Saturday, December 13, 2008

RFK: 'What we need in the United States'

It was upon the death of Dr. Martin Luther King that Robert Kennedy, JFKs younger brother, addressed the issue of what we need in the United States. One can be sure that upon that tragic occasion, Kennedy did not intend to lecture or proselytize. He was not on the stump. On that night, he wasn't trying to get any one elected. His intention was one of consolation in the face of tragic loss. In it is found our nation's only hope.

Given the path our nation has taken over the last eight years, we must now reassess where we have been and whether we wish to remain there. The divisions are not merely 'racial' now. One American is pitted against another based upon privilege and power. It is time again to consider 'what we need in the United States'.

Now, as then, we want justice for all human beings that 'reside in our land'. Given the last eight years, in which we have waged aggressive war and mass murder upon populations having nothing whatsoever to do with 911, we must restore the principles of 'justice' of which RFK spoke so profoundly, simply, from the heart and without notes, speech writers, press agents or spin doctors.

Over the last eight years, justice had been subverted from within and from the top --not from without. 'Leaders' --elected and otherwise --have accomplished what no terrorists have either accomplished or attempted. The 'enemies' are of our own invention, created that we might be subdued from within.

We simply may not presume to impose by force a fiat that is without basis in law, justice, or compassion. Have we learned nothing from the violent decade of the sixties when, in fact, we waged war upon ourselves as an unfeeling government waged war upon us as well as against the people of Viet Nam? Did we learn nothing from the civil rights movement? Did we learn nothing from the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and many others too numerous to name?
Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States and he is frequently referenced as a human rights icon today.

A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–6) and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), serving as its first president. His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history.

Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968), also called RFK, was the United States Attorney General from 1961 to 1964 and a US Senator from New York from 1965 until his assassination in 1968. He was one of U.S. President John F. Kennedy's younger brothers, and also one of his most trusted advisers and worked closely with the president during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He also made a significant contribution to the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

After the John F. Kennedy assassination in late 1963, Kennedy continued as Attorney General under President Johnson for nine months. He resigned in September 1964 and was elected to the United States Senate from New York that November. He broke with Johnson over the Vietnam War, among other issues.

After Eugene McCarthy nearly defeated Johnson in the New Hampshire Primary in early 1968, Kennedy announced his own campaign for president, seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party. Kennedy defeated McCarthy in the critical California primary but was shot shortly after midnight of June 5, 1968, dying on June 6. On June 9, President Johnson assigned security staff to all Presidental candidates and declared an official day of national mourning in response to the public grief following Kennedy's death.



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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why Noam Chomsky is Dead Wrong About 911!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy
"I mean even if it [US GOVERNMENT COMPLICITY IN THE 9/11 ATTACKS] were true, which is extremely unlikely, who cares? I mean it doesn't have any significance."

-Noam Chomsky
Noam, I care! I care because the very document that created the United States --the US Constitution --tells us in precise and legal language that the American people are 'sovereign'. If the US government --the 'hired hands' whom we, the people, have tasked with the day to day job of governance --is in any way complicit in the attacks of 911, then the crimes of mass murder and high treason have been perpetrated against the people! That matters! If 911 was an inside job, then we have no legitimate government! I call that 'significance'!

Noam, you have, in fact, said that the crime of 911 should not be investigated. If 911 should not be investigated then no crime should be investigated. If no crime should be investigated, then the rule of law means nothing. You have granted to Bush and other known criminals arbitrary, illogical and illegal exceptions to the rule of law. The consequences are disastrous. The 'rule of law', by definition, applies to all or it applies to none!

If you disagree, Noam, please explain to the American people how the exceptions are chosen and justified; upon what dubious principle are they derived? Since when and upon what hypocritical standard are the crimes of mass murder and high treason ignored? Since when are overt criminals given a pass? A 'two tiered' system of justice is an oxymoron! And that, again, is highly significant!

It is highly significant that Noam Chomsky has not said that Bush and his administration were innocent of the crime of 911! His position --as I understand it --is that it just doesn't matter. If any murder matters, this one matters! If any MASS murder matters, this one matters. If the Reichstag Fire mattered, 911 matters. It matters even if Bush were innocent and more so if he is guilty. 911 matters!

This is not only a moral and a philosophical issue, it's a legal one. If the 911 culprits are not investigated, charged, tried and sentenced, a horrible precedent will have been set. We will have sent 'government' a signal that says: "You are no longer responsible to the electorate and the people are no longer sovereign"! It follows inexorably and logically, that if the people are no longer sovereign, then the rest of the US Constitution is invalid. The Constitutional commentary by the venerable Joseph Story is absolutely correct that the Constitution --the Preamble specifically --established as a matter of law the sovereignty of the people themselves.
The preamble never can be resorted to, to enlarge the powers confided to the general government, or any of its departments. It cannot confer any power per se; it can never amount, by implication, to an enlargement of any power expressly given. It can never be the legitimate source of any implied power, when otherwise withdrawn from the constitution. Its true office is to expound the nature, and extent, and application ofthe powers actually conferred by the constitution, and not substantively to create them

--Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States

It is the principle upon which everything else in the Constitution follows and is based. If the Constitution is 'invalid', then the United States government is illegitimate, the US is not a nation, no law is valid, no tax is just, no expenditure for public purposes is legal. That Bush sought to expand his power far beyond the express powers of the executive is an undisputed matter of fact and record. He could not have done so without 911! It matters!

Noam, if your house were burgled or set fire to, it would matter to you to ensure that the culprits are caught and brought to justice. The people of the US have sustained more egregious offenses against their persons. Some three thousand in New York were murdered. No doubt you support the prosecution of 'lone gunmen' but oppose the prosecution of murderers if they are assisted by government bureaucracies and/or officials!

It matters!
The memory of victims demand that the truth of 911 be known! Millions care! I care! And so should you!

Elsewhere, with 911 every man, woman and child in the United States were denied the benefits of legitimate government!

It matters if Bush benefited in any way from 911. It matters whether or not he was complicit just as it matters if any other criminal is complicit in any other crime.

Following 911, the Bush administration set upon a campaign consisting of aggressive war abroad and the dismantling of legitimate government at home --both made possible upon the 911 pretext. Who cares? The living relatives of some 1.5 million Iraqis whom even Bush cannot credibly claim had anything to do with 911. But dead they are! It matters!

The fact, remains, however, that Bush might never have consolidated his coalition against Saddam had he not made the untruthful claim that Saddam had WMD. Additionally, he could never have claimed Saddam had WMD had he not been 'positioned' by the events of 911. It matters!

The impending financial collapse of the US is traced directly to the events of 911! But --as you say --who cares? I suspect that when the facts about 911 are investigated and made public, the number of those caring a great deal about those facts will increase by some one million each month, the number of those expected to begin losing their jobs each month! That's because Bush/GOP policies of greed and elitism held sway after 911. These are, specifically, policies like 'supply side' tax cuts' which benefit an increasingly tiny GOP elite. The 'tax cuts' and those who benefit from them owe much to 911! Who cares? Quick response: the millions now thrown out of work care a great deal! It matters!

There is no indication that this blood letting will level off at one million job loses per month. This sort of thing has a tendency to increase exponentially as did job losses following the crash of 1929. The nation cannot long sustain this. The collapse has begun and that is why every person in the world should care about who and why 911!

Some things are better NOT rebuilt --the Roman Empire and the Third Reich are but two examples. Buildings are simply the way in which bricks, mortar, and steel are arranged. But institutions, like the Roman Empire, may be lasting --but only for as long as they are required. Rome outlived its usefulness; the Third Reich --its welcome. The US may have outlived its welcome AND its usefulness. We will never understand its precipitous fall unless we first understand 911. It matters!
I would like to ask Noam Chomsky to explain on what basis he contends that 9/11 is irrelevant and how Howard Zinn can state that it's "in the past" (certainly an odd position for a historian). Their position seems at odds with the current paradigm:

Obama recently promising billions in "aid" for Afghanistan: "the Afghan farmer hasn't seen any improvement in his life"

Tom Brokaw responds:

"Here's something else that Afghan farmer has never seen nor have any of his ancestors ever seen this: foreign powers coming into Afghanistan and being effective and staying very long."

--An Open Letter to Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn

Apres US, le deluge! Many will be swamped. We would hope that the 'survivors' will make a better world but will not, cannot if 911 remains a mystery, an unsolved crime of unspeakable evil and cruelty! If not, this will all be repeated as it has, in fact, repeated throughout history.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it!"

--Georges Santayana, American Philosopher

Monday, December 08, 2008

Has the US Become a 'Failed State' ?

Is the US a 'failed state'? The CIA monitors the 'current account balance' of the world's nations. The 'current account' measures the value of US imports vis a vis its exports. The ratio often reflects the financial health of a nation, in this case, the US. According to the CIA, the US 'current account balance puts the US at the very bottom of a list of nations with a NEGATIVE balance of $-731,200,000,000. That's NEGATIVE 731 BILLION dollars. China tops the list in the black with $ 372 billion. The US position mirrors that of China but more so! [See: Rank Order - Current Account Balance.]

This is not the first time the US has turned up at the bottom of the CIAs list of 'net debtor nations'. It is hard to remember a time when the US did not pull up the rear. The difference now is the exponential rate at which the national debt is increasing. Has the US crossed the event horizon into an economic black hole from which there is now no pulling back? It is now, perhaps, beyond the ability of the Heritage Foundation to put a smiley face on it as it did predictably in the 1980s during the Reagan administration.
Yet this "indebtedness" actually results from a massive vote of confidence in the American economy by foreign investors. Strangely, when a business is actively pursued by willingly investors, it is taken as a sign of strength. When foreigners put their money in American industry, however, there is concern that the U.S. has become a "debtor nation."

--Heritage Foundation
It was the Heritage Foundation that took issue with my article exposing the fact that 'terrorism' is consistently worse under GOP regimes. [See: Terrorism is Worse Under GOP Regimes ] Heritage, I think, has often confused 'analysis' with 'PR'.

Since Heritage issued its predictable apologia on behalf of Ronald Reagan, the nation has enjoyed but one fiscally responsible administration sandwiched between two incompetent Bushes. Things have changed precipitously.
If the U.S. net investment position continues to turn more negative, prospects increase that the positive U.S. net income receipts will turn negative as U.S. income payments overwhelm U.S. income receipts. In such a case, the U.S. economy will experience a net economic drain as income that could be used to finance new U.S. businesses and investments will be sent abroad to satisfy foreign creditors. Such a drain likely will be small at first relative to the overall size of the CRS-14 10 Weisman, Steven R., A Fear of Foreign Investments. The New York Times, August 21, 2007. economy, but it could grow rapidly if the economy continues to import large amounts
of foreign capital.

--CRS Report for Congress, The United States as a Net Debtor Nation: Overview of the International Investment Position [PDF]
Though China's position seems secure, the US could drag China past the event horizon, into the economic black hole! China's position is largely the result of its having dumped it's national product primarily in the US market via Wal-Mart.

China is motivated to keep US bucks afloat. A worthless dollar means that China may be slugging it out with the US for dead last when US consumers can no longer afford to buy Chinese crap at Wal-Mart.

Of 188 nations on the CIA list, only 67 are in the black. It must be pointed out that China willingly entered into its dysfunctional relationship with the US. The rough outlines of this Faustian bargain are most certainly traceable to the Senior Bush trip to China, laying the ground work for the famous and operatic Nixon visit to the Forbidden City in 1972. Without the US consumer, China may become just another sinking ship --a Titanic!

The possibility that the only factor keeping the US off the 'failed nation' list is the fact that a Titanic America will swamp and sink every other ship in its wake is sobering and frightful.
5. Uneven economic development along group lines: determined by group-based inequality, or perceived inequality, in education, jobs, and economic status. Also measured by group-based poverty levels, infant mortality rates, education levels.[9]

6. Sharp and/or severe economic decline: measured by a progressive economic decline of the society as a whole (using: per capita income, GNP, debt, child mortality rates, poverty levels, business failures.) A sudden drop in commodity prices, trade revenue, foreign investment or debt payments. Collapse or devaluation of the national currency and a growth of hidden economies, including the drug trade, smuggling, and capital flight. Failure of the state to pay salaries of government employees and armed forces or to meet other financial obligations to its citizens, such as pension payments.[10]

--Failed state
There may be some confusion about the CIA numbers. What the CIA calls the 'current balance' is commonly called the 'balance of trade deficit' or, simply, the 'trade deficit'. The 'deficit' indicates that the US is importing much more than it sells abroad. Deficits are always expressed as negative numbers.

The current account balance is one of two ways that a nation's foreign trade is assessed. The other is the 'net capital outflow', which is fairly self-descriptive. The 'current account' is one of two components of the 'balance of payments'. The other is the 'capital account', the sum of the balance of trade, in other words, the value of all exports MINUS imports of goods and services abroad, interest and dividends, and net transfer payments like foreign aid. A current account surplus is the opposite of a negative current account balance or negative trade deficit. A current account surplus may result from an increase in a nation's net foreign assets; a current account deficit is the reverse, a 'decrease'.

The cure for a negative trade deficit is to manufacture and sell more goods abroad. With the rise of Ronald Reagan and the GOP, however, the US --to its chagrin and shame --began to think differently about 'exports', 'productivity' and 'the current account'. I've already written reams about the fraud called 'supply side economics'. There are yet other trends begun under Reagan that must not be ignored.

It was a combination of factors --primarily 'monetary tightness' and a strong dollar --in the early 1980s that resulted in a big decline in net exports. China is in 'positive' territory now because it sells to us. What will China do when we can no longer afford to buy? China will go broke just as the US has done. Following is an example of the kind of flawed thinking that has helped put the US on its knees.
Under Reagan, business and investor optimism increased because it was expected that the tax cut would stimulate economic growth, which indeed turned out to happen.

Under Clinton, business and investor optimism increased after 1994, when the Republicans gained control of Congress, because of expectations that the reductions in government spending would stimulate economic growth, which was also the case. Note that the dollar declined during the first two years of the Clinton Administration, as the initial tax increases did not boost confidence.

--The Mundell-Fleming Model
In fact, Reagan's 'tax cut' did not stimulate economic growth. It was, in fact, followed by a depression of some two years --the longest and deepest since Hoover's 'Great Depression' of the 30s. Secondly, I am amazed that 'businessmen' --expected to be somewhat knowledgeable about economics --would fall for the mythology that GOP tax cuts stimulate growth. [See: The GOP --a Parasite That Murdered Its Host]

The gurus of 'tax cut' are Herrs Reagan, Bush and Bush and when all the stats have been tabulated for Junior, all three will be shown to have presided over the very worst economies in US history.
That was the platform that brought Ronald Reagan and the market-based conservative strategy to power in 1981. They vowed to reinvigorate the American economy and restore profitability for corporations by promoting markets and reducing government. Taxes were cut and business regulations reduced. Anti-union regulations were promoted at the same time that the social safety net was cut. Professor Rosenberg argues that this agenda did not promote growth, but let the stagflation continue as the budget and trade deficits grew.

The movement toward greater equality that had faltered in the 1970s was reversed as inequality in income and opportunities grew and unions became even weaker under Reagan and George H. W. Bush -- the "guardian" of the Reagan legacy. Unions were forced to engage in "concession" bargaining rather than bargaining to improve the welfare of union members. Professor Rosenberg concludes that this decade from 1981 through 1991 was one of "growing inequality and, at best, stagnating living standards for many. This legacy, along with the recession that followed under the Bush administration, made many Americans angry. They would want a relief from the Republican-led, business-dominated restructuring of the economy." (p. 278)

--American Economic Development Since 1945: Growth, Decline and Rejuvenation
This book was published in 2004 when ' one could have foreseen' the fact there will be no rejuvenation. If one subscribes to the theory that the prosperity that followed FDR was due solely to World War II, and, prior to 1900 the development of the 'American Frontier', then the conclusion is inevitable: the US must be listed among the 'failed nations' of the world.

Addendum and update from jurassicpork at Welcome Back to Pottersville:
Even a complete tool like Bush knows that Wall Street is prone to wild swings every time Warren Buffet or Donald Trump fart in public. The wild, drunken losses and gains of the Dow Jones Industrial and Mercantile Averages in the latter half of this year are proof of that.

But Gerald Ford, in the opening remarks of his first State of the Union Address in 1975, wasn't very concerned about Wall Street's volatility when he said,
I must say to you that the state of the Union is not good: Millions of Americans are out of work. Recession and inflation are eroding the money of millions more. Prices are too high, and sales are too slow. This year's Federal deficit will be about $30 billion; next year's probably $45 billion. The national debt will rise to over $500 billion. Our plant capacity and productivity are not increasing fast enough. We depend on others for essential energy. Some people question their Government's ability to make hard decisions and stick with them; they expect Washington politics as usual.

Ford's Address before a joint assembly of Congress on January 15th 1975 goes back to nearly 34 years but the numbers President Ford mentioned, the ruinous legacy left to him by Richard Nixon, look absurdly small by conspicuous relief. A national deficit of $30-45 billion? A national debt of half a trillion? Oh, if only we got off that easy under Bush!

The only number referenced by Mr. Ford that appears larger than today's 6.7% unemployment rate is the 8.1% civilian unemployment rate in January 1975. But consider that the population of the United States back in 1975 was just under 216,000,000. An 8.1% unemployment rate with a civilian work force of 93,775,000 would've translated to 7,929,000 out of work.

The population of the United States is now at more or less 300,000,000. The supposedly lower 6.7 unemployment rate announced just today is another way of saying that 10,300,000 people who've lost their jobs (well over half a million last month alone). That's almost 2,500,000 more jobless people than we had back in 1975, which is generally acknowledged as the worst jobless rate in recent history until the end of the Bush administration. It only stands to reason that the bigger a population gets, even a modest ratio of unemployment will result in greater numbers of jobless. But never in this generation has America ever seen 533,000 jobs evaporate in the blink of an eye.

The difference is that even under the darkest, meanest days of the Nixon administration, outsourcing of American jobs to India and China, for decades the two most populous nations on earth, wasn't an issue. NAFTA wasn't even a gleam in Bill Clinton's eye and we didn't have a trade imbalance with China or any other country that even approaches the cartoonish one that we see with China nowadays. The government also didn't balloon in size under Nixon or Ford as under Bush (17,000 government jobs were created and filled in May 2008 alone.).

The scary thing to remember is that the unemployment rate up until Nixon's resignation in early August of 1974 held at a steady 5.1-5.5%, well under the dreaded 6% mark. By January of 1975, when his successor addressed Congress and the American people, it was up to 8.1 (peaking to 9.0) and wouldn't go back down to normal numbers until a year and a half into Jimmy Carter's administration.

To his credit, Ford did take steps to cut inflation (although his misguided mantra for more tax cuts and the rationale behind it is identical to ones we've been hearing these last eight years) but Ford was handed a huge mess at a time when Richard Nixon had poisoned the well for the Republican Party for two decades.

I fear this is what's awaiting President-Elect Obama. As Louis the XIV once famously said, "Apres moi, le deluge." After me, the deluge. Who would ever think that things would actually get worse after Nixon left office? Who would ever think that things could actually go from bad to worse to worst after Bush leaves office?

Bush's cruelly-belated acknowledgment of the recession may be a political ploy to poison the well. With Obama entering the White House in January, his name will be synonymous with economic ruin, trillions in bailouts, a failing housing and auto market and an elevated debt ceiling now about to break $12 trillion.

So if and when things get worse in the first year or two of Obama's administration, let's cut the guy a break and remember how this started, on whose watch and why before we go to the polls on Super Tuesday 2012. The Titanic also didn't finish turning before it struck the iceberg.

--Welcome Back to Pottersvile
The following blog is valuable resouce: Greg's Mankiw's Blog. Greg is an Harvard economics prof and writes about economics as well as: How to Write Well. Greg is also the author of two economics textbooks.

Additional resources:


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Sunday, December 07, 2008

The GOP --a Parasite That Murdered Its Host

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Only the GOP in America or the Nazi party in Germany could have destroyed a nation so efficiently and have the nerve to brag about it. Now, as we prepare to witness a collapse not seen since that of Rome, we conclude that Bush Jr finished the job begun by Reagan, that is the economic destruction of the United States --its economy, its education, its source of wealth, its future, its security!

Government stats prove conclusively that Reagan's tax cuts enriched ONLY his base and began the pernicious trend in which only the very, very rich benefit. The nation plunged into a depression of some two years, the longest and worst depression since Hoover's big one of the 1930s.

Though he had promised to reduce the size of government, Reagan doubled the federal bureaucracy, ran up yearly deficits, doubled the national debt and tripled the deficit. Now --at the end of an era characterized by incompetent GOP 'supply side' economics, a mere one percent of the nation owns more than 90 percent of the population combined. Reagan blazed the trail for George W. Bush, the lesser of two prominent idiots who discredited the election process by --somehow --managing to get into the White House!

With the help of turncoat Democrats along the way, a parasite killed its host. GOP policy and organization killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. There are several words for this. 'Stupid' is one of them!

Some basic economics may be necessary to put all this into perspective. First of all --the 'science' of economics may be reduced to a single, simple equation: supply and demand! In Algebraic terms: supply equals demand. Every economy will seek that equilibrium. When an economy produces a surplus i.e, more than can be or will be consumed, prices decline to compensate. When an economy produces too little to meet demand, prices will increase to compensate.

For this reason 'supply side economics', so adored by the GOP at least since Ronald Reagan, does not work, will not work and has, in fact, never worked as advertised. Tax cuts benefiting only so-called producers cannot and will never stimulate purchases if there is no real need or demand. Excess revenues will find their way into offshore bank accounts or other tax dodges available only to the nation's increasingly tiny elite.

The history of the US since the ascension of Ronald Reagan, an era of GOP incompetence and mendacity, proves conclusively that tax cuts inspired by 'supply side economics' or, as it is often called, 'trickle down theory' never, ever stimulated production or increased employment in any industry at any time. It was and remains a hoax!

Since 1980 and the rise of 'supply side economics' (trickle down theory) America lost its leadership and/or prominent roles in electronics, steel production, automotive production, aircraft production --about every industry that can be named! It bears repeating: 'supply side tax cuts' have never and will never stimulate an economy in any way. Even Reagan's own budget director, David Stockman, called 'supply side economics' a 'trojan horse' espoused by 'a noisy faction of Republicans'.

'Supply side economics' guarantee that the supply of money circulating in the economy is reduced by an amount equal to that of the value of the tax cut! Here is why that is so: value is created by work --not investment. [See: The Labor Theory of Value] This was Karl Marx's position and, as recent events have proven conclusively, Karl Marx was absolutely correct. Marx was correct because he had learned the basic equation that all economics may be reduced to: supply equals demand!

In a healthy economy, the converse --demand equals supply --is, likewise, true. 'Supply side' tax cuts NEVER stimulate the economy because no such incentive to the auto industry, for example, will inspire the car maker to greater production or investment unless there is first a 'demand' for his product. In the absence of such demand, those receiving government windfalls simply squirrel them away, in offshore bank accounts perhaps!

To sum up simply: no entrepreneur, no corporation will invest a windfall tax cut in new production unless there is --on the other side of the equation --an increase in demand. This is just good business.

On the other hand, business and corporations lobbying congress for 'supply side' tax cuts, knowing that windfalls never increase production or jobs, are just crooked! They have scammed the Congress for tax cuts. They have scammed the American people with shoddy products and eventually outsourced the work, robbing Americans of jobs in the process.

The 'labor theory of value' did not originate with Marx.
With roots in the work of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC), labor theory of value became a central feature in analyses by such classical economists as the Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790) and the English economist David Ricardo (1772-1823).

They stated that the value of a commodity was determined by the quantity of labor needed to produce it, the effort of the labor, or the amount of labor of others obtained in exchange.

The German theorist Karl Marx (1818-1883) argued that labor might dictate the value of a good but the existence of capitalists extracting profits meant that labor did not get to keep all the value.

Labor theory of value was superseded by the marginal productivity theory of distribution at the end of the 19th century, which emphasized that many factors determined the value of a good.

--The Economy Professor, Labor Theory of Value
A nation which taxes the rich progressively is more egalitarian, more efficient, more productive and --as proven in numerous studies --the people themselves are happier, more productive, better educated. The opposite is true of America. More people are getting poorer; fewer are getting richer; an increasingly tiny percentage (one percent and shrinking) are getting exponentially richer. It is the end of the United States as a world power, indeed, as a viable nation!

GOP thinking is circular and symptomatic of psychosis. They disdain 'poor people' while deliberately creating conditions guaranteed to create more of them.

Let's look at a thumbnail summary of the GOP record of at least 50 years or so before it gets re-written:
  • Any Democratic President has presided over greater economic growth and job creation than any Republican President since World War II.
  • When Bush Jr took office, job creation was worst under a Republican, Bush Sr, at 0.6% per year and 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. Democrats always outperform a failed party: the GOP!
  • The job creation rate under Clinton was 2.4% significantly higher than 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" (in descending order) were Nixon, Reagan, Bush.
  • Half of jobs created under Reagan were in the public sector--some 2 million jobs added to the Federal Bureaucracy. Hadn't he promised to reduce that bureaucracy?
  • Reagan, though promising to reduce government and spending, doubled the national debt and tripled the national deficit. Bush Jr's record will be even worse.
  • By contrast, most of the jobs created on Clinton's watch were in the private sector.
  • Put another way: any Democratic President beats any Republican President since World War II. In fact, ANY Democratic President beats any GOP prez since at least the year 1900.
Much has been said of Marx and almost all of it by people who never bothered to read Marx. Most of what is said about Marx in the US are lies puked up by the right wing. It is the utter failure, idiocy, bigotry, moral paucity and narrow-minded prejudice of the American right wing that proves Karl Marx to have been absolutely correct in his interpretation of almost every major economist that preceded him, most prominently the 'labor theories of value' of the conservative darling Adam Smith as well as David Ricardo.
Historical materialism — Marx's theory of history — is centered around the idea that forms of society rise and fall as they further and then impede the development of human productive power. Marx sees the historical process as proceeding through a necessary series of modes of production, culminating in communism. Marx's economic analysis of capitalism is based on his version of the labour theory of value, and includes the analysis of capitalist profit as the extraction of surplus value from the exploited proletariat. The analysis of history and economics come together in Marx's prediction of the inevitable economic breakdown of capitalism, to be replaced by communism. However Marx refused to speculate in detail about the nature of communism, arguing that it would arise through historical processes, and was not the realization of a pre-determined moral ideal.


Capitalism is distinctive, Marx argues, in that it involves not merely the exchange of commodities, but the advancement of capital, in the form of money, with the purpose of generating profit through the purchase of commodities and their transformation into other commodities which can command a higher price, and thus yield a profit. Marx claims that no previous theorist has been able adequately to explain how capitalism as a whole can make a profit. Marx's own solution relies on the idea of exploitation of the worker. In setting up conditions of production the capitalist purchases the worker's labour power — his ability to labour — for the day. The cost of this commodity is determined in the same way as the cost of every other; i.e. in terms of the amount of socially necessary labour power required to produce it. In this case the value of a day's labour power is the value of the commodities necessary to keep the worker alive for a day. Suppose that such commodities take four hours to produce. Thus the first four hours of the working day is spent on producing value equivalent to the value of the wages the worker will be paid. This is known as necessary labour. Any work the worker does above this is known as surplus labour, producing surplus value for the capitalist. Surplus value, according to Marx, is the source of all profit. In Marx's analysis labour power is the only commodity which can produce more value than it is worth, and for this reason it is known as variable capital. Other commodities simply pass their value on to the finished commodities, but do not create any extra value. They are known as constant capital. Profit, then, is the result of the labour performed by the worker beyond that necessary to create the value of his or her wages. This is the surplus value theory of profit.

It appears to follow from this analysis that as industry becomes more mechanized, using more constant capital and less variable capital, the rate of profit ought to fall. For as a proportion less capital will be advanced on labour, and only labour can create value. In Capital Volume 3 Marx does indeed make the prediction that the rate of profit will fall over time, and this is one of the factors which leads to the downfall of capitalism.

--Karl Marx, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Though Marx is reviled in the US, Marx himself never stated that 'capitalism' was unjust. It is on this point that I am tempted to go further than Marx. Having witnessed GOP/Capitalist mendacity, idiocy, robber baron mentalities since the rise of Reaganomics, I find it hard not to conclude that capitalism is inherently unjust. As Marx himself posited: capitalism is the very act of paying labor less than the total value of his/her work! The difference is traditionally called profit, the 'reward' due 'capital' for its 'risk'.

Is 'profit' a reward or is it an act of theft? A landowner may require of a serf that he dig a ditch to re-channel the flow of water. But that analogy assumes a 'landed' social stratification that is itself unjust. In a truly just society, a class of professional 'ditch diggers' would not be subservient and may, themselves, own land. In such a society, the wages paid 'ditch diggers' would be very different indeed!

More recently, as a result of inflation and other GOP/right wing policies, real wages have clearly declined even as wealth is transferred to an often idle, elite one percent of the nation's total population. What have these ídle rich ever risked to thus 'earn' their wealth, their privilege, their status, indeed, their exemption from taxation altogether? On this point, Marx has, rather, not gone far enough and his distaste with regard to the 'bourgeois' pales beside mine.

Marx never denounced capitalism on 'moral grounds' but I am at the point of doing do. If what has been practiced in the United States since the era of the great 'robber barons', then certainly 'capitalism' is not merely wrong, it is morally repugnant.

The US will fall and may very well suck into the maelstrom the more stubborn remnants of Western Civilization. The question for us now is not whether Marx was right about capitalism. The plight of capitalism itself will resolve that issue permanently. The question, rather, is this: what kind of world can be rebuilt in its wake?

And now --the obligatory video:

How an 'honest' general summed it all up:

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives...

In the World War a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows...

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill...

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations...

...a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends...

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits – ah! that is another matter – twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it...

Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed.

--Gen. Smedly Butler, War is a Racket!

An essential resource: This War was About So Much More

Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership, Global Issues, Updated: January 02, 2009




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