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Monday, March 29, 2021

Biden’s First Press Conference

National Embarrassment: Joe Biden’s First Press Conference Shows He’s Totally Fine and There’s No Problem Here

By Chris Black
Investment Watch
March 26, 2021

Alleged president Joe Biden just gave his first-ever press conference on Thursday night; he waited longer than any POTUS in history to do that, but let that go for now.

If you had the gumption to watch it till the end, you most probably cringed at Joe’s pathetic and confused attempts to read his cue cards as he assured the American people that there’s nothing to worry about and everything is nice and dandy.

After watching his performance, it dawned on me that there’s absolutely no reason why a fundamentally befuddled and totally senile boomer cannot be an efficient POTUS.

HERE’;S THE FULL HOUR, if you have the time and testicular fortitude to watch it.

Or, if you want to cut to the chase, HERE’S THE 10 MINUTE HIGHLIGHTS REEL.

Everyone should watch the entire news conference. It was a complete disaster and the funniest thing you’ll see in years. I doubt we’ll be seeing another anytime soon. Not sure why everyone is downplaying what just happened. Even conservative commentators seem to be glossing over it.

And here’s the kicker: old Joe actually had a list with the photos of journos who were allowed to ask questions, as well as pre-written answers to questions. Because of nasty questions that could threaten democracy, doh!

Seriously, CHEK THIS OUT:

Disclose.tv [at]disclosetv
JUST IN - Biden calls reporters of selected media outlets from a prepared list in his first press conference since he took office.

During the presser, Biden said that he’s ready to confront the world, as he tries to bring unity to everyone; one may think he means global government, but I’m pushing it. He also claimed that he’s capable, and its all fine, and everyone really just needs to shut up, because he’s capable, and it’s fine, and everyone really just needs to shut up.

In case you were wondering, Biden will run for re-election in 2024, and he’ll keep saving America until 2028, when hes like 86 years old. Some staffer wrote this line for him, and it was pure genius:

What does it even mean? I really don’t care, and to be honest, Id be shocked if he makes it to June. Let’s face it, Joe isn’t cut out for the job, he’s an empty lot. What’s worse, Harris isn’t presidential material either and would be a danger for humanity.

Watch the sign language translator when Joe completely skipped his train of thought. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Joe Biden:  “With regard to the filibuster, I believe we should go back to a position of a filibuster that existed just when I came to the senate 120 years ago.”

Nobody asked about the national debt, or annual federal budget deficits exceeding 50% of spending, or how long this can continue.  If anyone asked Powell or Yellen about that last week when they were trotted out it didn’t make the evening news either. Somehow federal spending, which has traditionally been a big national issue, is no longer news at all right when its gone berserk. 

Eventually the “woke” crowd are going to get good and woke about the realities of economics.  It’s a much bigger issue than transgender bathrooms, I assure you.

But I’m digressing. Here’s what I learned from this Biden presser:

We now know why his handlers have not allowed him to do a presser.

His dementia is worsening. What an absolute clown show.

Kamala will be President. All of this was planned. Kamala would not get anywhere near the WH otherwise.

Americans are in deep shit. That deer in the headlight stare really makes me feel confident in the country’s future.

The man should be in care whilst living out the last of his days. As much as it’s easy to laugh at a sick old man and the fraud that 81 million voted for him (more than any president in history) while he hid from view, its more of a reflection of the deep state and media that have created this Frankenstein drama for their own self-serving interests.

Anyone knowingly complicit in this is clearly evil.

PS: Did anyone notice this week that the press has been instructed by the White House to start referring to the administration as the “Biden-Harris” administration?  This is the first public groundwork for sending Ol’ Joe to the retirement home.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 03/29/21 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Does Gun Control Work

image: going postal

[O]thers will point to guns and try to convince you that inanimate metal objects are the cause of this violence. But they lie by omission. No gun shoots itself. The trigger must be pulled by someone, and the mental state of that person is the primary cause of the resulting action. To ignore this fundamental chain of facts is brutally dishonest.
- Gun control? We need medication control!

The United States of America was conceived and nurtured by violence… Killing takes place in America at an average of 87 times each day. Going to war in Afghanistan is less dangerous than living in Chicago.

[A]nother attempt at prohibition is nothing but an emotional attempt to do something even if it is something that won’t have any significant effect on the level of violence in America.

What I object to is the Pollyanna belief that gun control will significantly reduce violence in American society. Guns are not the cause of this violence; the violent nature of American society is the cause of the American love affair with guns.
- Violence: The American Way of Life

Studies Find No Evidence That Assault Weapon Bans Reduce Homicide Rates
The studies, data, and examination of the available evidence by scholars suggest that assault weapon bans or buybacks will have little if any effect on rates of violent crime and gun violence.

By Being Classically Liberal
Fee Dot Org
August 17, 2019

Mass shootings are unconscionable acts of violence and are the most acutely disturbing form of GUN VIOLENCE. In the wake of such tragedies, many GUN CONTROL advocates lambast gun rights supporters for allowing “weapons of war” onto the streets of America and not supporting “responsible gun reform.”

The measures put forth are usually either a ban and/or mandatory buyback of ”ASSAULT WEAPONS,” most of which are more accurately known as semi-automatic rifles. ("Assault weapon” is a vague term that varies state to state and CAN INCLUDE common pistols and shotguns depending out other attachable accessories.)

While these initiatives are “common sense” to advocates, if one takes the time to examine the data and evidence, it becomes abundantly clear that gun control in this form will do little to reduce gun violence.

1. Mass shootings with assault weapons constitute a fraction of a percent of gun violence

imge: homicides 2007-2017

Mother Jones’s DATABASE of mass shootings, defined as shootings involving three or more fatalities, shows that between 2007 and 2017, there were 495 people murdered in such events. When breaking down those shootings by the weapons involved, it is revealed that around half of those victims (253) were murdered by a perpetrator with an assault weapon (AW), such as an AR-15.

Over the same timeframe, FBI annual crime reports SHOW that there were 150,352 homicides in total, of which 103,901 involved firearms. This means that mass shootings involving AWs constitute 0.17 percent and 0.24 percent of all homicides and firearm homicides, respectively.

To further illuminate the relative infrequency of mass shootings with “assault weapons,” consider the fact that in 2017, some 1,590 people were murdered using knives or sharp instruments.

Even a completely effective ban/buyback of AWs would have an incredibly small impact on rates of homicide and gun violence.

Over the last five years, 261 people were murdered with AWs in mass shootings (an average rate of 52 murders annually.) At such a rate, it would take over 30 years of mass shootings with AWs to produce the same number of deaths as one yearԒs worth of knife murders. (It would take 135 years worth of mass shootings with AWs to produce the 7,032 deaths that handgun homicides did in 2017.)

Consequently, even a completely effective ban/buyback of AWs would have an incredibly small impact on rates of homicide and gun violence, and then there is always the probability that people intent on committing mass violence will substitute AWs with other available firearms or methods of destruction (such as homemade explosives.)

2. Studies find no evidence assault weapon bans reduce homicide rates

There are theoretical reasons to doubt the effectiveness of a ban or buyback of assault weapons, but it also doesn’t help that real-world evidence suggests these measures fail to produce reductions in gun violence.

A subsequent Department of Justice study found no evidence that the ban had had any effect on gun violence.

Between 1994 and 2004, the federal government BANNED THE MANUFACTURE, SALE, OR TRANSFER OF ASSAULT WEAPONS and large-capacity magazines.  A subsequent Department of Justice STUDY found no evidence that the ban had had any effect on gun violence and stated that should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.

A recent STUDY published this year in the Journal of General Internal Medicine examined state gun control policies and found no statistically significant relationship between assault weapon or large-capacity magazine bans and homicide rates. A Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) STUDY came to the same conclusion.

3. Australia doesn’t prove gun control works

In 1996, Australia experienced a horrific mass shooting. In response, the government implemented a mandatory buyback scheme that banned and confiscated certain types of firearms, including assault weapons.

A 2016 JAMA STUDY on the matter found no statistically significant change in the trend of the country’s firearm homicide rate following the law’s passage. The authors also noted that the decline in firearm suicides post-ban could not clearly be attributed to gun control since non-firearm suicides fell by an even greater magnitude.

4. There is inconclusive evidence of assault weapons bans on mass shootings

images: mass shootings frequency

Last year, the RAND Corporation released an extensive scientific ANALYSIS of available evidence on gun control measures and how they relate to various crime outcomes. Regarding the effect of assault weapons bans on mass shootings, they determined the evidence was “inconclusive.”

When former President Bill Clinton claimed the 1994-2004 federal assault weapons ban was associated with reduced mass shootings, Politifact RATED that claim as “half-true,” noting that the ban’s impact remains unclear.

Using Mother Jones’s data on mass shootings, I constructed the graph you see above. Prior to the ban, on average five people were killed with assault weapons in mass shootings per year. During the ban, that number went slightly down to four. Post-ban, it rose to 22.

Mass shootings with assault weapons didn’t rise until 2012 - eight years after the ban ended.

But mass shootings with assault weapons didn’t rise until 2012 - eight years after the ban ended. In the seven years after the ban, there was only an average of four people killed in mass shootings with assault weapons per year.

Given the fact that the pre-ban period and the seven years after the ban had essentially the same rate of mass shooting deaths with assault weapons, it is hard to prove that the ban had any effect on mass shootings.

In Conclusion

The studies, data, and examination of the available evidence by scholars suggest that assault weapons bans or buybacks will have little if any effect on rates of violent crime and gun violence. There seems to be no relationship between these gun control measures and reductions in firearm homicide or suicide, and there doesn’t appear to be any clear evidence they reduce mass shootings.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 03/25/21 •
Section Dying America
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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Suffering And More Suffering

image: dying america

The first Gilded Age rested on industrialization; the second, on deindustrialization. In our time, a new system of disaccumulation looted American industry, liquidating its assets to reward speculation in “fictitious capital.” After all, the rate of investment in new plants, technology, and research and development all declined during the 1980s. For a quarter-century, the fastest-growing part of the economy has been the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector.
- Class Warfare 2

The unemployment rate is not always the best indicator of the economy’s health. In fact, it’s probably a much worse indicator right now… The labor force participation rate [is more accurate.]
- Labor Participation

People that really understand political economy have a saying: “capitalism implodes into fascism.” Thats because it produces mass poverty, not riches, decline, not upward mobility - and the new poor then turn on everyone, neighbours, friends, allies, values, morals.
- Third Worls USA Part 11

Whatever future developments may prove to be, my best guess is that the U.S. will continue to maintain a facade of constitutional government and drift along UNTIL FINANCIAL BANKRUPTCY overtakes it. Of course, bankruptcy will not mean the literal end of the U.S. any more than it did for Germany in 1923, China in 1948, or Argentina in 2001-2002. It might, in fact, open the way for an unexpected restoration of the American system, or for military rule, revolution, or simply some new development we cannot yet imagine.
- Empire vs Democracy, Tom Dispatch 2007

Within CORPORATE boardrooms and thinktanks, inside USA government sanctums: globalization describes a PRIVATIZATION of the world. It is about the global corporatization of PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING: from goods and services to water, air, health care and education; from ideas and histories to art, genes and body parts. It is about the “rule of law” and therefore the military power of the United States of America (and its so-called דallies in assorted multi-nation alliances like NATO, WTO, etc.) - doing the bidding of the propertied few and their giant corporations.
- Globalization Defined

Now, GLOBALISTS are not the only source of our social pain. WE BEAR SOME RESPONSIBILITY.  When we are NOT VIGILANT, when we IGNORE OUR OWN IGNORANCE and refuse to learn, when we lie to ourselves, when we cater to personal superficial desires rather than taking the future into account, we open the door for the devil, as it were. Evil, like conscience, resides in us all.
- True Evil

Abuse CAN ONLY take place if enough people are SILENT about it, which is to say that those who are silent about the abuse are complicit in it. EVIL can only PLAY ITSELF OUT without restraint when good people see what is happening and do nothing. Staying silent in the PRESENCE OF ABUSE, though seemingly a passive role, is to unwittingly play an active role enabling our own victimization.
- Breaking the Vow Of Silence

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It’s hard to imagine how we can hide and ignore so much financial sorrow and suffering over the years:

OBAMA’S BIGGEST BLEMISH remains the ongoing tragedy of mass unemployment. Not only does this have a human element - the countless lives harmed or destroyed by poverty and desperation - but it is a huge drag on our economy. Mass unemployment reduces spending - the engine of our economy - which in turn, reduces growth. And without meaningful growth, there’s no way to reduce long-term debt without inflicting a large dose of harmful austerity. That, in my view, is unacceptable.

AFTER THE 2007-09 FINANCIAL CRISIS, the imbalances and risks pervading the global economy were exacerbated by policy mistakes. So, rather than address the structural problems that the financial collapse and ensuing recession revealed, governments mostly kicked the can down the road, creating major downside risks that made another crisis inevitable. And now that it has arrived, the risks are growing even more acute.

About 400,000 small business went under last year, and nine million more workers are unemployed now than a year ago:

WHITE HOUSE:

Since the beginning of this pandemic, 400,000 small businesses have closed - 400,000 - and millions more are hanging by a thread.

NEW YORK TIMES:

Roughly 8 million fewer Americans are working today than at this time last year, just before the coronavirus gripped the economy… The United States doesnt have a proven strategy for minimizing long-term unemployment.

CBS:

More than one-third of U.S. nonprofits are in jeopardy of closing within two years because of the financial harm inflicted by the viral pandemic, according to a study being released Wednesday by the philanthropy research group Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

MEANWHILE:

Shoplifting is up markedly since the pandemic began in the spring… what’s distinctive about this trend, experts say, is what’s being taken - more staples like bread, pasta and baby formula… Those who are stealing to survive are not out there talking to the Washington Post about it… They’re ashamed to be in the position in which they have to steal.

Now watch this:

image: homeless in california

HOW can you not be moved?

There’s so much BAD STUFF and INDIFFERENCE to it going on for decades - that it just floors me how people DON’T KNOW - or DON’T WANT TO KNOW - what’s happening in our political, social and economic lives - while society turns into an expose of massive suffering and massive denial of everything.

I just posted an article about PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN STORM DRAINS in Las Vegas.  Add them to those in growing TENT CITIES - and maybe you’ll get an idea how horrible it is living in the United States with its brutal ruling class making sure more and more of us are forced into poverty.

The man in the White House - just SCREWED 17 MILLION OF OUR FELLOW SUFFERING AMERICANS from a lousy $1400 stimulus check

During the campaign for the two Georgia Senate races, Joe Biden REPEATEDLY PROMISED to pass $2,000 stimulus checks if the Democrats won. After they did, the administration argued that $2,000 really meant $1,400 in addition to the $600 that had already gone out in the December rescue package.

But now singles making between $80,000-100,000 and couples making between $160,000-200,000 will get nothing. The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein REPORTS that roughly 17 million people who previously got checks now will not.

The supposed justification here is that moderates want the aid to be more “targeted.” In fact this formula is horribly inaccurate, because the income data the IRS uses is from the year before the pandemic (unless people have already filed their taxes and by the way, if your income decreased in 2020, you should do that immediately). This formula is therefore doubly wrong - there are no doubt millions of people who have lost jobs and should qualify but wont, and a smaller number that have gotten raises and shouldn’t qualify but will. And this change will only save a pitiful $12 BILLION.

Remember the last recession?  And that new term - jobless recovery?  What the heck is a JOBLESS RECOVERY?

Businesses might also curb their spending. INSTEAD of responding to sales increases with hiring, they could invest in relatively cheaper technology to replace eliminated positions.

Economists don’t have to go back very far to find an example of a recovery that didn’t push unemployment back to its prior lows. The lowest unemployment fell after the 2001 recession was 4.4% in December 2006 (it hit that number again in March 2007). That was significantly lower than the 6.5% high in 2003. But it wasn’t close to the sub-4% rates seen in 2000.

That sort of recovery was what economists call a jobless recovery. We weren’t really growing wages and income for people in the bottom half of the economic distribution,” says Alan Berube, an economist with the Brookings Institution.

Along with the great recession of a decade ago another new term came into our awareness - and LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT - joined our vocabulary.

Those of us that survived, and haven’t disappeared into a black of hole of homelessness or SUICIDE - are still around to talk about it.

What we’re going through now is far worse - regardless how many QUESTIONABLE FACTS the people that claim to represent us spew out of their mouths.

FEDERAL RESERVE Chairman Jerome Powell seems like an honest guy and NOTES:

America has witnessed the sharpest drop in labor force participation in many decades

HERE’S WHAT we’re talking about:

image: population to employed ratio - great recession through  now

image: population to employed ratio - great recession through  now

The jaggedy blue lines explain what I mean when I say WE HAVEN’T RECOVERED FROM THE LAST RECESSION.

The folks at Wolfstreet UNDERSTAND:

The employment-population ratio, which is the broadest measure of employment and covers the working-age population (16 years or older), ticked up to 57.6%. It has gained a minuscule 0.2 percentage points since October (57.4%)

Long-term, the Employment Population Ratio is one of the most dismal two-decade trends out there. The ratio drops during each recession - that much is normal - but until 2000, the ratio more than recovered each time. In the three recessions since 2000, it never fully recovered before the next recession hit, a testimony to companies trying to bring their costs down by sending work overseas or automating it away

So many of us want a job - and can’t find one.

Not even a LOUSY TEMP or GIG JOB.

If President BIDEN doesn’t do something (like a NEW DEAL 2.0) to turn things around and grow back the middle-class - I’ll SUPPORT anyone - maybe even the devil himself - to help replace THE RULERS of our once great country with a system that represents people like you and I.

For those of us that got layed off from regular (W2) jobs early last year, and got EXTRA UNEMPLOYMENT - President Biden may be overlooking us this year. I know people who are denied EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS in 2021, and competing with the millions layed off the past year - for the few jobs out there.

The help for those longest-unemployed from this collapse is a tax refund for the FIRST $10,200 UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE COLLECTED last year. Gee thanks, Mr President.

Like the last recession - when this latest is financial crisis is over - the rich will be richer, poor will be poorer, and middle-class squeezed a little more out of existence.

And they’ll talk about another JOBLESS RECOVERY:

[L]abour’s share of income is going to continue its downward trend after the current crisis ends. Aside from the profit incentive that has always existed to motivate automation, this crisis has highlighted the pandemic risks associated with relying on labour availability. Industries that employed millions of people pre-pandemic, such as accommodation and food service, as well as retailers, will take advantage of the technological advances in the coming years, suggesting that the so-called “jobless recovery” we saw after the Great Financial Crisis might end up proving to have been an absolute.

Posted by Elvis on 03/24/21 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Imagining a Real American Rescue

image: capitalism isnt working

On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
- A Time to Break Silence, Martin Luther King Jr.

[T]he size of the workforce in each state that is struggling financially is much higher than traditional federal poverty guidelines suggest.
- ALICE, Third World USA Part 11

Economic recovery is now treated as consistent with declining standards of living. Lowered expectations and acquiescence in long term working-class hardship are now built into what we are told to regard as recovery.
- Still Trapped In Unemployment

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Imagining a Real American Rescue

Zero Hour
March 11, 2021`

The latest recovery plan for the latest financial crisis going into it’s second year is called the AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN.

Professor Richard Wolff talks about it for half an hour in the VIDEO below:

image: zero hour

Transcript

RJ And we are back on the Zero Hour.  I, as always, am your host Richard R.J Escow. Of course the bill that was passed the so-called American Rescue Plan is the big story of this time period, and will remain a big story for some time to come I suspect, so, I was looking forward to talking about it with my next guest RICHARD WOLFF, who is a regular on the program.  I’m sure you know him from his other work as well, Richard Wolff is an economist and an economic historian. He’s a professor , there’s a bunch of places I want to get to, so I’m not going to list the full credentials now, but trust me he’s qualified and his latest book is THE SICKNESS IS THE SYSTEM which I recommend.  So Richard Wolf, as always, welcome to the program.

RW Thank you R.J., I’m glad to be here.

RJ It’s always great to have you, and I’m still processing.  I’m still processing this bill and i really wanted to get your thoughts about it. Obviously it has a number of provisions to it. Maybe I’ll start at the highest, you know sort of conceptual level, which is I keep hearing it describe the headlines, keep calling it a stimulus bill. And while I’m sure it will have stimulus effect for the economy at least temporarily to me that shows a kind of conceptual misguidance on the part of our political, and you know, commentary at society because to me the urgent need is saving lives, keeping people safe in homes and residences, making sure people have enough to eat, and to me, that is not a feat of economic engineering it’s a it’s an active decency that should be automatic for us.  So I always short circuit when I hear this term stimulus. What do you think am I off base?

RW No. I think I would say the same thing. I might say slightly differently.  A stimulus carries with it the implication that the basic structure and the basic organization of what you’re trying to stimulate is not the problem. In other words - use it in the human body if your body is basically okay. You have a heart, and you have the circulation, and your lungs and all the rest of it, but you have a problem, then the medical profession can talk reasonably about stimulating, or getting this otherwise good machine to function - because something has interrupted or compromised it. 

I don’t believe that. I don’t believe it for one minute. I don’t think we’re at that point. I think what the economy needs is a radical transformation and before I explain it, let me tell you that I believe the quote was from Nancy Pelosi, but certainly from one of the other major leaders who pushed this whole bill through - who referred to it as quote unquote “transformative”. I read that quotation repeatedly. Well, that’s what I think is needed - a transformation of the economy.  but to say that this bill - which is rightly called the stimulus, is then somehow much more than that transformative, think is substituting wish for the thought for the reality for the analysis and that’s what we call a promise which I don’t believe can be kept.

In 2009 Mr Obama, then the president, gave us a, which he called a STIMULUS PROGRAM worth roughly 840 billion dollars.  We have had over three three trillion dollars in 2020 to stimulate.  Now we have another two trillion to stimulate. It’s very hard not to get the impression that the stimuli aren’t enough.

Now, let me unpack just a little bit.  We are in a crisis which these people keep wanting to minimize, and they do that by celebrating a recovery before we have one, celebrating - if you’re honest enough to say we don’t have one - well then it’s coming real soon, as if you can predict the future.

I don’t believe any of that. We have an unprecedented level of crisis in this country, really I’ve never seen it, and I’m a student of American economic history.  I’ve never seen it in my lifetime, and I have gray hair just like you, so here it is we have the worst crash in economic crash in at least a century.  The only comparable thing to what we’re going through now is the great depression of the 1930s, but unlike then, we are now simultaneously working through the worst public health disaster in at least a century. We’ve never had two of those at the same time, and that’s at a time when we know we have unresolved problems with climate change. We have unresolved problems with race relations.  We have unresolved problems with gender relationship. We have a fractured and split political system. and we have the most serious economic competitor in the People’s Republic of China than this country has faced in a long long time.  I could go on, but that’s enough to give you an idea we are not ready for another stimulus or to say it the other way A stimulus again is too little and too late not in itself it’s bigger than anything we’ve done before no doubt but it’s not adequate to the level of problems we have which are in their cumulative effect, better and bigger than anything I have ever seen and I don’t get a sense that this is understood at all.

RJ You know, let me reflect on that a little bit if I may Richard. Well so in a sense basically you’re saying this stimulus is like an electric jolt to a patient that really needs a new heart and and along those lines one of the things that I keep hearing, and it’s a quote from I believe in national tax center or something like this - did the calculation that people in the lowest quintile of income - household in the lowest quintile in the United States - if they have three children - will see out of this bill a 20% increase in income. Well for a temporarily - which gets left off a lot of times but just for one year we’ll see a 20 increase in income and this has been a big part of the celebration of the bill it’s been repeated constantly and as I mentioned on social media the by the same centers calculations before the pandemic uh the lowest quintile the average income was 13,000 something, so what you’re celebrating is that a household 20% of the households in this country uh some of whom have three children are trying to get by on less than fourteen thousand dollars and you’re going to give them a 20% boost uh one time but the quote that came to mind for me was that of that famous democratic socialist Martin Luther King jr who said uh you know true compassion is not flinting coins to beggars but recognizing the edifices that make it necessary to beg in the first place am i being unfair here because it seems to me next year these people are going to be back at 13 000 five or whatever uh trying to raise three kids and maybe they’ll be up to 15 if we can keep some of these provisions, but that to me reflects a horrible condition that we are permitting and even accepting by celebrating this, that one in five households will live this way

RW Yeah it’s unbelievable. Because if 14,000 is what we’re talking about for the bottom quintile - and they get improved by twenty percent that’s twenty eight hundred dollars.  Most of those people could not possibly change the basic conditions of their life with twenty eight hundred dollars and everybody in America who pays any attention to their finances knows that.  The the level of self delusion you have to be normally engaged in to get really excited that you’re giving a family that lives on fourteen thousand dollars twenty eight hundred dollars more let’s assume an extra big promise I’m not sure many of them will even get it, but let’s assume they do that’s not going to change anything but they’re going to be as unable to send their kid to college as they always were they’re going to be as unable to live the so-called AMERICAN DREAM as they always were the gap between how they live and how rich people live will be as jarringly immense after this as it was before again you’re not changing this country’s problem the inequality has gotten much worse over the last 50 years every statistic shows it we’ve had a massive redistribution of wealth from the bottom and the middle to the top.  All this bill does is make a very modest return to some of the most agrievously hurt in the last 50 years. That’s all it isn’t going to change anything or again if I’m quoting Nancy Pelosi correctly, this is not transforming anything, and the idea that the poor of this country should fall all over themselves because you’re giving them a one-shot 20% boost, which happened by the way at the same time, That what you might have done is actually lift the horrific level of wages these people are required to live on from the seven dollars and 25 cents an hour federal minimum - one of the lowest in the world of of industrial advanced countries to 15 by 2025 you chose not to do. That it’s as if you’re saying “we’re not going to do anything to change the basic horror that makes a CEO in this country currently earn roughly 300 times the median wage of the people he employs”, you’re not changing any of that. You’re leaving that exactly the way it was which was awful and you’re giving them a one-shot stimulus. I like your image.  It’s like you know that there have been serious heart problems for this patient but instead of dealing with those in a comprehensive way including the possibility of a transplant. You’re just gonna hit him with another electric shock - stimulate them - as if you didn’t know that all of the problems that come with people in a family trying to live on fourteen thousand dollars a year in today’s America. As if you didn’t know what that meant look most of the people in congress either are millionaires or close to it and the simple understanding that those folks may very well have forgotten if they ever knew what it’s like to live on fourteen thousand dollars a year begins to make sense, because if you don’t ascribe it to their kind of not understanding then you’d have to think that it is SHEER EVIL expediency pandering to the rich who support them with donations and let the rest of the country just shrink into the poverty ridden country that we used to thought think we only see on national geographic television shows.

RJ You know Richard well there are people out there as you well know, who will say of upeople like you and me that we should be celebrating this more. That this is, you know, wonderful breakthrough and certainly if given a choice between this or nothing I would pick this, but I just briefly again - to quote Dr King - he says “on the one hand we are called to play the good samaritan on life’s roadside but that will only be an initial act one day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway,” so this is, a you know, people are patting themselves on the back. This as if this were obviously I’d rather have that one-time payment than not, but as if this were an act of magnanimity rather than you know, a band-aid on a fundamental injustice, so i guess one of the questions I keep coming back to in our conversations - yours and mine - is how do we advance this awareness so that the people who are doing a victory dance right now - and I’m talking about voters.  I’m talking about you know, working people. How do we explain that while this is certainly not a bad thing it’s a good thing that our problems are much deeper and the solutions must be more bold

RW Well, I would answer them two ways. Number one the reality that we’re describing is going to be teaching masses of Americans exactly what we want them to understand; that their choice is between going backwards with the republicans or going forward at a snail space barely with the democrats, and that that choice is awful. When I teach it in my classes, I try to suggest what would you do if you were walking down a dark street and suddenly a scary person jumped out of the bushes and said to you “You can either die by me stabbing you, or you can die by me shooting you.” But i believe in free choice, so you choose the person who starts and looks at the sky and looks at the ground trying to agonize over that choice - is a person who needs psychological help because the only rational answer is I don’t accept that choice. I don’t accept that you give me. I’m not going to waste my time choosing because i reject the proposition that I’m in. That’s what the American people have to do. They have to come to terms with the fact that as long as they permit this old two-party monopoly to give them a choice between lousy and even worse they’re going to end up either lousy or even worse which they kind of know and they can be distracted for a while by not facing this situation by being distracted to be angry at immigrants or the Chinese or trans people having access to bathroom sure for a while these are distractions like watching tv when your life is a shambles it’s a distraction but in the end the program is over the distraction fades and you’re right back up against it. That is happening to the American people it’s one of the reasons audiences for you for me and folks like us are rising around the country. I’m like you, I wish you were going faster. I wish it were settling in deeper, absolutely, but I mean, you know, people are cautious, people are scared, people are worried, all of signs of a system that is not working and I think you’re seeing more and more shocks.  The people of California were shocked when they had no power because a company saved money made more profits by taking risks that they then paid for. I think the people of TEXAS have just learned it again when they allowed private electric companies to go unprepared for cold weather and deprive them of water deprive them of electric my goodness and here’s another one that perhaps you can devote a program to over the last several months the price of food around the world has gone dramatically up, and there’s no end in sight. Well the poorer you are, the bigger the portion of your income you have to spend on food so rising food prices is a particularly heavy get ready now tax on the poor give you an example in the month of February just over food prices i believe here in the united states rose a couple of percent. Well that’s 10% of the 20% this bill is supposed to give them over the rest of the year and if food prices keep rising - which all predictions suggest they will - much of what they’re going to get - if they’re lucky - will be eaten up by the price of food. Why?  Because covid-19 and the global crash and the trade war launched by Mr Trump against china and several other things like ecological shifts are impacting farming around the world.  To deal with that you need a coordinated global attack on the problem of food which is as basic as anything you can get kind of like, I don’t know, covid fighting a virus and feeding yourself a kind of fundamental life-saving activities . Nothing is being proposed like that. There are countries already so in trouble with the price of food, I’ll give you one example, India, that the government there has taken a major part of the government budget to provide subsidies to masses of Indian people so they can afford enough food not to starve to death. And you’ll notice that in the American rescue plan just passed there’s an extension of the food stamp program as a recognition that food insecurity - that’s the euphemism for hunger - has been going up in the United States too. Well, you put all that together and here’s my conclusion - too many problems many from the past kicked down the road so they’re here with us now a whole bunch of new ones, you’re not seeing anything like the response that this scale of difficulty requires and the self-congratulations of the democrats with this bill that they’ve passed, pales - it’s kind of embarrassing - against the problems this cannot and will not solve. Yes it’s better than nothing, but for the democrats to accept that as the standard for what they’re doing, tells you a lot.

RJ Well, and let me Richard Wolff talk about another aspect of this plan one that you know I have more personal familiarity with in terms of health economics from the health insurance industry. It expands the affordable care act so that for example a 64 year old who - this is according to the New York Times - 64 year old earning $58,000 will see his monthly payments for a health plan declined from thousand seven hundred, I’m sorry, one thousand seventy five dollars to four hundred and twelve dollars, but what the Times does not explain is that there are then large deductibles and considerable co-pays in affordable care act plans and plans you buy on the exchange, and what’s being celebrated here is a premium it’s not OUT-OF POCKET COSTS but premiums for upper middle income Americans as they are defined will cost no more than 8.5 percent of an individual’s modified adjusted gross income. Now I don’t know how many middle class people - even upper middle class - who generally can writeoff pretty much one dollar in every 10 that they make to insurance that doesn’t cover them in times of extreme need P do know that the actuarial for Millermann estimated that a family of four with quote-unquote good coverage will pay more than eleven thousand dollars a year in out-of-pocket costs of various kinds that to me suggests not only gross inequality - which we talked about earlier - but a broken health care system that is being addressed in this bill primarily by funneling more money from the public economy to the private insurance sector, so that will trickle down to people uh in marginal ways, but we will still have Americans dying because they can’t afford the $20 co-payment for their flu antibiotic. Am i reading that wrong?

RW No. It’s again, you know, marginal adjustments leaving in place the basic absurdity of not providing a national affordable health. Look, I’m an economist, so let me put my economics hat on.  The test of an economy is how well it serves the people living in and under it. In order to have adequate food adequate shelter adequate clothing - there has to be an appropriate match between the prices those things cost - if you’re going to use a market system - and the incomes that people earn with which they buy those things. If the prices are too high relative to the income, or the income too low relative to those prices, your economy is failing.  That’s its job is to do.  That throwing up your shoulders. Well, you know, the people can’t afford it. That’s your problem. That’s not your answer. That’s the problem. You have failed to do what an economic system into which all these individuals are born naked as babies you either have it set up for them, or you don’t and our society doesn’t and the medical care is the same. Let me get at it one more way: recently my doctor - I live here in New York City - recently my doctor came to me as he did to all of his patients and he said to me “I am developing a concierge service.” I had no idea what he was talking about. I thought concierges are people who work in in residential buildings and help you get a cab or tickets to a show or something.  No no no. It’s a new phenomena in the medical profession. It’s been around a few years I’ve learned that now basically he says “I’m paring down my practice and I’m going to only have concierge people.” What’s that you pay an annual fee and uh to me and you pay that every year no matter what you do or do not use in the way of my services if you have a simple need to get checkup that’s included but anything that takes my time beyond that which is virtually everything i will still charge you various fees that are normally the fees in my specialty but you will have access to me 24x7. I will have a as he listed what i will have i pointed out to him as politely as i knew how that i already had that with him or thought i did he giggled and said well um there will be a few people who can’t afford to be a concierge i will still keep them but they will not be able to get me 24x7 and they will not be able to get a phone call back within an hour and then he rattled off all the things they wouldn’t get that i would get if i became a congress this is the privatization of further privatization of an already private system here’s the second example one of the biggest growth areas is called “private power grid” - what this is and you can imagine it is exploding in Texas and California - if you want to know that your business or your home will have uninterrupted electrical service, and you know, you cannot rely on the publicly available provider you can now install solar or wind - a whole system to gather the electricity hooked up to batteries in your basement that will store the electricity so that you will not be this is the cost $40,000, very expensive, but for rich people you will now be able to provide what we all thought we once had like a doctor namely the security of knowing a well-maintained electric system in a house that is fully electrified. You’re seeing what’s happening.  The people at the top are rearranging the services of our society for them, and the rest of us will live with whatever is left over it is really the perfect analogy to a dickensian novel about mid-19th century england with a wonderful food being served at the elegant dinner table when whatever is left is scraped off the plate into a little bag that is taken outside and left on the steps so that the poor people in the neighborhood can come by later and quietly eat, because otherwise they’d have nothing at all.

RJ Well i know you have to go but you know you’re what you’re describing in the words of an old reggae song “it’s harvest uptown famine downtown is the future they’re trying to build” and I’ll add one more example to it is my old employer - AIG in San Diego - when they had the fires years ago private - fire service, private fire you know they came with their their home insurance at a large premium the fire trucks would come to your insured house while your neighbor burned down and then these people come out of their enclaves and announce to the rest of the world that they’re backing candidate x, because after all we’re all in this together.

RW. Yes we’re all fighting it’s a war said Mr Trump we’re all fighting the covid together, only he’s doing it from Mar-a-lago and we know where lots of the American people are doing it

RJ So we’ll have to, unfortunately I know you’re short for time, and we’ll have to leave it there but there’s so much more we could talk about about just the urescue plan but but do you have any closing thoughts before I let you go to your next meeting?

RW All I would do is remind people that as we’re talking about this bill for 325 million American citizens, 600 billionaires - that’s all we have in this country - roughly 600 BILLIONAIRES - SAW THEIR WEALTH LAST YEAR GO UP BY BY A TRILLION DOLLARS.  If you took away the gain in their wealth, there’d still be the 600 billionaires in our society. They wouldn’t be any poorer relative to the rest of us, but half the cost of what the democrats just passed, would be taken care of, or to say it another way, you could give 50% more of a solution than you’re doing if you just said to those billionaires “enough is enough. You already have more than everybody. You are the richest 600 people in this country, and probably part of the richest one-tenth of one percent in the world. You don’t need during a pandemic - when we’re all in it together - to be rich when the mass of people are supposed to be grateful for getting $2,800 more on their $14,000 annual income.”

RJ It boggles the mind of any viable morality or ethics that I can think of. Well we’ll have to leave it there but as always Richard Wolff thank you so much for your insights, and people can find more, can hear more from you at Economic Update on Tuesday evenings on free speech tv and elsewhere. I encourage them to do so and as always thanks for coming on the program.

RW Thank you R.J. and I look forward to our next time.

RJ As do I. And we’ll be right back after this. I’m Richard R.J. Escow and this is the Zero Hour.

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Bandaging the Corpse
Biden’s bailout will not alter the structural inequities and other fundamental underpinnings of America’s death spiral.

By Chris Hedges
Scheerpost
March 12, 2021

The established ruling elites know there is a crisis. They agreed, at least temporarily, to throw money at it with the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 bill known as American Rescue Plan (ARP). But the ARP will not alter the structural inequities, either by raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour or imposing taxes and regulations on corporations or the billionaire class that saw its wealth increase by a staggering $1.1 trillion since the start of the pandemic. The health system will remain privatized, meaning the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations will reap a windfall of tens of billions of dollars with the ARP, and this when they are already making record profits. The endless wars in the Middle East, and the bloated military budget that funds them, will remain sacrosanct. Wall Street and the predatory global speculators that profit from the massive levels of debt peonage imposed on an underpaid working class and loot the U.S. Treasury in our casino capitalism will continue to funnel money upwards into the hands of a tiny, oligarchic cabal. There will be no campaign finance reform to end our system of legalized bribery. The giant tech monopolies will remain intact. The fossil fuel companies will continue to ravage the ecosystem. The militarized police, censorship imposed by digital media platforms, vast prison system, harsher and harsher laws aimed at curbing domestic terrorism and dissent and wholesale government surveillance will be, as they were before, the primary instruments of state control.

This act will, at best, provide a momentary respite from the country’s death spiral, sending out one time checks of $1,400 to 280 million Americans, extending $300 weekly unemployment benefits until the end of August and distributing $3,600 through a tax credit for children under the age of 6 and $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17 starting on July 1. Much of this money will be instantly gobbled up by landlords, lenders, medical providers and credit card companies. The act does, to its credit, bail out some 1 million unionized workers poised to lose their pensions and hands $31.2 billion in aid to Native communities, some of the poorest in the nation.

But what happens to the majority of Americans who get government support for only a few months? What are they supposed to do when the checks stop arriving at the end of the year? Will the federal government orchestrate another massive relief package? I doubt it. We will be back where we started.

By refusing to address the root causes of America’s rot, by failing to pump life back into the democratic institutions that once gave the citizen a voice, however limited, and make incremental and piecemeal reform possible, by not addressing the severe economic and social inequality and dislocation that afflicts at least half the country, the anomie and ruptured social bonds that gave rise to a demagogue like Donald Trump will expand. The American empire will not staunch its disintegration. The political deformities will metastasize.

When the next demagogue appears, and the Republican Party has banked its future on Trump or his doppelgnger, he or she will probably be competent. The Republican Party in 43 states has proposed 250 laws to limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting and mandate stricter ID requirements, as well as reduce the hours at voting sites and the numbers of voting locations potentially disenfranchising tens of millions of voters. The party has no intention of playing by the rules. Once back in power, cloaked in the ideological garb of Christian fascism, the new or the old Trump will abolish what little is left of democratic space.

The established elites pretend that Trump was a freakish anomaly. They naively believe they can make Trump and his most vociferous supporters disappear by banishing them from social media. The ancien rgime, will, they assert, return with the decorum of its imperial presidency, respect for procedural norms, elaborately choreographed elections and fealty to neoliberal and imperial policies.

But what the established ruling elites have yet to grasp, despite the narrow electoral victory Joe Biden had over Trump and the storming of the capital on January 6 by an enraged mob, is that the credibility of the old order is dead. The Trump era, if not Trump himself, is the future. The ruling elites, embodied by Biden and the Democratic Party and the polite wing of the Republican Party represented by Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, is headed for the dustbin of history.

The elites collectively sold out the American public to corporate power. They did this by lying to the public about the consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), trade deals, dismantling welfare, revoking Glass-Stegall, imposing austerity measures, deregulating Wall Street, passing draconian crime bills, launching endless wars in the Middle East and bailing out the big banks and financial firms rather than the victims of their fraud. These lies were far, far more damaging to the public than any of the lies told by Trump. These elites have been found out. They are hated. They deserve to be hated.

The Biden administration - and Biden - was one of the principal architects of the policies that fleeced the working class and made war on the poor is nothing more than a brief coda in the decline and fall, set against which is China’s rising global economic and military clout.

The loss of credibility has left the media, which serves as courtiers to the elites, largely powerless to manipulate public perceptions and public opinion. Rather, the media has divided the public into competing demographics. Media platforms target one demographic, feeding its opinions and proclivities back to it, while shrilly demonizing the demographic on the other side of the political divide. This has proved commercially successful. But it has also split the country into irreconcilable warring factions that can no longer communicate. Truth and verifiable fact have been sacrificed. Russiagate is as absurd as the belief that the presidential election was stolen from Trump. Pick your fantasy.

The loss of credibility among the ruling elites has transferred political influence to those outside established centers of power such as Alex Jones, celebrities and those, such as Joe Rogan, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi who were never groomed by the media conglomerates. The Democratic Party, in an effort to curb the influence of the new centers of power, has allied itself with social media industry giants such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Patreon, Substack and Spotify to curtail or censor its critics. The goal is to herd the public back to Democratic Party allied news organizations such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN. But these media outlets, which in the service to corporate advertisers have rendered the lives of the working class and the poor invisible, are as reviled as the ruling elites themselves.

The loss of credibility has also given rise to new, often spontaneous groups, as well as the lunatic fringe that embraces conspiracy theories such as QAnon. None of these groups or individuals, whether they are on the left or the right, however, have the organizational structure, coherence and ideological cohesiveness of radical movements of the past, including the old Communist Party or militant labor unions. They traffic in emotional outrage, often replacing one outrage with another. They provide new forms of identity to replace the identities lost by tens of millions of Americans who have been cast aside. This energy can be harnessed for laudable causes, such as ending police abuse, but it is too often ephemeral. It has a tendency to transform political debate into grievance protests, at best, and more often televised spectacle. These flash mobs pose no threat to the elites unless they build disciplined organization structures, which takes years, and articulate a vision of what can come next. (This is why I support Extinction Rebellion, which has a large grassroots network, especially in Europe, carries out effective sustained acts of civil disobedience and has a clearly stated goal of overthrowing the ruling elites and building a new governing system through peoples committees and sortition.)

This amorphous, emotionally driven anti-politics is fertile ground for demagogues, who have no political consistency but cater exclusively to the zeitgeist of the moment. Many of those who support demagogues know, on some level, they are con artists and liars. But demagogues are revered because, like all cult leaders, they flout conventions, are outrageous and crude, claim omnipotence and disdain traditional decorum. Demagogues are weaponized against bankrupt well-heeled elites who have stripped the public of opportunities and identities, extinguishing hopes for the future. A cornered population has little left but hate and the emotional catharsis expressing it brings.

The engine of our emerging dystopia is income inequality, which is growing.  This bill does nothing to address this cancer. The bottom 50 percent of households in 2019 accounted for only 1 percent of the nationҒs total wealth.  The top 10 percent accounted for 76 percent.  And this was before the pandemic accelerated income disparity.  More than 18 million American depend on unemployment benefits, as businesses contract and close.  Nearly 81 million Americans struggle to meet basic household expenses, 22 million lack enough food and 11 million say they can’t make their next house payment.  Only deep structural reforms accompanied by New Deal-type legislation can save us, but such changes are an anathema to the corporate state and the Biden administration.  History has amply demonstrated what happens when income disparities of this magnitude afflict a country.  We will be no exception.  Lacking a strong left, the United States will in desperation embrace authoritarianism, if not proto-fascism.  This will, I fear, be Biden and the Democratic Party’s real legacy. 

SOURCE

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Stimulus Addiction Disorder: The Debt-Disposable Earnings Pyramid

By Charles Hugh-Smith
Activist Post
March 15, 2021

For those who suspect the status quo is unsustainable but aren’t quite sure why, I’ve prepared a simple chart that explains the financial precariousness many sense. The chart depicts the two core elements of a debt-based, consumerist economy: disposable earnings, defined as the earnings left after paying for essentials which can then be used to service debt and debt.

In other words, if all the household earnings are spent on non-discretionary expenses (rent or mortgage, taxes, food, utilities, healthcare, etc.) then there is no money left to pay the interest and principal on a loan. Lenders consider this household uncreditworthy for the simple reason that their earnings cannot support the monthly nut of debt service (interest and principal).

Note the word earnings as opposed to income. Social entitlements such as Social Security are income but they are funded by taxes paid by those with earnings. (All of Americas social entitlements are pay as you goҖthe trust funds are PR fiction.) The investment income (interest) paid to owners of Treasury bonds is also paid by taxes on earnings.

All the interest and principal of debt is ultimately paid out of earnings, either private-sector debt paid directly out of wages or public-sector debt paid out of taxes which are paid out of earnings.

The problem with servicing debt out of income is two-fold: one, earnings of the bottom 95% have been stagnant for decades, which means earnings aren’t actually rising in terms of the goods and services they can buy, and two, the cost of non-discretionary expenses (essentials) has been rising, especially the big-ticket costs such as housing, healthcare and higher education.

You see the problem: since earnings are flat and the cost of essentials are steadily rising, there is less disposable earnings left every month to service debt. This is a problem in an economy like America’s that depends on debt-funded consumption to fuel growth. No increase in debt means no increase in consumption which means no growth.

In response, the status quo - the Federal Reserve and the federal government - have played two financial tricks to maintain the illusion that earnings can support more debt: one, the Fed has lowered interest rates to near-zero, reducing the costs of mortgages (but not the sky-high interest rates charged on student loans or credit cards, of course) so the same stagnant earnings can support a much larger mortgage, and two, the federal government has increased its own borrowing to fund various stimulus programs, most of which are corporate welfare to monopolies and cartels in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, government contracts, etc. But as the consumerist economy weakens, the government is increasing its stimulus to households as well - all with borrowed money that is theoretically serviced by taxes on earnings.

Alas, these tricks are not sustainable. Interest rates can֒t go lower than zero without bankrupting the banking sector, and federal spending is completely untethered from tax revenues.

The “solution” is obvious: borrow the money needed to service new and existing debt. This is the definition of a ZOMBIE ECONOMY comprised of ZOMBIE COMPANIES and zombie consumers that need to borrow more to sustain the illusion of solvency, i.e. that their disposable earnings are sufficient to service all their debts.

Notice that the debt-disposable pyramid is inverted: an ever-larger amount of debt is being piled on an ever-shrinking amount of disposable earnings. The trick of borrowing more to make the payments on the existing debt and fund new consumption results in a compounding of debt, not an arithmatic (linear) increase in debt: debt grows geometrically while the disposable earnings needed to service the debt remain stagnant.

The only “solution” left is Stimulus Addiction Disorder (SAD): the Fed must create trillions of dollars out of thin air to buy the Treasury bonds that are sold to fund trillions of dollars in stimulus, not once or twice, but from now on until the entire travesty of a mockery of a sham collapses under its own weight of flim-flammery and fraud.

Artifice, illusion and simulacra are not real, and what’s not real vanishes back into the air whence it came. One glance at this chart explains why the status quo is locked on run to fail and will implode in a spectacular collapse of the unsustainable debt super-nova. SAD, to be sure.

image: debt-earnings pyramid

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 03/24/21 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Media Brainwashing Part IV

image: media manipulation

As a matter of course, if there is a protest in a city, they might mention it, but they will not go into detail as to why the 99% are doing a protest. However, they will share their opinion how these “people” had to be shot at, beaten, and thrown into jail for peaceful protest!

Moreover, the news is not information, it is justification for police brutality. When we protested the Vietnam War, everyone knew why
- Dumbing Down The News

NBC’s actions strike at the heart of the public’s concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.
- Kucinich Kicked Off Presidential Debate

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”
- Malcolm X

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Mainstream Media Exposed Coordinating Identical Mass Shooting Narratives for Different States

By Matt Agorist
Free Thought Project
March 23, 2021

In case you haven’t noticed, after taking a hiatus during the COVID-19 lockdowns, mass shootings are back in the limelight and the establishment media can’t wait to use them to their advantage. In fact, they have already started.

One of our researchers here at the Free Thought Project, Don Via, Jr. discovered an oddity this week consisting of headlines that were identical in content but written for various states and published by entirely different news outlets. If you Google, “mass shooting surge,” you will be returned results with exactly the same headlines, but for different states.

The headline reads follows: “Mass shootings surge in South Carolina as nation faces record high.” As you continue to scroll down the results, you see this exact same headline for other states like Florida, North Carolina, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Colorado, Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, and others.

In states which didn’t see a rise in mass shootings, a different title was used but with the exact same point. For example, “Mass shootings fall in Georgia, but nation faces record high.” This title was applied to states like George, Indiana, California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Alabama, and others.

Identical headlines for what appears to be entirely different news outlets is definitely sketchy, but when you click the articles, you see that the text is identical with only numbers and state names plugged into them to tailor it to that specific state.

Below are a few examples:

Mass shootings in FLORIDA increased to 34 in 2020 from 15 the year before, while nationally mass shootings jumped nearly 50% during a pandemic with crippling unemployment, violent protests and idle youth.

Mass shootings in TENNESSEE increased to 19 in 2020 from seven the year before, while nationally mass shootings jumped nearly 50% during a pandemic with crippling unemployment, violent protests and idle youth.

Mass shootings in SOUTH CAROLINA increased to 22 in 2020 from 10 the year before, while nationally mass shootings jumped nearly 50% during a pandemic with crippling unemployment, violent protests and idle youth.

Mass shootings in WISCONSIN increased to 10 in 2020 from three the year before, while nationally mass shootings jumped nearly 50% during a pandemic with crippling unemployment, violent protests and idle youth.

The rest of the article follows a similar template with the authors simply filling in the names and numbers which apply to that state but pushing the identical narrative in each article.

At the end of every one of these articles, the second to last paragraph is a plug for GUN CONTROL and the Biden administration’s plan for it.

police departments likely will have to step up their efforts to get the estimated 50 to 100 million illegal guns in the country out of circulation. The gun control measures often touted by President Joe Biden’s administration may also come into play, he said. These include MEASURES aimed at keeping guns from people who are a danger to themselves or others, and creating a standard for gun storage.

It is important to point out that these news outlets are all under the USA Today Network and the articles are all written by the same two people, Marco della Cava and Mike Stucka. While it is certainly not surprising for a news network to push similar stories to its various outlets, the way this is done is not at all transparent.

Not one of these news outlets is named USA Today. Outside of the small text which says they are apart of the USA Today Network, they all appear entirely independent and have vastly different names like the Tallahassee Democrat or Greenville News, The Elmwood City Ledger, and The Chronicle Express.

When multiple news outlets, who put on the appearance of independence, all run the exact same piece which essentially calls for gun control by fear mongering over mass shootings, this is not a free press. This is a controlled press who is apparently being given narratives to push out to their readers based on some entity’s centralized vision.

Given the current draconian GUN BANS UP FOR VOTE in Washington, the idea of a centrally controlled push for gun control by the mainstream media becomes that much more unscrupulous. Unfortunately, it is par for the course and USA Today is not alone in their tactics.

In 2018, TFTP reported on multiple local media outlets who all ran identical scripts going after “fake news.”

A compilation of the outlets regurgitating their talking points went viral and exposed dozens of media outlets all parroting the exact same script.

“Our greatest responsibility is to serve our [insert location here] communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [insert station here] produces,” the news anchors read from the script.

Then nine stations were featured on the screen and they all said in unison, “But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.”

More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first, the videos continued, as at least 36 stations filled the screen at one time. “Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.”

Then the VIDEO highlighted one important line that was parroted by each station:  “This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”

image: sinclair script for stations

One could make the argument, however, that news outlets reading a centrally controlled scriptto millions of people is a far greater threat to democracy than some conspiracy theorist spreading fake news.

As The Free Thought Project has REPORTED, while there was once a time when the mainstream media was run by dozens of companies, it is now controlled by six corporations. Hundreds of channels, websites, news outlets, newspapers, and magazines - making up ninety percent of all media - is controlled by very few people - giving Americans the illusion of choice.

While six companies controlling most everything the Western world consumes in regard to media may sound like a sinister arrangement, the Swiss Propaganda Research center (SPR) RELEASED information in 2018 that is even worse.

The research group was able to tie all these media companies to a single organization - the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

In January 2018, WikiLeaks Julian Assange called attention to this control in an damning TWEET

image: assange media consolidation tweet

For those who may be unaware, the CFR is a primary member of the circle of Washington think-tanks promoting endless war. As FORMER ARMY MAJOR TODD PIERCE DESCRIBES, “this group acts as ‘primary provocateurs’ using ‘psychological suggestiveness’ to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the U.S. population that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover.”

A senior member of the CFR and outspoken neocon warmonger, Robert Kagan has even publicly proclaimed that the US SHOULD CREATE AN EMPIRE.

The narrative created by CFR and its cohorts is picked up by their secondary communicators, also known the mainstream media, who push it on the populace with no analysis or questioning.

When looking at the chart from SPR, the reach by this single organization is so vast that it is no mystery as to how these elite psychopaths guide Americans into accepting endless war at the expense of their mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters.

While this may seem like a bleak scenario, the fact is that this battle over information is centuries old. Just as the Anti Federalists fought to inform early Americans over the dangers of a constitution without a bill of rights, those who’ve longed for freedom and liberty have continued this information war up into the 21st century - affecting massive changes in their wake.

Indeed, as Samuel Adams famously said, “It does not take a majority to prevail but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

These brushfires have been so effective at maintaining the ideas of freedom that the establishment control over information has continued to clamp down to prevent them. We are currently witnessing this control increase at an ever accelerating rate.

Ideas that threaten the establishment, like calling out the corruption in both parties (alternative media) are quickly finding themselves in the cross-hairs of the Praetorian guard who wishes to keep the flow of information under the grip of the status quo.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others have all recently moved to clamp down the control even harder and outlets like TFTP have to fight tooth and nail just to survive - all the while, mainstream media can shove a single talking point down the throats of millions of Americans and disguise it as local independent media.

This is the very definition of Ŕcoordinated inauthentic behavior which the tech companies pretend to be so hell bent on preventing, yet when it comes to pushing a narrative on gun control, these outlets are all given a pass. Must be nice.

SOURCE

---

The Nasty Truth About COVID 19

By Gordon Duff
New Eastern Outlook
March 22, 2021

An independent classified study of COVID 19 raises the strong possibility that the global pandemic was manufactured in order to serve multiple agendas favoring malign interests, financial, military, the pharmaceutical industry and dangerous political extremists.

The world as it exists at the onset of spring 2021 (Northern Hemisphere) may well be no accident at all. The planet is less free than any time in centuries, with trends toward radicalization of hundreds of millions, increased militarism, decline in living standards and the onset of a global “police state” is a reality.

The supposed gaffs of Donald Trump, disease denialism, discouraging protective measures, a trillion dollars of “bail out” stolen by fat cats and a failed vaccine program are not minor evidence of these assertions.

COVID will eventually kill one million Americans entirely because of Trump’s efforts. Other advanced nations lost few and suffered little.

The US has descended into anarchy with armed mobs bringing government to a standstill.

Behind this uprising is the very seen hand of a festering disease that has been at the heart of America for generations, corrupt police, corrupt politicians, a religious community steeped in fear and hatred and a society that has forgotten its core values.

COVID is a catalyst for change and may well have been deployed specifically for that purpose. Then that other question follows, Cui Bono? (Who Benefits?)

You do not have to be a genius to figure that one out.

Background

It is over a year into the pandemic, according to some sources, longer, dating initial outbreaks in China or Italy and Spain as early as August 2020.

This has given intelligence organizations, public and private, not just massive data but more, an endless flood of inconsistencies, in the disease itself, in records of research into the background of SARS-COV 2 and how some governments have dealt with the pandemic.

We will begin with a warning, COVID 19 is a real disease with real dead, real disabled, uncounted disabled and the current vaccines all work.

Anti-Vaxx and AZ

Assertions made about vaccines, particularly AstraZeneca tied to blood clots are curious. Let us look at one of them, dated March 20, 2021 and republished from Reuters to right wing websites around the world.

When we say, “right wing,” that brings up something else, something examined long ago, that conspiracy theories and hoaxes are fabricated and disseminated into not just websites and blogs but onto powerful networks, Fox, OAN, Newsmax, UK Daily Mail/Mirror, and through the Murdoch worldwide empire by a consortium of one or more national intelligence agencies.

Considering that the “non-right” wing press openly, if you excuse the abuse of the term “openly,” censors or fabricates fake news on an industrial scale, the publicly “stewed” narrative swings from “mostly false” to “utterly false.”

Now for that REUTERS STORY:

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) Denmark said on Saturday that one person had died and another fell seriously ill with blood clots and cerebral haemorrhage after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination.

The Danish Medicines Agency confirmed it had received two serious “reports,” without giving further details. There were no details of when the hospital staff got ill.

Now we add the kicker:

The two, both hospital staff members, had both received the AstraZeneca vaccine less than 14 days before getting ill, the authority that runs public hospitals in Copenhagen said.

What are we talking about here, medically? We are talking thrombosis, an occlusion of a blood vessel caused by the interaction of collagen and platelets caused by glycoproteins. The reasons are most often genetic or air travel.

A similar story came out of Italy March 19, 2021 claiming three Italian police officers dropped dead within minutes of being vaccinated.

The problem here is that in Britain, which tracks vaccine side effects thoroughly, tens of millions have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca and there is no evidence there, in a nation overrun with anti-vaxx groups, that a problem exists.

What does this prove? By “prove,” nothing at all, for or against but it does prove that governments will act on “information” fabricated by the press, “information” that is free of science, free of statistical certainty or even remote probability and do so out of fear.

This is “press terrorism.” They have been doing it a long time, and as we stated earlier, the press itself is now and has been controlled, lock stock and barrel, by intelligence agencies forever.

Intelligence agencies are controlled by powerful malign interests and secret societies. This is not an overreachingӓ statement, unless, of course, you look to the press itself for confirmation.

This is called a Catch 22.ԓ

So, what else have we learned about COVID?

COVID 19 was most probably created in a lab by scientists at the University of North Carolina in 2017. The evidence tells us that the former biological warfare laboratory at Ft. Detrick, Maryland “offloaded” its capability to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), universities such as North Carolina and Harvard and uses facilities in the Republic of Georgia, Kazakhstan and Romania and maintains dark financing through USAID and CIA sources.

Though Google has been cleaning the trail that led inexorably to this conclusion, enough documentation remains for researchers even at this late date.

What does this mean?

It means that COVID either escaped the lab, and there is evidence of three “accidents” involving a disease nearly identical or totally identical at the University of North Carolina.

It may also mean that COVID 19 was purposefully created, something that can be scientifically supported, despite statements to the contrary by Dr. Fauci of the Center for Disease Control.

It may also mean that COVID 19 was both created and released to serve an agenda.

If we are going to be looking at potential reasons and explanations for the Wuhan outbreak, we must remember that the Chinese government suggested that the United States brought COVID 19 to China in October 2019 at the Military Games in Wuhan.

The US brought well over 300 participants to the games and yet scored 37th behind the Dominican Republic. China called the US athletes soy sauce warriors.

The Chinese government suggested the US had brought the disease to China. That claim is now being reasserted as the US is now deep in turmoil over the recent killing of Asian women in a racial attack, one many tie to Trumps “Kung-Flu” rhetoric. China was very specific in its “suggestion” that the US created and deployed COVID as a weapon against China:

“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” Zhao suggested, calling for the CDC - and the US in general - to be transparent and share what they know about where and when “Patient Zero” was first diagnosed.

In fact, nation after nation has suggested COVID 19 originated in the US and was spread around the world based on a globalist agenda. However, these stories long disappeared, censored from media, banned by Facebook and Twitter, erased by Google and attacked by the media making any journalist that reports them subject to being ostracized or arrested. From VERERANS TODAY:

“Zhao is not the only high-profile political figure to voice suspicions about the timing of the Games and the introduction of the coronavirus in Wuhan. Former Malaysian PM Matthias Chang offered similar speculation back in January, zeroing in on the event as the launch point for what he deemed a biological war waged by the US against China.

This statement by a world leader will no longer “historically” exist. Even Zhao has, it seems, been silenced.

Conclusion

We live in a different world than we did a year ago. 30% of the global economy is gone. The West is drowning in debt, its economy is in tatters and confidence in government is gone.

In nations like the US, police have been exposed as not just corrupt and racist but have been shown to belong to well financed and highly organized Fascist militias created by elites to undermine limitations to corporate power.

Italy only recently blocked recently pardoned Trump advisor Steve Bannon from forming a Fascist training school in Italy for anti-government paramilitaries. Such schools exist, Poland, Ukraine, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Finland, all backed by Wall Street cash and all reaching into history looking for a rebirth of Third Reich policies.

COVID 19 hoaxes, anti-lockdown protests, anti-vaccine scares worldwide, all carefully coordinated, all supported by Murdoch press organizations, all backed by cash and even weapons stockpiles, are very much a part of this effort, but what effort is this?

Is this effort fomenting new strains of COVID? Will the new strains kill quicker, kill younger or target only the sick or certain ethnicities? Are there people in power who would do such things?

Who would help them? Who would look the other way?

Simply answer, too many.

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

Posted by Elvis on 03/23/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America
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