August 31, 2011
5 Things to Read
As this month's statement of the blindingly obvious has been a tad tardy, here's a smorgasbord of same:
Autumn of the empire - Joshua Clover
An era of industrial expansion and real growth bears the seeds of its own undoing; when it fails, the financial sector must leap in to generate the profits elsewhere. But these expansions of the financial sector are always temporary, if not indeed illusory. There is no financial expansion that is not a bubble. Credit is, for all the many mysteries and wonders in which it traffics, money spent now for work to be done later: a mortgage, a share of IBM, and the mezzanine tranche of synthetic Collateralized Debt Obligation are all, in more and less evident ways, “claims on future labor.” The moment that it becomes evident that all that productive labor is not waiting up around the bend, then nobody wants to give out any more credit. And the creditors want their money. And the investors want out of risk. Pop.Strange death of American revolution - Jada Thacker
The origin of American civil government was not, as certain champions of Locke’s social contract would have it, to secure to each citizen his equal share of security and liberty, but rather to secure for the oligarchs their superior position of power and wealth.Labor has neither the brains nor strength to fix its problems - Guy Rundle
It was for precisely this reason the United States Constitution was written not by a democratically-elected body, but by an unelected handful of men who represented only the privileged class.
Accordingly, the Constitution is a document which prescribes, not proscribes, a legal framework within which the economically privileged minority makes the rules for the many.
There is nothing in the Constitution that limits the influence of wealth on government. No better example of this intentional oversight exists than the creation of the first American central bank. ...
The bank was necessary in order to carry out a broader plan: the debts of the new nation would be paid with money loaned by the wealthy, and the people were to be taxed to pay the money back to the wealthy, with interest.
The 1791 Whiskey Tax – which penalized small-scale distillers in favor of commercial-scale distilleries – was passed to underwrite this scheme of bottom-up wealth-redistribution. When frontiersmen predictably rebelled against the tax, they were literally shackled and dragged on foot through the snowbound Allegheny Mountains to appear in show-trials at the national capital, where they were condemned to death.
Socialist bureaucrats were not the culprits here: the 16,000 armed militiamen that crushed the rebels were led in person by two principal Founding Fathers, President George Washington and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, the author of both the central bank and the whiskey tax legislation.
(After the disproportionate tax drove small producers out of competition, Washington went into the whiskey-distilling business, becoming by the time of his death the largest whiskey-entrepreneur in Virginia, if not the nation.)
This should be a “text-book” example of how oligarchy works, but such examples are rarely admitted in textbooks. Instead, the textbooks assure us that the Founders established the nation upon the principles of “liberty and justice for all,” words that do not appear in any founding document.
Indeed part of the problem for Labor is that figures such as Emerson and Costa would prefer to win the argument in the party and lose the election, than the reverse. Their commitment is to the idea and practice of neoliberal economics, and they see the party as a host body for those ideas to propagate through. When such policies deliver a relentless decline in Labor's base, they blame the relatively marginal role of social issues politics associated with the Greens. Given all these factors we can say that Labor is not fit for purpose, and it seems prudent to work on the assumption that the rest of the 'teens is Tony Abbott and the Coalition's to lose (and if anyone can do that, it's Abbott).In the battle for the right, the market always wins - Jeff Sparrow
It goes likes this. Conservative activists, often ordinary people from struggling backgrounds, get whipped into a lather by demagogic neocons over, say, the amount of smut and blasphemy screening in the movies. These activists duly campaign for conservative candidates, who, once elected, implement the neoliberal economics to which the Right is fundamentally committed.Stretching charges of anti-semitism - Lawrence Davidson
Thereafter, the free market does what the free market is supposed to do: namely, freeing up corporations to make money. Hollywood, of course, knows it will sell more tickets to crass sex comedies than upright Christian narratives, and so, lo and behold, crass sex comedies are what it delivers.
And who, except of course the Zionists, says that Zionism is a desirable vehicle for the expression of this alleged right of self-determination?
Let us face it. Israel and its Zionist ideology were born of the will of a small minority of Jews, almost exclusively from Central and Eastern Europe, most of whom were secularists, and almost all of whom carried within their heads the poisoned perceptions of European imperialist bigotry – an outlook which still characterizes the state they set up.
That is why, in practice, Zionism has resulted in a prima facie racist environment in Israel. And now we are told that, according to the “working definition,” pointing out the link between Zionism and racism is an act of anti-Semitism!