It still is the case
that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at
Anyway - and no, sleeping did not much improve, so far. Today I am,
back at the crisis with various bits of news that center around
above persons, concluded by a three year old post, that is
interesting, and is about what the present U.S. system should be
since it has aspects of each of the named social systems.
I have again called it "The Snowden Effects 7" but added an "and more",
because it's not all due to Snowden.
1. Elizabeth Warren
First, here is Elizabeth Warren holding off three CBC
"interviewers", who are all inane lackeys of government - and yes, I am
sorry I can't truly describe it otherwise:
Elizabeth Warren is documented, smart and polite. Also, she is
tenacious. Of those mentioned as candidates for the 2016 presidency, so
far she is the best, and certainly much better than Hilary Clinton.
2. Chris Hedges
I have mentioned before that
Chris Hedges, together with Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky and some
others has protested and started a court case against the indefinite
detention of American citizens.
Well... they have lost: According to American judges indefinite
detention is good for you. If you want the outcome of the court case,
in pdf, and it makes for very depressing reading.
Hedges himself had this to say on it, which I quote from Truth
This is quite
distressing. It means there is no recourse now either within the
Executive, Legislative or Judicial branches of government to halt the
steady assault on our civil liberties and most basic Constitutional
rights. It means that the state can use the military, overturning over
two centuries of domestic law, to use troops on the streets to seize
U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in
military detention centers. States that accrue to themselves this kind
of power, history has shown, will use it. We will appeal, but the
Supreme Court is not required to hear our appeal. It is a black day for
those who care about liberty.
Indeed it is, and one of the
other black things is that so few protest.
Next, there is another column by Robert Reich, who makes a point that
has been made many times in my crisis series:
This starts as follows - and
the New York Times article, that gets linked in the quote, is quite
knows CEO pay is out of control. It surged 16 percent at big companies
last year, and the typical CEO raked in $15.1 million, according to the
the median wage continued to drop, adjusted for inflation.
less well-known is that you and I and other taxpayers are subsidizing
this sky-high executive compensation. That’s because corporations
deduct it from their income taxes, causing the rest of us to pay more
in taxes to make up the difference.
tax subsidy to corporate executives from the rest of us ought to be one
of the first tax expenditures to go, when and if congress turns to
reforming the tax code.
Yes indeed. Reich proposes
capping it at 1 million dollars (Larry Elison, of Oracle, gets a cool $
96.2 million a year, but yes, he is the highest ranking CEO:
Nearly a million every two weeks, against my 12.000 dollars a year, on
the Dutch dole - that is better than most, but does force me to live on
a little over 10 dollars a day: Mr Elison must be worth 8000 times more
than I am, intellectually, morally, personally, financially etc.)
The reason is perhaps not very clearly outlined, so I'll do it: It is
lootery by the very few of the very many; it's grossly indecent; and no
one is worth that much.
I found the following a nice bit of news, although he
probably will not make it:
Edward Snowden has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize by
Swedish professor Stefan Svallfors. In nominating Snowden, Svallfors
wrote a letter in which he explained that rewarding Snowden for his
“heroic effort at great personal cost” would start to make up for the
blunder the Nobel Committee committed when it gave the prize to
President Barack Obama.
This also got fairly widely
reported, and it shoould be noted that professor Svallfors is one of
the people who has the right to propose candidates. 5.Alexei Navalny
Next, I have
mentioned the trial that was conducted against Alexei Navalny before, who is (or was) a candidate
against Vladimir Putin. Well, he lost, and here is the Guardian's
article on it:
A Russian court
has found Alexei Navalny
guilty of embezzlement in a trial widely seen as a means of silencing
the popular Russian opposition leader.
The punishment may be 6 or 10
years, and still has to be decided. The reason is given by the Guardian
in these words:
The trial is
widely seen as a means of discrediting an opposition leader who has
gained increasing support since Vladimir Putin
returned to the Russian presidency against a backdrop of unprecedented
protests last year.
It seems so to me.
Capitalism, socialism or fascism
Lastly, here is a link to a nearly 4 years old article (!) on
Washington's Blog (which I like: Good arguments, including good
and diverse support) that considers this question:
Or more precisely, in terms of
the first sentence of the text:
What is the
current American economy: capitalism, socialism or fascism?
This is not a strange
question, because it shows clear marks of each system - and does so
now, nearly four years later, to a larger extent.
As to fascism, Washington Blog cites Robert
Scheer, Truth Dig's main editor, from 2008, who in turn may have
been primed by Sheldon Wolin:
What is proposed
is not the nationalization of private corporations but rather a
corporate takeover of government. The marriage of highly concentrated
corporate power with an authoritarian state that services the
politico-economic elite at the expense of the people is more accurately
referred to as “financial fascism” [than socialism]. After all, even
Hitler never nationalized the Mercedes-Benz company but rather entered
into a very profitable partnership with the current car company’s
corporate ancestor, which made out quite well until Hitler’s bubble
Next, there is a third concept
that may apply: Looting. Here is a quote from the Times:
The paper’s message is
that the promise of government bailouts isn’t merely one aspect of the
problem. It is the core problem.
Promised bailouts mean
that anyone lending money to Wall Street — ranging from small-time
savers like you and me to the Chinese government — doesn’t have to
worry about losing that money. The United States Treasury (which, in
the end, is also you and me) will cover the losses. In fact, it has to
cover the losses, to prevent a cascade of worldwide losses and panic
that would make today’s crisis look tame.
But the knowledge among
lenders that their money will ultimately be returned, no matter what,
clearly brings a terrible downside. It keeps the lenders from asking
tough questions about how their money is being used. Looters — savings
and loans and Texas developers in the 1980s; the American International
Group, Citigroup, Fannie Mae and the rest in this decade — can then act
as if their future losses are indeed somebody else’s problem.
The concept gets more
discussion, but you probably get the idea, including the fact that
since the above was written, some four more years of the same happened.
In any case, Washington's Blog ends thus:
So what do we really
have: socialism-for-the-giants, fascism or an economy which calls
itself “capitalism” but which allows looting?
Ultimately, it doesn’t
matter. They are just different brand names for the same basic type of
economy. All three systems allow giant businesses which are friendly to
the government to keep enormous private profits but to pass the losses
on to the government and ultimately the citizens.
Whether we use the
terminology regarding socialism-for-the-giants (“socialized losses”),
of fascism (“public and social losses”), or of looting (“left the
government holding the bag for their eventual and predictable losses”),
it amounts to the exact same thing.
Whatever we have, it isn’t
free market capitalism.
Yes, I agree, and the reason
it isn't free market capitalism is that it is based on the repeals
of laws (by Clinton) that kept the system - of free market capitalism!
- safely working for some fifty years, notably the Glass-Steagall Act
(<- Wikipedia), and on the wide loopholes that are in the U.S. laws,
that allow the great corporations enormous subsidies, little taxes,
great salaries, and nearly totally unregulated policies.
Also, it happens on purpose, and has been systematized the last
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: