Wake-up Call

Resist the Corporate State

Archive for January 2011

Food prices can’t just be swept under the table

with 5 comments

“The reality is that the same speculators that caused the global economic meltdown through their illustrious trade in sub-prime mortgages, are betting on our food system now too.”

Madeleine Bunting 13 January 2011        guardian.co.uk

Soaring food prices threaten more unrest and must prompt a global rethink about agriculture and investment

The year started grimly with news of the food prices rising to the highest point since 1990, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. They have surpassed the 2008 prices that led to widespread rioting and unrest across the developing world; immediately, bloggers such as Duncan Green and Alex Evans were asking why there had been no riots. And just as they were posting, riots flared up in Algeria, with two killed and hundreds injured in the protests against soaring food prices. Across the border in Tunisia 14 were killed in clashes with the police. As the unrest spreads across northern Africa, Egypt is nervously trying to put measures in place to prevent any comparable violence, with extra supplies of meat being flown in from Kenya. An occupational hazard of blogging; no sooner have you posted, than somewhere in the world you have been outstripped by events.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by laudyms

January 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Matt Stoller: Understanding the Strategy of the Democratic Power Class

with 2 comments

“There is simply no basis for arguing that Democratic elites are pursuing poor strategy anymore. They are achieving an enormous amount of leverage within the party. Consider the following. Despite Obama violating every core tenet of what might have been considered the Democratic Party platform, from supporting foreclosures to destroying civil liberties to torturing political dissidents to wrecking unions, Obama has no viable primary challenger. Moreover, no Senate Democratic incumbent lost a primary challenge in 2010, despite a horrible governing posture. Now THAT is a successful strategy, it minimized the losses of the Democratic elite and kept them firmly in control of the party. Thus, the political debate remains confined to what neoliberals want to talk about. It’s a good strategy, it’s just you are the one the strategy is being played on.”

NakedCapitalism January 13, 2011

Yves here. I took the liberty of lifting this comment by Matt Stoller from a recent post, since it is informative in its own right and relevant to the piece today dissecting a mortgage proposal advanced by a think tank with close ties to the Administration.

By Matt Stoller, the former Senior Policy Advisor for Rep. Alan Grayson. His Twitter feed is @matthewstoller

Since the 1970s, Democratic elites have focused on breaking public sector unions and financializing the economy. Carter, not Reagan, started the defense build-up. Carter, not Reagan, lifted usury caps. Carter, not Reagan, first cut capital gains taxes. Clinton, not Bush, passed NAFTA. It isn’t the base of the Democratic party that did this, but then, voters in America have never had a lot of power because they are too disorganized. And there wasn’t a substantial grassroots movement to challenge this, either.

Obama continues this trend. It isn’t that he’s not fighting, he fights like hell for what he wants. He whipped incredibly aggressively for TARP, he has passed emergency war funding (breaking a campaign promise) several times, and nearly broke the arms of feckless liberals in the process. I mean, when Bernie Sanders did the filiBernie, Obama flirted with Bernie’s potential 2012 GOP challenger. Obama just wants policies that cement the status of a aristocratic class, with crumbs for everyone else (Republican elites disagree in that they hate anyone but elites getting crumbs). And he will fight for them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Our Tapeworm Economy: How Corporations Now Dominate World Governance

with one comment

PrisonPlanet

Former Assistant Secretary of Housing under George H.W. Bush Catherine Austin Fitts blows the whistle on how the financial terrorists have deliberately imploded the US economy and transferred gargantuan amounts of wealth offshore by means of sacrificing the American middle class. Fitts documents how trillions of dollars went missing from government coffers in the 90’s and how she was personally targeted for exposing the fraud.

Fitts explains how every dollar of debt issued to service every war, building project, and government program since the American Revolution up to around 2 years ago – around $12 trillion – has been doubled again in just the last 18 months alone with the bank bailouts. “We’re literally witnessing the leveraged buyout of a country and that’s why I call it a financial coup d’état, and that’s what the bailout is for,” states Fitts.

Massive amounts of financial capital have been sucked out the United States and moved abroad, explains Fitts, ensuring that corporations have become more powerful than governments, changing the very structure of governance on the planet and ensuring we are ruled by private corporations. Pension and social security funds have also been stolen and moved offshore, leading to the end of fiscal responsibility and sovereignty as we know it.

Fitts explained how when she was in government she tried to encourage the creation of small businesses, new jobs and new skills to compete in a globalized world otherwise the American middle class was toast, only to be forced out by the feds using dirty tricks. The elite instead wanted Americans to take on more credit card, mortgage and auto debt that corporations and insurers knew they couldn’t afford, while quietly moving their jobs abroad in the meantime.

This is a key interview in understanding precisely how the financial collapse was deliberately planned from the outset as a means of eviscerating the American middle class.

See also Fitts on The fourth method of news suppression

The End of the Modern Era is Closer Than You Think

leave a comment »

Peak oil, peak soil, peak water……..all basic requirements for modern life are depleted, but please just keep rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic so the rats have time to escape to their bunker in an undisclosed location.

World scrambles to contain food inflation

“Record high food prices are moving to the top of policymaker agendas, driven by fears it could stoke inflation, protectionism and unrest and dent consumer demand in key emerging economies.”

The Oil Drum | Discussions about Energy and Our Future also  Peak Oil- the End of the Oil Age

Peak soil: it’s like peak oil, only worse | Energy Bulletin

Water scarcity ‘now bigger threat than financial crisis’ – Climate …

State Department offers to attack France for Monsanto

with one comment

Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert discuss the US State Department’s planned retaliation against France for daring to reject Monsanto’s toxic GMO corn seeds. This operation was revealed by WikiLeaks but has not been reported by the media.

Also discussed are the economic dangers of GMO agriculture, and Monsanto’s ability to subvert the US government to do their dirty work via placing their operatives in government oversight positions. In the second half of the show, Max talks to author and blogger, James Howard Kunstler, about shopping stampedes and revolutionary times.

Sadly Keiser is a bit hyper, but the info is still very important. See also:

WikiLeaks: US Ambassador Planned “Retaliation” Against France Over Ban on Monsanto Corn

The New Stealth Bailout Of Bank Of America

leave a comment »

Bank of America just settled for about $.01 on the dollar.

Joe Weisenthal | Jan. 4, 2011    BusinessInsider

The news that Bank of America had settled its putback exposure with the GSEs sent the stock surging 7% yesterday.That kind of move has lots of folks screaming bailout. As Barry Ritholtz and Colin Barr at Fortune point out, Bank of America just settled for about $.01 on the dollar. 

Says Chris Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics: “This looks to me like a gift from Tim Geithner… there’s politics all over this.”

This is almost certainly true, but also not shocking at all, given the potential ramifications of any serious hit to the banks‘ balance sheets.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the story, and Bank of America still has its massive exposure to non-agency MBS holders, including PIMCO, the New York Fed, and the Monolines, like MBIA.

Click here for a guide to Bank of America’s possible exposure >

Judge refers to Orwell in GPS case

with one comment

BORDC January 2, 2011  by David Wilson

A superior court judge in Delaware has struck down evidence that was obtained via warrantless GPS tracking. In her ruling, Judge Jan R. Jurden stated,

(A)n Orwellian state is now technologically feasible…without adequate judicial preservation of privacy, there is nothing to protect our citizens from being tracked 24/7…

Police had stated that they had the defendant under surveillance for 20 days. He was arrested after being observed in what appeared to be a “cash-for-drugs exchange.”

Judge Jurden’s reasoning was,

…the same legal principle that allows officers to tail a suspect in traffic, without a warrant, doesn’t apply to GPS because the devices reveal far more about a person under surveillance than physical surveillance could—and more than police need.

“Prolonged GPS surveillance provides more information than one reasonably expects to ‘expose to the public,’” she wrote. “The whole of one’s movement over a prolonged period of time tells a vastly different story than movement over a day as may be completed by manned surveillance.”.

While “the ruling falls in line with judicial opinions in New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “issued a ruling last August effectively allowing the use of GPS tracking without a warrant.” The police agencies within the Court’s jurisdiction are allowed to use the GPS devices without a warrant.

Judge Jurden’s ruling is expected to be appealed.

Written by laudyms

January 3, 2011 at 10:58 am

Chris Hedges: ‘The Left Has Nowhere to Go’

with 2 comments

Jan 3, 2011           TruthDig

By Chris Hedges

Ralph Nader in a CNN poll a few days before the 2008 presidential election had an estimated 3 percent of the electorate, or about 4 million people, behind his candidacy. But once the votes were counted, his support dwindled to a little over 700,000. Nader believes that many of his supporters entered the polling booth and could not bring themselves to challenge the Democrats and Barack Obama. I suspect Nader is right. And this retreat is another example of the lack of nerve we must overcome if we are going to battle back against the corporate state. A vote for Nader or Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney in 2008 was an act of defiance. A vote for Obama and the Democrats was an act of submission. We cannot afford to be submissive anymore.

“The more outrageous the Republicans become, the weaker the left becomes,” Nader said when I reached him at his home in Connecticut on Sunday. “The more outrageous they become, the more the left has to accept the slightly less outrageous corporate Democrats.”

Nader fears a repeat of the left’s cowardice in the next election, a cowardice that has further empowered the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, maintained the role of the Democratic Party as a lackey for corporations, and accelerated the reconfiguration of the country into a neo-feudalist state. Either we begin to practice a fierce moral autonomy and rise up in multiple acts of physical defiance that have no discernable short-term benefit, or we accept the inevitability of corporate slavery. The choice is that grim. The age of the practical is over. It is the impractical, those who stand fast around core moral imperatives, figures like Nader or groups such as Veterans for Peace, which organized the recent anti-war rally in Lafayette Park in Washington, which give us hope. If you were one of the millions who backed down in the voting booth in 2008, don’t do it again. If you were one of those who thought about joining the Washington protests against the war where 131 of us were arrested and did not, don’t fail us next time. The closure of the mechanisms within the power system that once made democratic reform possible means we stand together as the last thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration. If we do not engage in open acts of defiance, we will empower a radical right-wing opposition that will replicate the violence and paranoia of the state. To refuse to defy in every way possible the corporate state is to be complicit in our strangulation.

Read the rest of this entry »