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activism, Culture

Post Scarcity Anarchism – Classic Murray Bookchin

Post Scarcity Anarchism by Murray Bookchin first published in the 1970’s looks at social change and how to participate in/achieve meaningful social change.

In case you’ve never read it or want to read it again, this book has never been so relevant.

It examines what our capitalist society is and what will eventually happen to it (which is what’s happening now!)

– from Baruch

Bookchin-cover01
Economics, Video

Meet Mr. Ponzi!

Variants of the Ponzi scheme are rife today – ie, using new investments (or loans) to pay off old investors (or banks). As long as interest rates are low and money is easy, it may work. When credit collapses, bye bye to the debt zombies.

Here’s a documentary on the originator of the Ponzi scheme – an ex-con with an actual profit-making idea that went haywire.

Click here for more economics articles, satires, and features.

Ponzi-headshot

activism, Climate Justice

Planet Plastic – Good Article

Plastics-Pexels-CopyrightFree

Good Rolling Stone article on the deluge of plastics leaking into our food, water, and air.

Planet Plastic – Rolling Stone

Since 1950, the world has created 6.3 trillion kilograms of plastic waste — and 91 percent has never been recycled even once. More than half the plastic now on Earth has been created since 2002, and plastic pollution is on pace to double by 2030.

The Petroleum Connection

At its root, the global plastics crisis is a product of our addiction to fossil fuels. The private profit and public harm of the oil industry is well understood: Oil is refined and distributed to consumers, who benefit from gasoline’s short, useful lifespan in a combustion engine, leaving behind atmospheric pollution for generations. But this same pattern — and this same tragedy of the commons — is playing out with another gift of the oil-and-gas giants, whose drilling draws up the petroleum precursors for plastics. These are refined in industrial complexes and manufactured into bottles, bags, containers, textiles, and toys for consumers who benefit from their transient use — before throwing them away.

Get the full story:

Planet Plastic – Rolling Stone

 

activism, Culture, Resources & Downloads

The Diggers – revolutionary ancestors!

Diggers-Winstanley

In 1649, near London, a rag-tag group of radicals staked a claim to common land and began to clear and plant it so it would be a “common treasury for all.”

The Diggers – an essay

Among our most interesting ancestors, these English revolutionaries were forerunners of groups like Food Not Bombs – claiming unused resources in the name of the community.

Here’s a short article about the Diggers of 1649 and their place in the revolution of the 1640s.

Click here for a bunch more history articles, including the 40-page illustrated essay “Our Magical Ancestors – available as free PDF or read online.

 

Culture, Music

Bitches Brew – 50 Years On

Miles-BB-cover

I’ve never cared for the word “bitch.” When I was young, it got used on sports fields to suggest that someone was not being enough of a man (a challenging task at age 15).

Later it became a popular hip-hop epithet that made many great songs unplayable at parties.

Then again, in a parallel universe – it was the first word of one of Miles Davis’s greatest albums.

April 2020 marks fifty years since the release of Bitches Brew, which launched the most experimentally creative portion of Miles’ long career. Jazz fusion greats such as Wayne Shorter, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, and Billy Cobham guested on the double-vinyl set.

For fans of 1970s funk, Bitches Brew is perhaps the seminal work.

Here’s the full album plus a review from the Guardian:

Full Album

Guardian Review

Culture

The Betrayal Of Jesus

MAGA-Cross

We’re coming toward that time of year when we recall that Jesus was betrayed and executed by state authorities, in collaboration with religious leaders.

How fitting that American evangelicals are lining up to shine the shoes of Mr Two Corinthians himself.

Collaborationists par excellence.

Here’s a good survey of the evangelical landscape from the Daily Beast.

Reclaiming Jesus of Nazareth

I’ll lend my support to efforts to liberate Jesus of Nazareth from the evangelicals. Let them have their “Christ,” whoever that is.

Here’s Jesus for real – Luke 18: 10-14:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get. (‘And I voted for Donald Trump twice!’)

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ (‘I voted for Hillary…’)

“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Amen.

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Economics

Time to Unload My Portfolio!

More economics satires & musings by Luke Hauser

– originally posted January 2020, when the Dow approached 30K

I woke up this morning and realized – it’s time to unload my stock portfolio!

As my mind cleared, I recalled that I didn’t actually have a portfolio, or any stocks at all.

I don’t even have a 401K. My retirement plan is the 401EZ – it should cover me, as long as I don’t stop working after I retire.

Just the same – it’s time to sell stocks. A Dow of 30,000?

It was 20,000 a year ago, and that was padded.

Take a look around – do you see 50% economic growth since last Spring? I see low interest rates, a huge tax cut for the rich, a housing bubble in major markets…. but not much economic growth.

But What About Uber?

Sorry, Uber is not “economic growth” – at best it’s a lateral movement that provides a slight improvement in taxi services. Whoop tee do.

What else is booming? Tourism? Destroying the environment in search of more fossil fuels? New advances in robotic senior care?

OK, I grant you those – but a 50% boost to the entire economy? I’m skeptical.

It’s a bubble. And while I can’t name the date it will burst, it is not going to inflate much further.

Let’s look back at the last bubble – which peaked much lower than this one.

The 2008 Crash Revisited

In the mid-2000s, the booming stock market – then passing peaks of 12, 13, and even 14,000 – was widely called “irrational exuberance,” even by the former Fed chairman.

No one believed the economy had grown that much, nor that housing prices should have doubled in a decade. The word bubble was widely bandied about.

Sure enough, the markets crashed.

In 2008, the Dow crashed to about 8000, and took until 2013 to get back to 14,000.

What brought the markets (housing and stocks in particular) back was not actual economic growth, but microscopic interest rates (.25 at one point in the US, which had a past average of around 4-5% in non-inflationary periods). Nearly-free money was hurled around, and lacking productive investments (more on this in another post) the money basically re-inflated stock and housing bubbles.

As I write, the Dow is over 29,000 – double the peak of just a few years ago.

Ie – double the peak that crashed hard in 2008.

Amazing What Cheap Money Can Do

Why? Cheap money. Low interest rates, big bonuses paid to the stock-buying classes, and most recently an absurdly unnecessary tax cut that poured billions more into the pockets of stock-buyers.

To no one’s surprise, the market bubble has inflated to new “irrational” heights.

But now, interest rates are as low as they can go (negative rates would destroy savings and retirement funds – a political non-starter unless we’re in a severe depression).

The tax cut will continue to pour money into the pockets of the rich – but the effect on the market will be to sustain current prices, not increase them.

The current peak will be almost impossible to surpass.

Sensing the peak, speculators will look for more lucrative “investments.” They’ll be selling – so whatever new cheap money comes into stocks, the speculators will balance by selling. The peak has been reached.

Sooner or later, stagnant or rising interest rates and declining effects of the tax cut will result in an overall slowdown. Recessions do happen, you know.

At that point, the downward spiral begins – people sell stocks because they need money to cover their debts. With increased stocks for sale, market prices go lower, so people have to sell more stocks to get the same money. And so on.

That moment is fast approaching. It’s been 12 years since the 2008 crash. That’s one of the longer stretches between crashes since 1900.

I’d say – prepare for hard times.

– in process – email Luke Hauser with ideas

More economics satires & musings by Luke Hauser

Continue reading “Time to Unload My Portfolio!”

Culture

Brexit – Trashing 200 Years of British Strategy

Brexit-depositphotos-copyrightfree

What exactly is the strategic thinking behind Brexit? Not the emotions or the economics, but the geopolitical strategy?

Consider – Britain fought several world wars, beginning with the French Revolution, to prevent continental Europe from uniting against it. WWI and WWII continued the strategy – break up the continental bloc.

Whether it was the French under Napoleon or the Germans under the Kaiser or Hitler, the strategy remained the same – no sacrifice of life or wealth was too great to assure that Britain would never face a united Europe.

Indeed, Britain fancied itself the arbiter of the continent, able to throw its weight in one direction or another to prevent a power bloc from developing.

A Whimper and a Whine

Now, in 2020, Britain with a whimper and a whine hands the keys to the continent to Germany and France – England’s arch-enemies from 1700 to 1950.

Has the global balance of power so changed that a small island nation is best to go it alone while continental Europe’s economic and political power grows unchecked on its border?

Or has the decrepit British ruling class, bereft of its beloved empire, simply turned in to gaze upon itself as it fades into oblivion?

Demographic postscript – the voting on Brexit was strongly age-skewed. The young said no, the old farts said yes.

Safe to say, the decision will be eventually reversed, and this generation of Brexiteers will be scorned forever after.

Best source of Brexit and European news in English – the UK Guardian.

UK Edition – theguardian.com/uk

US Edition – theguardian.com/us

Image: Deposit Photos

activism, Immigration

Ma Nature Says No to The Wall!

BorderWall-Fall-TopTenNews

Mother Nature dismantles Trump’s wall – perfectly illustrating why Direct Action author Luke Hauser has long espoused scrapping the whole stupid idea of a wall and instead building a dome.

From the UK Guardian – the finest English language news-site on the interweb:

“A section of Donald Trump’s much-vaunted border wall between the United States and Mexico has blown over in high winds, US border patrol officers have been reported as saying.

“The steel panels, more than nine metres (30ft) high, began to lean at a sharp angle on the border between the Californian town of Calexico and Mexicali in Mexico amid gusts on Wednesday.

“The section of wall was under construction at the time, with concrete anchors being put in place. But the strong winds blew the panels over onto the Mexican side of the border before the concrete had cured, according to reports.”

PhotoTop Ten News

Also – Luke Hauser argues for scrapping the wall and building a dome

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