Life, liberty, … blah…blah… blah…

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The Fifth Amendment is an old friend and a good friend.  

– William O. Douglas

With all the news that’s been brought to the fore of the public’s consciousness in the last few months regarding outright violation or circumvention of Constitutional guarantees, those of us who consider the hemp scribbled manuscript important enough to be defended and preserved have been left scratching our heads. This tidbit popped up on my radar several weeks ago and I thought it was worthy of a brief commentary. As usual, it was ignored by the purveyors of b.s., but we can always count on the Democracy Now folks to keep us apprised of the haps on the craps. It seems as though Madison’s magnum opus can still be put to some good use after all.

By now, I’m quite sure that unless you live a life of solitary contemplation, you’re well aware of the mortgage foreclosure crisis that’s confronting millions of lower income families. While real estate investors have also experienced the negative ramifications of the crisis, the term “investor” usually connotes wealth and a rather negligible possibility of homelessness. We’ll limit our concerns therefore to those who are faced with impending despair as a result of greed on the part of the “too big to fail” posse. You know, the bunch that got $700 billion under the guise of providing relief to Americans confronted with the possibility of losing their homes, but through some rather slippery politicking, included a provision in the T.A.R.P. (Troubled Asset Relief Program) legislation that stated,

“Decisions by the Secretary (Hank Paulsen, former Goldman Sachs CEO) pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

In many communities across the good ole USA, courts are still backed up with foreclosure proceedings and the pipeline of new foreclosures is gushing somewhat reminiscent of BP’s Deep Water Horizon. The town of Richmond California is one such location with over half of the residential mortgage holders underwater. There were over 900 foreclosures last year and the number pending is just as high. The banks sold predatory loans and despite the assurances to secure T.A.R.P. funds, have made no presentations regarding resolution of the looming threat. The onus of preventing destabilization of families and neighborhoods has thus fallen squarely on the shoulders of the Richmond City Council.

In a rather bold move, the Mayor of Richmond stated that the city would step in to first offer to take the troubled loans off the hands of the banks. They would pay fair market value for the loans then work with homeowners to refinance and modify the instruments in line with current home values. They were requesting that the banks voluntarily sell the loans but if not, would consider exercising eminent domain, paying market value for the properties.

WTF????? Did I just hear that correctly?

Just to give you a little background, while most of us have heard of the 5th Amendment in connection with the Double Jeopardy and Due Process provisions, there’s a lesser known guarantee referred to as the Takings Clause. The power of “eminent domain” is derived from this clause and allows federal, state or local governments to take private property for public use, contingent upon paying the owner just compensation, which is usually the fair market value of the property. Eminent domain however has most often been exercised by Democrat and Republican politicians alike to screw the small man or Native American in favor of big oil interests, or some developer with deep pockets and grandiose visions of gentrification.

Gotta admit, this threw me for a loop. When did the brass ever exercise eminent domain in favor of a non-campaign contributor? Following the introduction of Richmond’s mayor however, it all made perfect sense. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin is a member of the Green Party. AHA!! There’s no way a Republican or Democrat would bite the hand that feeds and challenge the banking cartel. That’s akin to a poverty-stricken Venezuelan voting against Chavez after he put food, medicine, education and sanitation in the barrio.

Sure enough to bring us back to reality, Republican Congress member John Campbell of California has introduced a bill that would block efforts to use eminent domain to purchase home mortgages. Mayor McLaughlin is quite sure of the legal grounds upon which she stands however, and plans to proceed to stem the downward spiral in the face of this hurdle.

The moral of the story – if Americans have any hope of reclaiming their democracy and ousting the rogues that seek to dismantle the most successful experiment in self-governance, you need to strike with the one weapon that you do possess – the VOTE. Neither war-mongers extolling neoliberal policy while draped in peace prizes and Dr. King’s legacy, nor Randian right-wingers brandishing personal responsibility who seek to shred the network of social services, have your interests at heart. There ARE alternatives to the two factions of the Wall Street party.

Take the time to educate yourselves about these alternatives and please ignore the insipid fluff like Honey Boo Boo and 24 hour coverage of adults playing games. The power has always rested with you my friends.

One love,

HJ

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/6/california_city_threatens_to_use_eminent

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Masters of War

I could write an exposition on the illegality of the looming Babylonian actions in Syria, but Eddie quoting Dylan is so much more elegant. After all, when has Uncle Sam cared about the legality of its actions. Better yet, why not let the Chileans, Afghans, El Salvadoreans, Nicaraguans, Haitians, Grenadians, Iraqis, Panamanians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Koreans, Iranians, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos, Hawaiians, and every Arabian and African state on the map answer that question. For those of you whose mirror neurons still function, peace and solidarity my brothers and sisters. There’s been far too much large scale, state-sanctioned killing.

One love,
HJ

The Most Basic Principle Of All.

Words possess the remarkable ability to snatch concepts from the ephemeral realm of thought and cement them within the domain of the fixed. This is a beautifully articulated message that is well worth reading and contemplating.

THE ONENESS of HUMANITY

Posted August 10, 2013

by Jerry Alatalo

“The most basic principle of all is that of not harming others, and that includes all people and all life and all things.”

Rolling Thunder

(1916-1997)

The spirit behind these words by Rolling Thunder, who was a Native American medicine man, reflect wisdom and truth. Can we imagine the entire human race consciously accepting, acknowledging, and truly living in accord with the spirit? We read the words spoken by Rolling Thunder and wonder about how one gets to that point, where words such as these are spoken.

Take a moment and read Rolling Thunder’s statement again.

How do the words affect you? Does the spirit behind the thought dissolve into your entire being? And how can we describe that spirit? It is what Native Americans call the Great Spirit. The omnipotent, eternal, omnipresent, Great Mystery, God, Creator, Allah, Source, Krishna, the Almighty are some terms used by people around the world.

“It means…

View original post 725 more words

A thousand words…

A thousand words...

Eternity

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise

– William Blake

Photo credit: Janicskovsky / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Re-writing the Narrative 101 – Part 3

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I hope that the last two posts have provided a modicum of understanding regarding the neoliberal zeitgeist.  Over the past 35 years, this paradigm has essentially defined the fiscal policy making of Republicans and Democrats alike. While it may have initially been a Republican agenda, it would contaminate the other side of the aisle shortly thereafter. This “liberating” of private enterprise from the bonds of government regulation is etched over a scaffold of macro-economic policy referred to as “supply-side” economics. Academics sure do love to create complex field specific vocabularies for concepts and economists are no exception. But this is not a thesis and for purposes of this commentary, my goal is to simplify. The initial aim of this series was to provide some counter balance to the job creation b.s. usually voiced by free market proponents. Anyone who has ever owned a business will probably agree that hiring new workers is always a last resort. Despite assertions to the contrary, it’s usually conducted ONLY when every ounce of productivity has been wrung from the existing labor force and then, and only then, if the needs of the business are not met, will new hires occur. The idea that private capital places job creation at the top of its to-do list is specious at best.

Essentially the primary thrust of supply-side economics is that maximum growth will result if the barriers such as income and capital gains tax rates are reduced for the suppliers of goods and services. Arthur Laffer’s famous curve was used to buttress the argument for reducing the rates of taxation on the bourgeoisie. The Laffer Curve itself simply illustrates the trade-off between tax rates and the total tax revenues actually collected by the government.  Zero tax = zero revenue, 100% tax = zero revenue (since no one will work if they had to give away all their money). So far, so good. Through some rather fuzzy logic however, proponents argued that the optimal point of revenue collection would be at a lower rate of taxation on the suppliers since the economic effects would off-set any decrease that resulted due to the lower rate. If you cut the amount of revenue collected for mandatory societal necessities (missiles, defense contractors, big oil subsidies, Medicare, etc.) from money that people (and corporate ones also) make on investments,  you’ll make it up because these folks will invest more. The omitted portion was where this increased investment was to be done. NAFTA didn’t happen overnight.

In homage to the great facilitator of the spurious 80’s economic policy, the term “Reaganomics” was coined. Reaganomics or trickle-down economics is best summed up by the horse and sparrow theory, that “if you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” The increased investment and lower tax rates were also supposed to yield a reduction in the prices of goods and services. Thus everyone benefited.

Hindsight is 20/20 and if the last 35 years have taught us anything, this shit don’t work bro.  Just like the increased investment, the lower prices never occurred. One of the flawed fundamental assumptions of economic theory is that all actors are rational. Did the benefit gained by the holders of capital as a consequence of deregulation, privatization, elimination of barriers to trade and reduced taxes actually result in lower costs of goods and services? A resounding “HELL NO!” is the appropriate response. These irrational s.o.b’s bolstered their respective positions behind private gates and acted quite illogically by ramping up CEO and top tier compensation packages to absurd levels, and using the plunder to buy politicians and peddle influence. But to think that the benefit of lower input costs were somehow reaped by the consumer is a bit of a stretch.

As far as the demand side of this relationship, well I am sure that you are all living through this nightmare. Factories have moved overseas en masse, the prices of goods and services continue with the normal increases linked to inflation and salaries when adjusted are lower than real wages of the 1970s.  There’s one thing missing though. Something just doesn’t seem feasible about the explanation thus far. If the producer class is benefiting from increased business and profits, yet salaries have stagnated, how are the goods being purchased by the working class? And here you have the grand artifice of the entire arrangement – little plastic cards with long strings of digits. GOTCHA!! Why increase the costs of production via a rise in wages when we can structure the relationship to compel servitude? Through a series of lobbying efforts, the banks could also legally charge interest rates higher than Gino down at the butcher shop.

Several weeks ago I posted an article on the censorship practices of the TED and TEDX directors. If you’re interested you can view it here.  I get the impression that job creation is another “hot” topic and articulating certain positions is not always encouraged by the TED decision makers. I’ll conclude this series with the following censored talk by venture capitalist Nick Hanauer.

One love,

HJ

Re-writing the Narrative 101 – Part 2

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Greetings good souls. Watch the following video and then we’ll chat.

So we left off talking about the idea that the division between Democrat and Republican on substantive economic policy is about as real as the International Date Line. The Obama supporters were certainly rudely awakened to this stark reality when “yes we can…” was completed with “continue Wall Street’s stranglehold on the middle class and stay the course of income polarization.” Transparency, the public health care option, closing Guantanamo, I’m sure these have not been so quickly buried within the labyrinths of your minds.  I encourage you to visit www.opensecrets.org and check the list of campaign contributors to the members of Congress.

What you’ll find is that corporate America does not divide along ideological, party, hem, or any other lines for that matter, as Pelosi, Reid, and Schumer are just as well funded by bankers, big oil, and war-profiteers as Boehner, Thune and McConnell. Just to refresh your memory, it was also during the hero of the new left, Clinton’s watch, that the firewall provisions of Glass-Steagall preventing commercial banks and their affiliates from engaging in speculative securities activity were essentially repealed. Clinton also passed NAFTA and the “welfare queen” legislation.

What I’m trying to show is that we the people must shelve the antiquated notion that there still exists a legitimate two party system. There are merely two factions of a ubiquitous corporate party. The anachronistic definitions of the politico-economic system thus require updating. Madison et al could never have considered that his class of moral, responsible men would be co-opted by corporate interests antithetical to the public good since general purpose corporations were not considered persons in the 18th Century. Ergo, the task of the decision makers was NOT to secure profits for corporate campaign contributors. If you ever watch Congressional testimony of the banking elite, you’ll quickly realize with whom the power actually resides. The deference paid to Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Bankfein borders on nauseating.

The idea that a regime change is apt to provide any meaningful difference to the wage slave is specious at best. We’ve gotta toss out the old ideas that we live in a working democracy and politicians are there to serve the public good, hell we can even flush the concept of the nation state right down the toilet. The new world order is not some future dystopian scenario waiting to take hold, but it’s actually the current state of global affairs. The world is governed by a new economic paradigm of commerce zones and any nation attempting to maintain its autonomy by keeping its people protected from the scourge of the “free market” is quickly greeted by sanctions or semi-automatics en masse. In 2008 the war drums began to sound against Iran much like the rhythmic chants against Iraq in 2003. What happened in 2008 you ask? Why the Iranian Oil Bourse decided to stop accepting payment for its oil in US dollars of course. The “terrorist” label also readily greets non-compliant groups who opt to maintain rights to their lands within borders. Native and agrarian peoples within Columbia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and a host of other countries all serve to illustrate this concept in action. Essentially a “be absorbed by the matrix or die” philosophy.

Although not frequently used in the American media, the term of art coined to describe this post 1970s policy framework is neoliberalism. Most of us who have lived in the 3rd World are all too aware of the virulent impact of these policies in action. This paradigm has morphed into its present state of being and crept into policy versus being an outright declaration like a monarchical. So what exactly is neoliberalism?  Subcomandante Marcos said that what is offered is to turn the world into one big mall where the wealthy can buy Indians in one place and women in another. Essentially neoliberals advocate the complete and total abolition of government intervention in economic affairs. Neoliberal philosophy is grounded in the abrogation of tariffs, evisceration of environmental regulations of ANY kind, and absolutely NO rights for the working class. Fundamentally it is a planned return to the wondrous age of serfdom. Methinks it’s also rather appropriate to add that one of the commandments of neoliberalism is that it is cosmopolitan in nature. The old guard has realized that browns, blacks, and yellows must also be invited to sit at the table for this meal to be served. For example Lakshmi Mittal is an Indian steel magnate who sits on the board of Goldman Sachs and a similar global bourgeoisie class seems to ensure the lower rungs of the pyramid are pushed off the land and into servitude.

Proponents of this faith often cite to the venerable Adam Smith’s concept of laissez faire capitalism penned in his 1776 opus, The Wealth of Nations. Critics however, are quick to point out their blatant neglect of Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments where he expresses the importance of non-market values in maintaining a thriving social order.  In an article at http://www.corpwatch.org, Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights summarized the main points of neoliberalism as:

  1. THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating “free” enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers’ rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services.
  2. CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply — again in the name of reducing government’s role. Of course, they don’t oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.
  3. DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminish profits, including protecting the environment and safety on the job.
  4. PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.
  5. ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF “THE PUBLIC GOOD” or “COMMUNITY” and replacing it with “individual responsibility.” Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves — then blaming them when they fail, as “lazy.”

To garner support for policy that promulgates these positions, arguments like “an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth” or “free markets create jobs” are often bandied about by the corporate owned media. As any good scientist knows, when you evaluate a study, the initial task is to look at the sources of funding. Before you believe anything henceforth, I implore you to look at who owns the mode of transmission and who has funded the study. We operate under an entirely different construct of reality than do the free market masters of the universe. Integrity, honesty, and justice have all been subjugated to the profit motive in their respective operational definitions of a functioning society.

So how did we get here? Here’s the beauty of the whole damn thing. Consider the following: When you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, his initial response to the stimulus is to jump out. If that same frog is put into a pot of lukewarm water and it is gradually brought to a boil, the frog sits there until he is cooked. This analogy best serves to illustrate how we arrived at our present state of affairs.

In the post WWII era, strides had been made in the areas of public access to education, healthcare, tort liability related to product safety, minimum wage laws, the facilitation of union organizing in the workplace, housing subsidies and the like. Ralph Nader and other individuals had begun to ensure that corporate America was held accountable for its actions. If you ever wonder how automobile fatalities were exponentially reduced, thank Ralph and check out Unsafe at any Speed. Moreover, government, capital and labor had arrived at a sort of uneasy truce. There was an implicit understanding that if left to their own devices markets would result in social devastation. Government served to prevent the boom bust cycles of unfettered capitalism and the social inequity that typically accompanied such calamities. The post WWII era was in essence, the golden age of the middle class.

Enter Lewis F. Powell Jr. Outside the realm of those indoctrinated with a capacity for an understanding of the law, the name is hardly recognized. In 1971, our friend Mr. Powell was a corporate lawyer and sat on the boards of 11 (yes 11, still wonder as to how the less sophisticated members of society have created the concept of the Illuminati?) corporations. Two months before Tricky Dick would nominate him to the Supreme Court, he wrote a memo to his homeboy Eugene Sydnor Jr., the Director of the US Chamber of Commerce. The Powell Manifesto addressed the apathy of American business in combating the looming spectre of the socialist cadre.

The following excerpt is taken from www.reclaimdemocracy.org: Though Powell’s memo was not the sole influence, the Chamber and corporate activists took his advice to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration’s “hands-off business” philosophy.

Since judges possess the unique ability to divest their personal beliefs, opinions and prejudices from the decisions they make, Powell would have a distinguished career where he ruled on cases without any prejudicial bias whatsoever. And unsophisticated civilizations with rudimentary ropes and pulleys built the pyramids with feats of engineering that we couldn’t duplicate today.

A movement was now underfoot spearheaded by corporate America to influence all elements of society. There would be a focus on the press, pulpit, academia, and the minds of all Americans from the parishioner to the prisoner.  Enter Ronald Wilson Reagan, a former corporate salesman for Chesterfield and Pall Mall cigarettes, and Van Heusen shirts among others. (Ever notice the letters in Reagan’s name add up to 666, lol).  Ronnie would be the first president to formally adopt neoliberal policies under the influence of his economic advisor Arthur Laffer and his supply-side economic theory. On the other side of the pond, the Iron Lady would oversee the same implementation of policy.

Your attention has probably waned somewhat so I think it’s a wrap for today. Stay tuned for part three where I’ll finish with the 1+1 = 3 reasoning of supply side economics. Keep well my friends.

One love,

HJ

Re-writing the Narrative 101 – Part 1

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Hola Blogosphere!

I haven’t written in a while, decided to give my lungs a bit of a detox from nature’s molecule of bliss that envelops the mind within a haze of creativity.  I hope that all’s well in your respective reality tunnels. If you live in Detroit, Iraq, Ireland, Greece, or anywhere else that the long arm of the invisible hand has extended its suffocating reach, have no fear, Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen have ensured us that humanity’s savior is en route. For ye of little faith within Babylon, the powers that be are on the case and have ideas to overcome the threat of Mexican immigrants and big government. We’re gonna maintain the low marginal tax rates on capital gains, cut food stamps and Medicare, freeze pensions, hike student loan rates and build a wall. This will definitely set things right. After all, austerity measures against the poor provide the most effective path to economic ebullience. Funny though, despite the rhetoric regarding circumstances that necessitate austerity, it sure seems like there are unlimited funds to keep the Mexicans out. The Canadians are seemingly okay though.

I trust that by now, the inability or rather the unwillingness of the POTUS, SCOTUS, and our enlightened patricians, (hereinafter referred to as “FUCKUS”) to effectuate meaningful change has become blatantly obvious. At the end of the day, there was more legitimate discord between Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the Iron Sheikh than between the Dems and Repubs, at least where substantive issues are concerned. Differing viewpoints exist regarding the willingness to countenance government control on hot-button topics like race and privacy; one group seems okay with adults shooting kids, overt government surveillance, state control of whom people marry and what women do with their bodies, while the other does not. But on corporations exporting jobs to countries without environmental regs and slave labor prohibitions (globalization), continued use of petroleum and now natural gas as the global power source, debt based fiat monetary systems, handing AIPAC a blank check to facilitate Zionist aggression, and unchecked military marauding, there’s pretty much consensus on Capitol Hill.

The lack of sophistication in modern America becomes all too apparent when free market ideologues bombard the media outlets with the absurd notion that any element of government regulation directed towards unfettered capitalism is tantamount to Lenin and Mao marching through the streets of Anytown USA, and the public willingly repeats this nonsense.  I’m sure we’ve all seen the comical anti-socialism signs held by Medicare recipients at Tea Party rallies. I realize that I am preaching to the choir here, but the narrative MUST continuously be challenged and eventually re-written. Free market ideology must not be allowed to stand unopposed. The social order has evolved over a framework of both market and non-market values and the neoliberal thrust to redefine the world solely by the former has led to disastrous results for the middle class. Furthermore, economic models do not include inputs for clean air, water, and quality of life.

So amigos, I’m gonna take a different route with this rant. I think it’s time for some truth based talking points to assist in challenging cousin Ronald, who extols the virtues of his namesake, at the next family get-together. Or anyone else around the water cooler for that matter who advocates the ludicrous position that unchecked corporatism is the path to prosperity for society. Usually these idiomatic absurdities take the form of, “Get the government off our backs so we can create jobs,” “Government is the downfall of American prosperity,” or “The unions have gotten too powerful.” By effectively externalizing the actual source of the problem through sleight of word, meaningful analysis becomes impossible.  The employment crisis confronting us today is merely a domestic manifestation of 21st Century globalization, the architect of which is private enterprise.

At the outset lemme just say that I am neither Communist nor Capitalist, Democrat nor Republican, nor do I define myself by any classification that neglects the complex nuance associated with being a human being. Ergo, I have no agenda and I’m just gonna call a spade a spade. We’ll leave the agendas to the Heritage Foundation, the Brookings Institute and ALEC.  If you’ve been conditioned by an institution of higher learning and must categorize an individual’s system of ideological constructs, let’s try anarcho-socialist-humanist-Jedi. Good ole Noam stated that if you argue a position in line with established power structures you need not provide evidence to support your assertions. The parrot-esque repetition practiced by the media will do the reinforcing for you. This effectively serves as evidence in the critical thinking challenged society in which we live.  Since my declarations are somewhat antithetical to mainstream assertions, I’ll provide illustrations where possible.

Just to give you a quick example, I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “the liberal media.” This axiom seems to be repeated ad nauseum and Beck, Coulter and others have gained notoriety by leveling the claim that the media is liberal.   While this may be true for issues possessing a social content, if you actually examine the media content and coverage on issues of war, economics or challenges to mainstream science, you’ll find that the opposite is actually true. The media stance on substantive economic and policy issues is actually very conservative. I am sure we all sat riveted to the “liberal” media’s round the clock coverage of the Bradley Manning trial or the last conference on the ecological impact of the BP oil spill. No? What about an ABC segment on the militarization of civilian police units or 60 Minutes addressing the use of depleted uranium by US and Israeli forces?  Still nothing?  Hmm, aren’t these issues with which a liberal media should be concerned? However, we did get voluminous coverage of a hot button liberal topic like the racially charged Trayvon Martin shooting. This illusion of meaningful news may possess a liberal slant to coincide with majority opinion but this is certainly an exception. The media’s liberality is congruous with the established structures of power.

Let’s take a look at the coverage of the current financial crisis confronting Motor City. The talking points all include the usual buzzwords and allegations of mismanagement and incompetence directed towards the public officials and the unions. A CNBC commentator even suggested that the overly generous pension plans of city employees are at the heart of the problem. Surely there was evidence presented to bolster the claim that diminutive contributions to the school bus driver or park janitor pensions are the sine qua non of the city’s bankruptcy. Sadly, not a shred. Support of the official position does not require evidence and since union busting and war on the middle class are en vogue, I’m sure you can connect the dots.  Not once have I heard the “liberal” media acknowledge the detrimental impact of NAFTA on decimating the city’s tax base. Keep this in mind the next time Face the Nation or Chris Matthews conducts a round table discussion on the plight of Motown.

NAFTA certainly increased commercial traffic across the borders of North America but this was all done within the framework of command economies. The effect being somewhat analogous to a company moving products from a warehouse in Florida to one in Louisiana. The major GM shareholders and execs benefitted from the decreased production costs but the small businesses that had developed around the auto industry in Detroit and thrived for several generations were virtually wiped out overnight. Many of these folks migrated elsewhere effectively slashing the tax base by 40%. The mom and pop engine rebuilders, auto parts stores, upholstery manufacturers, etc. could not compete with the influx of cheap industrial suppliers that sprung up south of the border. I guess we owe this gem of bi-partisan legislative wisdom to the poster boy of the new left- good ole Billy Clinton.

I realize that the demands placed upon our time are great and other activities certainly compete with reading blogs. Thus, I’ve decided to split this into more than one part. I think I’ve rambled on long enough for today. In part two I’ll provide some bullet points on the rise of neo-liberalism, privatization of the commons and the Lafferble [sic] premises upon which Reaganomics evolved.

One love,

HJ

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