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U.S. on a highway to Hell. Start a war and lose an empire

Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_Destruction_1836

The U.S. blunders on, resolutely refusing to accept reality, leaving other countries in shambles as its own  power erodes. Syria and Iraq are consumed with war. Libya is nearing full-scale civil war. American intervention in Ukraine has been counter-productive at best. It’s almost comical, says Russian expat Dmitry Orlov in a sobering yet humorous essay.  He thinks the U.S. could shatter and fall like the U.S.S.R. did.

The American behavior throughout this succession of defeats has been remarkably consistent, with the constant element being their flat refusal to deal with reality in any way, shape or form. Just as before, in Syria the Americans are ever looking for moderate, pro-Western Islamists, who want to do what the Americans want (topple the government of Bashar al Assad) but will stop short of going on to destroy all the infidel invaders they can get their hands on. The fact that such moderate, pro-Western Islamists do not seem to exist does not affect American strategy in the region in any way.

Obama’s bleatings have somewhat alarmed Russians though, and that country is turning away from the U.S. and the dollar. This could have disastrous effects here at home if the government can not continually roll over its massive short-term debt by selling more T-bills. Much of this debt is, of course, due to idiot wars the U.S. keeps starting and insisting on being involved in.

You’d think that Obama has already overplayed his hand, and should behave accordingly. His popularity at home is roughly the inverse of Putin’s, which is to say, Obama is still more popular than Ebola, but not by much. He can’t get anything at all done, no matter how pointless or futile, and his efforts to date, at home and abroad, have been pretty much a disaster. So what does this social worker turned national mascot decide to do? Well, the way the Russians see it, he has decided to declare war on Russia! In case you missed it, look up his speech before the UN General Assembly. It’s up on the White House web site. He placed Russia directly between Ebola and ISIS among the three topmost threats facing the world. Through Russian eyes his speech reads as a declaration of war.

Posted in Anti-war, Banksters1 Comment

You’re either butcher or cattle. Except when hunter becomes prey

terminus

Darkly dystopian TV like Walking Dead and Breaking Bad mirror the current darkening national mood, says the Burning Platform. The cannibalistic Terminus in Walking Dead lures in the unsuspecting by pretending to be a refuge. Any resemblance between this and war pigs increasing their wealth by sending ever-more to die while banksters loot the country and a corrupt government pretends to enforce Rule of Law is, of course, precisely the point. TV is a metaphor and reflection of what people are thinking and feeling.

Such dark moods are probably healthy. More and more, people on all sides of the political spectrum understand what the government is really about, how it has become degraded, a tool for the wealthy, and does not serve the public interest. Something will happen, the tide will change. It always does.

Fourth Turnings result in the tables being turned on the butchers. Some cattle are awakening from their stupor. They can see the bloody writing on the slaughterhouse wall. Anyone who isn’t sensing a dramatic mood change in this country is either a mindless zombie or a functionary of the deep state. The financial shenanigans of the ruling class are again being revealed as nothing but a Ponzi scheme built on a foundation of debt and propped up by delusions and ignorance. When the house of cards collapses in the near future, the tables will turn. When people have nothing left to lose, they will lose it. The butchers will become the cattle. There will be no sanctuary for these evil men. Their reign of terror will be swept away in a whirlwind of retribution, death and destruction. It might even make the Walking Dead look like a walk in the park.

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Class war being waged by the rich against the rest of us

War-on-Middle-Class

Huge funding cuts for public education in Philadelphia lead to children sharing textbooks and locked bathrooms. Some nonprofits now make job applicants pay for security checks for low paying jobs. These are examples of the well-off trying to grind down everyone else to further enrich themselves. Income disparities are widening. Too many families are dropping out of the middle class.

The Democratic Party would have no trouble winning elections if it went back to its roots of supporting the poor, the disadvantaged, minorities, and unions. Yes the two parties have big differences on social issues. However, when it comes to economics, there “isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between them.”

What I think drives the 99% away from the Democrats is that they aren’t much better than the Republicans. Massive contributions from billionaires and multinational corporations have colored the views of most Democrats on public education, tax policy and unionism. For six years now, President Obama has started negotiations on economic, taxation and budgetary matters by giving away the store, so eager has he been to make a deal—any kind of deal—with the factotums of the 1%.

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Turking for bots until they replace you. Then you pay for re-training

Amazon Mechanical Turk. Make pennies!

Amazon Mechanical Turk. Do piecework for pennies!

Just when you think the whole web disruptor ethos couldn’t get sleazier… Bots will increasingly replace jobs. Some jobs can not yet be done by bots. Employers will use turking (ultra-cheap non-employees) to do the work until the bots can replace them. Then charge the ex-workers to learn the next skill, which bots will also replace.

You can guess what this dynamic will look like.

  • Micro-loan offered at extortionate interest rate financing training for turking job.
  • Turking job lasts a couple of months. Earnings are garnished to pay loan.
  • Bot eats job.
  • New loan required for more training. Cycle repeats.

Of course, this doesn’t have to be our future.

We can do better than the idiots in Washington and the parasites on Wall Street.

We have to do better.

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Leon Panetta calls for 30 year war against ISIS. War pigs rejoice

anti-war-liberals

DC insider Leon Panetta gleefully calls for a 30 year war against ISIS and says Hillary will be just great as president since she will be sure to have endless war, much more than that wimp Obama.  Constant war is the lifeblood of DC. If keeps war industries profitable, and their largesse flows to DC in the form of the thinly-disguised bribes known as campaign contributions. Plus, politicians boost their careers by inventing new enemies then howling for more war. Think tanks, NGOs, lobbyists, and PACs get fat off war too. It’s not their kids being killed so why should they care about consequences when “there’s so much money to be made by supplying the Army with the tools of the trade.”

War is what keeps Panetta and the rest of his compromised ilk in power. That’s why they want all war all the time. And they are quite sure President Hillary will do just that. Panetta and Hillary have both criticized Obama for not being bloodthirsty enough.

Greenwald:

U.S. officials are now all but openly saying this. “Endless War” is not dramatic rhetorical license but a precise description of America’s foreign policy.

It’s not hard to see why. A state of endless war justifies ever-increasing state power and secrecy and a further erosion of rights. It also entails a massive transfer of public wealth to the “homeland security” and weapons industry (which the US media deceptively calls the “defense sector”).

ISIS is using U.S.-made ammunition and weapons, which means U.S. weapons companies get to supply all sides of The New Endless War; can you blame investors for being so giddy?

Posted in Anti-war, Banksters0 Comments

Student loan debt crippling ability of young to buy homes

student-loan

Stricter rules for qualifying for mortgages hurts those with student loan debt in two ways. The 2014 guideline of no more than 43% debt-to-income now includes all debt, not just mortgages. Plus, 12% of those with student loans are 90 days delinquent, which hurts their credit scores and ability to qualify. However, even those who are current on their student loan have lower credit scores.

Outstanding student loan debt has grown from around $375 billion in 2005 to over $1.1 trillion today to become the second largest outstanding category of debt. The first-time home buyer age cohort bears a disproportionate share of this burden – almost 60% of the outstanding student loan debt is owed by the under 39 age group.

Me, I think a 43% DTI is insanely high, leaving little margin for error for emergencies. Yet even that is unattainable for too many of those with student debt who want to buy their first home.

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California public pensions not sacrosanct in municipal bankruptcies

smoking-crater-sm

This has enormous implications. A federal judge has ruled California public pensions, like those managed by giant Calpers, are not protected when a municipality files bankruptcy. Thus, public pensions can be cut or eliminated during bankruptcy. The ruling came as part of the Stockton CA bankruptcy.

The issue was raised by Franklin Templeton, who owns Stockton debt. They were offered less than a penny a dollar on the unsecured portion. Franklin said it was unfair they would get so little while Calpers would not lose any money, since similar creditors must be treated equally. The judge says it wasn’t even clear if Calpers was a creditor. That’s a big ouch for Calpers, who until now has enjoyed near-dictatorial powers in California.

He did not dispute that Stockton would be billed $1.6 billion to leave Calpers and said such a termination fee “can be seen as a golden handcuff.” But in bankruptcy, he said, Stockton could legally refuse to pay the bill because it arose from the city’s contract with Calpers, and contracts are broken routinely in bankruptcy.

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Border Insecurity: Mexican Drug Cartels and Their Threat to America

Border-Insecurity

Journalists Sylvia Longmire and Chris Blatchford spoke last night at an excellent forum on Mexican drug cartels at The Mob Museum in Las Vegas titled “Border Insecurity: The Mexican Drug Cartels and Their Threat to America.” A few highlights:

Don’t be worried about Islamic terrorists sneaking across the border in Mexico. The last thing the cartels want is terrorist heat and the money terrorists might offer is chump change. A while back, an Iranian offered $1.5 million to someone he thought was in Los Zetas to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the US. The supposed hit man was an undercover cop. The important point is $1.5 million is a lost truck for the cartels, a trivial amount of money.

Follow the money. Drug smuggling won’t end until banksters who launder the money, some of whom live in the US, go to prison. 90% of drugs consumed in the US come from Mexican drug cartels. The War on Drugs has been a failure. Countries like Uruguay are legalizing drugs completely, in hopes of stopping narcoviolence.

Mara Salvatrucha and 18th Street Gang started in Los Angeles and when leaders were deported, simply spread the gangs to Latin America. In desperately poor parts of Honduras, 8 year old boys sometimes have Mara tattoos on their foreheads. Los Angeles gangs in the 1990’s were the model for much of what we see now.

The Mexican Mafia started as a prison gang in California and now has huge power in many US prisons, as well as outside. They can provide protection for imprisoned cartel members in the US or order them killed.

Narcos are too often heroes to poor youth in Mexico. Selling drugs and being in a cartel becomes their family. The ultraviolence practiced by young cartel members is worrisome even to their gang elders. During Al Capone’s reign, approximately 700 people, all crime members, were killed in Chicago. During the same period of time in Mexico, the number is more like 70,000, many of them people who were simpliy in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A gang member in LA once got beat up because he stored one million in cash so long in an apartment that rats ate it.

Black-Hand

Blatchford is most widely known for his work exposing the destruction and sorrow left behind by street gangs, prison gangs, and organized crime. His exposés on 18th Street, the Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood, Nazi Lowriders, Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs, Russian and Asian organized crime—to mention just a few—are used nationwide as educational and training tools by schools, correctional institutions, law enforcement and community groups.

As an Air Force officer and special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Longmire specialized in counterintelligence, counterespionage and force protection analysis. After being medically retired in 2005, Ms. Longmire worked for four years as a senior intelligence analyst for the California State Terrorism Threat Assessment Center, providing daily situational awareness to senior state government officials on southwest border violence and significant events related to the drug war in Mexico. Her first book, “Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug Wars,” was published in September 2011 and was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her next book, “Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer,” was published in April 2014.

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25% of Americans want their state to secede

SECESSION_map

Some years ago a Russian, I forget who, write a book saying the US could have an implosion on the scale of the collapse of the USSR. At the time, I thought this absurd. I now think it’s possible. A Reuters poll confirms that across the country. A solid 25% want their state to leave the union. The discontent is mostly inchoate now. That will change. DC politicians are mostly deliberately comatose and uncaring about the public they pretend to represent. Instead, they bow down and owe allegiance to corrupt banksters and sleazy corporations who give them “contributions” while they are in office and exorbitant salaries, speaking fees, and other financial rewards as payoffs after they leave office.

People have good reason to be outraged. The system has failed the country. It is corrupt at the core.

Those we spoke to seemed to have answered as they did as a form of protest that was neither red nor blue but a polychromatic riot — against a recovery that has yet to produce jobs, against jobs that don’t pay, against mistreatment of veterans, against war, against deficits, against hyper-partisanship, against political corruption, against illegal immigration, against the assault on marriage, against the assault on same-sex marriage, against government in the bedroom, against government in general — the president, Congress, the courts and both political parties.

By the evidence of the poll data as well as these anecdotal conversations, the sense of aggrievement is comprehensive, bipartisan, somewhat incoherent, but deeply felt.

If our “leaders” weren’t so engrossed in looting the country, they might (and should) be worried about this. But they are simultaneously too arrogant, stupid, and venal to care what the populace thinks. That’s probably how most of the insiders of USSR were too. Until it was too late. Overt gangsterism soon replaced the ossified USSR structure. Don’t think that can’t happen here.

Posted in Banksters2 Comments

Restaurants replacing pesky workers with tablet ordering

Ziosk tablet at Chili's

Ziosk tablet at Chili’s

WaPo has a breathless article extolling the virtues of ordering by tablet at a restaurant, freeing customers from all that tedious personal contact with a human being who might, God knows, start yammering about wanting a higher minimum wage or some such fool thing. Thus, it’s just so much better to shove those unfortunates out the door and concentrate on all the wonderful ways you can customize your burger order. Woo-hoo.

Chili’s has 45,000 tablets replacing restaurant workers. McDonalds is installing them too. Some McDonalds in China even have robot cooks. All this makes restaurant CEOs and banksters happy. Get rid of those pesky humans and watch profits and stock prices soar.

“When robots start to serve soylent green we will have closed the circle so to speak.”

Robots and computerized systems will be everywhere soon. Lots of jobs will vanish. Maybe yours. This trend is irreversible.

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