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It is always nice to see the various economic classes looking out for one another.  When the assets of the top are threatened, the bottom must suffer.  Easy math, really.

This excerpt from an interview with Michael Hudson on Counterpunch.

 

Peries: Look forward to it, Michael. So Michael, some mainstream news outlets are saying that this is the China contagion. They need someone to blame. What’s causing all of this?

Hudson: Not China. China’s simply back to the level that it was earlier in the year. One of the problems with the Chinese market that is quite different from the American and European market is that a lot of the big Chinese banks have lent to small lenders, sort of small wholesale lenders, that in turn have lent to retail people. And a lot of Chinese are trying to get ahead by borrowing money to buy real estate or to buy stocks. So there are these intermediaries, these non-bank intermediaries, sort of like real estate brokers, who borrowed big money from banks and lent it out to a lot of little people. And once the small people got in it’s like odd lot traders in the United States, small traders, you know that the boom is over.

What you’re having now is a lot of small speculators have lost their money. And that’s put the squeeze on the non-bank speculators. But that’s something almost unique in China. Most Americans and most European families don’t borrow to go into the market. Most of the market is indeed funded by debt, but it’s funded by bank lending and huge, huge leverage borrowings for all of this.

This is what most of the commentators don’t get. All this market run-up we’ve seen in the last year or two has been by the Federal Reserve making credit available to banks at about one-tenth of 1 percent. The banks have lent to big institutional traders and speculators thinking, well gee, if we can borrow at 1 percent and buy stocks that yield maybe 5 or 6 percent, then we can make the arbitrage. So they’ve made a 5 percent arbitrage by buying, but they’ve also now lost 10 percent, maybe 20 percent on the capital.

What we’re seeing is that short-term thinking really hasn’t taken into account the long run. And that’s why this is very much like the Long-Term Capital Management crash in 1997, when the two Nobel prize winners who calculated how the economy works and lives in the short term found out that all of a sudden the short term has to come back to the long term.

Now, it’s amazing how today’s press doesn’t get it. For instance, in the New York Times Paul Krugman, who you can almost always depend to be wrong where money and credit are involved, said that the problem is a savings glut. People have too many savings. Well, we know that they don’t in America have too many savings. We’re in a debt deflation now. The 99 percent of the people are so busy paying off their debt that what is counted as savings here is just paying down the debt. That’s why they don’t have enough money to buy goods and services, and so sales are falling. That means that profits are falling. And people finally realized that wait a minute, with companies not making more profits they’re not going to be able to pay the dividends.

Well, companies themselves have been causing this crisis as much as speculators, because companies like Amazon, like Google, or Apple especially, have been borrowing money to buy their own stock. Corporate activists, stockholder activists, have told these companies, we want you to put us on the board because we want you to borrow at 1 percent to buy your stock yielding 5 percent. You’ll get rich in no time. So these stock buybacks by Apple and by other companies at high prices can push up their stock price in the short term. But when prices crash, their net worth is all of a sudden plunging. And so we’re in a classic debt deflation.

“A therapist once said to me, “If you face the choice between feeling guilt and resentment, choose the guilt every time.”   It is wisdom I have passed on to many others since.  If a refusal saddles you with guilt, while consent leaves resentment in its wake, opt for the guilt.

Resentment is soul suicide.

 

-Gabor Maté.  When the Body Says “No”. p.257

bwflower

 

I love these vids. :)

For Intransigentia.

______

   Lyrics:

I know it’s hard to tell how mixed up you feel
Hoping what you need is behind every door
Each time you get hurt, I don’t want you to change
Because everyone has hopes, you’re human after all

The feeling sometimes wishing you were someone else
Feeling as though you never belong
This feeling is not sadness, this feeling is not joy
I truly understand, please don’t cry now

Please don’t go, I want you to stay
I’m begging you, please, please don’t leave here
I don’t want you to hate for all the hurt that you feel
The world is just illusion trying to change you

Being like you are, well, this is something else
Who would comprehend? But some that do lay claim
Divine purpose blesses them, that’s not what I believe
And it doesn’t matter anyway

A part of your soul ties you to the next world
Or maybe to the last but I’m still not sure
But what I do know is to us the world is different
As we are to the world, I guess you would know that

Please don’t go, I want you to stay
I’m begging you, please, please don’t leave here
I don’t want you to hate for all the hurt that you feel
The world is just illusion trying to change you

Please don’t go, I want you to stay
I’m begging you, please, oh please don’t leave here
I don’t want you to change for all the hurt that you feel
This world is just illusion always trying to change you

Please don’t go, I want you to stay
I’m begging you, please, please don’t leave here
I don’t want you to hate for all the hurt that you feel
This world is just illusion, trying to change you

Please don’t go, I want you to stay
I’m begging you, please, oh please don’t leave here
I don’t want you to change for all the hurt that you feel
This world is just illusion always trying to change you

 

   Every once and awhile something good bubbles up from the seething mass known as tumblr.  This is a good summary of what sex and gender are and how they interact in our society.

 

“It seems like on here at tumblr there’s a lot of misinformation going around. people are using sex and gender interchangeably as if they mean the same thing. There’s a lot of unclear information and everything seems rally vague and distorted so the goal of this post is to help clear some of this up.

What are the differences between sex and gender?

sexualdimorphismThe main difference is that sex describes your body’s biological reproductive role. Humans as a species reproduce sexually, as opposed to species which reproduce asexually, such as by budding. In human reproduction, a sperm cell will fertilize an egg cell and cause a pregnancy.

We call people whose biology designated them to be sperm depositors “male” and we call people who are designed by biology to be pregnancy carriers “female”. That is all these terms mean, they reference what role we would play in reproduction if we decided to produce offspring.

Gender on the other hand, is a big mass of controversy. See, unlike biological sex, gender is not innate. We are not born with a gender. Gender is a social construct–that means it only exists as long as society propagates it.

What is gender?

Gender is an oppressive force that dictates to people how they should behave, dress, act, what their role in life is, how to interact with other people, etc.. While specific gender roles and norms vary from culture to culture, in every culture, gender exists to tell people how to live, and it is always oppressive. 

Gender is a hierarchy which places males above females. Gendered interaction dictates that women defer to men, that men are taken more seriously, that men are more credible, that men are treated as superior. 

In our society, femininity is the gender role forced on to women, and masculinity is the gender role forced on to men. We also label objects and clothes and behaviors as “feminine” or “masculine” based on how these objects are linked to oppressive gender roles.

Why is femininity oppressive?

From the day we are born, female people are forced against our will in to the gender role of femininity. People will immediately begin to judge this tiny human, telling her she is “cute” and “pretty”. Even as she is first learning language and what words mean, she is also learning that it is rewarding to be “pretty” and that she receives praise for it. She will learn this way, since her birth, that her value as a person is determined by her visual appeal to others.

There is much literature written on the oppressive nature of femininity. In short, femininity is how society tells women to behave. Femininity is policing one’s appearance as if we are a visual object, paying rent in beauty just to exist in the world. Femininity is in our meekness, our smallness, how we are trained to put ourselves second and put men especially first, to be accommodating, to accept disrespect from men, to not have boundaries lest we insult men, to put male feelings above our own safety and bodily autonomy.

Femininity is not innate to women. It is something we are taught, something we are forced in to. Women do not naturally behave meekly, we are not born wanting to put make up on our faces.

The idea that gender is innate oppresses women.

Historically, women have been told that femininity, this forced gender role of being innate and subservient and meek and stupid and focused on vanity/appearance, is actually a biological innate part of who we are and is exactly what makes us women. 

This idea, that femininity is natural to women, has been used to keep us out of science, to keep us oppressed housewives, because that is all that gender dictates we are good for (remember, gender is a hierarchy which tells you how to live).

Gender is obviously not innate–the existence of feral children, generally cases of extreme negligence, illustrates to us just how gender is something we are taught and not something we are born with. Women are not born with the idea that they must shave their legs and be meek and accommodating to men. This is not natural to us. Gender oppresses us.

Gender is an oppressive belief system and buying in to it continues the oppression of women.

The solution is gender abolition. If we abolish gender, nobody would be told how to live, what to wear, or how to behave. There would be no hierarchy placing males above females. Biological sex would continue to exist, because it is something made by evolution and required for reproduction of our species. But gender, the idea that your biological sex says anything about your personality, would not exist. 

Males and females would each be permitted to have any kind of personality.

We would not needlessly assign femininity or masculinity to hobbies or toys or any other objects in order to limit peoples’ interests. Everyone could be free to be who they truly are, without oppressive gender labels telling people how to live.

Abolishing gender is best for everyone involved, and also liberates women from the oppressive system of gender.”

                                                                                                                                     –With Witchy Wit

Great mysteries of empire are always shrouded in mystery.  One idea that I have lifted from terrible military fiction is the concept of the 6P’s.

They are:

Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Can you guess which imperialistic nation didn’t do their homework?

“Sky said the United States led the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to oust a dictator, Saddam Hussein, and to help establish a democratic beachhead in the Middle East. But after the invasion, it was the military that was left with the job of trying to keep the country together.

“They had been told to go in and take care of Saddam and that was it. They were completely unaware of the situation there. They had to make the best of the situation they found themselves in.”

According to Sky, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush believed that democracy would take hold on its own; they had no roadmap for how to make that happen.”

Yah.  You would think after a grand statue toppling the rest of the piece of the ‘nation-building’ exercise would just fall into place.  What could go wrong?

“These plans drawn up in Washington were all wishful thinking,” she said.

At one point, Sky recounts in the book, Donald Rumsfeld showed up for a military briefing in northern Iraq, and didn’t know where neighbouring Iran was on the map.”

Yep, the US had the smartest guys in the room in on this one.  Predictably, they royally screwed the country up, destroying vital civilian infrastructure, murdering a bunch of civilians and of course setting the state for the next terrorist flavour of the month, ISIL.   You’d think there would be some questions of accountability being asked as to who laid the foundation of this megalith of stupidity.

“No one has ever been held accountable for the decisions, for the false intelligence that led them to invade Iraq,” she says. “They should be. The people at the top should be held accountable for what went wrong.”

Sky was blunt in her assessment to General Odierno, telling him that America’s blundering in Iraq was the, “worst strategic failure since the foundation of the United States.”

iraqcartoon   I’m guessing that if you arbitrarily declare victory at some point during the shit-show it somehow allows the drivers of the clown-car to be exculpated for all their sins.  Of course having the biggest war machine on earth allows you to do pretty much as you please – Nuremberg and Geneva Conventions be damned.

But let’s not focus too much on the big picture yet, more cock-ups are yet to happen:

“But the biggest missed opportunity happened following the first national elections in 2010, when the sitting Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, failed to gain a majority.

“Iraqis had become convinced that politics, not violence, was the way forward.” she says. “All the various groups came out to vote, and the bloc that won ran on a platform of ‘no to sectarianism.’

“Sky believes this presented an opportunity to oust Nouri al-Maliki, a man who was consolidating his own power base, in favour of a true – or at least fledgling – democracy.

“But it was a close result. Maliki refused to accept the results,” she said. 

The U.S. decided that backing al-Maliki, even with his faults, was the best chance for stability. This wasn’t something the military supported.

“The ambassador at the time, Chris Hill, had no experience of Iraq and didn’t really want to be there.”

Sky writes that Hill spent most of his time trying to make the embassy in Baghdad “normal.” He even brought in rolls of sod to make a lawn where he could practise lacrosse.

“General Odierno was adamant that the U.S. should protect the political process, allow the winning group 30 days to form the government. Hill didn’t have the same feel for Iraq and he said ‘Maliki is our man, the strong man the country needs.’ In the end Biden went with the ambassador’s recommendation.”

Sky believes it was a huge mistake.

“Maliki’s politics were poisonous,” she said.”

Well he looked like Saddam Hussein 2.0 ( the one we liked and actively supported, economically and militarily)and that was a good thing!  Oh wait…

“Sky was disheartened as she watched the Iraqi people lose confidence in the country’s leaders, especially groups such as Sunni Muslims, who felt there was no place for them and no chance to be part of the government.

“If you were Sunni, you made the unfortunate decision that supporting ISIS was a better option than supporting the central government in Baghdad,” she says.

Current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been trying to reform the government. This week he cut the cabinet in an attempt to oust some of the old guard, and dropped quotas for government positions that were based on ethnicity.

Sky is cautiously hopeful that the new government may help turn things around, but says it will not be easy.”

Well and that brings us up to today – Can we get a ‘Mission Accomplished’ ?!  Anyone?  Anyone?? 

 

Is this thing even on?

[Source: cbc.ca]

 

 

noam“(Asked about his stance on pornography, in response to perceived endorsement of Hustler, who had tricked Chomsky into giving an interview for the magazine.)

Pornography is humiliation and degradation of women. It’s a disgraceful activity. I don’t want to be associated with it. Just take a look at the pictures. I mean, women are degraded as vulgar sex objects. That’s not what human beings are. I don’t even see anything to discuss.

(Interviewer: But didn’t performers choose to do the job and get paid?)

The fact that people agree to it and are paid, is about as convincing as the fact that we should be in favour of sweatshops in China, where women are locked into a factory and work fifteen hours a day, and then the factory burns down and they all die. Yeah, they were paid and they consented, but it doesn’t make me in favour of it, so that argument we can’t even talk about.

As for the fact that it’s some people’s erotica, well you know that’s their problem, doesn’t mean I have to contribute to it. If they get enjoyment out of humiliation of women, they have a problem, but it’s nothing I want to contribute to.

(Interviewer: How should we improve the production conditions of pornography?)

By eliminating degradation of women, that would improve it. Just like child abuse, you don’t want to make it better child abuse, you want to stop child abuse.

Suppose there’s a starving child in the slums, and you say “well, I’ll give you food if you’ll let me abuse you.” Suppose—well, there happen to be laws against child abuse, fortunately—but suppose someone were to give you an argument. Well, you know, after all a child’s starving otherwise, so you’re taking away their chance to get some food if you ban abuse. I mean, is that an argument?

The answer to that is stop the conditions in which the child is starving, and the same is true here. Eliminate the conditions in which women can’t get decent jobs, not permit abusive and destructive behaviour.”

—–

 

Amnesty International should look into that whole eliminating the conditions in which women can’t get decent jobs, not permitting abusing and destructive behaviour idea.

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