as represented, it proves that the GOP was, in fact, interested only in making the rich, even richer while every else fell off the scale. At present, about one percent or less OWNS as much as 99 percent of the wealth in the US.

Republicans benefit from the boom and bust cycle. Wall Insiders have always had the means by which the cycles could be manipulated. It was, of course, a short-sighted strategy that could only succeed in the short term in the attainment of short-sighted objectives. In fact, 'capitalism' is endemically flawed.
What I like to say is that Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species. Why doesn't it work in humans? Because we have repro­ductive independence, and we get maximum Darwinian fitness by looking after our own survival and having our own offspring. The great success of the social insects is that the success of the indivi­dual genes are invested in the success of the colony as a whole, and especially in the reproduction of the queen, and thus through her the reproduction of new colonies.

--Edward O. Wilson, Karl Marx was right, it is just that he had the wrong species
The leadership of the GOP would never tell you that the joy ride could not have lasted forever. Their own 'fortunes' were on the line. Everyone, it seems, had bought into the scam and most had made the Faustian bargain.
Capitalism's representatives argued that the collapse of Stalinism and, with it, the planned economies of Russia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, left capitalism as the only effective vehicle for delivering goods and services to the peoples of the world. The future was one of endless rises in living standards.

--Capitalist crisis: Karl Marx was right
A 'financial crisis' will eventually affect the 'real eocnomy', the real world. White collar workers, the beneficials of 'trickle up' will be among the first to feel the impact of collapse. Already, 63 thousand are out of work, mostly in the financial centers of New York and London. Another 20,000 jobs will vanish within another year.

Bureau of Labor Statistics tell the story: during GOP regimes elites grew richer even as most citizens suffered from increased unemployment, weaker currency, and well-timed recessions.
  • Any Democratic President has presided over greater economic growth and job creation than any Republican President since World War II.
  • Job creation was worst under a Republican, Bush Sr, at 0.6% per year; best under a Democrat, Johnson, at 3.8% per year.
  • Economic growth under President Carter was far greater than under Reagan or Bush Sr. In fact, economic growth in general was greater under Johnson, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton than under Reagan or Bush.
  • The job creation rate under Clinton was 2.4% significantly higher Ronald Reagan's 2.1% per year.
  • The "top performing Presidents" by this standard, in order from best down, were Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Kennedy. The "worst" were Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush being worst with Reagan in the middle.
  • Half of jobs created under Reagan were in the public sector--some 2 million jobs added to the Federal Bureaucracy.
  • Reagan, though promising to reduce government and spending, tripled the national debt and left huge deficits to his successor.
  • By contrast, most of the jobs created on Clinton's watch were in the private sector.
To sum up: any Democratic President chosen at random beats any Republican President chosen at random since World War II.

Recriminations --the source of many interesting sidelights --are inevitable whenever any group is forced by circumstance to confront the consequences of its failures. Reagan loyalists, for example, blamed Bush Sr's much maligned tax hike for the recession which occurred under Bush Sr. Yet, Bush had not signed the tax hike into law until the recession was well underway. The cause of the recession was a huge deficit left Bush by Reagan.

The height of Republican absurdity was the attempt by Republicans to take credit for the Clinton prosperity. We were asked to believe yet another fairy tale that the bad effects of Reagan's tax cut for the wealthy in 1982 were to be felt in the form of a 16 month recession then, but the "good" effects of the same tax cut were not to be experienced for a full generation later under Clinton!

More recently the demon du jour is 'terrorism'. Like 'communism' in the fifties, 'terrorism' became the bogey man upon which the nation's fears and anxiety were first project and then made real. One is reminded of the fifties' sci-fi classic, Forbidden Planet, a 20th century retelling of 'The Tempest'. The monster was of our own making. It was the monster from our ID.

Can that be said of the Bush administration, an internal threat and clearly the greatest threat to civilization and the American way of life since World War II? Many have wondered if Bush, having arrogated unto himself the powers of a dictator, will bother to leave the office he seized in a stolen election that was characterized by violence and fraud.
In May 2007, Bush issued NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD 51 and HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD-20. These directives gave Bush the authority to assure the Continuity of the Federal Government in the event of a Catastrophic Emergency that resulted in, among other things, some extraordinary disruption of the economy.

Under Presidential Directive/HSPD-20, a single National Continuity Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Bush's Federal continuity policies. Currently, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is the National Continuity Coordinator.

--Adrien Burke, The Party is Over
It's hard to refute the author who makes the point that Bush has been 'waiting [for this crisis] for a long time'. McCain appears about to crash, having pinned his hopes upon an airhead who thinks human beings walked with dinosaurs. One should worry! In the past, whenever this mentality was threatened by JFK, MLK, and later RFK, the resort to murder was never improbable 'coincidences' they would have us believe. All three men and other besides were murdered because they threatened the Wall Street establishment, the entrenched power and wealth of some one percent of the US population. [See: Inequality in the US and Three Reasons JFK was Murdered].

As the old Soviet Union broke apart, a wall in Berlin was razed, and 'labor', long suppressed in the US, found voice in Poland, it was fair to ask: what bogeymen are left that might be exploited by the GOP! The answer was obvious: terrorism! Indeed, terrorism has been worse under every GOP regime at least since Ronald Reagan. FBI stats, published by Brookings, indicate that there were three times as many terrorist attacks against US interests under the regime of Ronald Reagan than under that of Bill Clinton. And more recently, there is probable cause to bring criminal charges against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Consoleeza Rice, et al in connection with the 'terrorist attacks' of 911.

As he did the, the fear that George W. Bush will exploit the financial crisis to consolidate right wing, dictatorial power is real and rational. Already the 1st Brigade Combat Team has been re-assigned to domestic duty. According to the Army Times, it will perform the same duties in the United States --or, as the Times puts it --"at home".
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.


The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.

“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds.”

--Army Times Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1
The waging of war against the people, defined by the US Constitution as sovereign, is a case of high treason! But what's another count when there is probable cause to bring those charges against George W. Bush right now?

The nation's financial disaster cannot be considered separably from the myriad of crimes, failures and outrages that follow directly from the disastrous GOP stewardship of George W. Bush, clearly the very worst and criminal occupant of that high office since Warren Harding.

Will Bush, the miserable failure, have brought about the end of American capitalism? Certainly! It's already a done deal. The house of cards has fallen, the Ponzi scheme collapsed. History will record that Bush's only legacy will turn out to have been a result that he had not sought. The only other alternative is that it had been planned all along and that his legacy will be nothing less than a right wing tyranny 'justified' as the 'response' to crisis and supported by US troops in American streets.

Indeed, this is the end of American 'free enterprise' as we knew it. Turn out the lights; the party's over. In its place come storm troopers and jack booted thugs with whom there is no dissent.

Willie Nelson: Turn Out the Lights; The Party's Over

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bush Proves Karl Marx Right About 'Capitalism'

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Unfairly, a bailout price tag of some 700 billion dollars will be picked up by the American middle and poorer classes. None of those actually bearing the brunt of this transfer of wealth will benefit from it directly. The beneficiaries are those among some one percent of the nation who own about 99 percent of its total wealth.

According to US wealth distribution data compiled by 'The State of Working America', 'Wealth distribution in the U.S. is extremely concentrated at the top --even more so than income.'
These statistics, on the other hand, only hint at the L-Curve phenomenon because the top 1% isn't scrutinized in sufficient detail. Still, compare the net worth of the top half of the top 1% with the bottom half of the top 1%! If you add them together and proportion them out, 3/4 of the wealth in the top 1% is actually in the top 0.5%.

--US Wealth Distribution Data

Only a tiny group of Americans --Bush's 'base' --will benefit from the bailout directly.
The top and bottom halves of the top 0.5% would undoubtedly show even greater disparity if the data were presented with enough resolution. Note that nothing on this page even mentions billionaires. The largest fortunes are in the $100-billion range. The statistics on billionaires are diluted by lumping them in with mere millionaires. --op cit,

I have a better idea. Let's plot US wealth on a curve. Pro-rate the bailout. Let those getting the bigger share on the back-end bear the burden proportionally gong in. It is absurd to expect someone earning only $40,000 per year to cough up the same amount of money as, say, Bill Gates. I'm told Bill has given most of his money away. But, as he was once the richest man in the world, he is as good an example as anyone. Anyone whose 'net worth' is some $60 billion dollars should be expected to pay proportionally or between 10 and 15 percent of the total bailout.

So skewed to the top is wealth in America that anyone not earning millions almost falls off the bottom end of the chart. Is it fair to ask folk earning miniscule amounts to pay sums equal to those paid by billionaires?

This is a crisis foisted upon this nation by a tiny elite and their toadies in Washington. They should accept and bear the responsibility for the bailout. Instead, those who created this crisis expect to be rewarded for their incompetence and greed. Let the 'wizards' of Wall Street cough it up. Let each pay according to his ability. Bush, meanwhile, will be remembered as the right wing idiot who despite himself proved Karl Marx to have been absolutely correct.
From each according to his ability, to each according to his need!

--Karl Marx
The following is a follow up at: Reds in the Bed
"One of the ironies about this financial crisis is that it makes action on poverty look utterly achievable. It would cost $5bn (£2.7bn) to save six million children's lives."World leaders could find 140 times that amount for the banking system in a week. How can they tell us that action for the poorest is too expensive?"--Guardian,UK, Thursday September 25 2008 [quoted in Reds in the Bed ]
See also: Marx is being proved right

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