GEORGE CARLIN ON THE COMING DEBT CEILING AGREEMENT

22 comments

Posted on 23rd July 2011 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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KEEP THIS IN MIND WHEN OBAMA & BOEHNER ANNOUNCE THE GRAND COMPROMISE IN THE NEXT WEEK

22 Comments
  1. Administrator says:

    Jesse’s take on this farce:

    “Although a complete failure is not likely, the drama queens, carnies, and thespians in Washington may take the budget deficit talks down to the wire to deeply impress the yokels and the locals of the seriousness of the situation, and be duly grateful that it is in the hands of major players.

    Have you noticed a tendency amongst the pigmen to threaten dire consequences and annihilation whenever they are running a bluff and wish to get their way? These financial fellows and their minions have issued more threats and ultimatums in the last few years than al Qaeda.

    While they are dancing on the edge of a precipice, it is possible that they could slip and fall. However, since no one in their right mind really wishes to see a default, except perhaps for a few delusional political opportunists and talk show Bonapartes, perhaps cooler heads will prevail. There are however, the ever present carrion feeders and sociopaths from Wall Street, who would benefit from any economic crisis, and would do so gladly no matter the pain endured by others.

    Beside political campaign reform, it appears as though Washington is badly in need of adult supervision.

    Have a pleasant weekend.”

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    23rd July 2011 at 10:09 am

  2. Wyoming Mike says:

    “Willful ignorance”, as usual Carlin hits the nail on the head.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    23rd July 2011 at 11:03 am

  3. HoosierGuy says:

    Who owns America? Hint: It’s not China

    A close-up look at who holds America’s debt.

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/macro/u.s.-debt-ceiling-china

    Truth is elusive. But it’s a good thing we have math.

    Our friends at Business Insider know this, and put those two principles to work today in this excellent and highly informative little slideshow, made even more timely by the ongoing talks in Washington, D.C. aimed at staving off a U.S. debt default.

    Here’s the big idea:

    Many people — politicians and pundits alike — prattle on that China and, to a lesser extent Japan, own most of America’s $14.3 trillion in government debt.

    But there’s one little problem with that conventional wisdom: it’s just not true. While the Chinese, Japanese and plenty of other foreigners own substantial amounts, it’s really Americans who hold most of America’s debt.

    Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:
    • Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
    • Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
    • Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
    • Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
    • Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
    • Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
    • Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
    • State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
    • Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
    • United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
    • Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
    • State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
    • Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
    • U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
    • China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
    • The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
    • Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)

    So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion.

    .
    very nice Business Insider Slideshow —-

    http://www.businessinsider.com/who-owns-us-debt-2011-7#hong-kong-1

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    23rd July 2011 at 11:31 am

  4. HoosierGuy says:

    Following is the link to a somewhat lengthy article titled, ——

    “Who Rules America? An Investment Manager Breaks Down the Economic Top 1%, Says 0.1% Controls Political and Legislative Process”

    http://ampedstatus.org/who-rules-america-an-investment-manager-breaks-down-the-economic-top-1-says-0-1-controls-political-and-legislative-process/

    Here is the concluding paragraph ……..

    ” …. the bottom line is this: A highly complex and largely discrete set of laws and exemptions from laws has been put in place by those in the uppermost reaches of the U.S. financial system. It allows them to protect and increase their wealth and significantly affect the U.S. political and legislative processes. They have real power and real wealth. Ordinary citizens in the bottom 99.9% are largely not aware of these systems, do not understand how they work, are unlikely to participate in them, and have little likelihood of entering the top 0.5%, much less the top 0.1%. Moreover, those at the very top have no incentive whatsoever for revealing or changing the rules. I am not optimistic.”

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    23rd July 2011 at 11:44 am

  5. HoosierGuy says:

    These debt ceiling talks are ALL bullshit …. meant to distract us from America’s REAL enemy … the scum sucking politicians in Washington !!!!!!!!!!!!

    =====================================

    An Economy Destroyed: The Enemy Is Washington

    by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

    Recently, the bond rating agencies that gave junk derivatives triple-A ratings threatened to downgrade US Treasury bonds if the White House and Congress did not reach a deficit reduction deal and debt ceiling increase. The downgrade threat is not credible, and neither is the default threat. Both are make-believe crises that are being hyped in order to force cutbacks in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

    If the rating agencies downgraded Treasuries, the company executives would be arrested for the fraudulent ratings that they gave to the junk that Wall Street peddled to the rest of the world. The companies would be destroyed and their ratings discredited. The US government will never default on its bonds, because the bonds, unlike those of Greece, Spain, and Ireland, are payable in its own currency. Regardless of whether the debt ceiling is raised, the Federal Reserve will continue to purchase the Treasury’s debt. If Goldman Sachs is too big to fail, then so is the US government.

    There is no budget focus on the illegal wars and military occupations that the US government has underway in at least six countries or the 66-year old US occupations of Japan and Germany and the ring of military bases being constructed around Russia.

    The total military/security budget is in the vicinity of $1.1-$1.2 trillion, or 70% -75% of the federal budget deficit.

    In contrast, Social Security is solvent. Medicare expenditures are coming close to exceeding the 2.3% payroll tax that funds Medicare, but it is dishonest for politicians and pundits to blame the US budget deficit on “entitlement programs.”

    Entitlements are funded with a payroll tax. Wars are not funded. The criminal Bush regime lied to Americans and claimed that the Iraq war would only cost $70 billion at the most and would be paid for with Iraq oil revenues. When Bush’s chief economic advisor, Larry Lindsay, said the Iraq invasion would cost $200 billion, the White House Moron fired him. In fact, Lindsay was off by a factor of 20. Economic and budget experts have calculated that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have consumed $4,000 billion in out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs. In other words, the ongoing wars and occupations have already eaten up the $4 trillion by which Obama hopes to cut federal spending over the next ten years. Bomb now, pay later.

    As taxing the rich is not part of the political solution, the focus is on rewarding the insurance companies by privatizing Medicare at some future date with government subsidized insurance premiums, by capping Medicaid, and by loading the diminishing middle class with additional Social Security tax.

    Washington’s priorities and those of its presstitutes could not be clearer. President Obama, like George W. Bush before him, both parties in Congress, the print and TV media, and National Public Radio have made it clear that war is a far more important priority than health care and old age pensions for Americans.

    The American people and their wants and needs are not represented in Washington. Washington serves powerful interest groups, such as the military/security complex, Wall Street and the banksters, agribusiness, the oil companies, the insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, and the mining and timber industries. Washington endows these interests with excess profits by committing war crimes and terrorizing foreign populations with bombs, drones, and invasions, by deregulating the financial sector and bailing it out of its greed-driven mistakes after it has stolen Americans’ pensions, homes, and jobs, by refusing to protect the land, air, water, oceans and wildlife from polluters and despoilers, and by constructing a health care system with the highest costs and highest profits in the world.

    The way to reduce health care costs is to take out gobs of costs and profits with a single payer system. A private health care system can continue to operate alongside for those who can afford it.

    The way to get the budget under control is to stop the gratuitous hegemonic wars, wars that will end in a nuclear confrontation.

    The US economy is in a deepening recession from which recovery is not possible, because American middle class jobs in manufacturing and professional services have been offshored and given to foreigners. US GDP, consumer purchasing power, and tax base have been handed over to China, India, and Indonesia in order that Wall Street, shareholders, and corporate CEOs can earn more.

    When the goods and services produced offshore come back into America, they arrive as imports. The trade balance worsens, the US dollar declines further in exchange value, and prices rise for Americans, whose incomes are stagnant or falling.

    This is economic destruction. It always occurs when an oligarchy seizes control of a government. The short-run profits of the powerful are maximized at the expense of the viability of the economy.

    The US economy is driven by consumer demand, but with 22.3% unemployment, stagnant and declining wages and salaries, and consumer debt burdens so high that consumers cannot borrow to spend, there is nothing to drive the economy.

    Washington’s response to this dilemma is to increase the austerity! Cutting back Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, forcing down wages by destroying unions and offshoring jobs (which results in a labor surplus and lower wages), and driving up the prices of food and energy by depreciating the dollar further erodes consumer purchasing power. The Federal Reserve can print money to rescue the crooked financial institutions, but it cannot rescue the American consumer.

    As a final point, confront the fact that you are even lied to about “deficit reduction.” Even if Obama gets his $4 trillion “deficit reduction” over the next decade, it does not mean that the current national debt will be $4 trillion less than it currently is. The “reduction” merely means that the growth in the national debt will be $4 trillion less than otherwise. Regardless of any “deficit reduction,” the national debt ten years from now will be much higher than it presently is.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=ROB20110721&articleId=25732

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    23rd July 2011 at 11:48 am

  6. Muck About says:

    Phooey! Let ‘em tie themselves in knots and default the Hell out of it. Won’t be the first time and won’t be the last. The banks and corporations have been the assholes in this country since the 1800′s – why should it be any different now.

    Teddy Roosevelt was the first (and last) President that kicked ass and took names whenever he found a Money Trust, Corporation or bank playing hanky panky with the public trust.

    We need another real leader real soon now or the fascist state will be too far along to stop short of bloodshed and agony. May be too late anyhow.

    MA

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    23rd July 2011 at 11:49 am

  7. HoosierGuy says:

    “We need another real leader real soon now or the fascist state will be too far along to stop short of bloodshed and agony. May be too late anyhow.” —- Muck About

    With every passing day I am more convinced that, indeed, it “may be too late anyhow”.

    So does this guy below. Where is the “Do Over” button for the F.S.A.?

    ==========================================================

    Beyond Repair

    by Luke Hiken / July 22nd, 2011

    Never in the history of this country has there existed such widespread corruption, incompetence and weakness as now confront the American people. Unlike other periods of history, where certain segments of the ruling class, or elected officials, or power-brokers, seemed to dominate and characterize what the country had become, the extent of the breakdown is now universal throughout the country.

    Our political leaders are caricatures of what statesmen and women should be: they are spineless; petty; self-serving; and corrupted puppets of the moneyed interests that own them. The divisive bickering that passes for political dialogue is pathetically shallow.Wall street, the bankers, mortgage companies, vultures and their lobbyists that “advise” the politicians regarding how to salvage our economy, and who are responsible for the economic catastrophe facing the entire nation, are nothing short of robber barons. They knowingly and brazenly steal the wealth of the American people without so much as a “thank you.” Their profits make the usurious thieves of the past look like honest businessmen.

    The insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and health industry bring shame on every person connected with them. Foreigners shake their heads in disbelief at the farce and charade our health industry has become. More and more Americans are literally outsiders in what has become an exclusive resource for the rich: health care.

    Our educational institutions have priced themselves out of the public realm. They now serve as research arms of the corporations that fund them. Students can’t possibly graduate with a meaningful education without incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts and loans. The arms industry, Pentagon and multi-national corporations control virtually all of the research of our “educational” institutions.

    The public service sectors of our economy have not only failed to keep up with the needs of the people, they barely even recognize the crumbling infrastructure that surrounds them. Public highways look like minefields; streets are rarely cleaned; public buildings fall into disrepair, with no money to keep them up; electricity is becoming too expensive for middle class households to support; and, more garbage fills the streets of our cities than the landfills created to hold it. Even water will soon become a scarce resource, to be bought and sold by those who “own” it.

    Police and their cohorts, the prison guards have become invading armies joined at the hip in our cities and counties. The widespread murder and torture perpetrated by these “armed servants” of the ruling class is of epidemic proportions, and the laws protect these murderers in the name of law and order. Police who murder are seldom prosecuted, their names are hidden from the press, and those who challenge their authority face life-threatening opposition.

    The courts have been bought and paid for by the corporations that finance judicial elections, and the politicians who appoint their lapdogs to the bench, do so upon orders from above. Prosecutors run our judicial system, and justice is nowhere to be found.

    The media has become an arm of the entertainment industry, and good looks are more important to a reporter’s success than having a brain, or developing anything like investigative skills. The news is what corporate America and the Pentagon say it is – nothing more and nothing less.

    Corporations, in the name of profit, are destroying the environment and our natural resources at an unparalleled pace. Even if the human race is able to outlast the catastrophes created by the ruling class, it is questionable whether the earth itself can survive.

    The military-industrial complex defines our foreign policies pure and simple. Manufacturers of weapons systems and the Pentagon, which use those weapons, assure the world that our country will continue to invade and kill anyone who can’t fight back.

    In short, there is such widespread graft and immorality amongst those who run and control our society as to prevent any meaningful change in the self-destructive course the nation is taking. We are as doomed as imperial Rome, Napoleonic France, or the Third Reich. We have sown the seeds of our own destruction, and there is no way back.

    It is for this reason that so many Americans have abandoned national politics and turned to their local communities for support, to organic gardening [even THAT is no longer safe if you have a scumbag busy body neighbor who'll report your organic tomatoes to the police], and to spiritual sanctuaries for relief and protection. There is simply no room for salvation within the current U.S. hierarchy. The waiting game has begun, and nothing short of external attacks upon this country will result in meaningful change.Resistance to the insanity foisted upon us by the rich is the only rational and humane response possible.

    But where does one start when the depth and breadth of the corruption we face is so vast? Do we sign petitions to send to our sycophant politicians? Do we boycott the corporations that are the cause of our destruction? Do we pick up weapons against the police and prison administrations that imprison and beat us? Do we attempt to create communities and support systems outside the control of corporate America? Do we flee the country and support resistance struggles elsewhere in the world?

    We can all certainly choose which flavor of dissent we prefer, but when the body politic is so laden with disease, it might make more sense to hasten its demise and start over anew.

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/07/beyond-repair/

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    23rd July 2011 at 12:02 pm

  8. Kill Bill says:

    Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider: -Hoosier

    I wonder what the interest is that Bernanke will print when those treasuries mature.

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    23rd July 2011 at 12:11 pm

  9. AwholeDr says:

    Hoosier pussy:

    Debt:

    • The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
    • Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)

    Ron Paul is advocating wiping this debt out, at least the treasury debt, to lower the outstanding debt, thus reducing need to raise debt ceiling. No mention of this plan in your lengthy writings. The social security trust fund is debt we owe ourselves, accounting gimmicks and smoke and mirrors.

    The real enemy is Washington and politicians (lawyers). How many different contexts has this conclusion been reached? Default now or default later, when the debt is $15 trillion? $17 trillion? $20 trillion? What’s the difference? This shit makes for entertainment, that’s about it. It doesn’t really matter, the U.S. is already insolvent.

    Hoosier Guy: take off the fake Midwestern mask and get your ass back to the east coast where it belongs. Your not fooling anybody. Be a man and grow a pair. Don’t let “the man” win. At least buy a pair if you have to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    23rd July 2011 at 12:12 pm

  10. Administrator says:

    Hoosier Guy

    I guess someone went shopping. Nice to hear from you. It was getting a little boring around here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    23rd July 2011 at 12:22 pm

  11. HoosierGuy says:

    AwoleDr / Admin

    You guys have mistaken me for someone else. I live in Indiana. I am a middle-aged man (see pic below). I ONLY post nice things. I speak ill of no one. I live in peace and harmony with Mother Nature. I love everyone.

    bobbyknight2.jpg

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    23rd July 2011 at 12:43 pm

  12. HoosierGuy says:

    Article below is not from the Onion.

    Article below is not from the Twilight Zone.

    Article below is provided to;
    1) — give comic relief
    2) — show how the ‘elite’ think

    In summary, Professor Shiller says that debt is just an artificial and irrelevant construct. America’s debt is NOTHING to worry about, and if you do worry you are …… DELUDED.

    ==============================================================

    Debt and Delusion

    Robert J. Shiller

    NEW HAVEN – Economists like to talk about thresholds that, if crossed, spell trouble. Usually there is an element of truth in what they say. But the public often overreacts to such talk.

    Consider, for example, the debt-to-GDP ratio, much in the news nowadays in Europe and the United States. It is sometimes said, almost in the same breath, that Greece’s debt equals 153% of its annual GDP, and that Greece is insolvent. Couple these statements with recent television footage of Greeks rioting in the street. Now, what does that look like?

    Here in the US, it might seem like an image of our future, as public debt comes perilously close to 100% of annual GDP and continues to rise. But maybe this image is just a bit too vivid in our imaginations. Could it be that people think that a country becomes insolvent when its debt exceeds 100% of GDP?

    That would clearly be nonsense. After all, debt (which is measured in currency units) and GDP (which is measured in currency units per unit of time) yields a ratio in units of pure time. There is nothing special about using a year as that unit. A year is the time that it takes for the earth to orbit the sun, which, except for seasonal industries like agriculture, has no particular economic significance.

    We should remember this from high school science: always pay attention to units of measurement. Get the units wrong and you are totally befuddled.

    If economists did not habitually annualize quarterly GDP data and multiply quarterly GDP by four, Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio would be four times higher than it is now. And if they habitually decadalized GDP, multiplying the quarterly GDP numbers by 40 instead of four, Greece’s debt burden would be 15%. From the standpoint of Greece’s ability to pay, such units would be more relevant, since it doesn’t have to pay off its debts fully in one year (unless the crisis makes it impossible to refinance current debt).

    Some of Greece’s national debt is owed to Greeks, by the way. As such, the debt burden woefully understates the obligations that Greeks have to each other (largely in the form of family obligations). At any time in history, the debt-to-annual-GDP ratio (including informal debts) would vastly exceed 100%.

    Most people never think about this when they react to the headline debt-to-GDP figure. Can they really be so stupid as to get mixed up by these ratios? Speaking from personal experience, I have to say that they can, because even I, a professional economist, have occasionally had to stop myself from making exactly the same error.

    Economists who adhere to rational-expectations models of the world will never admit it, but a lot of what happens in markets is driven by pure stupidity – or, rather, inattention, misinformation about fundamentals, and an exaggerated focus on currently circulating stories.

    What is really happening in Greece is the operation of a social-feedback mechanism. Something started to cause investors to fear that Greek debt had a slightly higher risk of eventual default. Lower demand for Greek debt caused its price to fall, meaning that its yield in terms of market interest rates rose. The higher rates made it more costly for Greece to refinance its debt, creating a fiscal crisis that has forced the government to impose severe austerity measures, leading to public unrest and an economic collapse that has fueled even greater investor skepticism about Greece’s ability to service its debt.

    This feedback has nothing to do with the debt-to-annual-GDP ratio crossing some threshold, unless the people who contribute to the feedback believe in the ratio. To be sure, the ratio is a factor that would help us to assess risks of negative feedback, since the government must refinance short-term debt sooner, and, if the crisis pushes up interest rates, the authorities will face intense pressures for fiscal austerity sooner or later. But the ratio is not the cause of the feedback.

    A paper written last year by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, called “Growth in a Time of Debt,” has been widely quoted for its analysis of 44 countries over 200 years, which found that when government debt exceeds 90% of GDP, countries suffer slower growth, losing about one percentage point on the annual rate.

    One might be misled into thinking that, because 90% sounds awfully close to 100%, awful things start happening to countries that get into such a mess. But if one reads their paper carefully, it is clear that Reinhart and Rogoff picked the 90% figure almost arbitrarily. They chose, without explanation, to divide debt-to-GDP ratios into the following categories: under 30%, 30-60%, 60-90%, and over 90%. And it turns out that growth rates decline in all of these categories as the debt-to-GDP ratio increases, only somewhat more in the last category.

    There is also the issue of reverse causality. Debt-to-GDP ratios tend to increase for countries that are in economic trouble. If this is part of the reason that higher debt-to-GDP ratios correspond to lower economic growth, there is less reason to think that countries should avoid a higher ratio, as Keynesian theory implies that fiscal austerity would undermine, rather than boost, economic performance.

    The fundamental problem that much of the world faces today is that investors are overreacting to debt-to-GDP ratios, fearful of some magic threshold, and demanding fiscal-austerity programs too soon. They are asking governments to cut expenditure while their economies are still vulnerable. Households are running scared, so they cut expenditures as well, and businesses are being dissuaded from borrowing to finance capital expenditures.

    The lesson is simple: We should worry less about debt ratios and thresholds, and more about our inability to see these indicators for the artificial – and often irrelevant – constructs that they are.

    .
    Robert J. Shiller is Professor of Economics at Yale University.

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/shiller78/English

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    23rd July 2011 at 12:50 pm

  13. newsjunkie says:

    Blah, blah, blah, Stuck, what’s going on?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    23rd July 2011 at 1:12 pm

  14. newsjunkie says:

    By the way, that George Carlin rant was right before his death, wasn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    23rd July 2011 at 1:24 pm

  15. Administrator says:

    Hoosier Guy

    I read the Shiller article the other day and was sadly disappointed by his conclusion. I guess all Harvard professors still cling to their Keynesian upbringing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    23rd July 2011 at 1:43 pm

  16. Buckhed says:

    Hey Hoosier Guy….I bought a sofa from Bobby Knight…he told me if I paid full price he’d throw in a chair…..fortunately he missed me !

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    23rd July 2011 at 2:03 pm

  17. Muck About says:

    Shiller is a dink. After all that pointless bullshit, Shiller says,” And it turns out that growth rates decline in all of these categories as the debt-to-GDP ratio increases, only somewhat more in the last category.”

    DUH! When the growth rate decreases as the GDP/Debt ratio grows, pretty soon, the growth rate will fall to zero or – ooops — go negative and the debt can not longer be paid.

    The man has the absolute balls to admit defeat to his own position. You gotta admire a fuckhead like that.

    MA

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    23rd July 2011 at 4:28 pm

  18. Buckhed says:

    The Gooberment has found a way to end the housing crisis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rent a house !

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904233404576458300001332210.html

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    23rd July 2011 at 9:50 pm

  19. Stan says:

    Adminstrator,

    I love the “People of Wal Mart” segment. Every time a new one comes up, I call my wife in here and we have a great laugh and raise several eye browls. It is funny as hell.

    Now, when we go to Wal Mart, we always wish we had taken a camera because it never fails that we see a few who would be worthy of this site.

    Keep it up sir.

    On another point, Does Paul Krugman, nobel prize winning economist, know that we have a national debt which is so big and deep and high and long and wide and big that it can never be paid back? I just wonder if he knows that. And if he does know it does it ever dawn on him that it will someday bite us in the ass?

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    23rd July 2011 at 7:16 am

  20. Administrator says:

    Stan

    Krugman warned about the dire National Debt during the Bush presidency when it was $8 trillion. Now that a Democrat is in charge, he says $14 trillion isn’t a problem. He’s an intellectually dishonest prick.

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    23rd July 2011 at 7:29 am

  21. Anonymous says:

    Outside intervention by a supernatural being there is absolutely no hope for the human condition of propensity towards personal enrichment at the expense of the weak.War, famine and death will repeat itself in perpetuity until the human race is extinct or saved by the grace of an an omnipotent being.

    From STR http://www.strike-the-root.com/

    Column by Glen Allport.

    Exclusive to STR
    [Part 2 of a five-part series]

    How the Idea of Civil Society was Destroyed

    In the second half of the 1800s, the nascent civil society in the United States, with its classical liberal worldview – including the understanding that society should embody both liberty and compassion – began giving way to the modern Left and Right. Lack of compassion (or widespread emotional damage, if you prefer) and the continued use of aggression, in and out of government, meant that the trend toward civil society in America was delicate to start with. Adoption of the Constitution was a serious blow in this regard, creating as it did a glowing ember of central, coercive authority which grew into the raging tyranny we now seek, vainly, to bring under control.

    This dramatic and toxic growth of the State did not happen by accident. The ongoing triumph of the coercive elite has been, first, to implant in the public mind a corrupted version of the Non-Aggression Principle, one that only applies to the little people. Expressed as it might be written for an Eleventh Commandment (which is certainly how the establishment treats it), this version might read: “Thou shalt not aggress against others, unless thou worketh for the State.”

    Second, this corrupted NAP was supported by shrewdly recasting the two elements of the Golden Rule as opposing each other and forever at war. Love and freedom were no longer seen as the mutually supportive qualities that they are, but rather as competing forces engaged in a zero-sum struggle.

    Those two epic misunderstandings underpin the toxic paradigm of political Left and Right. Under the new Commandment, both Left and Right are granted use of State aggression in service of their goals.

    Indeed, the State is nothing but aggression; it is an institution based on force, threats of force, and fraud. Try saying “no” to the State at any level and watch the aggression harden from “violence in a latent state” (as classical liberal Auberon Herbert put it) to actual violence administered by “big men with guns.” America’s founding generation understood this, but not well enough. George Washington famously pointed out that “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.” Still, Washington was a believer in coercive government, as long as it was small and “restrained.”

    Well, we’ve seen how THAT worked out.

    The Left/Right political paradigm inevitably leads to tyranny because both sides embrace aggression in service of their goals, and because each side over-emphasizes one half of the Love and Freedom duality – always a dangerous path.

    In theory, the Left focuses on compassion; the Right on limited government – on “restrained aggression,” in other words, rather than on non-aggression. But, even aside from the aggression involved, neither Left nor Right can ever be a healthy whole by itself, because both love and freedom are equally necessary. Like a deprived child who grows into an adult who can never get enough,* the public is constantly dissatisfied with the results of political action and so always wants more. This is partly because government policies and programs do the opposite of their stated aims and partly because any action that leads to over-emphasis of one side of the Duality while under-serving the other must create imbalance and lead to discontent.
    * . . . never enough of money, sex, power, or whatever, because the person never got enough of what they really needed (love, for the most part) in childhood – and getting it now, as an adult, does nothing to erase the trauma of that early deprivation. Developmental needs can only be met at the time they naturally occur.

    The fundamental error of the Left/Right scheme thus ensures that the goals of the participants will expand (because what’s been done already is never enough, for one thing) and that the aggression used in service of those expanding goals will continually break restraints that had earlier seemed inviolable.

    We see those results all around us, with the Non-Aggression Principle replaced by an ever-larger and ever-more aggressive State and with natural compassion and charity replaced with coercively-funded State programs and coercively-enforced prohibitions and commandments. This expanding empire of aggression claims to be for the people’s benefit but instead serves the State and its client corporations and interest groups; civil society shrinks and withers in the process. Meanwhile, the elite continue to push the toxic Left/Right paradigm, which herds the public into artificial groups at war with each other, each side over-emphasizing one part of the Duality and enraged at those who over-emphasize the other.

    The power elite and their corporate media ignore, slander, and otherwise marginalize any person, group, or influence that threatens this destructive mind-game. The media’s frequent and often breath-taking mis-treatment of Ron Paul, the only congressman to have consistently and for decades opposed unconstitutional use of power (including our many wars and occupations) and tax money and who has single-handedly made the Federal Reserve an issue in American politics, is only the most obvious and blatant example. Paul has actually been left out of poll results after winning the poll in question; his name has been left off lists of campaign fund-raising results even when he was at or near the top of the field. If you want to know how terrified the power elite are of the truth and how far they are willing to go to hide or obscure that truth, watch the media’s handling of Dr. Paul. (For a brief, sensible look at Dr. Paul versus his GOP competitors for the nomination, see Sizing up the GOP field: Ron Paul is the likely nominee*; for Paul’s first campaign television ad of the race – and a rousingly good one – see here. Abolitionists and voluntaryists will wince at both links because Dr. Paul is a constitutionalist, but I – an abolitionist and voluntaryist – believe that change has to begin somewhere, and Paul is a HUGE change in the right direction over what we have now. Anyone who expects a voluntaryist society to instantly emerge without any process leading to that point is not thinking clearly).
    * No, I don’t think Paul will actually BE the nominee; if he is, I don’t think he’ll win the election; if he does win, I don’t think he’ll be allowed to dismantle any of the tyranny we now suffer under. Call me a pessimist – I am, actually – but I think we’re long past the point where the power elite would allow any such thing. Without going into detail, I’ll just say that if Paul overcomes the media’s attempts to marginalize his campaign, I fear for his safety.

    ————-

    A third element was needed for the destruction of civil society in the United States, and for creation of the aggressive tyranny designed to replace it: funding for the entire, costly enterprise; a mechanism to channel money and power from the American people to the coercive elite.

    The Constitution required our money to be only gold and silver – preventing the funding of tyranny by fiat currencies – and prohibited any tax on income. In 1913, however, those critical restrictions were overcome. The aggression used for funding the State was amplified exponentially with a pair of stunningly un-American tools: a national income tax and creation of a fiat-currency-creating central bank, backed up with legal tender laws requiring use of the phony money. Together, after less than ten decades, those tools have sucked up nearly all the wealth created by the American people in the past century (mainstream America is broke), plus the wealth created and bequeathed to us by earlier generations, plus the wealth of future generations, which has been encumbered by a debt (most of it hidden with dishonest accounting) beyond payment and almost beyond belief. This stolen wealth has replaced civil society in America with an aggressive empire abroad and a shockingly blunt police state here at home, enriching the power elite every step of the way.

    Next in this series: A World-Killing Paradigm Shift

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    23rd July 2011 at 9:34 am

  22. Wolf Larson says:

    It IS the best 3 minutes of his career. There is more education in this 3 minutes than can be garnered in 4 years of “education” at an “institution of higher learning.” Now, if we can just get WalMart on board to televise it at their check-out lines. I mean, if nothing else, George is easier to look at than Janet Napalitano.

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    23rd July 2011 at 8:44 pm

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